Environmental terrorism / SUN 4-12-15 / Eyes for emoticons / Line in Gotham / Tattooed toon / Bone whose name means clasp in Latin / Canyon creator / Musician who co-founded Nutopia / Skype annoyance / Big name in lean dieting

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium



THEME: "Look What Turned Up!" — theme answers are Down that bounce (or "turn") back up at the end. That is, the last four letters turn back on themselves—or, at least, you have to read them that way for the theme answers to make sense (turned-up part is in red, below):

Theme answers:
  • WISH YOU WERE H (2D: Postcard message)
  • TAKES THE TOPS (59D: Wins)
  • GLUTEN-FREE B (5D: Beverage brewed without barley or wheat)
  • ON A SCALE FROM ONE TO (22D: How things may be rated)
  • "NOW WHERE WER?" (70D: "What was I talking about before?")
  • REACHES LEGAL (11D: Becomes an adult)
  • DO EXACTLY AS I (63D: "Follow my command!")
Word of the Day: ECOTAGE (104A: Environmental terrorism) —
noun
  1. sabotage carried out for ecological reasons. (google)
• • •

So the theme … I got it early and then … there it was. It's pretty joyless. Luckily, the phrases that got used were mostly delightful, but the bouncing back part? Shrug. The title made things too obvious. I was able to get it from the Obvious "WISH YOU WERE H." I mean, it didn't fit, so I looked at the title, and then all questions were answered. It's just not much of a trick, not much of a Thing to discover. But Jeff lays down a nice grid most every time out, so as a kind of oversized themeless, I was able to enjoy this one plenty. I'd prefer more humor / wordplay / cleverness in my Sunday theme, but I'll take this over plainer, cornier fare (the real danger on a Sunday).


Weird thing about this grid is the lack of longer answers (outside the themers). You got some 8s in the NE/SW corners, but they're not very remarkable (come on, ICE CANOE? What is that?). Outside of that, most of what you got in terms of longer fill is some stray 6s, 7s, and a couple 8s floating here and there. In that range, there's a number of good entries—stuff like FARMBOY, GUT BOMBS, I CHOKED, BAT PHONE, and DRY SPELL foremost among them. (Speaking of DRY SPELLs: I was on vacation last week in California. That drought stuff is for real. And snow packs are now at something like 6% of normal. It's terrible. Reassuringly, it ended up being not traumatic at all to commit to serious water stinginess. I wasn't a big "showering" fan to begin with, and under drought conditions, my slovenliness becomes a virtue. For me, and for the environment, it's a win-win.). I refuse to accept that ECOTAGE is a thing anyone has ever said. You can put ECOTAGE in your ICE CANOE and send them both right over the falls. But nothing else about the grid was grating. It's very nicely put together overall.


My favorite moment of the solve came early, when I hit 6D: Ones found in the closet? At that point, my grid looked like this:


I was pretty excited about the possibilities. But no: just MOTHS.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

105 comments:

Anonymous 12:05 AM  

I thought the reversing phrases were very clever and enjoyed figuring them out.

jae 12:08 AM  

Very clever medium  Sun. for me.  Like @Rex I figured out the trick early with WISH YOU...but this was still an interesting solve.   Plus, Jeff managed to throw in a bit of zip...GUT BOMBS, BAT PHONE, GO TO TOWN, LA LA LAND...liked it.

Whirred Whacks 12:26 AM  

Nice gimmick, and straight-forward clueing (compared to yesterday) made this a pleasant solve.

Kenneth Wurman 12:51 AM  

Yoko Ono is a "musician "..??? Give me a break, and please don't insult our intelligence!

NYer 1:04 AM  

I liked it better than @rex did.

John Child 1:31 AM  

POW! Clever and interesting, with very clean fill. So many Sunday puzzles are neither, so major thumbs up her for a GRADE A crossword. ICE CANOEs and ECOTAGE are both real, even if OFL hasn't heard of them.

Anoa Bob 2:01 AM  

It was a good workout but a bit of a head-scratcher theme wise. The title put my inner Sherlock on the alert for some kind of turning-up being involved. The first three themers all followed that pattern, with the down part of the phrases reading normally to the next to the last letter and then the turn beginning with the last letter and reading upward for four letters more (HERE, SPOT & BEER).

The middle themer threw me a curve ball with the down part of the phrase reading normally all the way to the last letter and turning upward from the next to the last letter and reading for three letters more (TEN).

The fifth themer uses yet another formula and turns upward in the middle of the last word, WE/RE, and then reads two letters more (WE).

Then the sixth and seventh themers revert to the middle themer format.

So, points off for inconsistency in the theme format or points on for using variety to add some spice? Still scratching my head on that one.

paulsfo 2:03 AM  

DNF because of SW corner.

I thought that the clues for SPRAT, RUDOLPH, TOES, and DOGSTAR were great.

DebinSac 2:18 AM  

Like others, I got the gimmick quickly thanks to the title. But I was amazed that Jeff Chen came up with seven real phrases, in common use, that doubled back on themselves, to build this puzzle around. I did struggle in a few spots, including the top center and southwest, where I had "no kids" for the cruise policy for the longest time. Good Sunday puzzle!

MDMA 2:40 AM  

3-letter musician ending in -NO? Who else but Mr. Crosswordese, Brian Eno.

Never got around to re-examining "chine" fabric. And so no joy in Mudville.

chefwen 2:44 AM  

@DebinSac - Like your take on 119A no kids, works for me.

Loved this one and hope you all had as much fun as I did.
Like others got it early on, but it kept me guessing throughout.

50A would be furrY in this house vs. LINTY. Loved 72A I CHOKED, man. And what the heck is an ICE CANOE? Must Google. GUT BOMBS, have had a few of those.
MUCHACHA fun clue.

Good lead in to a new week.

Anonymous 3:17 AM  

Missed the CHINO/ONO cross because CHINO is not military (although KHAKI is) and becase I always default to Brian ENO. Other mistake was HUP/PAPAYA. First off, anyone who has played football knows it's HUT, not HUP, and I've spent too much time in Thailand. :-)

-Brennan

Anonymous 3:28 AM  

Just noticed--HUP would be more properly clued as "Military cadence word." I am the 2%. :-)

Steve J 3:28 AM  

Picked up on the theme nearly instantly. I figured it out with literally my second answer. First thing to go in was ALOU. Second was GLUTEN-FREE BEER. From the title - which, indeed, gave the trick away too easily - I knew we were going to to have some kind of turn, and that cinched it. Ended up being a very easy Sunday as a result. Only hangup was having POPUP instead of BLOOP at 106D.

And it was a rather good Sunday. Theme phrases were mostly good (although the inconsistency in how the upturn worked - as explained by @Anoa Bob - mildly irked me), and there was lots of really solid and fun fill sprinkled throughout the puzzle. Some very nice cluing as well. Certainly enough to forgive ECOTAGE.

@Kenneth Wurman: Well, she's certainly more a musician than she is, say, a plumber.

@Anon 3:17 a.m.: CHINO is of military origin. It refers to the cloth, while khaki is but one color worn by 19th century militaries when the cloth was invented.

GILL I. 3:53 AM  

Yes, the California drought is entering its fourth year and it's awful. I wish it were only a DRY SPELL. If your lawn is still green, you'll probably get your house egged. Everyone is going to feel it because all those delicious fruits and veggies you get from our neck of the woods are going to cost an arm...
I too caught on early but didn't care because I had fun. Jeff always brings some jollity to his puzzles. I like OEUVRE which sounds so je ne sais quoi when you toss that word out. "I'll have my OEUVRE over easy por favor."
In some Spanish speaking countries a Muchacha is a maid! Pretty stinky donja think?
@Anoa Bob. You said what I was thinking although I would have made a mess of my words. But, did you notice that the west section had the word spelled out before going up and the east had an extra letter at the end? I wonder if that was intentional.
I'm not sure about swimming in the Nile with all those ASPs and CROCs.
Hi @DebinSac. Good to see you again.
Enjoy your Sunday and pray for rain

rutterj2 4:02 AM  

He thought it woudl be "homos"! me too, but wrong. Good puzzle tho. I liked the reversing answers a lot. kinda clever.

Charles Flaster 4:15 AM  

Fun, easy themer. Picked it up early from the title-so what! Very creative grid.
Liked cluing for I CHOKED, MOTHS, GO TO TOWN and BRAYS.
Very fine Sunday!!
Thanks JC.

'mericans in Paris and Beijing 4:24 AM  

Travelling again, this time to China. Mrs. 'mericans and I completed today's puz via WhatsApp.

Fairly easy for a Sunday. Also wondered what would pop up under 6D. For 5A, "Canyon Creator", thought at first the answer was going to be "God". (GMC Canyons aren't sold in France.). Wondered also how anybody younger than 40 (unless they are vinyl fans) would understand the answer to 8A ("Record number, for short"). Actually, it should be RPMs, shouldn't it?

Liked the clue for 11D. Don't care for LINTY and ECOTAGE, but on the whole felt it was a satisfying solve.

Will probably be days before I get around to posting Matt Esquare story based on this week's crop of words. I've only just now posted one on last Sunday's blog:

http://rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.fr/2015/04/regni-sun-4-5-15-home-of-faaa.html

pfb 5:22 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle and a clever theme. I never heard of GUTBOMBS or ECOTAGE.

Thomaso808 5:54 AM  

DNF because I was stuck with amIgA instead of CHICA and could not recover.

OUEVRE is one of the best top ten of the year. Well done, Mr. Chen!

Never heard of ICECANOE but if the real @John Child says it's a thing then it must be.

Liked EVAPERON, after a long time trying to remember who Truman's wife was.

Sundays (grammar nazi autocorrect always tries to put an apostrophe) are sometimes tedious but this one sizzled right from the start. Fun puz!

Danp 6:29 AM  

EVAPERON? Was she some kind of sci-fi queen with no tear ducts? Oh. Don't cry for me. Got it.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:38 AM  

Very clever and fun puzzle.

In my usual Sunday caution, I had worked my way around the outer edge down to DO EXACTLY AS I before I got my first theme answer, but it was easy from there on.

I am having trouble understanding the comments above that claim the theme is inconsistent. As Rex spells out quite clearly, every answer depends on the reversal of the last four letters. Period. Or should we complain because the themers end with different letters? How inconsistent!

This gimmick reminded me of a recent Runtpuz, but I don't think Jeff Chen is M&A.

Loren Muse Smith 7:34 AM  

Honestly, I get tired of myself, too, always being so predictable. So in my own little ways, I resist – pay no attention to that UNC or OREN in the grid – but c'mon, man. I don't care that WISH YOU WERE H was my second entry, too, thanks to the title. I don't care that the exact place where the turn happens isn't consistent; it registered briefly, but it just didn't matter to me. (Let's call it a, uh, well, a SHORT-LIVED)

WHO CARES????? These phrases blew me away. They're all real phrases, there are seven of them, they're symmetrical, and, my gosh, the ends are so, so cool. I will never, ever forget this trick and will be constantly vigilant, listening carefully to see if I ever hear any more that work this way.

Maybe this is a well-known phenomenon, and these are phrases that are famous for this? That's the only thing that would explain the ho-hum reception here. (I'm reminded of Matt Ginsberg's puzzle a couple of years ago where his themers/clues were funny anagrams:

Debit card/ bad credit
dormitory/ dirty room

I thought Matt had figured out all these pairs on his own, and I was floored. Turns out, I think, that they were already fairly famous.)


So, WHERE WERE WE? (Kinda arrogant, huh? Like I'm assuming people are actually reading this. @Tita – I still see posts all the time that tell me that their authors haven't read my brilliant, life-altering insights. Serves my long-winded, BRAYing self right.)

I couldn't help but revisit some downs in the spirit of the trick:

LATTES – "group of people who can afford and frequent Starbucks"
POPEYE – "aye"
AGAME – "Sports Illustrated, abr"

Two other entries:
PAY TV – didn't we rationalize paying for TV back when cable first came out so we wouldn't have to suffer through *any* &%$^#&^ commercials?
GUT BOMBS – wow. Where do you even start with that beaut? Has someone been eating my chili?

I'm with @DebinSac, @Bob, @John Child, and @Thomas F – wonderful fun and fiendishly clever.

chefbea 7:51 AM  

Fun easy puzzle which I finished last night. Got the theme right away with wish you were here. Don't understand 1down...one with spirit=shaman??

Loved the clue for Rudolph

TB 8:20 AM  

@Rex. You were excited to write down homos?

What a pig.

Lewis 8:31 AM  

@rex -- loved your line about putting the ECOTAGE in the ICE CANOE.

I've found Jeff's puzzles always have clean fill. Often his clues are fairly straightforward, more than I'd like, but today there was some excellent cluing: OUI, OEVRE, OWED, BARNS, LATTES, and TOES.

I'm with Loren -- amazed that Jeff found these phrases. They were fun to discover and helped with my solve. I think ACEIT is a little green paintish; ACE would have been enough. I got a kick out of BOOP above BLOOP. Above all, I enjoyed the solve, and there was enough grit to make it satisfying. Good one, Jeff!

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Thanks to Loren Muse Smith for the beautiful commentary on those who quibble over where the reversal breaks. My thoughts exactly, even though I couldn't express it that well.

'mericans in Paris: Revolutions Per Minute. The 's' is already in there. T

NCA President 8:42 AM  

I don't agree with Rex today. I thought the theme was a lot better than just not corny.

I also had eNO...because, yeah, ONO is not a musician, she is a performance artist. Any music she does is more about the performance of it and less about the music itself. Her "singing" is, by artsy standards, her choice; but by musical standards, um...no.

I am with Rex in the disappointed for MOTHS.

My only real nit was with "Where to see the horn of Africa" (RHINO). Maybe it's the specificity of "the" horn that bothered me. You can see "a" horn "in" Africa on a rhino. But to say it is the horn of Africa is too gratuitously deceptive to me.

Okay, so one last nit: Something to get your mitts on (OVEN)...I usually use an oven mitt to get stuff out of the oven, my touching the oven itself is kind of necessary to that task...but usually, with our modern ovens, you don't need a mitt to touch it. Again, gratuitously deceptive.

Otherwise, a decent Sunday.

F.O.G. 9:03 AM  

ON A SCALE OF ONE TO TEN, I'd give this a 9.5. Well done, Mr. Chen. You deserve several Luftballons.

The finish for me was changing mAKES THE TOP SPOT to TAKES.

On the cross, I had oPRAh as the "Big name in lean dieting" and didn't figure out SPRAT until converting from SPRAm. Which I had assumed was some sort of diet Spam and quite possibly a GUT BOMB that would reek havoc with one's COLON.

"Die, say" for CUBE was my favorite clue.

F.O.G. 9:07 AM  

Or for that matter, "wreak havoc."

Kenneth Wurman 9:14 AM  

I agree!

Nancy 9:18 AM  

A cute, nicely constructed puzzle with no junk fill at all. (I think the only proper names are ATHENA (easy) and RHETT (easier.) If @OISK can stop watching basketball long enough to do this puzzle, he'll love it. (I assume that's where you've been lately, OISK?)

I laughed at the NO KIDS mistake made by several of you at 119A. Much as I might like to take a cruise with NO TIPS, I'd much prefer taking one with NO KIDS.

I agree with @NCA Pres's nits about the cluing for RHINO and OVEN. Both came in easily enough, but I agree both clues were misleading.

And I agree with @Steve J. and @DebinSac about the title making the puzzle a bit too easy. I was trying to come up with one that would be fair, but that wouldn't completely give the game away. How about BOUNCE BACKWARDS?

How I Got My Ex Husband Back 9:18 AM  


Hello everyone, My name is Morgan Jackson, a citizen of USA; am 42 years of age..we got married for more than 11 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Brave for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he Dr Brave casted on him that make him come back to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Brave for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact Dr Brave ,if you need his help you can contact him through his private mail: bravespellcaster@gmail.com or you can contact him through his website http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

Kenneth Wurman 9:20 AM  

She is more a plumber...

Kenneth Wurman 9:20 AM  

She is more a plumber...

Lewis 9:33 AM  

Factoid: The highest price ever paid for a SUSHI grade bluefin tuna was $396,000 for a 754 pound fish ($526/lb) on January 4th, 2011 at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.

Quotoid: "Better to trust the man who is frequently in ERROR than the one who is never in doubt." -- Eric Sevareid

Roo Monster 9:36 AM  

Hey All!
Disagree with the Rexster on this 'un, joyless? Really? This was a way cool, clever themer puz. Sure, a few dreckers, but c'mon man! Overall, cool puz and cool grid design. Can definitely overlook Rex's fact of not too many longer answers.

I got it like a bunch of youse, at WISH YOU WERE H, I left the last square blank, thinking it may be a rebus ( not a big fan of SunPuz rebi, Thursday, sure, but that's not to say I hate a SunPuz rebus, just not a fan of the extra trick in a 21x), but, like Rex, looked at the title, and sussed the H, then actually got a kick out of the rest of the themers.

Problem area, yep, SW. Could not for the life of me figure out SEAT MATE, had some wrongness happenin down there. First had tIlTS at 83A, then LIlTS, had to run the alphabet to get the S, then had dOvE for the soap, which got me TAKES THE DOTS (TO) which made no sense. For 119A, wanted NOpetS, then NOcatS, even tried NOdogS! Also trying to figure out 96A, LEeCH? LEtCH? LEACH? Threw in the flag and hit "Check Puzzle " (as solving online today, as you obviously now know!), which led me to see dOvE was wrong, and my NOwhatever-I-had-in was also wrong. Eventually got TAKES THE TOPS, which led to NOTIPS, which finally let me see SEAT MATE. Holy frijole!

Still a (reluctant) DNF, as I had 3 other wrong squares I had to correct to get the Congrats jingle. But I'm man enough to admit that! :-P

So, technically, no cheats, just a Check click! One of my wrong squares was at PAY To/COoER! I think the O coyld work for both!

GO TO TOWN, my LIEGE
RooMonster
DarrinV


DShawMaine 9:38 AM  

Agree with @NCA President on cluing for I oven mitts and African horns, as those stuck out (HA) for me too. Also agree the theme answers were clever and helped me finish a Sunday, which is a feat. Did anyone else notice the repeat of COLONs and TLC from the mini-puzzle, which I always do first as warm-up?
Coincidence?

jberg 9:45 AM  

It's generally considered a fault if the theme answers all break in the same place, so I think it's a plus that these don't. I spent too much time looking for acrosses that turned up at the end, so it was refreshing to find that this was something different.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and never heard HOMES -- but then I guess if you grow up there you don't need a mnemonic to remember them.

But was Clark Kent really a FARM BOY? I thought he lived in a small town -- not at all the same thing. I speak from experience. Also I'd have preferred not to have both A TEAM and GRADE A. But these were minor faults.

Now I have to go look up ICE CANOE. A kind of iceboat? Or something you pick up and run with, like the Alice Springs Regatta?

Z 9:53 AM  

Our new favorite Plumber inspired this homage to true love.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

Fun puzzle, even if the theme was easy to get. Perfect for a Sunday, I thought.

mathguy 10:06 AM  

An almost perfect Sunday for me. Novel theme. And when quickly uncovered, it opened up other parts of the grid. Clean fill. All the crunch I need for the 21x21. More crunch would keep me up too late. Some sprightly entries.

What's fitting about RAGA being an anagram of agra?

Indira Ghandi 10:07 AM  

Um, both are associated with the country of India?

Rex Porker 10:08 AM  

I don't have much time today, so I'll be brief (I know this will disappoint many of you): This puzzle had a theme, so I didn't like it.

Teedmn 10:22 AM  

As usual, Jeff Chen serves up a great puzzle. But very straight-forward, in my opinion, no real "ahas" here today. Only one writeover which must be a record for me. I had bOneS for MOTHS 'cause everybody has skeletons in their closet, OUI?

Some words not commonly encountered: REPLETE, PROTÉGÉS, OEUVRE, LINTY. I got POWed a little by MISSIONS (thinking the element Mercury and had no idea there were 26) and RUDOLPH and SEAT MATE were cute as clued. Over all, very nice, half the time of last week's (or yesterday's).

Thanks, 'mericans in Paris, for the addition to the Matt Esquare OEUVRE!

grammar nazi 10:26 AM  

@Nancy: You forgot to close one of your parentheses. I'm sure this will gnaw at your brain and prevent you from sleeping tonight, or maybe ever again. (I'd also have put the period after "easier" outside of the [double] parentheses.)
Love,
gn

PS: I'm having to get more and more picky as I've noticed a steep improvement in the grammar on this board!

NCA President 10:35 AM  

@grammar nazi: Wow, I was wondering if you would have a criticism of my semi-colon usage. I've always had trouble with semi-colons...

R. McGeddon 10:43 AM  

Call me naive, call me a hopeless romantic, but anything this well-constructed leaves me gasping in admiration. Seven idiomatic phrases, symmetrical and all using four letters in the reversals. Bravo.

Ellen S 11:24 AM  

@Loren, I always read every word of your posts, and look forward to them.

I feel unusually dumb because I didn't get the theme until I had two more letters to fill in the whole grid, and all the themers were sorta complete. "Sorta", in the sense that I didn't know if they were rebuses going down and just the first letter going across. Then I took another look at the title and it hit me, POW!

That I have never heard of an ICE CANOE doesn't mean anything, but @Rex's and my areas of ignorance have little overlap; usually the things he's never heard of are gimmes for me, so if it's something neither of us has heard of, it's pretty obscure. But it is a thing, at least in Quebec. Seems the St. Lawrence river only partly freezes in the winter, so there are patches of ice and sections of fast-moving freezing-but-not-frozen water. Teams navigate canoes across the river, rowing through the water parts, dodging ice chunks, and getting out and pushing the canoes across the larger ice floes. They do this for fun.

old timer 11:27 AM  

I found myself too bored to solve the last one that had me stymied -- the canyon creator. Never heard of a GMC Canyon and can kick myself for not guessing ATHENA. I had ASTANA (though I suppose Kazakhstan really is in Asia.

Yes, it's a clever and well created these, but not a joy to solve.

crossvine 11:33 AM  

I really enjoyed this. Very clever theme and construction. I had seven "aha" moments--each time I figured out the reversal on a theme entry.

I had the most trouble in the north west corner. I had ENO for the musician and I thought "Uniform material" was "clone." I should have noticed there wasn't a question mark on that clue. That got me on the wrong path.

Also, I was on the wrong trail with Line in Gotham. I had the ONE at the end and for some reason was thinking it would be a subway line or something like that. Jeez!

Finally I got it worked out, but I have to say IMHIP does not seem like a correct answer for "Gotcha, dude."

Other than that section, very fun.

Nancy 11:33 AM  

@gn -- You're right on both counts. I forgot to close the parentheses and the period should have gone outside. I will, very soon, be seen drowning my extreme mortification amid the glories of Nature in Central Park, on what is seemingly the first really beautiful day in about 38 weeks. So don't expect to find me back here for at least the next 6-7 hours. Love to you all.

Ludyjynn 11:36 AM  

Hand up for 'no kids' before NOTIPS. Here's why: there is no such animal as a no tips cruise. As a veteran of numerous cruises, taken on several different lines, trust me when I tell you that one way or another, the tips are paid, usually in the form of gratuities collected in pre-labeled envelopes at the end of the trip. Or they may be paid in advance as part of the booking fees, along w/ port taxes and other 'incidentals'.

Hand up for 'Eno' before ONO. Nice misdirect.

For me, this medium puzz. OEUVRE was REPLETE with beautiful clues/answers, esp. RUDOLPH, LEIS, SPRAT, ICHOKED, PAGODAS, SHAMAN, LALALAND.

I did not like the too similar BOOP/BLOOP entries.

I'm off to dig in the garden on this beautiful Spring day. Jewelry is safely indoors!

Thanks, JC and WS. IMHIP.

AliasZ 11:41 AM  


Yoko ONO does look a little like a plumber, although not much of a plumber's crack. She did a pretty decent job cleaning my pipes last time I had an emergency. She didn't overcharge me either -- she's not union.

Clever puzzle in which the theme swallows its own tail, not unlike the ouroboros symbol (οὐροβόρος ὄφις - tail-swallowing snake) in which a serpent or dragon does exactly that, as seen on the door of a building in Budapest, home to the Theosophical Society there.

- @Leapy, I am sure Horatio ALGER Hiss making another appearance was the first thing you noticed.
- Who knew Diane SAWYER was a friend of Finn Vigeland?
- BOOP atop BLOOP: cute, Jeff.

In remembering that today is Orthodox Easter Sunday, let us enjoy the magnificence of the Russian Easter Festival Overture by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Enjoy this beautiful spring day.

chefbea 11:44 AM  

Off to the azalea festival...beautiful day here

Maruchka 11:55 AM  

Liked the trick, hated the tricks. But reading the comments has forced me to accredit my cranky self for sweating the small stuff. Thanks, Mr. Chen.

SO many do-overs. Amiga/CHICA, Oprah/SPRAT, Tilts/LISTS, Daystar, DOGSTAR, ad nauseam.

Fav of the day - ANTIOCH. Non-scholarly daughter got her BA from Evergreen College, which was founded on Antioch's principles. She will be pursuing her doctorate at UC Berkeley come September. Who knew?

NOW, let's get down to (not on, please) Yoko ONO (Eno do-over, 'course). She may not be a 'musician' but she had a hand in creating some amazing songs and a lasting musical legacy. Just sayin', boys.

@Evil re: yesterday - Oh my, Evil, are you flaunting your dECOlleTAGE fixation, and again?

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

I was confused about the lack of consistency in the break points of the theme answers also. In writing out all seven phrases and then drawing a line where they end in the puzzle, I discovered seven stand-alone 3-letter answers (ere, eer, age, ten, pot, ewe, say) so that's kind of cool....

dr abel justus 11:58 AM  

This is my testimony about the good work of a man who helped me..My name is RUTH ATKINSON. and I base in London.My life is back!!! After 8 years of marriage, my husband left me and left me with our three kids. I felt like my life was about to end,and was falling apart. Thanks to a spell caster called papa Justus who i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I was searching for a good spell caster that can solve my problems. I came across series of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. There was one particular testimony I saw, it was about a woman called grace,she testified about how papa Justus brought back her Ex lover in less than 72 hours and at the end of her testimony she drop papa Justus e-mail address. After reading all these,I decided to give papa a try.

I contacted him via email and explained my problem to him. In just 3 days, my husband came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before. papa Justus is really a talented and gifted man and i will not to stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man...If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve that problem for you. Try the great papa Justus today, he might be the answer to your problem. Here's his contact: drabeljustus@gmail.com
Thank you great Justus. Contact him for the following:

(1)If you want your ex back.
(2) if you always have bad dreams.
(3)You want to be promoted in your office.
(4)You want women/men to run after you.
(5)If you want a child.
(6)[You want to be rich.
(7)You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
(8)If you need financial assistance.
(9)Herbal care
10)Help bringing people out of prison
(11)Marriage Spells
(12)Miracle Spells
(13)Beauty Spells
(14)PROPHECY CHARM
(15)Attraction Spells
(16)Evil Eye Spells
(17)Kissing Spell
(18)Remove Sickness Spells
(19)ELECTION WINNING SPELLS
(20)SUCCESS IN EXAMS SPELLS
(21) Charm to get who to love you.
(22)Business spell.
(23) Find your long lost family.
Contact him today on:
drabeljustus@gmail.com,
+2347033354868.
You can also CONTACT HIM ON whats-app on the same phone number.

Brookboy 12:03 PM  

Had a devil of a time getting started, but when I finally got going I enjoyed the puzzle. It was like I wasn't on Jeff's wavelength at first, but then it kicked in.

I do the print version of t he puzzle, so I had to come here to find that 12D was HUP and not HUt. I didn't notice that 23A was PAtAYA until I corrected 12D. Duh.

Thank you, Mr. Chen, for an enjoyable solving experience. It took me a while to glom onto the nifty theme, but once I did it helped a lot. With some clues it made the solution easier, but for 63D I couldn't get the phrase "Do as I say, not as I do..." out of my mind at first.

Anyway, it's a beautiful spring day here in Brooklyn, so enough writing. Time to enjoy the wonders of Prospect Park.

nick 12:18 PM  

Jeff Chen is always a mystery to me and with all the "for short" and "eg." clues today, the puzzle was/is opaque. Not at all surprised to check the comments here and find that what for me is challenging -- I'm still clawing my way through -- everyone else found easy.

Back to the grid. Le sigh.

Andrew Heinegg 12:23 PM  

Amen.

Steve J 12:30 PM  

@Bob & @Loren: The changes in the turning point jumped out at me because I, coincidentally, solved the five answers where the first letter of the final word is the last letter going down before I reached one that didn't follow that pattern. So it struck me as I was solving that the pattern had been broken. If I'd solved things in a different order, I probably wouldn't have even noticed.

It's a minor nit. It's still a very well-done theme.

@'mericans: Technically, no, it shouldn't be RPMs. RPM = revolutions per minute. The plural is built in to the initialism. That said, it's common for people to say RPMs (just like with RBIs in baseball, where that ending S is also technically superfluous).

@NCA President: I noticed the same thing with OVEN's clue. I read it as if there was an implied "for" at the end. It's still clunky, and a case of trying too hard to be cute, in my opinion. Again, a minor nit for me in a very good puzzle overall.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

After looking at your husband's picture, did Dr. Brave pay you to take him back?

Andrew Heinegg 12:38 PM  

RP, as master of all this, can you not remove this dreck or is to do so not worth your time and trouble? These people have to be absolute morons to think that this blog is good phishing place anyway.

Andrew Heinegg 12:39 PM  

RP, as master of all this, can you not remove this dreck or is to do so not worth your time and trouble? These people have to be absolute morons to think that this blog is good phishing place anyway.

Casco Kid 1:36 PM  

First non-DNF in quite a while. 1:52, or a medium Sunday here. I got the trick only after an hour, and only after all the theme rebuses were going nowhere, and only after I bothered to look for the revealer clue, and only after, not finding the revealer clue, I bothered to look at the title of the puzzle. DOH!

Very nice, fun ChenPuz. As expected, ACUTABOVE the usual trickery. Good solving experience.

@Andrew Rex doesn't read the comments and hasn't for some time. Even when prompted for a pretty good reason (I tried once) he flatly refused. We're on our own.

Masked and Anonymo8Us 1:37 PM  

This big guy had me at GUTBOMBS.

thUmbsUp on just bein able to dream up a set of themers this good. Especially enjoyed the TEAPARTY TRAP.
har

That said, I believe I enjoyed the Chen 4 May 2011 NYTPuz even more, which had a fairly similar "throw er in reverse" theme. U will probably understand why, when U lay eyes on the grid design.

@BobK: I believe the M&A Ahar Moments, Inc. syndicate did once publish a runtpuz where all the entries reversed direction backwards a bit. It was called "Bouncers". It was tougher than snot, since every day-um entry was a themer. [See runtpuz.org.]

M&A

p.s. Primo set of bullets today... on the spellcaster comment.

** gruntz **

mathguy 2:00 PM  

@Indira Ghandi: Thanks, I read "raga" as "reggae."

ralph 2:36 PM  

JC -- loved your creativity. RUDOLPH clue was best, ICECAN
OE was too weird.

JenCT 2:36 PM  

@Andrew Heinegg: I agree, this blog is definitely not the place to go phishing for women desperately wanting their ex-husbands back. The spam bots probably hit as many random blogs as they possibly can, hoping they'll get some "hits."

PenPal 2:41 PM  

NW corner just about did me in. Otherwise, great Sunday. Thanks, Jeff!

ralph 2:48 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hartley70 5:09 PM  

The "Base 10" clue drove me mad and I stared at it an extra 10 minutes after I had finished everything else. TOES! Who woulda thunk it? Aside from that delay the rest of the puzzle was finished in exactly my usual Sunday time, so I'd give it my average difficulty, not easy. I've been doing this outside as I listen to the peepers. No shortage of frogs this year in CT! What a racket! But it's wonderful to know that Spring is finally here.

Amanda Powers 6:38 PM  

This drove me crazy, so I'm glad I'm not the only one.

F.O.G. 8:11 PM  

@mericans in Paris...

Just read your most recent installment... I laughed out loud (i.e., LOLed to you X-Gens) several times... my favorite snippet:

"I undid the latch AND opened the door a crack. Just as I thought: it was Detective Lieutenant KIRK SAJAK of the Detroit Police -- also known as Captain CRUNCH for his treatment of suspects. Not the SANEST dick on the force, by any means. EYES line an OX, and a head full conspiracy theories.

I ASKed him IN. "Long time, NO-NO RESEE. What AILS you?"

"Cut the crap, Esquare. You know why I'm here."

"Honestly, I don't." SAJAK was still standing. I looked him straight in the FOVEA. "Take a seat. I INSIST." He lowered his AMASS into my LOP-sided beanbag chair.

"We know you've been seeing Maria Acropolis. Our informants tell us she may know somebody who knows somebody who knows the whereabouts of the EDO brothers."

I drew a MEL BLANK. "The who?"

"No, not THEM. They were part of the British Invasion. I'm talking about LOUIE, LOUIE, and LEWIS. Wanted for terrorism ... ."

"Wait, there ARE two brothers both named LOUIE?!"

"Identical twins. Their parents really liked that song. You know, the one with the refrain that goes 'yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah'."

"The only song I know that goes ' yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah' is 'She Loves You', by the Beatles.

"That song has 'yeahs' only in groups of three, four, AND seven. No fives."

Clever. Very clever.

TimJim 8:58 PM  

Delightful! Thanks, Jeff. Btw, today's variety puzzle, puns & anagrams, is unusually easy, so a good entree for newbies.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

I'm glad no Googling was required, all the proper nouns and obscurities filled themselves in as they should. But all round, "joyless" as Rex put it. Just too easy for a Sunday. Loaded with gimmees that rendered it no challenge whatsoever. A good Sunday puzzle for Newsday or some magazine, but not deserving of being a NYT Sunday puzzle.

Leapfinger 9:46 AM  

Finally got a round tuit at the end of a loo-o-ong and stormy day. What a wonderful ending that was! I think I caught on quickly on account of my lifelong bad habit of using dog-ears to mark my place in books. JChen's selection was so clever, almost I CHOKED!Wonder how many people thought 2D was WISH YOU WEE HER? It was great fun to double down with and take it on the Chen. No variation that I saw, just cool phrases that end in a 7-letter palindrome, ABCDCBA (MATHTAM or OATHTAO, if you add mirror symmetry). Variation in placement of word breaks is entirely secondary, thinks I.

Me too on tilts/LISTS and Eno/ONO (nuff said, there!). For unknown reasons, my uniforms started out SERGE; maybe cuz their wearers are 'protectors', who knows? Agree with the @NCAPrez contingent that the RHINO MITTS required a permissive attitude, but they weren't too BRAYSin'. Liked seeing ANTIOCH (sometimes I'm pro-OCH) and thought ACEIT is similar to but better than deCEIT. Wonder why the repeat -- to reCEIpT -- needs that 'p' thrown in...

@EllenS, thanks for your exposition on ICECANOE. As one who grew up in Montreal yet was totally ignorant of the subject, I had to have more info, and feel better now; it was not that big a deal when I was there.

HIE, @Alias! I SAW YER SPRATs were back! (I had a responding poem for you, but have temporarily ms-laid it). Was pleased [but not surprised] to see you remembered my H.A.H. folder. Having old ALGER Hiss crop up two days running did tickle me, and having the clue cite Horatio just frosted my cake. Can this possibly be coincidental? It was, however, not the first thing I saw, since the SE was my last stop. But Thanks for remembering!!

@Maruchka, great minds! I thought the d'ECOTAGE is a great look for Sophia Loren... even now. [btw, for a couple of weeks, it's been the faux Evil; check the Google bio. The real ED is apparently boycotting les faux fous.)

SUSHI ASPIC? Why would shi?

A most enjoyable Sunday, Jeff.
Waiting for a deux OEUVRE!

Hugh 1:49 PM  

DNF but had fun. Did not start until Sunday night as I left the Mag on the coffee table while on a trip to Ithaca, NY to check out colleges (I really could have used this puzzle - parents on campus do not get much attention...)

Got the theme quickly but took me longer than usual to get the the theme answers down. On my first run of the grid, I think I only had ALOU and OWED!

Started to get the SE and DOEXACTLYASISAY fell pretty quickly. Then came WISHYOUWEREHERE.

I found the fill challenging (the NE for me was brutal - had virtually nothing for the longest time)
Even so, very little to make me groan - agree that cluing for RHINO and OVEN were bit over the top. I like a good mis-direct, but these border on misleading... ECOTAGE and ICECANOE were not fun but they were fair. Just cuz I never heard of them doesn't make them bad fill.

Was slow a bit in the NW as I had AMIGA and not CHICA like someone else - also had EMO - ONO is a bit of a stretch for "Musician".

Spelled NENA wrong (used an "i") so took me a LONG time to get POPEYE - that one vowel did me in!

A Lot to like:
RUDOLPH
NOTIPS (also had NOKIDS for a long time - wishful thinking after spending 8 total hours in the car with a teenager)
FARMBOY
TOES (liked the cluing)
GOTOTOWN

I thought very good theme and construction - clever stuff.

Hope everyone has a great week! Does anyone else blog the Sunday this late in the game?? Someone tell me! :o)

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

Ok puzzle. Got the theme quickly except for NOW WHERE WAS I stuck me for a bit. Also could not get PAYTV but kept thinking payee like in online banking. Had TILTS before LISTS and ICE CANOE stunk. Also stayed with AMIGA over CHICA which does not make sense to real Spanish speakers. Never heatd of UTNE and BLOOP was a stretch because you can have a bloop single. Never heard of a GUTBOMB and I still dont understand why local is PUB. I loved wearing CHINOS in the 70's. Never realized NPR was so old. Better than last week but still not that interesting.

From the Outer Provinces 4:37 PM  

@Hugh - Not exactly sure about the meaning of your question, but all of Rex's much-loved syndi-solvers will be blogging the 4/12 puzzle on 4/19 or later.

And of the "regular" solvers, anyone who signs up for follow-up comments will see your post automatically.

Hugh 6:14 PM  

Thank you The Outer Provinces! I sometimes feel lonely putting my comments in for Sunday on a Monday :o)

Leapfinger has been there with me as well! :o) Always nice to know that someone is listening! :o)

I look forward to sharing stuff with all the brilliant bloggers all week!

Until Sunday,

Hugh

Colby 10:07 PM  

Again, I don't understand how X-O-X is a losing line in tic-tac-toe. Would be a cat's game. Winning/losing requires a string of 3-letters.

How I Got My Ex Husband Back 12:05 AM  


Hello everyone, My name is Morgan Jackson, a citizen of UK, am 42 years of age..we got married for more than 11 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Brave for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he Dr Brave casted on him that make him come back to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Brave for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact Dr Brave ,if you need his help you can contact him through his private mail: bravespellcaster@gmail.com or you can contact him through his website http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

Anonymous 5:23 PM  


This is Dr KPELEDE the witch doctor from nigeria, I am a strong powerful witch doctor who helps people, I and my son called oyu are very serious to help those that has been scam and those that seek help in this wonderful world. So today Have you ever think of bringing back your ex or husband back you immediately. Have it ever occur to you that DR KPELEDE TEMPLE is the best and powerful spiritualist who can help you bring your relationship back to a standard view, if actually you so much believe on
bringing back your husband or lover, please you are advice to get back to the only helper and solution to your needs at my temple email now with your problem at kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com I am
helping to fixed problems on:

1. Getting your lover or husband back.
2. Spiritual bulletproof
3. Training
4. Money spell
5. Long life spell.
6. Prosperity spell
7. Protection spell
8. Get a job spell.
9. Becoming a manager spell.
10. Get a huge loan without paying any
fee spell.
11. Getting your scam money back.
12. Child spell
13. Pregnancy spell
14. Freedom spell
15. Love spell
16, vanishing spell.
17. Invisible human spell.
18. Success or pass spell.
19. Marriage spell
20. Avenging spell
21. Popularity spell
22. Killing spell
23. Cancer spell
24. Supernatural power spell.
25. Madness spell
26. Free house loan spell.
27. Production spell of films and movie.
28. Hiv/aids spell
29. Tuberculosis spell
30. Loose weight and body spell contact
me of any of these today at:

Kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com welcome I
await your urgent response.
( Kpeledesolutiontemple@gmail.com ).

steveo 10:08 PM  

Pretty much a given, any day of the week. :)

JenCT 11:44 AM  

Ooh, if only I had an ex-husband I wanted to get back, or any malady or misfortune anyone could ever think of....

How I Got My Ex Husband Back 1:41 AM  


Hello Everyone,This is How I Get My Husband Back With The Help Of Dr Brave -My name is Morgan Jackson, a citizen of UK , am 42 years of age..we got married for more than 11 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Brave for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he Dr Brave casted on him that make him come back to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Brave for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact Dr Brave ,if you need his help you can contact him through his private mail: bravespellcaster@gmail.com or you can contact him through his website http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ and you can also reach Dr Brave through his mobile number +2348072370762 and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

How I Got My Ex Husband Back 1:42 AM  


Hello Everyone,This is How I Get My Husband Back With The Help Of Dr Brave -My name is Morgan Jackson, a citizen of UK , am 42 years of age..we got married for more than 11 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Brave for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he Dr Brave casted on him that make him come back to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Brave for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact Dr Brave ,if you need his help you can contact him through his private mail: bravespellcaster@gmail.com or you can contact him through his website http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ and you can also reach Dr Brave through his mobile number +2348072370762 and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

Vicki's Vintiques 11:24 AM  

Very late post, but just wanted to say this was my 2nd puzzle completion-ever.
Smiling :-)

Sarah Jacoby 2:03 AM  

My name is Sarah Jacoby from USA, Three weeks ago I and my boyfriend had a conflict, so with that he broke up with me saying he no longer wanted to associate with me anymore, I never knew he was interested in working out his marriage with another girl, I was helpless because I loved him so much more than myself, after begging and pleading with him I realized it was out of my hands, he really was leaving me, I could not stay without him, I tried to figure things out with him but he is not listening me, he told me that he is no longer interested that I should look for someone else, I tried all my best but things were not working out, so I had no choice than to look around for help, I went into search of spell caster to help me bring him back to me with the help of spell and after searching I actually finalize to work with (maduraitemple@yahoo.com) in regards of my lover. after 3 days as Dr Madurai told that my lover will return. my lover returned in surprising way, I was chocked and was so happy I can't say how much I'm grateful, My lover not only came back to me, but has left his other girl and now has engaged me, we are getting married next month, I don't know what I would have done without this spell caster you can contact (maduraitemple@yahoo.com) him today . is spell is for a better life

'mericans in Paris 10:17 AM  

The further adventures of Matt "Deadeyes" Esquare, Private Detective

I sat at my desk for a while, pondering what Kirk Sajak had told me. Was he in LALA LAND, or was there really something to it? Tahitian-Canadian terrorists?! What'd they do, sneak into the country on an ICE CANOE?

I felt restless, so grabbed my hat and headed out the door. Truth be told, I was a bit worried about Maria.

When I arrived at her place, something didn't feel right. I rang the doorbell several times, but nobody answered. After a few seconds I tried turned knob. The door was unlocked, so I let myself in.

A pile of unread mail lay on the floor. Mostly bills and promotional flyers. Some PAY TV company was offering a month's free trial: TRY IT OUT! I picked up a post card from French Polynesia. It was addressed to Maria, but with no clue as to who sent it. "WISH YOU WERE HERE" was all it said.

A woman's voice gave me a start. "DO EXACTLY AS I SAY. Now put your hands up, slowly." I did as she said. "Turn around, nice and easy." I turned to face her. The woman bore an uncanny resemblance to Maria, but appeared to be several years her junior.

"Who are you?" we both asked in unison. She was holding a gun, so I answered first. "Matt Esquare, Private Detective. I'm a friend of Maria's."

"Yes, she's mentioned you. I'm her sister, ATHENA." She was still pointing the gun at me, though.

All of a sudden there was a loud bang. "POW!" I ducked instinctively, but ATHENA didn't budged. "Oh, don't mind her", she said. "That's just Maria's cat, NENA. She likes to pop balloons." ATHENA put her gun in her purse as the cat walked in, announcing its presence with a MEOW.

"So, what are you doing here?", she asked, arms folded.

"I was concerned about Maria's safety", I said. "Hadn't heard from her in several days. A copper told me some crazy story about how she might be mixed up with some terrorists. When I got here the door was OPEN, so I let myself in."

At the mention of terrorists, ATHENA's face paled. "It's not safe to talk here", she said. Meet me at the corner of Mack Avenue and CHINE Street at 1:00. There's a restaurant there, next door to the OPERA.

(Continued below.)

'mericans in Paris 10:22 AM  

I arrived at the restaurant a few minutes late. It looked to be a former haberdashery. Its heyday was probably when zoot suits were all the rage. A sign in one of the big picture windows announced NO TIPS.

The interior decor SHOUTed trendy. The walls were draped in neo-hippie tie-dyes. RAGA music was issuing softly from discretely placed Bose speakers. In one booth I noticed a smartly-dressed dude checking his smart phone. His SEAT MATE was staring into space.

ATHENA was already sitting in one of the corner booths, perusing the menu. "What's with the restaurant name?", I asked as I approached. "TAKES THE TOPS. Is the owner some sort of stern kindergarten teacher in her spare time?"

"His spare time. No, it's an inside joke. There was limited room on the sign, so you have to read it backwards after you get to the end: TAKES THE TOP SPOT."

"Shouldn't it be TAKES THE TOP SPOT EHT SEKAT?"

"Look, I don't have much time. Let's order."

The restaurant seemed to specialize in GUT BOMBS: poached ALOE vera, OVEN-BAKED adzuki beans with SPEC, and Beety BLOOP. The latter appeared to be some sort of thick borscht.

I noticed something fishy. "Look at this item: LAO SUSHI. The last time I checked, LAOs was land-locked."

The waiter approached our table. "Hi! My name is ENO, and I'm your waiter for this afternoon. Could I interest you in one of our specials?"

"Could you tell us about the RHETT CABAGE?", ATHENA asked.

"After a dish of that, frankly my dear you won't give a damn. Let me put it this way: it's good for your COLONS."

I CHOKED. "Lucky for him that the restaurant has a NO-TIPping policy; I wouldn't want to disappoint", I muttered out the side of my mouth.

"By the way, you have a typo in your menu. Shouldn't it be escarole, not ESCROW salad?"

"No, that's intentional", the waiter sighed. Obviously I wasn't the first to notice the discrepancy. "We set the lettuce aside until it starts to DECAY." He shrugged. "It's an acquired taste."

"I'll bet. I'll have the spaghetti CON PEPE and a GLUTEN-FREE BEER", I told him, snapping the menu shut. "And the lady here will have ... ." I turned towards her.

"Bring me the PAPAYA SEEDS ASP ... ASP .... achoooo!" ATHENA looked dazed for a moment and then dabbed at her nose with a napkin. "Sorry. NOW WHERE WERE WE? Oh yes, ASPIC. And some ARAB bread, please."

"How about something to drink. An ACAI smoothie, perhaps?"

"No, water will be fine."

Over lunch, ATHENA told me that Maria had gone to ground for a spell, but that she was all right. Other than that, she was spare with the specifics. So for most of the meal we just chatted idly.

When the time came to pay the bill I decided to order a hot stimulant for the road. "Could you make me a LATTE to go, please?"

"Certainly." As he was about to hand me the drink, the waiter asked, "Shall I put a LID on it?"

"Yes, and you would be doing us all a favor." I'm not sure he caught the irony.

spacecraft 11:55 AM  

Wish all these SPELLs would DRY up! Attention spell-bloggers: you need to find DUMB people! The bloggers on this site are, if you haven't figured this out yet, ANYTHING but dumb. As Penelope said: "Go away, Louie! Nobody wants to buy your drugs here."

Rant over. The main feature of today's offering is the strong cluing. It's REPLETE with examples: "Team leader" for RUDOLPH? "Cable, e.g." for PAYTV? "Bright spot?" (at least here we get the "?") for DOGSTAR? All true enough, but yikes! I wouldn't call these easy--or even easy-medium--to arrive at.

Still, once the format is found, the themers become fairly easy to lay down--and up! I would rate it overall medium...maybe it LISTS a bit toward med-chall.

Something is vaguely disturbing about the recent recurrence of "IT" in the middle of a phrase, to wit: ACEDIT, TRYITOUT. Seems as though the clue has to take the trouble to refer to the "IT" thing, making the whole deal awkward-feeling.

Last letter was the N at CON/TONE. Never heard of that soap, and "Drawback" for CON is a little out there, but certainly fair. But the biggest blemish on this generally solid grid is the anagram clue for RAGA. To quote ESPN: "C'mon, man!" B+.

Burma Shave 2:02 PM  

DRYSPELL? NAY!

ONASCALEFROMONETOTEN
My CHICA TYRA’s GRADEA hot.
IMHIP to her ROMANCE with other men,
she said she always TAKESTHETOPSPOT.

This FARMBOY OWED a lot to her,
she’d DOEXACTLYASISAY,
like “TRYITOUT here on this fur!”
and we’d GOTOTOWN that way.

--- EDGAR S RUDOLPH

BS2 2:13 PM  

I AXED myself should I use REACHESLEGALAGE in that verse. Answer was NAY.

rondo 2:24 PM  

This puz seemed to take a long time, can’t say if it’s me today or the puz.
Maybe I’m sufferin’ from EVAPE-RON?

Also waitin’ for the day that OLE gets clued “Sven pal”. Or maybe the OLE and Sven (and/or LENA) jokes are too parochial?

Learnin’ a lot about EBAY thru xwords lately. Seems like they’ve got their fingers in a lot of stuff. I only just make the occasional purchase, so I knew PayPal. Not the other stuff.

No bending or cramming in today’s puz, so I won’t complain. Liked it better than middlin’ ONASCALEFROMONETOTEN. Sixish.

rain forest 2:59 PM  

A near perfect Sunday, in my opinion. I say "near" perfect only because I don't have the cred to actually know what "perfect" is. Apparently there are some nit-pickers who found imperfection, but I saw none, zilch, nada.

Cute and clever theme, excellent clueing, nice blend of easy and crunchy stuff, whatever "crunchy" means.

@Spacey - Agra: city in India. RAGA: type of song/tune played in India. They anagram each other. "Fittingly". Cute. You are such a hard grader. I give it A.
32905 ouch.


Anonymous 5:46 PM  

Maybe I'm missing something and this just happened to my syndicated puzzle, but the puzzle has a 6 across, but I have no clue for 6 across, just 8 across.

just didn't even start.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

anonymous again. just looked at the grid in Rex's illustration compared to the grid in my paper. They are not the same; no wonder it makes no sense to me. Wrong grid, correct clues.

Anonymous 5:56 PM  

anonymous again. LOL. they published the answers to this puzzle as the answers to the 0405 puzzle and put the 0405 puzzle grid as the fill-in.

baba love 10:19 AM  


!!! Good New Today That My Wife Is Back All Thank To Dr.OZIAS !!!

My Name is kelly lisa. I will love to share my testimony to all the people in the love site cos i never thought i will have my girlfriend back and she means so much to me..The girl i want to get marry to left me 4 weeks to our weeding for another man..,When i called her she never picked my calls,She deleted me on her Facebook and she changed her Facebook status from married to Single...when i went to her place of work she told her boss she never want to see me..i lost my job as a result of this cos i cant get myself anymore,my life was upside down and everything did not go smooth with my life...I tried all i could do to have her back to all did not work out until i met a Man when i Travel to Africa to execute some business have been developing some years back..I told him my problem and all have passed through in getting her back and how i lost my job...he told me he gonna help me...i don't believe that in the first place.but he swore he will help me out and he told me the reason why my girlfriend left me and also told me some hidden secrets.i was amazed when i heard that from him..he said he will cast a spell for me and i will see the results in the next couple of days..then i travel back to US the following day and i called him when i got home and he said he's busy casting those spells and he has bought all the materials needed for the spells,he said am gonna see positive results in the next 2 days that is Thursday...My girlfriend called me at exactly 12:35pm on Thursday and apologies for all she had done ..she said,she never knew what she's doing and her sudden behavior was not intentional and she promised not to do that again.it was like am dreaming when i heard that from her and when we ended the call,i called the man and told him my wife called and he said i haven't seen anything yet... he said i will also get my job back in 2 days time..and when its Sunday,they called me at my place of work that i should resume working on Monday and they gonna compensate me for the time limit have spent at home without working..My life is back into shape,i have my girlfriend back and we are happily married now with kids and i have my job back too,This man is really powerful..if we have up to 20 people like him in the world,the world would have been a better place..he has also helped many of my friends to solve many problems and they are all happy now..Am posting this to the forum for anybody that is interested in meeting the man for help.you can mail him on this e-mail; dr.oziasspellcaster@hotmail.com i cant give out his number cos he told me he don't want to be disturbed by many people across the world..he said his email is okay

Mercy brown 5:56 PM  

I’m Mercy brown by name I have a few testimony to share with you all about myself, I was in a relationship with this guy and for 3years and we were about getting married when we both have misunderstanding with each other and he ask me for a divorce and we both agreed and after 4months I head that he was having an affair with one of my closest friend and I was very upset and worried so a friend of my advice me and told me if I still love my ex and if I really want to have him back so I told her yes, and she ask me to contact Dr. Madurai the spell caster and I did although I never believe on spell so he gave me something when he was casting the spell and ask me to say my wishes on it and after the casting of the spell a receive a phone call from my ex and was ask me at which I did and now we are back together again I’m so happy and I wish not to ever have this mistake again in my life. I will also advice anyone with this kind of issue to contact him for help he is really nice on phone and always there to answer you question giving you the good advice that you need. his email is maduraitemple@yahoo.com

KILL LI 11:58 PM  

During my search on GOOGLE for help to get my ex lover whom will got divorced back, i came across this wonderful man called DR.AGBAZARA who did a nice job by helping me to get my divorced husband back within 48hours.. I never believe that such things like this can be possible but now i am a living testimony to it because AGBAZARA TEMPLE actually brought my lover back , If you are still doubting why not contact DR.AGBAZARA TEMPLE on email : (agbazara@gmail.com) or him on 2348104102662, Then i promise you that after 48hours you will have reasons to celebrate like me

CAITA 11:15 AM  

Me & my boyfriend was planning to get married last month, just last week we had some argument that made him get angry on me just because of the argument, he said we will not be married again and the next day he left me and we broke up. I still loved him and I wanted him to marry me, for me to get him back i had no choice than to contacted dr.ehimenspelltemple@hotmail.com to help me and he helped me to bring my lover back to me so we can continue our plan to be married. he came back after 3 days

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP