Game similar to hide-and-seek / TUE 7-1-14 / Mass of crystallized magma / Reproach from Buckinghams, 1967 / Plea from Human League, 1982 / Reassurance from Beach Boys, 1964 / Encouragement from Journey, 1981

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: DON'T — songs that start with DON'T, at least a few of which you will have heard of:

Theme answers:
  • "DON'T BE CRUEL" (18A: Appeal from Elvis, 1956)
  • "DON'T WORRY BABY" (25A: Reassurance from the Beach Boys, 1964)
  • "DON'T STOP BELIEVIN'" (39A: Encouragement from Journey, 1981)
  • "DON'T YOU WANT ME" (52A: Plea from the Human League, 1982)
  • "DON'T YOU CARE" (64A: Reproach from the Buckinghams, 1967)

Word of the Day: RINGALEVIO (12D: Game similar to hide-and-seek) —
Ringolevio (also spelled ringalevio or ring-a-levio)[1] is a children's game which may be played anywhere but which originates in the teeming streets ofNew York City, and is known to have been played there at least as far back as before World War I.[a] It is one of the many variations of tag. It requires close team work and near-military strategy. In Canada, this game is known as Relievio. In Boston and Ireland in the 1960s, it was also called Relievio and is mentioned in Roddy Doyle's Booker prize-winning novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha and Bill O'Reilly's book, A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity. (wikipedia)
• • •

I have another DON'T for you—DON'T put RINGALEVIO (Whatever That Is) in a Tuesday puzzle if you want people to remember anything else about your puzzle. I've never heard of it. It googles terribly poorly. It is so patently, obviously, manifestly *not* a word for an easy, early-week puzzle that I have no idea WTF the constructor / editor was thinking here. If you had clued this as [Harry Potter spell used three times in "Harry Potter and the Temple of Doom"], I would've believed that at least as much as I believed this clue. I got every letter from crosses, though "well, *that's* wrong," and then finished the puzzle and Ding! it was right. So at least the crosses were fair, I guess, and the puzzle was certainly easy otherwise, so no real harm done, but sweet lord o'mercy that is nuts. Bananas. Just a magnificent error in calibration and judgment. On a Friday or Saturday, I can see throwing this answer at us. But Tuesday? Ha. The contrast between that answer and Every Other Answer In The Grid, in terms of familiarity, is bone-jarring. "DON'T YOU CARE" was unknown to me too, but at least those are recognizable words strung together.

Oh, I didn't know PLUTON either (8D: Mass of crystallized magma). Cool word, but not sure why it's here. It's not holding together a very good (or very hard to refill) section of the grid. AFC POR TIERRA and APPTS are all subpar. You have to really *love* PLUTON not to rewrite that whole area, and I can't really believe anyone loves PLUTON. PLUTO, sure. But not PLUTON. And then there's everything else, which was pap—child's play. Fast-as-you-can-write stuff. I did enjoy remembering the songs, mostly, and I guess the oversized grid gives us more bang for our buck, but with a theme that's just OK, that RINGALEVIO answer makes this thing a pretty badly wounded duck.

Hey, I do know "DON'T YOU CARE." Weird. Totally forgot about it. And now here it is. Cool.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:07 AM  

Easy for me, but the most current theme entry was from 1981 and it is the signature song for Glee.  So, when you can fill in the theme answers with no crosses it's bound to be easy.   Down side is " I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar" is running through my head.

WOEs:  @Rex bothPLUTON and RINGALEVIO which I didn't mind as much as Rex did.  The crosses after all were....

Liked the theme, fill was fine, nice one Gary.

SenorLynn 12:08 AM  

Easy, even with PLUTON. Enjoy seeing Justice Kagan & Margaret DUMONT, 2 ladies from very different times.
18:14, but no write-overs.

Moly Shu 12:18 AM  

Today, completely agree with @Rex. Got RING-a-whatever from the crosses and knew it wasn't right. Cept it was, hmmmm. Same with PLUTON, never heard of it, but it seems like a word. @RetiredChemist, can you confirm? Got the Human League song first, guessed the theme and went back and filled in the rest except for the Buckinghams. Didn't know it straight off, but recognize it now. I'm all for learning new things, even on a Tuesday, but understand if some don't like this amount of learning.

Liked KAPUT, reminds me of Saving Private Ryan. " the Statue of Liberty is KAPUT, that's disconcerting" Great propaganda. Also liked CANNONBALL.

Cool theme, nice puzzle.

Casco Kid 12:29 AM  

Medium challenging for a Tuesday here as none of the songs were gettable without most of the crosses. I suspect I've heard 'em all and can hum along, but the oft-stated radio dj habit of spinning disks without intros means names/groups will forever be disassociated from songs. Indeed, only Casey Kasem took the time to give names. Missing him already.

paul before MenA before MIRA.
Donor before DEBIT.
annA before HANA
AMtdue/exams before AMOUNT/TESTS


There was a lot not quite on the surface of memory, but dig-ably shallow: ARON, MYLAI, THEO, KEDS

Good Tuesday workout, a credit to constructor and editor. 29 min.

wreck 12:29 AM  

Very easy with the exception of RINGALEVIO and PLUTON, but like Rex said - very gettable crosses. All the songs were in in my wheelhouse.

chefwen 12:40 AM  

I am lousy at remembering song titles, so this skewed on the tough side for me. I am not even going to go into the RINGALEVIO/PLUTON mess, that's already been covered, nothing more needs to be said.

Can never remember if Mandlikova is a HANA or an anNA, chose incorrectly today, so that had to be fixed. Didn't remember DON'T YOU CARE, but I managed to finish. KAPUT has to be one of my least favorite words, Jon hears it frequently,in this climate everything goes KAPUT sooner than later. "Jon the TV just went KAPUT, we gotta go to Costco."

Good one Gary Cee, but I think I chipped a tooth on it.

Bureau of Absurd Requests 12:43 AM  

@retired chemist - I think this mole I've got on my butt, now oozing a pinkish goo, should be looked at and probably removed - Could you confirm? I could send video if necessary.

Anoa Bob 1:14 AM  

I don't know if I'm too old or not old enough. I only recognized the Presley "Don't". Maybe not hip enough.

Thought I was having a flashback to some youthful psychedelic romps when I saw RINGALEVIO. NFW!

I've done a CANNONBALL or three and it's not a "dive". A dive is head-first and to get a crowd pleasing kah-thunk, you gotta do your CANNONBALL ass-first.

If you're going to put MY LAI (23D) in your grid, then clue it properly. Clue it honestly. There are lots of LAIs in Vietnam which we've never heard of. MY LAI is remembered because it was the site of a massacre (Google it) that became a symbol of the Vietnam war and one of the reasons that those of us who served during that time took on a patina in the eyes of folks back home as "baby killers".

Better yet, just leave it out of your grid. And while you're at it, leave out ERN (19D) too.

Fearless Buller 1:57 AM  

"Life Advice to Rex from Bobby McFerrin"


Lee Coller 2:03 AM  

Not knowing Mira or Hana basically made two Naticks in a Tuesday puzzle!

Conrad 5:16 AM  

Oh, you youngsters! RINGALEVIO brought me back to my youth, when one of the neighborhood kids always wanted to play it. Only he didn't know the rules, and neither did anyone else. So we stuck to hide 'n' seek, tag, running bases and blind man's buff (which we incorrectly called "blind man's bluff"). Easy for me. I try to work a puzzle like this without reading the themer clues. I got DONTS at 39A and desperately wanted it to be DONTSTOPBELIEVING, but it didn't fit. I "got" the missing G from crosses.

bilbart 5:22 AM  

" that RINGALEVIO answer makes this thing a pretty badly wounded duck."

But not if you lived in my neighborhood. We played it all of the time. Of course, that was before you kids spent saturday mornings sitting in front of your new fangled TVs watching Sesame Street!

Troublemaker 6:26 AM  

I know! Let's start a blog for constructors who weigh in on this blog. It would be such a refreshing balance to Rex's negativism. Nah. I daresay they wouldn't waste their time responding to this little man and his numerous issues.

James Dean 6:27 AM  

Elvis middle name: it is spelled "Aron" on his birth certificate and "Aaron" on his tombstone at Graceland. Some in his family later claimed that tne birth certificate was a clerical error, others say hooey. And neArly everyone in Memphis has an opinion on the correct spelling.

Good to see tribute paid to the King and to the king of comedy in the same puzzle.

NYC Born 6:43 AM  

Rex, you grew up outside of NY. Anyone who grew up here knew this.

Growing up there you played Ringalevio along with Johnny on a Pony, Man-Hunt (derived from Ringalevio)and the extremely brutal games: Hot Beans (hiding a belt and whipping anyone off-base), freeze(also called Statues) and Knucks or knuckles (card game where loser gets hit with full deck on knuckles and arm.)

At least Ringalevio didn't result in many injuries. When you "caught someone you had to hold them for three "Ringalevio one-two-threes."

TokyoRacer 6:57 AM  

Ringalevio was easy for me. I guess you have to be a certain age (I'm 67). And maybe from NY, as per the comment above, although I just assumed kids everywhere played it. Aside from tag, which is just too simple, Ringalevio was the main outdoor running-around game that kids played. I guess kids don't play those kind of games out of doors anymore. Too bad.

loren muse smith 6:57 AM  

It's very rare I can anticipate the Word of the Day, but not today. Like Rex, I thought it had to be wrong, too. Also, I had "proton" for a while; I had filled in "A _ a" for the Jaguars' group, and hat Elvis song, the most knowable for me, took a while to show up. In addition, a book's FOLIO is something I really don't understand enough to throw around in a conversation, so that one took a bit.

Yesterday we had YUPPIE FLU. Today we have WASP. We don't seem to hear either acronym much anymore, huh?

I agree with @Anoa Bob - CANNONBALL isn't a dive. I spent about half my pool time on the diving board, and I would categorize the ways to hit the water "jump," "dive," and "belly/back buster." A can-opener girl myself, I never understood or embraced the art of the CANNONBALL. Is it designed to make a big splash, too?

The thing that struck me most today was the deft cluing. DON'T BE CRUEL, DON'T WORRY BABY, and DON'T STOP BELIEVING are all imperatives. Period. DON'T YOU WANT ME and DON'T YOU CARE feel like questions, but the way the last two are clued, they totally work. Appeal, reassurance, encouragement, reproach, plea. Cool.

But I was surprised to see ONE clued as a song, too. Hmmm.

@Numinous – I was pleased that your themers yesterday weren't symmetrical. We Runt Renegades have to flout convention! Unchecked squares, two-letter desperation entries, ?? clues. . .but I do like your second grid better. @M&A – excellent job yesterday. Your clues for 14D and 17D were great, but I still don't understand 12A. Call me an 18A. . .

So, Gary – I enjoyed this one. And I'm going to look in to the rules for RINGALEVIO – about to spend 10 days in Maine with some nieces and nephews. . .

Nighthawk 7:12 AM

If you grew up in the 50's and 60's, had a draft number, watched the last helicopter leave the Saigon embassy roof, and saw Nixon resign, this book, first published in 1972, probably would have been on your reading list, and recognizable in today's puzzle.

Miles Monroe 7:27 AM  

Ringalevio is like the line in Woody Allen's Sleeper: "a man named Albert Shanker got hold of a nuclear warhead."

If you are from NYC, you get it.

This is the NY Times Crossword.

RAD2626 7:53 AM  

Growing up in New Haven, pretty sure we called it Ringolario which of course won't work with the Beach Boys or Elvis songs so quite a bit of consternation since the R-I-N-G-I-O all worked.

ugANDA also caused brain cramp for DRNO but all worked out over time. Just like for Germany against Algeria.

Nice puzzle. Sang all the songs as I filled them in.

Glimmerglass 7:56 AM  

Re RINGALEVIO and PLUTON: these are okay for a Tuesday puzzle if (and only if) the crosses are easy. Even a beginning solver (maybe especially a beginner) can find satisfaction in working out an unfamiliar word from crosses -- and maybe learn something in the process. That's sort of the whole point of doing crosswords. I liked today's theme, but where was Bob Dylan's DON'T THINK TWICE (it's all right)?

Mohair Sam 7:59 AM  

Once again Will Shortz fails to check the "Nouns I Don't Know List" from Rex Parker, and causes @Rex terrible discomfort. Shape up Will.

As @Miles Monroe said "this is the NY Times crossword" after all, and RINGALEVIO is an old NYC street game. NYT Puzzles are sprinkled with NYC-isms (think of the frequent Yiddish terms and slang). If you didn't know RINGALEVIO the crosses were Tuesday easy - and the rest of us struggled with PLUTON and thanked the easy crosses there. So we're square.

MYLAI a bit of a jolt in the crossword. Double jolt when I found that our kids (at least the two visiting) had never been taught about it. Sad.

r.alphbunker 8:03 AM  

Nice one-rant review.

A new multi-rant runtpuz inspired by @Numinous's unchecked squares came into the world last night.

AliasZ 8:19 AM  

At 1A I wanted PFFFT but didn't think three F's were allowed so I went with KAPUT instead.

DON'T Let Me Down
DON'T Go Breaking My Heart
DON'T Know Much
DON'T Close Your Eyes
DON'T Fear the Reaper

While this song title doesn't strictly follow the pattern, it is well worth a listen.

PLUTON is the smiling planet that was downgraded to a planetoid and whence PLUTONium comes. DON'T you remember the classic song PLUTON, a Happy Face?

CANNONBALL Adderley does some fancy Jive Samba here, to the rhythm of Brazil.


PS. RINGALEVIO, shmingalevio. Still a fine Tuesday puzzle. Thanks Gary.

EdFromHackensack 8:26 AM  

I am 55 from NYC, this was in my wheelhouse. Super easy. Played ringalevio a ton as a kid. I knew all the songs except Don't You Care - I will youtube it later, I may remember it. Did not know PLUTON but the crosses were easy enough. Is CANNONBALL a dive? Thought it was more of a jump. Small nit, great puzzle Gary.

joho 8:31 AM  

Nice musical theme with a good beat, easy to dance to!

Along with the theme answers we also have LIL Wayne, Bob Marley's "ONE Love,"
Elvis's middle name, ARON and OLDIE. Plus MEL Brooks can sing!

@Fearless Buller, love DONTWORRYBEHAPPY!

@Conrad, what? It's not Blind Man's Bluff???

I think it would have been better to just have ONCE ONCE and leave out the ERST.

I didn't know RINGALEVIO either but the crosses were more than fair so nice, I learned something.

I enjoyed it, Gary Cee, thank you!

Sir Hillary 8:34 AM  

I am hard pressed to remember an entry in any puzzle that is more of an outlier relative to the rest of the entries than RINGALEVIO is today. But given how fairly (and easily) it can be sussed with crosses, it's a curiosity, not an offense or error in anyone's judgement.

If there's an dodgy cross in this puzzle, it's PLUTON/HANA -- a harder-than-Tuesday physical science term and a tennis player from 30 years ago.

All in all, I enjoyed this one. It was fun humming all the songs, although I agree with those who say it would have been nice to have something of a more recent vintage than early in the Reagan administration.

But for those who didn't care for today's offering, may I suggest a song involving a different Buckingham: "Don't Stop"...thinkin' about tomorrow.

Arlene 8:34 AM  

Yes - I knew RINGALEVIO (I'm of a certain age growing up in NYC.) Never played it. But I know you shout RINGALEVIO RINGALEVIO HOME FREE when you somehow evade being tagged.

I don't know songs - could appreciate the DONTs, but only knew Elvis. No problem filling in the rest, but it wasn't a stroll down memory lane for me.

chefbea 8:34 AM  

Tough puzzle for a Tuesday. I knew ringalevio. Did not know Bana or Mylai. And why is an art house film...indie?

Susan McConnell 8:36 AM  

Things that made me nearly laugh-snort my coffee: Rex's first line, and @Mohair Sam's first line. Bahahahahaha!

Joseph Welling 8:41 AM  

So people who know RINGALEVIO, is it similar to Hide 'n' Seek other than it being a children's game? Everything I read says it's a tag variant.

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

The old phrase "learn something new every day" ca be true of crosswords and that's one of the reasons to do them. I think Rex doesn't want to learn anything new until Thursday at the earliest. The crosses were so straightforward that it was a pleasure to learn a couple of new words - RINGALEVIO will be hard to use in daily conversation, but I'm going to try dazzle friends with PLUTON.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Got ringalevio easily with only ring... Never played it but remember Ed Norton mentioning it on The Honeymooners. Stuck on Pluton.
Does anyone else here attempt Mondays using only the across clues? Finished it 4 times now.

Z 8:45 AM  

Not that he ought to need to be explained to this group, but Rex pretty clearly stated that the issue with RINGALEVIO was that it does not fit in a Tuesday puzzle. Apparently if you are oldish or more and grew up in NYC or nearby this word was easy. For the rest of the NYT solving population (i.e. the vast majority of solvers) it was a "that can't be right." I double checked every cross to verify, and, since my paper doesn't "ding" when I get the puzzle right, double checked again when I got to Rex. So, still an easy puzzle but RINGALEVIO smacks of a certain level of NYC parochialism.

If we, as a country, learned one thing from Vietnam, it is that no matter how much one disagrees with our involvement in a war, do not blame our troops for the idiocy of our leaders. I was very young, but My Lai still resonates with me as what can happen in combat zones.

L 8:54 AM  

Two things I love about this puzzle: Memories of ringalevio (I was only hung up for a second by the spelling) and the Kojak reference. In the 70's, ringalevio is what kids played on the block. This was not a hard clue for anyone who grew up in NYC. And now I'm left wondering why, with all the garbage reruns on TV filling all those endless hours of cable TV programming, are there no reruns of Kojak (or Barney Miller for that matter)?? Every time I take my son for a haircut and I help myself to the free tootsie pop, I say "who loves ya, baby?". And no one knows what I'm talking about .

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

@chefbea - indie is short for independent producers, as opposed to a major studio release.

mathguy 9:10 AM  

Before I was allowed to leave the block and go to the playground to play ball, we played games where we chased each other all around the block. The rules were vague and the game continued until everybody went home. Never heard of RINGALEVIO here on the West Coast, neither has my wife who grew up on the Mean Streets.

chefbea 9:13 AM  

@Anon 9:00 thanx

Unknown 9:23 AM  

I got a kick from RINGALEVIO...played it on what was once called a 'play street' in the Bronx....older kids 'knew' the followed them if you wanted to play.. Thanks Mr Cee.

Lewis 9:27 AM  

Count me as one who never heard of RINGALEVIO, not even sure how to pronounce it, but, as Rex said, the crosses are fair. Nice, I think, to add this to my knowledge, but agree with Rex that it's not a Tuesday word. I was a bit taken aback to see My Lai in the puzzle; for me, it's still too soon.

Nice Tuesdayish theme and a little crunch to the solve, so I enjoyed the solve. Nice start to this week.

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP™): You can place one answer right after another to make a third word. What is it? If you wish to post an answer, so as not to give it away, just write the sum of the two answer numbers.

I'll post the answer later in the afternoon.

jyocum3 9:29 AM  

Saying RINGALEVIO is legitimate for this puzzle because it's a NYT puzzle and this game was played in NYC is a load of crap. The NYT puzzle is done by more people from outside of New York than people who live in New York. Makes me just as annoyed to see obscure Yiddish words/phrases (and the phrase "obscure Yiddish *anything*" is a tautalogy to me). Give me German, Spanish or French (or hell, even Latin!) any day over Yiddish.

I know this is a little harsh but I'm really looking forward to the new generation of crossword puzzle constructors to start moving in and kicking the previous generation out. Then maybe I can finally stop seeing so many references from the 50s-60s when my parents were kids barely old enough to remember some of this stuff.

Carola 9:33 AM  

The ONE OLDIE I knew was DON'T BE CRUEL, so this was on the hard side for me - had to get the other titles as well as PLUTON and RINGALEVIO from crosses.

Quite a collection of first names today: ELENA, MIRA, HANA, LIL, IRA, LES, ALMA, ARON, MEL, THEO.

Woodsman from Bar Harbor 9:33 AM  

I get a kick out of what a fool Rex looks like after everyone else points out how little he knows. Especially after one of his rants about how unfair Will is for including words the rest of the world takes for granted. Boohoo, Rex.

@LMS Hope you'll get a chance to visit Acadia while you're in Maine. A phenomenon not be missed!

Laurence Katz 9:35 AM  

Isn't part of the joy of doing crosswords discovering new words? Ringalivio may be obscure (unless you grew up playing it in the streets of NYC, like I did), but it's a wonderful word. And easily gettable from the easy across answers. Can't imagine it stymied many Tuesday solvers.

lawprof 9:38 AM  

I don't have a problem with obscure words in early-week puzzles, as long as they're gettable from the crosses, as was the case today. In fact, they make the puzzle SEEM more difficult when, in fact, it's not. So they provide an added level of satisfaction to the solve.

This one contained not one but two of my least favorite examples of croswordese: ERN and ALOE. (I still don't know whether the latter is pronounced with two or three syllables, and I refuse to look it up). Years ago we had an aloe plant in our atrium. I remember that when you snapped off one of those branch/leaf thingies, it smelled like turkey. Like turkey that had something wrong with it.

jberg 9:41 AM  

For some reason I wanted RINGALErIO--is that a song, maybe? or with 'ario'? But DON'T STOP BELIEVIN fixed that.

Let me echo @Joseph Weller, though -- hide and seek, per NYT, or tag, per Wiki?

Embarrassing things about this puzzle:

1) Relating all too much to 53D,

2) Not noticing that the theme asnwers all started with DON'T.

I'm with @Anoa Bob. Different order of magniture, of course, but no one would clue Auschwitz as 'World War II site."

War crimes aside, this puzzle raises deep philosophical questions. Growing up, I played in the street. That was Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, a city of 7,000. But growing up in an inner-city neighborhood of Boston, my kids played in the street, too. If my son and his wife let my grandchildren play in the street, they'd risk arrest for child neglect. I don't think the objective conditions have changed that much -- it's our attitudes.

On the other philosophical question, I'd never heard of the street game, but I think it's fine for the New York Times to have New York specialties in its puzzle.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

@casco kid. Les Paul is in soooo many puzzles - totally overused crosswordese - he should not be new to you anymore. I appreciate you are working at improving. Maybe after you finish you should go back and re-read the clues and answers once or twice and try to commit more to memory.

John V 10:08 AM  

Liked the theme idea, got Naticked with the BANA/DONTSTOPBELIEVIN cross; thought the CAP count a bit high. Gary Cee has done many wonderful puzzles; I think he's done better. APPTS/PLUTON cross seems off the mark for Tuesday, as per @Rex.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 10:16 AM  

A real hoot, learnin about PLUTON and that big R-word.
Elvis also had a great fifties song called DON'T. In which he plead, "Darlin don't say don't", as I recall.

Songs were goin all chronological, til they hit the Buckinghams. Kind of a Drag.

Am inspired to do a puz with song title themers that start with PLUTON. "Pluton the Ritz"... hmmm... ok. done.

Thanx for the fun, Gary Cee. DO some more, please.


wreck 10:16 AM  



Bob Kerfuffle 10:16 AM  

@r.alphbunker - Tried your runtpuz, couldn't do it. Failed because (a) I may be too politically correct, and (b) [can't say what it is, would give too much away.]

Kim Scudera 10:20 AM  

Thanks, @AliasZ, for that link to the CANNONBALL Adderley "Jazz Samba"!

Enjoyed the puzzle in average Tuesday time. Loved KAPUT, FOLIO and yes, PLUTON and RINGALEVIO. I grew up just north of NYC in the sixties, and never heard of it. We played a version of Statues, THO, that we called "Mysterons." Had to be played at night, because the core concept was that we ran around until a car came by, and if you got hit by the BEAM of the headlamps you had to drop to the ground and be attended by a medic, which usually involved a lot of punching and slapping. Big fun, actually.

Thanks, Mr. Cee, for a good puzzle!

dk 10:23 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 MOONS)

We of the crystallized magma league are, at present, voting to eject PLUTON for excessive RINGALEVIOing. PLUTON's apparent lack of structure is causing chaos…. but wait if you look closely.

The whole DONT thing made this one a breeze along with the oft referenced NY upbringing and a passing interest in Chaos Theory.

quilter1 10:26 AM  

Ditto on RINGALEVIO and PLUTON but otherwise easy for me.

Kim Scudera 10:31 AM  

@Lewis: 48

Two Ponies 10:42 AM  

Fun musical puzzle. I can hum every song in the theme. Thanks Gary.
Had me wondering if that game was right but I was sure of the crosses so came here find out what it was. I like learning something in an early week grid.

thursdaysd 10:53 AM  

Rex, you grew up outside of NY. Anyone who grew up here knew this.


If you are from NYC, you get it. This is the NY Times Crossword.

Yes, it's the "New York" Times, but it is NOT a local paper. It is at least national if not international. And sells itself as such. The crossword should not require such local knowledge, certainly not so early in the week.

I also have a problem with FOLIO. It is not a "leaf", it is folded to create multiple leaves.

chefbea 11:05 AM  

@LMS Yes definitely don't miss Acadia...and of course you must eat lobster every day!!!

AliasZ 11:06 AM  

@Lewis, I found three: 47, 48, 100

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Cannonball is also a song, by the Breeders. Super catchy tune, which you can hear on Giant Corporation's TV commercials.

OISK 11:17 AM  

Perhaps the non-New York crowd who get the actual newspaper has noticed that the ballet reviews are mostly of NY companies? The theatre reviews are mostly Broadway? The opera discussions are mostly The Met? Same section as the puzzle, The Arts. Ringalivio might be inapt in the LA Times crossword, but it certainly has a place in New York's newspaper. However, it is NOT like hide and seek at all. The game that resembles it somewhat is "Capture the Flag." We played Ringalivio in summer camp, where it was enjoyable to be "captured" by an attractive member of the opposite sex.
Although I am 68, the song references were (except for Elvis) complete mysteries to me. Never heard of the songs, and never heard of three of the groups. Seems to me that if one is using pop-song based themes, one should avoid them in the rest of the fill. Elvis's middle name (although it is common crossword fodder), Lil Wayne, Bob Marley, Les Paul (someone I know!!) are a few too many.

7 minutes, about right for a Tuesday, and a nice puzzle, especially if those old songs are meaningful to you. (but not for me…)

Bill C 11:19 AM  

Why not start a blog for people who read and comment on blogs they don't like? appears available.

Fred Smith 11:24 AM  

@thursdayd --

"...NYT national if not international..."

NYT is indeed international. It even puts out an edition now called "The International New York Times. When I lived in Paris MANY moons ago (late '70s) it was the International Herald Tribune.

thursdaysd 11:32 AM  

"Perhaps the non-New York crowd who get the actual newspaper has noticed that the ballet reviews are mostly of NY companies?" etc.

Perhaps you haven't noticed that crossword subscriptions are now sold separately from the actual newspaper?

Lewis 11:40 AM  

@wreck, @kim, @aliasz -- There is more than one solution, and bravo to you, as your answers are correct. Triple bravo to @aliasz.

Yours are the three most common answers. @R.alph actually found an additional five! But not so common.

Jisvan 11:45 AM  

I am sorry to have missed playing RINGALEVIO, which I thought was going to be RINGALingO for awhile, and maybe involve some sort of wordplay... Now there's a game waiting to be invented!
I too have wondered about the relative inactivity of kids today versus all the generations before them. I guess it is the thought of potential danger outside vs glittering safe-ish electronica inside that is swinging the tide.
No one should forget MYLAI. I almost had before today's puzzle.

jerry k 12:01 PM  

Those of us from East New York Brooklyn know of ringalevio. When it comes to schadenfreude, we have to figure it out via the down clues. (sigh).

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

It's been a long time since my last failure to finish a Tuesday. RINGALEVIO was only part of the problem (I never heard of it -- never will). Also, again, two many Naticks caused by proper nouns and network abbreviations. There was some joy in seeing all the admonitions or queries (DONT . . .) but the rest was a thankless slog.

Charley 12:11 PM  

Rigalevio, one two three. From the days when kids played outside instead of staring at a screen.

Andrew Heinegg 12:17 PM  

I see that nearly everyone is taking sides on the ringalevio business. I am from Brooklyn and I did not remember the game, perhaps because our neighborhood played a lot of stickball with sewer covers as home plate and maybe second base. I think it is a bit of a stretch to compare knowing about street games to being aware of the Metropolitan Opera or Broadway plays. The one only requires that you read and are at least somewhat culturally aware. The other requires that you would have lived in NYC a half century or so. It is not an equivalent standard. But, the crosses gave it to you, sooooo , why complain?

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

WHoever does not know DONTSTOPBELIEVIN' has had their head in the sand the past 30 years!

RnRGhost57 12:34 PM  

Grew up on a farm in southern Ohio and never heard of RINGALEVIO until today. Nonetheless, it was easy enough to cipher out from the crosses.

As for the songs, I'm a second-stage baby boomer (born in '57; those of us boomers who were born 1956-64 and thus were too young to go to Woodstock or have a draft card are sometimes called "generation jones"--Obama is one) but everyone of these tunes were familiar.

It's always interesting to see how factors such as generation, education, professions, and hobbies account for different wheelhouses.

Leapfinger 12:35 PM  

@Bureau of the AbSurd: Loved that, bloody well exudated. Remind me to watch my words around you. Whoever you are.

@Amuse: Only ONE song? Y'know, ONE is a rarely-used anesthetic. Remember, ONE Is the Loneliest Number...

@AliaSZ. thought for sure that we'd begetting LIL Pons; fooled me twice!

So July is up ONUS, and this UNTIDY SENIOR loved the opener, yes INDIE'd. Despite being given 16 free squares, the further I went, the LES HOSTEL I became. Allow me to be different, and mention two entries that are being sorely overlooked.
1. PLUTO-N is #14 in the series of dwarf planets.
2. Dang NYCentrists!. I grew up in Montreal (not a NYC suburb...yet) and never heard "Relievio", only RING-A-LEVIO. One more instance of DON'T believe everything you read in Wiki.

re the theme:
Nice to see ELVISH back in the building, but now I'm sitting here with 'DON'T YOU WANT ME Baybee, DON'T YOU WANT ME, Ooo-ooo?' coursing up my brainstem. How long before my whole brain liquifies?

Had to slow down, visualize Margaret with her impressive frontage in order to get from DUMas to DUMONT, but lots of little touches were there to delight:

*AROSE is AROSE is AROSE: I always enjoy noting that, unlike L.A.L.A., there is no Gertrude SteinStein there there.
*A Fish Called RWANDA: ONE of the funniest films ever.

The Nicest Touch of All: DON'T YOU CARE is clued as 'REproach from the Buckinghams', while the Marble ARCH was designed (John Nash, 1827) as the APproach to Buckingham Palace. For some reason, the entire triptych was relocated in 1851, so now it seems to be a free-standing approach to nowhere.

Had good fun with this, and agree with those who feel MY LAI needs remembering, with several lessons to be learned.

Cee's the day, y'all!

Master Melvin 12:35 PM  

Gee, I feel kind of sorry for all the deprived children who never played RINGALEVIO. Think of it as a kind of team version of tag.

Now I'm ready for a bracing game of stoop ball - except I haven't lived in a house with a stoop in front of it for decades.

DON'T stop thinking about tomorrow.

RnRGhost57 12:36 PM  

@Nighthawk, the link to the Grogan book is much appreciated.

OISK 12:47 PM  

@anonymous 12:21 I don't know "Dontstopbelieven, and have never heard of "Journey", didn't know such a group existed until now. Why some people assume that those of us who avoid rock, rock and roll, hip-hop etc - have "our head in the sand", I don't know. Surely it is a matter of taste, isn't it?

The Times puzzle has been included in the International Herald Tribune for as long as I can remember - it was a morning ritual for me during my very frequent European vacations - but it always had a certain New York prejudice. I like Mr. Heinegg's post. Ringalevio was solvable from the crosses, and probably elicited a smile from most New Yorkers of my age, just as the songs were amusing to those who listened to them occasionally. I don't enjoy the pop-rock- references, but they certainly are fair game for the Times puzzle; I get annoyed only when the puzzle is overly laced with them. (There was even the name of a rapper in my beloved Sunday double crostic last weekend, alas…)

Benko 12:47 PM  

I find it sort of ironic that many of the people defending RINGALEVIO's inclusion don't spell the word correctly in their posts. I guess it really is difficult, even if you know it!

Leapfinger 1:17 PM  

@Benko, d'you suppose this puzzle was shilling foe ALEVE, just as some seem to shill for Apple, Ford or Microsoft?

@Lewis, eight total per @r.alph? MIRAbile dictu! I found two of the common ones (47 & 48), decided to be magmanimous and not consider INC PENN. An unnecessary redundancy, in any event, but certainly in common use in some parts.

Doc John 1:22 PM  

I actually knew RINGAEIVIO. Growing up in South Florida, there was a business on the west side of I-95 in Hollywood or Dania that actually used it as its tagline, featuring it prominently on its building (although it was spelled differently). It turned out that the father of a kid down the street owned the business and I asked him what it was. He explained it to me but I still couldn't figure out why he used it as a tagline. Ah, the things that stick in our memories!

ANON B 1:33 PM  

I grew up in Newark in the 1930's and ringalevio jumped right
out at me.

Benko 1:34 PM  

@leapfinger: Or else they just hate Ringo.

Magmanimous 1:39 PM  

Fine. I've never played stickball or stoopball or RING&etcetera, but I've read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and Wouk's "The City Boy" and "East River". If we absorb and consider only what we experience personally, we're standing in grave danger of impoverishing ourselves.

Blue Owl 1:54 PM  

Folks--don't talk "parochialism". This is, after all,
a paper from the NEW YORK Times. I remember playing RINGALEVIO, teaching in NYC public schools where most teachers were Jewish (Hence, Yiddish). Also, we really enjoyed the "Albert Shanker" reference. Liked the songs, too. Got all the long answers quickly---what stopped me was the short:
HANA, DRNO, Jaguar group and PLUTON.

ANON B 1:56 PM  

I grew up in Newark,NJ in the
1930's and ringalevio jumped
right out at me.
I just looked it up in the
on-line dictionary. They spell
it ring a lieveo.
We just played it, we didn't
spell it.

LaneB 2:15 PM  

Agree that RINGALEVIO And PLUTON were offputting and toughened the puzzle considerably, but the song titles filled easily and allowed me to finish contentedly. Wold have hated to DNF a Tuesday. Now if we can just beat the Belgians...

joho 2:23 PM  

What I remember is, "One ringy-dingy, two ringy-dingy ..."

foxaroni 2:47 PM  

Jimmie Rodgers, who sang "Honeycomb" and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" (among others), had a minor hit in the late '50s with "Ring-A-Ling-A-Lario." Growing up in Kansas, that's the closest I can come to RINGALEVIO.

I knew all the songs. After 30 years in radio, it finally paid off (!).

PLUTON was a new one, though.

Casco Kid 2:56 PM  

@Anonymous 10:05

Thanks for the pointer. I believe this is the first LES Paul I've seen, so I doubt it has appeared in the past 14 mo at NYT. But it certainly sounds like crosswordese. Duly noted.

Z 2:57 PM  

@Blue Owl and all you other native New Yorkers - See definition 3. Peruse the comments and you will see that they support the criticism that RINGA whatever is a parochial answer. It also seems that you all grew up in a fairly violent environment. Where I grew up we didn't play a single game that involved inflicting pain on our friends.

@OISK - the "head in sand" comment is one of jealously, I think. Journey was everywhere in the late 70's/ early 80's. Glee, like a mad doctor raising a zombie from the dead, then made their music popular again. I even have to listen to them on occasion at Tiger games (one of their songs refers to "south Detroit"). I owned their first album, my only excuse being that I was young then.

M and Moreso 2:58 PM  

*** r.alph runtpuz spoiler alert zone***

@r.alph: Primo work. M&A had trouble cuz the online solver dealy wouldn't accept a check, for some reason. I get that a lot, at other places, too. Go figure.

7-A: The desperation was palpable and excellent.
9-A: depends.
10-A: Feisty clue. Runtly in its magnificence.
2-D: Well-deserved double-??.

Show Time: 16:09. Put up a fight. Lost valuable nanoseconds on gettin my checks converted over to just C's.

First entry in: 16-D.
Last enrty in: 9-A/2-D intersection.
Fave weeject: 4-D. Mainly cuz of its clue, which was almost an entire bedtime story, unto itself. (Wanted TP.)
Decent U-count, btw.


***End of spoiler alert DMZ area***

r.alph has in turn inspired M&A. So, this is pretty much all his fault...

Ray J 3:02 PM  

Just heard on the radio that today is RWANDA’s Independence Day (from Belgium). Nice timing.

Lewis 3:22 PM  


The three commonly used answers (thank you Ralph for two I didn't see) are TITLES, PORTENT, and CRUMBLES.

In addition, Ralph found THOLES, PENNONE, and AMOLES, which are indeed actual words.

He also suggested LES ETATS clued as _____ unis. But even though it can appear as a single word in a puzzle, I believe it is two words (but I'm certainly open to being convinced otherwise). And finally, he suggested SOLARBIKE, which is a solar bicycle company in Austrailia. Ralph is one who leaves no stone unturned!

@leapfinger -- INCPENN and "unnecessary redundancy" made me laugh.

jdv 3:25 PM  

Medium. I think everyone here enjoys learning new words from crosswords, but if you're racing against the clock on a Monday or a Tuesday, you don't want to see RINGALEVIO or PLUTON. I thought for sure I had multiple errors, which forced me to spend an extra 20-30 seconds checking all the crosses. The rest of the puzzle was great; it was a very smooth solve, until it wasn't. Never heard of Margaret DUMONT.

Leapfinger 3:29 PM  


Hah! Came up empty till 13D, 14D filled in, then clambered my way back up to the top, was fairly enthused.

You sure had the heartbeat of that elf, but the palette on 11A gave me some lip

Bob Kerfuffle 3:46 PM  

@M&A - Very prudent of you to have blamed r.alph in advance!

Once you have abandoned all rules (clue for 9 A, g. e.), I'm afraid I can no longer follow.

I believe my brain is trying to tell me to take the summer off!

wreck 3:52 PM  

If you have Solar Bike - you should allow Wasp Tent!

wreck 3:59 PM  

.....or Senior Nurse

Last Silver Pluton 4:16 PM  

@BobK: Mea Culpa, dude.
M&A really shoulda checked his clues better, for that last offering.
If it's any consolation, there is only one "daring experiment" runtpuz left to go, in this epic, universally questionable series.
Then back to "normalish" (after another upcomin road trip).

U-S-A. U-S-A.


sanfranman59 4:55 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 7:33, 8:33, 0.88, 17%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:09, 5:21, 0.96, 36%, Easy-Medium

Magma-nimous 5:18 PM  

Caution: Spoilers [sorta] Ahead!!

@r.alph, nicely cryptic, good that you didn't have any slow vacs and only a suggestion of slow veenes.

Didn't mix up that MIT grad quite enough at first, and thought that 'hOppy hour' would call for an O in the answer.

Thought 5A could be indecision or greed as well as flexibility, but 2D gets the Iron Cross on all counts; a fine self-referential.

Like The Man says, I had a DAY-um time with the SE square, ie, thought a DAY is more of an occurrence than t'other. But both corners looked good filled in, even tho the establishment was only accepting cash and credit cards.

Tout sweet.

Zeke 5:27 PM  

I wonder what the Venn Diagram of the two sets:
a) People who are sniping at Rex for complaining about RINGALEVIO
b) People who complain about rappers with funky-ass names.
looks like.

I'm betting the overlap is pretty significant.

carol 5:38 PM  

I would say that Troublemaker is the little man (assuming gender) with numerous issues. Why would someone who doesn't like a website continue to read the website? Here's an idea: stop reading this blog.

retired_chemist 6:28 PM  

Nice puzzle. Vaguely had heard of RINGALEVIO but not PLUTON. Fair theme, decent fill.

Won't make my memory book for the year but a nice divertissement.

Anonymous 7:38 PM  

Ann C
I was raised in the Bronx and I remember playing Ringalevio in the street. Those were the best times!

Lewis 9:35 PM  

@wreck -- You are right and those are good answer IF we had "solar bike", but what Ralph found was SOLARBIKE, the brand name of a bicycle made in Australia. I don't think Will would allow it in a puzzle, though -- it's just not widely known, I believe.

Numinous 10:38 PM  

to be honest,@leiws, almost nothing Australian is widely known.

Here, mate, have a Tim Tam or a Jaffa.

Numinous 10:40 PM  

sorry, @Lewia

Benko 11:34 PM  

Ha! @Zeke--I thought the same thing. I bet the whole diagram can fit into a bigger circle--old white people.

michael 11:35 PM  

Ringalevio was at the very edge of my brain; pluton was news to me. Neither belong in the Tuesday puzzle (and in my opinion any other puzzle). Still, the crosses were easy enough that I was able to finish the puzzle quickly anyhow.

sanfranman59 1:41 AM  

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 5:59, 6:02, 0.99, 45%, Medium
Tue 7:33, 8:33, 0.88, 17%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:23, 3:55, 1.12, 88%, Challenging
Tue 5:00, 5:21, 0.93, 24%, Easy-Medium

spacecraft 11:13 AM  

Constructors beware: DON'T put anything in your grid that Our Fearless Leader Has Never Heard Of. You're not allowed to remind him that such things exist.

In our neck of Penn's Woods it was called relevio. Full of secret plots and alliances, I'm sure the seeds of "Survivor!" and "Big Brother" germinated here.

PLUTON was for me the Tuesday outlier. Geology is chock-full of weird words, esker and moraine and scree and so on. No matter; the crosses took care of it. The word made me think of FUTON, which might make PLUTON...wait for it...bedrock?

This was a spacecraft-friendly puzzle from the get-go. I love the OLDIEs and Mr. Cee didn't disappoint. I have a special soft spot for DONTWORRYBABY. If ever there was a time in American history when we needed that, it was then. Still stung by what happened in Dallas, and unsure about Vietnam, we were comforted by the Boys' lullaby. I'm sure many moms of the period actually used it as such. Don't worry baby, everything's gonna be all right.

@OISK missed hearing one of the great voices in any musical genre if he never heard the golden pipes of Steve Perry.

Theme not only to my personal liking, but fairly dense and well-executed, and if the fill doesn't get any worse than APPTS, TLC and THO, that's pretty good too. A-.

Great, After two solid gray bars, I see 580, a loser. I wonder what winners I couldn't see?

Barry and Judy 11:41 AM  

If you like Yosemite National Park, you definitely like plutons, even if you don't know that you do. Half Dome and El Capitan (and all the other domes in YNP) are plutons. A line of plutons is called a batholith, which might show up some Friday or Saturday.

DMG 2:30 PM  

Once I caught on to each theme answer starting with DONT, this puzzle basically solved itself. But, like @Z, I have a newspaper that doesn't "ding" for a correct solution, so I had to come here to find out that both PLUTON and RING..... were correct. Also feel they were as fair as all the song titles I had to get from the crosses!

Thanks to @Barry and Judy. Seen and appreciated Half Dome many times, but would never have guessed it was a "mass of crystallized magma". Now I'll try to remember batholith!

Alas, back in Photo Sphere country, whatever that is.

rain forest 3:26 PM  

I grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, the son of a navy man in a community of navy men, and we played RINGALEVIO, not knowing it originated in NYC. Here in BC, it has evolved into *man hunt* played by 10 and 11 year old kids. It's really a cross between tag and kick the can, if memory serves.

So I knew that one, but not PLUTON. What's the difference between a PLUTON and a geode? Anyway, I finished this one pretty quickly, and thought it was a good one for Tuesday. Actually knew 4 of the theme songs. Missed Bobby Curtola's "Don't you 'sweetheart' me". Only Canadians would have got that one.

120 doink

Dirigonzo 5:12 PM  

A theme base on classic rock 'n' roll oldies - can you say "wheelhouse"? Loved the extra themers LES Paul, Bob Marley's ONE Love, Elvis' middle name (ARON) and the doo-wop OLDIES. I could have done without being reminded of MY LAI - calling it a "Vietnam War locale" seems to be glossing over the reality of what happened there (and elsewhere). I guessed right on the PLUTON/HANA cross, so I'm a happy solver.

Clear as day 201 - talk about your losers!

Waxy in Montreal 6:26 PM  

Must have a deprived childhood since we never played RINGALEVIO in my neck of the woods. Oh well, at least it easily available from its crosses as was PLUTON, another newbie for me.

Loved the theme entries which as per @DMG allowed the puzzle to basically solve itself. And thanks @rain for the Bobby Curtola flashback - at least in Canada for a while he ranked right up there with those other Bobby teen idols, Vee and Vinton.


  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP