Shoe designer Blahnik / TUE 3-25-14 / Swiss peak in Eastwood title / Pleasingly plump / Shakespeare character who says I have set my life upon cast / Film noir weather condition

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Constructor: David Woolf

Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*) (3:43)



THEME: "IT AIN'T OVER UNTIL / THE FAT LADY SINGS" (17A: With 57-Across, a die-hard's statement) — two other theme answers claim to "prove" this "statement":

Theme answers:
  • WALK-OFF HOMER (27A: Hit that proves 17-/57-Across)
  • BUZZER BEATER (445A: Shot that proves 17-/57-Across)
Word of the Day: MIRIAM (9D: Moses' sister)
Miriam (HebrewמִרְיָםModern Miryam Tiberian Miryām ; Arabic: مريم (Maryam); see Miriam (given name)) was the sister ofMoses and Aaron, and the daughter of Amram and Yocheved. She appears first in the Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible. // At her mother Yocheved's request, Miriam hid her baby brother Moses by the side of a river to evade the Pharaoh’s order that newborn Hebrew boys be killed. She watched as the Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the infant and decided to adopt him. Miriam then suggested that the princess take on a nurse for the child, and suggested Yocheved; as a result, Moses was raised to be familiar with his background as a Hebrew. (wikipedia)
• • •

I like the phrases involved here, but the theme feels off to me. If you're going with AIN'T, you're definitely going with 'TIL, not the fully, proper, UNTIL. Also, neither a WALK-OFF HOMER or  BUZZER BEATER really proves the fat-lady statement. In a situation where either event could occur, no one in the building really thinks it's "over." Perhaps they did, earlier in the game, when there was a sizable lead. Anyway, the point is that when a single play can swing an entire game, no one is uttering the fat-lady phrase. That's a phrase for when you're down 10 in the fourth inning, or down 10 with a minute to play (in basketball).


Fill here is definitely on the weak side. Mainly tired stuff, your OLEGs and OREMs and SSRs and RATAs and OREOs and OBIEs and AWOLs and ENISLEs and what not (ENISLE is on my 10 Most Not Wanted List). Bit of Scrabble ****ing in the NE doesn't do too much damage. TEM is bad, but XYLEM livens things up a little. The Z-crosses at BUZZER BEATER (i.e. FLOOZY and ZAFTIG) are both very nice, but much of the rest felt creaky. Not sure why it played slightly harder than usual for me, especially given that the second half of the long quote was pure gimme. Took me a few passes to see PRISM, oddly (1A: Rainbow maker). I never know if it's MANOLA or MANOLO (5D: Shoe designer Blahnik). Doubted FLOOZY because the word seemed pejorative and I wasn't sure it applied (never actually seen "Chicago"). Forgot that EIGER was a [Swiss peak in an Eastwood title]; that is, forgot it was a Swiss peak, and forgot that Eastwood was in "The EIGER Sanction." Oh, looks like he directed it, too. SULFA is interesting (42D: Certain bacteria-fighting drug)—don't think I've seen that very much before. Don't think I'd know the word if I hadn't been on that class of antibiotic at some point in my life. At any rate, it's different, and different is (mostly) good.

That's all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

73 comments:

Susierah 6:40 AM  

I'm the first? A little harder for a Tuesday. I like seeing the puzzle early in the morning the day of. Why are the puzzles available so early on the night before? I

Danp 7:00 AM  

I found the top 2/3 tougher than the average Tuesday and the bottom 1/3 more Monday. Didn't know Manolo or Miriam, or the Beatle/Slam songs. And Archly/Clime aren't words I use.

I do find it a bit funny that floozy seems derogatory, but fat lady and zaftig don't.

I also think that with a sports theme, NAG, INSIDE and SLAM might have had sports-related clues.

evil doug 7:09 AM  
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evil doug 7:15 AM  
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evil doug 7:20 AM  

I started with "...I say that it's over". 'Pester' became 'vex', and it all fit. A few other crosses cleared that up. 

Arctic "ocean" also took some effort to correct, because "archly" didn't jump out at me, I was looking for Lipton in "soup" form, and I spelled "kebab", kabob. 

Much better Tuesday fill than usual: rouge, pith, scruff, Eiger (those Trevanian "Sanction" novels are pretty good), prism, Chex, elide, xylem, perp, harem, clime, f stop, embody, floozy, zaftig...

Evil

Mohair Sam 7:40 AM  

Disagree with @Rex on the theme. The BUZZERBEATER and the WALKOFFHOMER equate in sports to the fat lady singing at the very end of the opera. I'm more troubled that the puzzle did not work in a second possible end to the quote "it's over".

Tough Tuesday for us - ZAFTIG, MANOLO, and XYLEM had to fill here. And like Rex we got hung up with PRISM. Why I don't know. omEgA for THETA for a while, slowed is in the East.


Susan McConnell 7:46 AM  

Yeah, Rex summed up what felt weird to me about the theme, too. Especially the AINT/TIL thing. Other than that, an easy enough, typical Tuesday for me.

jberg 7:52 AM  

Consulting Google about the 'until' thing, I am now really sad to learn that Yogi Berra did not actually say this. Be careful what you search for!

I'm OK with UNTIL -- but wondering if RATs are handed out pro RARA, or if they eat OREOs in OREM.

Things I learned: that ZAFTIG doesn't mean "pleasingly nutty." Given what it does mean, the crossing with FAT was a nice touch.

John V 8:03 AM  

West was last to fall, but this felt like a GREEN PAINT theme, to me.

Z 8:09 AM  

K-B-B is an inevitable natick anytime a product or person crosses one of the vowels because of the various acceptable spellings.

MANOLO is a WOE so piece that together one cross at a time. Thinking "Rainbow" was a vacuum didn't help. Only other error was Jolly old Saint Nick before Jolly old CHAP. BUZZER BEATER tuned me into the theme, which I like. Agree with Rex that it should be "til" but what are you going to do with a 13 letter/15 letter paired themer?

I had a bowl of Corn CHEX last night. I am thoroughly amused that General Mills has splayed "Gluten Free" across the front of the box. The lack of gluten didn't make it an especially healthy bedtime snack. Everyone has celiac disease these days, it seems. As another diet fad takes hold I am reminded of the movie Sleeper.

AliasZ 8:20 AM  

The phrase that occurred to me as I was finishing this one was "light and fluffy." Light on theme, but plenty of good stuff, like SCRUFF to fluff it up.

It's not every Tuesday that we are invited to visit a HAREM with a ZAFTIG FAT LADY and a FLOOZY in it. There are also two Greek letters IOTA and THETA plus XYLEM (derived from the Greek word ξύλον for wood), and a view of the Colombian city of CALI. We spent an HEURE at the Moulin ROUGE with some HITITes from RABAT and shared some SHISH KEBOB with two Russians, SASHA and OLEG. We did not quite CLIME every mountain, only the EIGER in the Bernese Alps with the SCOT (not!) MANOLO Blahnik and RICHARD III in the winter of his discontent.

Maurice Ravel composed two operas, one of them being the one-act comédie musicale called L'HEURE espagnole.

This was a pleasant, easy solve, maybe except the ARCHLY OCHRE OREO, but the SLAM-GLAM symmetrical pair made me smile. A good one from David Woolf.

NCA President 8:27 AM  

I would only slightly disagree with Rex about the "fat lady" saying. I would say it is appropriate any time a team comes from behind at the last second to win. For instance, in the ASU/UT link, had UT been down a point (and not poised to just go into overtime), then you *could* say, as a UT fan, "it ain't over..."

It's funny, I hardly ever think of the "til the fat lady sings" part of that saying, I only hear (in my head, because no one ever says this any more) the Yogi Berra version, "It ain't over, 'til it's over."

And the fact that Yogi Berra said it shows that baseball, of all sports, is the one where a random hit can swing an entire game. Just when you think it's over...well, it ain't.

As for the puzzle itself, XYLEM, MANOLO, ZAFTIG, HEURE, and RABAT seem more late-week than early-week answers. The clue for CLIME seemed late-weekish as well.

joho 8:30 AM  

I've always liked the phrase ITAINTOVER(UN)TILTHEFATLADYSINGS but never having heard of a WALKOFFHOMER -- I do know BUZZERBEATER -- SORTA took the punch out of one of the punchlines for me.

OILY OLEG ate an OREO in OREM after winning his OBIE.

@ED, I spell it KaBoB every single time until I correct it every single time.

I loved the ZAFTIG FLOOZY showing up.

Tita 8:37 AM  

Walked past a store outside of Lisbon with a large sign - "PETS". Asked my cousin what the Portuguese word actually is.
"Esteemed animal" is the charming answer. Mine certainly are esteemed - how else could Marz not be on his way to becoming untamed after failing his own breakfast test this morning, all over the kitchen floor?

I liked the puzzle too, more for the fill than for the theme.
I must agree that the FATLADY phrase is for when your team has such a huge lead that you leave in the 7th inning so you can get on the Major Deagan before the other 64,999 fans do. Not when one run or basket can turn the tables at the end of the game.

I guess having never ever heard the term BUZZERBEATER, and really only ever having heard leadOFFHOMER, also weakened it for me.

The really great fill makes up for CALI, the only one I didn't like.

Oh - PRISM threw me - I think of them as producing spectrums - not rainbows, since a bow has to be ARCHLY-shaped, and made by, well, rain. And sun.

Oh well, maybe Mr. Woolf's Ph.D. is not in science.

Many thanks for a fine Tuesday.

Questinia 8:46 AM  

WALKOFF HOMER and BUZZER BEATER are possible examples of FAT LADYs SINGing I suppose.

I spiflicated this scrag to a fare-thee-well in two shakes of a lamb's tail. No whingering here.

Yesterday's puzzle was cute. Today's was cuter.

Medium- 3:42

pmdm 8:46 AM  

I would paraphrase the quote this way: "Even though the outcome seems assured, there is a very small chance that your opponent will beat the tremendously negative odds against him (or her). So don't count your chickens before they are hatched." True, some leads in sports games seem insurmountable. But consider that for years, if Mariano Rivera entered a game to protect a one run lead, the Yankees seemed certain to win. True, he did blow save situations, but rarely. Irritating to Yankees fans, he infamously blew a save twice in a row to Boston the year the Sox overcame a 3 game series deficit and went on to break their "Baber Ruth jinx.". So the phase is really about beating overwhelming odds, not necessarily making a surprising comeback from a large deficit. From that viewpoint, a walkoff homer (especially if hit by a singles hitter not known for power, someone like Bucky Dent) hit against a star reliever would be a very good example of what the phase is getting at.

Perhaps I've put it in an overblown manner, but that's my take on the saying.

Dawn 8:50 AM  

Really liked today's puzzle. I missed CLIME, but remembering XYLEM from HS Science really boosted my 50+ year old confidence in my memory! Thanks, Author!

OISK 8:51 AM  

Nice puzzle, although I started out disliking it. There was a group called "Snap?" And that is in the same section as a Beatle song, and a shoe brand. But I got it, in slightly above normal Tuesday time. I really had no idea that the Beatles wrote a song called "P.S. I love you." I know the old (1934) song by Gordon Jenkins, recorded by Sinatra. THAT is a great, classic. Rhythm is a dancer? That is the best you can give us for "is a"? An obscure 20 year old song? On Tuesday? Why?? But I am nitpicking. I enjoyed the rest of this puzzle a lot. Thanks, David.

( I was away enjoying March Madness over the weekend, and missed the puzzles. So my three week winning streak remains intact, although the one with "Between the ferns"(??) might have beaten me.)

George Barany 8:53 AM  

@Rex analysis is spot on. The actual phrase is "The opera ain't over til the fat lady sings." Replacing "the opera" by "It" is certainly within reason, but with "ain't" already in the phrase, using the more formal "until" is just a concession to the crossword gods (two phrases of 15 letters). Jim Horne's xwordinfo.com teaches us that THE_FAT_LADY_SINGS was used together with IT'S_NOT_OVER_UNTIL in an August 27, 2010 puzzle by Corey Rubin, and (pre-Shortz) together with IT_AIN'T_OVER_UNTIL in a May 24, 1993 puzzle by Sidney Robbins.

Now the sports fan in me takes over. Although coined by some sportswriter (details in article already linked), the phrase did not enter the common conversation until 1978, when legendary basketball coach Dick Motta used it to rally the underdog Baltimore Bullets to an NBA championship. So again, I think that @Rex has the subtleties right. I have never heard the phrase refer to the resolution of a close game, as any basketball game that goes down to the buzzer invariably is, and certainly never in the context of baseball. Walk-off wins, be they homers like Maz in 1960 or Puckett in 1991 or Carter in 1993 (the latter referenced in the main posting), or this unforgettable play from 1986, are the pinnacles of excitement in a game that a sub-segment of the crossword solving community finds, quite frankly, boring.

Despite the above comments, we must salute the impeccable timing of this puzzle in the midst of March Madness and with the MLB season about to begin (two games already in the books in Australia). Thank you, @David Woolf and @Will Shortz.

Gill I. P. 9:00 AM  

A worthy Tuesday puzzle...although I had no idea what WALK OFF HOMER meant. I kept asking myself about the fat lady singing and what it had to do with HOMER....
Two words I can't stand are Frisco and CALI....Only FLOOZYs call it that.
Good un David Woolf - I'd like to see you more in the Tuesday slot.

mac 9:06 AM  

Pretty good puzzle, tough in areas for a Tuesday. My only write-over was jam/jar; that M made the U.N. person hard to see.

I asked my husband if baseball season is starting today, and he said: "yes, in Australia". But the buzzer is just with basket ball, right?

I thought the same thing Rex did about "until". This ain't right.

Had to wait for a few crosses before picking the right Obama girl, and the vowels in k-b-b.

RnRGhost57 9:10 AM  

Good one on a chilly Tuesday morning, as I long for a warmer CLIME.

quilter1 9:23 AM  

I liked it. Quite a few words we don't often see along with the ones we see too often, but got the theme right away. I am familiar with BUZZER BEATER but not the baseball phrase.
@jberg: the clue was pleasingly plump, not pleasingly nutty, so it is OK.

Ludyjynn 9:32 AM  

@AliasZ, I thought your commentary really HITIT. David Woolf, thanks for so much PITHY fill, esp. for a Tuesday. This was a nice, crunchy puzzle, like CHEX.

The calendar here says it is officially Spring, but IT (Winter) AINT OVER TIL THE FAT LADY SINGS. Here, in MD, we are hours away from (hopefully) our final snowfall!

chefbea 9:45 AM  

Tough for a Tuesday. Had a natick at archly and clime
Why is Arctic =clime???

cold and rainy here...and a freeze warning for tomorrow morning.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

You wrote, in part: "I like the phrases involved here, but the theme feels off to me. If you're going with AIN'T, you're definitely going with 'TIL, not the fully, proper, UNTIL. Also, neither a WALK-OFF HOMER or BUZZER BEATER really proves the fat-lady statement. In a situation where either event could occur, no one in the building really thinks it's "over." Perhaps they did, earlier in the game, when there was a sizable lead. Anyway, the point is that when a single play can swing an entire game, no one is uttering the fat-lady phrase. That's a phrase for when you're down 10 in the fourth inning, or down 10 with a minute to play (in basketball)." Respectfully, you've become too much of a whiner and a complainer, picking nits just for the sake of doing so. This theme and its execution were both enjoyable to the normal crossword solver. Lighten up!

NCA President 9:48 AM  

@george barany: As an example, I would point to the 2007 Fiesta Bowl between OU and BSU. The last few minutes of that game changed leads several times. Each time, it appeared the game was surely over...nothing more crazy could happen...and then, it did. Even in OT, when BSU matched OUs sensational OT TD, they could have gone for 1, but they went for 2 (!) and won the game.

That game did see OU come back from a deficit, but the real "game" was in the last couple of minutes.

Living in Nashville, the Music City Miracle happened at a point when Titans fans might have said "it ain't over" after Buffalo scored their final TD with :30 left on the clock.

Auburn's miraculous return of a missed FG against 'Bama this past season is another example.

You can surely say that "it ain't over" if your team is down two touchdowns with little time remaining...but, contrary to Rex's narrow interpretation, you can also say it in a close game if your team looks like the chances of winning are very slim...but there is still a chance.

If you are ever able to say, "Stranger things have happend..." in hopes of your team winning, then you can say "It ain't over, 'til it's over."

Bob Kerfuffle 10:00 AM  

D'oh! I, too, found it difficult to get started in the NW. A partial gimme at 5 D, MANOL(A?O?) did nothing to say which five-letter-ending-in-A Obama daughter we were looking for at 14 A. And even though the Beatles tune at 1 D was oh-so-familiar once I saw it, it did not come to mind from a single blank in the clue (all the ways to clue PSI - Greek letter, tire pressure, psychic power, and now one more!) Never heard of Snap! or Rhythm ISA Dancer.

But worst of all, even after I had the corner complete and looked at 1 A, Rainbow maker, PRISM, I thought it was a reference to some make of automobile! It was only when I read @Tita's comment above that I *got* it!

(But, today's Tuesday. Where's the hidden message?)

Good puzzle, anyway.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Ugh. Yet ANOTHER Obama clue.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

A great example of a theme that just doesn't belong in the NYT.

wreck 10:18 AM  

Tuesday is the new hard Wednesday!

Steve J 10:21 AM  

Agreed that this was a little tougher than a standard Tuesday, and that the NW was a big part of what slowed me down.

I'm going to steer clear of the debate over how many fat ladies can dance on the head of a pin. I will note that "until" did throw me, as it led me to start off the phrase with "it's not over" rather than IT AINT OVER.

Liked a lot of the fill, particularly ZAFTIG, XYLEM, FLOOZY.

Crossing the crosswordese OBIE with K(pick a vowel, any vowel!)B(pick another vowel, doesn't need to be the same)B was kinda mean in a Tuesday. I'm sure lots if less-experienced solvers got tripped up by that.

Z 10:23 AM  

WALK OFF HOMER is a relatively young term (one source cited 1990 as earliest known use) so I'm not too surprised people don't know it. A WALK OFF HOMER (or single - never double or triple) occurs when the home team scores in their last at-bats. The run scores and the away team, playing defense, walks off the field. The WALK OFF HOMER yields the best photo/video moments because the home team often rushes towards home to welcome the hitter in celebration while the away pitcher is visible walking towards the dugout in the background, usually with head hanging down. The least satisfying is the WALK OFF walk. No action. No crack of the bat. No waiting with breath held to see where the ball will land. Just a batter standing there waiting for the umpire to say "Ball Four."

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Not so sure about Motta as either the coiner or the poularizer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/it_aint_over_till_the-fat_lady_sings


Hey Mohair Sam,

No comment on the Carter clip? I was at game 4. Unreal game.

Casco Kid 10:38 AM  

Fun Tuesday. I guessed/sussed right with OBIE, OREM, EIGER, ELIDE, XYLEM, MIRIAM. It is that wonderful crossword experience/illusion that I know more than I actually do. It was also nice to have occasion to recall Dick Motta's mantra for the 1978 Washington Bullets. This was my best solving experience in a long time.

musicguy595 10:48 AM  

Definitely played difficult. I'm super allergic to SULFAs so that was a gimmie for me! Never heard of ZAFTIG before, so every cross was needed.

Steve J 10:51 AM  

@Z: And then there's walk-off obstruction. It may give the walk-off walk a run for its money in the least-satisfying category. It certainly wins for most-confusing.

David Woolf 10:52 AM  

Constructor here!
Thanks everyone for the nice (and not nice!) feedback and comments. I contributed a few notes over at Wordplay/Xwordinfo, which may address some of your questions and gripes. To me, it is equally appropriate to say "It aint over..." when you are down by 10 runs/points as it is to say after the comeback has occurred, as a confirmation. As in, "It just goes to show you, it ain't over until yada yada yada." It was this usage that I was going for.

Other notes. In spite of having only two-non revealer theme answers, this grid was surprisingly difficult to fill. Because I insisted on ZAFTIG crossing FAT LADY, I was forced into some things I wouldn't have otherwise done, like having the long downs cross three themers.

Also, I've noticed recently that a lot of perceived difficulty in early week puzzles comes when there are a significant number of words that don't follow the alternating consonant-vowel pattern. The words aren't necessarily harder, they just aren't on the tips of cruciverbalists' minds and take a little longer to suss out. Thoughts?

Casco Kid 11:28 AM  

@steve j. Walk-off obstruction! Ugh! It deserves its own dungeon in Cooperstown. And yet, it was a straight line from there to the Game Six win for the Red Sox, so whether you like karmic retribution or are simply satisfied with outcomes analysis, the Walk-off O will be part of a story that ends happily. For Red Sox Nation.

@David Woolf, I noted with approval that FATLADY and ZAFTIG crossed. I did worry a bit about the breakfast table rule. No one insulted, I hope? Another pancake, maybe?

@anonymous 10:33 Motta was for sure the populizer, and until someone edited wiki, the undisputed author of the phrase.

@mac you beat the buzzer in basketball and the horn in hockey. In soccer, you stand there looking at the ref who stands there looking at his stop watch, and then it is over. FWIW.

Fred Romagnolo 11:50 AM  

The laugh's on me, I got until and assumed "Hell freezes over." That threw me for a bit. It's either Calif. or CA, Cali is a city in Colombia; we really don't care for "Frisco" in these parts. I'm assuming zaftig is Yiddish (?). And, yes, Roxie Hart was definitely a floozy (ie).

Lewis 12:02 PM  

Do people say CALI?

I thought this was just right for a Tuesday. Not near as gimme as a Monday, yet no terribly tricky clues. I think a few tougher words are okay on Tuesday.

Acceptable amount of grid gruel. I did balk for a moment at UNTIL, as did many others. Once that first line of the phrase became apparent -- and that was very soon for me -- the second line filled in, which obviously helped the solve.

Fair number of answers that make words when read backwards: PERP, GRE, EDAM, TAR, TEM, JAR, STEP.

chefbea 12:13 PM  

@Lewis that 's a great idea for a puzzle!!! Go for it. Or maybe M&A should do it

Jisvan 12:15 PM  

Chewier than a typical Tuesday, but enjoyable. I really like the fat lady. In my little coastal tourist town we have a parade down Main Street on New Years Eve. It's a lovely DIY sort of thing, with folks on decorated bicycles, teens with neon hula hoops, homeschooled jugglers and acrobats, unicyclists, stilt-walkers, pickle drum bands, and anything that glows, rolls or makes noise, preferably simultaneously. And at the end of the parade there is always the same woman, quite zaftig, in full German opera regalia with horned headgear and a stout staff. She does in fact sing, and that's how we know it's over!

Questinia 12:20 PM  

@ David Woolf, why would you avoid long downs crossing the themers? I don't construct but if I did...
The FAT LADY theme is good because on face it is such a random thought with such a distinct idiomatic meaning.
And it just seems so wonderfully American.

@cascokid, that sensation of knowing more than you think is crucial to the addiction process. One uses clues to obtain a reward that surpasses expectations, surprises us and pleases us. The first OREM is free, kid.

Denise D Hammond, CGFM-Retired 12:21 PM  

Very enjoyable. Yesterday was too easy for a NYT puzzle. This was just right. Zipped right through it.

Colby 12:36 PM  

Was an OK puzzle. I learned a new word- ZAFTIG. However, I am not so sure that SCRUFF really differs from a 5 o'clock shadow. Nitpicky critique, though.

Sidenote: Cursed the NYT website this morning for making the crossword more difficult to acces

Colby 12:39 PM  

For anyone else, is the Crossword section missing from the header on the NYT website? Also cannot access through the sidebar under sections.

Zed the Answer Man 12:47 PM  

@Colby - Looks liked they moved the link. To the right is "All Sections" - Then I got a sidebar on the left and found the link under "Living" (not "Arts"). You should probably bookmark the page.

JTHurst 12:55 PM  

The puzzle was fun and harder than I perceived at the outset.

I agree with the many who complained about KaBobs. Shish Kabob is perfectly acceptable along with Shish Kebab which is still pronounced Shish Kuh Bob and trying to ascertain what Lipton selection besides 'PKoe' would fit until crosses ruled it out was tedious.

I also had difficulty with scruff which is a noun and means the back of your neck while an adjective describing a person's hygiene would end in a 'y'.

I also had problem with Prism until I remembered lyrics from Gale Garnett's 'B' side record - Prism song ('A' side was Let's sing in the sunshine). Red and yellow, blue and green. Prettiest thing I'd ever seen. I googled the lyrics and I had forgotten how depressing the lyrics were. A New Zealander who won a grammy in 1965. I won many a free beer in the 60s asking what was the 'B' side to Let's Sing in the Sunshine. Though you younger posters probably remember Katy Perry's Prism album.

chefbea 1:11 PM  

Any one having trouble accessing the puzzle. I will be glad to send you a PDF version which you can print out

AliasZ 1:25 PM  

@George Bárány, I couldn't help noticing your name mentioned at 36A. Bárány (Hu.) = LAMB.

How could I have missed the Greek letter Ψ (PSI)?

UNREP: Decide to no longer serve as emissary for.
ENISLE: Cause a piece of land to be surrounded by water.
EDAM: Data bottleneck caused by too much Internet junk.
REDID: It is sitting right next to my blue one.
RATA: A classification of finkness, followed by RAT-B, -C, etc.

OBIE so kind and stop it already. IOTA stop now.

Here THE FAT LADY SINGS - before and after.

LaneB 1:28 PM  

Agree with the "medium"rating but did manage to finish despite a number of erasures in the NW area--all due to the difficulty CFO spelling SHISHKEBAB

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

Roxie made today's puzzle and today's syndicated puzzle

Two Ponies 1:44 PM  

Being a Hoosier made buzzer beater easy but I needed plenty of crosses for the baseball answer.
Thanks for stopping by David W.
My WOTD was zaftig. New word to me.
When I hear the saying about the fat lady I always think of a Bugs Bunny opera spoof.

Tita 1:59 PM  

@Z - thanks for the definition. I a$$umed WALK- and lead- OFF were synonyms.
It now makes more sense - a leadOFF HOMER could only ever bring in 1 run, which could not be the game-changer.


And thanks to Constructor for stopping by - that's two days in a row we have been visited. It's always nice.

Moly Shu 2:05 PM  

Same hangup as @mac with JAm and JAR, have to read the clues more carefully. Found this one mostly easy, but looking back at the above mentioned words, wondering how it wasn't difficult. Perhaps " fair crosses " explains it.

Didn't think about it (un)til coming here, but @tita makes a good point about the PRISM/rainbow.

Thanks Mr. Woolf

Z 2:18 PM  

**profanity warning**

@Steve J - Ah, memories. Once upon a time I umpired rec league softball for $10/game. During the second game of the Friday Night Double Header league (which means after the between game refreshment session for the teams) I had a badly executed run-down between third and home where the catcher obstructed the runner. The ball is still live, so I make the call and signal to award the runner home, but the team doesn't understand so they keep trying to get the runner out and the hitter mosey's all the way to third. The hitter gets to stay on third, the runner scores, and all H E double toothpicks breaks out. At some point the manager asserts that I got this great umpiring gig by engaging in certain acts with the league director, so I tossed him, and several others who wouldn't calm down.

On Monday I show up to get my game assignment and the manager is there protesting both the game and his ejection to Manny the league director. Manny asks me a couple of questions, finally getting to the question of why I had tossed the manager. I replied that I had taken offense to having my sexuality questioned. The manager sputtered something about having never done that to which I said, "I guess I misunderstood what 'You sucked Manny's c0&k to get this job meant.'" He admitted that he had said that. His appeal was denied and he had to serve out the rest of his suspension. The thing is, I never bothered to report ejections to Manny so no one else I ejected ever had to serve out the suspension the league rules required.


@David Woolf - Good call on keeping ZAFTIG/FAT crossing.

Carola 2:38 PM  

Liked it a lot for the creative theme and the nice switch-up between first impression ("way too easy" because of the quote) and the two "proofs," which I found much more difficult. Had BUZZER BaskEt before BEATER and needed every cross for WALK OFF HOMER. Great timing for the basketball reference. Lots of grid treats, as others have mentioned - a real pleasure to solve.

I'm a sucker for EN-prefix words - entomb, enswathe, ensconce - so I'm always happy to write in ENISLE(D)). But I'm the person who also likes "oner."

@evil doug - Thanks for the Trevanian reference. You got me on to Joseph Kanon but I've read my way through all of his and have been looking around.

evil doug 4:30 PM  

Carola,

Can't remember who I recommended, but here's a good list (couldn't find an e-mail for you):

Espionage:
Adam Hall (Quiller series--older, hard to find?)
Alex Berenson
Charles Cumming
Daniel Silva
Alan Furst

Crime:
Lee Child (Reacher series)
Nelson Demille (John Corey series)
John Sandford (both Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers series)
Jonathan Kellerman (Alex Delaware series)
Robert Crais (Joe Pike series)
Stephen Hunter (Bob Lee Swagger series)
Elmore Leonard

Doug

Gill I. P. 4:41 PM  

@Lewis. I think the first time I heard CALI was from the mouth of Guy Fieri. I believe he owns about 7 or 8 restaurants in Northern California and lives in Santa Rosa.
When I hear him use it, it makes my teeth itch. Same with Frisco...;-)

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

Agree with Rex re "enisle." I mean, really?

sanfranman59 4:56 PM  

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

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

Tue 9:06, 8:32, 1.07, 67%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:44, 5:11, 1.11, 76%, Medium-Challenging

chefwen 4:57 PM  

My Austrian Grandma Sofie always referred to herself as being ZAFTIG, so that was a shoe in for me.

Never heard the phrase WALK OFF HOMER, that line slowed me down considerably, even after I finished it took me a while to figure out how that related to the fat lady singing. Pretty crunchy for a Tuesday, I think I chipped a tooth.

JTHurst - I didn't like SCRUFF either, it's scruffy but just using one F wasn't going to cut it.

Carola 5:20 PM  

@evil doug - Thank you! Most of these are unknown to me. I think I'm up to date on Alan Furst, as my husband is a long-time fan, and I recently got hooked on Jack Reacher (to avoid binge reading, racing through the series too quickly and risking Reacher withdrawal, I've been checking the electronic versions out of our public library...currently patron #118 in line for the 4th installment). I hope some time I can return the favor with some recommendations.

Bird 7:01 PM  

Today is Tuesday, right?

Love the Eiger Sanction and most of Clint's movies.

Never heard of ZAFTIG, but at least it was gettable from the crosses.

Thanks for stopping by David.

@Carola, @Evil Doug - I do enjoy a good crime novel when I have the time and the Lucas Davenport series is very good. I also read the Alex Cross series by James Patterson.

JTHurst 10:27 PM  

@Carola;@Evil Doug If you like earlier crime 'noir' novels try early Richard Stark's 'Parker' series (pseudonym of Donald Westlake) and of course the mother of all modern crime writers, Dashiell Hammett. Another of my all time favorites was John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series.

In espionage you can't beat Ian Fleming in unabridged format but Len Deighton's spy series are wonderful, start with the Ipcress File, a Harry Palmer novel and migrate to the Samson series.

Maybe hard to find but your library is the best bet.

Ameliajack 11:35 AM  

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spacecraft 10:38 AM  

I have two nits and one bone to pick today. First the femur:

How DARE you rub it in to this diehard Phillies fan with that most forgettable 1993 shot? You couldn't pick, say, the Yankee-beating Mazeroski blast of 1960? That was sweet.

The nits: one, I agree that AIN'T belongs with 'TIL (or TILL); UNTIL seems to want IT'S NOT or IT ISN'T. The mixed styles JAR one's senses. And #2 has yet to be mentioned here, so I'll give it its own paragraph:

Your suspect might turn out to be the PERP, David, but is still only a suspect.

I missed @the bard today. Always like to see the famous quotes fleshed out a bit in context.

I liked this one. While I agree that ENISLE is a nose-wrinkler, most of the rest of it really sings. And the ZAFTIG FLOOZY? Priceless.

I like Yogi's take better: "It ain't over till it's over." That, my friends, is 110% correct.

66699. No smart remarks; it's just my hand.



DMG 2:09 PM  

It seems as though skewered food lends itself to skewered spellings. I certainly had to chage a couple of vowels from my original entry. Other than that, this one went pretty smoothly, once I gave up isNT for AIN'T and got the unknown baseball terms from the crosses.

The Ciy is(was?) my hometown, and I join those who shudder at the wanna-bes use of non-words like Frisco and, the new to me, CALI. No way to make friends.

Got a full house, but it's no competition for @spacecraft's provocative combination.

Dirigonzo 2:28 PM  

I wanted "It's not over..." but as I already had SHISHK_B_B (no way I'm filling in those vowels until I check the crosses) that wasn't possible so I moved on and when I came back AINT was unavoidable and gave me the missing letter in MANOLO which was all I needed to finish the grid.

All I have is a couple of pairs which is no match for the group action @spacy has going on.

Solving in Seattle 2:39 PM  

Didn't Yogi coin the phrase "IT AIN'T OVER TIL THE FAT LADY SINGS?"
It took me a while to fix "ITisnT...
My SHISH was a KaBoB to start with.

I was born and raised in CALI and no one calls it that. No one. Especially folks from Frisco.
We would have ENISLEd them.

@Carola, also try Michael Connelly for the Harry Bosch Series.

6699. One 6 short of @Spacys racy party.

rain forest 5:13 PM  

Coupla points: I had never heard CALI until three years ago, and a few of my friends use that term. Frisco has been around forever. But, we're Canadians, eh?

It's always been KEBAB for me.

Had IT isn't over... at first. However, the phrase isn't worth the incredible verbage here.

Yogi's never been to the opera.

Really liked the puzzle. Once finished and looking over, it looked easier to do than when I in the midst of solving.

@Carola, tons of crime writers out there, but two of my favourites are Ian Rankin (Inspector Rebus series) and P.D. James (Adam Dalgleish series).

@SIS, played Predator Ridge, Inkameep, and Fairview Mountain on the weekend, but I'm so jealous that you've played Chambers Bay.

Well, in some ways I like @Spacey's hand better, but I have 8's full of sixes--not as much fun, but a winner.

Solving in Seattle 6:47 PM  

My father worked for 45 years on the Santa Fe RR as a switchman and trainman. The RR workers called California cities by shortened names: Frisco; Dago, L.A.; Berdoo, etc. The only acceptable abbreviated name for the state is Cal.
Here in Western Washington we can always tell the newcomers when they say "The Puget Sound." "It was raining out on The Puget Sound today. Naw. Locals never use the "The" unless referring to "The Sound."

@Rainy, I've played CB once a year since it opened. It's a little pricy if you aren't a Pierce County resident. Not much reason to travel to Bandon any more if you want to play a world class links course that's less than an hour away. A few of my friends made the trip last summer to play the B.C. courses you mentioned. They were really impressed. Sounds like you had a fun weekend. Hope the weather was good.

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