New England town official / SUN 11-16-14 / Actress Normand of silents / Neighbor of Chiapas / Modern name of Mare Mecca / Instruments with flared bells / Byzantine emperor known as philosopher / Tom big role in Purple rose of cairo / Blades that sound like allergic reaction / Cabaret pianist who would make lousy electrician

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Constructor: Andrew Ries

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: "Don't Quit Your Day Job" — theme answers are famous people, clued as people who are bad for certain jobs based on a literal interpretation of their last names:

Theme answers:
  • WILLIAM HURT (23A: Oscar winner who would make a lousy anesthesiologist?)
  • JOHNNY ROTTEN (33A: Punk rocker who would make a lousy grocer?)
  • BRAM STOKER (39A: Horror author who would make a lousy firefighter?)
  • NICOLAS CAGE (57A: Action star who would make a lousy free-range farmer?)
  • GEORGE BURNS (76A: Bygone comic who would make a lousy baker?)
  • BOBBY SHORT (90A: Cabaret pianist who would make a lousy electrician?)
  • GLORIA ALLRED (97A: Lawyer who would make a lousy anti-Communist leader?)
  • STEVIE NICKS (112A: Singer who would make a lousy mohel?)
Word of the Day: ALGID (45A: Cold) —
adj.
Cold; chilly.

[Latin algidus, from algēre, to be cold.]
algidity al·gid'i·ty (-jĭd'ĭ-tēn.

Read more:  http://www.answers.com/topic/algid#ixzz3JBVbQTOF
• • •

First observation is that the theme is not nearly tight enough. Not even close. Pick anyone who's last name is also a word in the English language, and you can plausibly write a clue about them that would fit with this whole "inaptness" theme. Fiona APPLE would make a lousy IBM salesperson, John (or Al, or Seth) GREEN would make a lousy spokesperson for, I don't know, the coal industry, Kanye WEST would make a lousy Asian Studies professor, etc. etc. etc. Also, the puzzle's marquee non-theme answers felt off or old or … something less than exciting. GRAD PHOTO is very close to a "green paint" answer. Also, the abbreviated "grad" isn't indicated anywhere in the clue. IN A CAST is about as coherent as IN A CAR—it's a very real phrase, but not one you'd hang your hat on. I have no idea what a SELECTMAN is, or what's "New England" about it. Also, SHOE LAST! Yikes. I have forgotten my cobbling terminology! that "A" in LAST was my (… wait for it …) last letter in the grid. While I think the theme is cute, in its way, the answers were mostly very easy to get, and the fun level was middling at best. I endured it more than I enjoyed it.


I didn't enjoy the BUG ZAPPER and the HAPPY MEAL, JUXTAPOSE and CHIME IN ON, and even the made-up-seeming EXHIPPIES. I guess you can slap "EX-" in front of virtually anything and argue for its validity, and HIPPIES is at least vivid and evocative. I think I don't get the dick joke at STEVIE NICKS. The mohel is *supposed* to cut skin, right? Seems like shaving would've been a better way to go here, context-wise. I get that dick jokes are tempting, but this one just seemed inapt.


Are MEME and MEMENTO etymologically related? Seems like it. Also: BOBBY SHORT? I have no idea who that is. I'm listening to him now, and he seems great, but fame-wise, he's an outlier in this grid (in a different browser tab, I'm debating w/ another blogger about who's less well known, him or GLORIA ALLRED…) Anyway, he's light years less famous than MARTIN. I guess BRAM STOKER needed a symmetrical partner really bad. Still, again, with soooooo many potential ways to go with this theme, seems like you could've done better than BOBBY SHORT. By "better," I mean more famous/iconic, the way All the other themers in this puzzle are.


Difficulty level was about average, with the toughest part by far being the place where BOBBY SHORT met the SHOE LAST in and around a random pope and a role (???) in "Purple Rose of Cairo" (BAXTER). Also had some trouble around ALGID + ERNO and LEMAN (?). But all in all, quite doable, perhaps because almost all the themers were super-easy to pick up.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    134 comments:

    Brian B 12:13 AM  

    "Meme" is from Greek, "Memento" is from Latin.

    John Child 12:16 AM  

    What's it all about, ALGID? I took a OAXACA to the den to get a reference BUCO to ESTEE what it meMENTO, ELSIE I would have had to LEOVI it blank. I JUX TAPOSE AISLE take that as a LETSON.

    George NYC 12:16 AM  

    Bobby Short was the Lena Dunham of his time, a NYT obsession. Played at the Carlyle, dated Gloria Vanderbilt. His every move was chronicled ad nauseam.

    jae 12:42 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    jae 12:47 AM  

    Easy-medium for me with the medium part the areas Rex described.  I'm with Rex on this one cute but a tad meh,  except for the EXHIPPIES comment.  I am one and I have the pictures to prove it. 

    John Child 12:48 AM  

    That would make a fun profile photo, @jae!

    OISK 1:12 AM  

    Bobby Short was a New York institution; this is the NEW YORK TIMES and New York based references will sneak in from time to time. Here in Brooklyn we like them. He also produced some well-reviewed recordings of Cole Porter's music, and ads for his appearances at the Carlyle were in The Times all the time, same section as the puzzle! I was afraid that "Oaxa_a and _era would end my winning streak, since I never heard of Bobby _era and never watched "Arrested Development." Guessed right. Algid was new to me, but interesting. I am a hockey fan, but wonder how many non-sports fans have ever heard of "dekes." I had never heard of Stevie Nicks until just a month ago when Hilary Kole (very talented NY jazz singer) sang "Landslide" at a NY club. I "Googled", and Stevie is apparently a female who once sang with Fleetwood Mac. (not that I know who or what that was.)

    Anonymous 1:32 AM  

    Super easy for me, maybe the easiest Sunday in years. A selectman is a representative legislator in New England towns. I never understand why Rex gets so disgruntled sounding when he hasn't heard of a word. We all have our limitations, and I don't resent it when one of mine makes a clue especially difficult.

    John Child 2:03 AM  

    @OISK You might like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ua0XjC5JiE. Stevie Nicks has a very distinctive voice.

    chefwen 2:14 AM  

    @jae, I'm with John Child on that retro photo. Sounds like fun. I may match you.

    Fun puzzle, loved every minute. BRAM STOKER and GLORIEA ALLRED being my favorites. NICOLAS CAGE was right up there too.

    Ellen S 4:43 AM  

    I've never lived in New England and I've heard of Selectmen. Dunno where, likely some book.

    Moly Shu 5:19 AM  

    @Oisk, he fakes, he DEKES, he shoots, he scores. Agree with you except BOBBYSHORT, never heard of him. Or DUC or LEMAN for that matter. GRADPHOTO, terrible. ALGID, GOBY, and SCENA, not much better. However, the whole puzzle was rescued by one entry, JOHNNYROTTEN. Never thought I'd see a Sex Pistol in a NYT puzzle. Who's next, Sid Vicious?

    Never Mind the Bollocks, God Save the Queen, and all that.

    Anonymous 6:20 AM  

    Is that Sid Vicious, the unpopular masseur?

    Bob Kerfuffle 6:43 AM  

    Silly me, I thought this was an excellent puzzle. Fairly easy, to be sure, but I like my tough ones on Saturday, not so much on Sunday.

    Still found room for a few write-overs: 63 D, SPIN A TALE before SPIN A YARN; 68 D, WRY grins before SLY; 69 A, RED HOT before ARDENT; 99 D, OCTET before OCTAD.

    But I cannot understand why a puzzle should be considered to be of lower quality simply because other theme answers are possible.

    GILL I. 6:48 AM  

    The closest I came to being a HIPPIE was when I wore bell-bottom hip huggers. I wasn't much into that SCENA back then...
    So many names I didn't know...MABEL (huh!) JOHNNY ROTTEN (who?)GLORIA ALLRED I know, but yimminy cricket....!
    OK, I can picture STEVIE NICKS with a knife to Lindsey Buckingham but does that make her a Mohel?
    I had to work too hard to enjoy this puzzle. I wanted an AAH or two...instead, all I got was a FAT AS A PIG BUG ZAPPER.

    Yontifsadie 7:11 AM  

    Couldn't get the bottom left corner. I was stuck on "salt of the Earth", "big as a pig" and didn't know Gloria was ALLRED's first name. It was never going to happen for me!

    chefbea 7:13 AM  

    Tough puzzle for me. I lived in CT....every town has a Selectman...instead of a mayor. Never heard of Mohel???...oh now I get it - we had that word the other day but didn't recognize the spelling. Didn't know terrify???

    There were no aha moments!!

    chefbea 7:14 AM  

    That should have been terrif. Auto correct didn't either

    Anonymous 7:54 AM  

    I love Bobby Short, and I live in a New England town where we have Select Board Members because they're not all men.

    Breezed through the top 3/4 in what felt like 90 seconds and then the bottom 1/4 was a total road block and took F-O-R-E-V-E-R... Finally had to Reveal Incorrect which I hate doing.

    ALGID????

    LHS 888 8:17 AM  

    The puzzle was medium-challenging for me. Official DNF in the Mideast. No Mr. Happy Pencil, and I finally hit the Check All button. I double-Naticked on Harte. I didn't know what "asseverate" means. (I now see my iPad doesn't know it's a word either!) There was resistance elsewhere in the grid, but I was able to overcome through fair crosses and perseverance. Example: GLORIAALLRED was a WOE but ultimately gettable.

    Wrong answers:
    HARha > HARTE
    GLad > GLEE
    Shame > STuMP > STOMP
    GRADefOTO > GRADPHOTO
    ate > feD > HAD
    eVER > AVER
    SHadLAST?? > SHOELAST

    Favorite words: JUXTAPOSE, EMPHASIZE, EXPOUND, AREWEDONE
    Favorite clues: OCTAD, ASHES, HAPPYMEAL, BUGZAPPER
    Favorite themer: JOHNNYROTTEN

    Your puzzle was just too tough for me, AJR / WS.

    P.S. I've never lived in NYC, and yet I was aware of BOBBYSHORT at the Carlyle from having read J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.

    Newbie 8:27 AM  

    Leo VI on top of Baxter on top of Bobby Short on top of arti (art institute?) crossed by shoelast, exhippies, and aver clued as 'asseverate". Seriously?

    Leapfinger 8:28 AM  

    @Rex, you missed a chance to end your rant on endure rant on endure rant on endure rant...
    By the by, GLORIA ALLRED represented the OCTAD Mom; if she wasn't high-profile before that, it sure didn't HURT her.

    @Bob Kerfuffle, you proved it pays to check out yesterday' comments. Cool one about Farmer Hogget!

    @John Child, Excellent lol! Had to move my lips to read your 12:16.

    DEKE is a nice hockey Canadianism [what else?], an abbrev for 'decoy'. Wiki has an ice little action demo for this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deke_(ice_hockey)

    Time to get dressed; clothing first, SHOELAST.

    RAD2626 8:32 AM  

    @ John Child. Very clever.
    Based on the regular content of the comments I would guess a significant majority of posters to this blog could find EX HIPPIE pictures in their drawer.

    In the category of how the world has changed, in the 50's the First Selectman of a shore town in Connecticut would use the town school buses to pick up kids at 6 am and take them to the strawberry patches he owned where they would pick strawberries for an hour or so for 6 cents a quart before they went to school. Today that would make the cover of the New York Post.

    Agree with Rex re puzzle but was fun guessing names.

    Glimmerglass 8:39 AM  

    I'm with Bob Kerfuffle. The theme is okay -- maybe not TERRIF, but okay. @Rex thinks better theme answers are possible -- let him construct his own puzzle. This one is what it is, adequate for the task, and a good mix of familiar and unfamiliar names. An elected Board of Selectmen (usually three but sometimes more) is the chief authority of many small towns in New England. By the way, in my town and the ones nearby, a woman can be a Selectman. We don't call her a selectperson or a selectwoman. Even a feminist is proud to be a Selectman.

    Jp 8:41 AM  

    I filled the whole puzzle leaving only a few blanks at the bottom before I even went to my first Google. For that reason then it must have been an easy Sunday puzzle.
    The theme did not excite me for the same reasons that Rex mentioned.

    AliasZ 8:44 AM  


    Like @Rex, I think puzzles with names of people I don't know are terrible. I know BOBBY SHORT, so I loved this puzzle.

    In fact, since the theme today was all about names of people, I found it quite cute. I am an avid Turner Classic Movies watcher, but I did not know MABEL Normand, so I hated that entry. I had no idea who JOHNNY ROTTEN was so I hated that one too. I just asked my son, sitting right next to me: "Who is JOHNNY ROTTEN?" He says with a disgust-distorted face: "He was the lead singer if the Sex Pistols and PiL [Public Image Ltd] and he sucks." His words, sorry.

    The one thing that gave me the creeps was the possibility that the mohel at 112A might be STEVIE Wonder. Thankfully, it was STEVIE NICKS.

    LEOVI came two Leos before, but two days after LEOVIII.
    I know FATA Morgana, but what is a FATA SAPIG?
    I'M HERE reminds me that wherever you go, there you are.
    I thought SOCKO was Vanzetti's partner in that infamous trial of the 1920's.
    If MEMENTO and MEME are allowed, it explains OBITS/OBOES and EPICS/EPCOT.
    SHOE LAST describes precisely how I dress every morning.

    Dermatologist ERNŐ László (1897-1973) is not the same ERNŐ László (1898-1984, known as Ernest Laszlo) as the Oscar-winning cinematographer. The latter had a remarkable Hollywood career with movies like The Jackie Robinson Story, D.O.A., Houdini, Stalag 17, The Naked Jungle, While the City Sleeps, Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Fantastic Voyage, That's Entertainment!, Logan's Run etc. to his name. He was nominated for the Academy Awards eight times, winning for Ship of Fools in 1966.

    Speaking of OBOES, according to Danny Kaye, "the oboe... is an ill wind that no one blows good," although he may change his mind after listening to this Concerto for Two OBOES and Strings in A minor, RV536, by Antonio Vivaldi.

    Happy Sunday!

    Muscato 8:59 AM  

    Got it in just over half an hour, a tad above average for a Sunday, but I liked it better than Rex (I'm beginning to think our opinions are more likely than not to be directly inverse).

    And add me to the participants in BOBBY SHORT MANIA - he was a Manhattan institution for decades and a popular draw when he toured nationally.

    Casco Kid 8:59 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous 9:01 AM  

    gloria allred represented nicole simpson's family after o.j. simpson killed or didn't kill her. That's famous enough for a crossword.

    Casco Kid 9:01 AM  


    2:30. Clean solve. NW as far as the diagonal: easy. Diagonal: medium. SE: medium-challenging. I was sailing at a record clip then hit the morass In the SE. odin for ARES was the kernel of major wrongness as I got it to cross with 4 plausible wrongnesses. Blind susses for LEOVI, TESSA, DUVAL, SOCKO, BAXTER. This was the limit of my ability to manage my own ignorance. One more, and I'd been a goner.

    @loren I hope you have a chance to discuss dialects and idioms with your students. What do they think of Ebonics? Creole? Hill-billy? Variants of grammar and usage are part of the human condition. If they use variant language, they will be regarded as speakers of an American creole. They can be proud of that, or ashamed, but at least they should know what's coming. If they don't, they might develop resentments that were perfectly avoidable. Do your students also boast of the interchangeability of lie-lay, there-their-they're, I-me? Because it seems nothing (or no one?) is stopping them.

    Well, I'm not a professional educator. I'm sure there's merit to open discussions about usage, and I'm glad you inserted the point of view held by @glimmerglass, me, ET ALII. Frankly, I'd trust @Z's judgment on this point. He seems to know how to balance the real and the ideal. Good luck.X

    Carole Shmurak 9:03 AM  

    @newbie. I think Arti is actually Art I - a first course in Art. Loved Bobby Short, but didn't think he was popular early enough to be included in Catcher in the Rye! Mabel Normand is familiar to me as the "Mabel" in Jerry Herman's Mack and Mabel.

    Andrew Morrison 9:04 AM  

    Easy -Med. I don't know how one could have existed as a sentient being in the 70's and NOT have been aware of Stevie Nicks. Great voice. Great look. Fleet wood Mac was huge in those days. Bigger, I dare say, than BOBBYSHORT! 😄

    NCA President 9:14 AM  

    I think someone mentioned this earlier in the week, but seriously, with all due respect to my Jewish/Yiddish friends, how is it that I"m supposed to know all of these Jewish terms? Mohel? Is this a well-known term? Can you make a mountain out of it?

    OBOES was a nice redirect given how many flared bells there are in an orchestra/band.

    I think I've heard of BOBBYSHORT but not as a cabaret artist. Living in the midwest, "cabaret" only meant one thing: A musical about a burlesque show in pre-Nazi Germany. I've only recently been exposed (albeit very slightly) to the cabaret world and still no connection to Mr. Short. That said, I had heard of him...maybe he was on TV sometime in the 60s?

    GLORIAALLRED rang a bell too. I have no idea how.

    SHOELAST. I agree with Rex that cobbler arcania is a bit wonky. Okay, a lot wonky.

    There seemed to be a lot of prepositions in today's puzzle: by (2!), at, on, in, in on (!), and to. Could be just me.

    And the Xs...oh yeah, lots of Xs.

    Maruchka 9:17 AM  

    No cheating! No googles! Admit to one do-over (ATE for HAD). Agree with @Bob K and @Glimmerglass. Although a bit ho-hum, nothing smells ROTTEN here.

    Favs of the day - GLORIA ALLRED (arise!) and STEVIE NICKS (ouch!)

    @GeorgeNYC, @OISK - I regret that I never saw him at the Carlyle, did you? BTW: There is a recent James Baldwin documentary, with home movie footage, where BOBBY pops up and is wearing SHORTs. Also love his scene in 'Hannah and her Sisters'.

    Loren Muse Smith 9:17 AM  

    I fell flat on my face right out of the gate with a double whammy gaffe: I put in "Busso" at 71A instead of BUCO at 71D. Caught on to the trick with BRAM STOKER and dispatched this fairly quickly – southeast was the hardest for me. SOCKO for "terrif" was pretty darn diffic to suss out.

    C'mon – the first thing we think for the blank in ____ grin before counting the spaces is "shit-eating," right? (Funny expression. Why would Anyone be smug after doing this? I know I never am. Ever.) @Bob and @Rex – me, too, for "wry" before SLY.

    Funny – I had to shove aside my son's Thermodynamics textbook before I sat down to solve. It's the size of a small microwave but was more expensive. So my first thought for "Like some textbook publishers" was "rich."

    Same thought as Rex on GRAD PHOTO, especially since "team," club," and, honestly, "BMOC" all work there, too.

    @ED – I first had "war ape," then "air ape" before AIR ACE. Just kidding!!!!!! I did think of you and your observation yesterday. Good point.

    Everyone shares here the answers they didn't know/never heard of. But whenever Rex does this, people are incredibly quick to accuse him of being snarky. What's so objectionable about "I have no idea what a SELECTMAN is, or what's New England about it."??? This was a new phrase to me, and I felt better about it after reading that Rex didn't know it, either.

    I'm with @Bob – the fact that there are lots of other possible theme entries out there doesn't take away from the enjoyment for me. Au contraire – it invites me to consider entries that would work, too, and that's just fun.

    Actor who would make a lousy prison warden? MORGAN FREEMAN
    Actor who would make a lousy diplomat? EMILY BLUNT
    Actor who would make a lousy WVU coach? BRAD PITT (it's a local thing)
    Actress who would make a lousy UNC coach? PATTY DUKE
    Actor who would make a lousy Hyundai CEO? HARRISON FORD
    Actor who would make a lousy PETA spokesperson? HOLLY HUNTER

    @MandA – another idea for a collaboration: steal shamelessly from this idea but go opposite and phonetic –

    Actor who would make an excellent transplant surgeon? BOB NEWHART
    Actor who would make an excellent military flute player? MICHELLE PFEIFFER

    I thought the gripe would be that the way the last names work isn't consistent. You got your verbs (HURT, BURNS, NICKS), nouns (CAGE, STOKER), and adjectives (ALL RED, ROTTEN, and SHORT). Yeah, yeah, you could scramble and call'em all nouns or whatever, but still.

    Well – you asked. @Jae and I go way back, and my avatar is (from right to left) @jae, me, @Bob, and @Gill I.P. on the accordion at the inaugural ACPT. ;-)

    Casco Kid 9:19 AM  

    [Cardinal who would be a lousy Cardinal, except that he is one, and not half bad, for what I hear] ?

    Susan McConnell 9:25 AM  

    Rexspeak translation: "Hey, guys! Thanks to today's puzzle, I learned who BOBBY SHORT and GLORIA ALLRED are, and what a SELECTMAN is!"

    You're welcome.

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:31 AM  

    @Loren - I said, "Huh?" and looked at your avatar pic - LOL!

    But seriously, when I was a kid I heard the saying, "The shoemaker should stick to his last," and I always thought it was sort of a pun, that is, the shoemaker should apply himself to the "last," which is a tool of his trade, but also that he should continue working until he is completely finished, as in fighting to your last. But today's entry had me look it up, and I see I was not really correct.

    Leapfinger 9:43 AM  

    I'm in the camp with @Bob Kerfuffle and others who enjoyed. Had plenty errors, starting with MERLE Norman and hitting MITES x MDS [NE], SALT and EIGHT [SW] and others in points between. Thought the theme came in the NICKS of Time, loved the clue-entry SNEES, and meeting EzraPOUND's EX.

    So MEME is not the kitten's name,
    And DEKES are from a hockey game.
    Are Cecil RHODES in GOBY Deserts?
    The very thought turns brains to yogHURTS!
    There's SANDS galore in Iwo Jima,
    And Tommy could have been a thema
    Because his voice was smoooth and mellow
    When singing with La Funicello.
    WILLIAM's HURT and JOHNNY's ROTTEN.
    The less is said, the best forgotten.

    It was a GAFFE to expect some BRAMS today, but I definitely enjoyed the fine Riesling. No way was it AIRACE to the bottom.

    Anonymous 9:51 AM  

    Gloria Allred did not represent the Simpson family vs OJ in civil suit, John Q. Kelly did.

    Teedmn 9:54 AM  

    What many of you said, including @Rex is my experience too. Even after a decongestant-induced nap, I was unable to finish the Mideast. Finally looked up the definition of asseverate and Googled the BAXTER clue so total DNF.

    Never heard of GLORIA ALLRED or BOBBY SHORT, but at least the first one was gettable with the crosses.

    Not as fun as Friday or Saturday's puzzles but it was a good workout. Thanks, Mr. Ries.

    L 9:54 AM  

    I also started filling in Stevie Wonder, amazed the NYT would go in that direction until I realized I was out of space. Tremendous sense of relief there. Bobby Short is way more famous than so many of the names that pop up in the puzzle, I'm not sure what the fuss is all about. Selectmen too is hardly arcane. My dad wore orthopedic shoes, so I've heard all about the importance of the shoe last. I thought it was more common. But algid?!? Thankfully, there are crosses to get to that. Nice easy Sunday - no complaints!

    John Child 9:55 AM  

    @Loren - I can't tell whether to scoff or wonder at your photo and explanation. That's the very best sort of misdirection.

    And this is four posts for me, so good night Gracie, as the fellow who would have been a terrible fireman said. I'll take my answer off-air.

    Ludyjynn 9:55 AM  

    Rex, BOBBYSHORT went in first. He was THE NYC cabaret pianist for decades, as well as a highly visible tv spokesperson for Revlon's "Charlie" perfume, whose ads ran nationally.

    @OISK, If you liked "Landslide", you really should avail yourself of more STEVIENICKS music, as a solo artist, as a DUO w/ Lindsey Buckingham and as a lead singer in the most successful incarnation of the band, Fleetwood Mac. FYI, the group is in the midst of a North American and European reunion tour and you can select from numerous venues at which to see them on the east coast over the next 6 months.

    @NCAPres, in response to your query about 'foreign' words or for that matter, any new word, just learn it! Today, I learned ALGID. Will I commit it to memory? Hopefully; maybe not. But I won't moan about it, esp. if a word shows up in two puzzles w/in a matter of days.

    I liked this puzz., despite Rex's reservations, and found it a solid medium outing, ideal for a brisk, Fall Sunday morn.

    Thanks, AJR and WS.

    Anonymous 9:55 AM  

    Residents are not DRS eventually. They are doctors now. They become doctors when they graduate from medical school.

    L 9:55 AM  

    I wouldn't complain though if the NYT did give up the silent movie star clues. I think the time has come.

    Nancy 10:10 AM  

    @OISK --We always have the same references: Ralph Branca, Bobby Thompson, and BOBBY SHORT. Have seen him several times, in person, at the Carlyle. Easiest theme answer for me.
    @Casco -- Had your levels of difficulty at exactly the same points in the puzzle. Despite BOBBY SHORT, Southeast was the hardest.
    107 A: the most writeovers ever for me: Explain...Exposit...Expouse...
    EXPOUND.

    Benko 10:19 AM  

    I see no evidence of BOBBY SHORT appearing in A Catcher in the Rye; in fact, upon googling "bobby short catcher in the rye" one of the first hits was this very comments page.

    Elephant's Child 10:29 AM  

    @Anon 0955, you're right about the resident DRS, but a word of caution: I've been in the ER on the Fourth of July when the brand-new Baby Docs are turned loose. Honest to Pete, it's a case of Fear and Trembling, writ large.

    Noticed AVER tucked inside AsseVERate; that helped.

    SELECTMeN can be found in Stephen King books, if nowhere else.

    @Andrew Morrison, 'bigger than BOBBY SHORT'? How about bigger than Rich Little? Are you saying SHORT People got no reason?? Pretty small of you!

    @LMS, fine avatar! It seems that no matter whether you read L->R or R->L, @Gill I(P) ends up with a mustache. Thanks for that.
    @NCAPrez, Sheesh! We just had MOHEL in a grid, wha hoppen to the old short-term memory? Also, Yiddish is a language only, so no Yiddish persons around. Your Mt. MOHELhill is a bit scary, but I understand that some do save the scisions in a jar.

    Charles Flaster 10:34 AM  

    Medium but very gettable. Agree with Rex and love his list of day jobbers.
    @Oisk--we share same wave length.Saw BOBBY SHORT once at the Carlyle and he was fantabulous!!
    Liked clues for HAPPY MEAL, APT, ATTENDEES and AROMA.
    Never heard of JOHNNY ROTTEN but what a great moniker.
    Thanks AJR.

    jdv 10:37 AM  

    Med-Challenging. I didn't like this at all. Way too naticky in East mine field section at GRADPHOTO and its crosses. Cluing should be as brief as possible; there's no need for the post-comma commentary in the clues for PROD [Elbow, maybe], ERR [Fumble, say], and ABED [Still snoozing, say]. JOCK ere TEAM, ATE ere HAD and SALT ere ENDS. AREWEDONE is great.

    7d5a9b1 10:48 AM  

    "Rex" is back. I think I've figured out the problem here. "Rex" describes himself as "King of CrossWorld"--a fantasy land, I suppose, filled with very cross people, of which "Rex," as the most cross of all, is properly king. But owing to some confusion of terms, "Rex," a master of cross words, has taken up crossword puzzles, which, as it happens, he doesn't much like. Today he doesn't like "Juxtapose" and "Bug Zapper" and "Happy Meal." He doesn't like them, and that's fine. He's cross. It's his nature. But here's some advice for "Rex": if you find you must endure rather than enjoy almost all crossword puzzles, stop doing them. Take up another hobby, one you might enjoy. Cross-stitch, perhaps?

    joho 10:56 AM  

    Any puzzle that elicits so much creativity from so many solvers coming up their own answers is a success in my book!

    BOBBYSHORT was a Living Legend. If that doesn't qualify as grid worthy, I don't know what does. I remember him for singing Cole Porter marvelously.

    @Alias Z, loved your "if I know the name = love & don't know the name = hate" take ... too funny!
    That and FATA SAPIG.

    "Pitcher of milk? was a great clue for ELSIE. Has this been used before?

    All in all a fun Sunday morning diversion. Thanks, Andrew!

    Arlene 11:10 AM  

    Like many others - smooth sailing until I didn't know GLORIA ALLRED. A little Google look-up and I finished it off.

    I'm a "dead tree" solver - so it was interesting to see the answer key to last week's puzzle, with the colored letters on the grid - probably a first for the NYT!

    mac 11:14 AM  

    Good Sunday puzzle, but man, those things are big....

    I'd heard of Gloria Allred and Bobby Short, but I don't know anyone called Rotten. A little surprised at "fat as a pig", rude.

    I had the most trouble in the Grad photo/telecom/stomp area, but eventually it came together.

    @Loren: so glad you are back, and in such good form!!

    mathguy 11:20 AM  

    I learned "deke" from The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I hope you've read it. A lovely essay in the form of a dying professor's letter to his children.

    I'm with @Bob Kerfuffle, @Glimmerglass, and @LMSmith in disagreeing with Rex's criticism of the theme. Amusing alternatives from @Smith.

    When Rex reaches to criticize a puzzle I fantasize that he has a recurring nightmare where he wakes up one morning and discovers that he has become Deb Amlen.

    ArtO 11:31 AM  

    Always get a kick out of the stuff that Rex has never heard of (selectman, Bobby Short) which seem quite ordinary to those of a certain age (at least in the case of Short although I would imagine anyone who took a government or social studies class earlier than the 1970's would know a selectman).

    Carola 11:38 AM  

    Toughish for me, given my solve-only-from-connecting-entries-no-looking-ahead-at-clues Sunday practice. I thought the theme was creative and fun - Got BURNS, CAGE, and SHORT (thanks to reading NYTimes) right away, but needed crosses for the rest. I had the most trouble with BRAM STOKER - for the longest time I thought he was adAM somebody...not helped by my Red Baron (temporarily) having an alter ego as a pIrAtE (channeling @loren: sheesh!). Love the other person-job combination you ingenious commenters have come up with.

    Midwestern mystery: SELECTMAN went in off the S but for the life of me and despite the fact it's snowing at the moment, I couldn't see SCRAPER until I had almost all the crosses (but actually, why would you put a wet, icy scraper back in the glove compartment? Our brush-SCRAPER combo lives on the floor of the back seat.)

    Thank you, Andrew Ries - really liked the brain-racking spiced with smiles.

    Horace S. Patoot 11:39 AM  

    EXHIPPIE is part of the common vocabulary of we boomers. As a westerner, the clue for SELECTMAN was perfect and an easy fill; it's an office we don't have out here and we seem to get along OK without it. LAST is as good a word as any other from my perspective. I think GRAD has evolved into a word in its own right, in the neighborhood of "alum".

    Julius and Ethel 11:40 AM  

    @7d5a, by your reasoning, it seems Rex should have like cross-RHODES, bien sur. Maybe there was too much cross-dressing on his word salad...

    A real treat to see half the duo of SOCKO and Vanzetti recognized, although by some fellow traveling under an Alias. Had thought ALL that guard had been forgotten.

    Anonymous 11:51 AM  

    @mathguy, great closing lines. @Rex should only wish: Deb Amlen has much better hair!

    Master Melvin 11:57 AM  

    The CT town I used to live in had a group of SELECTMEN who were like a town council. The FIRST SELECTMAN functioned like a mayor.

    The CT town I now live in has a Town Council - not called selectmen. Used to have a Town Manager, now have a mayor.

    GILL I. 12:00 PM  

    Well, I don't mind looking like Howdy Doody, but I draw the line at the accordion.
    Thanks...I'm having the TWITTERS!

    Hartley70 12:12 PM  

    While I found the very bottom of the puzzle the most difficult, overall this was not a "medium" for me because I knew all the people, including the entire Board of Selectmen in our town.

    You couldn't live in NYC and not know Bobby Short, any more than remain unaware of Ed Koch during my years there. He was the King of the Cafe Carlyle. I'd forgotten about the ads for Charlie. When that fragrance was introduced it was unmistakable and everywhere you went. It was so strong it would have taken turpentine to mask it. I had some of course.

    The only real challenge was ALGID, a complete mystery to me. I kept trying to use a rebus there. We haven't had one in a long time. Sniff.

    So I would give this an "easy" with a plus sign for all the memories.

    EXHIPPY 12:12 PM  

    @GILL, keep an open mind about accordions. If you like Annie Proulx at all (Shipping News, Brokeback Mtn), check out Accordion Crimes. I enjoyed it ALOT/

    Anonymous 12:12 PM  

    I disagree with some of the clueing:
    "Oboes"--almost all wind instruments have flared bells.
    "Loire"--turner painted lots of pictures of the Thames, not known for pictures of the Loire

    F.O.G. 12:13 PM  

    I must CHIMEINON this puzzle with my two cents...

    Quite a struggle for me in the upper southeast. SHOELAST, GRADPHOTO, BAXTER and LEOVI HAD me.

    Thought some of the clues were clever, e.g., AISLE for Window's counterpart.

    Teedmn 12:15 PM  

    As Neil Young would say:

    The king is gone but he's not forgotten
    (JOHNNY ROTTEN JOHNNY ROTTEN)
    Is this the story of JOHNNY ROTTEN?
    (JOHNNY ROTTEN Rotten Johnny)

    Steve M 12:15 PM  

    Top ez
    Bottom tuff

    Anonymous 12:21 PM  

    This puzzle had it all. Mistakes: Residents, eventually abbr. DRS Residents ARE doctors. Or did you think teaching hospitals just let anyone loose on you? Obscurity: MABEL . Enough with silent film “stars”. I’ve never seen a silent film other than a clip. They suck and it’s why “talkies” immediately replaced them. Corn: SOCKO. Golly Beave! And the trite: OBOES Can this word and its bazillion crappy clues NEVER appear again in a crossword puzzle?

    Z 12:32 PM  

    Before the paper hit my stoop this morning I was reading a story in Asimov's about a post-plague future. The trope? The story was written as the minutes of a SELECTMAN meeting in an isolated New Hampshire town that has avoided being infected.

    I like the theme, I just don't think it is strong enough to support a 21x21 grid. By the time I got to working out the LEO VI/BOBBY SHORT/BAXTER/AVERY section I had lost my interest. Three WOEs stacked on each other along with two RRNs make that tiny section a slog. And just like one wants to start strong, a good "aha" ending can influence one's final opinion. Ending with so much trivial trivia just left me with a sour taste for this puzzle.

    @Bob Kerfuffle - I've seen it asserted that a theme with a specific set is better than an open ended theme. So, a theme like this where all the answers are lawyers would be better, or just verbs, or just Oscar winners. I see the merit in this contention, but I personally look at it as a bit much. Is a no-hitter better than a 10-9 win? More memorable, maybe, but lots of people enjoy the slug fest.

    OISK 12:39 PM  

    How could one have lived through the 70's and not have heard of Stevie Nicks? (someone asked) Easy, if one never listens to that kind of music, and I didn't and don't. Mentioned that I had heard someone sing "Landslide," but didn't say that I liked it!!

    Thanks for the link to a "Nicks" performance. I kind of thought she might sound like that. Not my cup of tea, but distinctive enough…(I like Jo Stafford)

    Charley 12:40 PM  

    New England towns are governed by Boards of Selectman. The First Selectman, often a woman these days, is akin to Mayor.

    Anonymous 12:52 PM  

    My problem with the EXHIPPIES clue was the final "now". Completely unnecessary - were they still hippies until a few years ago? It had me looking for answers like retired (didn't fit), onmedicare, grandparents (also didn't fit).

    Also, AUS is the abbreviation for Australia, not Austria (AUT). Australia has its Australian Alps (with skiing!), which is a beautiful area. But it's hilly, not mountainous, so probably wouldn't be thought of as Alpine. And Australia as a whole can hardly be called an "Alpine land".

    old timer 12:52 PM  

    Turner's Loire pictures are pretty well known to those who are interested in his work. So that was a fair clue, even though my first thought was to find some 5-letter word for a storm at sea or a windswept landscape somewhere near the coast

    Rex missed a great opportunity to slam Will Shorz here. He never should have let that "residents" clue stand, because any resident in a hospital is a physician and MD (or maybe a DO in some states).

    I think it is a fair criticism that the theme is weak. On the other hand, the theme answers were all that saved many of us from a trip to scenic Natick, MA. I finished without consulting Dr. Google *only* because every word I did not know at all was crossed by one I could figure out

    Anoa Bob 1:13 PM  

    I can asseverate that for some boomers or near-boomers, EX- would not be the operative HIPPIE prefix. Maybe the exterior has changed but inside they are still just an

    OLD HIPPIE

    Anonymous 1:30 PM  

    From New England, SELECTMAN came from just the s. Took a long time to get SCRAPER because no one I know has one small enough to fit in the glove-box. They have brushes on the other end and get thrown behind the driver's seat. In a bad year, the broom goes into the trunk.

    RooMonster 1:34 PM  

    Hey All !
    South was definitely harder than North.
    That SE corner was especially tough. Stared at alot of white space for a while. Finally figured out JUXTAPOSE, then little by little got the rest. However, was getting tired of being stuck there, so for 96A, had AnhI (??) for ARTI, which gave me BYnOTE/SHOELASh. Seemed OK to me!

    @LMS, that post is why all of us here miss you!

    (Not quite) FATASAPIG
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Anonymous 1:36 PM  

    @LHS888

    You wrote "GLad" for 72A "Contest winner's feeling". However, this clue calls for a noun, and your answer was an adjective, so it couldn't be right.

    Mind you, late-week clues often specialize in misdirection. Conceivably, the word "contest" could be a verb in some contexts, but here it would be a very strained interpretation.

    Anonymous 1:51 PM  

    @NCA President, and Anonymous 12:12

    Sometimes, for word crossing purposes, a puzzle constructor needs a four-letter word that consists of Vowel + Consonant + Vowel + Vowel. They need short fill that will mesh with the lovely creative long answers they've dreamed up.

    But there are only a few dozen words in the English language that fit that pattern, and some are obscure or otherwise unsuitable.

    The remainder include words like alee, aloe, aqua, area, aria, epee, etui, idea, oboe, oleo, olio, urea.

    There is a reason why those words occur far more often in crossword puzzles than they do in real life, and now you know why.

    In summary: don't overthink it. Never mind how many flared bells there could be in an orchestra. If OBOE could be your answer, nine times out of ten, it is your answer.

    Anonymous 1:57 PM  

    Gelid seems to be colder than ALGID, maybe. And GLORIA often dressed in ALL RED, perhaps that was a pauer play or word play.

    @Teedmn, are you feeling better? You still sound kind of ROTTEN!

    @Anoa Bob, now that was a trip down Memory Lane.

    wreck 2:19 PM  

    This was the easiest Sunday in a long time for me. Maybe not scintillating, but enjoyable, none the less.

    Steve J 2:19 PM  

    Mostly liked this. I don't understand - nor do I agree with - the perspective that a theme isn't that good if one can think of other examples. I don't want green paint in my themes, but I don't think it's necessary that the theme represent the grand total of all possibilities. The combos here were fine and not forced. (And, for the record, I've heard of BOBBY SHORT, although it took a long time for that wriggle its way out of the depths of my memory.)

    My bigger issue with the theme was that it was essentially a ROTE memory exercise. Still, the clue/answer combos were strong and unforced, so points for that.

    Other positives: Lots of nice cluing and relatively clean fill for a Sunday. If I ignore the section between ALGID and BOBBY SHORT, anyway. Definitely the weakest part of the grid, with things like ALGID, ERNO, SHOE LAST and GRAD PHOTO. Lots of obscurity combined with flatness.

    @Anon 9:55 a.m.: I read the clue "Residents, eventually" as "eventually they become residents". Don't know if that's what was intended, but in that reading the clue/answer combo is accurate, since, as you noted, someone's a doctor before they're a resident.

    @Casco: A dialect is not the same as a creole. A creole requires combination with a second language. Regardless of how substandard one thinks various dialects are, ebonics, Appalachian, etc. are purely English.

    Anonymous 2:56 PM  

    'Lots of obscurity combined with flatness.'

    Hmm. Would that sound familiar to an Iowan? Or would that be a Nebraskan?

    Anonymous 3:21 PM  

    Amazing the various levels of fame associated with Short, Nicks, and Allred. I am amazed that mohel is in a puzzle as it is term unknown by nearly all non Jews let alone plenty of actual Jews.
    As my age increases, I find that puzzles are now getting harder because I am more and more removed from the puzzle creators' demographic. In this case, Short was definitely a NY institution and Rex Parker should know who he was. Stevie Nicks is world renowned. If you haven't heard of her, it's your fault. Gloria Allred requires an above average level of general knowledge.

    Fred Romagnolo 3:35 PM  

    How come GEORGEBURNS is "bygone", but BOBBYSHORT isn't? Where's the consistency that solvers need? The only time I ever heard of STEVIENICKS was in a TV cartoon that had her confused with a goat voice-wise (South Park). MABEL Norman was an incredibly important and talented silent movie star who came to a tragic end. She acted with Chaplin, among others. To the people who want to exclude silent movie stars: we have to put up with rappers, so there! @Rex was a little confused, LEOVI was not a pope. The only time I heard of JOHNNYROTTEN, he got into trouble with the law, exemplifying his chosen name. BRAMSTOKER is actually a nickname for Abraham. I'm not familiar with MEME. Good Sunday puzzle.

    Mohair Sam 3:50 PM  

    Really difficult for us, but we whipped it eventually.

    I'm enjoying the class war here over BOBBYSHORT/STEVIENICKS. I'm in the NICKS camp - which made SHORT's area stacked with a character from a Woody Allen movie and Byzantine emperor particularly difficult. We had guessed GRADPages - which gave us the logical "ate" instead of HAD and that area had us floored until we sussed SHORT.

    Surprised that @Rex doesn't know the seemingly common term SELECTMAN, and surprised that many don't know the ubiquitous GLORIAALLRED. I've always seen her as a feminist icon - and she sure ain't camera shy. Without old Gloria and the "Arrested Development" clue we would never have filled the SW. OAXACA indeed!

    Loved JUXTAPOSE, hated FATASAPIG (no, I'm not - it just seems nasty). Finished on the same letter as @Rex - SHOELAST? Sheeze.

    Liked the puzz overall - just as @Steve J we had no prob with the theme - and who can get mad at a NYT puzzle that includes JOHNNYROTTEN?

    George Barany 5:15 PM  

    Congratulations to my Minnesota colleague @Andrew Ries for his first Sunday New York Times puzzle.

    The @Rex commentariat has alluded to Bobby Short some forty times (and counting) today. So maybe it's a New York thing? I can tell you one well known figure in the crossword community who for sure can relate: ACPT champion @Dan Feyer. His Hungarian-born grandfather George was for many years the regular pianist at the Carlyle. According to this wikipedia biography, GF took his usual two week vacation in August 1968, and BS was signed on to cover for him. The rest, as they say, is history.

    As for the Jewish ritual--and its practitioner--alluded to in the clue, I can only offer these jokes. Some of the naughtier ones are coded in red towards the end of that link.

    JenCT 5:19 PM  

    @Bob K: I'm with you; Sundays are for relaxing...

    @Leapfinger & @Mohair Sam: Yes, the ubiquitous (borrowing your adjective) GLORIA ALLRED goes after high-profile cases involving women; she recently settled a lawsuit brought by 5 female students from the University of CT: UConn Settles Suit on Rape Cases

    @Fred Romagnolo: Yes, the TV show South Park has relentlessly made fun of Stevie Nicks' voice, using a goat to represent her in several episodes. In one particular episode, the U.S. Military save a goat, who they think is Stevie Nicks, and shoot Osama Bin Laden…

    @mathguy: Agree about the excellent, moving lecture by Randy Pausch; here’s a YouTube video of it: Last Lecture

    Anonymous 5:20 PM  

    I think the puzzle constructor is a real putz for conflating Stevie Nicks with mohel. Enough with this verkackte schmutz already. Gosh, I hope got that right.

    JenCT 5:21 PM  

    I meant to say that UConn settled the lawsuit...

    jae 5:24 PM  

    @lms - Thanks for posting "our" photo. The 45+ year old fading Polariods I have do not transition well to digital media.

    I had geLID (which I know only from crosswords) before AGLID (which was WOE).

    Today's Parade Magazine used the word legendary in referring to Fleetwod Mac.

    wreck 5:37 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    wreck 5:38 PM  

    Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album sold 45 million copies and is one of the all-time biggest selling albums.

    Questinia 5:41 PM  

    Residents are doctors as are interns. One is an MD upon graduation from med school.

    Otherwise what @jae said about ALGID.

    This puzzle drove me cray-cray cuz it seemed every first answer I had was wrong which made me jump around the grid in hysterics looking for certainty. ALGID did not help.

    Loren Muse Smith 6:03 PM  

    Hey, @Casco! I tell my students that when they write, they should get the correct there/they're/their, but when they speak, I don't care which one they use. Same with it's and its – use whichever they want when they're speaking.

    They were truly surprised that people react so strongly to the THEY used as a singular. I'm sure they'd never realized that there was an issue.

    We do discuss the idea of dialect, and I assure them that the dialect they speak is not inferior to mine or a newscaster's in terms of communication. We're working on the I/me issue, but again, I'm just asking them to use case correctly when they write. I think I would lose some ground if I were swooping in and trying to fancify the way they talk. As it stands, I have their attention right now, and that's a good start huh?

    @Steve J is right – no creoles in Calhoun County, WV! Just dialects. Funny phenomenon, though…the letter carriers here have been exposed to Spanish because of having to work closely with all the Asplundh workers from Honduras. So they're running around speaking a kind of carrier pidgin.

    Mr. Benson 6:13 PM  

    I thought I'd see some criticism of JOHNNYROTTEN as the outlier among the theme answers -- after all, it's a made-up name, and it's *supposed* to evoke literal rottenness. It's not like he just happened to have that name. Real name: John Lydon.

    Z 6:14 PM  

    I thought Carrier Pidgin was an extinct Creole. Youse guys are confusing me.

    Mr. Benson 6:16 PM  

    Oh, and also: EXHIPPIES are very much a thing. It's an in-the-language expression and Rex's criticism of it is invalid.

    Steve J 6:17 PM  

    @LMS: Now that's how to pun. I'm both laughing and groaning (graughing? loaning?) at "carrier pidgin".

    @Fred R: While I don't agree with suggestions to not include silent film actors, I can sort of see the point. We're all alive while the rappers are plying their trade, while only the centenarians amongst us are likely to have experienced the silent era at an age old enough to remember the actors. Both are fair game, as far as I'm concerned, as long as neither digs too deeply into the realms of obscurity.

    Stephen Reich, M.D. 7:33 PM  

    There is an error in the puzzle: 14 down. Residents are already Drs. rather than "eventual" Drs.
    Stephen Reich, M.D.

    Anonymous 8:23 PM  

    Is FATASAPIG a bit offensive? I was surprised to see it here.

    James Mac 8:40 PM  

    No, it's not offensive. Pigs are fat.

    Anonymous 9:14 PM  

    This comment is actually directed at Will Shortz. When "will" he learn that his charge is to make Rex and his dittoheads (a term I picked up from a Frank Rich piece) pleased, replete with no "meh" or "dreck" for fill. He should not be gearing his selections based on the legions of old, new and in-between puzzlers who spend gazillions on the NYT and who actually do puzzles for relaxation, without (OMG) a stopwatch. Yes - finished - no Google, but with intermissions.

    Andrew Heinegg 10:01 PM  

    That the NYT would let this pass without correction shows how little effort goes into their screening these puzzles as a number of others have noted.

    Anonymous 10:27 PM  

    @Andrew - Providing the subject of your post, which you rarely do, would be a significant improvement. Are we talking fat pigs or interns being or not being doctors?

    Colby 12:28 AM  

    The Hunger Games is considered an EPIC? Sad day.

    Anonymous 10:50 AM  

    Dear James, if someone said you were fat as a pig which is fat as you say, would you be offended?

    James Mac 1:12 PM  

    @ anonymous...No one said I was as fat as a pig. It's a crossword puzzle clue, not a personal comment. Sheesh.

    Mary Rose 2:00 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Bomaka 2:08 PM  

    Nice Sunday workout, with no great aha moments, but nonetheless fun, particularly given this cold, wet NE day.

    @anon 3:21: Certainly my "fault" I didn't immediately know Nicks. I was rather concentration on becoming a "resident, eventually" and chose other, more soothing, I guess, music genres.

    Short was a gimme. My office was 20 feet from the Carlisle and saw his face almost daily. I think the street is now (or was being planned to be) named after him. That said street as also regularly blocked by intimidating, enormous, black SUV's when any "dignitaries" came to town.

    Hard to imagine why mohel - the word or the practitioner - is not known to news readers, given the relatively recent stories of HIV transmission (by some unusual practices) and the anti-circumcision rallies.

    Mary Webster 2:15 PM  

    Bobbie Short was the first name I got. Guess it's a generational thing. Again.

    bomaka 2:45 PM  

    Sorry, meant HSV...

    Mark Kovach 5:09 PM  

    Just because YOU don't know Bobby Short or Gloria Allred all that well doesn't mean you should carp about it. These and many other of your comments aren't really valid points as a critic. More those of a simple criticizer. I don't cry when there are easy literature references; easy for you that is. The challenge of the puzzle (of all puzzles) is to give you something new even if it is sometimes obscure to the majority. Tough noogies if you can't do under 10 minutes every week. Keep up the good work WS!

    Anonymous 5:28 PM  

    Bobbie Short, even I knew that, and I live in Ohio, no less. AND I knew what a selectman is, hee, hee, although we don't have THEM out here in flyover land.

    Anonymous 8:50 PM  

    14-down is an incorrect clue. Residents don't eventually become doctors (drs), they already ARE doctors, having graduated med school. Cherry on top of a weak puzzle with the least challenging theme in months.

    Anonymous 9:00 PM  

    There's a classic seinfeld episode where the mohel was a central character and the word was said at least a dozen times. That's how I know it, from one of the most popular TV shows of the past 25 years. The key is knowing "mohel" is pronounced "moil".

    Doesn't give a damn if a resident is a doctor Z 9:11 PM  

    The clue may be wrong, but not as wrong as everyone saying residents are "doctors." Neither an MD nor a DO qualifies one as a "Doctor" - Doctor is an academic degree indicating preparedness to teach, not preparedness to heal (you can look it up with the google machine). Now, before I eke out this explanation any farther will you all please just shut up and read the comments before making the same observation that's been made about 79 times already. Oh wait - if people read the comments before making inane observations we wouldn't have about 131 repetitions of the same inane comment. Nevermind.

    paulsfo 1:35 AM  

    I'm from the Midwest, and now the West, and I knew Bobby Short, selectman, and mohel because I've been alive, and somewhat alert, for quite a while. I think these are all general knowledge.

    I got stuck in three places and DNF; so I found this one hard.

    James Mac 12:23 PM  

    @Doesn't give a damn if a resident is a doctor Z...Amen! Thanks.

    Carole Brown 4:40 PM  

    OK, OK I never heard of some of these people. That made the puzzle hard for me, but c'mon -- it isn't even clever.
    This puzzle is contrived -- in the worst sense of the word.

    Anonymous 3:09 PM  

    Forced to agree with Rex about the lame theme -- so broad that you could come up with a million such clues. Infantile. Nothing clever about the cluing in general. Hated "dekes" and "socko" -- I've never heard anyone use such words in my life. And exhippies is a legit word, but the clue says "many boomers" -- many, are you serious? Where does Mr. Ries live, in Vermont or the Catskills? How many hippies do you think there were? More accurate clue would be "a tiny handful of boomers now". I put down ex-yuppies -- a hell of a lot more yuppies than there were ever hippies. Sloppy cluing on this one, little imagination in the others. I hope we don't see Mr. Ries again.

    Michael Fleming 1:15 PM  

    My first hearing of Bobby Short was as a perfume commercial jinglist in the 70s (here featuring one of the Angels, but not an original Angel...). http://youtu.be/9Sn8H42FZcI

    spacecraft 12:32 PM  

    Cold (Mon.)= FRIGID; (Fri.)= GELID. ALGID? There's no day of the week for that--that's, like, BEYOND Saturday. That's a word, but I don't know how. NO ONE in HISTORY has ever uttered it. ALGID??? Yougottabekiddingme.

    However, I forced it in on crosses, after almost giving up because I just couldn't make GELID work. The "drifter outside a coffee shop" really had me going, no help from the WOE piano-playing cat. MEME, eh? If you say so.

    I almost never got into the NE till I spied a badly needed gimme, the great OZZIE Smith. Even then, it took forever to come up with EMPHASIZE (duh, now!).

    I am a huge STEVIENICKS fan; that joke did not amuse. We're talking "F" on the breakfast test.

    And who the HEY is GLORIAALLRED? This was a major slog, but clues were Saturday-level and every corner was a challenge. Finishing means I can't go less than B-. B- it is. Whew!

    108: my reward!

    rondo 12:48 PM  

    Rarely bother with Sundays but did today. ALGID, yikes! And LEO RRN. Not to make a mountain out of a mohel, but what? At least the answer STEVIENICKS is/was a yeah baby. Combined with the all-on-one-line TEAT MANIA MEME made me smile.

    speak mkokin = no play today

    Dirigonzo 3:55 PM  

    Has anyone mentioned that the clue for 14d is wrong because residents are already DRS?

    My yearbook had a heADPHOTO which I never corrected so ALGID never showed up. I probably should have known EeNO was wrong but even with the R in place GRADPHOTO might still have eluded me.

    1407 - no GLEE.

    Z 4:13 PM  

    @Diri - Touché. It is a rare day when the spell caster is not the most annoying thing in the comments.

    rain forest 6:10 PM  

    I really don't understand the lack of love for this one. I thought it was a challenge, but an enjoyable one. Who cares if it doesn't "sizzle"? Only OFL, I guess.

    The due North and the NE were the most difficult for me. I always thought Geneva's lake was its eponym. Learned something, in French, anyway.

    Agree with @Diri about the resident designation.

    I accept but do not understand what a "meme" is. Is a YouTube of a cat on a piano a meme, and if so, why? Discuss.

    1124 Another loser, a meme of my own, I guess.

    gafromca 8:51 AM  

    This is for those of you who know Bobby Short but not memes. The term originated with Richard Dawkins as a way to discuss cultural elements and the way they spread and evolve. Think of a cartoon of a white bearded man wearing bermuda shorts and a red cap. You will somehow recognize the concept of "Santa Claus" being mixed with the concept of "beach vacation."

    The term "internet meme" is used to describe a similar cultural phenomenon. An image, GIF, or video goes viral, becoming so popular that others can imitate, parody, or remix the original, creating a new expression that still references the original concept or meme.

    Keyboard Cat is one of the older, well-known memes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J---aiyznGQ

    Are Internet Memes Art?
    http://video.pbs.org/video/2223395273/

    Anonymous 9:51 PM  

    Here here! I'm thrilled to learn something from a friggin' puzzle.

    Anonymous 10:01 PM  

    Thumb up.

    Anonymous 10:08 PM  

    I concur.

    Anonymous 10:10 PM  

    Beautiful. I agree. This is poetry.

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