Battery containing liquid electrolyte / WED 9-24-14 / First family of Germany 1969-74 / Collaborator with Disney on film Destino / Acronym for linked computers / Actress with iconic line what dump / Like bass voice hairy chest

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Constructor: Andy Kravis

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: X replaces a letter in a movie title, creating a wacky title:

Theme answers:
  • "MARX ATTACKS" (17A: Film about a Communist invasion? (1996))
  • "A BEAUTIFUL MINX" (26A: Film about the woman most likely to catch men's attention? (2001))
  • "THE LOVELY BOXES" (46A: Film about an elegantly made crossword? (2009))
  • "EAT XRAY LOVE" (63A: Film about a romantic dentist's daily routine? (2010))
Word of the Day: BRANDTS (53A: First family of Germany, 1969-74) —
Willy Brandt (German pronunciation: [ˈvɪli ˈbʁant]; born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm; 18 December 1913 – 8 October 1992) was a German statesman and politician, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, or SPD) from 1964 to 1987 and chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969 to 1974. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for his efforts to achieve reconciliation between West Germany and the countries of the Soviet bloc. He was the first Social Democrat chancellor since 1930.
Though controversial in West Germany, Brandt's policy of Ostpolitik can be considered his most significant legacy and it aimed at improving relations with East Germany,Poland, and the Soviet Union. Of similar importance, the Brandt Report became a recognised measure for describing the general North-South divide in world economics and politics between an affluent North and a poor South.
Brandt resigned as Chancellor in 1974, after Günter Guillaume, one of his closest aides, was exposed as an agent of the Stasi, the East German secret service. (wikipedia)
• • •

The new titles are delightful but there's no rationale for the letter changes. None. You just change whatever letter you like to get something funny. That doesn't seem enough. Nothing substantial links the movies. There's no rhyme or reason to the letter replacement. I mean … "WAX HORSE." There's one. Presumably you could go on for days. "THE WIZARD OF OX." "STAX WARS." "ONE FLEX OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEXT." Etc. Also, "The Lovely Bones" and "Eat Pray Love" are primarily books (to me). I know they were movies, and I also know "A Beautiful Mind" was a book, but the latter was a major Oscar contender as a movie, while I feel like the others are better known as books than movies. This is neither here nor there, but neither is the reason for the X-switching in this puzzle, so I don't feel too bad.

The baffling lack of rationale added considerably to the difficulty level (for me), as it took me forever even to notice the "X" thing. I had written in "MARS ATTACKS" … because it's a movie and I thought the answers were going to be real movies that were simply clued wackily … and then couldn't get 4D: Guileful to work. "What is FOSY?"  Wasn't until I was trying to figure out what abbreviated holiday started with DM- (answer: none)—in fact, after I put together ELF—that I realized, oh, change to X. Oh, MARX. Oh … OK. And then I finished. And then I didn't get it, and figured I was missing something. Andy has his own puzzle site, "Andy Kravis, Cruciverbalist at Law," and his puzzles are often very clever—so I figured I was missing something. Only after asking for help (from a friend) did I realize that I wasn't missing anything. Random letters become Xs and wackiness ensues. Again, the wordplay has a certain delightful quality, but this theme is just too loose for me.


Grid is mostly clean. BRANDTS is an odd plural name, and I don't know what EEC is …oh, no, wait, it's the thing that preceded the E.U., right? OK. Yeah, I never liked that as fill. But I'd say with minimal exceptions, the fill is general solid throughout. "SIGMUND AND THE SEX MONSTERS!" — OK, that's a TV show, and way too long, but you see how this random "X" switch thing can go on and on and on … maybe the cutesy / meta crossword clue (46A) is what put it over the top. Sometimes tough to know what will "tickle" the editor and what won't.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

90 comments:

jae 12:12 AM  

Medium- tough for me too. Knew the movies and was hoping the "replaced" letters would spell something...but SDNP...almost a gear shift if S is second? 

Was not familiar with Destino so tried DAhl at first.

ALEPH and STAEL I only know from xwords. 

Pretty smooth grid with a cute theme, liked it.  Definitely better than yesterday's. 

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

I believe this entire puzzle exists just as an effort to goad you into revealing your name really is Reb Parker.

Steve J 12:19 AM  

Meh. Theme's paper-thin. The resulting titles are decent, but as Rex pointed out, it's just changing one letter where it's convenient. If the same letter had been changed, or the same position, maybe that would have led to some intrigue, but no. Just find where a crossing X fits in.

(And, before it's pointed out: I recognize that it's a challenge for a constructor to find symmetrical entries where you can change a letter to an X and not get gibberish in result. But neat construction accomplishments to not translate directly into interesting solves.)

On the plus side, fill's pretty clean (outside STAEL, EEC and ONA). But not a lot of ZIP within.

Andy's independent puzzles are often quite clever and lively, but this didn't fit the bill. Over at Xwordinfo, he mentioned this was one of his earliest puzzles, and it shows.

wreck 12:30 AM  

Pretty much agree with Rex, jae, and Steve J. Medium tough puzzle with not much wow factor. It was one of those puzzles that seemed at first to fill slowly, but picked up steam as you went along.

Anonymous 12:30 AM  

After a spell of puzzles I didn't enjoy, I thought this was a good one. And my Captcha is my college dorm room number several decades back.

JFC 12:58 AM  

So, Rex, you don't like the theme? But the fill is solid?

Yesterday, you thought the theme ok but didn't like the fill?

All I can say is life has it ups and downs.

JFC

Anonymous 1:04 AM  

For crying out loud, the reveal is "All these films have been re-edited to be X-RATED." How's that "no connection"?

dmw 1:09 AM  

Just to comment on how idiosyncratic doing puzzles can be: everything I tried in this puzzle worked, finishing in record (for me) time, like minutes. To my surprise, Rex thought it medium challenging. I can spend a half hour on something he declares "easy."

chefwen 3:34 AM  

Another easy/medium for me, third this week and I ain't that smart. Just seem to be whipping them out with few write-overs. SlAy before SWAT at 33D and Loo before LAV at 62A, I think that was it.

Cute theme that I really enjoyed.

Thanks, Andy!

monika singh 4:57 AM  

Weekend Gateways From Delhi Comment Thanks for sharing good information !

Moly Shu 5:19 AM  

Medium-Challenging for me. erotICA before REPLICA, Loo before LAV, kirKS before RANKS (you know, James Tiberius, not sure what I was thinking) and eLDEST before OLDEST. Add those to the STAEL-BRANDTS-NIM wtf trifecta, not knowing the meaning of ARGOT, and thinking THELOVELYBOXES was a real film. Serious problems.

Any significance to the BETTEDAVIS/UNFEMININE symmetry ??
Liked it.

Anonym, LikeWise 6:55 AM  

@Anon 12:18
That's been done. See SNL skit, "Jew/ Not a Jew?"

Odd that people are content to reveal ignorance of Madame de Stael. So much could be said, just about the name.

LHS 888 7:39 AM  

Medium-challenging fo me as well. Struggled mightily in the SE wIth BRANDTS and STAEL. Took forever to see the WET part of WETCELL. BETTEDAVIS was a Hail Mary that fortunately worked out. Whew! Satisfied I was able to finish without googling. Hand up for eLDEST before OLDEST. Liked the clue for RAVEL.

I enjoyed the theme, and it helped me to complete the puzzle in a few spots where I'd otherwise still be stuck. NIM???

RooMonster 7:47 AM  

Hey All!
A bit on the harder side here. Slowly progressed through the grid, ran into a few writovers
Loo for LAV
hooKS for RANKS(captains...)
Sink for STAB
Didn't help had LOllS for LOAFS, as didn't change, so a DNF. I thought it was weird to have laXY and LAX! (Had ARiaT (??) for 14A)

So decent puz, the lines of 5 blocks were striking. Not sure if good or bad...

RooMonster
DarrinV

joho 8:00 AM  

Since it took me quite a while to see the trick, the letter switch to X was enough to give me the aha I'm always hoping for. Plus I really enjoyed the new titles especially THELOVELYBOXES.

@Moly Shu, I, too, wondered if BETTEDAVIS was UNFEMININE. She was certainly a force to be reckoned with and truly beautiful in "Dark Victory."

I liked this a lot, thank you, Andy!

jberg 8:10 AM  

Thank God that NORMA is the only Bellini opera anyone's heard of -- that went right in, otherwise it would have been hard to get started. Mars Attacks is a movie, huh? Didn't know that, so I had to get the theme elsewhere, then run the alphabet (Change to Y: Mary attacks, some kind of religious thing. Surely a theme there.)

Now I want to go watch DESTINO.

Mohair Sam 8:13 AM  

Agree with Rex about the loose theme. Filled ...MINX first and looked for "X" replacing "D" in the other three theme clues until MARX.... became obvious.

Had the same experience as @wreck with the slow start and then picking up steam - which is what a well-clued puzzle often does to you. And agree with most that the fill was high quality.

DALI and Disney collaborated? Great factoid.

Old friend of ours breeds race horses. Years ago she named a horse "What a Dump" (its mother was "Baby Dumpling"). I asked where the hell that came from, and she was stunned that I had never heard the BETTEDAVIS line. Haven't heard "What a Dump" since, so I thank her today for the much needed gimme at 27D.

Glimmerglass 8:14 AM  

Easy for me (for a Wednesday). I agree with Rex and jae that the theme was thin. If the four replaced letters had a meta-solution, I would have liked the puzzle better.

Suzy 8:25 AM  

An easy Wednesday-- got the theme quickly, no tough answers! How about that?!

AliasZ 8:32 AM  


Two can play this game. What if we substitute another letter for X:

17A: Twain has at.
26A: A pimped-out Cooper.
46A: Bevy of blondes.
63A: Live a donkey's life.

I wouldn't call a theme with two 14's and two 11's thin. It is preferable to having more themers and lousy fill. This one also allows the FOXY BETTE DAVIS, often made up to look UNFEMININE, who in "Now, Voyager" virtually LAVITATEs down the stairs, looking ravishing. True, an XER here, a NIM there still sneaked in, but I can live with that.

Anne Louise Germaine Necker (Madame de STAËL, 1766-1817) was a fascinating, powerful, talented and creative woman with quite an adventurous life. If you haven't had the opportunity to read any of her works, it is absolutely worth your time reading at least her Wikipage.

"Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end." - Madame de STAËL

One of her works is "Geneviève de Brabant" based on the medieval legend of a woman falsely accused of adultery. Erik Satie and Jacques Offenbach composed stage works on the subject.

Enjoy hump day.

Susan McConnell 8:35 AM  

My standards are low...the theme worked for me and I liked the new film titles.

I don't know from NORMA, but in our house, a Bellini is Prosecco with peach nectar.

ArtO 8:38 AM  

Theme may be thin but when it takes a while to get what's wrong with that? ARGOT for shoptalk was a stretch and slowed down the NW as did putting in MIND and not knowing NIM before getting the theme.

Nooby 8:38 AM  

Loved it. Thought the 'x-rated reedits' (well done, anonymous 1:04) were very clever, appreciated the extra challenge early in the week, and saw minimal junk fill. Cluing was entertaining and educational, an opportunity to learn more about AGRA, The David, BETTE DAVIS,and DALI. ARGOT, NIM, and STAEL were new to me, but fair crosses rendered them harmless. And now they're not new to me, to boot.

Rex (who, as an educator, must be a lovely person) is like Mikey in the old Life cereal commercial: "He won't eat it, he hates everything." Maybe it's just his constructor's POV? Or is he a grouchketeer?

Thanks, Andy Kravis!

Arlene 8:51 AM  

Good one! Got the theme at XRAY, and kept solving. I'm not that familiar with movie titles, but for some reason, the letters kept coming until I was done -with one error.

Noah's son is HAM, not HAL. I didn't think "A Beautiful Line" made sense.

Bearasgar 8:51 AM  

Thought "event" poorly clued with a 4x400 as yhe example of it. One specific, the other broad

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

Go to hell, rexhole. You are a bitter, mean, sniveling idiot. This was an outstanding puzzle with a clever theme and mostly excellent fill. It's a fucking crossword, not a PhD thesis. Just because you are too stupid and unimaginative to appreciate a well-crafted puzzle doesn't mean the puzzle sucks. It means YOU suck.

GeezerJackYale48 8:54 AM  

I guess I am just not very bright, but somehow I still see X subbed for s in only two of the four movie titles. What am I missing? Was there a movie "Eat, Sray, Love" ? What sense does that make? Help me out, please.

Z 9:04 AM  

MINX? PLAYBOY? FOXY? Is it 1971 again?

OLAV following yesterday's OLAF? LEO can't be far behind, probably riding an ERN while battling an EEL in an SNL skit. OLÉ.

Weeest? Anyone? I guess google will answer for me.

BELA TETHERS BETTE DAVIS in EAT, X-RAY, LOVE. Coming to theatres near you soon.

I'm thinking yesterday and today could have been flipped. Neither were my favorite.

dk 9:04 AM  

OO (2 mOOns)

So I got BOXES then went back and got the rest of the X spots.

In the UK I always heard loo not LAV put I figured it out along with the other odd bits.

Kind of a pleasent puzzle.

Nooby, Rex's grouch persona is merely attention seeking pay it no mind -- it only encourages him when you do.

Video card on my Mac Pro has died. Anyone here ever replaced one themselves? Any suggestions for a brand and model? Not a gamer but use photoshop a lot. Want something that is "pure Apple" not a card that requires cloning.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

I agree with everyone who thought that this was easy and also wished that there had been a clever connection between the substituted letters in the long answers. So Did Not Please.

Leapfinger 9:06 AM  

Noah shouldn't have named his son HAM.

Questinia 9:07 AM  

Lumpy but cute.

Z 9:09 AM  

D'oh. The superlative of "wee." The most "wee." The "I had too many beers wee." The most Mae Weeest. Time for a coffee refill.

@GeezerJackYale48 - As Rex explained, there is no rhyme or reason for the letter changes. Eat,Pray,Love becomes EAT,XRAY,LOVE, the P changing to an X. S,D,N,and P are the original letters.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

OMG Z, I laughed so hard at your post! It's hysterical!

chefbea 9:43 AM  

Tough puzzle. DNF. Never heard of the lovely bones.
Know Eat, Pray Love...the author is a friend of my daughter.

Steve J 9:49 AM  

@Arlene: I kind of wish Noah's son was HAL. Think of the possibilities in the recent movie. A frustrated Noah, stranded outside the ark, saying over and over, "Open the ark door, Hal."

Gary Merrill 9:57 AM  

You want to know why I divorced BETTE Davis? Simple: Every day after her morning ablutions I got to hear "What a dump!". Every. Single. Day.

wa 9:58 AM  

For those of you who grew up in NYC, a better answer for Madame de Stael would have been Mrs. Stahl of knish fame.

The theme was arbitrary and annoying.

Steve M 10:04 AM  

Nice fun Wednesday

retired_chemist 10:37 AM  

@ Anon 8:53 - anonymous personal and vitriolic slurs are contrary to the spirit of this blog. It is to Rex's credit that he didn't just delete your post.

Agree with Gary Merrill - "WHAT A DUMP" is a cry of exultation in this senior citizen's household.

Putative inconsistencies in the theme? It's a puzzle, not a structured art form. You get to figure it out, which means it may not be just how you think it should be. I used the three year old's approach to language - try something and see if it works. Refine if it doesn't.

Very enjoyable. Thanks, Mr. Kravis.

JenCT 10:39 AM  

I see the @Anonymous troll is active today...

Ludyjynn 10:39 AM  

Liked it quite a bit. Some clever clues for UFO, ONEAM, REPLICA, DALI, etc.

Never heard of NIM before, but got it via 11-D.

Disagree w/ Rex's "caustic material" (38-D) regarding the theme, which unfolded easily.

Nice job, AK. Thanks for a fine med.Wed. puzz.

Carola 11:03 AM  

I'm with those who found it easy and liked it. I wasn't bothered that the Xs replaced different letters - I found that the unpredictability added some difficulty and fun to the theme. I especially got out a kick out of the dentist's day.

Looking over the completed grid, I amused myself by seeing some other fantasy titles in the crosses: NOT YET, PLAYBOY! TOFU ATTACKS! The Penelope-an cross of WOVE and RAVEL is nice.

LOVELY BOXES, indeed. Thanks for the fun, Andy Kravis.

SenorLynn 11:08 AM  

If RP had mentioned "new x-rated movies" or somesuch (thanx anon 1:04), maybe he'd have seen more of a connection.
First rock video I ever saw was BETTEDAVIS Eyes.

Lewis 11:16 AM  

I liked the clues for UFO and PAR. The rest of the cluing was straightforward, and it must have been in my wheelhouse (not an everyday event) as this puzzle felt easy for a Wednesday. And if that's not a HUMBLEBRAG, I don't know what is.

The theme was fine. Why must a theme always be narrow? Who wrote that rule? If it makes you smile and at least is consistent on some level (here the Xs replace a letter in a movie title), where's the harm? We can admire more narrow themes, and we can admire wider themes if they work -- and this one did for me.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

Anonymice, do do da de do, Anonymice, de-do de-doo, Anonymice, do do da de do, da de do, da de do, da-ta da da da da da
:-)

old timer 11:26 AM  

Oh, Rex is probably right. The theme is random when maybe it should be clever or at least cuter.

Came out average for me, but that's because I immediately had Stael, terry, and Eat Pray Love, easily changed to Xray once the theme was clear.

But, the kind of person who knows of Madame de Stael (a fascinating character, BTW) is going to insist on 'eldest' not 'oldest". Which left me with the puzzling "the level Y bones." I finally decided the constructor was a bit of a Yahoo, and made the change to "oldest".

Lewis 11:41 AM  

Factoid: A condor in golf is four under PAR. Only four have been recorded, and never in a professional tournament. It is also known as a double albatross or treble eagle.

Quotoid: "I don't do drugs. I am drugs." -- Salvador DALI

Martel Moopsbane 12:12 PM  

I didn't know Mme. de Stael, and STiR seemed to fit (albeit roughly), so DNF for me.

I liked the diagonal stack of V's in the SE.

RAD2626 12:17 PM  

Must be a bad biorhythm day. I thought this was really hard. LazeS for LOAFS made a mess of NW. Frankly should have known ORAL was only vaccine possible; anAL was just backward. FiT before APT messed up that section as well and struggled with all of the movies except A BEAUTIFUL MINX. no problem with puzzle. Just could not get it.

Andrew Heinegg 12:22 PM  

This was one of those days where your post should have been put at the head of the blog with a notation to the effect of ' unless you can post something at least half as insightful and clever as this, don't bother!

wi
wi
wi

Fansince1939 12:25 PM  

Thanks, Z.

mac 1:12 PM  

Very cute Wednesday!

The Brandts and Madame de Stael were not problem, but I got stuck in the NE for a while. When I ran the alphabet to get NIM it finally fell into place.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Yearly is a when not a how.

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

Incredibly annoying puzzle.

Will Shortz should be ashamed to have allowed it.

Numinous 2:02 PM  

I wanted Liz Taylor for the line "What a dump." I never realized she was quoting BETTE DAVIS in the 1949 film Beyond the Forest.

I thought the X-Rated film titles were good and had no qualms about the arbitrary letter replacement.

Disney and Dali started to work on a project in 1945 but dropped it after three months. Walt's nephew Roy revived the project in 2003 and hired French animators to complete it from the original story boards, You can see DESTINO here.

I found this to be a little more difficult than a normal Wednesday puzzle but that probably made me like it more.

ANON B 2:15 PM  

Rex:
Why have you not deleted
the comments of Anonymous
at 8:53?

ANON B 2:18 PM  

Rex:
And all his other comments too?

ANAN B 2:37 PM  

Retired Chemist @10:37

Why is it to Rex's credit
that he didn't delete the
disgusting comments of
Anonymous@8:53? Why should
Rex and the rest of us be subjected to such filth?

Anonymous 2:39 PM  

Rex has said he does not moderate the comments. I bet he rarely even reads them.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Yay for censorship! Let's delete comments we don't like! In fact, let's delete crossword clues we don't like! Or entire puzzles! You know what? Let's just delete the entire New York Times. No wait. The whole internet!

the redanman 3:01 PM  

zzzzzzzxzzzzzzzzz

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

most boring and boastful, i.e. the creator of this puzzle thinks he is so smart. For moi? One of the worst and I solve lots I should have been more cognizant when I saw Kravis' name.

DigitalDan 3:48 PM  

Rex and others ask a lot more of these things than I do. Most are great fun.

Joseph B 3:53 PM  

Film about a crossword blogger's feminine side: THELADYINREX

sanfranman59 3:58 PM  

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

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

Wed 12:26, 9:30, 1.31, 95%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 7:47, 6:12, 1.26, 93%, Challenging

Zeke's guide for Trolls, Vol 1 4:27 PM  

I’ve been appalled at the trollery we’ve had here in the comments section. Not their presence, not the quantity, nor their vitriol, but the quality. I’ve taken it upon myself to provide what I hope are helpful suggestions as to how various Trolls can improve upon their posts. For today’s lesson, I’ll take Anon 8:53’s offering as an example.

Item 1: Never open with an out of context, obscenity laden sentence. It predefines the rest of your comment, permitting those who dislike trolls to skip right over it, which can’t be what you want. You want the maximum number of readers to experience the full fury of your disgust. Further, as a rule, you want to start slowly and build to a crescendo of hate and loathing, preferably by starting out sounding somewhat rational and reasonable. Anon 8:53 – You could have implemented this quite easily, just move your first two sentences to the end.

Item 2: Make sure you’ve read Rex’s post objectively. I know you wanted to, had to, get “YOU suck” in there,(you’re a troll, aren’t you?) but this doesn’t warrant saying that Rex said the puzzle sucked when he didn’t. You lose too credibility when you make factual errors. You’re going for maximum effect here, you need all the support for your rant that you can muster, factual errors are deadly mistakes. Avoid them at all costs.

Item 3: Calling someone stupid should have ceased being a significant part of your vocabulary by the time you turned 3 or 4. Beyond that age, it’s just a sign that you have nothing coherent to say. It speaks way more ill of you than it can possibly harm your target. This also applies to idiot.

Item 4: Vocabulary,Vocabulary,Vocabulary. Know your vocabulary. Rex is anything, and I mean anything, but sniveling.

Item 5: Calling someone unimaginative when they spent much of their posts explaining how they imagined a better puzzle makes no sense. I know you’re not really going for sense here, but still, sense has to underlie your post or it’s all in vain. A far better tack would have been to assail Rex for an over-active literary deconstruction of a simple puzzle, getting, as so many professorial types do, lost in their own ponderings as to why a work of art wasn’t they thought it might be, could have been, but was that the author made it. Decry the whole notion of literary deconstructionism as the embodiment of the vanity of the reader thinking they’re on par with the author. You could have gone wild with this, casting all the aspersions you could possibly have thought of throwing Rex’s way.

LC 5:20 PM  

@Z
Molto bene!!!

Charles Flaster 5:26 PM  

Loved whole puzzle and also liked Rex's examples.DNF as I spelled STAEL as
Stahl. Think she wsd a knish maker in 50's Brooklyn.BTW Stael is a good piece of crosswordese.

Thought EAT XRAY LOVE was beautifully clued.Also enjoyed unfeminine and ravel clues.
Thanks AK.

r.alphbunker 5:35 PM  

Easy way to connect the theme entries is just to connect the Xs.

What depresses me most about trolls is that they might exercise their right to vote.

Z 5:38 PM  

@Zeke's Guide for Trolls vol. 1 - the only problem I have with what you wrote is that the satire will be lost on Trolls.

@Anon B - Rex has three reasons for deleting a comment in his FAQ page. Being rude to someone is one of the reasons. This anonymouse certainly qualifies. I do understand choosing to do nothing. The post says far more about the anonymouse than it does about Rex.

I'm trying to process the thanks I got today. All I can imagine is that I wasn't the only one to be befuddled by "weeest." At any rate, you're welcome.

Charles Flaster 5:50 PM  

Sorry for typo and also glad someone else knew Mrs.Stahl.

joho 6:44 PM  

@Joseph B, nice!

Atlantasolver 6:58 PM  

I liked that movie about the red-hot breakfast roll, "Sexbiscuit."

RnRGhost57 8:03 PM  

@Zeke's Guide for Trolls vol. 1: ROFL.

Several great comments 2day. Thanx all.

sanfranman59 10:10 PM  

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

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

Mon 5:57, 6:03, 0.98, 42%, Medium
Tue 9:29, 7:50, 1.21, 90%, Challenging
Wed 12:32, 9:30, 1.32, 96%, Challenging (12th highest ratio of 247 Wednesdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:56, 3:57, 1.00, 43%, Medium
Tue 6:25, 5:21, 1.20, 92%, Challenging
Wed 7:30, 6:12, 1.21, 90%, Challenging

Nancy 10:19 PM  

I found it easy-medium and meh.

JenCT 11:33 PM  

@Zeke 4:27 - Too funny, and spot-on.

@r.alphbunker 5:35 - LOL

Dolgoruky 3:07 PM  

You often come up short on classical music, Rex. It's one of your few weak spots.

Torb 10:13 AM  

Easy.done in a few minutes. Feh

spacecraft 12:00 PM  

I too was a tad let down by the sequence of replaced letters; nice try with the almost-gear-shift idea, but...no. R would have worked in the first one: MAXSATTACKS? Say, "Film about Baer's one-two combos?" Then the puzzle title could be "X-rated drive-ins." Memories...but that's another story.

However, I was not as troubled as OFL as to rate it M-c; I'd call it easy-medium, and then only because of some lateweek cluing attempts, such as "Mint" for NEW. Of course, for this old-timer BETTEDAVIS came gimmeing down, so maybe I had a bit of a leg up on some of the not-OLDEST.

Fill was mostly solid; I don't much care for XER or XMAS, but the theme forced those. Take a letter off for theme looseness and a sign for the two X-words and we have B-.

Just: don't try putting "weest" in your grid, Andy.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

This puzzle went down easy for me and I liked it. I don't think a puzzle ALWAYS has to make sense or conform to other's rules. I do believe it has originality and as someone else said, "They are all movies and changed to X rated.

And......everything I say is proper, intelligent, insightful and worth remembering, you better believe it. Furthermore, I'm a shy and humble guy. (2436)

Ron Diego, The Sage of La Mesa

DMG 1:09 PM  

Got a late start, and heading out soon, so skipped most of the comments to check in here. Took me a bit to get that all the changes were X's, but then I don't follow the modern movie world that much. Otherwise easy enough, but left a blank at Sq. 47. Another movie- thing crossing a computer term, better known to the youngsters. Got BETTEDAVIS right off. Did go to the movies in those days!

102 No solace for a DNF day!

rondo 1:32 PM  

Not as tough for me as SanFranMan's numbers suggest. Took a while to get to the X thing, but then it really fell. Have a DALI calendar at work, two months of wierdness left. A different version of OLAV today, never really know when the last letter is V or F.

596 - RECT

dmast 3:05 PM  

Can't believe how many people thought this was easy! I am a Sunday -Thursday person, and I could not even get a foothold on this one. Sanfranman59's difficulty numbers would seem to prove my point. Extraordinarily hard for a Wed!

Dirigonzo 4:05 PM  

I'm not a movie buff so the titles were only vaguely familiar but thtat was enough to see what was going on and I got all the Xs in where they needed to be via the crosswords and was glad I didn't need to know the letters that were replaced. Unlike @ spacy, I'd love to see "weeest" in a grid, clued as @Z suggested.

1788 - Ok, help me with the math here, I think that comes to a grand total of 6, no?

DMG 4:51 PM  

@Diri 6 it is- apparently a tie with Ron Diego,for the pot,if no one else shows up.

2172 this time. Still out of the running.

rondo 5:26 PM  

Movie for extreme athletes? (1963)
It's a Max, Max, Max, Max World

292 - RECT again

rain forest 6:19 PM  

OK, I'm primarily posting just to see if I can win at Baccarat, but I will say that this quite an interesting puzzle. The theme baffled me at first, but when I realized that different letters were being x-ed, I thought it was funny.
Nice fill, too. And so,

1736 I believe that could be a winner. I'm going to go buy a lottery ticket.

leftcoastTAM 7:35 PM  

I'm surprised that @Anonymous 8:53 AM made it through whatever screening there is on this blog.

On the plus side, I loved hearing in my mind the classic Bette Davis line, "What a dump."

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