French army headwear / TUE 12-16-14 / Cab Calloway phrase / TV network once called Pax / Jane who won 1931 Nobel Peace Prize / Robert De Niro spy thriller / Children's author illustrator with National Medal of Honor / R&B singer backed by Love Unlimited Orchestra / Canterbury saint

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Constructor: Joel D. Lafargue

Relative difficulty: DOOK

THEME: THE BEE GEES (60A: Trio whose members start 17-, 26- and 44-Across) — theme answers all share the first names of the brothers GIBB (66A: Last name of 60-Across):

Theme answers:
  • BARRY WHITE (17A: R&B singer backed by the Love Unlimited Orchestra)
  • ROBIN WILLIAMS (26A: Late comic genius)
  • MAURICE SENDAK (44A: Children's author/illustrator with a National Medal of Arts)
Word of the Day: Jane ADDAMS (45D: Jane who won a 1931 Nobel Peace Prize) —
Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was a pioneer American settlementsocial worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women's suffrage and world peace. In an era when presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilsonidentified themselves as reformers and social activists, Addams was one of the most prominent reformers of the Progressive Era. She helped turn America to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, local public health, and world peace. She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places to live, they needed the vote to be effective in doing so. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. She is increasingly being recognized as a member of the American pragmatist school of philosophy. In 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States. (wikipedia)
• • •


Hi all. It's time for my week-long, just-once-a-year-I-swear pitch for financial contributions to the blog. If you enjoy (or some other verb) this blog on a regular or fairly regular basis, please consider what the blog is worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for your enjoyment (or some other noun) for at least another calendar year, with a new post up by 9:00am (usually by 12:01am) every day, as usual. I'm in my ninth (!) year of writing about the puzzle every single day, and while there are occasions when the daily grind gets a little wearisome, for the most part I've been surprised by how resilient my passion for solving and talking about crosswords has been. It's energizing to be part of such an enthusiastic and diverse community of solvers, and I'm excited about the coming year (I have reason to be hopeful … mysterious reasons …). Anyway, I appreciate your generosity more than I can say. This year, said generosity allowed me to hire a regular guest blogger, Annabel Thompson, who now brings a fresh, youthful voice to my blog on the first Monday of every month. So thanks for that. As I said last year, I know that some people are opposed to paying for what they can get for free, and still others really don't have money to spare. Both kinds of people are welcome to continue reading my blog, with my compliments. It will always be free. I have no interest in cordoning it off, nor do I have any interest in taking advertising. I value my independence too much. Anyway, if you are so moved, there is a Paypal button in the sidebar, and a mailing address here:

Rex Parker
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905

And here: I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users.

I assume that worked.

For people who send me actual, honest-to-god (i.e. "snail") mail (I love snail mail!), this year my thank-you cards are "Postcards from Penguin"—each card a different vintage Penguin paperback book cover. Who will be the lucky person who gets … let's see … "Kiss, Kiss" by Roald DAHL? Or "The Case of the Careless Kitten" by ERLE Stanley Gardner? Or the Selected Verse of Heinrich HEINE? It could be you. Or give via PayPal and get a thank-you email. That's cool too. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say so. No problem. Anyway, whatever you choose to do, I remain most grateful for your readership. Now on to the puzzle …

• • •

The theme is a non-starter. It's a non-theme. There is nothing happening. It's so literal, so weirdly untricky, that I half-suspect I'm on Candid Camera. Or, in slightly more modern parlance, that I'm being Punk'd. The gratuitous, extra, doesn't-have-a-symmetrical-partner GIBB is just the unasked-for cherry on an otherwise unadorned sundae. I'm at a loss. There's no word play. There's no play at all. There's no twist. There's nothing. Yes, those are the names of the brothers, and those names are not uncommon. Other people have those names. Some of those people are famous. Who cares? One of them sings; that's kind of a connection. Kind of. But. But. There's just nothing here. No revelation. I can't remember seeing a theme this rudimentary in forever. How in the world does this theme "tickle" anyone? A bunch of two-word phrases where the first word started with "B" and the second word started with "G"—*that*, while not earth-shattering, would've made Sooooooo […] ooooo much more sense. BILL GATES! BUDDY GUY! BETTY GRABLE! But this. This. What is this?

The fill is EDUCE-A-MINT. It is what it is. HI-DE-HI.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Anonymous 12:11 AM  

    DOOK?? WTH??
    A bizarre word like that on a Tuesday??

    Anonymous 12:14 AM  

    Loved your humorous write-up!

    I thought the grid was clean overall, but sticking GIBB in there was overkill and gave the
    whole theme a pedestrian quality.

    August West 12:26 AM


    jae 12:35 AM  

    Two tough Tuesdays in a row!  ANSELM, KEPI, SAPOR, EDUCE, RONIN, GEWGAW, GINO, ADDAMS...that's a lot of later week stuff for a Tues.  

    Had peel before SKIN for far too long and also HARD worK before TASK.

    Knowing the names of THE BEE GEES helped (especially MAURICE which helped me get SENDAK which isn't exactly Tues. fodder either),  but this still took almost twice as long as a typical Tues.  

    That said,  I liked the puzzle.  I own BGs  albums and have seen the iconic Saturday Night Fever more than once, so I guess I'm a fan.  Should have been a Wed.?

    Questinia 12:43 AM  

    GIBB gave it a pedestrian quality! (Anon 12:14)

    So GIBB was the GEWGAW in the puzzle's HIDEHI TIARA?

    ANSELM ADDAMS would have shot it.

    John Child 12:45 AM  

    Challenging for a Tuesday here. I had to convince myself to take out the latter half of HARD WORK and to put in the D in HI DE HI. Otherwise I'm not sure why it took so long... Oh yes, misreading 47D and entering Subpar instead of SUPERB.

    LAH near WAH is unfortunate. SAPOR is not a great word (but remarkably common - 17 Shortz-era appearances). DOOK is just the dook, man. I get dooked every time I see this word. Not.

    Da da da dum (snap, snap). da da da dum. (snap, snap) Da da da dum, da da da dum, da da da dum. ADDAMS

    Steve J 12:50 AM  

    I suppose if one loves THE BEE GEES, they'll like this. Otherwise, the puzzle dropped a bit of a DOOKie. Incredibly awkward throughout.

    Speaking of DOOK: After looking at at least 10 different online dictionaries (yeah, I know, but my "real" dictionaries don't have the word), I cannot find any support for DOOK as defined in the puzzle. There are definitions saying to bathe or plunge, a Scottish variant of duck, some sort of plug driven into a wall, or a clucking sound made by a ferret. But nothing about getting by. I'm kind of hoping Martin stops by to justify this one.

    Anonymous 12:52 AM  

    DOOK is actually DO OK. Still not good though.

    Anonymous 12:53 AM  

    DO OK. Jesus people. Rex made a joke.

    Casco Kid 12:55 AM  

    Did I do OK? No. I did not scrape by. hOOK/HIhEHI and SAvOR/KEvI. Easy puzzle. Undoable, but easy. I agree with everything Rex said and am ashamed to say I spent 20 minutes on the puzzle, the last 5 pondering DOOK and picking hOOK, with SAvOR a wild guess.

    Well. Now I know SAPOR. Anyhoo . . .

    Steve J 1:00 AM  

    Sheesh. I can't believe I didn't parse that correctly (I read it as DOOK long before I read Rex's writeup). I'm going to go wash the egg off my face now.

    On the plus side, now I know how to succinctly work in something about ferret-clucking into future conversations.

    Moly Shu 1:00 AM  

    @SteveJ, perhaps it's " how will you perform on Wednesday's puzzle?"
    " hmmm if its not too difficult, I think I'll DO OK". That's how I parsed it anyway. Dislike the BEEGEES , but dislike(d) 26a even more. Genius, ha. More like useless, IMO. Puzzle? Easy and fine.

    Steve Miller 1:05 AM  

    You know, some people call me MAURICE.

    chefwen 2:26 AM  

    I looked at DO OK (dook) and thought that that might be a opposing move to DEKE in ice hockey. First chuckle. Second and bigger chuckle is when I really wanted Super Bowl in at 28D (Hi @JFC) no wonder all bets were off this year.

    I peel about 50 bananas a week for my muffins I have never called it SKINing them. That just ain't right.

    Not your easiest Tuesday by any means. ANSELM???

    Andy 3:08 AM  

    What , no Gino Vanelli video on e blog tonight ?

    Graham 3:13 AM  

    Cab Calloway sang HIDEHO, not HIDEHI.

    Thomas808 3:37 AM  

    DNF on a Tuesday, arghh! Blame the KEPI cross with SAPOR. Can a combo of non-proper names be called a Natick? Both words are pretty obscure, with the obvious red herring SAvOR there to deflect attention.

    Other than that it was pretty easy. The theme was ok with a flashback to yesterday's BEEGEELINES reference, and the fill was good.

    But if I ever construct a puzzle using SKIN, I am definitely going to find a better clue than "Banana discard".

    Jisvan 3:58 AM  

    @Graham, Calloway sang HIDEHIdeho! Worth a look at utube. Those were some jive cats! Love the puzzle rating: DOOK. (I did.)

    George Barany 4:12 AM  

    According to the information at, @Joel D. Lafargue has constructed 53 puzzles for the New York Times, but this is only his second in the Shortz era, with the first having been more than 17 years ago. Something to keep in mind when discussing/evaluating this puzzle.

    My other thought is that just two days ago, the theme required adding the "gee" sound, so "beeline" turned into BEEGEELINE [clued as: "How deep is your love?" or "You should be dancing"?"]. I seem to recall that some of the commentariat questioned whether a Bee Gee could ever be in the singular, but am hazy as to whether or not a consensus was ever reached.

    Susierah 5:14 AM  

    Ha ha ha, Steve Miller! Good one! How's the band doing?

    GILL I. 5:55 AM  

    Gaaaah.....! Isn't everyone in this thing dead?

    Anonymous 6:55 AM  

    Now that would be a puzzle theme - GANGSTER OF LOVE, JOKER, MAIRICE. . .

    Hartley70 7:01 AM  

    @Gill I Nope, we've still got a BeeGee alive and kicking, but boy those other 3 Gibb brothers had early demises. I did a double take when I read your comment because that would be a nasty theme! Doesn't Mexico have a Day of the Dead? Hmmm.

    I was stumped with SAPOR/KEPI and there was no chance of getting that P. I hate when that happens. Otherwise the puzzle moved along nicely in an above average time.

    Anonymous 7:01 AM  


    A cross of non-proper names should be called a Natix.


    Mohair Sam 7:08 AM  

    Tough Tuesday, but doable. Several nouns had to fill off crosses for us, but they did.

    Cab Calloway a favorite here. Met him a couple of times at the races.

    Never much of a Bee Gees fan but knew their names. Loved @Rex's rating. And @Steve J learns the risk of posting early!

    abstractblueman 7:11 AM  

    As if it wasn't already icy enough outside, now I have to worry about slipping on a banana SKIN, not to mention a random pile of DOOK. It took me a few minutes of giggling at DOOK before I realized that it was DO OK. Coupled with the peel vs. SKIN incident, this puzzle made me feel like I had DOOK for brains!

    Anonymous 7:22 AM  

    What I did like was the answers were harder than the usual Tuesday fare.

    Hats off to kepi.

    What I didn't like was the quality of the questions.

    Banana skin? As in, "There's more than one way to skin a banana"?

    Personally, I ignore the themes. Too much of an inside joke-y thing for me. Some of them are downright clever. Some are duds. Such is life.

    Glimmerglass 7:30 AM  

    Give Will Shortz a break, Rex. It's Tuesday -- it's perfectly OK (DOOK!) for the theme to be easy. In fact, because the fill is in places difficult, it's appropriate to have an easy theme, providing letters for the harder crossing clues.

    Lewis 7:37 AM  

    @rex -- that was a hoot!

    I'm seeing this as the simplest type of tribute puzzle -- in which what is presented is the tributee's name! Yes. That's the positive spin I'm giving this puzzle.

    I guessed right at ION/RONIN. I did like the clue for BULLMARKET. I'm waiting one day for a puzzle to have "bulldookie" as an answer. Sub theme: HOBO/ESSO/EGO/OREO. I do like the look of EGO smack dab in the middle of the puzzle.

    15 double letters -- one off the record since I've started tracking. The puzzle started easy for me and ended with crunch, got my brain going, and taught me SAPOR. Thank you Joel!

    Leapfinger 7:41 AM  

    This OLD NAG has been on KEPI in the French Army; peeling des pommes de terre is not a HARD TASK, but it is boring.

    We had THEBES not long ago; today, we have only one: THEBE-E, Geez.

    CAN TEENS get enough of the MELifluous sounds of the Brothers Gibb? This self-same OLD NAG has.
    Marginal save by MAURICE SENDAK; RONIN, not walkin', to reread his Night Kitchen

    ANKA losing spondee light is...

    Enjoy Tuesday.

    chefbea 7:46 AM  

    Easy puzzle...and didn't we just have the BeeGees on sunday??? Hand up for peel before skin. And why is scrape that why Rex used the word to describe the difficulty?

    Lewis 7:50 AM  

    Factoid: What differentiates a HOBO from a "tramp", according to H.L. Mencken in The American Language, is that a hobo is simply a migratory laborer who may take some longish holidays but eventually returns to work, while a tramp never works if it can be avoided; he simply travels.

    Quotoid: "Kids don't know about best sellers. They go for what they enjoy. They aren't star chasers and they don't suck up. It's why I like them." -- Maurice SENDAK

    NCA President 7:50 AM  

    Oh look, another BEEGEE puzzle...or is it a BEEGEES puzzle?

    I got stuck at the SAvOR/KEvI crossing. I guess you could call it a natick....KEPI is just enough outside the realm of what a normal person might know of French, that it makes it a toss up. Hey, kevi sounds reasonable and savor can definitely be construed to mean taste.

    Of course, once I got the error, I saw that both sapor and kepi are lodged somewhere in the back of my xword fed mind.

    ION/RONIN was another potential messy crossing...but I just guessed on ION and knew someone growing up with the last name RONIN.

    And if an alien were to come to earth and learn everything about the world there is to know through xwords, they'd probably very easily come to believe that Paul Anka was one of the greatest composers to walk the planet. ANKA gets love here at the NYT at least monthly. Hey, Mahler has some interesting letters...just sayin'.

    Leapfinger 7:58 AM  

    Sing along with @John Child.

    Someone had better link to Cab Calloway, before someone else types out the whole HI-DE-HI chorus for us. Can't HIDE DE HI from de low.

    Oh, DOOK? I hear that chant from the football stands all the time. DOOK, DOOK, DOOK!! It's only about a mile away, as the crow flies. Asking equal time for UNC, now; maybe even for NC State.

    chefbea 8:21 AM  

    @Leapfinger - you live in NC???

    Tita 8:24 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Tita 8:28 AM  

    @Gill - I thought the same thing! Figured it was a tribute puzzle of some sort, not knowing (or really caring) if all the Brothers were in fact still with us.
    And then thought how gross it was that ROTS was in the same tribute puzzle.

    Is it a natick if you thought you were right? I had the popular v instead of P. Didn't know that I was wrong til I got here.

    I am finding it hilarious that so many of us were rooked by DOOK! I did figure it out during the solve (this time), but I am more often one of the folks scratching my head...

    Puzzle theme was kinda weird. So I do agree with OFL et al.. How I wish ACME would chime in to tell us all its merits!

    Tita 8:30 AM  

    @Z - Google trusts me!! They ought to – they know everything there is to know about me.
    Thanks for the tip.

    joho 8:35 AM  

    Maybe "DOOK, DOOK" is how ferrets encourage each other to be mediocre. Maybe ferrets can only succeed by the SKIN of their teeth.

    I did think when I got THEBEEGEES that the theme would be a "B" word followed by a "G" word following in yesterday's footsteps. But I wasn't as disappointed as @Rex that it wasn't. Seemed pleasant enough to me.

    Z 8:35 AM  


    Hand up for not parsing DOOK. Hand up for not noticing the "relative difficulty."

    After the singular dust-up on Sunday having plural GIBBs made me chuckle.

    A perfect Tuesday puzzle, in other words, "Huh?"

    Andrew Morrison 8:57 AM  

    I am not nearly as bitter as Rex is about this simple tribute to the Brothers Gibb. Not the most complex theme, granted, but as a poster above noted I was sure happy to get MAURICE, which directly yielded SENDAK.

    I finished all but one square, then contemplated the implications. D_OK. It has to be an O. Has to be. No other possible letter. I am 100% positive everything around it is correct. So I drop in the O expecting an incorrect result. What?! Correct? DOOK? Huh? What? Is that some sort of Internet catchphrase? Text speak?

    As I close the app, suddenly it becomes blindingly clear. DO. OK. Oohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......

    wa 8:57 AM  

    You dook me for a dool.

    Roo Monster 9:04 AM  

    Hey All !
    Enjoyable little TuesPuz. Just tried the Preview instead of Captcha thing, didn't work! My post went away.

    I thought this as an "easy" puz, last square to fill in was the K of DOOK/HENRIK, as parsed it dook! Figured out k from running the alphabet, and deciding HENRIK sounded the most logical. There were some non-Tues fill, but overall OK. Knew KEPI from these good ole crosswords, so didn't fall into that trap.

    Did fall into the peel trap, as had that in the NE corner, refusing to take it out. Finally succumbed to the fact I could not get the downs with that in. Finally got TAKEASTAND, which got me SKIN. Bad clue.

    RONIN is IMO an awesome movie. Slow moving at times, but interesting. There is a chase scene that blows away the scene in the infamous "Bullitt". If you notice in Bullitt, they show the same scene two times in that chase! The RONIN chase is far better. Just sayin.

    Did seem weird to have two puzzles close together with THEBEEGEES.


    AliasZ 9:09 AM  

    I think this puzzle was a little tougher than the average Tuesday, but I DOOKed it out with it and I won. WWI was sparked Princip-ally by the assassination of ArchDOOK Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914. DOOK University of Durham, NC (hi @Leapy) has many notable graduates, including Richard Nixon, Elizabeth Dole, Charlie Rose, Melinda Gates, et al. DOOK Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers was not one of them. Nor was John Wayne, The DOOK.

    The Cab Calloway phrase could have been dehide or ehideh or dehode or odihod or hodeho or hidehidehidehi or hodehodehodeho or any part or combination of any of these. That does not make HIDEHI not a Calloway phrase. Do you yell "Hodedo!" when running for the elevator? Yeah, me too.

    ANSELM of Canterbury (1033-1109), Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 until his death, was a noted theologian and philosopher who influenced thinkers like Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham (of Occam's razor fame) among others. His canonization was requested by Thomas Becket in 1163. This was our history lesson for today. Test tomorrow.

    Let us listen to the DOOK Ellington version of Minnie the Moocher.

    Fun memories of THE BEEGEES here, mainly for their early hits like Massachusetts, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, I Started a Joke, To Love Somebody, Lonely Days, Words, and a few others. I skipped the disco era.

    I enjoyed this puzzle more than it deserved it.

    chefbea 9:11 AM  

    Now I get it!!!!!

    RAD2626 9:17 AM  

    "No easy chore". Had the same problems as many and guessed wrong on both KEvI/SAvOR and IuN/RuNIN. Thought SAVOR and RUN IN were perfectly fine answers. That's certainly enough BEE GEES for a while. While they never guested on SNL, a year ago this week there was a fantastic parody of a Barry GIBB Talk Show.

    mac 9:33 AM  

    I like that term, @Tita, "rooked by dook. And I was.
    Also found I hadn't filled in the O of Ion/Ronin. So even though this was otherwise a very fast Tuesday
    solve for me, I DNF!

    By the way, I think it's ok to say BeeGee, in the singular.

    Michael Borelli 9:37 AM  

    Actually he sang HI-DE-HI, and HO-DE-HO.

    jberg 9:48 AM  

    I never saw the movie, but the Japanese story of the "47 Ronin" saved me on that one -- is the movie about samurai?

    I also didn't figure out DOOK until I got here. I would have got it with that ferret clue, of course (not!)

    Since the Derby is race for 3-year olds, 20A should have been clued "impossible winner" -- but maybe, since it's not capitalized, it means any of a number of derbies.

    No trouble with KEPI, even though I never wanted to run away and join the Foreign Legion. But lots of trouble with A bit/it big on the one hand, and the incompatible peel on the other.

    My other problem would have been confusing GINO Vannelli, whom I've never heard of, with Lisa Minelli, but the crosses saved me there.

    Maybe we're getting a BEEGEES meta-puzzle this week? I hope not!

    still an ass 9:53 AM  

    Rex's Monday/Tuesday reviews are either "terrible puzzle: much too hard/obscure for a Monday/Tuesday" or "terrible puzzle: that was way too easy. What a stoopid theme." He is the consummate ass. He should really stop blogging on Mondays and Tuesdays.

    Anonymous 9:57 AM  

    WAH!! Hand up for not parsing DOOK! Feel like a LOOSER for not using my KEPI.

    No GLEE from GEWGAW!?

    At best, LOL at Rex's opening DOOK!

    Ellen S 9:59 AM  

    I knew KEPI as a thing (aren't they the hats they wore in the Foreign Legion with a flap at the back to keep the sun off their necks? And having an empire was so cool that all the soldiers wanted one, like all today's soldiers wear berets) , and SAPOR as a crossword thing. @NCA President, you said "if an alien were to come to earth and learn everything about the world there is to know through xwords" they'd think Paul ANKA was the greatest composer. I would add, they would also think we all enjoy the SAPOR of EELS. I would have thought it would be a gimme for people.

    I thought the puzzle redeemed itself by showcasing Jane ADDAMS, but the clue and @Rex's Wikipedia quote don't mention her role as a founding organizer of the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, which is observing its centennial next year. We're not sure we should be saying "celebrating", since we hoped we'd be done by now. I've been a member of the U.S. Section of WILPF since 1969. I've always been impressed by our foundational legend: in December of 1914, with the Great War raging in Europe, women members of various suffrage groups and peace committees (all churches and civic organizations in those days apparently had peace committees) decided to call a conference of women explore ways of bringing the war to an early end. 1200 women met in The Hague the following April. Many of them were from countries at war with each other. I'm not sure I'm more impressed that women were able to cross war zones to meet with enemies, allies and neutral nations -- or maybe it was even more impressive that they were able to call together an international conference in four months. Today we can't hardly decide on the date for a local committee conference call in that amount of time!

    The Hague conference drew up a program for negotiating and maintaining peace, and the women dispersed afterward to travel and lobby heads of state to adopt it. Jane ADDAMS met with Woodrow Wilson and the Women's Peace Conference proposal became the basis of his 14 Points, though history books like to leave that out.

    Sir Hillary 10:01 AM  


    HARDTASK = green paint.

    Speaking of green..."DOOKie" was the breakthrough album for Green Day, voted yesterday into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where they will join:
    -- EARTH, wind & fire
    -- ERIC Clapton (in as a solo artist and a member of cREAM)
    -- ETTA James
    -- many BOBs (dylan, marley, seger, etc.)
    -- john MELlencamp
    -- dION
    -- the PLATTErs
    -- the polICE

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:12 AM  

    OK Tuesday.

    Hand up for HI DE HO before HI DE HI.

    Fair warning: I have signed up for the ACPT in Stamford, March 27 - 29, 2015. See you there?

    Graham 10:20 AM  

    The catchphrase was very well known as "hi-de-ho." He was known as the Hi-De-Ho man.

    Ludyjynn 10:22 AM  

    @AliasZ, I enjoyed your SUPERB post, both the comedy and history lesson. Speaking of Canterbury, you can take a marvelous virtual tour of the Cathedral on the Canterbury website. Not quite the same as being there, but it will DO OK for those who haven't had the chance to go in person. Having toured most of Europe's great houses of worship, this one stands out in my memory as one of the finest.

    I liked the odd combination of 17
    A, 26A and 44A to achieve the theme despite the creepiness factor that they're deceased. That ROTS (ugh).

    Liked ETTA clued from "Butch Cassidy" v. the usual Ms. James. Disliked SKIN, along w/ the rest of you. KEPI reminds me of 'kipah' (or yarmulke), pronounced kee-paw, also a head covering.

    Thanks, JDL and WS.

    Anonymous 10:23 AM  

    Thank you, all of you, who explained that "dook" is "do OK." I would have gone to my grave thinking "dook" meant scrape by! Man I need more sleep.

    Charles Flaster 10:41 AM  

    Easy and flowing.
    KEPI and SAPOR are both crosswordEASE.
    Does it matter if theme is trivial but the puzzle is clued in a more intricate way.?
    Liked down crosses of GEWGAW with WAH with HIDE HO.
    Did not parse DO OK.
    Maybe the Duke of Earl will show up in NYT.
    Thanks JL.

    mathguy 10:42 AM  

    Sir Hillary: Nice post!

    Bill Butler, on his blog, also was fooled by DOOK. LIke Steve Johnson, I checked the online dictionaries.

    I agree with Lex that the theme was weak, but aren't all the early week themes weak?

    ArtO 10:42 AM  

    Really have to laugh at how many of us thought DOOK was somehow a word to be used for "scrape by" (myself included) instead of DO OK.

    Thought the puzzle itself was tough for Tuesday. Thin theme but seems OK for day of the week.

    Lindsay 10:44 AM  

    I actually liked the theme OK, but the fill is Jive Talkin' for sure. Do not like guessing on a Tuesday. Or rather, if Will wants to turn Tuesdays into Saturdays that would be fine with me, but I do not like guessing on Tuesdays if Tuesdays are supposed to be Tuesdays.

    I never knew Cab Calloway didn't know how to spell Heidi, which made the "d" of DOOK hard to see (now DOOK DOOK DOOK of Earl is going through my head).

    RONIN? Never heard of. At least it crossed actual words. ION = total guess.

    But worst worst worst of all is GEWGAW. It's GEeGAW. GEeGAW. Got that? So trying to choose between BARRY e. HInE crossing ETna Place and BARRY e. HITE (Sheri's brother?) crossing ETTA Place.

    ... Back from Google which agrees with the constructor. I refuse to back down on this point. Annoying. Just annoying.

    btw, there's a St. Anselm's College in NH.

    Joseph Michael 11:10 AM  

    I DOOKED it out, but this puzzle was no GEEGAW. Too many names and obscurities. Boring theme. Knew it would be bad when it started out with OREO and URAL.

    L 11:21 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Paul 11:38 AM  

    I'm a smoker

    Mark 11:48 AM  

    Anyone who had trouble with 15-down and was working the puzzle in the actual newspaper could just look to the immediate right of the puzzle, where there's a review of HENRIK Ibsen's "Peer Gynt."

    old timer 12:07 PM  

    It's a generational thing. I'm old enough to have loved the original BeeGees -- the ones from the Beatles era and not the disco era. They personified tight harmony, English style, just as the Everly Brothers and (in a different vein) CS&N did in the U.S. So I was delighted by the theme.

    Puzzle was fairly easy, but a DNF for me, because I was Naticked by the ION/RONIN cross. Never read the book, never heard of the network, and I figured "RUNIN" would be a good book title. Wrong!

    But the Bee Gees certainly lived in some amusing places, according to Wikipedia. Grew up in Chorlton cum Hardy, near Manchester, England. Family emigrated to Australia, where they attended Humpybong state school.

    You can't make some things up.

    LaneB 12:42 PM  

    Tough for a Tuesday because of stuff like DO OK, RANTO, TAB, SAPOR, GEWGAW,WAH, etc. Finished but was mildly irritated throughout--as is often the case when clues seem to bear little relationship to the answers. What is a WAHWAH anyway?

    Elle54 12:44 PM  

    Did I miss Tuesday somehow? Some impossible Naticks for me here. Have to thank you Rexites for explaining Do Ok

    Jim Graves 12:46 PM  

    Doom and Sapor? Those are news to me. Thought I meat have made a mistake until I checked with Rex.

    Masked and Anonymo4Us 1:02 PM  

    Solvin tended to pretty much GOOK, for me. Bee Gees are SOOK, they rate havin a NYTPuz or two dedicated to em. KEPI/SAPOR is NOOK on a TuesPuz, tho. Seems like the Shortzmeister was MOOK than not TOOK this puz. Did have a WOOK moment, when I ran into DOOK; I blame Henrik.

    Thought HIDEHOOK, but wrong again, M&A breath... At least I had HOBOOK.

    LOOK as average and behold: four U's.



    the redanman 1:07 PM  

    sapor & dook? Makes the whole thing garbage. Why?

    Joseph B 1:40 PM  

    The movie "Saturday Night Fever" was released 37 years ago today (per IMDB), which may provide the theme at least some redemption.

    M and Again 1:44 PM  

    Correction, even after mashin that there Preview button:

    Third sentence should, of course, be...
    "KEPI/SAPOR is NOOK on a Tuespuz, THOOK?"

    OKOK. There's yer RODEOOK?

    "Any sapor OREOOK by m&e"

    Shelby Glidden 2:17 PM  

    and no best time ever report...

    Shelby Glidden 2:17 PM  

    and no best time ever report...

    nkmcalli 2:25 PM  

    Loved this puzzle!

    To avoid future Hi-vs-Ho confusion, let Kool and the Gang help out:

    And here is a highbrow discussion of sampling, focused on "La Di Da Di", which was also in the puzzle at 6 down.


    I just wanna BEOK 2:35 PM  

    More than usual, this comment section is full of a bunch of whiners. "I couldn't finish the puzzle, therefore it was a bad puzzle. Look at all those hard words. No fair! Wah!"

    Stinky 2:47 PM  

    Is BOOK?

    Z 2:51 PM  

    @I just wanna BEOK - What comments are you reading? Here are a some quotes - I think the plurality opinion is "SAPOR/KEPI are not typical Tuesday words" and "How did I get fooled by 'DOOK?'"

    "I was stumped with SAPOR/KEPI and there was no chance of getting that P. I hate when that happens. Otherwise the puzzle moved along nicely in an above average time."

    "Tough Tuesday, but doable."

    "What I did like was the answers were harder than the usual Tuesday fare."

    "I got stuck at the SAvOR/KEvI crossing."

    "Easy and flowing."

    "Thought the puzzle itself was tough for Tuesday. Thin theme but seems OK for day of the week."

    "I actually liked the theme OK, but the fill is Jive Talkin' for sure. Do not like guessing on a Tuesday. Or rather, if Will wants to turn Tuesdays into Saturdays that would be fine with me, but I do not like guessing on Tuesdays if Tuesdays are supposed to be Tuesdays."

    "Did I miss Tuesday somehow? Some impossible Naticks for me here. Have to thank you Rexites for explaining Do Ok"

    Andy 2:52 PM  

    Looked at the clue for 60A and instantly knew THE BEE GEES, MAURICE SENDAK, and ROBIN WILLIAMS. Had to check the clue for 17A to make sure it wasn't BARRY OBAMA. Then I stopped because I figured I'd DOOK on the rest and because ...boring!

    (Did enjoy seeing the Peer Gynt review right next to the puzzle in the paper, though)

    Z 2:57 PM  

    37? You Should Be Dancing.

    My baby moves at midnight
    Goes right on till the dawn
    My woman takes me higher
    My woman keeps me warm

    What you doin' on your back, aah?
    What you doin' on your back, aah?
    You should be dancing, yeah
    Dancing, yeah

    She's juicy and she's trouble
    She gets it to me good
    My woman gives me power
    Go right down to my blood

    What you doin' on your back, aah?
    What you doin' on your back, aah?
    You should be dancing, yeah
    Dancing, yeah

    What you doin' on your back, ooh?
    What you doin' on your back, aah?
    You should be dancing, yeah
    Dancing, yeah

    My baby moves at midnight
    Goes right on till the dawn
    My woman takes me higher
    My woman keeps me warm

    What you doin' on your back, aah?
    What you doin' on your back, aah?
    You should be dancing, yeah
    Dancing, yeah

    What you doin' on your back, aah?
    What you doin' on your back, aah?
    You should be dancing, yeah
    Dancing, yeah

    You should be dancing, yeah
    You should be dancing, yeah
    You should be dancing, yeah

    I just wanna BEOK 3:10 PM  

    "and no best time ever report...
    :-(": WHINE

    "sapor & dook? Makes the whole thing garbage.": WHINE

    "Finished but was mildly irritated throughout--as is often the case when clues seem to bear little relationship to the answers." WHINE

    " Too many names and obscurities. Boring theme." WHINE

    "Annoying. Just annoying." WHINE

    "Annoying. Just annoying." WHINE

    "DOOK?? WTH??
    A bizarre word like that on a Tuesday??" WHINE

    and that's just a quick sample.

    Thomas808 4:16 PM  

    @LaneB a WAH WAH pedal is an effects box that a musician uses to change the sound of an electric guitar. Perhaps the most famous model is the "Cry Baby" brand, which aptly describes many of us solvers after todays puz!

    dk 4:33 PM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    What the DOOK is my new catch phrase?

    Steve Miller I photographed you and the band just after Gangster of Love… pompous of love indeed. Some young thing offered me…. just to let her slip in the stage door. I demurred saying; Just the photog sweet thing -- take a hit and go on in.

    Those were the days my friends.

    Err two moons as I hate, hate, hate the BeeGees. But I love the PLATTE.

    GILL I. 4:33 PM  

    The comments are great today....
    @Steve J: You had me at DOOKie right off the bat and ferret-clucking had me issue a squeal!
    I have to remember not to have a drink in my mouth when I read @Alias Z and the @Leapster.
    Is WHINE the same as WAH?
    We need a DOOK award!

    Thomas808 4:44 PM  

    A Christmas math lesson: The derivative of the quotient of two functions f(x) and g(x) can be stated as (g(x) f’(x) – f(x) g’(x)) / g(x) squared. At the high school level this part of Differential Calculus is usually taught near the end of the first semester as the winter break approaches, so there is a great tradition among calculus teachers to substitute “HI” for f(x) and “HO” for g(x), thus changing the formula to:

    HO DE HI minus HI DE HO over HO HO

    Usually the “HO HO” at the end is enough to get a groan and smile from the students, but today’s puzzle brings to mind an image of Cab Calloway in a Santa suit for an extra chuckle.

    chefbea 4:46 PM  

    I agree...we need a DOOK award

    Z 7:01 PM  

    Whining? You ain't seen nothing. For actual whining check this out.

    Carola 7:02 PM  

    The grid layout is apt, as DOOK crushed my EGO - can't believe I couldn't parse it. Write-up and comments redeem the day.

    @Ellen S - Thank you for the history.

    Teedmn 7:04 PM  

    No one has commented on 34A yet, which is a WOE for me, and I drink TAB every day :-).

    Then again, I fell for the DOOK trap so I'm sure I'm missing something obvious. I certainly got a giggle out of Rex's rating! Not a DNF because I guessed the Cab Calloway cross. And I guessed correctly at ION/RONIN but it was definitely Natick potential. And I was thinking of a mortality theme too rather than THE BEEGEES till I got to 60A.

    @Lindsay, I am so on your side with wanting GEeGAWS and disbelieving the popularity of the other usage, besides the fact that GEe would fit the theme so much better!

    No complaints on the puzzle, like the Tuesday challenge. Thanks, Joel D Lafargue.

    Teedmn 7:10 PM  

    Ha, went over to check out the Syndi comments from 5 weeks ago and Rex's rating is "Challenging ( off the charts for a Tuesday)" with the double up theme (remember CHUPA CHUPS?)

    Z 7:11 PM  

    @Teedm. - think file folder.

    Teedmn 7:15 PM  

    Thanks, @Z. That answer teased the edge of my brain but I wouldn't let it in. Lovin' the Preview/Publish option!

    anonymous 10:07 PM  

    I finished cleanly but "Dook"???? That's how many folks spell the name of the University in Durham but I've never seen it anywhere else.

    Steve J 1:04 AM  

    @Teedmn: I always find it fun to go back and read the comments in Syndiland. One, the regulars come off as a fun group. Two, it's always interesting to see their reactions, and how sharply they can differ from us "real timers" - who, admittedly, can get stuck way too far up in our own orifices (yes, I'm pointing at myself) - on some of the more contentious days. And, perhaps best of all, they've managed to make the stupid capchas a source of entertainment. Anyone who does that earns points.

    spacecraft 10:31 AM  

    No. Where to start? Take the theme subject matter. I can't believe someone actually posted the entire lyrics to a disco song. I'll content myself with three appropriate lines:

    Don't ever take me to a disco;
    You'll never even get me out on the flo'!
    In ten minutes I'll be outa the do'...

    Thank you and amen, BOB.

    So, I don't like the theme. Solving-wise, it presents no problem; there's no point.

    Now to the "fill." LAH WAH. The cluing seemed off somehow; this was actually not that easy to get done. I must've stared at DOOK for who knows how long before I finally parsed it. I think I like the entry better as a whole word: DOOK. A noun descriptive of today's constructor.

    GEWGAW?? Honestly??

    And the ULT. (!) word: How dare you allow the great Paul ANKA to share this grid with those hacks?

    A big, fat, red F.

    Rex Parker 11:48 AM  

    Sometimes I come here on syndication days to see if anyone's lurking… and to clean up spam comments.


    Anonymous 12:32 PM  





    ; )~Constance

    rondo 1:03 PM  

    Hey, a visit from OFL!!
    @Spacey, to go along with Mondayne, how about today being "Too staid"?? Not as good as yours, but this puz was bland (and staid).
    Not much more to say about it, and I gott go.


    DMG 6:43 PM  

    Once again my morning's comment has disappeared! and my Captcha added up to a perfect 9! at any rate my comments were basically a thank you to whoever parsed DOOK. I would never figured that out. My hard part was RONIN, but a guess on the O pulled me through. Now to see if this lasts!


    rain forest 12:25 AM  

    Way late tonight (lame, but lascivious excuse), and dammit, I missed the Principal coming around to check.

    I am among the few who liked this puzzle, had no problem with DOOK, and was basically RONIN rampant through the grid.

    When Rex says things like "why have this theme?", it could be said about any theme. I think that the first names of the Bee Gees, whom I dislike except for Mining Disaster 1941, as names of other well-known people is just fine, JUST FINE, for Tuesday or possibly even Wednesday,or maybe even Friday--but wait--Friday can't have a theme otherwise the world tips of its axis. Ach!

    So I look forward to Wednesday allowed to have a theme? Can it be banal? I hope so...

    P. Hugh 12:26 AM  

    Dood I thought a dook was an item you scraped off your shoe with an epithet!

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