Late media journalist David / SUN 5-17-15 / Iconic figure in Warhol work / Cubemeister Rubik / Egg-shaped tomato / Post-deluge sight / Many old monitor in brief / City in 1965 headlines

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Very, very easy


THEME: "To-Do List (Abridged)" — theme answers are clued as to-do lists, wherein the terms overlap, i.e. the noun at the the end of the first item becomes the verb at the beginning of the second.

Theme answers:
  • WIND A WATCH A PLAY A PRANK (23A: Set time / Go to theater / Engage in tomfoolery) [i.e. wind a watch / watch a play / play a prank]
  •  THUMB A RIDE A WAVE A FLAG (33A: Hitchhike / Surf / Show patriotism)
  • DO A FLIP A COIN A PHRASE (54A: Somersault / Start football game / Invent some language) 
  • RUN A LIGHT A FIRE A SHOT (75A: Not stop at intersection / Warm up / Use rifle)
  • MAKE A CATCH A BUS A TABLE (89A: Play baseball / Take public transportation downtown / Clean up after diners leave)
  • FILE A RETURN A BOOK A TRIP (108A: Finish taxes / Visit library / Plan vacation) 
Word of the Day: ANDREA del Sarto (92D: Renaissance artist ___ del Sarto) —
Andrea del Sarto (Italian: [anˈdrɛːa del ˈsarto]; 1486–1530) was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori ("without errors"), his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. (wikipedia)
• • •

I just watched a movie called "Heart Beat" (1980), starring Sissy Spacek, Nick Nolte, and John Heard. It was about the relationships among Jack Kerouac and Neal and Carolyn Cassady in the '50s and '60s, mostly before On the Road was published. The movie's not readily available, but you can rent it on Amazon, so that's what I did. It's a weird little movie with big stars. I've never read Kerouac or any of the so-called beats, despite having a "Beat Generation" movie poster on my living room wall. I bought that poster on eBay in the late '90s, back when people still used dial-up, so the timing of the last-minute bidding always felt very precarious. I was going through a pretty heavy Mamie Van Doren phase, and I was spending a lot of money I didn't have on all manner of mid-century vintage crap—mostly paperback books with lurid covers (3,000 or so of which sit just to my left here in my home office). So late-grad school depression + vintage culture obsession + Mamie fandom led me to this poster—and it really is beautiful.


I like how the main painted figure at the center is either one face (looking at you) or two faces (with the nearer one in profile) depending on how you choose to look at it. If it's two faces, it's a white guy and a black guy. The mouth becomes a cigarette ("tea") in profile. And then it's got the word "Beatniks" on it, and that's Louis Armstrong way up top there, and then of course Mamie herself, in some Mondrian-inspired wrap. Amazing. But, as I say, my first-hand experience with actual "beat" writing is nil. I know SAL Paradise from crosswords. I once had a student who wrote a letter to Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Light Bookstore as part of her final project (He wrote back—a postcard—telling her he couldn't possibly answer all of her questions; I told her that was a Win). Why am I telling you all this? Because I'd rather do anything than talk about this puzzle. Seriously, anything. I don't do drugs, but if you had some, I'd sooner do them than talk about this puzzle.


Briefly: the theme is joyless and repetitive and phenomenally easy to pick up. If you really tried, you could probably get most of the theme answers without filling in a single cross (once you figured out the gimmick, that is). There is nothing to recommend this puzzle except easiness—except that it will certainly make some people who routinely struggle to finish Sundays feel like *****ing geniuses for once. And that's valid. Some Sundays should be Easy. But Easy doesn't have to mean lifeless. It really doesn't. If I weren't Rex Parker (i.e. if I didn't have to write ... this), I would not have bothered finishing this one. The good news (the only good news) was that I lost just 9 minutes of my life. But I've spent at least three times that writing this post. Well, at least 2/3 of it was spent writing about things I cared about. KARENS and MARCS of the world! Demand better puzzles. You deserve them.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]

93 comments:

JFC 12:09 AM  

@Rex:

1. We know you never have anything nice to say about Joe Krozel puzzles.

2. We know Joe Krozel never reads this Blog.

3. I forgot the third point.

4. Notwithstanding all of that, it was a very entertaining commentary and I can't disagree even though I might might said it differently.

JFC

Zeke 12:12 AM  

Absolutely friggin brilliant.

Zeke 12:13 AM  

Oh, I forgot. I tried to read The Dharma Bums recently. You missed nothing.

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

What a clever and entertaining writeup! This blog deserves syndication.
Thanks for the laughs.

Whirred Whacks 12:31 AM  

I liked this puzzle -- it was a nice change from the recent Sunday clunkers (William Carlos Williams anyone?)

The theme was fun and breezy (the theme answers practically filled themselves in -- nothing wrong with that at all).

Nice shout-out to the late David CARR (who was one of the few reasons to read the NYT paper). I miss him.

What I found most amazing in @Rex's write-up/rant was his admission that he had never read any Kerouac or the other Beats. Surprising considering Rex is an English Dept. lecturer. Next, he's going to say he's read only two Shakespeare plays.

I read "On the Road" in high school in the mid-60s. It inspired me to hitchhike (THUMB A RIDE). I hitchhiked over 30,000 miles from 1965-73 (it was a different era then).

Anonymous 12:37 AM  

I don't see the connection between "wind a watch" and "set time". Winding a watch tightens the spring so it'll keep running. Setting the time on a watch is a different operation.

Ellen S 1:48 AM  

@anon 12:37 - I think this is an example of "Evan's Heuristic' which I always debase as being the principle that if the answer is vaguely related to the clue, and it fits, it's probably correct.

I'm just here to report that it took me two full days to figure out the theme of Thursday's puzzle, but I'm all caught up now, thanks to this one being so easy.

paulsfo 2:02 AM  

Whirred Whacks: I agree that Rex's lack of knowledge often seems astounding in a professor, especially in this case. BTW, I bow to you, having only hitch-hitched 9,000 miles, myself. ;)

Liked the clue for ABRA, and learned that WIVE can be a verb (transitive OR intransitive, btw). But yeah, very easy.

William Guerra 2:14 AM  

Closest I've ever come to completing a Sunday puzzle. 2 hours (while watching SNL) and 3 wrong squares.

jae 2:27 AM  

Yes, a very easy Sun.  Rex is right about the theme answers.  The notion that an English Prof. should be well versed in pretty much everything makes as much sense a going to an ENT for a colonoscopy. 

Liked it a tad more than Rex did. 

Charles Flaster 2:32 AM  

Same as Rex but did enjoy it. Easy theme --so what.
CrosswordEASE-- DEY, AERIE and TIA.
42 across-- LESS SO=?
Enjoyed cluing for BATBOY, SALE, MARINE CORPS and ABRA.
Thanks JK

Mark Trevor Smith 2:36 AM  

Petruchio:
"I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily, then happily in Padua"

The Taming of the Shrew (I, ii, 75-76)

chefwen 3:23 AM  

It was an easy sunday,which I was ready for after last week. Maybe a little too easy, but I really enjoyed it. After figuring out the trickery, it was just fun and games.

r.alphbunker 4:54 AM  

Rex Parker had to do some chores before he wrote the blog tonight. His abridged todo list was:

do a wash a pan a puzzle.

I enjoyed the puzzle. It was fun going from having no idea what the theme answers were to writing them in with only a couple of letters visible. It made me feel like a *****ing genius.

Here is a list of words that are both nouns and verbs:
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/wordlist/nounandverb.shtml

Z 6:50 AM  

I'm sure I've mentioned this here before, but Joe Jackson did a great show at the Michigan Theater (years ago now) with opening acts Ethel and Todd Rundgren. Rundgren mailed it in, so bad that Joe Jackson pre-apologized for his performance. Nevertheless, the mass encore performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, with lead viola in place of the lead guitar and Joe Jackson on vocals, was the single best song performance I've ever seen.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:51 AM  

Yup, super easy.

But I did manage a one-letter write-over, at 51 D, one of my "I always get that wrong"s, EPSOMS before EPSONS -- and I have an Epson printer/scanner sitting on the desk in front of me!

Lewis 6:55 AM  

I like that PADS is so close to ABRA. It felt like it almost could go into one of the theme answers.

@ralph -- "doawashapanapuzzle": good one!

I loved the playfulness of the theme; it is a terrific theme idea. The grid is clean overall, and there was some good cluing (STEM, ODDS, MARINECORPS, CRIMESCENE, RAIN), including the best clue I've ever seen for EEL (almost made it palatable, Ellen?). But I agree with Rex. It was too easy for a Sunday. If Joe/Will had ratcheted up the cluing for the non-theme answers, this would have been an absolute delight rather than an easy breezy.

At first for the clue "Biblical queendom" I saw "Biblical queerdom", and I thought about putting in "Sodom" (it fit!), but then my vision cleared up. CITY STREET -- is this a bit green paintish? I do love the look of LESSSO.

The playful spirit made this not a waste of time, just a pleasant use of less time than usual.

Lewis 7:23 AM  

TILTAWHIRLAGIGABYTE

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

Thank you for your commentary and for the link to Joe Jackson's music. Jackson's "Beat Crazy" is, in part, a mockery of those who delight in misunderstanding youth culture and artistic revolt. I hope your including it here is a clue that you:ve actually read Allen Ginsberg. If not this easy Sunday puzzle provides time to read his poetry; appreciate the bravery, heart and wit of his writing; and meditate on the generous and beautiful life he shared with us.

Jim Walker 7:36 AM  

I am going to rent the movie OFL mentioned to see how Hollywood treated Carolyn Cassady. She was living in Saratoga CA in the early 60's and worked as the costume designer / dresser for the plays at Santa Clara U. One of the sweetest, most generous people I ever met. She died just last year.

Oh, the puzzle: inoffensive.

chefbea 7:42 AM  

I loved the puzzle!!! I too thought it was very easy and finished it in record time.

Now I have to cater a party..think we'll have rotini with a sauce made of roma tomatoes. Of course Tia Maria after dinner.

Casco Kid 7:54 AM  

Easy medium. 1:10. no googles. 2 errors. Unfindable, so I had to capitulated. ISAAc/ARc. I don't know Chris ISAAK, but I know an ARK from an ARc. Dope slap. SETSup before SETSIN, with a cynical chuckle about yesterday's TAKEin for TAKEUP.

Rye and others was BoozeS, BlEnDS, and finally BREADS. Warhol image was cAn before MAO. There were lots of little misdirects, and I fell for about half of them. Still, the conceit was easy to decipher and fun to work out. Nouns as verbs. Why not! Good one, Joe Krozel.

Glimmerglass 7:57 AM  

Welcome back, Rex. Where have you been? And who was that wimp pretending to write your blog? Flush that Prozac down the loo and tell us what you really think.

Hartley70 8:01 AM  

I agree that the Sunday puzzle should be easy occasionally. That's how you hook the newbies and keep'em coming back for more.

In the easy category, this was a pleasant bit of fluff that still nailed me with the G in GEE because I'd put an s in septa. Perfection is a goal not easily attained.

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

Rex has become an old fuddy-duddy. He is very hard to please.

NCA President 8:25 AM  

Definitely easy. Joe K notes at xword that this theme is his "preferred" kind of theme over rebuses and/or drop-a-letter types. Jeff C also thought the theme was "innovative." I knew the minute I read that that a) there is no such thing as innovation in an NYT puzzle after all these years, and that b) Rex was going to point that out.

I do agree with Mr. Chen that the clues should've been harder.

Otherwise, it is what it is. Which is to say you can't really make much more out of it than what it appears to be on the surface. In other words, WYSIWYG.

demit 8:41 AM  

Whirred whacks @ 12:31 am—

You mean the SO-CALLED Beats. Wait a minute, lower-case beats. You didn't preserve the original disdain.

RnRGhost57 8:56 AM  

Ginsberg, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti, Snyder, Burroughs . . . A college English instructor who never read any of them?

Un . . . ****ing . . . believable. But by golly he's got a vintage Mamie Van Doren movie poster. And I've got an original 1976 Big Red Machine shot glass.

Mohair Sam 9:00 AM  

Had ROMA tomatoes mixed in a ROTINI pasta salad last night (really did) so I enjoyed this easy-peasy Sunday more than most. But I still loved @Rex's commentary.

Don't mind the occasional easy Sunday, just wished Will had published this one on Memorial Day when most of us have less time to kill.

Kerouac's "On the Road" makes my short list of unfinished books. Tried a few other "Beat" writers and poets with the same result. But did finish Tom Wolfe's "Electric Kool-aid Acid Test" - so I figure my '60s CREDs are in line.

Ludyjynn 9:33 AM  

So what are the ODDS of the Preakness winner taking the Triple Crown at Belmont in 3 weeks? This is very exciting stuff. Amazed the race got off a all yesterday as it RAINed cats, dogs, EELS, ORCA, and SHAD here.

@Whirred, the only time/place I ever felt safe to THUMBARIDE was in 1975 in Marin Co., where my friends and I would stick out a thumb and every single driver who stopped for us drove a BMW. I kid you not!

Planted my ROMA tomatoes last week. After yesterday's deluge, they shot up a foot overnight! (No ARARAT in sight). Can't wait to harvest them for my locally famous homemade tomato soup.

Puzz. was fun because some of the cluing was terrific. Esp. liked ACNE, FTD, ABRA, GRACE, CATER, SCRAWL, ECLAT and the best clue ever for EEL (Hi, @Lewis).

Liked diamond lover, LIZ, v. diamond worker, BATBOY. I wonder, is he any relation to Bat Girl?

Thanks, JK and WS.

John Child 9:36 AM  

Sometimes a Great Notion, One Flew Over The Cukoo's Nest, and On the Road. The Naked Lunch. Howl. A college English teacher has never read any of these? Really? How can that be?

It's an ego boost to blaze through a Sunday puzzle, but this was too easy to be truly fun. I did a couple of others from the archives too...

Nancy 9:40 AM  

Agree with @Whirred that this was a fun, breezy puzzle. I thought the theme answers were original and playful, but of course they did make the solving of the puzzle fairly easy. I was briefly thrown off at 22A by wHEW for PHEW at 24D. And I also was thrown off by ANDS for SUMS at 80A. But after that it was smooth sailing.

@Mark Trevor Smith (2:36 a.m.): I was going to cite your "WIVE" quote, but then I saw you'd already cited it. And it's a good thing, too. Because I would have ascribed it to Cole Porter, from "Kiss Me Kate." Didn't realize that his great lyric was lifted word-for-word from Shakespeare. Live and learn.

@chefbea (7:42 a.m.) -- Am I invited to your party? Food and libation sound delicious!

Maruchka 9:53 AM  

Ah, beat it twice today.

1. I like JK puzzles for the smooth beat, and -

2. Beats get knocked a lot, but have you read or, even better, HEARD Bob Kaufman, Gregory Corso, Diane DiPrima, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, et.al., read? Jazz voices during a post-war, pre-fab, button-down America. Kerouac's voice worked best as a chronicler.

Anyhoo, it's reassuring to see that the old @Rex is back! Grr, go get 'em good.

Fav of the day - WIVE. Thank ye, @MarkTSmith.

CFXK 9:56 AM  

"If you really tried, you could probably get most of the theme answers without filling in a single cross (once you figured out the gimmick, that is)."

That simply not true. I got ALL of the theme answers without filling in a single cross after I figured out the gimmick, and did so without really trying.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Too easy to be fun on a Sunday morning. Probably should have swapped today for yesterday, which was an epic slog for me. This one was a fill-as-fast-as-you-can-type exercise. Oh well, at least it helps bring my average solve time down.

Loren Muse Smith 10:03 AM  

I hope I never graduate to the solving level that has me ho-humming a puzzle like this. I was really surprised at its lukewarm reception. Really. When I finally saw the trick, I was so pleased. Sure, it was sorta easy. Na und?? Yes, you could fill in some of the themers with few or no letters. That amused me and made me feel all smart and clever.(Hi, @r.alph) So I'll just take my clipboard and puzzle and go stand over next to @Whirred Whacks, @r.alph bunker, @Mohair, @Nancy, @Casco, @Bea, et al. I liked it a lot.

Perfect Sunday To-Do list:
Wake up later than 3:45am. Check
Make a double coffee in Heidelberg Schloss light brown beer mug. Check
Note that husband has emptied dishwasher. Check
Print out puzzle and enjoy the manipulation of the language. Check
Pause for a minute to thank lucky stars that it's not a poetry theme. Check
Panic briefly that I haven't read any Beat stuff, either, and feel like a ***** dummy.
Dispatch a Krozel 21x forthwith and feel like a **** genius. Check

I thought it was a light and breezy pick-me-up on a rainy Sunday. Since it was so easy, I had only a few goofs:

"hoof" it for FOOT IT
"whew" for PHEW (Hi, @Nancy)
"poke" for LIKE
"okra" for ORCA, mentally squinting and trying to picture an okra in a pod
"ave" for TIA, como de costumbre.

In addition to TRUISM spang next to MANTRA (may all your mantras be truisms), I liked the longer acrosses: MARINE CORPS, KARATE KICKS, CITY STREET, CRIME SCENE, TV ANTENNA, KEEPS COOL.

SHRINK'S SCRAWL – 11 consonants, 2 vowels. Cool.

Tonight I'll mix a drink a toast a constructor named Joe.

PSSt– I thought it was "pps." Can you go either way?

Maruchka 10:13 AM  

@LMS - Great to-do list. I also had an OKRA moment (they are pod-like), as well as a (w)HEW.

Think it's meant to be the plural. Otherwise, PSS is so wrong.

Gregory Z 10:15 AM  

"Rex," do you ever think you should consider another hobby? You are not enjoying this one, however good at it you may be.

For my part, I thought today's puzzle was fun. Not too challenging, but fun enough.

William Faulkner is my favorite author, but I can enjoy a good whodunit once in a while, too, you know?

Lewis 10:16 AM  

Factoid: In the wild, no ORCA has ever killed a human being, however, captive killer whales are reported to have made nearly two dozen attacks on humans since the 1970s, some of which have been fatal.

Quotoid: "You could eat sushi off my bookshelf. My cleaning regime is like a battleground. I'm Genghis Khan and my cleaning products are my Mongolian army and I take no prisoners. The rest of my life is an experiment in chaos so I like to keep my FLAT neat." -- Ryan Adams

chefbea 10:21 AM  

@Nancy Of course you are invited as are all Rexites!!!

joho 10:29 AM  

Wordplay 101 = fun! I loved that newbies will be able to really enoy this solve and actually finish. And, it seems to me, even an old pro should be able to appreciate the theme and chuckle at the phrases Joe created.

This is also one of my favorite kind of "audience participation" puzzles as evidenced by @r.alphbunker & @Loren Muse Smith.

Just off the top of head not counting length I have:
flyakiteacheckabag
toteabagaduckabullet
trimatreeabearacross
breakasweatatestatheory

Again, this is really fun! Thank, Joe!

Nancy 10:42 AM  

@ralphbunker -- I had missed your "pan a puzzle" joke, but thanks to @Lewis, I saw it just now. A very funny TRUISM that made me laugh. Nor did I stop at just HEE.

@chefbea -- Thanks!

Kenneth Wurman 10:50 AM  

This one made me feel like a fuckin genius (not that there's anything wrong with that! )..much better than last week's "poem"!

Kenneth Wurman 10:50 AM  

This one made me feel like a fuckin genius (not that there's anything wrong with that! )..much better than last week's "poem"!

Norm 10:52 AM  

Boring.

Aketi 10:53 AM  

@Ludyjynn, clearly you were not traveling in my part of Marin in 1975, where the only people who could afford a BMW were the Jehovah Witnesses across the street who were in the landscaping business. They would not have picked you up.

Probably because of the paranoia among parents after the Zodiac Killer sent the message about blowing up a school bus, many of my peers and I were warned at a later age about not HITCHing A RIDE citing the Zodiac Killer as a modern day Bogey man. I didn't HITCH A RIDE until Peace Corps in a country where it was more like flagging a taxi.

@Hartley70 (I keep dropping the "t" and think of you riding one), you nailed how I got hooked because of puzzles like this one. It is akin to how I feel when in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when they show me a technique that enables me to choke or sweep someone who is more than twice my size. Inevitably when we "roll", however, I feel the same way I did earlier this week. Just as I marvel at the fast solvers who seem to know every bit of trivia that has ever been written, I marvel at the feats of body origami which enable the the BJJ artists to use me as a crash test dummy. The most fascinating is one guy who, while lying on his back, manage to get me up into the air suspended over him, twirling me around like the blades on a helicopter using only his feet.

@LMS, you perfectly described the psychological process of my guilty google fests earlier this week.


I liked DNA LABS and CRIME SCENE.

My to do list today consists of gently adding more KARATE KICKS to my training now that my ribs are feeling better.

One of the black belts who also has a son born after a long arduous labor has given me a new MANTRA to employ if I manage to recuperate enough to do the black belt test on June 6th. We have concluded that a black belt test is "not as bad as labor" which will be my MANTRA during the test. If it weren't so long and clunky I would also add "not as bad as a crossword puzzle full of proper names I don't know".

Andrew Heinegg 10:59 AM  

Yet another example of no arguing with taste; To me, a puzzle this easy does not provide an ego boost as it is too easy to feel pleased with yourself for completing it so quickly. You add to that my assessment that it was neither amusing or informative and ennui ensues. But, obviously many others think otherwise. Ce' la vie.

mathguy 11:09 AM  

I think that Sunday puzzles should be easy. Because they're so big. And if they have a theme that is clever and fresh, as this one has, they are wonderful.

Bravo!

Aketi 11:12 AM  

Yes, well Andrew Heinegg, that is exactly how I secretly feel about hip hop kickboxing versus sparring.

The participants have terrible technique and would never be able to defend themselves against a serious attacker. They sometimes whine when those of us who do real Martial Arts sweat all over the mats before we get on the mats. Yet they feel pleased with themselves for doing a "boot camp" workout.

Nevertheless, hip hop kickboxing happens to be very popular form of exercise among women who might not otherwise exercise as vigorously.

So, I keep my resentment to myself. When a woman comes to try out "Martial Arts" I chat a bit to try to find out which style is more appropriate for her, hip hop kickboxing, the mixed martial arts classes or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and steer her accordingly.

Plus, I always remember that I am still at the hopelessly beginning phase in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the upper belts are always kind to me. They often celebrate the fact that I sometimes make really teensy weensy improvements and don't point out how many light years I am away from their skill level.

RAD2626 11:16 AM  

Mamie van Doren poster is spectacular. Two faces are great. Terrific piece of cinema art. Thanks for sharing. Many of the posters here are equally interesting (but never two-faced!).

Thought puzzle was just fine. tEE for HEE and like @Casco ARc for ARK for a bit but caught it with ISSAK. Liked ABRA and SAM's Club clues a lot. Did not mind that puzzle was easy. Filled in all the themes first (except needed crosses for MAKE A CATCH) which really was sort of fun for a change.

mac 11:21 AM  

Easy, fun and very quick Sunday. After the first theme answer I filled out all the other ones with just one mistake: karate chops instead of kicks.

A gorgeous day in CT - I'm going out to get my herbs today.

mac 11:23 AM  

@mathguy: I agree with you.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

Agreed. The easiest Sunday I recall. Done in under 25 minutes and I got up a few times (for a morning juice...)

So easy I needed only a letter of 2 in the 3rd and 4th runs and did the 5th with no fill ins. Not bragging. The puzzle was too easy for that.

Oh ya, and ugh to WIVE. A very awkward verb. Listed as archaic in my Mac Dictionary. If you need archaic solves, you're desperate.

jberg 11:42 AM  

First, I'm really happy to see a new (to me at least) way of valuing OLAF. I've been thinking I should read those books.

It was a wee bit harder for me because I kept reading the clue for 95D as "pleasant shoe," so I wanted to put in SAndal instead of SABOT. Finally came back and reread it, and it all fell into place.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

After getting all the theme answers with very little help from the fill, I just quit. Theme was fine but the solutions were far too easy. Fill (what I finished) was not interesting either. Tougher cluing would've helped.

OISK 12:29 PM  

Yes, it was vey easy. Finished it on the subway ride back from Manhattan, where I enjoyed meeting Nancy, and enjoyed The Gondoliers. But easy isn't "bad." Liked the theme puzzles, and enjoyed the solve. As others have said, an easy, breezy Sunday is a refreshing change now and then. I was sufficiently "challenged" in Friday...

A recent puzzle had the clue "Barbera D' ____." "Alba" didn't fit, so I settled on "Asti." At dinner that night the small wine list at the restaurant had a "Barbera d"alba." "See"? I told my wife. "I was right!" (yes, I know that there are barberas from Asti as well...)

Once more, really enjoyed meeting "@Nancy."

GeezerJackYale48 12:30 PM  

I agree with Rex that it was easy. How he or anyone could fill in that many squares in 9 minutes is something else. Just a little exaggeration for effect, perhaps?

Teedmn 12:32 PM  

Easy, for sure. 36 minutes here and I had to bring the paper right up to my face to read the clues because I wasn't wearing my reading glasses. But I thought it was fun. I circled clues I found clever: Racetrack figure; Many a prescription?; Do a darn good job?; Do the dishes?; Word with public or private; "____ extra charge". That last one was a refreshing way to clue ATNO, I thought, and then had it cross ATOM, nice!

Took me a while to suss the theme because of wHEW. I hadn't gotten AS A TEAM yet so I had WATCH_WLAYAPRANK. I put an O (for sHow) and thought the abridging part of the theme was going to entail dropping random letters (s in Show, p in Play) but when I got 10D and the o became an A, I took another look at wHEW and the rest is history. The usual bEtte before GEENA and KEEPSCalm before COOL .

Post script script :-) m before N in EPSONS.

Thanks for putting us AT EASE JK.

jon 1:23 PM  

Did what Rex mentioned and did the theme before the crosses. Nice to see Chris Isaak. I was buddies with his first bassist, Jamie, and I recorded in the same studio in SF where, incidentally, I bought books for a dollar at City Lights on Columbus Ave.

Billy C 1:25 PM  



@Aketi --

I posted a response to yours on yesterday's blog, if you're interested.

Masked and Anonymo8Us 1:43 PM  

@63: Gnarly poster. Have never seen yer "Beat Generation" flick. Wow, look at that lineup of stars that are in it. Ina whatshername woulda felt right at home. Curiously, this poster downplays two of Ms. Van Doren's biggest box office attractions.

Whatacoolatheme idea. Lists = primo! And real solid fill, to go with it. I know @63 didn't go for the MARCS brothers and the KARENS twins of the world, but -- shoot, that's about the weakest stuff in the whole day-um ginormous puz. Maybe ATNO and AGRI, but I didn't bat an eye, gettin those. Sure can't pick on lovely weeject TIA -- that'd be like crabbin at the glue, because it's holdin up the wallpaper securely.

thUmbsUp, JoeK. Only thing was it needed slightly feistier clues, to slow the solvin grideratti down a step.
Thanx. Fun.

M&A

**gruntz**

mike253 1:56 PM  

Liked the Noah theme with ARARAT and ARK (which I, too, left standing an ARc de ... well, the opposite of triomphe).

Constructor should have clued 82D as "JK alternative"

Fitzy 2:47 PM  

Great puzzle - the most fun I had solving a Sunday in a long time!

weingolb 2:58 PM  

It's hard to be surprised by a linguistics prof who doesn't happen to speak the language your grandparents did.

What's the deal with criticizing an English prof who doesn't read up on your favourite genre?

Z 3:31 PM  

I knew we'd get comments about Rex not reading any Beat writers. Remember, getting a PhD involves knowing a heck of a lot about very little.

I was curious, though, so I looked at the course offering for the fall semester at OFL's university. The Beat writers get mentioned only once (suggesting he's not the only prof there who hasn't bothered with Ginsberg, et al), and more as an after thought. OFL, meanwhile, has a Brit Lit class (Chaucer, anyone?) and Crime Fiction.

Benko 4:05 PM  

Yeah, @Z, I was just thinking that OFL specialized in medieval literature, so the fact that he hasn't read the Beats isn't nearly as remarkable as some people seem to think. The Beats are largely a matter of taste anyway. I love Burroughs and his work but I don't expect other people to.

wreck 4:26 PM  

Well, it was easy, but fun! Hands up for being a Joe Jackson fan - I have a few of his albums (on Vinyl), so I guess I'm showing my age.

Alan_S. 5:04 PM  

For a Sunday puzzle, which should take at least one hour to be truly satisfying for me, this was BEAT.

Steven Schlussel 5:11 PM  

Great post, Rex.
Can we get more archaic than "WIVE", or more obscure as the clue for OTIS?

I hope not

dick swart 6:03 PM  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ0F-BoZhPk&spfreload=10

Re: 'Wive'. As this was such an easy puzzle, take some time and enjoy as Howard Keel states his intentions for his stay in Padua.

Howard Keel

dick swart 6:05 PM  

Re above …

I tried to put 'Kiss Me Kate' in Italics, but that didn't work out too well. The musical title goes after " ,,, and enjoy "

Hugh 6:19 PM  

Was this one too easy for a Sunday? Most definitely yes...

BUT... I had fun. Once I figured out the (admittedly much too easy) gimmick, I did get a kick out of figuring out the themers. This was refreshing for me after the last couple of weeks of joyless puzzles.

I got stuck in just a couple of places:
*Inexcusably had UNLOAD for UPLOAD, so PADS was a long time coming.
*Did not like the way three S's in a row looked for 42D (To a smaller degree) so DNALAB took a while as well before the two words of LESSSO finally clicked. After looking at it again, I found it visually pleasing - go figure...

Some of the cluing was mildly clever but nothing I'd put in the REALLY LIKED category. Even with that, a fun, albeit easy Sunday - despite what Rex thinks.

P.S. he should really get some of the beats under his belt...

Have a great week all!

Hugh 6:20 PM  

Sorry, LESSSO is 42 ACROSS, not DOWN...

Nancy 6:35 PM  

And I so much enjoyed meeting you, @OISK, and your charming and delightful wife, Mrs. OISK. I've been out in the park all day, so didn't see your post until just now. Am worried you won't see this, so I'll send you your own private email in a couple seconds.

F.O.G. 8:26 PM  

This porridge is too hot. This porridge is too cold. And this porridge is just right -- except I prefer OYSTERS with my porridge ... and I prefer my porridge spelled "porage."

I enjoyed my Sunday puzzle, simplistic as it was Hope you enjoyed your porridge/porage, and your Sunday.

MJE 9:22 PM  

So it was easy!... Left time for the rest of the day to see to my to-do list too. True?

Hartley70 12:20 AM  

@Aketi, thanks for the biker chick persona. I might try it on for size one of these days. Brrrm! Brrrm!

Big John 6:08 AM  

On a very good week I can get through about 3/4 of the puzzle before coming here to see what I missed. I had fun getting about 9/10 of the way through it yesterday. What a shame I can't feel like Rex every week. :-P

'mericans in Paris 8:14 AM  

Yup, super-easy. But a good weekend for such a puzzle, because we had lots of things going on.

Liked the fact that the fill was mostly every-day words and phrases. Was surprised that ÉCLAT was not clued as a foreign word, however.

BTW, over on this side of the Atlantic, they market the pasta as fusilli, which means “little spindles”, rather than ROTINI (which my spell-checker wants to change to "rotting"), which means “twists” or “spirals”.

Won't express an opinion as to whether OFL should be an expert on the writings of the Beat Generation, but I do think that she should set a better example to his students and use real conjunctions (or the ampersand) and real punctuation, instead of taking the lazy way out and using a slash.

'mericans in Paris 8:32 AM  

Time NOW for another episode of ...

Matt Esquare, Private EYE!

I stared down in disbelief at the lifeless body of Hans Sagal. No blood will FLOW in those VEINS ever again. A cop, unable to find anything more suitable, yanked down one of Hans' expensive curtains and pulled the DRAPE over him. There but for the GRACE ... , I mused.

Klum Damone, CHIEF Inspector for the Field Operations Division of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, was presiding over the CRIME SCENE. "Hurry up before rigamortis SETS IN. And make sure you send the biologicals to at least two DNA LABS! If we find something, we'll need solid corroboration."

After a few moments I snapped to. Nobody seemed to be watching me, so I turned quietly to leave. Damone whipped around. "Where do you think you're going?!," he barked.

"Um, I have to FOOT IT if I want to CATCH A BUS."

"Fat CHANTS. I still have some questions for you."

I hung out on the stoop for what seemed like EONS. Finally, Damone called me back in.

"AT EASE," he said. "We know you're innocent, but we have to interrogate everybody who knew Sagal. And, since you were due to have lunch with him shortly after he was killed, that makes you an especially interesting witness of a sort."

"Yeah, SORTA." It was a pretty transparent trick to see if I really was a "witness".

Damone pulled a sheet of paper from a Manila folder. "We found this SCRAWLed to-do list on Sagal's kitchen table." Damone leaned his head back and re-positioned his reading glasses. "It's rather cryptic: FILE A RETURN A BOOK A TRIP. It's tax season, so I can understand FILE A RETURN. But what does he mean by FILE A BOOK or A TRIP?"

"Segal was one to PLAY A PRANK, even if nobody else knew what he was up to. It's a word chain: FILE A RETURN, RETURN A BOOK, BOOK A TRIP."

"AAH." A frown passed momentarily over Damone's face. He should have been able to figure that one out himself. "So, he had a library BOOK he had to return. We can check up on that. Any idea to where he might have been wanting to BOOK A TRIP?"

"ALB," I said. "He's got a cabin up in the mountains there. Very high. Calls--er, called--it his AERIE."

"ALB? Where's that? ALBerta? ALBany? ALBuquerque?"

(Continued below)

'mericans in Paris 8:33 AM  

(Continued from above)

"Sorry, no. ALBania."

"Wait, isn't that some sort of Marxist paradise? ATOM bomb, but no ROADS? Always running out of BREADS?"

"You're thinking of North Korea. ALBania kicked out its Communists more than 20 years ago."

"Well, of all the places in the WORLD for a weekend cottage, why the hell did he have one there, I'd like to know."

"I guess he LIKEd the solitude. A place to clear his head."

Damone sat there thinking for a moment. "Speaking of clearing the head ... ." Damone got up and grabbed a couple of coffee cups from the cupboard and a bottle of TIA Maria from the counter. He poured a bit into one mug and handed it over to me. "Have some of this. You look a wreck."

I'm a beer and whisky man and, as a RULE, I don't drink liqueurs. But my nerves were frayed. I took the cup gladly and had a SIP. The drink made me think of Maria Acropolis. Where was she? It had been days since I'd last seen HER.

Damone looked pretty tired himself. "Let's call it a day, Esquare. Man, I could use a SNOOZE."

"AMEN to that," I said. As I got up to go, Damone added, "But AT NO time leave the county without telling me, capiche? I might have some follow-ups."

Sagal's black BMW--his pride and joy--was parked in front of the garage. He USED to TOOL around the CITY STREET with it, trying out all its gizmos, notably the Heads-Up Display that projects information such as the car's MPH and RPM onto the windscreen.

I peeked in and saw a pair of RAY-BAAS on the passenger seat. They looked feminine--not his style at all. The KEY was also still in the ignition. I circled the car and noticed there was a For SALE sign on the back passenger window. The car was only a few months old. Was Sagal planning to leave the country for good?, I wondered. And was there any connection between his murder and the sudden appearance of the Louis brothers?

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Hugh 7:00 PM  

Thank you 'mericans in Paris!!! You never disappoint!

mellisa lopez 10:19 PM  

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mellisa lopez 10:20 PM  

"I am so happy to share this wonderful testimony about Dr Brave, my name is Mellisa Jefferson I am 34 years old, I live in Florida united states, I am happily married to Sowers Jefferson with three kids we got married in 2006 I am a banker but due to some certain family conditions I had to quit my job so I could have time for my family my husband works in a construction company not long ago around may 2015 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 4 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 believed 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, he 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 he told me that he have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to Me and the kids, he casted the spell and After 27hours my husband called me and He told me that i should forgive him, he Started to apologize on phone and said That he still loves me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that Dr Brave on him that brought him back to me today, i 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 him on this email: bravespellcaster@gmail.com , web site:http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ . and you will see that your problem will be solved Without any delay or effect cell number +2348072370762 Thanks for reading. ."

Mama Squirrel 3:39 PM  

And what's so bad about feeling like a crossword genius once in awhile? When I can get the whole thing done before we leave for yardsaling (because we get the NYT Sunday puzzle in the next Saturday's morning paper), I know it's going to be a good day.

rain forest 1:04 AM  

Hey@Mama Squirrel. I do believe you are the first of the Syndies to comment. I too get last Sunday's puzzle the following Saturday, but usually don't look at it until Sunday, but I had time on my hands and thought I'd at least start on it. Well, I finished in record time.

Now, just because a puzzle is easy doesn't meant it isn't a good puzzle, and this one was. Neat theme with all the parts of the themers "A" bridged, which I don't think anyone else picked up, and a decent range of cluing, with little dreck.

Joe Krozel has shown a vast range of puzzling ability, all the way from Monday to Sunday, from easy to uber-challenging, and I think he made the right call in doing this easy Sunday.

As someone who approaches the daily puzzle without a "let me see what I can complain about today" attitude, I just really appreciate an effort like this one.

1002 I don't appreciate this, though.

mellisa lopez 7:14 AM  

Greetings My dear friends. I am so happy to share this wonderful testimony about Dr Brave, my name is Mellisa Jefferson I am 32 years old, I live in Florida USA, I am happily married to Sowers Jefferson with three kids we got married in 2004 I am a banker but due to some certain family conditions I had to quit my job so I could have time for my family my husband works in a construction company not long ago around may 2015 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 4 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 believed 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, he 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 he told me that he have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to Me and the kids, he casted the spell and After 27hours my husband called me and He told me that i should forgive him, he Started to apologize on phone and said That he still loves me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that Dr Brave casted on him that brought him back to me today, i 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 him on this email: bravespellcaster@gmail.com , web site:http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ . and you will see that your problem will be solved Without any delay or effect cell number +2348072370762 Thanks for reading..

Burma Shave 9:46 AM  

ECLAT SETSIN

GEENA was such ATEASE,
as HER RULE, she never wore ABRA.
NOW was I BAD to EYE ATEAT?
PHEW! I USED to LIKE all that I saw!

---DEAN OTIS CARR

rondo 10:21 AM  

So the NYT and Will threw a bone out for those that don’t want to take all day to solve a Sunday puz. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Especially today as I am at work, this was perfect for me. Today.

@rain forest – “A” bridged; great EYE to MAKEACATCH like that. I didn’t see it. You’re on a roll lately!

“A League of Their Own” was on TV last night. GEENA Davis, yeah baby; she could handle a BAT, BOY! (And probably this BATBOY). Or the entire cast could have me ASATEAM. Maybe in the TUBB.

Nose back to the grindstone. Glad for an easy one today.

rondo 10:48 AM  

BTW - I saw Ernest TUBB perform live at the former World - now Fitzgerald - Theater in downtown St. Paul, c. 1982. Classic western music.

spacecraft 12:31 PM  

No @Rex Porker post--on a day when we really need him? OK, I'll wear his hat:

Despite the fact that it's my job to talk about this puzzle, I'm not going to talk about it. Instead, I'm going to trot out collections of Things That Matter Only To Me, because after all, who's more important? Do not dare to offer me a puzzle too simplistic for my genius mind, or I shall flog you with the merciless lashings of my brilliant wit.

How was that, @Rex II?

Yes, I did this one in less time than usual, and no, it didn't tax my brain unduly. Still, it has plenty going for it, not the least of which is yeah baby GEENA. Honey, you can FIREASHOT with your arrow right at me.

Theme was very easy to get, but I had to read @rainy's post to pick up on the (a)bridged angle, which adds an extra layer of cleverness onto the whole shebang. Fill was reasonable, though I wonder if J.K. didn't run out of steam at the end (SE corner) with PSS/YESSES. That corner contained my only w/o; I first tried to use my hands with KARATEchopS when I should FOOTIT (?) with KICKS. Also liked the CSI mini-theme of DNALAB and CRIMESCENE. Mildly enjoyable: B-.

Oh yeah. As soon as I saw ATEAT, I knew @BS would use it to his advantage. Ya didn't let me down, bro.

Anonymous 11:20 PM  

Wow! Such smug comments from posters about allowing people who liked this and completed it with timeliness making them feel like %#*€£%!! Geniuses. Thanks for the comments from the Ivory Tower! Sometimes the hoi polloi deserve a crumb of cake, huh?
Wow, disdainful much?

SharonAK 2:59 AM  

Having found the theme clever and a lot of fun, I'm surprised at how negative the majority of comments were.
Apart from that, it seemed about medium difficult for a Sunday.

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