Kennedy aide Sorensen / TUE 6-17-14 / Beginning end of Athena / Kabayaki fish / Swordsman of book film / 2010 James Mangold action comedy / 2012 John C. Reilly animated film

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Constructor: Zhouquin Burnikel

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

THEME: SILENT (69A: ___ movies (8-, 20-, 39- and 57-Across, in a way)— first letters of all the movies are silent:

Theme answers:
  • PSYCHO (8A: 1960 Alfred Hitchcock thriller)
  • WRECK-IT RALPH (20A: 2012 John C. Reilly animated film)
  • DJANGO UNCHAINED (39A: 2012 Quentin Tarantino western)
  • KNIGHT AND DAY (57A: 2010 James Mangold action comedy)

Word of the Day: George MEADE (27D: General at Gettysburg) —
George Gordon Meade (December 31, 1815 – November 6, 1872) was a career United States Armyofficer and civil engineer involved in coastal construction, including several lighthouses. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican-American War. During the American Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from command of a brigade to the Army of the Potomac. He is best known for defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
• • •

The premise feels slightly flimsy, and I don't like the revealer clue at all (essentially a non-clue), but for what it is, this puzzle holds up OK. Theme is consistent, silent letters are all different, and the movies are nicely varied by genre (though much less so by time period). The proper noun-ness of it all, coupled with some tough and/or not-great cluing, made this lean slightly toward the harder side for me. I blame this mainly on COAT TREE (41D: Front hallway item), a term I never encounter. I had RACK, of course, which is a term I *do* encounter. Then when that proved wrong, I had nothing there for a bit. Really, really could've used tail end of that answer to get into that southern section, as the [Rice on a shelf] clue (ANNE) was wicked for a Tuesday, as was [Jet fighter?] (SHARK), and that movie down there, "KNIGHT AND DAY"??? …. WTF? What is a "James Mangold"? Also, what is that movie? Besides the worst and more tiresome pun ever? Here is the theme's one big flaw—that movie is a super-outlier, fame-wise. All the others are Academy Award-nominated movies. This one: isn't. Holy crap, I just looked this movie up—Mangold is a director (?!), and this movie starred … Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz!?!? Was this a hit? 'Cause it *really* got by me. Wikipedia says box office was $260 million worldwide. I have no idea what those numbers mean anymore.

I would never in a million years have thought to clue "WRECK-IT RALPH" as a [2012 John C. Reilly animated film]. I'd've gone with a general description of the film for the clue—animated films aren't as readily identifiable by the actors as regular films are, and anyway, it's not like you'd have ruined theme cluing consistency, as this clue is *already* the outlier (all the other theme answers being clued by their directors).

  • 68A: Arabic name meaning "high" (ALI) — had the "A" and wrote in AGA … then ALY. … never mind that those are not Arabic terms. The middle eastern-ness plus the "A" plus "high" triggered some spontaneous crosswordese reaction in me that I was powerless to stop.
  • 66A: Knitted item for a baby (BOOTIE) — had trouble here, both because I feel like this word sometimes gets spelled differently in puzzles (namely as BOOTEE) and also because my first stab was ONESIE.
  • 1D: Beginning or end of "Athena" (SCHWA) — another Tuesday toughie. Needed many crosses to get this one. With another answer that often befuddles me, PRE-K, I lucked out, as I had both the "P" and the "K" before I ever saw the clue.
Hope you enjoyed the USA victory over Ghana, or are not too sad about Ghana's loss to the USA, or enjoyed continuing not to care about soccer. All I can say is it's a good thing these footballers are not USA-famous, because our crosswords would soon be overrun with about 200 new names, all of them 4 to 5 letters long: AYEW, NANI, ETO'O, ENOH, WEBO … those last three just from the Cameroon squad alone. Oh, and FYI, the US coach is JÜRGEN KLINSMANN (15). Seems like he might've just become fair game.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


SenorLynn 12:20 AM  

Really liked this one: enough good cluing to offset lack of obscure proper names.
John Goodman one of my faves. Can play any character with aplomb.
The throwaway fill of SNL: I watched the first episode in 1975, & couldn't believe the moving co. commercial, when they packed up the people along with the furniture. No Facebook or anything back then.

Moly Shu 12:23 AM  

Liked it OK. Never saw or heard of KNIGHTANDDAY, but no real troubles. Unlike @Rex, I spelled BOOTIE correctly, got SCHWA easily (hi @ LMS), and ANNE Rice went straight in. Hand up for COATrack. Didn't realize PSYCHO was a theme answer until I read the write-up. Just overlooked it, I guess.

If you think there is wailing and gnashing of teeth over obscure rappers and operas, just wait until they start putting soccer/football/South American Roundball (my name for it), players into the fill. Please constructors, in the name of everything holy, don't do it. I fear my head would explode.

George Barany 12:23 AM  

Nice to see a puzzle by fellow Minnesotan Zhouquin Burnikel, who as "C.C." runs a blog for another major puzzle. Rex, I take it you had a nice vacation in our part of the country, and too bad you can't stay until this coming Sunday, when the Third Minnesota Crossword Tournament will be held. There will be ten original puzzles, by a baker's dozen of mostly local constructors, C.C. included.

While much of the world seems to be fixated on soccer, other professional leagues have wrapped up their activities. For Father's Day, I was inspired to write a Sunday-sized tribute called King James Version. I hope that some of the visitors to this blog will give it a shot.

Steve J 12:24 AM  

This filled in pretty much top-to-bottom for me, so I had no idea where the theme was (could've been the long downs), let alone what it was, until almost the very end. So that - along with a somewhat threadbare theme (not in entry count, just in what it was doing) - caused this to feel mostly like a themeless for me.

I liked the tougher cluing - especially for SHARK and ANNE Rice - but I acknowledge they're meaty for a Tuesday. I also had COATrack at first and took a long time to see SCHWA.

In the end, this was pretty middle of the road. Didn't love it, didn't dislike it. Right at the top of the bell curve.

Fun, thrilling win by the US today. We played pretty poorly most of the game, but the score at the end is all that counts. Very fun to watch. And Germany's thrashing of Portugal gives us some hope to get out of the group. It would be great if we could beat them Sunday, but even a draw would put us in good position to advance.

jae 12:30 AM  

Medium for me.  My time was on the slow side, but I'm allowing for putting a few answers/letters in the wrong squares and needing to fix them.   Clever and subtle theme with a pretty smooth grid.  Liked it.  Nice Tues. C.C.!

Great clue for GOODMAN.  Just saw him in The Monuments Men.  I highly recommend it.

And me too @lms for SCHWA.  Only know it from crosswords and the help provided here.

Anoa Bob 12:30 AM  

Not so sure the "P" in PSYCHO is SILENT. I would say PSYCHO like sigh-co and SYCHO as sicko.

I remember a "Front hallway item" as a

Hall Tree.

They typically had places to put hats, coats, umbrellas, galoshes, and such.

When I saw the theme involved movies, I figured it would kick my BOOTIE. But the crosses allowed me to piece it together, and this is, methinks, the mark of a well constructed puzzle. Even those who whiff on the theme still have a chance.

Pete 12:33 AM  

I have both a COATTREE and a COATrack but mostly I have COATbacksofchairs.

The only one of the movies I've heard of is DJANGOUNCHAINED. As a friend described it to me, telling me I should go, I merely stated that I didnt' think seeing it would ennoble my soul. I was comfortable with that.

Any puzzle that sends me to YouTube for 2 hours listening to Django Reinhardt is a good puzzle,

Benko 12:55 AM  

Jurgen Klinsmann has already been used as a 15 by a popular constructor, in fact. Very recent puzzle, so don't want to spoil which one.
I found this puzzle easier than yesterday's by a good margin.

chefwen 12:58 AM  

What @Anoa Bob said about movies and butt kicking. The only one I knew was PSYCHO. Crosses saved the day.

I particularly enjoyed the PSYCHO/PREZ/SAP top row. Brought a chortle.

Had to revise my detest to LOATHE, but that was about it.

RnRGhost57 1:37 AM  

Awfully easy, even for a Tuesday.

Now, an AMBIEN, inducing a long SILENT KNIGHT of slumber. But will not sleep until NOON, NEIN sir.

Mark 1:49 AM  

It was obvious to me that Athena's first and last letter was ALPHA ! But then the cross HOW was in the wrong place. Funny, because I often think about schwa and edify listeners about it. Good misdirect.

Billy 2:06 AM  

I'm glad I'm not the only one unaware of many many movies over the last decade. Are we all just old fogies or is it simply that recent movies often suck?

Speaking of movies, I don't know what disturbing scene embedded itself just below my consciousness so that a coat tree is for me a gruesome weapon.

DLand 4:02 AM  

@Benko: I solved said "popular constructor's" puzzle very shortly after reading Rex's review... and kicked myself for not paying closer attention! First I wanted YEVGEN, then YURGEN, then finally JURGEN fell into place.

DrXWord 6:12 AM  

Easy. My fastest Tuesday solve in a long time. Thought the cluing was very clever in spots. Knew all the films, although never saw KNIGHT AND DAY (I do remember Cruise and Diaz making the talk show rounds to promote it; didn't seem to be my cup of tea). Needed the revealer (which was a bit of a reach, but still cute) to get the theme. I must admit that I find it laughable every time @Rex bases his criticism of a puzzle on the fact that he never heard of a particular answer. As if his ignorance is the puzzle maker's fault!

loren muse smith 7:34 AM  

Rex – I had COAT "rack," too, but wanted "hall" TREE (morning, @Anoa Bob). I also entertained the new grid darling, "onesie." And PRE-K is so much realer to me than "elhi."

"Oh, and FYI, the US coach is JÜRGEN KLINSMANN (15). Seems like he might've just become fair game." Like @Benko and @DLand said - He has. My undoing. 'Nuff said.

I didn't see the movie, but in my mind, I always pronounced the D in DJANGO UNCHAINED. Djeeze. And I realize after the fact that I have indeed seen KNIGHT AND DAY. Of course I have. And of course I enjoyed it. Never met an action movie with a preposterous plot and two tabloid stars that I didn’t like.

"Black" before PLANE. And that AERO right above it – nice!

@DrXWord -"As if his ignorance is the puzzle maker's fault!" I never get that feeling from Rex, that he guns for the constructor simply because he doesn't know something.

It was Dr. MEADE who told Scarlett that she would just have to deliver that baby without him.

Plus the movie vibe continues with JOHN GOODMAN, SAG, ACTRESS, ZORRO, HAL (memories of his voice still haunt me).

So I guess I've become the Creepy SCHWA Lady. (@Mark – our work is never done, huh?) Maybe I'll change my first name to Lorena. Non-native English speakers here who want to work on their accents?. . .embrace the SCHWA.

While I'm on English – as I watch various games in the World Cup (Japan vs Ivory Coast, France vs Honduras) I can't help but figure all those guys, refs included, are speaking English on the field. They have to be, right? And then I wish American players could switch to French, Spanish, or Japanese in a pinch. I'm always deeply impressed to see the athletes (or any people) from other countries being interviewed in English.

@ANON B from yesterday – you were joking, right? @Gil I.P., with her upbeat posts and terrific sense of humor, is one of my absolute favorite friends here.

@Benko – no meta, but look at the title again.

@M&A - "a show with just a one-legged raccoon and a jug band." Actually, there was this movie...

CC – you never cease to amaze me with your mastery of English and crossword construction. I tried poking around Google to see if symmetrical crosswords work for Chinese but didn't get very far. I don't know enough about the language to have a feel for whether or not grids like we're used to would work with the characters. Anyway – nice, crunchy puzzle!

Doug Garr 7:49 AM  

Started with PSYCHO, moved to the bottom from the NE and never looked back until I stared at WRECKITRALPH forever needing the W and I. Finished pretty fast and when done still didn't get the theme. figured Rex would hate this puzzle. Me? Meh.

chefbea 7:58 AM  

Didn't realize that Psycho was part of the theme. Never heard of the others or the people in them. Tough puzzle for a Tuesday!!!

L 8:00 AM  

While solving the puzzle, I panicked about being late for my meeting. Of course that meeting is tomorrow but this puzzle was so tough for a Tuesday, I honestly got my days wrong for a minute there. I remember hearing about Knight and Day but knew it was a lousy Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz movie. Who the heck is Mangold? I knew it was tough when I couldn't sort through the entire NW until the very end. A good, humbling start to the day. Stay cool!

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Of course it was easy- it's Tuesday! But much more enjoyable than the average Tuesday. Wish the puzzles could be a little harder - I'm just biding my time until Thursday ...

John V 8:13 AM  

Naticked at COL/WRECKITRALPH; couldn't get the C.

Knew of the Tarantino film, never heard of the others; gettable, though.

Clever, but meh.

Dawn 8:14 AM  

Also, got BOOTIE correct right away, but I toyed with BOnneT. With knitted baby items, you gotta picture a granny in a shawl, rocking, with her needles clicking away. Stereotype, yes. But much of crossword is.

AliasZ 8:15 AM  

I beg to differ on the "D" in DJANGO being SILENT, regardless what Quentin Tarantino says. He even misspells "basterds", how can we take his word for it? If the D were silent, it would be pronounced zhango as in Zhouqin or Jean Cocteau. But it is pronounced D-zhango. That's enough phonetics for the day.

By the way, I saw DJANGO UNCHAINED on Father's Day. I also saw KNIGHT AND DAY, a quite forgettable shoot'em up that made it to cable in record time, and who hasn't seen PSYCHO? But WRECK-IT RALPH slipped by me entirely unnoticed.

COAT TREE is for the benefit of those who think coats grow on trees. REDO and RENO, EMIR and MIR? Otherwise this one had more than ALITO MEADE on the bone. I HEARD there ARNO winners in RENO except for the casinos. Now I'll have some GENOA salami and strawberry JAM on toast for breakfast, and in EMIR few minutes will knit a BOOTIE for Demi Moore. Could this be called a BOOTIE call?

PROPOSE is what a paid model strikes.

No matter how you SPINET, CC Burnikel is a PILLAR of the crossworld community. YEAH!

Dawn 8:20 AM  

WRECKITRALPH is a good movie, especially after watching it ten times with grandkids (while grey-haired, rocking and knitting...)

Leapfinger 8:24 AM  

PSORIASISeldom am to say: ALITO thin? Knot to Knock it, but in PROfile, almost invisible. DJANGled my nerve, it did, with ReinharDt the saving grace [yes! @Pete). No Ctenophore on this theme from me, good buddy.

But I liked the general AMBIENs:

Very nice to see Hemingway's PILLAR. and to remember Zubin MEHTA from his early days at the Montreal Symphony; even in the back where we sat, his diamond cufflinks would blind.

Also saw the Picasso/Matisse when MOMA was in Queens during renovations: a fabulous show, and beautifully curated.

We almost had ARNO-RENO-KENO.

Agree that those free-stanging COATTREES can be dangerous; if they aren't loaded evemly, they can really do damage. BTW, I planted a couple of small starter jackets last March, the COATS should be ready for harvest come this November.

Now I must tiptoe off on SILENT BOOTIE. BOOTIE calls.

Arlene 8:26 AM  

I liked this one - interesting set of movies - the only one I ever saw was PSYCHO. Had a little bit of trouble when I put the wrong general in at first - but that got fixed soon enough.
A happy Tuesday experience.

Mohair Sam 8:31 AM  

Medium Tuesday for us, offered just enough resistance to make it fun. Surprised Rex hadn't heard of KNIGHTANDDAY - that thing was advertised non-stop.

Agree with Rex that some of the clues were tough for a Tuesday, including crossword-only SCHWA. Own a COATTREE but did the "rack" thing like nearly everyone else here. Nice misdirection on MEADE, RELee woulda fit. Liked the ANNE clue too, of course any time I think about crossing the ARNO I smile.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Enjoyed this one but had PREs and figured that sORRO was some character I didn't know. Oops.

Drove right through Natick yesterday.

Hartley70 8:39 AM  

For the Goodman fans, he has a great little turn in "Inside Llewyn Davis". I saw it Saturday night and he made the film for me. All the movies were easy for me. Knight and Day was the last to go in, but there were already a couple of crosses so it was no trouble. I probably watch too many flicks, but if you want your heart to get some exercise watch "Non-Stop"!
Oh yeah, the puzzle....pretty ordinary Tuesday for me difficulty wise, but I really liked the "Rice" clue. I probably would have gotten hung up on "schwa", cause I can't seem to remember it, but the crosses did the work for me and I never even saw it. Thanks crosses!

joho 8:49 AM  

Zhouqin, do you always sneak in a Z? No Q today, but I'm counting the one in your wonderful crossword name! I always look forward to seeing your name at top and today's puzzle is another excellent example why.

Leapfinger 8:50 AM  

Now I've lost my gruntle because @AliasZ beat me to the COATTREE interpretation and the BOOTIE call by 9 minutes. I shall just have to typee faster, not mumble around in my mind as much. But I like my tie-in with 'Duty calls'...

It was just by chance I remembered Hemingway's raspy rumble 'Pilar!', a lovely name. Also what he called his boat, you know.

The GENOA salami with jam caused me a very pronounced reaction, but then my advisor used to regularly eat peanut butter and salami sandwiches, and was still a Very Fine Human Being.

Casco Kid 8:54 AM  

BeanIE before BOOTIE. ciA before NSA. chL before BOL. (BOL was a PICNIC! With a thousand apologies to Mr. Nicholson, my 7th grade social studies teacher!)) I went with SILENT movies, but didnt get the ref until I came here. But everything was gettable, either from the clue or from a few crosses. I'd call it a Medium Tuesday, but my time was a bit over average due solely to ambiguities in SW.

Moly Shu 9:00 AM  

@LMS, SCHWA lady - yes
Deign lady - yes (to me)
Sheesh lady - yes
Creepy - not so much

Both Mia Hamm and Pele called me after reading my previous rant. I take it all back.

Z 9:04 AM  

Hand up for alphA and COAT rack.

Pelé, Ronaldo (Brazilian or Portuguese - take your pick), Müeller, Messi (everyone should know Messi) Van Persie, Robben, Luis Suarez (Columbian or Spaniard - take your pick), Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Alexi Lalas, Sergio Ramos, Xavi (a pangramist's gold there), and the guy whose name is on the only soccer jersey I own, David Villa. There are a plethora of crossworthy footballers out there. Extra credit if you pick out the four Americans in my list.

Jürgen Klinsmann could be a part of some Harry Potter revealed themer. What other JKs could we use? John (F) Kennedy.

Gill I. P. 9:09 AM  

I loved this puzzle even though I only was familiar with DJANGOUNCHAINED (try saying that three times!) I could never understand Tarantino...I tried...My British husband who has this dry [sec?] sense of humor tells me "you have to watch his films at least three times and forget all the gore and filth and just look at the big picture and you'll see how amazingly funny he is." OK.
@Loren(a)...Gracias, amiguita - pienso lo mismo.
@Leapfinger - you and AliasZ crack me up. You speaketh my speak (which according to some is not my language) p.s. peanut butter, pickles and mayo.
Thank you Zhouquin with the great name, for a Tuesday that was a bit hard and different.

Oldbizmark Got Naticked 9:34 AM  

Like Rex, I never heard of KNIGHT AND DAY and it was definitely not in line with the other movies included. Also, like Rex, had COAT RACK instead of COAT TREE although I didn't get too hung up on it. However, the "E" in the PEI/MEHTA led to a DNF as I have never heard of either. Does this violate the NATICK PRINCIPLE or I am in the minority here not having known either one?

Leapfinger 9:40 AM  

@Gilly, loved your [sec]; triple [sec]? Tell Mr. Gilly that watching any Tarantino three times is inadvisable, likely lethal due to complete and total exsangination. Much safer to just read Elmore Leonard...or Leonard Elmore , in Semitic translations. Now that I think of it, I'll let Carl Hiaasen top the wicked funny-with-MEADE list.

HIAASEN would also make pretty good fill, kumquat may.

Troublemaker 9:50 AM  

Come back Puzzle Girl. Or Treedweller. Or anyone! (ACME?) Remember the good old days of last week when we didn't have to put up with Rex's snark? Ah, fond memories! When's your next vacation, you crank? Can't be too soon.

Benko 9:56 AM  

I actually feel like Rex has let up a bit recently in his "The NYT is disintegrating" campaign. His recent reviews haven't mentioned anything about how the puzzles are further evidence of decline, which is nice,
@LMS-Doh! I somehow completely missed the title. That would have helped while solving. Nicely done.

jberg 10:00 AM  

Wow, I seem to be the only one to have put in COAT hook, rather than rack or TREE! Didn't do me much good, as I still didn't figure out the theme until I came here -- PSYCHO was the only movie I'd seen, and that was over 50 years ago, so my best guess was that each of these movies had a character who didn't speak (in Psycho, that would be Norman Bates's mother). I should have looked at the answers a little longer.

But I didn't want to linger, as I feel so bad for those poor roadies, who have been carrying those AMPS around for a couple of days now.

@DrXword, Rex was making fun of himself for not knowing a movie with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, not criticizing the puzzle. Rex is generally more subtle than he appears on the surface -- one of the joys of this blog. (Another is that commenters often don't get him.)

Pele has long been a puzzle staple, and I'm pretty sure I've seen Beckham here and there-- so it's nothing new! Just one of the many things to learn. Puzzles are so educational!

Steve J 10:01 AM  

@AliasZ: I can rarely tell when you're being serious and when you're playing around, but the D in DJANGO is not pronounced. The DJ digraph simply indicates that it's a hard J sound - like in jangle or jam - as opposed to the soft J that's typical in French, like with jardin or the name Jean.

@Z: I'm guessing some of the indies will make more use of soccer names. Doubt we'll see much of them in the NYT for a while. While I recognize all those names (I'm a big soccer fan and follow the European leagues closely), it's still too much of a niche sport in the States, as well as highly age-skewed. Give it another 10-20 years as millennials move into middle age, and I expect the players of that day will become more common in crossworld.

jberg 10:03 AM  

Forgot this before -- @leapfinger, I saw that Picasso-Matisse show. Incredible to get an inkling of the dialogue the two were having through their paintings. I bought a lot of postcards just to help me remember it.

Leapfinger 10:05 AM  

Zhust you wait, 'Enry 'Iggins, zhust you wait!"

'Eliza Doolittle, akA Hepburn

Lewis 10:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 10:14 AM  

Loved the three "non Tuesday" clues Rex mentioned, and I think they're okay for a Tuesday -- two or three tougher-than-Monday clues. I also have no complaints about the theme answers -- all the reveal requires is movies with silent letters. I think this puzzle shows you can have a solid puzzle without a lot of au courant references.

Post Puzzle Puzzle (PPP™): SAG, LOATHE, PLANE, and PAST share something that only one other word in this puzzle shares. What is the last letter of that word?

Thank you @r.alph for checking this PPP for accuracy! You can find the answer on , and I will post the answer later this afternoon.

Troublemaker 10:33 AM  

Come back Puzzle Girl. Or Treedweller. Or anyone! (ACME?) Remember the good old days of last week when we didn't have to put up with Rex's snark? Ah, fond memories! When's your next vacation, you crank? Can't be too soon.

Glimmerglass 10:36 AM  

Interesting demographic. Some had never heard of PSYCHO; others found only PSYCHO familiar. Put me (aetat. 74) in the latter group. One of my all-time favorite scary movies (along with Jaws, in which I make a cameo appearance). The P is silent, like the P in swimming.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:37 AM  

Gnarly, man.

And, Welcome back, SCHWA. Felt like Long time, no see.

BTW, commenters above reminded me: On my flight home from Mallorca last month, I watched both Inside Llewyn Davis and The Monuments Men. Sort of a mini-John Goodman Festival!

AliasZ 10:37 AM  


The two of us can be proud of dragging the lofty proceedings in this here blog down to our level, and as you well know from past years, we alternate stepping on each other's toes. I don't mind it at all. When I see that you essentially repeat my thoughts, and vice-versa, at least we know we are both in the right neighbourhood. Don't forget that OMANI's an island, and I never MEHTA man or woman who did not appreciate your brand of humour.

So carrion, kumquat may.

To your Pilar (played by Katina Paxinou in the 1943 film), I give you soprano Pilar Lorengar (1928-1996) at the top of her vocal prowess in this performance of the beautiful Messe Solennelle, also known as the Saint Cecilia Mass by Charles Gounod (1818-1893). For once, the other soloists as well as the chorus, orchestra and conductor (not MEHTA!) on this recording, rise to her level and present this seldom-performed work in a well-deserved near-perfect performance. This Mass has been on my mind after I listened to my LP of this very recording just a few days ago. It's well worth a listen. Enjoy!

John V 10:38 AM  

Unless I missed it, it should be noted that CC has puzzles in the NYT and LAT on the same day. Brava!

Ludyjynn 10:38 AM  

Okay theme, easy-med Tues. for me.
Brought back a childhood memory of summer nights at Jersey Shore drive-in movies of the late '50s and early '60s. One eve. in particular, the whole family was primed and ready to enjoy "The Apartment" w/ Shirley Maclaine and Jack Lemmon, when the coming attractions/trailer for the latest Hitchcock film, "PSYCHO" filled the screen, scaring the hell out of everyone!

Also, my Dad turned me on to the late, great DJANGO Reinhardt at about that time. We would go to Korvette's (former discount dept. store in metro. NY area, named for its Korean War Veteran founders), and spend hours flipping through the seemingly endless racks of LPs, always finding a gem hidden among the more common albums. However, Tarantino's charm eludes me.

Some beautiful clues, noted above, esp. for a Tuesday. Thanks, ZB (or CC) and WS.

Two Ponies 10:40 AM  

Despite only knowing Psycho I managed with the only write over being soft A before schwa.

Carola 11:18 AM  

Clever! I enjoyed being faked out twice on the theme - at first I thought, "Yesterday B's, today P's?" (POWERPLANT, PREZ, PSYCHO, PROPOSE) and then "A random bunch of movies?" I should have known Ms. Burnikel had more in store. I got SILENT before the last movie title, and that got me KNIGHT. Very neat idea.

@loren - ODE to SCHWA!

@Alias Z - I read your last post to quickly and saw Messe Schnelle - and wondered who in heck wrote a fast mass. I must have those speedy Germans who ran circles around Portugal on the brain

Leapfinger 11:34 AM  

@AZ Writer,

I've always seen it as a ping-pong game: rather than going for the killer smash, the fun being in keeping the returns going.

Always thought your music was sacred territory for you, and the first time you pulled a pun into your link, it knocked my soxoff. A double kudo, btw, for yesterday's Benjamin Britten Billy Budd. I browsed, and enjoyed it even more than in previous exposures.

Thanks also for keeping U in my humour. I du hold fast to that; ain't no programmed Spellcheck gwine break that mould.

Just bear in mind that if U draga lacy train on the ground, U'll end up with a long song tattered.

Enuf 4 now; bootie really is calling -- I have a meeting and 6 days of heavy-duty pet-sitting ahead

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

I'm going to say it loud: I love Knight and Day. It's a terrific movie. Lots better than many fancy films. I fought and fought against liking Tom Cruise and what I thought were mindless movies. Turns out the joke was on me. Knight and Day had a terrific script, a lot of whimsy and charm; it's as well-edited as anything you'll ever see. It's flat out good. So was Jack Reacher for that matter.
I know I'll be shunned by all those with good taste, but that's OK. Ive got a lot of so-called bad movies to catch up on.

joho 11:42 AM  

@John V ... I just printed out the LAT puzzle and noticed that, too: Congrats C.C.!

mathguy 11:43 AM  

Enjoyed Rex comments very much today. If there was snark, I missed it.

I used to work for a man who had peanut butter and bacon on whole wheat toast for lunch every day.

For me, Tarantino needs great acting to make his films work, e.g. S L Jackson, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, etc. he didn't get it in Djago with De Caprio and Jamie Foxx. The last half hour was just a blood bath.

I've never liked De Caprio until Wolf if Wall Street. I would have given him the Oscar.

chefbea 11:46 AM  

@joho or anyone. can you send me the LAT puzzle. PDF version??

mac 11:54 AM  

Another hand up for alpha and rack. Hung my jacket on a coat tree just this morning!

I found this one easier than yesterday's, even though I have not seen three of the films. The titles did sound familiar.

Elegant and subtle theme.

mac 11:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 11:57 AM  

@Steve J - The SGMA has some interesting stats on participation. Soccer is on a par with baseball and birdwatching (although I've never seen a famous birdwatcher make a puzzle) for participation. The 19 MLS teams average 18,000+ per game, the EPL has a long term deal with NBCSports and every World Cup game is on ESPN. Compare this to say, the 2 to 3 million* people who go to an opera performance every year. I think the future is now.

*Discussing popularity and crossworthiness here, not cultural worth.

jdv 11:57 AM  

Easy. Really enjoyed it. Only misstep was EVICT before EJECT, but everything else was wheelhouse. Minimal grid detritus. Was able to get most of the long answers with only a few crosses in place. Kudos.

Steve J 12:08 PM  

@Z: The future may be closer than what I said, but I don't think it's now quite yet. Attendance has definitely shot up in the MLS, participation is high (but it's been high for at least 20 years), and coverage has expanded (I'm personally thrilled with the EPL coverage).

But in the US, TV rules the roost, and MLS - as well as other leagues - just don't get the contracts and viewership that even primarily regional sports like NHL and Nascar get. That's rapidly changing, but it'll still take some time when soccer gets the sort of viewership that, say, the NBA does.

That said, it'll be very interesting to see what the viewership ends up being for the World Cup this year. I pick up more and more casual interest every four years. The big challenge will be for soccer to avoid Olympics syndrome, where Americans care about swimming, track, skiing, etc. for 2-4 weeks and then forget about them for the next 204-206 weeks.

Masked and AnonymoUs 12:21 PM  

Always a pure pleasure to see CC, one of my fave constructioneers, headin up the daily word herd drive.
Loved the funky fill today, and always like movie-based themes. And a solid wranglin of weejects, of which BOL is my fave. Rodeo.

Thankfully, this puz was not prefect, so CC will need to saddle up and ride again. The strays:
* The U is almost silent.
* What is the MEHTA?
* NOON really should really be positioned much higher, to qualify as movie puz filler. Kinda like ZORRO was. Leavin SHARK near the bottom is a nice touch, tho.

@muse: har. Think I saw that flick. Called somethin like: "Djugband De-coati-ed".

@rain forest: Thanx & har back. Do not fear the runtpuz, my son/daughter. It is too small to harm the purity of essence of yer precious bodily fluids. Plus, it is newly syndicated, at

Speakin of runtz, just finished up my first "semi-themeless" runtpuz, here at runtshack central. Ground breakin stuff. Real clod pleaser. Be sure to look or "Four Square Corners", comin soon on this channel.

And to drink yer Ovaltine.


Numinous 12:24 PM  

@LMS, I love ə. Ever since I found out what it means in phonetic spellings.

I had no trouble with COATTREE but, then, I had enough crosses to get it instantly by the time I saw the clue.

Never heard of KNIGHTANDDAY or so I thought until I read @Rex and realized who was in it. I thought it was a pretty fun movie even if I didn't remember what it was called.

I don't really get Tarantino either though I usually enjoy his SplatFests. I had never heard of WRECKITRALPH and got it on crosses.

I always give lip (tongue) service to the "D" in words like Djerba so the SILENT reveal didn't really work for me. Also, as a point of not very much interest, in Elizabethan pronounciation, they still pronounced the "K" in words beginning with it as in K-nife or K-night. I have this k-nowledge because I taught how to speak Elizabethan for several years at the workshops for the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Agoura, the Southern California Faire site in the early years. So, in the back of my head, "K" is never silent.

On the subject of @Rex's carping: I've been doing some old Monday puzzles. I like a quick diversion and I'm still using the old Magmic app. As I go further and further back, I'm dong 2007 now, I'm finding the puzzles seem harder and have a lot less dreck fill. So, yes, I can see how it appears that the quality of puzzles seems to be deteriorating. I have to agree, whether I want to or not, with Rex; I think the older puzzles, on the whole, were better than they are now.

Congratulations to CC on having two puzzles published on the same day. I thought the other one was darn good too. It had me going and I only really got most of it from the Downs. Good job!

M and A Needs Help Desk 12:25 PM  

That last or should be for.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

I worked the puzzle last night so I have not used the NEW ipad NYT Crossword app yet! Looks like the archives are back to '96 and they fixed the "skip to the next clue" annoyance. Anyone use it yet?

Z 12:31 PM  

@Steve J - If USAIN BOLT can make the NYTX can XAVI be far behind?

@M&A - I was certain you were going to let Anon11:37 know s/he was not alone.

LaneB 12:34 PM  

Any puzzle I finish within a reasonable time is a "good" one. Despite SCHWA, GRE, OMANI, REMI, AERO--which were troublesome. Only needed google help with WRECKITRALPH? Lots of other easy stuff, however.

Richard 12:52 PM  

Regarding the suggestion to use "Jurgen Klinsmann" in a crossword, guess who just did this yesterday - BEQ, who is a big soccer fan. I am in a rush and did not have to read all the comments and I apologize if this was already mentioned by someone else.

Dawn 12:53 PM  

I hate the new ipad NYT app.

It feels like a confused gorilla designed the blocking of the different areas, just shoving them in anywhere till they fit!

Then the ACROSS and down clues, or DOWN and across clues of where youre working are enlarged smack in the middle, obscuring your line of vision.

ANON B 1:01 PM  

@loren muse smith @7:34AM I wasn't joking yesterday with
my remarks to Gil I.P.
I asked reasonable questions
in good English and got back
what I considered non-answers.

Benko 1:23 PM  

@Lewis: N
@ANON B: Isn't it funny how different people have different ideas about what constitutes "good English"?

M and Also 1:25 PM  

@Gill I.P. : That's what U get, girl, for talkin in puzzle-speak, around here. har.

@Z: Off in five minutes to see the new "Godzilla" flick, so am with 11:37-dude, at least in spirit.

Speakin of the Godzilla of all puzs...


Mark 1:29 PM  

@Dawn: I also find the new NYT app much worse than the old one in several ways. However, using a tip posted by someone else, I discovered that at least it's much more usable in portrait mode than it is in landscape.

Fred Romagnolo 1:31 PM  

@SteveJ: you cannot pronounce a "hard" j without making a "d" by putting your tongue against your upper palate, check the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Lewis 1:45 PM  

@benko -- bravo, you may be the only one!

ANON B 1:47 PM  

It would help if, when referring to a previous poster, the time
of the post were included.

r.alphbunker 2:03 PM  

@M and A

13A and 15A are pure runt!

OISK 2:08 PM  

Knew about Django only because it has been in the puzzle before, and I made a pun about how I needed my wife to help me - It takes two to Django. (probably not worth repeating!) Have seen Psycho, but none of the others - never heard of "Wreck it Ralph," or "Knight and Day." When the theme clues are meaningless, it does diminish the fun. Never saw the big Lebowksi either, but somewhere in my brain lurks the fact that Goodman was in it. Enjoyed the West Side Story reference. I wouldn't call Reno
"A gambling Mecca." I don't face Reno when I pray for a hard six. Vegas, Macao, maybe, but Reno is better known for divorces. Zubin Mehta's celebrity certainly extends far beyond the boundaries of classical music; he is not the "high culture" equivalent of Souljatellum !

Bob Kerfuffle 2:26 PM  

@M &A - Completed in 10:33 without any cheats. Didn't know 1 A or 7 A; 11 A I don't understand. But at least I got all the letters right!

Dawn 2:29 PM  


Bob Kerfuffle 2:34 PM  

@M&A - Wow! Looked again, now I *get it*! Not a brilliant puzzle as usual -- even more brilliant than usual!

Steve J 2:42 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo: You're correct, and it looks like I didn't state what I was saying clearly. I had interpreted the spelling explanation as there being a separate, distinct D sound, as in duh-zhan-go, which obviously isn't the case. The hard J sound isn't perceived by most speakers as having a distinct D, just like most people perceive I as being a single vowel sound, rather than a diphthong.

So, yes, from a pure phonetic standpoint, the D is pronounced. From the way most English speakers perceive it, it isn't. Everyone's right! And I've geeked myself out (and exceeded my posting quota) on this one.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

@Mark and @Dawn

Did not know you could do ipad app in "portrait" (or that it might be better than landscape)!

Gill I. P. 2:59 PM  

@ANON B...You no like my English? Maybe it's because to eres un come mierdita que vive en los atrasos de este siglo.
Oops sorry, I forgot my manners.

retired_chemist 3:17 PM  

Never saw any of the movies but PSYCHO, had heard of DJANGO UNCHAINED, the other two were mysteries managed with crosses until something that sounded OK as a movie title emerged.

Hand up for onesIE. Had ____ TREE - hat wouldn't fit so it had to be COAT. I have heard of COAT TREE as well as seen one - last time in the physical therapy clinic (rotator cuff repair) early this year.

About on a par with yesterday, so an easy-medium Tuesday. Nothing unfair, some nice answers.

Thanks, Ms. Burnikel.

retired_chemist 3:23 PM  

¡Bien dicho, Gill I.P.!

ANON B 3:37 PM  

@retired_chemist at 3:17PM
You think it was well said when she curses me in filthy Spanish?

loren muse smith 3:56 PM  

@Gil I.P. - I never have trouble understanding you, whatever the language, whatever the situation. It's people like you who add brightness and cheer to my day!

sanfranman59 4:17 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 7:53, 8:46, 0.90, 20%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:19, 5:21, 0.99, 46%, Medium

John Child 4:26 PM  

Spot in time for a Tuesday, but more fun than most. I absolutely loved [Jet fighter?] as a clue.

Miss Manners 4:30 PM  

@Anyone Picking on ANON B - We make a point of being polite to Anon B here. Nate's a nice old guy, and had just asked a question in an attempt to understand what Gil I.P said. You know, "I think what you said may have been interesting, but I didn't understand it. Could you please explain?"

No need to start jumping ugly on someone for trying to understand you.

ANON C 4:49 PM  

@Miss Manners at 4:30PM

Thanks a lot, FOR NOTHING!
I only speak English which is
apparently not your language
of choice.
I think I catch the cuteness
in your name. Very funny, NOT!

ANON B 5:33 PM  

@loren muse smith
You say you always understand Gill I.P. Then maybe you can explain her comment on yesterday's
puzzle at 12:19AM and her response
yesterday at 3:58PM after I asked her @1:21 to explain it.
And did she add brightness to your day with her filthy response
to me in Spanish today
at @2:59PM?

jae 6:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 6:10 PM  

Part of Tarantino's charm/humor lies in the conversations he devises that have nothing to do with the plot.  Think of the opening scene in the diner in Reservoir Dogs...Madonna, tipping...or the cheese burger discussion between Travolta and Jackson in Pulp Fiction...or the bar owner chewing out Bill's brother the bouncer in Kill Bill 2...  There might have been one around the dinner table at DiCaprio's plantation, but I've only seen DJANGO once so my memory is a tad hazy. 

Z 6:17 PM  

Sorry about reposting - Firefox is interacting wonky with Blogger so I moved to a different browser. Here is that 6:07 comment again (that I didn't delete or post anonymously)

@ANON B 5:33 - The comment, "Glad to see my two favorite rap groups: 'BELA BARTOK and the gossip BABES shtupping the POBOX and DEGAS ain't methane, he's my brother.'" was just a joke referencing an earlier spat over classical music vis à vis rap. Which is how I understood;
"Hi @ANON B:
I was just taking a piss at the RAP discussion the other day. You know, Rap vs Classical - yada yada.
Words fail me I guess!"

What I still don't understand was your reply to this;
"Thanks a lot, FOR NOTHING!
I only speak English which is
apparently not your language
of choice.
I think I catch the cuteness
in your name. Very funny, NOT!"

The all caps in your answer are widely understood to denote anger, and I could not understand last night what made you angry.

As for today's follow-up ....

M and A Godzilla Reviews 7:06 PM  

@BobK. Well done, figurin out my semi-themeless runtpuz's mehta. Wish I could afford a nice prize, for U.

@Lewis. Agree with @Benko... N. Neat slant, on this PPP.

@r.alph: yep. Hard to beat a good double-?? simile.

Peace on Earth, good will toward puz solvers.

GLAR = my great nephew's first word. He resides in a European country and is way less than a year old, so I'm willin to cut him some slack. Plus, sounds like HAR.

"Godzilla" was pretty neat -- 3.5 schlocky stars. Sudip Dutta was my fave name, from the credits.


loren muse smith 7:17 PM  

@M&A – utterly impressive feat! I think this was my favorite yet, but I had to cheat a bit, too. Loved the clue for 15A. Bravo!

@ANON B – Feel free to email me. My address is posted on my profile.

Lewis 7:37 PM  

PPP answer:

What SAG, LOATHE, PLANE, and PAST share is that they have one-word clues. The other one-word clue answer is KEEN, and so N is the correct answer.

Two Ponies 8:57 PM  

Us old timers all know that ANON B is really Nate. I find his confusion and frequent anger both puzzling and annoying. I'm not sure why he hangs around.

chefwen 9:42 PM  

On the other hand, @Gil I.P. - Love your new avatar!

ANON B 9:54 PM  

@Two Ponies at8:57PM

Have you read Miss Manners"s comment at 4:30PM?
P.S. Have you read the interchange between me and Gill I.P. over the last two days and still don't understand
my anger?

sanfranman59 2:51 AM  

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 6:36, 6:04, 1.09, 83%, Challenging
Tue 7:54, 8:46, 0.90, 20%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:26, 3:55, 1.13, 91%, Challenging
Tue 5:07, 5:21, 0.96, 34%, Easy-Medium

spacecraft 11:01 AM  

It's not only that recent movies suck (some do and some don't, as in any other era). It's the volume. Nowadays there are no more single theaters--or too few to mention. Ditto drive-ins. Now there are "multiplexes," gaggles of a dozen or more mini-theaters in one place. I don't know what possesses the owners of these establishments to jack their volumes up to a pain-inducing level; perhaps it's because with all this new "music" the emphasis is on loudness. We are generating a race of deaf people. If Gallaudet goes public, I am buying that stock for sure. So, no, I hardly ever go to movies any more.

Which means I didn't see any of these. Unable to make any connection, I, like @Steve J, put today's offering down as a themeless, very unusual for a Tuesday. Even after the revealer, the point was lost on me till I came here. Oh yeah, I guess they all DO start with SILENT letters. Shoulda gotten the heads-up from the SCHWA thing.

So, did I finish? Well, I filled all the squares in correctly, after the programmed COATrack w/o. But missing the theme? I think I at least need to add an asterisk before tossing it onto the "finished" pile.

Yet filling it in was no more than easy-medium for me. A lifelong Leonard Bernstein fan, I got the SHARK clue pretty fast; in fact that's what made me reject rack, in which case TREE was the only viable alternative. After that, all fell into place.

It is really hard to have this many three-letter entries without at least a few groaners, but Our Lady of the Exotic Name seems to have done it. I can even buy BOL because at least it's fresh. If I have to record a nit, it's this: it is a real stretch to call RENO a "gambling Mecca." Come on, now.

At last, by the fourth refresh, I got a captcha that was not solid black. In the dark gray dimness I could just make out 10260: the hat trick!

DMG 12:46 PM  

Heard of, actually seen, PSYCHO, but the others were total strangers, which luckily came from the crosses. So, I finished, but felt sure DJANGO...was wrong. Does it count when you don't know you've guessed the right letters? Also, I seem to be the only one who had theTREE part first, and confidently wrote BOOTTREE,corrected by ALITO. On to tomorrow.

Alas, Captcha is once again Photo Sphere.

Dirigonzo 3:08 PM  

I'm not a movie buff so titles, directors and actors/ACTRESSes always give me fits. Happily the crosswords did all the hard work so I'd call this a pretty good Tuesday offering. Nothing to LOATHE here - just move along.

No way to top @spacy's hat trick, so I'm outta here.

rain forest 3:21 PM  

Bit of a soap opera going on there in the house (yes @Diri-- I did read some of the commentary), while down here in the garage 5 weeks later, all is calm. Mostly.

I quite liked this puzzle. Had COATrack, like almost everyone else, but that river through Florence and KEEN left me in a logical cleft stick from which COATTREE was the only recourse. I knew three of the films (watched 2 of them), and figured out the point of the revealer.

In my syndi version of the puzzle, there is no title. Do the realtimers get to see a title? If so, I call FOUL.

Bloody Photo Sphere again. How does that stop robots?

Steve J 8:02 PM  

@rain forest: Nope, no titles in real time, except for Sundays. Rex just drops one in to attempt to succinctly describe the theme. But the puzzles themselves are blank.

I'm not sure if it would be better or worse to have titles. Some days it would give things away too easily; some days, I could really use a title to give a hint at what's going on.

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