1953 Leslie Caron musical / MON 5-12-14 / Some German/Swiss artworks in MoMA / Hybrid citrus fruit /

Monday, May 12, 2014

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Medium (i.e. a normal Monday difficulty level)



THEME: intelligent — theme answers begin with words that can mean "intelligent"

Theme answers:
  • SMART PHONE
  • QUICK BUCK
  • SHARP TURN
  • BRIGHT SIDE
Word of the Day: AIMEE Mann (2D: 'Til Tuesday singer Mann) —
Aimee Mann (born September 8, 1960) is an American rock singer-songwriterguitarist andbassist. In the 1980s, Mann sang in the Boston new wave band 'Til Tuesday until she left to begin a solo career in the early 1990s.[1] In 1999, Mann recorded original songs for the soundtrack to thePaul Thomas Anderson film Magnolia, for which she received Academy Award and Grammy Awardnominations. She has released seven solo albums. (wikipedia)


• • •

Aimee MANN is a very successful solo artist and has been for 20+ years. Til Tuesday broke up in 1990. She was on The Tonight Show just the other day as one half of The Both (the other half is TED Leo, who was also in the NYT crossword recently). My point is that I loved "Voices Carry" but maybe standard cluing for MANN should be, I don't know, updated.


This puzzle is decent, though I find the theme kind of dull. FAST ONE's not a theme answer, is it? I really hope not. I don't think "Fast" is a synonym of "intelligent" (though "slow" is certainly a synonym for "stupid" … hmmm).


The fill seems kind of lazy—out of a box; prefab; stale. The one exception is (ironically) the most old-fashioned-sounding word in the grid: BRETHREN. I liked that. I also like RAREBIT, not so much for the word itself, but more for the way it reminds me of Winsor McKay's comic strip "Dream of the RAREBIT Fiend," which I love. The word that gave me the most trouble was DONE. I was clearly misinterpreting the meaning of [All over]. I was thinking "Aw, hon, you got Arby's all over me," when the clue wanted "the party's all over." I also had HOP TO IT at 25D: Hurry, with "it" (HOTFOOT), which is wrong for at least one obvious reason. When I got the ATT- part of 54A: "Sic 'em!" (ATTACK), I sincerely entertained the possibility of "AT THEM," as in, I don't know, "AT THEM, Fido! Have AT THEM!" How I managed to get in under 3 with all that nonsense, I don't know.
      Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

      85 comments:

      Steve J 12:06 AM  

      I interpret FAST ONE as part of the theme. For the reason Rex stated.

      Theme was fine: The phrases were all solid and unforced, which is about all I ask of an early-week theme. Fill was solid if unspectacular. I did like both RAW BAR and BAR HOP, even if it did bother me slightly that BAR showed up twice. But Rex is right that there wasn't a lot of sparkle. Solid, if workmanlike, Monday.

      jae 12:16 AM  

      Very smooth Mon.  This was on the tougher side of medium for me.  gIgI before LILI was my only erasure.   Gotta love a puzzle that's all about my grandkids.  I have pictures if you've got a few minutes...

      Nice way to start off the week Gary. 

      Matthew A. Harmer 12:35 AM  

      Under six for me, and I thought it was exceptionally easy (but then again, I completely missed the theme; guess I'm not so FAST).

      Cluing did seem antiquated, but I generally didn't have a problem with it. Once I got started, I didn't have to pause until I finished.

      What I would like to know is how the duck anyone can finish as fast as people do. Is there some kind of typing trick with the website I don't know about? I don't think I could type that list of words out, let alone plug them into a crossword grid....

      chefwen 1:45 AM  

      Gigi before LILI, @jae, we need to stop meeting like this.

      My puzzle turned out to be a bloody mess, literally. Paddy the Wonder Cat tried to jump from the couch to the cocktail table where the finished puzzle was resting comfortably. Didn't quite make it (he's 18) and split his little chin open on the table, I gave him some assistance up and he proceeded to bleed all over the puzzle. Don't think he needs a stitch or two, but I'll keep an eye on him.

      Biggest problem was at 23A where I really wanted SEE red, but that just wasn't going to work.

      Don't wear an apron or a white hat, but I'm a BAKER every day for the Coconut Cup.

      John Child 2:56 AM  

      LOL @jae Show me your photos and I'll show you mine. All above average, as in Lake Woebegon.

      The center of the puzzle put up a little resistance for me, so I'd say it was slightly harder than most Mondays. I finished it and thought, "themeless Monday?" until I looked more carefully. I'm ambivalent about FAST as a theme answer, but it IS right in the middle...

      @Matthew I have also boggled at reported solving times, but I believe them. There are 187 letters in today's puzzle. That's less than one minute of typing time for a professional such as a secretary or transcriptionist. And an elite solver might look at only 60% of the clues of a Monday puzzle, so their "thinking" time is less than ours.

      @chefwen Three cheers for Paddy to be leaping anywhere at a hundred-and-a-whole-lot of people years!

      JTHurst 4:26 AM  

      Enjoyed the puzzle. The most trouble I had was putting down lids instead of lash, which caused several crossing problems until I changed it.

      Welsh Rabbit is a wonderful Welsh dish. The apocryphal story of its origin is that the lady of the cottage was watching for her 'oed gwr' across the moors awaiting his return with a rabbit for the evening cook pot. She spotted him without the necessary ingredients for a rabbit stew so she threw in a block of cheddar with a couple of mugs of ale, toasted some bread and 'ala' the Welsh Rabbit cuisine was born. Restauranteurs prefer to call it Welsh rarebit so they can charge more money. The English teased the Welsh calling it Welsh Rabbit stew without the rabbit.

      The English never defeated the Welsh in battle because the Welsh had the crossbow and the English the longbow and the difference in training time to master the longbow v the crossbow was substantial. But the English King tricked the Welsh into joining them by stating that the next prince to be crowned, would not speak a word of English and would be crowned at a Welsh castle (Caemarfon) where he would become the Prince of Wales (Tywysog Cymru). The King then produced his own infant son crowning him prince and this tradition has been roughly followed for 400 years.

      r.alphbunker 4:37 AM  

      @JTHurst
      Your comment is fascinating and very timely for me. My wife and I are in England visiting her aged aunt who has Welsh rarebit every day for lunch. I will see if she knows the story.

      I loved how THE was clued with 24D {Start of many band names} . Was this a sly reference to the indie crossword crowd's clamoring for more current musical material?

      loren muse smith 5:28 AM  
      This comment has been removed by the author.
      Moly Shu 5:32 AM  

      Liked it. Came in at easy/medium here. Doesn't seem to be much croswordese, which is a big PLUS. Nothing really memorable, but I do like CACHE.

      @Jae, @Chefwen, add me to the gIgI list. I always, always, enter the wrong one first.

      @SteveJ, I'm with you, FASTONE is clearly a theme answer. I've referred to someone exhibiting extraordinary intelligence by saying "Oh, you're a FASTONE". Though I will admit, it's usually sarcastic in tone.

      loren muse smith 5:33 AM  

      I'm with @Steve J - I thought that FAST ONE not only was a themer, but a kind of revealer as well given its position (and it crosses HOT FOOT!) I liked BAR HOP and RAW BAR, too. Rules schmules.

      Wow. We really give these things a lot of thought, huh? I wonder if there's a Tex Barker Does the NY Times Sudoku. . ."This was fine for a Monday, but I really took issue with the third 4 down from the top in the second column since the sixth column also had a 4 as its third number up from the bottom. Really? I usually love John's grids, but this surprised me. If he had switched that sixth column's 4 and 8, IMO, it would have been more elegant. Also - did anyone notice that if you multiply the top and bottom of column 2 by 13 and then multiply the top and bottom of column six by 13, both answers are prime? When is the last time anyone pulled *that* off? Finally – the icing on the cake– coming diagonally from the 7 in column three, down to the 9 in column nine, it's a stair step of odd numbers? Cool! I wonder if he could do that crossing a similar stair step of evens going up the other way. How do these constructors do this stuff?"

      Anyway – I'll say it again – How fun to have this forum where we can all stare at a grid of words and pick it apart. With a straight face.

      I agree with Rex – BRETHREN is lovely. SEETHE is good, too.

      I was thinking some kind of "kick back" for 11D, so when I had QUICK back, I kept staring at "ase" for 39A and feeling like I was in the Twilight Zone. Finally I saw the light. Tough clue!

      This has some hardish words for Monday/Tuesday solvers, though, methinks. Dad might stumble at KLEES, DYNE, SUSS, AIMEE, NCIS, SHREK, and possibly BRETHREN because SMARTPHONE won't jump out at him. More often than not, though, he surprises me.

      @jae, chefwen – me, too, for Gigi first. Hey – it's all fun and games until Paddy the Wonder Cat splits his chin on the coffee table.

      @JTHurst – I enjoyed the Welsh RAREBIT story. Thanks!

      @M&A – None of today's themers describes me solving your runts. May I commission a kinder, gentler one?

      All in all, a fine start to the week. Good job, Gary.

      mac 6:05 AM  

      Me too for see red before seethe, otherwise a smooth Monday.

      The rarebit story reminds me of another one:

      How does a (fill in the nationality) make rabbit stew?

      1.Poach a rabbit.

      Nickyboy 6:33 AM  

      Not sure why Paul Klee was clued as German/Swiss. He was born in Switzerland. He is Swiss. Germany doesn't enter into the equation at all.

      jberg 7:06 AM  

      Me too for Gigi -- who is this LILI, anyway? I've never heard of her.

      I never figured out the theme, sigh. All I could think of was 'lots of consonants in a row' for BRIGHTSIDE, but that didn't hold up well.

      I also had the mascara going on Lips for a moment, although even I knew that was wrong. But at least those four years of high school Latin paid of at 10A!

      Denise D Hammond, CGFM-Retired 7:18 AM  

      Thought it was very easy and no stumbles for me. I've seen "Lili." Didn't look for any theme so just concentrated on putting in the answers. But I agree with Matthew about the times. I actually did a puzzle and then went back and typed in the letters in the grid. Next to impossible to do in a couple of minutes without typos. So, how does someone read the clue and type in the answer in under two minutes? Anyone?

      r.alphbunker 7:25 AM  

      @Denise
      It has been conjectured that someone solves the puzzle on paper and then types in the answers to see if they are correct. A side effect of this is that their time to type the answers is published.

      Z 7:29 AM  

      BRETHerN anyone? Anyone? Okay, I guess it's just me that gets the dope slap. That with the same issue with "All over" as OFL made my time fall in the challenging range. Of course, this says far more about me than the puzzle.

      While I'm in the "Aimee Mann is fantastic" group and own all seven of her solo works (not "The Both" - but only because I haven't gotten to the Record Store lately), it is still true that "Voices Carry" is the one song that has penetrated deepest into the general psyche.

      You may have missed them, but <a href='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nonGWDxcJNA">THE THE</a> are a rock band from the 80's. Now, wouldn't that have been an interesting clue, "The ___."

      Not Dan Feyer 7:36 AM  

      Dan Feyer trying to solve in under 60 seconds. Even the great ones have to have goals. There are more - just use the google machine to search for videos of Dan Feyer.

      AliasZ 7:53 AM  


      About average Monday difficulty with a clever theme and kleen fill, KLEES notwithstanding. It rates a TEN PLUS.

      I liked the subtle revealer in the clue for 61D [Bart's intelligent sister]. Does that mean that Bart is obtuse and LISA's acute one?

      I often RAW-BAR-HOP as a member of the Oyster Fanciers' Club.

      I do not SEETHE problem with THE appearing twice.

      Totally unrelated to anything in the puzzle, here is a beautiful Psalm setting by German composer Max Bruch (1838-1920). Oh wait, the orchestra and the choir is from the land of the RAREBIT, where there is also a long and deep tradition of male choir singing, and the conductor is Walter SUSSkind (1913-1980).

      Happy Monday!

      Susan McConnell 7:58 AM  

      Enjoyable. My dad made a delicious Welsh RAREBIT back in the day. Not the most flattering still shot of AIMEE Mann on the blog there. I loved Til Tuesday and wanted to like The Both but found the album kind of dull.

      Never even thought about a theme...shrug.

      Mohair Sam 8:12 AM  

      Excellent Monday which rates a medium-challenging (for the day) in this house because we got ourselves hung up for a while by the obvious gimme gIgI. LILI? Who?

      I'll join the mob by voting in favor of FASTONE as a fine theme fit; and a vote for Til Tuesday and AIMEE Mann in general. Early in the week AIMEE is fine clued with Mann, later maybe good old Anouk.

      joho 8:14 AM  

      I liked that the theme answers are all so very different in meaning but beautifully linked by their first word.

      Today's blog is brought to you by SHARP's TURN at the computer.

      BRETHREN next to RAREBIT made me think of BRER RABBIT.

      I thought this was find Monday puzzle and a great start to the week!



      Andrew Morrison 8:22 AM  

      Medium is a fair grade I think. Took just over average time for me. It seemed disjointed. I just couldn't get on a solving roll. No complaints though. I hate how quickly my puzzling time ends on Monday mornings!

      Fred Smith 8:24 AM  


      Nickyboy --

      True, Klee was Swiss, but there's ample reason to clue him as "Swiss/German."

      1. His father was German, and met his mother in Germany.
      2. Klee himself lived many years in Bavaria and married a Bavarian woman.
      3. There is no common "Swiss Language" (ignoring Romansch, a near-Latin derivative spoken in one of the 26 cantons). French (Geneva area, southeast) and Italian (Ticino, southwest) are two of the three major languages. The majority German-speaking folk in the north (Zurich) area and central areas are Swiss-Germans.

      -- Fred

      chefbea 9:15 AM  

      Of course Fast one was part of the theme!! Hand up for Gigi at first.

      @Z I too had brethern at first

      Wanted chef for 46 across. I wear an apron all the time but never a white hat!!

      NCA President 9:15 AM  

      @Not Dan Feyer: I really have never understood the attraction to speed solving. Especially as Mr. Feyer solves his puzzles on AcrossLite (or at least on a computer), he has to master the mechanism itself, and where is the virtue in that? The times he achieves are more a function of how well he gets around his keyboard than how well he knows the clues. While his times might be impressive, to me they are empty. So he's practiced clicking around a grid quickly, I don't get why that even matters.

      Like anything, if you do it enough and set your mind to it, you'll get good. The question is whether you set your mind to doing something worthwhile. Mastery of AcrossLite is kinda silly.

      My only note on the puzzle is RAREBIT. I have fond memories of eating that in my college cafeteria in my undergrad days. It was probably not even close to actual rarebit (heck, we were also served something called "shrimp shapes"), but it was definitely comfort food...sticky and loaded with fat, carbs, and salt.

      I did it in 7 minutes, mainly because I don't care how fast I did it. :D

      Ludyjynn 9:30 AM  

      I loved this easy but beautifully crafted Monday offering. It was chock-full of terrific words: CACHE, JAMB, SEETHE, SAGA, SUSS, BRETHREN, RAREBIT, AGILE etc.,etc,. esp. impressive on a Monday. The theme was also well-implemented and showed itself readily, for me, early in the solve.

      I would be thrilled to be able to construct a puzzle of this caliber, Rex's SHREKish nitpicking notwithstanding. This was a great way to start my day. Thanks, GC and WS.

      Z 9:35 AM  

      Let's try that link again:

      You may have missed them, but THE THE are a rock band from the 80's. Now, wouldn't that have been an interesting clue, "The ___."

      @NCA President - Why climb Mt. Everest? Why try to be the fastest swimmer in the world? Why memorize "Monty Python and the Holy Grail?" Why go to the moon? Why battle through to solve a Saturday NYTX in less than five hours? Why? Me, I marvel at what we can do when we endeavor to try.


      Ni.

      Arlene 10:06 AM  

      Nice theme - never saw it when I was solving - everything went in so quickly. I guess FASTONE is the reveal.
      I didn't get sidetracked by GIGI - I knew LILI - in fact, the song HI LILI Hi LO is a favorite of mine -

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C8z1wUn9A4

      NCA President 10:10 AM  

      Z...color me jaded. I've seen so many YouTube videos of people achieving the most amazing things that I've simply come to believe that anyone can do anything if they work hard enough at it.

      Hell, I do many of the BeachBody workouts (Insanity, P90x, etc) and while they are brutally hard at the start, you just get to be good at them after a while...that is, you get to be good at Insanity or P90x after a while. It's no great mystery.

      If there is any virtue at all in doing some of these things, it's in coming up with the idea to do them in the first place. If you've ever seen a Cirque show, the first question that probably comes to mind (at least to my mind) isn't that they can do this amazing stuff, it's that someone thought to do it in the first place, and after what surely must have been a period of failure in learning how to do it, they continued through believing that you could fly through the air off of the shoulders of someone stacked on top of someone else's shoulders, do a couple of flips, and land on the shoulders of someone else who is also on top of someone else's shoulders.

      Now that's amazing.

      Mastering AcrossLite, not so much. When Mr. Feyer and the rest of the speed solvers decide to solve a Saturday NYT crossword puzzle blindfolded and straighjacketed at the bottom of a swimming pool filled with poisonous Man O' Wars and sharks, then yeah...I'll be impressed.

      Otherwise (and it's just my opinion), meh.

      M and A Help Desk 10:12 AM  

      @muse: Can do. Here U go:
      www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3422&id2=442

      Full disclosure: I must admit to a certain hesitancy, in releasin the above "lite" runtpuz on an unsuspectin environment. There is such a thing as Runtpuz Karma. Mama Nature has a way of balancin things out. Beware the business end of Mama Nature.
      But, shucks, U folks are NYT SatPuz solvers, right? Dang runtpuzs are half three-letter words... Why worry. Be happy. Gangnam style.

      M&A

      Ludyjynn 10:14 AM  

      Forgot to mention: "LILI" was MGM's largest $$$ grossing film of 1953; "Gigi" was not made until 1958. Leslie Caron was nominated for a best actress Oscar. Mel Ferrer, one of the other leads, was Hot, Hot, Hot in this film. I first saw it in the '70s as a young adult and he made my heart beat faster!

      Would you believe, Leslie Caron is 83 years old?! What a talented artist, and still beautiful. An amazing career, in which she worked w/ some of the best in the business during the heyday of musical cinema.

      Bob Kerfuffle 10:28 AM  

      @Z - Save some of that dope slap for me - I also had BRETHERN before BRETHREN. Laughed becaused as I entered the word, I was thinking of a discussion we had had earlier about irregular plurals, and I had joked that we had BRETHREN but not SISTERN (sic), playing on *cistern*.

      Passable Monday.

      Benko 10:30 AM  

      NCA President: When you're the best in the world five consecutive years in a row at anything, let the rest of us know. Or is it not worth it because of "YouTube videos"?
      It isn't just a mastery of across lite--Dan beats everyone on paper and on stage, too. Calling his achievements irrelevant is just sour grapes from someone who hates to admit someone might be smarter than he is.

      Steve J 10:34 AM  

      @JT Hurst: At the risk of being "that guy", while the stories are lovely, they're legends (it's tough to tell in print whether you meant them seriously or, um, legendarily). Wales has been part of England since the 13th century, and the English did indeed conquer it militarily (under Edward I). The legend about the trick apparently doesn't appear until around the 16th century - some 300 years after Edward conquered the Welsh. (And it has a few flaws: The named castle was built by the English to help police the recently conquered Welsh, and English kings didn't speak English at that time anyway. Being Norman, they were still speaking French).

      Looking up RAREBIT, it appears there are several legends about the origin. One is that rabbits were reserved for the nobility in Wales, so the name was a bit of a joke regarding what the peasants ate. Also interesting to me - and, if I recall correctly, this came up the last time RAREBIT appeared in a puzzle a few months back - "Welsh rabbit" appears in print many decades before "Welsh RAREBIT", and indications are that RAREBIT was a false modification. The fact that the word appears in no other context would lend support to that.

      Leonhard Euler 10:59 AM  

      Dear Ms. L M Smith -

      You should have no faith in your current Sudoku reviewer. He asks, "did anyone notice that if you multiply the top and bottom of column 2 by 13 and then multiply the top and bottom of column six by 13, both answers are prime?"

      Any number derived by the multiplication of two integers other than itself and one is by definition not a prime!

      Casco Kid 11:04 AM  

      gIgI here, too, @jae, @jberg & @chefwen. Themeless, too @JohnChild & @MatthewHarmer NE was last to fill. Medium for me at 15 (genuine) minutes. SEEred before SEETHE made THE invisible and froze ASSET.

      @JTHurst I was raised pronouncing RAREBIT as "rabbit." My half Welsh grandfather did mispronounce words for fun, then would deny it vehemently.

      Mrs. Kid and I were at Caenarfon (kin-ARE-vin) Castle 6 weeks ago. We put away a couple of pints with locals who insisted the were Welsh only, not British, not European. You don't see that in Cardiff.

      In modern times the Prince of Wales is installed speaking Welsh during the ceremony, but naturally also English before and after.

      Still waiting for CYMRU to be clued...

      Bob Kerfuffle 11:15 AM  

      @M&A - KPT #22 - 2:18. Looks like practice for your NYT debut: all "normal" answers! ;>)

      andy 11:22 AM  

      Between old clues (HOTFOOT, LILI), writeovers (heckle before HASSLE, brothers before BRETHREN) and a "d'oh!" moment (accidently put OLSEN In 46A instead of 45A), I found this to be a challenging Monday.

      Dick Swart 11:58 AM  

      Klee is German/Swiss in the sense of German speaking v, French, Italian or Romanch.

      The Klee Museum in Bern is a chronology and the building with its three great curves echoes the hills in which it is set.

      What is noticeable in the Klee, The Picasso and The Miro in Barcelona, and other eponymous museums is the absence of well-known works acquired years before by other museums and collectors before the artists were accorded eponymous status.

      Kim Scudera 12:52 PM  

      Thx, M&A, for the very doable runtpuz (the lil darlin'!). For a solve time of 3:09 (longer than it took OFL to complete the blog's main event!), I'll accept whatever Runtpuz Karmic Consequences are coming my way :D

      How about Leslie MANN as a current alternative to Aimee?

      JTHurst 1:19 PM  

      @Steve J No Welshman would admit to England ever conquering CYMRU. It did not happen. Wikipedia states:

      By the 1150s, Henry II had set upon fighting back, leading his first expedition into Wales in 1157. He met with heavy and humiliating defeat, particularly at Coleshill / Coed Eulo, where Henry was entirely unsuccessful, almost being killed in the fighting. His army routed and fled. [9] He moved against his British adversaries again in 1163, later sources relate how he gained an unclear form of homage from the two most powerful princes of Wales, Rhys ap Gruffydd and Owain Gwynedd along with the king of Scotland. This was the catalyst to revolt in Wales; Henry II met with humiliating defeat in 1165 at Berwyn. Henry never successfully invaded Wales and he was obliged to seek compromise with Rhys ap Gruffydd for control of the south.

      I believe after this, CYMRU princes formed allegiances with the Normans and England. The Welsh are great at fighting and poor at negotiating.

      Benko 1:42 PM  

      @M&A: 46 seconds on that one. One Across was the toughest part.
      Is 5 down really the prettiest town you've ever seen? I haven't been.

      Lewis 1:54 PM  

      @rex -- you made me laugh out loud with your "AT THEM, Fido!"

      What @ludijynn 9:30 said in her first paragraph.

      @NCA President -- Yes, skill at Across Lite helps with times, but that's not worth diddly unless you can come up with the answers. It's not simply about typing skills; solving skills come into play perhaps even more. And there is some elegance to solving skills, I believe.

      David 2:00 PM  

      I'm a lot more impressed with Dan F. (and Tyler H. and Howard B.) solving the ACPT championship puzzle in <10 minutes than I am anyone solving a Monday NYT in less than 2 minutes. Hell, I'm a lefty paper solver who's broken the 2min 30sec Monday once. Yet I might STILL be solving this year's ACPT A Division Finals puzzle.

      Masked and Anonymo6Us 2:08 PM  

      Decent MonPuz. Fun and sMOOOOth.
      Only remotely possible thing to ding it for: I lost valuable nanoseconds because of 2-Down, and readin clues upside down while joint-solvin at the pancake house.
      Looked like Til Tuesday was a song title, with an opening quote before the Til, but no closin quote. Also, only Manns I know are Horace Mann, Manfred Mann, and Henry Mann Cini.

      Could probably de-Aimee-tize that corner, startin by usin CLICHE instead of SEETHE. That there L would help tame the new word crossin the M in SMART. Put down MUSIC there for 1-Down, gettin yer U. Well, wait, no, cuz then you'd probably need a vowel after the U in 14-Across. But I digress.

      @Benko: yep. And women there don't treat you mean.
      Looks like everybody did pretty good on today's runtpuz lite. Probably helped that y'alld done it before back in March, with a different passle of clues. (Note puz title.)

      M&A

      retired_chemist 2:11 PM  

      Medium Monday here too. Lost a minute on HAr for 40A, then filling in SrARP TURN, assuming 40A was correct without even looking at the r. I blame it on M&A's frequent use of har,which had that indelibly fixed in my mind.

      Solved it as a themeless - didn't even notice the theme.

      In honor of 65A, here is Monty Python's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

      Thanks, Mr, Cee.

      evil doug 2:17 PM  

      M&A,

      Spent 5 years in your "prettiest town" flying my beloved Hercules back in the late 70's. Don't know if I would agree with Waylon on its physical beauty as compared to, say, the Texas hill country, but truly warm folks.

      One of the few places the USAF wanted to establish a base where the townspeople demanded permanent brick buildings instead of the military's typical cheap, temporary structures---to ensure that the Air Force wouldn't leave. Threw us a big barbeque every year....

      Evil

      Benko 2:20 PM  

      Why do we all keep doing crossword puzzles? Because each one is a fresh challenge. Because they're a fun way to test ourselves and learn new things. Because they keep our minds flexible and quick.
      If it were just a matter of learning a few tricks, puzzles wouldn't do any of these things. Nor is mastering the skill set needed to solve a Monday puzzle quickly the same thing as being able to conquer every Saturday Stumper. There are all kinds of skills, knowledge, and problem-solving abilities needed to solve every puzzle consistently well.
      When I first did the ACPT, I didn't know anything about speed solving. I had never seen Wordplay. I didn't do indie puzzles. I had never used AcrossLite. I had only a few months earlier started doing the NYT every day. And yet I was able to do quite well in the competition. This is not to brag, but to point out that it isn't a matter of rote to become a speed solver.

      M and Also 2:43 PM  

      @Evil: Cool. Them old C-130's would really go the distance. And have stood the test of time. Don't believe they've got a replacement for em, yet. Sweet ride.

      My copy of "Abilene" 45rpm says by George Hamilton IV (1963). But I bet old Waylon could smoke out a good version, too.

      M&A

      p.s. @retired chemist: Current NYTPuz usages:

      HAH: 77 times.
      HAR: 49 times, and comin on fast. So, hang in there, amigo.

      Carola 3:18 PM  

      My INPUT - I found it on the tougher side for a Monday. And a lovely puzzle, with a creative theme and lots more to like - HOTFOOT, RAREBIT, BRETHREN (@Z, you weren't alone with BRETHerN).

      Me, too: Wrote in gigi and SEE red and considered FAST ONE the reveal.

      @r.alphbunker - I love it that your wife's aunt has Welsh RAREBIT every day for lunch - who needs variety when you know what you like? The entry also gave me a pang of nostalgia...I became allergic to cheddar some years ago and really miss it....

      Thanks, @Gary Cee - I always enjoy your puzzles.

      Steve J 3:46 PM  

      @JT Hurst: You need to look another 100 years in the future to the conquest of Wales by Edward I in the 1270s and 1280s.

      "By the Treaty of Aberconwy in November 1277, Llywelyn was left only with the western part of Gwynedd, though he was allowed to retain the title of Prince of Wales. Eastern Gwynedd was split between Edward and Llywelyn's brother Dafydd, with the remainder of the lands that had been tributary to him becoming effectively Edward's.

      As a result of both territorial expropriation and the submission of the ruling families, Deheubarth, Powys and mid-Wales became a mixture of directly controlled royal land and pliant English protectorates.Edward's victory was comprehensive and it represented a major redistribution of power and territory in Wales in Edward's favour. Edward now enjoyed a degree of direct control in the native Welsh areas which no previous English king had achieved."

      Of course, various alliances, treaties, etc. over the next few centuries still had to happen before we reach the current state of affairs (which pretty much dates from the 1500s), but from Edward I on, the bulk of Wales was under English military control.

      (And yet another example of why I enjoy the comments here. There aren't many places I can go to for daily diversions into classical music, art history, medieval history, and more.)

      Melodious Funk 3:57 PM  

      For Alias Z and Z, too. About embedded links. I know it's been spoken of before and someone here has a site explaining in detail how to do it. That's all fine I guess. But from my perspective as an early poster in newsgroups on Usenet, this was the received protocol:

      If a poster wanted to show a link, they would post a TinyURL, ShrinkUrL or some such contrivance. This was done to avoid URL line-wraps. Immediately after that, the original URL was posted, even though there might be line-wraps.

      If a reader knew the poster's history and it was positive, he could be reasonably assured that the TinyURL was valid and click on it. If a reader did not know or trust the poster, he could C/P the entire URL - maybe a chore if it was line-wrapped.

      This way a new reader would know beforehand where he was going and choose to go or not go.

      http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LHivHuPFBqA

      http://preview.tinyurl.com/mtaphn4

      Well, that didn't shorten very much. But that was the idea. As a very occasional poster I personally prefer to see the entire URL.

      Mohair Sam 4:13 PM  

      @Steve J - Whataya mean "At the risk of being 'that guy'"? You love being "that "guy" and had a ball with it again today.

      Fred Romagnolo 4:42 PM  

      @m&a: How about Thomas Mann? @Ludyjynn: Mel Ferrer is one of those under-rated actors who were really splendid; married to Audrey Hepburn, eventually divorced. They appeared together on Broadway in "Ondine." Same plot as in Dvorak's Russalka, used by Disney for Ariel. RAWBAR is new to me, always said "Oyster bar." There was a famous evangelist named Aimee. Disappeared mysteriously. Then re-appeared, most likely a publicity stunt; during the 20's I believe: Aimee Semple McPherson. She preached in lustrous white silk robes. I was under the impression that SMARTPHONE was copyrighted by Apple. Apparently it's a generic name. Isn't AGA a variant of "Agha?" Or are both correct?

      Steve J 4:55 PM  

      @Mohair Sam: "That guy" in terms of being the guy who takes things said in jest too seriously. I hope I don't love being that guy. :)

      If "that guy" means digging into stuff to find out what really happened, then yeah, guilty as charged.

      AliasZ 5:09 PM  

      @Melodious Funk,

      Nothing could be simpler. All you need to do is mouse-over the link to see the entire URL in a small box at the bottom left corner of your browser window.

      loren muse smith 5:13 PM  

      @Leonhard Euler – Hah! Yep. I shoulda said "subtract" whatever. Serves me right for trying to be a smarty pants.

      @M&A – now *that's* more my speed!! 3:07. Thanks for cluing down for me. I agree with @Benko – 1A was the hardest. (And @Benko is too modest about speed solving and the ACPT– "And yet I was able to do quite well in the competition." Well, yeah… he won his division!!)

      Just got in from subbing fifth grade. The classroom has this pet rat, Lucille – about 13 inches from the tip of her unfortunate rattish tail to the tip of her nose. I kept wandering over to her cage where she reclined on her hammock, staring out with a kind of a thousand-mile stare. At lunch, I stood there watching her, eating my bag of Really Cheap Cracker Jack Copycat Stuff, and she got off her hammock, came over to me, and asked for some, telepathically. I didn't know if I should share, so I didn't. Gareth? I probably could have given her a piece or two? Anyway, I've decided I'm very fond of Lucille.

      Oh, and in the cafeteria today, a kid told me that her friend had brothers who were nocturnal twins. Where do you start with something like that?

      Z 5:25 PM  

      @Melodius Funk - Likewise, on an iPad, press and hold the highlighted linked text and a little dialogue box appears showing the full URL. You will then also be given some options of what to do with the link. Since most full URLs are in gibberish knowing the full link will not save you from being rick-rolled.

      Usenet? Way to make a guy feel like a newbie.

      Melodious Funk 5:31 PM  

      Z. Thanks. Never too old to learn. Not familiar enough with the pad. Good on ya.

      Casco Kid 5:34 PM  

      @LMS we can have a lot of fun with nocturnal twins here, but I hope you just straightened the girl out: fraternal, etc. You know, sometimes job-description trumps will-to-be-clever.

      In a similar story, a beautiful blonde microbiologist was watching my technician assembling the vacuum system of her new mass spectrometer. Shiny stainless stee tubes. Flanges. Male-female vacuum couplings. You get the picture. "I just love tight fitting parts!" she blurted out. There was the briefest of pauses, a deep breath, and we all just carried on. Job-description won again, and everyone remained employed.

      GLR 5:36 PM  

      @Ludyjynn, If you believe Wikipedia, Lili wasn't among the 15 top-grossing films of 1953, and MGM had two on the list - Mogambo ($5 million) and Julius Caesar ($4.7 million). IMDB ranks Lili as the 70th most popular movie of 1953 (not sure exactly how they measure that).

      Ludyjynn 6:01 PM  

      @GLR, my previous post stated that "Lili" was MGM's top $$$ grossing film of 1953, not THE top grossing movie of all studios that year. Just double-checked Wikipedia, which says the box office receipts totaled $5,393,000.00, placing it ahead of the two MGM flicks you cited, above.

      @FredR, thanks for the info. on Mel Ferrer. Interesting guy.

      Z 6:30 PM  

      @Casco Kid - I would have gone with, "I'm not familiar with that term. Tell me more." Kids, like everyone else, love to talk. A gentle "'nocturnal' means 'at night'" or "Oh, I think you mean 'fraternal,'" if really necessary, can always be deployed later. And, if it is a fifth grader, don't rule out the possibility that this was a test of the Emergency Substitute-Teacher System. Nice? Mean? Pedantic? The entire fifth grade will soon know.

      GLR 8:12 PM  

      @Ludyjynn,

      So, it appears that it depends on which Wikipedia entry you believe. The entry for the movie shows a box office of $5.4 million. The entry for "1953 in film" doesn't list Lili among the 15 top-grossing films of that year. Further evidence that Truth with a capital "T" isn't necessarily found on the 'net?

      chefbea 8:38 PM  

      just came home. was ken jennings on jeopardy??? did he win?

      Help Desk 8:40 PM  

      @chefbea. yep and yep. But just barely.

      sanfranman59 9:15 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 (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

      Mon 6:40, 6:04, 1.10, 86%, Challenging

      Top 100 solvers

      Mon 4:02, 3:59, 1.01, 54%, Medium

      Ludyjynn 9:24 PM  

      @GLR, I hear you! Some days I really miss the old library card catalog system, the starting point of all serious research, or "Information Please" style almanacs which generally had more reliable and corroborated data about 'trivia' like movie grosses, or better yet, a real encyclopedia to fact check. The Net has made me/us too lazy to get off my ass most of the time to wander around Barnes & Noble's film section and leaf through some actual books written by actual subject matter experts, something I used to do routinely.

      So the bottom line is this: If you believe it, or not, Wikipedia claims that the highest grossing movie, period, in 1953 was, drumroll please, "From Here to Eternity", which I can state unequivocally had one of the sexiest scenes ever filmed. You know the one: Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster on the beach, in the Hawaiian surf, lips locked, totally horizontal.

      Good night and good luck!

      chefbea 9:31 PM  

      @help desk thanks

      Outlaw Z 9:53 PM  

      I wonder how many of the times that led to @sanfranman59's all solvers rating were ern-induced. Thanks all my fellow erners. I don't feel so lonely now.

      GLR 10:01 PM  

      @Ludyjynn,

      "... one of the sexiest scenes ever filmed. You know the one: Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster on the beach, in the Hawaiian surf, lips locked, totally horizontal."

      Good call - no Wikipedia verification needed!

      sanfranman59 10:09 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 6:44, 6:04, 1.11, 87%, Challenging

      Top 100 solvers

      Mon 3:57, 3:57, 1.00, 45%, Medium

      I'm having a hard time understanding the discrepancy in the ratings for the two groups of solvers. Perhaps it was the BRETHerN effect. I finished in one of my best ever Monday times today and was actually surprised by the rating in both groups. But I've been getting some unusually good solve times since I began doing all the puzzles in Across Lite rather than the online interface. These aging eyes just have too much trouble reading the small font in the online app (e.g., I was confusing too many 'rn's with 'm's).

      JTHurst 10:20 PM  

      @Steve J I am afraid I am violating the three postings rule but whilst I agree that Edward did conquer parts of CYMRU it was because of dissent amongst the various lordships. From Wiki we get

      They met with considerable success as many of the native Welsh rulers, resentful of Llywelyn's overlordship, surrendered and joined the English.[17] In July 1277, Edward launched a punitive expedition into North Wales with his own army of 15,500 — of whom 9,000 were Welshmen from the south.

      The Marcher lordships had already agreed to be vassals under the English crown through negotiations rather than through conquest. And the rebellions continued through the 16th century and continue to this day. The attempted anglicization of CYMRU is still be thwarted at every turn. These incursions or wars also depleted Edward and sons treasury from which they had to raise onerous taxes causing his own people to hate him.

      I believe the Welsh finally capitulated because they liked the Scots and Irish even less than the English.

      @ M&A When you said you thought the Hercules 130 was a sweet ride you must of meant from the outside or maybe as a pilot. The 'grunt' passengers during VN were bounced around like a ping pong ball in a biscuit tin when riding in them. And I now know why ED got the name Evil. One of the pilots favorite thing to do when they had some 'grunt' passengers was to cause the tail of the plane to rise and lower precipitously. Whilst they remained on an even flying keel. They thought this was really funny until an M-16 was pointed at them and they were told to cut that s**t out.

      Mohair Sam 11:20 PM  

      @steve j - guilty as charged on number 2

      Benko 11:46 PM  

      @LMS: You're the best, so glad you're still here!

      Sagheer 2:43 AM  

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      Fred Romagnolo 4:26 AM  

      @ludyjynn: I hope you've had a chance to see the Sid Caesar-Imogene Coca take-off on that sexy scene: while they were kissing on the sand, stagehands were tossing buckets of water on them - hilarious

      Phil 7:21 AM  

      Hmmm, DNF
      Didn't know eruct
      Assumed erupt as a burp
      Gave me AFP which i googled as 'americans for Prosperity' right wingers which i assume call themselves a patriotic group

      I have to say typing in puzzle app takes 11 minutes for a dead simple puzzle so never can understand less times posted

      spacecraft 11:19 AM  

      Not all that smooth for me; if there was a wrong way to turn, I did it. "Be hot UNDER the collar" (grid word appearing in clue??) and starting with SEE Out of that NW corner was obviously SEE red, no? And "Give a hard time" starting with HA has to be HArass, no?

      No. And then there's HOTFOOT it?? Never in my life have I heard that. The only hotfoot I know is the old match-in-the-shoe thing. PLUS, of all the ways to clue -EST: "Sufix with winning?????" Really? "Winningest???" What world is this guy from?

      Here's another one: RAWBAR. Is that a thing? There's one kind of BAR I'll never HOP. It's almost like another language, or maybe just another RAREBIT nightmare.

      I mean, I got it DONE and all, it was just...weird. Theme is fine; I like one that doesn't need a revealer. Strangely enough, the theme phrases are all solidly in the language.

      More terrible photography. So dark I had to cycle through four captchas to get one I could even see.

      Solving in Seattle 1:35 PM  

      For a monpuz, this was on the difficult side. I also thought it was clean, with some RAREBIT words and expressions.
      SEEred before SEETHE was a nice curveball.

      Most folks think nice German is an oxymoron, but they haven't met Martin Kaymer. Congrats to him on a hell of a weekend of golf.

      DMG 1:52 PM  

      Sort of ran through this one. When i get to a Leslie Caron clue, I always just put in the "i's" and wait. Works for me. As for the cheese dish, my English descended mother always said "rabbit" only to be correct by a pseudo-sophisticated all-American aunt, "You mean RAREBIT". Guess Auntie won this one, Makes no diff to me, I can't eat cheese!

      Must have lucked out, my Captcha is a simplistic 234!

      rain forest 5:31 PM  

      Whizzed through this pretty quickly, but thought it was a well-constructed effort. A few new words, and no drap or creck.

      @SIS In my last two years in the school system, I had a German Vice Principal who is almost a clone of Kaymer. Sweet guy.

      Dirigonzo 5:47 PM  

      It being an absolutely gorgeous afternoon in my part of sydiland I decided to add an extra level of challenge to the Monday puz by imbibing in a couple of "Skinny-dippers" (Vodka, Cranberry juice, club soda w/ a wedge of lime), so named for obvious reasons, before launched into the grid. I had so much fun I may solve all early week puzzles in that state. In the end I had circled three clues that needed all the crosses (Leslie Caron musical, German artworks and Bart's sister). HOTFOOT it is a phrase I had all but forgotten about. An excellent Monday offering IMHO (but I always look on the BRIGHTSIDE).

      Anonymous 6:52 PM  

      Got caught in the cross "hares" @ 19a & 12d. tried to create my own hybrid "ugbi" citrus. Other than that, good Monday, but flow sometimes slow.

      leftcoastTAM 7:35 PM  

      @sanfranman59:
      You may not read syndies' comments, but let me suggest that the discrepancy you found today between the all solvers and top 100 may be due to the unusually large number of the formers' reporting their times compared to the average number of them who report times for the day of the week.

      That's why I've suggested previously that you report those averages in your stats.

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