First obstacle in 1967 R&B hit / TUE 9-15-15 / Daily diary american dream sloganeer / First monument on monument avenue Richmond / City at confluence of Rhone Saone / Product of Nucor Corporation / Jack Ryan's teaching post

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Constructor: Iain S. Padley

Relative difficulty: I don't know. Pretty easy if you know the song, otherwise, who knows...?

THEME: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" —theme answers are parts of the chorus to that song. Obstacle, obstacle, obstacle, goal

Theme answers:
  • MOUNTAIN HIGH (20A: First obstacle in a 1967 R&B hit)
  • VALLEY LOW (34A: Second obstacle)
  • RIVER WIDE (45A: Third obstacle)
  • GETTING TO YOU (57A: Objective in the 1967 R&B hit) 
Word of the Day: William OTIS (60D: William ___, inventor of the steam shovel) —
A steam shovel is a large steam-powered excavating machine designed for lifting and moving material such as rock and soil. It is the earliest type of power shovel or excavator. They played a major role in public works in the 19th and early 20th century, being key to the construction of railroads and the Panama Canal. The development of simpler, cheaper diesel-powered shovels caused steam shovels to fall out of favour in the 1930s. (wikipedia)
• • •

Ah. Tuesday being Tuesday again, I see. For several reasons, this puzzle is a No. Let's start with the fact that building an entire puzzle around a nearly 50-year-old song is a dicey proposition to start with. It's a great song, and it will certain be very familiar to a certain core NYT solver audience, but old is old and next time you complain about cultural references you don't get, imagine an Entire Puzzle built around one. But I'll let that issue slide—it's a great song, it's a classic song, and so, fine, let's go. But there's one big problem with the theme. The noun-adjective thing is terrible. They can't stand alone like that. The obstacle is not a "MOUNTAIN HIGH." It's a theoretical, non-specific mountain. In fact, it's a mountain that doesn't exist. Because the whole point is that no mountain is high *enough*, no valley is low *enough*, no river is wide *enough*, to keep Marvin or Tammy from getting to Tammy or Marvin. I think the constructor conflated (as I did, trying to piece this theme together) this Tammy and Marvin duet with another classic R&B song from just one year earlier: "River Deep, Mountain High" by Ike & Tina Turner.

There, both the "River Deep" and the "Mountain High" are stand-alone noun phrases, w/ that weird, semi-archaic syntax thing where adjective follows (rather than precedes) noun. Now, in that song, those things aren't obstacles, but they do stand alone and have not been ripped from grammatical context. So this puzzle is just ... inaccurate and unfaithful to the grammar of the song. Even in the non-chorus part, where Marvin goes "Ain't no mountain high, ain't no valley low, ain't no river wide enough, baby," he's still just holding the "enough" ... the "enough" applies to all three parts. Nowhere but nowhere is a MOUNTAIN HIGH an "obstacle." Seriously, this thing is broken at the level of grammar. Re: the themers, my constructor friend put it much more succinctly than I have: "they're just 4 partial phrases wrongly clued."

Further, the fill is atrocious. I kept taking pictures of it because I needed to document the parts that made me stop and go "ugh." There was ... well, right away—there's no reason for ACER and ARCO up there, yuck.

And then again, when I got doubled-up by ESME *and* ESAI. I mean, come on. One or the other, max. Never both. That's just mean (lazy).

Then there was the FLOR next to the OBI ...

I stopped the exercise at that point. No fun. LRON, no fun. TABULA on its own, no fun. ABAR ENE EST. Theme just isn't demanding enough to warrant all this old old old school stuff. It's not that it was hard. I got it. It's all just so unwelcome and stale. MOTHS, indeed.

Most interesting moment was trying to figure out how DON could be right for 12D: Person behind the hits? Took me a few seconds to get that it was a mafia thing. There was not much else interesting about this puzzle.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. this thing where non-themers are longer than shortest themers? No. No-no. Don't do that *unless* you are running the longer answers Down (or opposite direction from whichever direction your themers are going in), in which case it's not a distraction. 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


ZenMonkey 12:35 AM  

Fill is so bad even I can't look past it. There's tons of it and I knew the theme clues so it was just an exercise plugging in the letters. I can take a lot of ACERs and ESAIs if the rest of the puzzle is worth it to me, but there wasn't even much fun to be had with the cluing. I didn't mind the choice of song nearly as much as Rex though. In fact I liked it.

Thank you Rex for including the Erasure cover. That's the version I heard first, so I already loved it when I heard the glorious Tina Turner on the original.

jae 1:01 AM  

Easy for me and easier than yesterday's, but then I knew the song.

Great song, and I liked the puzzle better than Rex did. The theme again trumps the fill. Nice debut.

I also like Darlene Love's version of River Deep, Mountain
, with an amazing "wall of sound"
backing her up.

chefwen 1:39 AM  

I knew the song but didn't associate it with this puzzle 'til Rex splained it to me and I still had no difficulty solving. Pretty easy, only one write over at 21D sped before TORE. Didn't know William OTIS, didn't need to, auto fill.

I'll just WAIT AROUND a for a fun filled rebus (hopeful for tomorrow)

JTHurst 1:53 AM  

Did Rex pull a DNF with his EST answer as I got ESP because it had to be polar (56d) or was it a typo.

We will never know. Ok, maybe the Don, who is behind the hits.

I always thought the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were from Tampa but they play in St. Pete, learn something everyday.

Rex thanks for the Tina reminder. I may be an old fogey but you have never seen anyone dance like Tina and the Ikettes, in person. Beyonce, Rihanna, Miley, etal do not hold a candle to that 'flame'.

mathgent 6:44 AM  

Right you are, Rex. I thought that I had missed something in the clues because "enough" was not mentioned anywhere.

Despite the inartistic cluing, it was easy enough to get the themers. But then what? Pedestrian cluing. Entries like ENE, GENT, ORO, SUD, UHOH.

I'm blaming Will Shortz for this one. Better editing could have saved it, I think.

jberg 6:55 AM  

I didn't know the song, so I put in ocean WIDE; otherwise easy.

And how 'bout that OH YOU/UH-OH crossing?

George Barany 7:04 AM  

I Heard It Through the Grapevine that this is @Iain Padley's debut New York Times construction, so congratulations for that! What a crossword-friendly (i.e., vowel-rich, low Scrabble) first name, can't wait to see that in a grid.

@Rex is right, though -- I've been sipping coffee at Starbuck's and not trying especially hard, but several of the problematic areas identified in @Rex's critique can be improved drawing on standard word lists. What's Going On?

Excellent clue for ARIA, have a listen, @AliasZ (and others). But missed cluing opportunity on OTIS Still, I do appreciate the opportunity to revisit songs that predate when I started listening to this sort of music, and the three versions of "River Deep Mountain High" embedded in the review were ALL_NEW to me.

Lewis 7:09 AM  

@Rex -- I agreed with you completely, except I don't mind LRON (which is just weird enough to be interesting) or TABULA by itself, as clued, except I thought fill-in-the-blanks were supposed to be five letters or less.

The theme answers are just plain awkward. I think the theme should have been scratched.

Meanwhile, yes, there may be some Tuesday terribleness, but there is fun to be found. A low BET, TORE up, a PLOW cutting through SLEET, a POLAR plunge, two backward HO's close to DON, SUD is nord, EST is east, and there is a minor theme of double EE's (5). I did like the clues to POLAR and DON and I think TOWAWAYS is a great answer. Maybe because I remember the song (and because of simple cluing) this puzzle felt way easy for a Tuesday, but it (like most NYT puzzles) was fun to solve, and in addition, gave me an ear worm for the day.

Z 7:26 AM  

I kept waiting for a clever inclusion of "enough." I'm still waiting.

Gubdude 7:27 AM  

Agree with Rex. The theme just doesn't work.

However, MOUNTAIN HIGH was a fictional movie in the Seinfeld universe, so there's that.

Jon88 7:51 AM  

"And how 'bout that OH YOU/UH-OH crossing?" And how 'bout OH YOU and GETTING TO YOU? (y)ouch.

leadlike 8:00 AM  

Haha, I was thinking DON referred to DON KING...That makes sense, right?

Colby 8:04 AM  

Some bad fill but a unique theme and I overall enjoyed it. I'm a 20-something and I assure you that most other 20-somethings know the song.

chefbea 8:07 AM  

Had to google a few times but eventually finished. I had forgotten the song , so that's why I had such a hard time

Lobster11 8:15 AM  

Didn't bother me that the theme answers don't stand alone as grammatical phrases; I thought that was part of the puzzle's charm (such as it was). However, it cries out for a revealer that somehow references the missing "enough." Maybe something like, "Ending for 20A, 34A, and 45A"? Or "Word missing from..."?

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

I just rewatched Sideways this weekend and I'm reminded of the first tasting scene. Paul Giamatti's character goes on a huge critique highlighting the flaws in the wine, while Thomas Haden Church's character takes a swig and says, "tastes good to me." I feel like Thomas Haden Church. . .this puzzle "tastes good to me."

Plus this song was (somewhat) recently used very effectively in Remember The Titans. My 13 year old loves this song (he loves the movie) and I know his friends feel the same. It's on all the time so it's probably not as unknown as one would think.

Charles Flaster 8:29 AM  

Knew theme song so puz became very EZ.
Liked clues for MOTHS and POLAR.
Lots of CrosswordEASE especially ESAI and OBI.
Write overs included ARCO for essO and DON for cON.
Did not understand the SLEET answer as clue needed an indication of precipitation.
Thanks ISP.

Dshawmaine 8:31 AM  

I enjoyed the theme, but never do I ever want to see ESAI in a puzzle again.

MetaRex 8:34 AM  

NYT-WSJ battle of the titans, day 2--

NYT--What Rex said, pretty much...for my riff, you can check out the MetaRex blog...too lazy at the moment to look up the nice instructions Ellen S. sent me a few years back on how to post a link...googling should work.

WSJ--An appropriate "seconds" theme for the second day...also a "make ya think" theme, w/ a nice association between the opening answer using "seconds" as a unit of radial measurement and the closing answer using it as a unit of time...HUNGRY DINERS was kinda green paintish as a thematic answer. 76 word grid...some drecky fill...six decent long downs...liked NATASHA and SANS SERIF.

Winner, Day 2--WSJ

r.alphbunker 8:42 AM  

Puzzle report

Had UMP instead of DON for 12D {Person behind the hits?}

A couple of years ago I went back to Rhode Island where I grew up and found that it was a different place, new roads, new buildings, old buildings with new tenants, etc. One remnant of the sixties was found in restaurants which seemed to favor oldies but goodies.

Blue Stater 8:45 AM  

And if you *didn't* know the song, murderously difficult for a Tuesday. The decline continues....

Andrew Morrison 8:46 AM  

EZ Monday puzzle. But, whoops, this is Tuesday!

Knowing the song was a definite advantage, but I think this puzzle would have been easy even without that advantage. Hopefully some folks will chime in on that matter.

Ellen S 9:04 AM  

I was not at all familiar with the song but must have heard "River Deep Mountain High" accidentally at some point because the phrases seemed right. Anyway, not my kind of music at all but still an easy puzzle. When I came to ESAI I figured there would be explosions, but the rest of the glue didn't bother me. I thought it was a fun enough puzzle and right for a Tuesday.

Nice debut, Mr. Padley!

Ludyjynn 9:28 AM  

Picture a packed auditorium in Burlington, VT in 1972. The audience is getting very restless as the performers are almost an hour late. An announcement is made that inclement winter weather has delayed the band's arrival.

Suddenly, the rear doors swing open and up the two main aisles Ike Turner and the band members and Tina Turner and her backup singers/dancers, The Ikettes, literally come dancing and singing their way to the stage, fur coats flying as they bump and grind. Never missing a beat, they ascend the stairs to the stage, going from a cappella to full instrumentation as Tina belts out RIVER DEEP MOUNTAIN HIGH, Proud Mary and a slew of their hits.

Over the next 90 minutes, Tina grasps the microphone and moves her body in such a manner that some of the prudes in the crowd leave, shocked by her lewd performance! The rest of us are enthralled and mesmerized! An unforgettable evening.

Thanks for the memory, ISP and WS.

Whirred Whacks 9:34 AM  

I liked the puzzle (and the song on which it's based). I think the Rexster is way overthinking his objections to the theme. (Some of the fill: meh.)

@jberg Surprised you didn't know the song. Weren't you like 16 or 17 at the time it came out --.with hormones racing through your body? :-)

Roo Monster 9:39 AM  

Hey All !
Ok puz, easy enough for a Tuesday. Lots of W's. Agree with the dreckness. What else to say?


quilter1 9:45 AM  

Easy Tuesday for me. I know the song so once the mountain appeared I just filled in the rest of the themes. I, too, found it odd that 18A and 62A were so long and not themers. It would have been better if the theme could have been used there.

GILL I. 9:55 AM  

Wow....I rather enjoyed this puzzle. Best Tuesday in a long while made even more fun because I'm almost out of ink and most of the clues were all-a-blur...Guessing the correct answer helps me get the MOTHS out of this attic.
I know the song; I can sing all the words, and I think making a puzzle about it on a Tuesday is just fine. Just to make everyone blow their brains out, I think someone should do an AVATAR theme or better yet Titanic. That should get the juices flowing.
@Rex, you sorta lost me at "w/that weird, semi-archaic syntax thing...." but then, I'm just a simpleton.
I'm a liking it lain S. Padley and, you have a great name!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:05 AM  

Fun puzzle, and an added LOL at Rex's critique.

But, oh!, did I start off badly:

"Let's see, 1 A. Hmmm, DEAF? Slightly not PC. But 1 D, 'Yes, DEAR.' So OK. And 2 D, 'Chevron competitor,' could be ESSO in Canada? Another OK." Of course, nothing else fit after that, had to rework that corner, smooth sailing from there.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Oh Rex, there you go again - letting your first thought drive you to a negative review when a little research would find the correct reference showing the brilliance of the puzzle. This puzzle, rather obviously, wasn't based on the Ashford and Simpson song but the 1913 blues standard by Henry 'Ennui' Slackmouth Brown with lyrics including

Getting back to you my goal,
But there's this mountain high between us,
So I'll just have a few beers and sleep girl [girl and goal rhyme in the Delta]

Getting back to you is my goal,
But there's this river deep between us,
So I'll just lay down under this tree and nap for a while

Come to think of it, Ashford & Simpson rather clearly plagiarized Ennui's lyrics, no?

Noam D. Elkies 10:28 AM  

Never mind UH-OH: are we supposed to have OH YOU *and* GETTING TO YOU in the same grid?

Long non-themers - whatevs. The clues tell you which entries are thematic and which aren't.

Didn't know the song either but it's not that hard to piece together from context. Yes, they're implicit partials. So what? As with long non-theme entries, few solvers even know about the long-partial "rule", and fewer yet care. In this case they're also parallel phrases in the song so it's natural to combine them in a theme.

Yeah, the fill is not ideal. Most of it is easy enough to get or at least confirm from crosses. I don't even mind a few "the year 902" -> MCII if I spend only a few seconds on such an entry and get a few useful crosses from it to help solve the rest.

On to WeNDEsday (yes, I know, but that's how it souNDEd to me).

Joseph Michael 10:42 AM  

Thought this was an OK puzzle except for the theme issues that Rex REFERs TO. Different cluing for the themers might have saved this, e.g., if they were weren't described as "obstacles" but rather something between "ain't no" and "enough."

Didn't like the duplication of OHs and YOUs. Seems like cheating or laziness.

Did like the shout out to Marvin and Tammy. But that OTIS next to YOKO could have been a Redding instead of a steam shovel.

Not sure how ROBERT E LEE ended up in Motown, but then again so did TILLY, ELMO, L RON,and ROSA who are lurking nearby and ESAI WAITing AROUND like a WEENIE atop the MOUNTAIN HIGH.

Campesite 10:47 AM  

Loved seeing Tina Turner and the Ikettes, thanks for that link. I highly recommend this feel good documentary 20 Feet From Stardom celebrating longtime backup singers.

mac 11:07 AM  

A little dreary, this puzzle, and I realize now I also thought of the Turners' song instead of the other, or maybe both at the same time. Anyway, a song came to mind almost immediately.

We've seen so many repos lately that towaways was a bit of a surprise.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Clueing was AWFUL on this. And I know the song. Blech.

Leapfinger 11:15 AM  

So @Rex thinks this puzzle should've been a ThrOWAWAY? I thought it was kind of funny to see OSLO, OBI, ESAI, ESME & Co. resurface in all their ese-y glory. To be frank, the only thing that really bummed me out was being reminded that, on average, a MALE EARNS one dollar for every 76 cents a feMALE EARNS. I ain't LYON.

Not sure why that song was top o' mind, but I recognized it with only a few starters in 20A. Even better than Marvin and Tammy (for me) was its inclusion in Remember the Titans, a sports film that wears really well, imo. Resisting any impulse to parse how the themers did/didn't fit meant that I was free to enjoy all that.

One definite bonus was discovering the heretofore unspecified middle name of General ROB ERTE LEE, so thanks for that also.

If there are parts of the puzzle still GETTING TO YOU, it's likely you can blame them on that SILENT I in Iain Padley's name.

Congrats on your NYT debut, Iain. WEVE us another one.

old timer 11:33 AM  

Where's everybody gone? Only 7 comments and it's 11:30 back in the old EDT where the Devil RAYS play.

Gotta say, OFL pretty much nailed it today. Oh, and this would be a good one to be the subject if a Hayley Gold comic.

Say, did you know that three of ROBERT E LEE's grandchildren were ESME, ESAI and ELMO? I'm tickled to know this. Or at least to imagine this is true. Another, ENID, was one of the Sooners in Oklahoma.

Myuen88 11:45 AM  

Get one obstacle, you've got them all.

Bronxdoc 12:06 PM  

Oh come on. Great song. Fun puzzle. At the very least, you'd have to be a weenie not to enjoy the clue for 'don'.

AliasZ 12:18 PM  

Nice NYT debut, Iain. It caused serious earworm infestation that I will be unable to shake for the whole day. For that, I thank you.

If you ESME, we could have done without SUD, ACER, A LINE, A BAR, ENE, ESP, EST, YOKO ORO and a few others, however WAIT AROUND, TOWAWAYS, JETSET, WEENIE, Sunday's OH YOU, etc. were worth the effort.

ROSA Ponselle (Ponzillo) (1897-1981) was a soprano opera singer, mostly with the Met. Here she sings the ARIA "Casta diva" from Bellini's "Norma", one of her most celebrated roles.

Happy Tuesday.

Mohair Sam 1:24 PM  

Yeah, the true classic is "River Deep, Mountain High" - no other is worth the hideous fill, @Rex is spot on. He's right on his grammar scolding too.

@ludyjynn - Envy you that Ike and Tina experience. First time I ever saw or heard of Celine Dion was when she performed "River Deep" on Letterman back in the early '90's - became a fan for life.

Wonder if Norwich, CT has a monument to Benedict Arnold?

OISK 1:31 PM  

Never heard of THAT song. But there is a lovely Rogers and Hammerstein song (from the show "Lute Song") with the lyric "If you need me I will be near by, mountain high, valley low." There are two wonderful renditions that I know of, one by Mary Martin, and one by Jo Stafford.

I knew it was not "R and B," but perhaps it was corrupted by some rocker, the way they destroyed "Blue Moon," and "I told every little star." (and for me, though others love it, "At Last," which is sung properly by Nat King Cole, and mangled by Etta James. Yeah, I know, sacrilege, but these are matters of taste...)

So I got Mountain High and Valley Low right away. But there's no "River Wide," although "Getting to you " made perfect sense. Maybe some verse they left out when they sang it?

Nope. I found out ONLY when I came here that it refers to a different song entirely.

As to the fill - Arco crossing Acer - I don't like product clues. What is WSJ?? But in toto, I liked it more than most who have commented before me. ( might Esai be the most commonly occurring uncommon first name in The Times puzzle these days? Eclipsing the former champion, "Erle" ?)

cwf 1:51 PM  

@Whirred Whacks: "I think the Rexster is way overthinking his objections to the theme."

That is precisely why I read this blog every day. Here's to the overthinkers.

Elephant's Child 1:52 PM  

Dona FLOR and Her Two Sopranos: ROSA Ponselle and Lily Pons.

Teedmn 1:58 PM  

Thanks, Anon 8:22, for giving me the name of the movie the themer song was in. I just saw that movie last week and when the players started singing that song, I wondered how many movies has this song been in? The reason being that the song is heavily featured in the 1998 movie 'Stepmom' with Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts and a young Jena Malone. A Google search found 4 other movies it was in, that I hadn't noticed. So the clue at 20A and the beginning M made this theme fall into place FLATLY?

My attempt to speed through this puzzle had me put in 'a ton' at 65A, which caused a cascade of black ink down in the SE, so this took a little longer than my usual Tuesday time.

Thanks for the shout out at 25D [S(TEED)S] Iain Padley, and congrats on the debut.

Evan Jordan 2:08 PM  

Regarding "oldness" in puzzles:
- For three decades, Retro-centric cable TV programming (on channels like VH1, Nick at Nite and syndication giants like TBS) has been exposing children of all ages to the cultural byproducts of the generations before them.
- One's elders don't usually slough off their sentimental favorite anythings as the change with the times. No, they make you sit and listen as the repeat each line of the lyric so you'll get what's REALLY "goin' on".
- If a young person is precocious enough to even want to solve the NYT crossword, they are probably of the type who soaks and retains info droplets almost indiscriminately.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

I'm still trying to figure out how ROBERTELEE fits into the theme.

fred eiseman 2:21 PM  

Detroit is much is much more North than East of Kansas City, so NNE is the
appropriate answer for 49A

Mr. C 2:38 PM  


I'm with you, this puzzle tasted OK to me.

Of course OFL is an English teacher, and feels duty-bound, I guess, to uphold proper grammar, or usage, or whatever he was doing.

Z 3:23 PM  

@fred eiseman - Detroit is ~12° East of Kansas City but ony ~3° North of it. The way I learned math 12°>3°. Ergo ENE is correct (except for being wrong because RCDs are about as bad as RRNs).

Anonymous 3:28 PM  


Down by the levee
In old Alabamy
Waitin' for the ROBERT E LEE

Airymom 3:35 PM  

First of all, Happy New Year to fellow "members of the tribe". I came of age in the late 60's and early 70's in NYC, so Motown was my music, and I could fill in the theme answers immediately.
No matter which song someone would choose, you would have those who know it and those who don't. However, Rex, I think you underestimate today's generation. When my 21 year old son got up this morning I said to him (without any context)--"ain't no mountain high enough", and he immediately replied "ain't no valley low enough."

If you attend a University of Maryland basketball game, the crowd goes wild for "Sweet Caroline" which was recorded 46 years ago. So I think the teens and 20 somethings truly know classic rock and roll and r&b.

Celine Dion singing "River Deep, Mountain High?" That should be a felony.

r.alphbunker 5:13 PM  

This just in.

Only 11 of the 78 words in this puzzle were introduced in the Shortz era.
05/01/1994 UHOH
07/04/1994 ATF
07/29/2001 REFERTO
05/21/2002 WSJ
06/14/2015 RENEGEON
09/15/2015 RIVERWIDE
09/15/2015 WAITAROUND
09/15/2015 VALLEYLOW
09/15/2015 TOWAWAYS

All others had their first appearance in preshortzian puzzles.

In fact, three of them LIEU, STEEDS and MOTHS were introduced in the very first NYT puzzle on 2/15/1942

Details are here

'mericans in paradise 5:16 PM  

Am in Kauai at the moment, where the NYT arrives two days after it is published. But had a great visit with Chef Wen and Hubby, and they kindly gave me a printed copy of the puzzle (which I guess they had downloaded electronically), which I did later while waiting for traffic to clear following a bad accident that completely blocked the main (and only through) road to the north side.

Actually, DNF. At first TORE through the puzzle and assumed I would finish in a FAST time. However, I thought the answer to 9D was nOtGETS and 10D was oHOH, which led me to guess noteS for 9A. Knew that 11D had to be NYU, not tYU, but just couldn't make everything work in that corner. Perhaps I can blame it on JETlag.

Agree with Rex's assessment, which is fair, well-written, and to the point. Especially agree that the noun-adjective pairings don't really work as answers to the clues.

Never knew that there was a dress style called ALINE or A LINE. Have never in all my life heard anybody use AKIN to mean related by blood. That is pretty obscure. Have heard, of course, that somebody is "A KIN of".

Would have preferred that 27D had been clued as "Big rocks [i.e., mountains] meet Little Rock?" (Answer: WV AT AR), which would have yielded "WTF" for 27A.

Off now in search of NEMO.

Hartley70 5:19 PM  

@Ludy, you made me feel like I was there watching the incomparable Tina with you! I sure wish I had been. Sounds like quite a night!

I enjoyed this one because, well it's Tuesday again so my expectations are modest, and it had a theme song that I love. I admit I hate ESAI with the best of them, and OBI's pretty high on my black list. ARIA only escapes condemnation today because of the clever cluing. It'll be posted near the top tomorrow without a doubt.

Overall I'm giving props to the constructor for a way better than average Tuesday. Well done!

Mohair Sam 5:32 PM  

@Airymom - Forget what you know about her. Youtube it (1994 Letterman). She's good.

Anonymous 7:40 PM  

Rex, I am so impressed that you are willing to expose yourself for the ignorant, arrogant ass you are day after day. Keep up the good work!

The Rhino 8:06 PM  

I don't know what's happening with me, but I'm hitting a rex-like dissatisfaction with the puzzles the last few weeks. I had very little fun doing this one, and was stuck for a long time in the north east - and not the good kind of stuck. No, it was the 'ugh, more French' kind of stuck.

I did find it funny that I blanked on FORGETS, but that was about the only enjoyment I received from this one.

ANON B 8:40 PM  


Robert E. Lee was not a theme

Z 10:22 PM  

@r.alphbunker - Good stuff. Of the 1942 crowd I'd nominate the following for permanent retirement - or at least the "only use when you have absolutely no other choice and the rest of the puzzle is fantastic" list:

Answer First use

EST 03/08/1942
OBI 05/10/1942
ENE 07/12/1942

I feel like 73 years of annoying solvers is long enough.

Wm. C. 10:39 PM  

@Oisk -- Wall Street Journal

@Airymom -- ""Sweet Caroline" is a Fenway Park tradition, played every home game for the past 25 years or so during the 7th inning stretch, I think. It started when an announcer mentioned that it was his daughter Caroline's birthday, and the organ player nearby, hearing this, played the song, to the delight of a stadium-full of fans, who all joyously joined in with the lyrics - especially with the "so good!" refrain. And a tradition was born. A couple other factoids: Neil Diamond's inspiration when he wrote the song was Caroline Kennedy; and the song has become an Anthem for the city of Boston, for example being played in dozens of cities worldwide in solidarity with Boston after the Marathon bombing two years ago.

Old North Stater 8:43 AM  

@Z, misfortunately, 'annoying solvers' continue to show up on a daily basis. Fortunately, some entertaining and informative ones do too. Y'all know who you are.

@Wm C, you'll no doubt forgive the Carolinas (both North and South) for feeling that they have a bit of a proprietary interest.

Anonymous 10:34 PM  

Did anyone mention "Guardians of the Galaxy"? Just happened to see it for the second time. This song is stuck the very dramatic conclusion! So it's been revived in pop culture!

spacecraft 10:47 AM  

Well, now I know where Monday went. This thing filled itself--in all its ugliness. WEENIE, really? Not gonna go on, there's too much silliness. As to the commentary, there is one point I'd like to make.

People here have, from time to time, expressed their disgust at the very mention of history's villains. I feel the same way about wife-beaters, so please, talk about Tina all you want; she has always been a great entertainer. But I can't even bring myself to type the name of the bastard she married.

Getting to--uh-oh--oh you! where was Will? Does any old grid get in? "All the news that's fit to print" is a lofty MOTTO: what about the puzzles? This one should have been FLATLY rejected. F.

Burma Shave 11:52 AM  


don’t RENEGEON those AIMS you always REFERTO.
You ARENT allowed TABULA resa in LIEU,
WEVE found LOTS of ways of GETTINGTOYOU.


rondo 12:28 PM  

SOW WATT! The theme was coherent enough and the fill was no worse than a usual Tues-puz. You gonna WAITAROUND for things to improve or become ALLNEW? WEVE all seen worse.

I filled in the themers first with the big goof at GETbackTOYOU. But that got fixed in no time. Also had ump for DON for a nanosec.

Meg TILLY was a yeah baby, going back far enough.

If you walk into ABAR SOBER, ARENT you going to spend LOTS more than necessary? Yes MAAM.

Any WEENIE can FLATLY complain about a Tues-puz, I’ve resigned myself to not expect much and appreciate one if the AIM’S a bit higher.

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

Good Easy Tues puzzle and I enjoyed it. Perfect for a Mon or Tues. When I started, I was LOW. Then my brain WIDEned, causing me to attain a HIGH. I think I'll go out in the garden and have sex with the gnome. Hope I'm not GETTING TO YOU, you prudes.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Where the gnomes outnumber the homes).

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