Lobbying org. formed in 1944 / SUN 7-12-15 / Harry's 1948 Dixiecrat opponent / Berkshire racecourse site / Western city named after Shoshone chief / Children's heroine with dog Weenie / Tabloid show beginning in 1991 / Ruler entombed in Great Pyramid / Perambulates western-style / Fictional resort in 1988 #1 hit

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Start Again" — Opening syllable of familiar phrases is doubled (and respelled), creating much wackiness:

Theme answers:
  • CUCKOO D'ETAT (23A: Bird involved in French government affairs?)
  • TUTU OF DIAMONDS (28A: Glittering ballet costume?)
  • MIMI AND MY BIG MOUTH (45A: "La Bohème" song in which Rodolfo regrets saying too much to his lover?)
  • AYE AYE, DOCTOR (53A: "I'll obey your medical advice!"?)
  • CHOO-CHOO TOYS (85A: Lionel trains?)
  • COCOA CONSPIRATORS (93A: Group planning a hostile takeover of Swiss Miss?)
  • BYE-BYE PRODUCTS (107A: "That's my last trip to the store, ever!"?)
  • CHI-CHI DEVIL (118A: One who's pretentious as hell?)
Word of the Day: AMVETS (38D: Lobbying org. formed in 1944) —
The American Veterans, Inc. (AMVETS) is a volunteer-led organization formed by World War II veterans of the United States. It advocates for its members as well as for causes that it deems helpful to the nation at large. The group holds a Federal charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. It is a 501(c)19 organization.
• • •

OK so I complain from time to time about how some puzzles seem very Ye Olde in terms of concept and fill, seeming as if they could've been written 30+ years ago, completely adamant in their refusal to recognize all life post-Y2K. But here's the thing ... those puzzles usually feature cruddy, dated, good-enough-by-30-years-ago-standards fill. They usually feature a corny sense of humor *and* an obliviousness to all things current *and* at least one ETUI. Today's puzzle is definitely (at times) corny, and definitely void of contemporary relevance. But it manages to avoid irksomeness almost entirely. How? Well, today is what a resolutely, unapologetically old-fashioned, screw-the-modern-world puzzle would look like If It were Carefully and Thoughtfully Made, i.e. if it were good. I don't think it's anywhere near Berry's best work, but it's a pretty cool feat nonetheless: this puzzle has got the retro DNA to please a still-sizable solving demographic (the "I remember Maleska fondly..." demographic), while also meeting modern standards for clean, crisp fill *and* executing the theme with cleverness, consistency, and artfulness. And the wackiness is truly wacky. Go big or go home where wackiness is concerned. My favorite theme answers were CUCKOO D'ETAT and COCOA CONSPIRATORS, largely because that initial doubling results in a solid word where the two syllables are spelled differently, despite having the same sounds. Why that should be more pleasing than a simple doubling of sound *and* spelling, I don't think, but it is.

I don't have much to say about the puzzle, though, beyond polite applause for the theme. There are a couple of drawbacks to today's puzzle (type). The puzzle is conceptually basic, and the grid is constructed in a way that minimizes longer non-theme fill, so the puzzle ends up being both far too easy, and also, outside the thematic material, kind of boring. Solid, but dullish. Creamy smooth and inoffensive, but lacking that crunch and oomph and zazz that are semi-necessary to really scratch the itch of a constant solver. Everything in the grid is generally familiar. All this fill would've flown decades ago (except IPOD, I guess). There's just not a lot of fresh colloquial phrases, not a lot of wordplay, not even a lot of interesting vocabulary. It's all just fine. But not exceptional. This would make a very, very nice entry-level puzzle for people who enjoy crosswords but think the NYT is too highbrow, or who can get M and T OK, but start falling apart at W and never really try Sunday. The world does need starter-kit puzzles, and as those go, this is a good one.

TUTU OF DIAMONDS is the weakest link, as the base phrase (two of diamonds) is just a random card in a deck. But the it creates a nice visual, so it's not so bad. The most confusing themer for me was MIMI AND MY BIG MOUTH, as I didn't know what was "La Bohème" about it, or whether the base answer was going to be a real song, or what. I'm guessing someone named "Mimi" is in "La Bohème," is that right? I could look it up. [Does so] Ah, yes, look, a seamstress. Well, there you go. I'm sure Maleska-era solvers know that stuff like the backs of their hands. Anyway, that one took  me a little time because I was thinking of a song and all I could come up with was MIMI AND MY SHADOW (didn't fit).

My people are Idaho people, so POCATELLO was both fun and nostalgic for me (though I've never actually been to POCATELLO). Everything else in this puzzle, and I mean everything, is right over the plate. CHEOPS and AMVETS are probably the most "obscure" things in the puzzle, and they aren't. Obscure, that is. So, overall, this was vanilla, but tasty. Excellent vanilla. Simple, old-fashioned, over far too quickly.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

P.S. Peter Gordon is Kickstarting (re-starting) the themeless puzzle he used to edit for the Washington Post. Fittingly (-ish) it is called the Fireball Postmodern (get it?) Puzzler. You can support it here. Amazing constructors. Great puzzles (as good as the best NYT themelesses, for sure). Worth your support. At least watch the cute promo video here.


Carola 12:23 AM  

Zany fun. My favorites were CUCKOO D'ETAT and the inspired MIMI AND MY BIG MOUTH - really made me laugh.
I noticed a small dark cloud in the NNE with PERFIDY crossing PERP, EVIL, and RAGE.
Eye-rhyme: PRIED over SKIED.
I wonder if anyone else learned SIMOLEON from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - could be that's why I like the word so much.
One do-over: ODEon. Longest-to-catch-on clue: Neck lines.

DebinSac 12:38 AM  

Thrown off-track after putting in Mimi, tutu and choo choo because I expected all the repeats to be duplicates of the same word. So I had coocoo for the longest time, though it obviously did not work with rice. It was a Berry puzzle, though, and he is not going to be inconsistent. Then the light finally dawned. These are not simply doubled sounds. They are all legitimate words or phrases. Good Sunday puzzle, but not nearly so easy for me as for Rex. Then again, I was solving as I flicked between the Giants game and an old Star Trek TNG. So much for my multitasking abilities...

allan 12:39 AM  

When only two theme answers change the spelling and there are 7 themes, then the two seem like outliers. So I was opposite @rex on those answers. Agree it's not PB's best. You know my feelings about Shortz, so bring back Maleska.

Steve J 12:46 AM  

Solid puzzle with some entertaining themers, but lacking zip overall. Not that that's really that big a complete. Given how Sundays are a slog more often than not, with as much (if not more) to groan over than to be delighted by, solid is welcome.

Also welcome: Rex's writeup providing the opportunity to listen to one of my favorite Smiths songs. Nice selection.

Noam D. Elkies 12:58 AM  

Well 83A:HUD and 72D:ALYDAR must be at least as obscure as 38D:AMVETS, and (like 28D:CHEOPS but unlike AMVETS) impossible to infer or even confirm after the fact except from the crosses. Fortunately those are easy enough, where 28D:CHEOPS is stacked with two other short names and crossed by another (91A:GREER, whoever she was - and I had to look it up even to tell that "Garson" was a she rather than a he). But with so many of the letters in each of these sections forced by theme entries, I'm not too surprised that even PB had to resort to a few such things (except for HUD, which is gratuitous: HAD/AÑO). Fun puzzle otherwise, and enough misleading clues that solving is not entirely routine (e.g. even once the cute clue "Wet blanket?" for 128A:SNOW is read correctly it could as well be SEAS since the 115D:SLEW clue "multitude" [echoing the long 15D:PLENITUDE] suggests LOTS or TONS). Of course there's absolutely nothing wrong with using entries that would have been good 20+ years ago as long as they remain so (possibly HUD and ALYDAR might have rung some distant bell back then, and 68A:STROM may also be nearing the cusp of obscurity).

Anonymous 1:59 AM  

I enjoyed it, but as stated, over far too quickly. I got so many fill answers because the references fell within my older age-group.

It's a DNF, though, because I missed the STROM/TMC cross--had SAROM/AMC. No excuses; should have caught that. Ah well.

Looking forward to a better upcoming week of puzzles, but not with excess zeal. Will has been letting us down as of late.


jae 2:36 AM  

Yes, easy and what Rex and Steve J said. Liked it. An easy Sun. every now and then is a good thing. Is it just me or has this blog been more peaceful the last couple of days?

Anonymous 3:19 AM  

From Shanghai (thank you JAE) -

SIMOLEON came to me from "It's a Wonderful Life" while MIMI was drawn from the musical "Rent," I understand a modern variant of La Boheme.


chefwen 3:31 AM  

What's not to like here? Got it at CHI CHI DEVIL, yeah, I know I jump around a lot. Thought all of the theme answers were smile,if not chuckle worthy. MIMI AND MY BIG MOUTH was fantastic.

No complaints.

MDMA 3:54 AM  

Easy smooth Sunday. Usually at first I skip any entry that I have to think about longer than a few seconds and move on, and then try to work the crosses, and then rinse and repeat. For late week puzzles there's usually a point where you get stumped and things come to a temporary standstill, and you have to start deeply pondering individual answers. That never really happened today.

Best laugh out loud moment was "coup coup d'état". I knew ALYDAR from doing a little postmortem Wikipedia research on last month's Triple Crown puzzle.

The Peter Gordon kickstarter project is doomed, surely. It needs to raise the full $26,000 amount before 10 PM today (Sunday), and it's not even 40% there as of this writing. Per kickstarter rules if a project doesn't raise its full target amount by the deadline, it fails and all pledged amounts are refunded. He did three prior successful ones but the target amount was quite a bit higher this time.

'mericans in Paris 4:03 AM  

OOF!, for a "boring" puzzle there's elements here for a really steamy little story: anatomical parts (BONE, A HEAD, REARS, MIMI AND MY BIG MOUTH), conditions (RIGID, in HEAT, hot to TROT), positions (from the SIDE, in SITU, PRONE), accessories (CHOO-CHOO TOYS, SPATULA), people (ADA, ALI, BILL, DINO, ELOISE, EMMA, OPRAH, ORRIN, PHIL), places (e.g., the RAMADA Inn in POCATELLO), verbs (MEET, SAY HELLO, FLASH, OGLE, PET, EAT UP, ABETS, SPUR, PLEA, SCREAM, PLAY ON), and exclamations (UH! ... UH!). Afterwards they might have to visit their HMO to ENSURE they haven't contracted an STP. But this is a family blog, so I'll resist.

paulsfo 4:39 AM  

Liked the clues for PERP and FRETS, and thought the theme was enjoyable enough. CHEOPS is not obscure.

Kenneth Wurman 5:44 AM  

With the exception being the Islanders playing at the Barkley Center (boo!), I would have believed that this puzzle was found in a time capsule buried 40 years ago. I enjoyed it alot.

Kenneth Wurman 5:45 AM  
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Doris 6:21 AM  

"I was born in a trunk
In the Princess Theatre in Pocatello, Idaho"

Lewis 6:39 AM  

I agree with @stevej and @rex -- solid but not ethereal. Then again, there are very few constructors who have taken me into the ethereal zone enough for me to make this comment. With most constructors, "solid" is plenty good enough. There are certainly PB hallmarks in this puzzle -- bold and funny playfulness, make-me-smile cluing (FLASH, SNOW, SPOOKED, OGLE, FRETS), and interesting answers not often found in puzzles (NOTABLES, PERFIDY).

I learned ODEUM, SIMOLEON, and CHI RHO. That TMC/RHO/STROM area was the toughest for me. I noticed that dark northern PERP/EVIL/RAGE/PERFIDY cloud mentioned by @carola. And also TROT over YUGO, a car that probably never went faster than that and probably felt as bumpy.

JenCT 6:46 AM  

@jae: Same impression here - peaceful and positively civilized...

Lewis 7:00 AM  

Factoid: During his motorcycle jumping career, Evel Knievel broke 433 BONEs.

Quotoid: "I USED to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn't weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird." -- Paul McCartney

pmdm 7:14 AM  

The puzzle theme left me with a so-what feeling. The number of proper nouns was for me a problem with the smoothness of the puzzle. Perhaps I want more from PB than this puzzle provides. Sorry, PB, but for me you hit a clunker today.

ralph 7:49 AM  

@rex was right: the puzzle played to my demographic. Stared at CUCKOODETAT for a while because I couldn't bring myself to change GOcART. As an old Minnesotan, I confidently wrote taconItE for Mesabi excavation. Anybody around during the Civil Rights era remembers Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond and his wince-inducing rhetoric. But, hey, SC just succeeded in lowering the Confederate Battle Flag, right? Change comes slowly. @'mericans in Paris, thanks for that new imagining of this puzzle, but you left poor MAURY on the sidelines.

NCA President 8:10 AM  

I don't get into opera at all, I know a lot of titles of operas and I sorta know the plots of a couple. But I dare any of you to watch the last few minutes of La Boheme without tearing up just a little. Heart wrenching stuff.

This was "easy" for me based on my scale of how many Googles/cheats I needed...and for this one, none.

53A needed to somehow reference a sailor...and is CHICHIDEVIL pronounced shee-shee devil?

I don't know why by I didn't like OOF. There is something about that kind of "word play" (Reaction to a slug) that just grates on me in a way that's really hard to describe. Whatever the reaction...anger, groaning, contempt...it's unpleasant.

30D (MAGMA) I wanted to be manganese or talc (those are soft rocks too, right?)

Otherwise, easy and workmanlike.

Muscato 8:12 AM  

Exactly what I was hoping Rex would think of this one! Mostly because, as I was solving, I kept thinking how much (I'm a third-generation puzzler) it was the kind of Sunday that my mother and grandmother enjoyed so much. Which is a good thing on a fine summer Sunday...

grammar nazi 8:16 AM  

Rex Parker said, "Why that should be more pleasing than a simple doubling of sound *and* spelling, I don't think, but it is." I can't make sense of this Can you?

Maruchka 8:36 AM  

In agreement with @Rex today, and appreciate his overview. Have neither heard nor seen "cruddy" in donkey years. Recherchez les temps perdu indeed, M.Parker.

'MIMI and my shadow' is fantastic! @'mericans might make some crunchy noir out of this. And throw some SIMOLEONs into the Bourguignon, aussi.

Fav of the day - CUCKOO D'ETAT. With Bastille Day fast approaching, more Frenchy-fiedness, merci. Allons enfants! Where my madeleine at?

Teedmn 8:42 AM  

An easy one today. My only splotch of ink was at 47D where I started with spam, changed to BuLk and then BILL.

Fave themer was COCOA CONSPIRATORS. Had to say CHI CHI DEVIL about five times before I got the she-devil phrase (:-) @NCA Prez).

Thanks for the puzzle, Patrick Berry.

Z 8:49 AM  

I'm with the majority, solid, fun themers, no dreck.

@GN- either Rex has gone post-modern on us or he meant "know" when he typed "think."

Ludyjynn 9:02 AM  

Smooth sailing and terrific clues made this puzzle a TROT in the park for me.

Rex, even if you don't know opera, you should recall "La Boheme" was heavily featured in the plot of the movie, "Moonstruck", for which Cher won her best actress Oscar opposite Nicholas Cage. The Met was lovingly photographed, snowflake chandeliers included, and MIMI's death scene was counterpointed by Cher's visceral response to her tragic demise. One of my favorite films.

ETHICS brings me back to my first day of class in "Professional Responsibility", a required law school course. The professor walked in and wrote on the giant blackboard: C Y A. He turned around, faced the class and stated, "Cover your ass; all you need to know about ethics. Class dismissed." One hundred students started collecting their books, preparing to leave, delighted to be getting out early. Suddenly, he announced, "Sit back down, people. Can't you take a joke?!" I took 3 courses with him; he was among he most brilliant teachers I ever had.

Thanks, PB and WS. Well DONE.

Ludyjynn 9:04 AM  

One more thing. For a while, I had 'placer' instead of ALYDAR, which held me up in the East. Should have known better as I bet on the horse at the Preakness that year!

F.O.G. 9:22 AM  

Not all of this could have been written 30 years ago. The Islanders won't drop a puck on the Barclay Center ice till next season.

@Ludyjynn. Unlike your experience, my legal ethics course was required in the final term, so I couldn't have taken another course from that professor had I wanted. The administration thought that the ethics lessons should be given immediately before graduation, so that they would be fresh in one's mind upon entry to the profession.

Liked this a lot. Corn and nostalgia obviously work for me.

Malcolm Gibson 9:22 AM  

We opera fans LOVED "Mimi and my big mouth"! Wonderfully clever and fun!

jberg 10:02 AM  

Wasn't it only yesterday that @Rex gave us the rule for 60A? Or maybe Friday, but no longer ago than that. Certainly not as long ago as 2003, when STROM Thurmond died, or even 2005 when Thurmond's African American daughter published her autobiography, which got a Pulitzer nomination. HUD is a bit older (1963), but it did win 3 Oscars.

But rather than debate what's obscure and what isn't, let's celebrate the reality: you don't have to know anything at all, even one of the best-known operas of all time, to solve crosswords! In my case, you don't even have to know the correct pronunciation of CHICHI, which I learned only today.

So, yeah, what everyone said -- not the most scintillating, but a fun theme. BYE BYE PRODUCTS was a little weak in wackiness, but the others were all great.

What I learned (besides how to say CHICHI) -- there are more KOKOMOs than just the one in Indiana.

Rex Porker 10:02 AM  

This puzzle was by Patrick Berry. Therefore, it was good. All of the things I would have said to criticize this puzzle had it been by another constructor are now positives: old-fashioned, cluing not that clever, constricted grid, sub-par fill. All of these represent the intentional inventiveness of a crossword genius. Hey Patrick, want to grab a beer later?

La Vie Boheme 10:06 AM  

I am surprised by people's like for MIMIANDMYBIGMOUTH. It get what he was going for there, but it is nonsensical. The other themers, while maybe a little stretched, make sense in the idiom. MIMI..., while cute, just doesn't.

Saul Goodman 10:09 AM  

I thought ETHICS should have been clued "Law school course, surprisingly."

Aketi 10:23 AM  
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Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Only way I knew "SNERD" was from a memory of my father mentioning him. And I'm in my 7th decade. I have more luck with that approach than with modern TV references. Guess I should buy an "old-timey" out of print puzzle book, as this one was pleasantly easy.

Aketi 10:35 AM  

@americaninparis, enjoyed your list of a PLENITUDE of words with IMMORAL potential.
@lewis, did Evel break more than Jackie?

@the lawyers, I had to take my first ETHICS course and a PHD candidate thanks to the guy who painted black spots on the white rats he was experimenting with so he could fake his results. Now I have to take continuing education credits in ETHICS to recertify as a lactation consultant every five years. Not sure how many other professions require that frequency. We have very strict conflict of interest standards in our profession.

@grammarnazi, once upon a time, long long ago, I would notice typos when I read. Now that most of my clients are stressed out postpartum parents who text me, I no longer notice typos or even invalid autocorrections if the letters have at least some minimal resemblance to the intended word or phrase.

'mericans in Paris 10:35 AM  

Never did post a Matt Esquare story last week, but still plan to, as I need to get Maria back into the picture. So this week's episode begins with her already rescued. And pace @maruchka, I found that most of this week's vocabulary didn't lend itself to a noir.

The further adventures of Matt Esquare, EVIL fighter of YORE!

Maria was standing in front of the stove, wearing only an apron. "EAT UP, you need your strength!", she insisted, poking the SPATULA in my direction. It had been a week since I had SAVEd her from her captivity, and she still was hot to TROT. Fortunately this morning I had awoken rather RIGID, and she lost no time inventing a game which she called "hide the CHOO-CHOO TOY in the tunnel". What I really craved, though, was a big sleep-in.

I felt a vibration on my SIDE. I pulled out my telephone and saw it was Detective Lieutenant Kirk Sajak of the Detroit Police. "SAY, Matt, can you MEET me at the old AVON warehouse in the BURG in half an hour?", he asked. "I've have something that might interest you."

"Sure. I'll leave right now."

Maria guessed I had been called away. "RATS! Can't I come with you?", she PLEAded. "You're always going to and FRO!"

"UH-UH, PET. You know the rules: you're grounded until we catch the PERPs who kidnapped you."

"I GET IT, Matt. But I'm going crazy hanging out here. I've cleaned the whole apartment, UNO, dos, tres, times. I've PAID all of my BILLs. I've washed and ironed all of my clothes."


"And then what?"

"I don't know. Watch some reruns of MAURY." I felt like an OGRE leaving her alone, but it was for her own good.

I THRU on a shoulder holster, which I normally USED simply to hold my IPOD. Today, however, I really was packing HEAT, a necessary precaution with the EVIL Louis Brothers still on the loose.

I kissed Maria goodbye, checked that the street was clear, and left the house. I arrived at the warehouse a half-hour later.

"HELLO, Matt. Thanks for coming up. We found a body here. Or, rather, what was left of it, which was for the most part just BLOB and BONE." Sajak pulled back a tarp to reveal A HEAD devoid of skin and hair. I had to stifle a SCREAM. It looked as if the victim had fallen into MAGMA, but it could have been hot TAR or any of a wide range of BYE-BYE PRODUCTS USED by the underworld to dispose of bodies. "We would have treated this as a likely gang-related homicide," Sajak interjected, "except for this, which we found next to the body."

The Detective Lieutenant carefully reached into an evidence bag with a pair of PINCERS and produced a small TIKI. It had been carved out of some soft stone and depicted a partially squatting ISLANDER, his face frozen in a grimace.

I nodded. "If I'm not mistaken, that's what the anthropologists call a CHI-CHI DEVIL. Twenty to one, an analysis of the ITEM will conclude that it comes from Tahiti," I said.

"Exactly. Just like our Louie Brothers."

"Who do you think was the victim of this PERFIDY?", I asked.

Sajack shrugged. "No idea. But when it comes to ETHICS, these LADs have a lot to learn."

AliasZ 10:36 AM  

I was glad to see PB's byline, and I was not disappointed. What surprised me is that the second time this month that the NYT puzzle makes fun of a speech impediment. First the lithp puthhle, then thi-thi-this stut-stut-stuttering puzzle. Has Will no shame?

COCOA CONSPIRATORS is the one outlier because it has three CO- sounds, the others only two. True, the CO in CONSPIRATORS is not a perfect phonetic match to the prefix CO-, but it's too close for comfort. My favorite was CHICHI DEVIL.

When PLENITUDE, PERFIDY, TIKI, ASCOT, SARCASM, PITON, RIGID, ALYDAR, SIMOLEON, MAGMA, PINCERS, MOSEY, etc. are no longer considered interesting vocabulary in NYT puzzles, and become supplanted by rap "artist", Simpson or Kardashian references, foshizzles, bromances and mansplains, and a lot of other current "fresh" street lingo that go out of style faster than they became current and fresh, that is the time when I totally lose interest in NYT puzzles. Also, not knowing MIMI, Carmen, Aida or Don Giovanni betrays one solver's lack of general musical knowledge rather than the lingering influence of Maleska.

Oh, what fun it is to solve one by Patrick Berry.

"If music be the food of love, PLAY ON." So I will: Ein feste BURG ist unser Gott.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Aketi 10:50 AM  
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Anonymous 11:01 AM  

@AliasZ, I seriously hope you are joking. I fear you are not. Another example of some whiny, pathetic, politically correct bullshit.

Joseph Michael 11:06 AM  

The theme is inconsistent and to me feels kind of dated (another CHOO CHOO pun?) but the construction is excellent, so I still had a good time solving it.

Favorite themer: COCOA CONSPIRATORS.

Biggest laugh: the first paragraph of AliasZ's comment at 10:36am

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Another post by @aketi where she mentions her oh-so-important work for no apparent reason. Full of yourself much? We all know your hobbies and what you do for a living. Do you really have to mention them every day?
I can't think of another person on this board who talks about themself as much as you do (at least since the "pilot" evil doug stopped posting).

Questinia 11:17 AM  

I agree by and large with @ Alias Z last large paragraph. There's something very pandering about the *need* to include contemporary ephemera. OTOH trendy entries probably open up more possibilities for constructors who would otherwise have to constantly re-fashion the archives.

This was a light and airy vanilla banana cream confection, hint of rum baked in an etui... with love. Berry is capable of vacherin but he makes darn good pies too.

I wish I had @ Doris's provenance! "I was born in a trunk
In the Princess Theatre in Pocatello, Idaho". Where is that from?

@ Lewis re the quotoid- any good shrink could tell you that!

F.O.G. 11:18 AM  

@Saul Goodman 10:09 AM. LOL!

Is it just my imagination, or is it fact that nearly all of the ad hominem attacks on this blog are by Anonymous?

If so, that's one angry poster!

Billy C 11:23 AM  

@Maruchka --

"Indeed" => "bien sur?" (Pardonez-moi, je ne peut pas faire UN circonflexe)

Haiku Nerd 11:26 AM  


Anonymous 11:39 AM  

@F.O.G.: Is that your legal, full name? No? Then it seems your are anonymous as well, like pretty much everyone else on this board.

Hartley70 11:39 AM  

@Ludy, love that Professor! I actually really liked the course too. Being a bit of a weenie, I aced it.

So So Sorry, PB, but after yesterday's virtuosity this was a bit of a snooze for me. After I had the themers, I was thinking, "When will this end, please!" Your end of week puzzles are beyond compare, but the sheer amount of short fill today was TUTU much for me. xoxo

MIMIANDMYBIGMOUTH was, however, primo.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

What does the red box mean

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

@Anonymous at 11:40 AM

I think it's just where @Rex finishes the puzzle, and then takes a screen shot of it. Otherwise, it has no special meaning.

Pete 11:51 AM  

I've done the Sunday NYTimes puzzle weekly for, probably, over thirty years. This one was the final straw, I just plain give up. When I see PB as the author and yet I get the another from the same old, tired, anemic theme set, what's the point? CUCKOO D' ETAT - why continue? To get TUTU OF DIAMONDS? I just quit today, and won't try again until I get advanced notice that the puzzle is new, different, worthwhile.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Thoroughly enjoyable PB fare.

PLENITUDE of cute themers.
Nothing wrong with MIMI AND MY BIG MOUTH = me and my big mouth...what's the problem?

Clever cluing- eg. 125A, 65D, etc.
No BOOS from me.

La Vie Boheme 12:08 PM  

@anon @ 11:54--the problem is the phrase doesn't stand on its own. A CHOO CHOO TOY makes sense as a train, COCOA CONSPIRATORS make sense as people taking over a chocolate factory, etc. MIMI AND MY BIG MOUTH makes no sense as anything. It's easy to imagine a contrived context where the other wacky phrases might be used. Not so for MIMI...

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

You go @Pete! You'll show them!

Anonymous 12:10 PM  


Naw, F. O. G. Is not anonymous. He's @Frank Pellegrino, the famous Actor and Restauranteur.

Just sayin' ...

old timer 12:13 PM  

I got the theme at CUCKOO, and the next one was TUTU, so I did not expect the first two syllables to be spelled alike. Grateful to get the theme, too, because I would have been stuck in the SW without BYEBYEPRODUCTS.

A few comments on my fellow commentators:

Thanks again @AliasZ, for one of my favorite tunes, which Episcopalians know as "A Mighty Fortress is our God". I had to attend daily Chapel as a schoolboy. The principal selected the hymns we would sing, and he knew boys well enough to mostly select the ones that we could sing lustily at 8:25 in the morning.

P.S. I don't think for a minute your complaint about ridiculing stutterers was serious. I know SARCASM when I see it.

Thanks 'mericans, for another adventure of Matt Esquare. Which I'd have to rate as PG-13, if not R. Made me laugh, though.

And it's fine with me if people share their personal or professional lives. I have often thought that if any of my FB friends read this blog, they could make a good guess as to my identity.

Aketi 12:41 PM  

BYE BYE PRODUCTS ends in DUCTS, which reminds me of milk ducts. Of course, I learned as I was getting my PhD that their real name is "lactiferous ducts," but I wouldn't expect lay people like yourselves to understand such complex language, even in one of the 12 languages in which I am fluent.
We're taught to avoid striking the lactiferous ducts when we practice krav maga, or Brazilian jujitsu, or karate, or tae kwon do. I can't remember which one--have I mentioned that I have a black belt in all of them? It can be confusing to be this accomplished.

Nancy 12:44 PM  

Thought the gimmick was very amusing and highly original. But the puzzle felt too easy for a Sunday and the gimmick made it easier, not harder. That said, I loved CUCKOO D'ETAT, TUTU OF DIAMONDS, MIMI AND MY BIG MOUTH, COCOA CONSPIRATORS and BYE BYE PRODUCTS.

Thanks, @Alias, for mining the humor involved in excessive PC. In lieu of the comments here over the last few weeks, I loved your stuttering comment. Very droll and very apt.

Can't believe, @Ludy and @Hartley, that you both had the same brilliant Legal Ethics prof. I'm tempted to apply to law school just to take his course, myself. He sounds just wonderful!

Back to Wimbledon for the presentation ceremony...

Bertrand Russel 12:50 PM  

@F.O.G. @11:18: It seems that you don't know what "ad hominem" means.

mathguy 1:15 PM  

What Rex wrote so very well.

JFC 1:22 PM  

When one is as great a constructor as PB, the solver has high expectations. Sometimes they are met and other times not. Rex's adoration of Berry makes his critiques difficult to appreciate. I agree with Rex Porker. Rex seems to struggle to find enough good things to say about this puzzle.

I have concluded that Rex's prejudices influence his critiques too often. Obviously, every blogger who opines on the puzzle has biases but Rex just gets carried away with everything, including his lack of objectivity. It would be interesting if he would do the puzzle and critique them without knowing who the constructor is.

Rex did point out why I did not particularly care for this puzzle. For my taste it is just too corny, which for me is like slapstick humor. The Three Stooges were great at what they did. I just didn't care for what they did.


Anonymous 1:28 PM  


Go away and stay away. Nothing but negativity from you All. The. Time.

Find another crossword blog.

It's just TerminOlogy 1:44 PM  

We all know PRONE means 'face down', bien sur.
So, PRONE over 'supine' makes the 'beast with two backs', hien?
Can the missionary position possibly be IMMORAL? Je vous en prie...

Any extraneous Frenchification is purely for faire plaisir a la belle Maruchka.

A lawn's enfant.

Elephant's Child 1:56 PM  

OmercifulFather, I do hope the 1241 @aketi is a faux @aketi, else that mean for sure CHI CHIDEVIL!

JFC 2:01 PM  

@Anon (1:28), I am reminded of my friend who encountered our senior US Senator outside his supermarket in our recent local election. The Senator was with a candidate for the City Council. My friend dislikes the Senator and in fairly candid language told him he wouldn’t vote for anyone he supported. The Senator replied, we’ll put that down as undecided.


Tita 2:17 PM  

Almost exactly @Carola...including that very dark corner. Right down to the Roger Rabbit reference!! THough CHICHIDEVIL was my fave.

Ever suspicious, I gotta believe that OFL was baiting us with his MIMI commentary. Brusing off a famous opera? Made into a fiarly famous broadway show that ran for about a dozen years? That was made into a movie?

I did find it easy - got the theme right away, and had fun guessing them without any crosses. (Success only with MIMI...)

Was i the only one with muzak for Soft rock?

@Ludy - I think many students, in many vocations, left such a class after that first statement... )Of course, it's such fun to dump on lawyers (good one, @Saul!) and bankers, but sadly, they have no monopoly on unethics.)

@jberg - I got 60A from Rex's rule...

BYEBYEPRODUCTS could become the theme for my anti-consumerism friend - I'll send her this puzzle once she's back from China...

Never heard of PINCERS for removing nails...woulda been better as "Frightening feature of a Dobson Fly" - of which many were flying about, big as 747's, in the light of our Bocce game last night by the river.

Hi @Jen - nice to see you back here!!!!!!!

This was plenty of fun for my Sunday. Thanks Patrick!

ArtO 2:31 PM  

Even a non-opera buff ought to at least know La Boheme and if that's too old fashioned for Rex, he ought to know "Rent" which is based on it and in which one finds Mimi.

Always Patrick Berry work.

Carola 2:38 PM  

@'mericans in Paris - I'm PRONE to FRET so was relieved to see that Maria is safe and in fine fettle. Stellar puzzle vocab interweaving today - thanks for the laughs and the continuing saga.

Hugh 2:40 PM  

Agree with Rex on this one, fairly basic but clean, a little on the dull side for me, no real chuckles and nothing to put in the "really like" column. But as he implied, if this was someone's first Sunday ever, I couldn't think of a better one to start with.

Last to fall for me was 107A - Could not get 'Buyer's Remorse" (???) out of my head. Finally fell when I got SPOOKED (not literally, the clue for 94D, which I thought was cute). For whatever reason, that "O" drove it home for me.

Only got the ruler entombed in the great pyramid with the crosses, otherwise had no clue (ashamed as my brother is an Egyptologist).

14D took a while as well - as I had IGOTIT for 41A instead of the correct IGETIT. Again, I needed the "O"!

Have a great week all!

JFC 2:45 PM  

For those who miss my positive thoughts. This is another seamlessly smooth Patrick Berry puzzle, displaying the great skill he has at making a complex puzzle look effortless. There is almost no bad fill, every word common enough for almost anyone who regularly works the NYT puzzle capable of solving in a reasonable amount of time. The cluing is consistently fair, especially for a Sunday puzzle which will take longer by reason of its size. The theme is clever and mostly executed flawlessly. There are only two that rely on phonetics instead of spelling, which can be forgiven with the wealth of theme material. Rex might have a point about the dating of the fill but that never bothers me. Much of the material here seems timeless more than it seems dated. Just another Patrick Berry crowning achievement even if it isn’t a tour de force!

PS. It’s still too corny for my taste….


Masked and Anonymous 2:59 PM  

Notes of note:

* No J, Q, X, or Zs. This is the antithesis of Scrabble-twerkin.
* 13 U's. This is way above average, for a SunPuz.
* Themer oversight: {Tough auto rickshaw to get off the road?} = TUKTUKEVERLASTING.
* 199th NYTPuz for Mr. Berry. 66 of em were SunPuzs.
* One new weeject (out of 20 in this puz), having won it's well-deserved PB1 Usage Immunity status, today: HUD. Ok to use HUD now, constructioneer-wannabes. Always great to see a U-word make the cut.
* Shortzmeister Era debut words: AMVETS. PERFIDY. NOTABLES. PLENITUDE. POCATELLO. All 8 of the themers. Ooooh… another themed oversight: NONOTABLES = {Almost every cafeteria seating area, for M&A in high school?}
* PB1's fave weeject: OOF. He has used it 5 times in NYTPuzs. Lured by the near-U sound of the OO's, no doubt.
* Biggest disappointment: 199 puzs without either PEWIT or OES. Just don't feel a good, solid desperation vibe, in Mr. Berry's grid fillins. Perhaps as he gains experience… Really needs to do a runtpuz stint.

Thanx for a fun solve, Patrick Berry.



Leapfinger 3:27 PM  

So I truly started out with thinking BIMBO for 'Dirty dish', which absolutely shows how all the recent gutter-talk has tainted my thoughts with PERFIDY. It's by mere SPURious CAPRIce, I'll say, that in my actions still I'M MORAL. Shameful to see CHI-DEVIL added to the list of SEXKITTEN, BIMBO, YENTA et alia; we're grohing a regular CHIsaurus of Chame. Where will it end?

... Marilyn Monroe, starring in "Incubus Stop"...

Speaking of B-girls , @OISK, I've been meaning to tell you how much I enjoyed your story late the other night about your teaching class. You told it so well, and your last word absolutely knocked me flat.

@Carola, me too for ODEon and the SKIED-PRIED aye-rhyme, but I think I got SIMOLEON from Damon Runyon days, and that's why I liked it. I was also glad to see ADA, though now I've pnemonicized PNIN.

The D in LAD showed me where the CUCKOO was headed; thought that bit of wordplay an absolute coup. Only COCOA CONSPIRATORS came close, because chocolate, and any plot to corner that market is all good. Certain people, if you tell them something, you've told the world; if MIMI's that kind of gal, MIMI AND MY BIG MOUTH are not a good combination. AYE AYE, DOCTOR was weaker, butcute that 2 eyes got 2 ayes. A lot of doctors still want to hear those words as a matter of course. On Friday, a doctor injected my left long trigger finger for me, and I said 'Ai-ai-ai, Doctor'. (It's better now, and almost leaping.)

I see LOO in an IGLOO; with NO HEAT, can it be anything else? SITU down to see ...

PB1, I EAT UP YORE stuff. You never BORE, UH UH.


ps, left a late note on yesterday's blog w/ replies to several NOTABLES. Marginal interest, so all up to you. Sunny day, y'all!

Fred Romagnolo 3:39 PM  

I got SIMOLEONS from it's use by W.C. Fields in "My Little Chickadee." Khufu is buried in the Great Pyramid; CHEOPS is what Herodotus called him. Ad hominem means against the man (or person), so it was correctly used, right, Nazi? I loved, loved, loved this puzzle, but then, I'm a Maleska-ite. MIMI AND MY BIG MOUTH, was an inspiration. STROM Thurmond wound up as President pro tempore of the Senate due to longevity. Good Acrostic today, as well.

Roo Monster 4:10 PM  

Hey All !
One wrong letter! Argh! Had SeMOLEON! I hate one letter DNFs!
Oh, and also how can no one else know SIMOLEON from Boss Hogg on "The Dukes of Hazzard"? That's where I know it from. He used it all the time! Yes, I'm male, grew up on the 80's, how'd you know? :-)

Liked the puz, but agree it didn't seem Berry-esque enough. Although there was little dreck. Lots of double O's in SW. I did like the N and S themers stacked, nice way to fit 'em in. Had MeMe forever, which held me up for a bit with the downs. Steadily made my way through, some misdirectional clues slow to materialize in the ole brain. Actually grocked the theme at TUTU. The CUCKOO to me seemed an outlier because of the non repeating spelling. Just sayin.

Overall, nice, medium-ish. Aggrevated at my one letter DNF. One! (Insert random curse here.)


Leapfinger 4:16 PM  

@JFC, a good lawyer can win arguing either side of a case.

Neck lines: Nora Ephron's "I Feel Bad About My Neck"
Don't fret, Nora.

Some people just fluff & fold their laundry, but I IRONMINE.

For anyone not familiar with Greer Garson, she's a lady worth looking up

LULL a BYEBYE and goodnight.

Music man 4:23 PM  

When I saw this was a Berry, I got pretty excited. Halfway through the solve, having the first half of all the themers, less so. When I figured out the themer, bored. I agree with Rex in that this puzzle was for my grandma. I didn't know a good majority of the references and I'm guessing dated on crossword words. I was able to infer a lot, but ultimately had to DNF on about 10 or so squares. I did love the MIMI reference (duh look at my user name). Puccini is by far my favorite opera composer and La Boheme is up there with the best operas I've ever played. This about Puccini is that there is very little trombone, the trombone there is is incredibly well placed, but you end up sitting for half-hours at a time, allowing me to just take it all in. It's a beautiful thing :)

wreck 4:37 PM  

Average time for me and a somewhat average PB puzzle in my view ( which isn't a negative at all)! I (we) say it every time, but Berry clued puzzles usually make hard puzzles seem easier than they actually are.

Honeysmom 5:14 PM  

Am shocked, shocked that Rex never heard of Mimi in "La Boheme." Don't need to be an old timer or opera buff to name characters in renowned operas. Culture quotient lower than expected for a professor. Enjoyed today a lot. Very clever, not at all boring for a very mature, but very lively former English major.

Aketi 5:26 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
grammar nazi 5:27 PM  

@Fred and @F.O.G.: "Ad hominem" attacks use an attack on a person to refute an argument. For example, it is the logical fallacy that many conservitaves use to refute an opinion: "Krugman said it in the New York Times, so it must be wrong." They refute the argument by refuting the man, rather than making points that refute the position.
The anonymice on this blog do plenty of attacking of people, but usually their attacks have nothing to do with an argument per se. Their attacks are insults, but they are most definitely not "ad hominem" attacks in the correct use of that term. I'm afraid @Bertrand @12:50 is correct.

Aketi 5:38 PM  

@leapy, enjoyed your ANT, UNBRACE story from yesterday and your neck lines and CHIsaurus of CHAME today.

@elephant's child, I doubt the CHI CHI DEVIL has enough of a sense of humor to play leap frog. I take myself far less seriously than the imitator. At the same time, I can't take someone seriously who doesn't know how to use the scroll button to get to the stuff they find interesting. I am not threatened by someone who doesn't like what I write or misses my intent, because no one is obligated to read what I write.

I also routinely recognize that there are huge gaps in my cultural, historical, and literary education so I miss a lot of the crossword trivia. I am truly humbled by the knowledge of so many posters here and I do feel like I fumble my way through with only a few tiny areas of trivia that I do know. I genuinely like different points of view and enjoy the quirkiness of many of the posters. It was fun to actually meet Nancy in person, where the nuances of a conversation are much easier to judge.

@leapy, I actually thought of you when I picked that photo. However did you pick the name Leapfinger?

@alias Z, my apologies for misreading you while skimming this am.

@grammar nazi, Thx for the explanation of ad hominem.

evil doug 5:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hartley70 5:48 PM  

NoNo Nancy, @Ludy and I did not share the same prof. We were many miles apart. I was just expressing my admiration for her professor's sense of humor. I found humor to be a relatively rare commodity in that arena.

Aketi 6:02 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
F.O.G. 6:05 PM  

@Anonymous 12:10 PM -- It's not the anonymity ... it's the acidity that I was commenting on.

@BertrandRussell and @grammarnazi -- Perhaps you didn't take the class where "poetic license" was taught. I would highly recommend today's NYT Acrostic puzzle. You may find it instructive.

And @BertrandRussell -- There is hope for your sophomore debate team after all. (NOTE: This post is not an ad hominem attack upon BR, because, after all, there was no argument in his post to refute.)

evil doug 6:07 PM  


JFC 6:12 PM  

Thanks, @Leapy, but in my mind there is no inconsistency between the two. A good lawyer should be able to take two seeming irreconcilable opinions and make sense out of them but my two posts are not irreconcilable. I also feel humbled about being in the same company as @AliasZ today.

Ad hominem attacks are also attacks against character, so I agree with those that the @Anonymous dude who is making those attacks is one angry asshole.

Nancy 6:35 PM  

@Questinia -- I'm surprised no one's answered your 11:17 a.m. question yet. I WAS BORN IN A TRUNK is a song from the 1954 movie, A STAR IS BORN, sung by Judy Garland. I just tried to send you the link, but it didn't go through. But you can find it on YouTube.

Garland won the Oscar for her performance that year. I have always hated that movie, and found James Mason incredibly creepy in this and every other role he ever played. And that song. UGH! It's incredibly long, sung in the slowest of slow motion, and milked within an inch of its life by the way over-the-top Judy. Admittedly, I was very young when I saw the film and perhaps not boasting much in the way of patience, but I really thought the song was never going to end. I'm asking our resident musicians here, @Alias and @NCA Pres, do you have the same reaction to this song? Or am I way off-base?

BTW, I'm not at all clear why @Doris cited the lyric in her earlier post. Maybe it's something in the puzzle I missed?

Anonymous 6:40 PM  

They make special stuff to put on angry assholes, you know. What's it called? Anusol? Anbesol?? Calms those 'roid rages right down

I'm going anonymous on this one in order to maintain my claims to innocence

Questinia 6:45 PM  

Thanks @ Nancy. I'll check out the song. POCATELLO was in the puzzle.

grammar nazi 7:09 PM  

@JFC: Wrong. An "ad hominem" attack is NOT the equivalent of an insult or slur. @Anon may, in fact, be an AA (Angry Asshole) but s/he is certainly not using an "argumentum ad hominem:"

"An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, means responding to arguments by attacking a person's character, rather than to the content of their arguments. When used inappropriately, it is a fallacy in which a claim or argument is dismissed on the basis of some irrelevant fact or supposition about the author or the person being criticized.[2] Ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, for example, when it relates to the credibility of statements of fact or when used in certain kinds of moral and practical reasoning.[3]"

"Abusive ad hominem usually involves attacking the traits of an opponent as a means to invalidate their arguments. Equating someone's character with the soundness of their argument is a logical fallacy."

"Ad hominem abuse is not to be confused with slander or libel, which employ falsehoods and are not necessarily leveled to undermine otherwise sound stands with character attacks."

grammar nazi 7:18 PM  

I care about this because I find "ad hominem" to be a beautiful construction with a beautiful and very specific and useful meaning. Equating "ad hominem" with "insult" or "character attack," in addition to being simply wrong, diminishes the meaning and usefulness of a really nice phrase. There are plenty of other correct words for insults, slander, libel, character assassination, put-downs, vilification, slams, mockery, etc.

JFC 7:24 PM  

@grammar nazi, there you go again....


F.O.G. 7:30 PM  

Obviously the NYT Acrostic was not instructive. But I know you can't teach herding dogs not to herd, so I am not surprised.

grammar nazi 7:35 PM  

@F.O.G.: Thank you for providing a fine example of an argument ad hominem. Rather than addressing the substance of the issue at hand, you went with a character attack. I am a "herding dog," therefore my argument must be incorrect. Perfect.

Z 9:29 PM  

@grammar nazi - You fell victim to a different fallacy. @F.O.G. 11:18 asked, "or is it fact that nearly all of the ad hominem attacks on this blog are by Anonymous?" While all the insults posted by anonymice may not be ad hominem, I would assert that nearly all ad hominem arguments here are by anonymice. As for your last post, you may be in error again. @F.O.G. asserted that there was some lesson to be learned from a specific source. If indeed there is such a lesson then the observation you did not learn it may have merit. I've no idea what @F.O.G. is referring to, so I really cannot judge. I see from later posts that @F.O.G. may have indeed meant "insults," suggesting that the continued debate took you from "incorrect" based on the original text to "correct" based on the original intent. Maybe we should ask the Supreme Court to weigh in on whether the original text or original intent should win the day....

Anonymous 9:41 PM  

grammar nazi - you should have used a semicolon after "dog" in your post to avoid that comma splice.

Rodney King 9:54 PM  

Can't we all just get along?

NCA President 10:04 PM  

@Nancy: As for "Born in a Trunk," no, it's not too slow. It's classic Garland...it's like Garland concentrate. In fact, I hadn't noticed it before, but this is the very scene that is spoofed in "The Producers" when Roger De Bris, in his role as Hitler, sits on the edge of the stage and sings about his life before becoming the Führer. The entire Garland scene is very dramatic and shows why there will never be another Judy. She was remarkable in so many ways...and I'm not saying that just because I'm gay. She had a style all her own...often copied, never duplicated.

@Grammar Nazi: Another fallacy that people get wrong all the time (namely, me) is "begging the question." I know it is a circular argument, but I always misuse it to mean something that needs further explanation and the result is a nagging question that follows from the lack of information. For instance, if someone where arrested for suspicion of breaking and entering a warehouse, but they were innocent, their presence near the warehouse would "beg the question" what they were doing in vicinity in the first place.

Another thing I get wrong all the time: Irony. I'm terrible at it.

grammar nazi 10:15 PM  

@Z: Your argument would have significantly more merit if you, or @F.O.G., would provide a single example of an ad hominem argument made by an anonymouse. So far, the only one I observed was @F.O.G.'s above, and it is abundantly clear to me from his comments that F.O.G. has no idea what ad hominem means. Please find some examples of "all" of the ad hominem arguments to which you refer which have been made today (or other days) by anonymice.

@Nancy, I agree that "begging the question" is challenging and often misused.

kitshef 10:25 PM  

The problem with today's puzzle is that all the fun was in the theme, meaning a lot of it was just dull.

StUd before SPUR, which led to dAng and dArn before RATS; ODEon before ODEUM.

SKIED is one of those words that just looks wrong.

Nancy 10:28 PM  

Hi, grammar nazi -- Thanks for the support, always appreciated, but it was NCA Pres, not I, who offered his views on "begging the question" in his 10:04 p.m. post. He was responding, in part, to my 6:35 comment about Judy Garland singing I WAS BORN IN A TRUNK. I haven't mentioned "begging the question" once all day. In fact, I haven't really thought about it at all, if truth be told. But it's always nice to get a positive shout-out -- even when it's completely unearned. :)

MDMA 10:31 PM  

Sayre's law: "In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake." Corollary: "That is why academic politics are so bitter."

jae 12:17 AM  

I may have been premature/ overly optimistic in musing about blog peacefulness. Alas.

Fred Romagnolo 12:35 AM  

@Nancy: you are so right on Judy Garland and that interminable song; that movie made me appreciate the Frederic March original so much more. Nazi: sometimes I think you don't see the forest for the trees. Sorry, I enormously respect you, usually.

Leapfinger 7:37 AM  

Anyone else notice that all the fallacy arguments (so far) have come from those of the XY persuasion?

Fallacy, fallacy, fallacy onward,
Into the melds rode the reblundered

AnonyMisses 7:48 AM  

Curses. Autocorrected again.

"into the melee rode the (whoever they are)"


Maruchka 9:20 AM  

@'mericans - Will raise un verre to Matt and Maria from the Tonga Room, TIKI bar extraordinaire. Some Lamb with Dill Sauce (a la R.C.) as a side..

old timer 11:28 AM  

I thought they were going to close the Tonga Room (the one at the Fairmont in San Francisco). As a college freshman in 1962, I competed in a scavenger hunt in The City, and one of the items on the list was an item from the Tonga Room. Truly a Tiki bar extraordinaire.

JenCT 12:35 PM  

@jae: I too take back what I said about the Blog being civilized.

"Can't we all just get along?"

Hi Tita!

OISK 1:50 PM  

Next day, but I still have to say that I loved this puzzle, and loved Alias Z 's comments about it. Mimi is about as far from obscure as any opera reference could be. Alydar ran second to Affirmed three times, by a TOTAL margin of less than a length. I love horse racing - one clue per month about the sport is surely not overdoing it? I laughed out loud several times, Patrick. Just wonderful. Chi-chi devil! Ha!
And thanks for the nice comment @ Leapfinger!

Derrick Schneider 2:43 PM  

In addition to the excellent points others have raised about La Boheme (as a basis for Rent), it's been performed more than any other opera at the Met. More than crossword favorite AIDA and way more than Un Ballo in Maschera, whence crossword favorite ERI TU.

Burma Shave 11:57 AM  


Ms. Rogers removed her TUTUOFDIAMONDS and FLASHed me so I’d HEATUP,
HELLO! IGETIT, I’m not STUPID, YORE INLUCK when offered something to EATUP.
Some SCREAM in RAGE that her STATUS was EVIL, or somewhat IMMORAL,
but MIMIANDMYBIGMOUTH PHIL our own BILL and PLAYON with no quarrel.


Ray o sunshine 12:34 PM  

Thought I'd aced it in record time till I checked here and realized "ELSA" crossed with "SEMOLEON" should have been "ILSA" and "SIMOLEQN"

Ray o sunshine 12:34 PM  

Thought I'd aced it in record time till I checked here and realized "ELSA" crossed with "SEMOLEON" should have been "ILSA" and "SIMOLEQN"

spacecraft 1:55 PM  

What, no rappers? Oh yeah, ICET, the most mainstream one you can get. No uber-tech? Not unless you count the already greybearded IPOD. So sorry, O Fearless One. I know how disappointed you are. It was almost enough to turn you against PB.


This was a tad easier and less "sloggish" than most Sundays. I had fun with it. My favorite is MIMIANDMYBIGMOUTH, Gotta love it. I agree not his best, but even his not-best is better than most other folks' "Wow, I really hit it outa the park that time, didn't I?" A-.

AnonymousPVX 4:12 PM  

Today is 7/19/15, we get it a week late…

I thought this a bit crunchy, my first pass across and down was not promising. Worked the corners inward and started to get the flow. Finally finished successful.

I liked this puzzle.

Cathy 4:26 PM  

Hi syndilanders!

Just back from vacation to Sacramento for California state fair and long road trip up the pacific coast. Awesome.
Wish I had my newspapers saved to back track on puzzles. Didn't really care for todays. Bye bye products was kind of funny. I guess I'm just tired.
Happy to be home:)

rondo 8:22 PM  

Haha. TUTU funny. Or zany as someone said. Filled this one in while flat water kayaking on the St. Croix. Sometimes there's just better things to start the day with. This grid is now just oily from handling with Banana Boat 15 all over. And beer.

I'll hafta go with GREER Garson as the yeah baby of the day. The recently deceased Rosie GREER was a different situation.

Let's see . . . RIGID, BONE, IMMORAL, FLASH ... reminds me of something.

First wife was a CHICHIDEVIL. Anyone who got to know her would agree.

S'pose Ed ASNER ever knew how popular his name is in xwords? Top ten for sure.

Actually read ADA on recommendation of my now wife. You should read that BOOK too. Unfortunately, most days now ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act. Check your curb ramps and truncated domes.

OK puz to do on a 85* day on the river with alot of yeah babies to OGLE.

juniper 10:24 AM  

La Vie Boheme said that MIM IAND MY BIG MOUTH was nonsensical. Not at all. Didn't you ever hear "Me and my big mouth"? It was my favorite. I know of La Boheme from the modern version--the musical Rent--you knw that, right, Rex? I thought it was a fun puzzle. I love being able to solve the entire thing with googling.

Lionel Trains 11:40 AM  

AYE AYE, DOCTOR (53A: "I'll obey your medical advice!"?) CHOO-CHOO TOYS (85A: Lionel trains?) COCOA CONSPIRATORS (93A: Group ... elioneltrains.blogspot.com

Irfan Ali 9:54 AM  

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