1958 space monkey / SUN 3-1-15 / Movie that opened 3/2/1965 / Figure in Sunni/Shia dispute / Culminating point that beauty has attained in sphere of music / Nicki with 2014 hit Anaconda / Crown since 1952 / 1961 Disney villainess

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Constructor: Finn Vigeland 

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Noted Anniversary" — Get it? "Noted"? 'Cause of the notes!? It's a "(THE) SOUND OF MUSIC" puzzle with a bunch of related theme answers and a DO RE MI FA SOL LA TI DO music scale running, rebus-wise, from SW to NE

Theme answers:
  • SALZBURG, AUSTRIA (24A: Setting of 118-Across)
  • JULIE ANDREWS (31A: Star of 118-Across)
  • "THE HILLS ARE ALIVE…" (49A: Opening lyric of 118-Across)
  • RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN (68A: Duo behind 118-Across)
  • BEST PICTURE OSCAR (91A: Honor for 118-Across)
  • THE VON TRAPPS (108A: Family upon whom 118-Across is based)
  • "THE SOUND OF MUSIC" (118A: Movie that opened 3/2/1965)
Word of the Day: HEGIRA (88D: Flight from danger) —
  1. Muhammad's departure from Mecca to Medina in AD 622, prompted by the opposition of the merchants of Mecca and marking the consolidation of the first Muslim community.
    • the Muslim era reckoned from the Hegira.
      noun: Hegira; noun: Hejira; noun: Hijra
      "the second century of the Hegira"
    • an exodus or migration.
      noun: hegira; plural noun: hegiras (google)
• • •

The best part about this was going from thinking "that is the lamest title ever" to "Oh … got it." Still not sure I like the title, but it's not nearly as bad as I first thought, and that simple sensation has helped dispose me mostly favorably toward this thing, despite the fact that it's too straightforward for my taste. The rebus adds a neat wrinkle, but even that is transparent. I've seen some version of the DO RE MI rebus thing in other puzzles, so the second I figured out the "DO" square in the SW, I knew where things were going (though I initially thought the notes might not keep getting higher in the grid, but might instead form a mountain, as in climb EV'RY. That scenario would've put SOL where that "D" is in HARD C, and so forth, back down into the SE corner. But this set-up is, of course, infinitely preferable. Well, preferable. I'm oddly fond of my briefly-imagined notes-make-a-mountain scenario.

The theme was not hard to figure out at all. I got it this fast:

Then, while working the crosses on the movie title there, I encountered the weirdness that turned out to be the rebus square "DO" at TO[DO] / [DO]ORS. And that was pretty much that. This puzzle had that thing that I don't really like about tribute puzzles, where the answers are really just assorted trivia that happen to fit into rotationally symmetrical places. Once you grasp the theme, it's just amateur trivia night. Ho-hum. As I say, the scale-rebus added value for sure, and the grid is pretty solidly filled, but overall it was a lowercase "l" "like" for me. Hard to stay mad at a beloved picture, JULIE ANDREWS, etc., especially when one is never actually mad in the first place. I'm sure most solvers will enjoy this well-made puzzle that causes them to enjoy a classic American movie on this first (not 2nd, but close) day of March, when thoughts turn to spring, and the possibility of warmth. Good vibes.

[124A: "Wailing" instrument]

I didn't like the answer BEST PICTURE OSCAR, which feels contrived. It won BEST PICTURE. Yes, technically, this answer is literally true, but BEST PICTURE is a better crossword answer, just as VON TRAPPS is better than THE VON TRAPPS. This is what I mean about answers being chosen for symmetricality rather than optimality. But it's all defensible. And the constructor gets in some great answers in the line of rebus fire. Never thought I'd be thrilled by OPERA BUF[FA], but I was, and the meta-crosswordical [SOL]VING TIME also gave me a smile (60A: Important factor in a crossword tournament). THE HILLS ARE ALIVE … is a fragment. Absurd. But who cares!? I'm picturing twirling JULIE ANDREWS, so all is right with the world.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S speaking of important factors in a crossword tournament, the 3rd Annual Finger Lakes Crossword Competition is next week—Saturday, Mar. 7, in Ithaca, NY. I'll be there. If you're an upstater, you should be too. All info here.

    P.P.S. very important news for aspiring constructors and hardcore fans who want insight into the craft of crossword construction. The best constructor on the planet, Patrick Berry, is now offering his "Crossword Constructors Handbook" (formerly Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies) as a .pdf from his website for a mere $10. This deal includes 70 (*seventy*) puzzles in both .pdf and .puz format. Puzzles cover a wide range of difficulty and theme types. Patrick's "For Dummies" book has been infamously out of print (and thus prohibitively expensive) for a long time, so I'm thrilled that now, when someone asks me "Can you recommend a good book on constructing?" I can name a title that's now actually accessible. Seriously, in the world of "books about crosswords," this is the top of the heap. No lie. Get it. Give it. Love it.


    jae 12:05 AM  

    Awww!  Very cute and easy with a delightful twist.  I had to like it, I actually went on The Sound of Music tour in Salzburg.  

    allan 12:16 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous 12:16 AM  

    "The hills are alive" is a musical phrase. One of the most famous ever. Your criticism of it. Absurd.

    allan 12:18 AM  

    Well @Rex's explanation of the title made the solve a little more tolerable. I didn't get the pun on "noted".

    I found the solve to be a slog because it was so easy. Especially for a rebus. I was having a hard time staying with it.

    Honestly, all my solving gusto went out the window with 76D NYER. As Rex has often said about other such answers, no one, and I mean on one has ever uttered hey I'm an NYER. A New Yorker yes. But never a NYER.

    I really think the only interesting about the puzzle was the rebus, and the way it ascended in scale like fashion. Does anyone know if the two staffs actually break the way they do in the puzzle? That would be cool.


    Carola 12:26 AM  

    My fastest Sunday SOLVING TIME ever, aided by having heard Lady Gaga's tribute to the movie at last week's OSCARs. After JULIE ANDREWS, I went on to SALZBURG, AUSTRIA so first encountered the rebus at DOHA - aha! That explained why GOTTI hadn't fit. I had to descend all the way to LA, though, before I saw the pattern of the scale - nice! (Funny coincidence after yesterday's discussion of do-re-mi as KALE.)

    After @Rex pointed out the FA in the OPERA BUFFA, I scanned to see if any of the other rebus squares were in words referring to music and came up with REST and The DOORS.

    @chefwen - Off topic: two-year-old granddaughter overheard by her parents singing to herself "Row, row, row your boat," with her understanding of the last line being "Life is Packer game." Mouths of babes!

    Steve J 12:49 AM  

    Nice job of livening up a straightforward anniversary theme. But it's still a straightforward anniversary theme.

    I naticked on this one with OPERA BUFFA and SLUES. Both terms are unknown to me. As was HEGIRA, but that as at least crossable.

    Loved the clue for WINO.

    George Barany 12:55 AM  

    Having dozed on and off through last Sunday's Oscar telecast, I vaguely recalled someone named @Lady Gaga channeling @Julie Andrews, and then the two of them embracing at the end of the medley. Hard to believe that Julie was a major star 50 years ago, and how well she looks now.

    To me, the nicest touch of this well-made tribute puzzle by @Finn Vigeland was MOZART crossing SALZBURG, the town in Austria that was Wolfgang's birthplace as well as the Von Trapp's venue. This also brought to mind my one (and only) Sunday New York Times puzzle, a tribute constructed in collaboration with the amazing @Michael Shteyman that ran on January 22, 2006. Interestingly enough, it was entitled "The Sound of Music."

    Anonymous 1:01 AM  

    That was weird. I did not finish. I searched and searched and searched, and couldn't find my mistake. I was sure everything was fine - but I had TAPE for "Bit of filming", crossing FLAP for "Complaints" (rather than TAKE/FLAK).

    To be honest I still think my original mistake was also "correct"! People film on tape, or at least they used to; and if something leads to complaints, it creates a flap.

    Aketi 1:13 AM  

    Before I got the rebus in CRUELLA, I wanted PIPETS to have a rebus instead of an alternate spelling. Never saw it spelled that way except in crosswords.

    Nice glass and a half of wine while watching a late night movie puzzle.

    Out of context THE HILLS ARE ALiVE sounds like a title for a horror movie.

    Aketi 1:15 AM  

    @anonymous 1:01, I made the same mistake at first.

    OISK 1:37 AM  

    Enjoyable. Took me a while to get the theme, but from then on it was very easy. I didn't realize that the eight note scale ran along the diagonal until I was just about done - that gave me Doha. I don't remember ever hearing of Gordo the space monkey.

    chefwen 3:10 AM  

    @Carola - Have a houseful of guests tonight, half of them Cheesers, your granddaughter's comment was the highlight of the evening.

    Puzzle was super easy after getting the theme which didn't take a lot of thinking. Loved it, as I did the movie. Can't believe it was that long ago, time sure does fly.

    paulsfo 3:27 AM  

    At first I thought it was going to be extremely easy but then I didn't see there was a rebus for way too long.

    Moly Shu 4:04 AM  

    I got THEHILLSAREALIVE first and instantly plunked in Chevy Chase, the Griswolds and European Vacation (how it didn't win the OSCAR, I'm not sure). Never heard of this other 'movie'.

    Easy except for BUFFA and HEGIRA. Both were managed through crosses. No harm done.

    Thomas808 6:13 AM  

    @Anon 1:01 same DNF for me on the TApE/FLAp cross. Sundays are much harder for finding the subtle errors - twice the number of grids to check. If everything looks good to me and I have checked twice but the app still says no, I don't waste any more time and just check here. Can't complain about this one (I have complained about others!) because it was a totally fair cross and TAKE/FLAK is a better answer combo.

    I did the Salzburg tour two years ago and got a lot of brownie points following my wife around to all the Sound of Music sites. I really did enjoy seeing them myself. Salzburg is a beautiful city. Only regret is not getting out of the city to see the Alps site where the opening scene was shot. It was pretty far away.

    @George Barany yes that was a really cool cross on 7D. I think Mozart and Maria Von Trapp would have got along very well.

    This was a fun puzzle. The theme was timely and the rebus came as a surprise, further entertaining with the rising locations.

    @allan the scale represented by the rebuses can entirely fit within a single staff, so no staff-related aspect there. The fact that they are all rising and on the diagonal is as good as it gets.

    Fun puzzle!

    pmdm 6:16 AM  

    Enjoyed all the non-theme answers involving music. I especially liked the Salzburg-Mozart crossing. I recall a daily puzzle which also included rebuses of the scale notes, arranged in the grid to actually "play" a melody, but I forget which piece of music the melody came from. Once I figured out the theme, one of the easier and more enjoyable solves for me.

    Mozart lived in Salzburg for the majority of his all-too-short life. He did not like his employer, the archbishop, very well which factored into his deciding on self-employment. He wrote some beautiful music for the newly invented clarinet, though the modern equivalent is ore the basset clarinet. The piano was also a relatively new instrument. Mozart infrequently noted dynamics (forte/piano) in his keyboard works and rarely inserted crescendo or diminuendo instructions, making his keyboard works well suited to being played on earlier keyboards than the piano. Here is a lovely recording of a concerto movement with the harpsichord as the keyboard.


    And as an encore, here is a recording of a keyboard sonata played on the type of piano (or fotepiano) he would have known. The performer, Rampe, plays both repeats in the two outer movements, and he improvises embellishments during the repeats very nicely, something that Mozart probably would have done.


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    Bob Kerfuffle 6:31 AM  

    Good one, Finn!

    Still kicking myself: One and only write-over: VAN TRAPPS before VON TRAPPS!

    allan 7:25 AM  

    @Thomas808 Thanks. I think that would have been really cool. And I guess that technically taping is not filming, but I would have been very annoyed if I had made that error. All the checking in the world would never have gotten me off the TAPE/FLAP cross.

    chefbea 7:27 AM  

    What a fun puzzle. I love this movie..have seen it so many times. I too had a Natick at slues and operabuffa. Got all the notes but didn't realize they went from the SW to the NE until Rex explained.

    GILL I. 8:00 AM  

    Well I'm just plopping in answers and thinking what a cute, boring, "Did someone die" puzzle until I came to SASHIMI. I knew It couldn't be SuSHIs since the Japanese language doesn't have a plural form....hmmm says I! Hah, yes, it IS GOTTI. I knew it! So, I went back upstairs and looked at the rebus and all of a sudden THE SOUND OF MUSIC became music to my ears. Too bad I had to wait so long to really enjoy this puzzle.
    If you haven't seen "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" just spend the $5 to rent it. It's a wonderful, feel good, make you smile, incredible actors, movie. Pop some of your favorite popcorn, pour yourself a Pinot Grigio (or a Bud Light - what ever you fancy!) and enjoy!.
    Thanks Finn for (finally) making me smile....My HILLS ARE ALIVE with mustard seed all over the place and making me sneeze non-stop.

    r.alphbunker 8:19 AM  

    Hands up for TApE/FLAk. Nice AHA when I saw the SW to NE progression of the notes.

    Glimmerglass 8:27 AM  

    @those with a FLAp/TApE crossing: that's a correct alternate solution. I didn't think of,it, but I wish I had. I've never liked THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Indefensible aberation, I know.

    NCA President 8:30 AM  

    @pmdm: It's easy, after listening to that Rampe recording why Mozart only used P/F indications given that the that kind of piano has very little dynamic range...it's either loud or it's soft. It's amazing that Beethoven et al wrote anything at all for such a clunky instrument. We have Liszt to thank for the modern piano which was built to withstand his beatings. These early pianos, btw, remind me of early synthesizer attempts at piano sounds...all attack, very little sustain.

    As for the puzzle, what's not to like? The only thing that might have been the coup de gråce would have been for the grid to reflect the mountain a la the crosses of yesterday.

    As for any attempt by Lady Gaga to even half-way emulate Julie Andrews, that performance would have been much more authentic and genuine if she had sung it like she sings everything else. But to sing it in a pseudo-legit way on the Oscar stage paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of the release was a slap in the face to all people who sing this music for a living.

    Frankly, I'm not sure how she was chosen to do that at all in the first place. Seems like there are a lot of more qualified singers who would've knocked it out of the park. I know I'll probably lose my gay card over this, but Gaga should not have been the one to do that.

    Loren Muse Smith 8:54 AM  

    I saw right off that it was a tribute puzzle and though, "Ok. I'm probably not too familiar with whatever it is." Then I saw SALZBURG, AUSTRIA and was much happier.

    Its rebusness appeared much later – at the SASHIMI/MISS USA cross, and I was even happier.

    Before starting, I saw the southeast to northwest unbroken stairstep-like white space. Too bad the grid couldn't be flipped to have the scales going up that part, huh?

    Briefly considered PONS for PEGS.

    HOMO neanderthalensis – reminds me of a recent contest in The Week:

    Challenge - "Scientists believe that the unique features of an ancient skull found in Israel may have been the result of interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals 60,000 years ago. If Hollywood made a romantic comedy about a love affair between a Neanderthal and a HOMO Sapiens, what would it be titled?"

    Winner – "When Hairy Met Sally"

    "Important factor in a crossword tournament" – where you sit. Last year I sat next to @Bob Kerfuffle and simply copied his answers onto my grids. My standings shot way up, man.

    @Steve J et al - those BUFFA/SLUES and HEGIRA/DENCH crosses did me in. I never considered letting go of "bah" for UGH.

    @Carola - I was stunned by Gaga's performance on The Oscars. Stunned. I mean, I like her stuff and all, but, WOW. (Sorry, @NCA President. I. Loved. It.) And she was even glammed up in a regular gown, not dressed up like a bucket of joint compound. Next year she's going to do a medley of opera buffa arias, beginning and ending with arias from "Cosi Fan Tutte." I can't wait.

    I planned and executed an entire puzzle once, FLACK (lying Monkeys, lash in the pan, chick lick, royal lush). . . only to realize that it's spelled FLAK. Then I scrambled to clue the reveal as Roberta ____, but mercifully the whole idea went down in lames from there.

    Finn, Will, that title is brilliant. Puzzle was really, really fun. Well done!

    Susan McConnell 9:06 AM  

    @NCAPresident, Thank you! I agree with your assessment completely and am so sick of/confused by so many people whooping it up for Lady Gaga that I could spit. She simply was not that good,

    I usually try to guess the theme from the title. I couldn't guess this one so I went to my next step: reading the potential theme clues. As soon as I saw 49 Across and 118 Across I knew we were dealing with the SOUNDOFMUSIC and was able to fill in all of the theme answers. That was fun and left the rest of the puzzle feeling kind of flat until I happened upon the first rebus square and then enjoyed seeing the scale reveal itself. This was very much on the easy side but fun and timely. Great job, Finn!

    Maruchka 9:28 AM  

    Nicely, nicely. I got the ascending scale at BUFFA and liked the puzzle heck a lot better.

    Fav of the day (and last solve) - FLAK.

    Always thought it was an acronym for flying bits of battlefield metal; hence the other meaning. But I never looked it up until today:

    'German, from Fliegerabwehrkanonen, from Flieger flyer + Abwehr defense + Kanonen cannons...First Known Use: 1938'

    Has anyone visited the VON TRAPP resort in Vermont? Mmm, I could go for some schnitzel right now..

    @LMS, @Carola - Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett blew me away! The girl has serious chops.

    @Gill - 'Marigold' is also streaming on HBO GO. LOVE Bill Nighy..

    AliasZ 9:30 AM  

    What I liked most about this puzzle was that Finn Vigeland knew he had to cross SALZBURG at the Z with MOZART, a most appropriate name associated with SALZBURG. Not only that, but for OPERA BUF[FA] he used MOZART's "Così Fan Tutte" as the clue.

    In a classic Hollywood Squares episode the following question came up: "Is it true that they make brassieres that can play music?" to which Paul Lynde in his signature flamboyant style breaks into the song "THE HILLS ARE ALIVE with the sound of music..." Ever since then I cannot hear the words THE HILLS ARE ALIVE without thinking of the musical bra.

    It would have been more fun to see DO RE ME etc. spelled DOE RAY ME FAR SEW LA TEA DOE in the rebus squares.

    Is it a coincidence that the two best clues today relate to drinking: WINO and TIPSY?

    This puzzle indeed put me in a good mood, much like watching THE SOUND OF MUSIC does its constructor. A delightful, easy romp on the first day of March. Thanks Finn, you huckleberry.

    RAD2626 9:37 AM  

    Lovely puzzle, clever well-laid out rebus, terrific musical (Mozart) cluing as noted. Just a delightful Sunday exercise. HEGIRA only new word.

    Anonymous 9:42 AM  

    Steve J @0049, as many times as you want to say it, merely not knowing 2 different words is NOT a Natick. A Natick means there are 2 proper nouns you weren't familiar with. You didn't finish because of words you didn't know.

    Teedmn 9:45 AM  

    I solved this puzzle with the mental equivalent of having my fingers in my ears, saying, "La, la, la, la, la, la". (Kind of musical, even.) Every time I came to where a rebus belonged, I turned tail and ran a different direction. GOTTI doesn't fit? I'll figure it out later. Not a TO DO list? Must be something else. There's a ship named uSS USA and it is the crown of our fleet? Who knew?

    For some reason, when I got to EL SOL crossing SOLVING, I succumbed to the realization that there was indeed a rebus thing here and finally got the tie in, which suddenly made the puzzle much more fun (and solveable, duh).

    I was in the FLAP/TAPE crowd and I found a new muscle group lEC, with lEGS on my viola. Always wanted to LEARNS to play the cello!

    Great fun, FV, thanks.

    Anonymous 9:52 AM  

    White people problems a la Susan McConnell @906: "I didn't like Lady Gaga at the Oscars." Waa.

    Whirred Whacks 9:55 AM  

    Very enjoyable and beautifully constructed. Best part were the rebuses (which I got early with GOTTI).

    Was with those who had FLAP/TAPE before FLAK/TAKE.

    A fun solving experience.

    Anonymous 9:55 AM  

    I see Chefbea made the same "Natick" error as Steve J. Used this way, the verb "Natick" becomes meaningless. Save the Natick!

    Samantha 9:55 AM  

    I got the theme really quickly, but then spent a while thinking the puzzle was lame until I realized the solfege (actual name for scale syllables) was there. I also wish they'd gone back down the other side, though, and that room had been made for CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER. But yay for musical nerdery!

    Jew get it? 9:57 AM  

    MISSUSA--a dook? I have them hanging on the doorposts of my house and upon my gates.

    joho 9:58 AM  

    LOVED this! A totally feel good theme beautifully executed by Finn with the extra, delightful rebus DO RE MI FA SOL LA TI DO ("and that brings us back to deer") running diagonally from bottom to the (mountain) top!

    How often DO we get such a DOable, hummable puzzle?

    I DNF with TApE/FLAp. "A bit of filming" refers to a bit of sticky TApE ... not!

    Also thought the title to be super clever and wondered if that was Will's idea.

    "DO a deer a female deer, FA a longa way to run ..." FUN!

    Anonymous 10:00 AM  

    Best Christopher Plummer movie? Beginners (2010).

    jberg 10:01 AM  

    @Maruchka, a few years ago I got a turn to plan the annual conference of the New England Political Science association. It was strictly a one-off, the job rotates -- but it got me on a list of meeting planners, which in turn got me an invitation to a free weekend at the Trapp Family Lodge. I'd been there for the cross-country skiing before, but never been inside, let-alone stayed there. The decor is basically two categories: pictures of the family, and pictures of the various movies and plays that have been made about them. So I was well prepared for this puzzle!

    However, it took me too long to get going, because of the MOZART/SALZBURG cross, which had me looking for Amadeus at 118A - I know, the date was way too early, and the length was long, but maybe there was some other movie about the guy, who knew. I think it was finally THE HILLS ARE ALIVE that made me see the theme correctly.

    Was that artful misdirection, or theme dilution? Most people here seem to go with the former, so OK--I didn't like it originally, but will muse on it.

    After that I zipped through the theme answers, so didn't stumble upon the rebus until quite late in the game, when I finally got to the NW. I had not idea what that poor monkey was called, but finally saw that DO and TI would make the corner work, so worked my way back down the scale, solving many problems.

    I really wanted 109D to be OAStS, and the export of Myanmar to be RaBIES, but that's just me.

    @Aketi, I was with you on wanting pipettes, but biochemist wife says no, PIPETS they are.

    But thank God for EYED! Without it I'd have stuck with ROGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN for a long time.

    What I really didn't like: THE VON TRAPP FAMILY. You don't see that on their albums! They're the Trapp Family, or TRAPPS; the Von is an honorific, not part of the name. Not to mention the THE -- maybe we need a term, AOC, or 'article of convenience' - a POC, but at the other end of the word.

    I didn't watch the Oscars (I was at an Oscar-watching fund-raising party, in a bar; they had them up on the screens, but no sound, and nobody pays attention); but I love the Gaga/Bennett duet album. Here's Cheek-to-Cheek.

    joho 10:05 AM  

    "and that brings us back to DO!" Is what I meant.

    Oh, and FWIW I thought Lady Gaga performance was brilliant.

    Anonymous 10:19 AM  

    Ha MISSUSA anon @957.
    What Homer Simpson said looking out his window: "DOH! A deer!"

    Anonymous 10:23 AM  

    Some of Rex's criticisms seem like they are made just to criticize something. The Von Trapps, the Hills are alive and Best Picture Oscar are all phrases I've often seen. Not sure what Rex's beefs are.

    Aketu 10:25 AM  

    @jberg, from the time I took my first Chen class until I concluded public health was more interesting than working in a genetic engineering lab, the only term I was aware of was pipettes.

    I only recently discovered pipets when my son asked for some help with his Chen lab homework. I forgot the rule that teens are always smarter than their parents when I told him his teacher had mispelled pipette.

    Since I learned to use pipettes on the westt coast and my sn learned to use pipers on the east coast I assumed the difference was regional.

    We also had bars across the shelves in all the labs I worked in on the West Coast. When I moved to Baltimore to pursue my degree in public health degree I did a work study job in a biochem lab and couldnt figure out why the shelves had no bars to protect the bottles of chemicals from spilling and breaking. It finally dawned on me the bars were protection for earthquakes.

    Aketi 10:27 AM  

    Apologies for the errors from my one handed iPad typing

    Kingdaddy 10:29 AM  

    Did not like. Once you understood The Sound Of Music theme, the long clues were too easy. The rest of the puzzle became a slog through very short clues, along with very short inserts. Sorry, don't enjoy keeping track of which parts of Do Re Me etc. haven't appeared yet. Did like the SALZBURG/MOZART cross.

    Nancy 10:40 AM  

    Got the rebus where @Whirred did: with GOTTI crossing ESSENTIAL. My Aha came at ESSENTIAL, a half second before GOTTI. After that, all that was puzzling to me became clear. Except that I DIDN'T SOLVE THIS PUZZLE, even though I thought I had. Didn't know HEGIRA, like so many others. But whereas so many others said it didn't matter in the end, for me it mattered a lot. You see, I had CReST instead of CRUST at 87D (thought maybe the Mafia has a crest I don't know about!) and the E, replacing the U, gave me HEHIRA for ehH instead of UGH. I guess you can call that a Natick? Or maybe you can't. In any event, I love rebuses, especially on days when they're not expected, and thought this was clever and well-constructed. All the long theme answers were total gimmes and yet I didn't find this puzzle all that easy--not by a long shot.

    mathguy 10:43 AM  

    Poor Rex. Not able to enjoy this succulent bonbon.

    Maruchka 10:47 AM  

    @jberg - Thanks. I gave it a miss when daughter and I passed through on the way to Quebec years ago. Found a good German restaurant/motel outside Rutland. Funky and fine, can't recall the name. And many thanks for the Bennett/Gaga clip. He's a national treasure. Long live the American songbook!

    Bearasgar 10:55 AM  

    Site of cataracts = Nile?

    Aswan Ain't No Ugly Duckling 11:02 AM  

    Cataracts of the Nile

    OISK 11:03 AM  

    Surprised by the unfamiliarity with "Hegira." The Hegira, Muhammad's escape from Mecca to Medina, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar; I thought that was pretty common knowledge. In fact, I was unaware until just now that the word could be used to describe ANY flight from danger, not just that one.

    (but I had no idea what or who the "Roll over Beethoven group" was, We all have our gaps...)

    GPO 11:06 AM  

    Bearasgar, it's like whitewater rapida in the river.

    Here is another definition:

    Slog /slagh/ noun For some people, the act of solving a New York Times crossword puzzle, no matter how much fun everybody else has doing it. See also "buzzkill."

    Don't you guys know that the reason the constructors use phrases and weird spellings, etc., is so that the words will fit in the grid? Why do you always act so surprised?

    Anonymous 11:10 AM  

    This was an easy puzzle with some genius construction. Fitting all of those connected long answers withing the constraints of a perfectly diagonal solfege, with incredibly little bad fill, is a remarkable feat.

    Z 11:14 AM  

    I got the theme where Rex did. Got the rebus much later because I stayed up top rather than doing the southern crosses. Despite wondering why GOT(TI) and (DO)HA wouldn't fit, it wasn't until ESSEN(TI)AL that the rebus clicked. A very well made Sunday. Not my cuppa, but not every puzzle has to fit my tastes.

    I got FLAK/TAKE, but FLAP/TAPE certainly fits the clues well enough. I'd call it "correct" if I were the appellate judge.

    I don't voluntarily watch 15 second ads on my computer, let alone a 4 hour ad on network TV. Hence, I have no opinion on Lady Gaga's performance. De gustibus non est disputandum.

    A rich older man using his position to take advantage of the hired help. Probably a good thing there's not a remake in the works.*

    *That's a joke, people.

    George Babiak 11:22 AM  

    I got caught up in the TAPE FLAP as well. I imagine the Times will TAKE some FLAK for that crossing.

    Hartley70 11:24 AM  

    @Marushka You got me thinking of the Swiss Inn motel in Londonderry, but I suppose that's too far from Rutland.

    @Aketi Yes, horror genre's "The Hills Have Eyes" would work too. Those darn Nazi collaborators!

    Loved this puzz. Sure it was easy, except for that little square in the Mid-East which drove me nuts for a bit. I wanted SOLVINGfast to work and emir was there instead of IMAM. And I was thinking of the dash in dashcam instead of TAKE. But it was also wonderfully warm and fuzzy with a cute little rebus thrown in for fun.

    Elephant's Child 11:24 AM  


    Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
    As I remember.it was an early DSteinberg.

    Hartley70 11:31 AM  

    As for the GaGa/NON-GaGa controversy...I am firmly in the GaGa camp simply for the shock value of her appearance. I was more astonished by this version of herself than I was by the raw meat dress, and the Oscars need all the zip they can get! I was only wishing she had kept the red rubber gloves to conceal the incongruity of the arm tattoos from SAMOA perhaps.

    Anonymous 11:33 AM  

    Little songbirds and Hooters?

    DebinSac 11:43 AM  

    Like others, I got the theme at once thanks to watching Lady Gaga's terrific tribute (I am old, but I'm a fan) and zipped through the puzzle, thinking, "This is too easy and kind of boring." But I was left with small unsolved patches all over the puzzle....then FINALLY realized that 60 across was "solving time" and that the puzzle was a rebus with the notes from Do, Re, Mi. It was really fun to find the rest of the notes -- I had actually convinced myself that Cruella had only one L and that sashim must be some alternative term for sashimi. I wound up with a smile on my face, so thanks, Finn Vigeland.

    Roo Monster 11:46 AM  

    Hey All !
    Yes! I figured out the rebus! Was scooting around the puz, filling here and there, got to GOTTI/ESSENTIAL cross, thinking they both had to be correct, but wouldn't fit. Said What the Hell, and wrote the TI in the square, figuring I could go back later to fix. Perplexed for a long time on the crossword tourney clue having _VING____, when finally the light clicked on, and said must be SOL in the square! Finally figured out the rebus, and that it was the music scale. Which led to to correct CRUELLA, had only one L in there. Then figured out they went from SW to NE, which helped get SASHIMI/MISSUSA. And the FA, cause never would have gotten OPERABUFFA!

    But still, Argh! Had the TApE/FLAp! Unbelievable. One letter from a correct, no cheating of any kind finish! I'm still taking it as a win! YES SIREE!

    Cool puz, let me overlook the heavy number of black squares! 92 of 'em. Quite high, as normal is 70-76 or so. But who's counting? :-)


    Jkb 11:50 AM  

    For site of cataracts I confidently put in "eyes". What does that say about my age ?!

    Steve J 11:51 AM  

    @Anon 9:42 a.m.: That's why I went with small-n naticked instead of proper-noun, capital-N Naticked. (At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

    @Z: No 4-hour ads on TV for you? Sorry to hear you won't be watching any postseason baseball this year.

    Roo Monster 11:54 AM  

    Oh, and some TITS for M&A (and anyone else who wants some, I guess!) almost symmetrical with Hooters! Fun stuff! (Fun-bags?) ;-P

    And with a little SAX...


    'nglishinNJ 12:03 PM  

    No 'ankersinParis this week?


    Elephant's Child 12:13 PM  

    GPO, cataracts are not the same as cascades.

    It used to be 'pipette', just as it used to be 'catalogue' and 'dialogue'. Now we have pipet, catalog, dialog and a plethora of other circumcised words.

    That's GOTTI be the best TAKE ever on MISSUSA!!

    Whirred Whacks 12:20 PM  

    FWIW: also 50 years ago this week (March 1-7, 1965)
    --LBJ orders commencement of "Operation Rolling Thunder" (aerial bombing of North Vietnam); lasted until Nov, 1968
    -- 3,500 Marines arrive in Vietnam (first US combat troops)
    -- "Bloody Sunday" in Selma; Alabama State troopers clash with civil rights marchers
    -- Mick Jagger fined 5 pounds for urinating on a gas station wall when the restroom was out of order
    -- #1 pop song: "My Girl" by the Temptations

    GILL I. 12:22 PM  

    Lady GAGA has made dull pop into something fun to watch. She amuses me no end with her up in your face acts. My favorite quote "I feel freer in underwear and I fucking hate pants."
    She was great with Sir Elton and now with Tony Bennett.
    A great philanthropist, quite smart and I personally think she sings better than Julie.....

    'mericans in Paris 12:22 PM  

    Mrs. 'mericans -- a whiz on musicals -- completed most of the puzzle. I just collected the words for another installment of ...

    Matt "Deadeyes" Esquare, Private Eye!

    I awoke to the SOUND OF birdsong. I hauled myself over to the window and had a gander. In back of me, Maria Acropolis stirred. "Great TITS!," I exclaimed.

    Blynken into the sun streaming through the curtains she smiled at me and said, "You're pretty BUFFA yourself!"

    "No, no. I mean TITS, the birds. Parus major: they're native to Europe. And they shouldn't be here in the south-east lower Michigan peninsular. Somebody must have imported them."

    "Talk about ARCANE knowledge. What are you, some sort of ornithologist?"

    "Not really. But I once lived in SALZBURG, AUSTRIA. They're as common as MUD over there."

    I got back into bed and OGLED her, shamelessly. She sported a complete TAN, from her neck to the tips of her toes.

    Maria pulled me towards her and then, just as suddenly, pushed me away. "OH DARN! I hadn't noticed the time! Sorry, but I have a 9 o'clock appointment. And A TON of things on my TO DO list."

    TAIP EI, clearly.

    "You can MEET me for TGI Friday drinks at the ROGERS & HAMMERSTEIN this evening, if that appeals to you. They serve some dynamite SAMOAN SASHIMI as nibblies. And I think they've got a SAX THREESOME performing."

    "ERR, I think you mean TRIo. Let's see how the day goes," I RESponded non-committedly, as my HARD C--- receded.

    (Continued below)

    'mericans in Paris 12:24 PM  

    (continued from above)

    I got dressed and dragged my tired ESSE out the DOOR. I was humming a MOZART Sextet when I TERNed the corner. "CRUST almighty!" The Tesla had vanished. Actually, it wasn't technically mine: a rich client had let me borrow it while he settled a LAW SUIT. If you're pleading poverty, it doesn't DO to be seen driving around in an intergalactic spaceboat of light and wonder. I assumed he had insurance. Nevertheless, I wasn't looking forward to reporting the news to him.

    The car had been parked in front of a PUB. I looked around and saw a WINO slumped in a nearby ALI. "HOYA!," I shouted. The ground around him was littered with NEEDLEs. Dozens of ROACHes were busily gathering CLOMPS of LO-CAL potato chips, no doubt for their hundreds of lil'uns. The DENCH was overwhelming.

    The WINO EYED me warily as I approached. He looked pretty STUed. "Hey, Mac, you wouldn't have happened to see somebody drive off with the Tesla that was parked over there, did you?"

    "The name's THOR," he said, TIPSYly. "Not Mac, or Bob, or ROBB, or even %#$@ing GORDO," he emphasized, letting out an EPIC belch. "The name comes from SWEDEn, 'n case you were wonderin'."

    "OK, THOR," I said, waving a tenner. "Let's make a deal. What can you tell me?"

    "What do I know? I'm a NYER. I'm not from these parts."

    I pulled out another $10 bill. "A REAl New Yorker would never call himself that. Now, how 'bout you tell me something useful."

    THOR made UGLI at me, and looked as if he was going to GLAM UP. Then he broke into an impish grin. "You ever heard of John GOTTI?"

    "YES, " I said. "Who hasn't?"

    "Well it wasn't him," he chuckled.

    "That much I knew. You've earned one nickel of this $20 so far, THRO."



    THOR took a swig from his hip flask. There was maybe a PIPET'S worth of whisky left in it. His voice dropped to a whisper. "I'm pretty sure it was one of THE VON TRAPPS."

    I gave him the two bills and went looking for a taxi. Along the way, I pulled out my iPhone.

    "SIREE, who are the VON TRAPPS?"

    "For the MDXI-th time, it's Siri, you nincompoop!"


    Siri reverted into her cold, analytical mode. "Checking. ... THE VON TRAPPS are a gang from ODESSA specializing in high-end goods. RUBIES, LCD TVs, electric vehicles. They are headed by a distant cousin, several times removed, of JULIE ANDREWS. Likes to call herself CRUELLA."


    "YES. In 1965 JULIE ANDREWS starred in THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It went on to win the BEST PICTURE OSCAR ... ."

    "Enough already!" Trivia was not what I needed at the moment. I shut off the phone.

    Just then, I noticed the FATS man crossing the street in my direction. "Well, 'ELO, 'ELO, 'ELO!," he chimed.

    (To be continued?)

    old timer 12:31 PM  

    What I should have done was to *circle* each two-letter note. Because I didn't, I was cursing the constructor for leaving out some of the notes in the scale. Then I saw that the notes were rising diagonally from DO, that I actually had put them all in, and that this puzzle was a work of absolute genius.

    I got almost all the NE right away, then got stuck, so went to look for the themer. The downs in the SW told me what it was. Once I knew the movie, all the long acrosses were obvious.

    LAWSUITS was my last answer. Because "hearing something" did not suggest that answer at all.

    Z 12:33 PM  

    @Steve J - Touché. Between the late start times and the extra rounds, going to a World Series game is only for the foolhardiest fan. Game 7 of the 1968 World Series (when I became a lifelong Tiger fan) was played in 2:07 (that's right, two hours and seven minutes) on October 10th in the afternoon. The Hill was Alive with the Arm of Lolich that day.

    Anonymous 12:52 PM  

    There goes Barany, promoting one of his puzzles again. Give it a rest, please, Professor.

    Numinous 12:55 PM  

    I've never seen The Sound of Music and I don't intend to see it. I have, however played music from some TRAPP Family recorder books.

    I didn't much like the clue for 35 A. "Roll Over Beethovan" is a Chuck Berry song! That's that! Yeah, I know the Electric Light Orchestra covered and the long version is pretty good; I like the Beatles version better. But it is still a Chuck Berry song!

    Back in the '70s in Australia I worked on a TV show called Delta.. Near the end of its run, to save money, the ABC changed from an all film format to an integrated one where exteriors were filmed in 16 mm and interiors were recorded on video TApE. Though I'm used to it now, I still cringe when someone uses any form of the verb, film, with reference to thier smart phones.

    @Norm re yesterday. Both of my parents are gone now. Mother in 83, father last year.

    I suppose it's sad to say, this puzzle didn't make me feel good. I recognize that the tribute is fairly cool and the puzzle over all wasn't bad. Somehow, still, it just irked me.

    Schrödinger 1:02 PM  

    TAPE/FLAP and TAKE/FLAK are both correct.

    Fred Romagnolo 1:03 PM  

    @Glimmerglass: in spite of these bloggers, you are not alone. I tried watching it 3 times and had serious crises of onset diabetes. @NCA Prez: I lost my g.c. when my fellow San Franciscans found out I couldn't stand Judy Garland, Maria Callas, or Barbra Streisand. @Kerfuffle: entirely understandable about van-von, Beethoven and Rembrandt are the culprits responsible; I actually had an essay I wrote in high school marked down, by a teacher who knew her German, because I wrote "van." I finally was able to persuade her I was right, and she thanked me. OPERA BUFFA simply means comic opera; same root as buffoon or Basso Buffo (comic bass; the great Baccaloni was an exemplar). The Cataracts of the NILE are a series of waterfalls, starting around Aswan that made it impossible to proceed further South by boat, thus impeding the search for the Source of the NILE.

    RnRGhost57 1:09 PM  

    HEJIRA is an excellent Joni Mitchell album.

    @Z: I. Remember the '68 Series very well. That was the year I started following baseball closely. Everyone thought 31-game winner Denny McLain would be the Tigers' pitching story but of course Lolich overshadowed him.

    nick 1:10 PM  

    Made me sad to learn that the poor chimp shot into space all by himself had the added burden of such a crummy name.

    As for the puzzle, meh. Fun to get the long acrosses so easily but too much grid crud for it to be a joy.

    Fred Romagnolo 1:13 PM  

    @oltimer: same with me on LAWSUIT for the same reason. @Elephant's Child: I love your use of "circumcise" (sic), especially since yesterday's editorial page mad a fuss about the c--- s---ing Mohels.

    Michelle R 1:27 PM  

    Oh I see our "moderate republican" is back. With views like his, he would be kicked out of the convention. Yeah he's a republican. And I'm Judy Garland.

    Danield 1:43 PM  

    At this point in the day it's all been said, hasn't it? I spent a LONG time triple checking this because it was so straightforward -- didn't want to make a stupid error. So I made two-- the much-discussed flap-tape and, for style points, I went with TEIPaI --aDA (semi-, para-, lower case natick wannabe?) I could have looked at that for a year and not seen it. AARRGH!

    Roo Monster 1:44 PM  

    Was waiting for this post! Ha, great stuff!


    Ludyjynn 1:46 PM  

    My 'History of Film' professor, Dr. Frank Manchel, at the University of Vermont, so loathed this movie that he would only refer to it derisively as "The Sound of Mucus". Maybe so, but IMO Christopher Plummer never looked sexier!

    @Maruchka, the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt. has a huge Winter season due to its proximity to the ski resort, but I visited during the slower Summer season while reconnecting w/ a dear college friend who still lives in the area. Such a serene, scenic setting. If you go, you can kill two birds, so to speak, by taking the Ben & Jerry's factory tour (and free samples) in neighboring Waterbury. My girlfriend's daughter worked there and would bring home lots of ice cream as a job perk!

    Speaking of Natick, the town was featured this morning on an episode of "House Hunters" on HGTV. The couple bought a fixer-upper in the cozy Boston suburb.

    I learned two new words solving: recondite and hegira. Thanks, FV and WS.

    Masked and AnonymoDozenUs 1:48 PM  

    The hills are alive,
    With the sound of U-zak...

    Do, a door, a female doors,
    Fa, a desperate way to end an opera...

    How do U solve a problem
    Like MDXI?...

    Climb every hegira,
    Ford every wawa.
    Follow every rainbow,
    Til U find yer Gaga... er... GOL...

    Available soon on iToots and ripped CDs.


    ** gruntz **

    p.s. Awesome puz, btw. Made the NE and SW a real "well, that can't be, cuz this ain't been no rebus" event.
    Followed by "wrong again, rebus breath". har

    Anoa Bob 2:00 PM  

    @RnRGhost57, you beat me to it. Have most of her LP's. Remembered the title also as "HEGIRA", but a check shows it's spelled with a "J". Most of the tracks had a dreamy, jazzy feel to them, e.g., Amelia.

    Anoa Bob 2:02 PM  

    @RnRGhost, another check shows you had it right, so my error is all my own.

    Norm 2:19 PM  

    I guess I'm in the minority here. I did not like this puzzle. I dislike cross-reference clues to begin with, but dutifully went to 118A, and the theme answers just filled themselves in after that with no real challenge. The rebus was a mild entertainment, but offset by what struck me as some forced cluing in other areas -- many in an attempt to amp up the difficulty level a little bit? And, now I have that damn "do, a deer" ear worm. Harrumph.

    crossvine 2:30 PM  

    Had a good time with this. Wrote down all the notes on a paper so I could make sure I got them in order. It was then fun looking for the spot where the next note would show up.

    Just guessed on SLUES/BUFFA and HEGIRA. Was happily surprised when I got the music. Usually when I guess, I'm told to go back through and find my mistake. So happy day.

    OISK 2:39 PM  

    "The Sound of Music" for me refers to the Broadway show, although I am sure that I watched the movie once. It was just my second live Broadway show, and it starred Mary Martin; when I think of "The Hills are alive..." it is her voice I hear, not Julie Andrews's. (Theodore Bikel was the male lead).

    Hugh 2:56 PM  

    Not much to say that has not already been said, but I did not like this one quite as much as most of this group. Long theme answers came almost immediately (though I have never sat through The Sound Of Music in its entirety). Spent much time thinking this Sunday's puzzle had a Tuesday difficulty. Then I got the Rebus at DOORS/TO DO, but even then I didn't find it terribly exciting or challenging. Just a neat little added layer.

    I even filled in the GOTTI/ESSENTIAL cross not realizing it was a rebus - figured I was learning something new about how the correct spelling of Gotti is with 1 't' and totally missed the missing '"t' in ESSENTIAL :o)

    Agree with Numinous - did not like the ELO clue - they've got dozens of other songs that would work for challenging clues - "Roll Over Beethoven" belongs to Chuck Berry (second comes Beatles and then Beach Boys)- but it did misdirect me as intended so no harm no foul.

    Could not for the life of me get LAW SUIT but I liked it - honestly, like Gotti, I thought Cruella looked fine with 1 "L" so left it alone.

    All in all a bit too easy and straightforward for me for a Sunday. Let's see how those new puzzles are on page 58 of this second week of the new Magazine- at least this one is lighter than last weeks!

    Arlene 3:05 PM  

    I recall Christopher Plummer referring to the movie as "The Sound of Mucus" - but I enjoyed this film a lot. I've even attended "Sound of Music" sing-along events. Now THAT's a little sappy.
    That said, I enjoyed this puzzle - uncovered the rebus at toDO/DOors and confirmed at SOLving. And was pleasantly impressed to see that the syllables were not randomly placed.
    So to me, a lovely Sunday solve - right in my comfort zone.

    Hugh 3:08 PM  

    Still loving the 'mericans in Paris entries - keep 'em coming!

    Queenoid 3:12 PM  

    I seem to be alone in not knowing Opera Buffa (Boffa? Biffa?) and slue (sloe-eyed? I suppose that pivoting eyes is not exactly attractive). So that tripped me up. I tipped to the rebus at "threesome." I had realized that it was The Sound of Music once I realized it was Julie Andrews (checked for Mary Poppins first!) Then all of the theme answers were a cakewalk. Caught all of them before seeing the rebus. Anyway, fun. A few answers really held me up.

    Leapfinger 3:41 PM  

    I do like puzzles that answer "Is this all there is?" with "No!!!".

    Did well with the rebus part, because GOT[TI] was ESSEN[TI]AL; then, when continuing EL[SOL]VING, could see the rebus wasn't [TI] for 2 entries. That raised my index of suspicion, and I gave CRUELA back her 2nd L. From there, a short hop to anticipating the SW--> diagonal, which was a big boost. Without the solfege, GOR[DO]HA would have been a toughie; OTOH, F[FA] gave OPERABUFFA without reading the clue. In retrospect, thought that if TONAL could be clued vs Schoenberg, OPERABUFFA could have been clued vs Bluebeard's Castle and Berg's LULU.Too much?

    Didn't do as well with the nonrebus theme entries. Moving right from a resistant NW, I had _NDRE-S, and managed to shoehorn in URSULANDRESS, so thought we were going into 007 territory. While admitting THE SOUND OF MUSIC as a charming and timeless classic, I have to say that after multiple viewings, I can't see it unless I up my insulin, and hearing "Raindrops on roses..." carries a significant risk of ketoacidosis.

    So it was only under increased medication that I watched the tail end of the Oscars. Quite possibly, that accounts for my thinking it inspired miscasting, with a big disconnect on the costume/skin-art axis, and Lady Gaga generally coming across as an escapee from a Cougar Cotillion. Aside from that, no complaints, and a wonderful contrast in the delightful JULIE ANDRESS.

    Back to the puzzle: thought the MOZART:SALZBURG crossing a delightful bonus, but as surprising as Hal ROACH in the grid, since he neither produced nor directed TSOM. (Learned that ROACH was a mule-skinner, wrangler and gold-prospector before going into the entertainment biz, so there's that.) Had wrong first guesses, @Hartley's SOLVINGfast and emir/IMAM,as well as lime/UGLI, eyes/NILE, tet/DST(!), ResInS/RUBIES(!!).
    Most interesting: [Something a trypanophobe fears] -- My first thought was SYPHILIS. That's wrong, of course; trypanosomes cause sleeping sickness and Chagas disease. Syphilis is caused by trepanemes... Anyone else??

    Best mention on the boards so far: that singing bra. Cross my heart, have so far only found some that hum; will await with eagerness the MELISMA model.

    Thanks for the nice Finn de siecle puzzle.

    Joseph Welling 3:44 PM  

    So did Rex pooh-pooh this puzzle's theme because he missed the Lady Gaga Oscar performance connection?

    R phone 3:48 PM  

    Agree with your process but what city is DOHA? How am I missing this?

    Fred Romagnolo 3:52 PM  

    @Michelle R: don't know your politics, so I don't know if you'd be one to kick me out of the Republican Convention, but they proudly claim to have a big tent, and I might represent a small area under it; I am a registered R. Honest! Just can't take TeaPartiers, anti-immigrants, anti-abortionists, or Netanyahu. But I do like smaller gov't. - also lower taxes on the middle-class; taxing the rich is O.K. with me. Remember, it's a Biiig Tent.

    John V 4:00 PM  

    Didn't see the rebus, so had holes in those spots.

    'mericans in Paris 4:13 PM  

    @R phone:

    Doha is the capital of Qatar. They won the right to host the world cup of soccer (football to the rest of the world), amid allegations of kickbacks, corruption, etc. They've been much in the news lately because, in order to avoid the worst heat of summer, FIFA, the governing body for world soccer, has decided that the games will take place in November and December, with a final just before Christmas.

    The European teams are absolutely livid, because it blows a huge hole in their schedules. Some national teams are even talking openly about boycotting.

    Fred Romagnolo 4:17 PM  

    @MichelleR: To further incur your possible disapproval, I am a retired schoolteacher, opposed to the Pledge or any form of religious observance in the public schools. So, kick away!

    Rug Crazy 4:19 PM  

    I didn't like the answer BEST PICTURE OSCAR, either

    finished, but wasn't happy about it.

    Rug Crazy 4:19 PM  

    I didn't like the answer BEST PICTURE OSCAR, either

    finished, but wasn't happy about it.

    pmdm 4:34 PM  

    Indeed, Elephant Child, thank you for jogging my memory. Yes it was.

    You know, NCAPresident, I also think that when Mozart first started composing (was it age 5 or 6?) it was by no means certain that the fortepiano would survive, so he probably wanted to compose music that would sound fine on the "legacy" instruments. I've read that many composers around that time and earlier preferred the clavichord as their best liked instrument. It was capable of changing dynamics, and also allowed playing a keyboard with vibrato. But of course it was incredibly soft. Some Igor Kipnis recordings using a clavichord show the best traits of the instrument. I've never played one, but when I was in college one of the faculty lent me his one-stringed harpsichord. (He was a very, very generous person.) It was kept in a room meant for him to have meetings as a student advisor (actually spiritual director). The room was smaller than a walk-in closet. The very small instrument sounded tremendously powerful in the room. The fortepianos likely sounded great when played in such small rooms but performing things like concertos would have probably sounded the best when played on a fairly large harpsichord (especially when considering that the other instruments played softer than their modern versions). Believe it or not, I very much enjoy listening to these softer instruments while in my car driving, as the sound envelops me as it did in my college days.

    Nancy 4:37 PM  

    @OISK -- First we had the Bobby Thompson home run in common (though from different sides of the rooting gallery.) And now we have THE SOUND OF MUSIC (the Mary Martin B'way version, NOT the Julie Andrews film version) in common. The show was so much better! Shouldn't "Edelweiss" ALWAYS be sung to a guitar by a folk singer? Wasn't it much more dramatic when the kids escaped from the STAGE during "So Long, Farewell" than from the MOVIE SCREEN? And wasn't Mary Martin much less saccharine than Julie (although, to be fair, I've always thought Julie had the more beautiful voice.) Anyway, it's nice to see that someone else was there and remembers!

    Leapfinger 4:42 PM  

    SpireHEGIRA is a filamentous green alga. Also a British folk/prog band. No, seriously, Hegira probably has an etymol linked to Hadj, Hadji etal, wouldn't you think?

    @FredRom, you confused me with your g-c abbrev. To some that's the std abbrev for Gonococcus. [Then I gottit.] Will have to look up the Mohel ref.

    That monkey was only GORDO when he went up, FLACO when he came back.

    @'mericans, better late than ever before! Glad that you're taking your responsibilities seriously, but hate that you aren't getting your share of SOLVINGTIME.

    @Roomie is making me consider an appropriately placed warning tattoo: This is not a toy

    Now let's all put the political editions to bed.

    aging soprano 4:42 PM  

    I think she did it beautifully, and as an ex pro ingenue I wasn't the least insulted. I was tickled that she could sing that well, and to realize that behind all of the gimmicks there is actually a musician of some training and talent.

    aging soprano 5:00 PM  

    Can't say I liked that too much. Too much screaming and out of tune singing. The Sound of Music tribute was definitely better. Even there she went a little heavy wiyh the belting towards the end.

    aging soprano 5:04 PM  

    When i was in high school in the midwest it was pipets.

    Anonymous 5:04 PM  

    Wait a minute. Did someone just ERASE 18 minutes on that TApE?

    aging soprano 5:10 PM  

    Heavens, I didn't watch the Oscar's either. Just saw the Sound of Music clip.

    aging soprano 5:42 PM  

    Did anyone else consider TIRESOME for Wynken, Blynken, etc?

    aging soprano 5:42 PM  

    Did anyone else consider TIRESOME for Wynken, Blynken, etc?

    aging soprano 5:42 PM  

    Heavens, I didn't watch the Oscar's either. Just saw the Sound of Music clip.

    aging soprano 5:43 PM  

    When i was in high school in the midwest it was pipets.

    beatrice 5:50 PM  

    Brief but charming clip of The Trapp Family Singers performing a German folk song, along with 'our ancient instruments'. Looks to be perhaps from the Fifties, perhaps from a program on Japanese TV?

    The von Trapps, four of the great- grandchildren, singing 'The Lonely Goatherd' in Carnegie Hall, in 2012.

    Anonymous 7:55 PM  

    Had accidental DNF if such a thing is possible: thought I'd gotten it all done but forgot to go back to figure out the FLAK/TAKE -FLAP/TAPE intersection and am very amused to see such a robust discussion about having one or the other. This reminds me of multiple choice exam questions for which the teacher accepts two answers while I have neither.

    D and A

    Anonymous 8:22 PM  

    Took me almost to the end to figure out the rebus; I guessed that the "Noted" in the title was a rebus hint, but I was thinking it would take the shape (literally!) of having to incorporate letters from above and below into certain answers, which when circled would form the shapes of musical notations (e.g., I had BUFA and thought the "F" turned the corner to make FATS and that the resulting outline of the word FATS was the shape of an eighth note rest). I then tried to do this at all the other problem areas...obviously waaaay overthinking things! I finally "gott" it at GOT(TI)/ESSEN(TI)AL, and then it was a piece o' cake (aside from getting "stuck" in the TAPE FLAP like many others). Enjoyed it much more post-rebus .

    rondo 12:51 PM  

    Ho hum. Yes, great construction, appropriate themers, OK fill, so I shouldn't complain, but soooo easy and rather uninteresting. Only hang-up was thinking it might possibly be IE for EI in OSCAR's last name - left those blank for the fill to cure. Got the rebus at GOTTI, helped with the forgotten monkey. Maybe when you know all the themers it takes the fun out. Well-executed enough, but again, ho hum.

    Am I the first to mention wanting to swap answers for 73d and 80d??? Didn't check that closely above. 73d - what JULEANDREWS bared in S.O.B.

    Again we have a SWEDE in the puz. Always OK.

    I've been on the Potemkin steps in 2001 and in 2008. Great sightseeing and my company was beautiful and terrific. Probably won't be back due to the unrest in Ukraine.

    @SPACEY at 105d!! Got your RRN and DIV coulda been one too. Also a HARDC for ya. And some cross-referencing and texting answers to boot.

    DST just starting, maybe time for me to VEGOUT.

    spacecraft 1:23 PM  

    I had one of the AHA!est moments ever today. I'll explain.

    It didn't TAKE long, puttering about in the SW, to get THESOUNDOFMUSIC, from just the F in FRO and the T in THRO. The rest of the themers fell like dominos--except that for a while I had moved SALZBURG to Germany (!), thus creating a 7-letter writeover.

    But there in the NE I was frustrated not being able to squeeze ESSENTIAL into eight squares. I thought CRUELA had two L's but there was room for only one. But then below, what was that crossword tournament thing that started with _VING____? Head scratch, head scratch. I had UGLI and SIGMA and IMAM, so it seemed to be [something] TIME.

    OMG!!!! It's a rebus! EL SOL! SOLVING TIME! These are notes! CRUELLA DOES have two L's! And that's LAWSUIT--of course--and SNOWS!

    So then following the natural progression, I could put DO in the corner and here came GORDO and GOTTI--of course! So then down in the SW it was a TODO list; that one had me stalled. DOORS without a rock-group clue was disappointing, as was ELO. Come on, if you're talking "Roll Over Beethoven," you better be talking Chuck Berry, I don't wanna hear any stupid covers. Anyway, MOZART made him roll over enough.

    This was one of those themes that, once you get it, the whole shooting match comes tumbling down in an instant. So it can hardly be tougher than easy-medium. But my last sticking point was that stupid HARDC...I wish they wouldn't DO that! I'm assuming that "Sicilian border?" refers to a Sicilian-style pizza. Who eats the CRUST, anyway? Thanks, Dame Judi DENCH, for saving my bacon there. A sequel to that film is upcoming. I'm sure I'll get dragged to that one, too. Oh well.

    Anonymous 2:18 PM  

    73-down and 80-down. Those are "My Favorite Things."

    Burma Shave 2:45 PM  


    She EYED MISSUSA, SARA, and me.
    “Is it ESSENTIAL,” she asked, “would I be dumb
    if I wanted to TRI it and see?”


    TMallard 4:11 PM  

    I agree with Anonymous - posted 10:23. All the Sound of Music clues are legitimate. The family is often referred to as "The Von Trapp Family Singers," so that was easy. The first lyric would be the first phrase -- again correct. "Best Picture" needs to be followed by the type of award, because after all there are many these days. (Golden Globe, etc.) I felt that the other fill was solid.

    robparsons1988 1:58 AM  

    Loved the puzzle, but one complaint. Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti do. *NOT* "sol". After all, it's "Sew, a needle pulling thread" and not "Soul, a needle pulling thread."

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