Rallying cry during Polk administration / SUN 9-6-15 / Israelite progenitor / hand-made percussion / nog topper / Arabian Nights predator / 1960s buddy cop sitcom informally / 2004 rom-com in which middle schooler transformed into adult overnight / Relentless faultfinder / Beau Brummell accessories / Game people rarely agree to play twice

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Double Digits" — 9 boxes have two-digit numbers in them

Theme answers:
  • 'ADAM 12' / '12 ANGRY MEN'
  • 'CAR 54' / TOP 40 / '54-40 OR FIGHT!' 
  • APRIL 15 / 15 MINUTES
  • THE B-52S / 52 PICK-UP
  • CENTURY 21 / '21 GRAMS'
  • '13 GOING ON 30' / PG-13 / '30 ROCK'
  • THE LOWER 48 / '48 HRS.' 
Word of the Day: "54º 40' OR FIGHT" (28A: Rallying cry during the Polk administration) —
The southern boundary of the United States with Mexico was not the only western territory under dispute. The Oregon Territory spanned the modern states of Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, as well as the western coast of Canada up to the border of Russian Alaska. Both Great Britain and America claimed the territory. The Treaty of 1818 called for joint occupation of Oregon — a solution that was only temporary. Led by missionaries, American settlers began to outnumber British settlers by the late 1830s. But Britain was not Mexico. Its powerful navy was still the largest in the world. Twice before had Americans taken up arms against their former colonizers at great expense to each side. Prudence would suggest a negotiated settlement, but the spirit of manifest destiny dominated American thought. Yet another great showdown loomed. Oregon fever swept the nation in the 1840s. Thousands of settlers, lured by the lush Willamette Valley headed west on the Oregon Trail. Families in caravans of 20 or 30 braved the elements to reach the distant land. Poor eastern families could not generally make the trip, as outfitting such an expedition was quite expensive. The Conestoga wagon, oxen and supplies comprised most of the cost. The families fought Native Americans at times, but often they received guidance from the western tribes. It took six months of travel at the speed of fifteen miles per day to reach their destination. In the east, the subject of Oregon was less personal and more political. In 1844 the Democrats nominated James K. Polk, an unknown candidate from Tennessee. It appeared as though the Whig Party candidate, Henry Clay, would win in a landslide. Very few Americans had ever heard the name Polk, but Clay's illustrious career was widely known. However, Polk was an excellent strategist. He tapped into the public mood and realized that manifest destiny was the very issue that could lead him to victory. Polk called for expansion that included Texas, California, and the entire Oregon territory. The northern boundary of Oregon was the latitude line of 54 degrees, 40 minutes. "Fifty-four forty or fight!" was the popular slogan that led Polk to victory against all odds. (ushistory.org)
• • •

I enjoyed this. It was definitely on the easy side, and there wasn't any twisty wordplay or humor involved, but the numbers were fun to uncover, and the double punch in both "54-40 OR FIGHT" and "13 GOING ON 30" was unexpected and delightful. In the former case, impressive, actually. I was surprised he could get adjacent "double digits" to work like that. Not much to say about it. The theme leans toward proper nouns and titles, perhaps unsurprisingly. I count seven movie/TV show titles among the theme answers. "CAR 54" was the only one that seemed like a stretch, both in terms of its familiarity (it's old, and most under-50s will barely have heard of it, if they've heard of it at all), and in terms of the whole "informally" part of the clue (actual name of the show was "CAR 54, Where Are You?"). It's one thing to expect me to remember / know a half-century-old show, it's another to expect me to accept it slangily. But that was really the only part of the theme that was even vaguely weak. Everything else, solid; grid, solid. Totally acceptable and pleasant Sunday fare.

There were only a few memorable / noteworthy moments during this solve. Really had trouble parsing ILL AT EASE. Honest to god, I got the first five letters and considered that ILLATERAL might be a word describing something that is [On edge]. Yipes. I can never spell NEESON on first pass, so that second "E" slot was blank for a bit. Loved the clue on NOSE JOBS (39A: Changes to the bill?). Only two complete WTFs for me today: CASSIE (72A: Zach's old flame in "A Chorus Line") and AVIANCA (35D: Colombia's national airline), though the latter I've almost certainly seen before. I'm not sure I even really know what "A Chorus Line" is. I know "One" is the finale. Is that right? "One ... singular sensation ... every little etc." But "Zach" and "CASSIE" are just names to me. No significance.

The SW was, far and away, the hardest part of the grid, starting with CITY GIRL, the first part of which I needed virtually all the crosses for, and those weren't that easy to come by. Wasn't sure AMY was Little Dorrit's first name. Had HOT but not ASTRIDE. Had GOWNS before COWLS, so that hurt (99D: Religious outfits). Could not figure out exactly what kind of GIRL I was supposed to believe Eloise was. With G-T-GIRL in place, she really seemed like a GOTH GIRL there for a bit. And then the whole SW corner was tough, with FARMS hidden behind a vague clue (89A: Growing businesses), and ORB looking like ARC for a bit 105A: Ornament shape (I now see that it's "ornament," not "ornamental," as I'd originally thought). MEANS had a singular clue but looked plural in the grid, so that was disorienting. Don't think of a bee as a SOCIAL (though obviously that's one meaning). I knew Beau Brummell was a clothes horse, but did not know ASCOTS were a signature look. Still, I wouldn't call that section 'hard.' Just tougher than the rest.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:32 AM  

Nice change of pace from yesterday.  Easy and fun.   Same minor issues as Rex in the SW.   

Best thing about CAR 54 was Fred Gwynne of The Munsters and My Cousin Vinny fame. 

Liked it! 

chefwen 2:22 AM  

This was just what the Doc ordered after the blood bath I suffered yesterday. On the easy side for me, which was also a welcomed relief. Got the theme almost immediately with 15 SECONDS then just went searching for the rest of the numbers.

5D RETEAM was a stretch, that was about the only word I didn't like, 39A NOSE JOBS was laugh out loud worthy with the clue. 54 40 was the only one I didn't know (thanks for the insight) the downs were easy enough to fill that in.

Great way to end the week. Many thanks Mr. Berry.

Cabe Franklin 6:18 AM  

Very fun cruise through this one. 'Game that people rarely agree to play twice' is one of my favorite clues in long time.

One reason I did the puzzle early this morning was to post a comment here that I think this group would appreciate. My wife and I are moving from the UK to the U.S. in a few weeks, and in preparation for that she has been boning up on American cultural knowledge by, you guessed it, doing the Sunday NYT puzzle.

She has, of course, no inborn knowledge of Western Massachusetts towns. But she had self-derived the meaning of a NATICK as 'Not Accessible Through Crosses'. Not bad I thought!

Hope others enjoyed this puzzle as much as I did.

Nat Hiken 6:40 AM  

There's a holdup in the Bronx,
Brooklyn's broken out in fights;
There's a traffic jam in Harlem
That's backed up to Jackson Heights;
There's a scout troop short a child,
Khrushchev's due at Idlewild!
Car 54, Where Are You??

r.alphbunker 7:01 AM  

Puzzle report

Double digits doubled the fun!

RETEAM now has Patrick Berry immunity!

Loren Muse Smith 7:19 AM  

Rex – in fact, the MEANS/FLOTSAM cross both had misleading plural/singular clues. FLOTSAM had a plural clue, and I dutifully had it ending in an S. I love these kinds of clues. (Oh, and CLAPS had a singular clue, too.)

Agree that the clue for NOSE JOBS was great. I was thinking some kind of change to a playbill, so "role ___."

I was surprised by the clue for STUNG. I would use STUNG actually for just slightly offended. No, no. I'll be ok. I'm just stung, that's all.

102A feels like a sly little wink, no?

I agree that the two themers with two numbers were great. I've never contemplated expressions that have two numbers, and I think about language 24/7.

52 PICK UP. The ASS who pulls this one on you is the same one who starts 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall on the field trip bus. Real life of the party, that guy.

I worked all day at a school yard sale yesterday and spent several hours with the mother of a student (a proud, confident, capable, ENGAGING, uncomplaining woman who drives a school bus. She would probably call herself a simple woman. A woman who bags her own deer. Who grows and cans her own food. Who can drive a rig. Who wears only skirts because of her religion but now wears capris under them because of a bad fall from a stool while tweaking something under the hood of her bus engine (she doesn't want to flash anyone).

I came away from this experience as I sometimes do. Changed. Moved. Stuck by the fact that somehow the joke's on me, Little Miss Prisspot with my graduate degree, country club suits, and expensive sunglasses. I was desperate for her to like me and found myself carefully crafting what I said and how I said it so that I might win her approval. She runs circles around me in so many ineffable ways, And. I. Was. Humbled.) Ok, so anyway. She used AGIN, and it's the first time I've encountered this word out in the wild. Cool.

I found this much harder than my average Sunday, and the toughest corner for me was the northeast. Just the opposite of Rex's experience, the first spot I finished, and the place where I figured out the conceit, was the southwest. When I got 48 HRS, I was certain that the 48 would be 24 for the across, hence the title "Double Digits." When that didn't prove to be the case, I was thinking maybe there would be an orderly progression in the grid of 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 64… In retrospect, just pulling off all the number crosses (especially 13 GOING ON 3O and 54 40 OR FIGHT) is impressive. Fun puzzle.

chefbea 7:20 AM  

Not a fun puzzle!! Too tough for me...Hopefully it won't rain this afternoon..invited to a cookout.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:52 AM  

Can always count on Patrick Berry for a fun puzzle.

One linked write-over: 92 A, "Lively comedies," had RIOTS before ROMPS, which made 93 D the unfamiliar but not implausible TV13 before PG13.

Leapfinger 7:54 AM  

When the Conestoga wagons broke down, did they switch to "Car 54-40 or Fight?"

Nice numerosity in the theme, all berry much to my liking; I predict it will be largely enjoyed by the numerous ILLATEASErati with yesterday's puzzle.

It was rather a private giggle to see OHNO crop up today. Yesterday, we had COL (Ollie North) over COPY; had they all come in together, we'd have had COL OHNO's COPY. Perhaps it's just as well not, eh?

Musby off; some misguided parts of the family are taking the Labor part of the weekend muchtoo literally. See y'all after the back 54-40 has been plowed.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

Especially with so many movie / TV clues, best not call GRIPS "assistants"! Otherwise pretty fun one.

AliasZ 8:26 AM  

Lovely, easy Sunday diversion that kept me entertained until the last moment. I discovered the trick at ADAM 12 ANGRY MEN, and from there the double digits came easily. Except, that is, CAR 54 40 OR FIGHT, neither of which I knew. Those digits could have been anything. Also, 54 40 OR FIGHT was the only theme entry with two double digits, which I absolutely refused to accept at first. Therefore I spent as much time at guessing what went into that one square as on the entire rest of the puzzle. Besides the theme entries, I counted 23 or 24 trivia names and brands, which was rather excessive, I thought.

All this adds up to not my all-time favorite PB, but I will take it any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Oh man, 54-40 OR FIGHT brought me back to history class. Can't believe I remembered that one! Most of the movie references with numbers meant little to me, unfortunately.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

Ooh - ooh!!

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

I'm not a speed solver, but this couldn't have taken more than 15 minutes. But it was lots of fun!!

And I recently referred to the show as "Car 54."

Maruchka 8:49 AM  

54-40 OR FIGHT! Why did I remember this? For today's mostly seamless grid, apparently. PB does it again.

Make it fit goof for 46D/70A: Thebes (Athens-why not)/THE B52S led to Epickup (could be a techy word, right?)/52PICKUP.

Fav of the day - CAR 54. I'm with @Jae. Fred Gwynne, ah. A favorite on mine was whenever Toody's wife screamed out her window something like, "Now hear this, Mr. and Mrs. America!" whenever Gunther had messed up.

Thanks for the lyrics, @Nat H.

The Rhino 8:50 AM  

See, I've never heard of Adam 12, but, growing up in the 80s, I used to watch Car 54 reruns on channel 45 all the time.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Excellent puzzle all the way. "Avianca" made me want to pass on a recommendation for the NetFlix series "Narcos." See it to believe it.


NCA President 9:02 AM  

This is the kind of Sunday puzzle I hope for every Sunday. Interesting, novel, challenging here and there, but not crazy.

I knew CASSIE because I love "A Chorus Line," and I knew Beau Brummell only because of "Annie:" "Your clothes may be Beau Brummell-y, they stand out a mile, but brother you're never fully dressed..." etc. But I would agree with Rex that Cassie is pretty obscure in the overall knowledge that people carry around in their head.

54 40 OR FIGHT certainly fell into that category for me. I knew CAR 54 and TOP 40 was right...it just had to be...but as slogans go, 54 40 or fight is a silly one. Tippecanoe and Tyler too...I like Ike...Yes We Can...those are slogans. 54 40 or Fight, not so much.

I haven't thought about ADAM 12 since the 70s. "One Adam 12, one Adam 12...a code 11 in progress..." Good times.

NUGENT is an idiot and it's interesting that he and AYN are separated by CRISTO...more like El Diavolo. At least the TORME/ARETHA crossing was nice.

And please...no more ESAI.

Lewis 9:07 AM  

A very pleasing solve, and impressive that the theme answers were symmetrical. There was some wonderful Berry cleverness in the cluing (TARP, SCORE, FARMS, ACTRESS). I love seeing the word MOUSES. There's a word I probably said as a tot and probably was often corrected on.

Kenneth Wurman 9:22 AM  

Very easy for me, but I enjoyed it.
"Mouses" was a stretch. .

Carola 9:22 AM  

Quite a constructing feat, and fun to solve. My favorites: 54 40 OR FIGHT and the wonderful (in this context, that is) 52 PICK-UP. Two do-overs: Skoal for SALUD and 28 instead of 21 GRAMS (I got confused with "28 Days Later"). Oh, also was faked out by writing in a plural S for what turned out to be FLOTSAM. For some reason I'm partial to MOUSES.

Random memory: best cup of coffee ever on AVIANCA Airlines, 1969.

@Cabe Franklin - Early welcome to THE LOWER 48 (I assume).

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Never heard of LISA_LISA (who?), so I had MoTE in for MITE. Bad cross for that reason in my view but no other real problems.

mathgent 9:47 AM  

Very enjoyable.

Noticed that Rex refrained from mentioning Patrick Berry in his comment.

@Lewis: Of the nine squares containing numbers, there are three pairs in symmetric positions and three going stag.

@Loren Muse Smith: Lovely description of your afternoon with a parent. I've had some of the same feelings in similar encounters.

Mohair Sam 9:51 AM  

@Cabe Franklin - You may have picked the wrong puzzle for culture boning. CAR54 and ADAM12 may not serve you terribly well here in THELOWER48, and you probably knew LISALISA already. But welcome to the USA anyhow.

Unusual to see a Patrick Berry this easy. Got the theme quickly at 12ANGRYMEN, and just flew through the puzzle after that. Most of the Double Digits were gimmes here - probably why the "easy" rating.

Memorable teacher story: 54/40ORFIGHT and everything Polk drilled into this brain by a fifth grade teacher who spent an afternoon in class having us reenact crossing the Oregon Trail complete with snow (ivory flakes), rain (watering cans), wind (fans), and mountains (desks). I was a wheel on the Conestoga Wagon (a table). I remember the two kids playing settler who had to hang on to the table for dear life, and I remember the lessons of that day - including 54/40.

But I digress - Another fun Berry puzzle. Perfect for a busy Summer Holiday weekend.

demit 9:54 AM  

Thank you Nat Hiken at 6:40! Glad someone else can still sing the theme song. And thanks too, to Anon at 8:32, for Gunther Toody's signature grunt. You know, we had to suffer through the years of crossword clues for Pola Negri and other similar cultural ancients, so it's fair that we get Car 54 now. Lol! I guarantee there will come a day when young(er) crossword mavens protest Beyoncé or David Foster Wallace references, e.g., as hopelessly obscure. That wheel just keeps on turning.

cwf 10:11 AM  

I also enjoyed this. Couldn't suss the theme in the NE, where I started, and randomly settled in the west where I got it with CENTURY21.

Was expecting @Rex to call out the duplicate THEs in THEB52S and THELOWER48.

Blue Stater 10:24 AM  

Rex, you could do your readers a service -- or this reader, anyway -- by letting us know how to enter multiple letters in one square when doing rebus puzzles, which I find nasty enough without the added obstacle of physically being unable to solve them. This is in the solving program that is on the NYT puzzle site. Many thanks.

@Cabe Franklin: Natick is not in Western Massachusetts. It is an outer suburb of Boston, in the eastern third, I would guess, of the state.

Ludyjynn 10:25 AM  

Seriously, Rex, "A Chorus Line" is the sixth longest running Broadway musical ever. The character of Zach, the narrator, was based on Michael Bennett, the show's creator and collaborator with the actress, Donna McKechnie, who played his former love interest and down on her luck dancer, CASSIE. BTW, she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1976 for the integral role she played. Not the least bit obscure.

OHNO makes me think of the "Saturday Night Live" recurrent skits featuring Mr. Bill. Maybe too obscure for the kiddies on this blog?

This puzzle definitely skewed old, a frequent source of bitching and NIT picking by OFL and the young'uns here, but who cares when it is so cleverly clued?

Favorite words: FLOTSAM, DORSAL, SKORT, LIAISE. Loved the clues for ACTRESS and NOSEJOBS.

Thanks, PB and WS. CLAPS to you for this USER friendly solve.

RAD2626 10:29 AM  

Another fine PB puzzle. Never heard of the movie 13 Going on 30 but got from crosses. As usual with his puzzles, lots of cluing that makes you smile, even with 3 letter answers.

Roo Monster 10:32 AM  

Hey All !
99 Red Balloons for Mr. Berry! Very cool SunPuz, hard to fill those middle W and E chunks, and harder to fill cleanly. Plus throw in the theme in those sections, and now you know why people love PB1 puzzles. Even the twin pair of two 9's in the NW and SE, clean. Amazing from a constructor viewpoint.

Enjoyed this relatively easy puz. Always welcome to have a fun, easy SunPuz, especially this weekend, after yesterdays torture. Hardly any writeovers, but still some. Igor->INGA, SKiRT->SKORT, SALUt->SALUD, and had 54For___ (was thinking 54 fOR Forty, but said why wouldn't it be 40?) before the ole brain engine kicked in and 40 was remembered after the 54! Besides, TOPf really looked wrong!

Great clue for NOSE JOBS, 15. MINUTES, SKIM. Couple of Huhs? NOODGE (which is a fun word, actually!), REGNAL, LLEWYN. Fun to see LIAISE, and SCREECHES just looks cool!



Wm. C. 10:35 AM  

@Cabe Franklin --

A few points about "Natick:".

First, it's not in Western Mass, it's a suburb (or maybe exurb, depending on how you think about the terms); about 25 miles west of Boston.

Second, while I applaud your wife's clever invention, Natick's Rexville origin goes back to a clue asking the name of a town midway along the Boston Marathon route, and the fill "Natick" was thought inscrutable, thereby becoming the definitive term for such. BTW, fill that is "nearly inscrutable" is a "Framingham" (a town adjacent to Natick on the west).

Third, Natick's local hero is a guy named Doug Flutie, born and raised there, a star QB for the high school football team and thereafter at BC (Heisman Trophy winner, and author of the famous "Hail Mary" pass against Miami in 1984 with 6 seconds left to win). He later played professionally in the NFL, CFL, and USFL. Flutie still lives in Natick, btw.

Fourth -- and most important, of course -- my daughter and two wonderful grandchildren live in Natick.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

54-40 or Fight is exactly why politicians shouldn't be allowed to start wars. You want to win an election, choose a catchy phrase, and do it all without thinking. Yeah, I'm willing to sacrifice unknown lives, because 54-39:0872 makes a lousy phrase. Those extra 76' are worth everything.

SaraB 10:49 AM  

Oooh!Oooh! We still crack up when we say it. Thanks.

GILL I. 11:01 AM  

Did this last night with family and friends. Full of good food and humor - everyone enjoyed this puzzle.
We had old and young folks grabbing for the numbered movies/T.V.shows.
We stopped at 21GRAMS and began a pretty interesting discussion on Inarritu's film.
Most of us had seen it (a lot of us go and see all the foreign films that come out) This is probably one of the most depressing, sad, mind f*****g movie I've ever seen. Brilliant acting by Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro. The acting alone made watching the movie worth-while.
Back to the puzzle. Favorite clue of course, was for the NOSE JOB. CLAMS gave us a laugh - do they sound like castanets? If we had had an old washboard, we would have serenaded the neighbors.
Anyway, a puzzle that brings out good humor and laughter is always good in my books...SALUD, PB.

Mary Watts 11:02 AM  

Always get excited when I see Patrick Berry's name.
Wasn't disappointed. 48Hrs was my click.

Lewis 11:31 AM  

@mathgent -- No, the numbers themselves aren't symmetrical, but the theme answers, the full theme answers, are.

Joseph Michael 11:52 AM  

Loved the use of digits and especially liked the clue for 12 ANGRY MEN.

PB SCOREs 100 points.

Malsdemare 11:52 AM  

Thank God! After yesterday, I was ready to check myself into the memory unit of our local senior home. I got the conceit almost immediately and flew through it until the NE, where I struggled for what seemed like hours before Mr. Mal gave me the 40 and the rest fell into place.

I assume someone has already informed Gill that it was CLAPS, though I really like the CLAMs much better. But not sure what a mINHOLE would be.

Lots of clever cluing and absolutely nothing that I would argue with. I loved that Italian showed up; though I can muddle through French and German, it does seem those two languages (and Spanish and Latin and Greek) get preferential treatment. Of them all, I think Italian is the loveliest. NOSEJOB was hilarious, and I liked being reminded of CASSIE; growing up in Cincinnati in a doctor's family, we had a wonderful housekeeper named Cassie who practically raised my younger sister and I after Dad died when we were little and Mom went off the deep end for a while. Beautiful woman who taught me about tolerance. And how to hug; that woman hugged you like you were the only person in the world that she loved.

Thanks PB and WS.

Teedmn 11:59 AM  

I've heard of CAR54 but never seen it, couldn't remember the car's # and didn't know the Polk rallying cry (due to an abysmal American History education.). But solving in AcrossLite today (the non-premium version) meant that at the digitized entries, all I had to do is enter the first letter of the number. I realized that there was a limited number of letters that start all of the numbers (I count seven) so it was easy enough to go through those and see which one gave me the Happy Pencil song. 28A looks like FFORFIGHT on my grid. All of the theme entries look interesting. ADAMT crossing TANGRYMEN, APRILF crossing FMINUTES, etc.

I tripped myself up in the West Central with putting in olGA for INGA even though I really knew better. This made seeing CENTURY 21 impossible and with the WOE airline and the movie of which I've heard but not seen, I didn't get that until the Check Letter function revealed my olGA error. So a DNF for me.

Thanks, PB1, nice Sunday puzzle.

Mohair Sam 12:02 PM  

@Cabe Franklin - Heed not the naysayers. Pretty much everybody worth knowing in Massachusetts lives in Boston. They will tell you that Natick is "out West". To a Southie, Natick, Worcester and Springfield are kind of a blur on The Turnpike. Your wife has her geography right.

old timer 12:04 PM  

Did not notice it was by PB. Got the trick early, though, because AVIANCA ACE VEND ATARI led directly to CENTURY21. We bought our house through one of that company's agents. (Did anyone else have "Igor" before INGA? Also, I had heard of the B-52s. For a long time, the SW was a vid for me because I did not know there would be numbers there. Yeah, I've heard of THELOWER48, but it did not come easily.

OTOH, I raced through the NE, because I immediately knew 54 40 ORFHIGHT. Why 54 40? Because by treaty, Russian America ended at 54 degrees 40 minutes north latitude (as does Alaska today). By another treaty, the Spanish/Mexican border of California was fixed at 42 degrees N Latitude. So everything between was the Oregon territory. It seemed obvious, didn't it, to extend the Canada-US border along the 49th Parallel, which by yet another treaty had been the northern boundary of Louisiana Territory, which we purchased from France in 1803. But Polk had other ideas. He only yielded because he was able to also settle the Maine border with Quebec in a way that gave the USA far more acreage than we were really entitled to.

Malsdemare 12:10 PM  

Ye Gods! Younger sister and me!

Hartley70 12:19 PM  

@Lewis, there must be a way to insert a factoid or a quotoid into your puzzle commentary. Just pop one in the middle like your mind wandered a bit. I sure do miss them!
Perfect Sunday romp by the incomparable Mr. Berry. I got in on the rebus with CENTURY21 and NOSEJOB wins the prize for biggest laugh. CASSIE seems like a fair entry to me, since she was the female "star" of an iconic Broadway musical. And finally, who doesn't love a rebus?

Tita 12:22 PM  

Thanks @Nat Hiken...
I also watched reruns of CAR54... I think they might even still be on. I love the theme song.,.in part because though I never knew the airport when it was called Idlewild, I just think it is such a beautiful name, and wish it still were called that.

My cats are mousers (great job, guys...), but I admit that MOUSES sounds weird.

When my brother was an ALTARboy, he and his friend mixed white NECCO Wafers in with the hosts for communion. They tried hard to hold back sniggers each time someone's face betrayed that they had gotten the candy... To this day he wonders what the lucky parishioners thought had happened...a minor miracle? A sign?

This was very fun, but I had to cheat to finish. Was really led astray by the ACTRESS clue, and just wanted to get outside on his gorgeous day. And to come here and tell you all about my blasphemous brother.

Thanks Mr. Berry, RETEAM notwithstanding.

Numinous 12:28 PM  

Sad to say, I had to google for Polk's campaign slogan which produced a "just how stupid can I really be" moment when I saw TOP40.
I got the trick at 15MINUTES. The rest was just figuring out where the other Double Digits were.
I thought the 13 GOING ON 30 answer was cute. Having recently gone through a teen movie phase due to a 17 year old "roommate" I've seen that movie starring Jennifer Garner. Quite a departure from her Alias persona which I thought she pulled off well.
While I'm sure GRIPS woule dislike being referred to as assistants, anyone not a director or an actor on a movie set can be regarded as assisting the process of making a movie. Taking it further, even they assist the executive producer in creating the intended film.

Finished this one int two thirds my average time so I'd say it was, at least relatively, easy.

beatrice 1:16 PM  

@Blue Stater - re:solving rebus puzzles on-line: I'll pass along what works for me, and which I only know because a few years ago some kind soul on this blog posted it. Press ESC on square to be rebused, press ENTER, and that's it. Hope this works for you. And if that person still reads here, thank you! (It was not I who had requested it, so I didn't thank them at the time, I don't think.)

And @AliasZ - thank you, thank you, thank you for the Byrd yesterday! He is one of my absolute favorites, and that piece was unfamiliar to me.

Yesterday I intended to post two Monteverdi madrigals in response, as it were, to Springstein's IMONFIRE. My excuse today is the suggestiveness of the entry LIAISE. The second piece, especially. To anyone interested, I suggest reading the texts - they're worth it; and I envy you who read Italian.





Anonymous 1:24 PM  

PR for a Sunday, until I hit submit and discovered I had "44" instead of "54' in the NE. Argh.

mathgent 1:56 PM  

@Lewis: Thanks for explaining the symmetry in the nine entries. Another bit of PB elegance.

Ken Greenblatt 1:58 PM  

I'm sure you receive comments like this regularly, but...

It's always surprising when the Venn Diagram intersection of knowledge is null - especially from someone you greatly admire.

First, let me say, I love your blog and never miss a day. Truly!

Second, I'll admit that my entire knowledge of The Simspsons and Star Wars trivia comes almost entirely from doing the puzzle.

But, Rex, how do you not know A Chorus Line?? OMG. To think of what that implies!

Ok, thanks for allowing me to express my shock. Keep up the absolutely excellent work! You do a really fantastic job!! Btw, don't watch the movie... It's awful. But, do go see any live performance of it. It's bound to be at a community theater near you soon!

MJB 2:02 PM  

First Sunday in decades without a Merl Reagle puzzle in the pink section of the San Francisco Chronicle. Feeling sad and at loose ends. Wonder what his nimble mind would have conjured up for this Labor Day weekend.

Lewis 2:11 PM  

@hartley -- Thank you for those kind sentiments! I'm sorry to say, that for the foreseeable future, those factoids/quotoids will be on sabbatical.

Masked and Anonymous 2:38 PM  

No way! [See double-** thingy, at bottom]

Anyhoo: Great little big variety-rebus number, today, from the PB1-meister. Wonder if all the computer apps let U type the numbers in, ok? Got me -- I did it on paper. Double digit (10) U's; hence, the puz title.

@r.alph: yep. That there Patrick Berry NYTPuz Usage Immunity [PB1 Immunity, for short] is an all-important trend-setter, for buddin constructioneers, all over the yard. Some ground-breakin samples, today:

* AGIN - This now has (ironically, given puz title) the rare Double PB1 Immunity. This basically gives the green light for all yer -in' endin words, for usin all of em in crossword grids. Lil darlins. Speakin of which …

* LULU - Yes! Always a double red banner day, when a word that's half U's joins the honor roll.

* RE-TEAM - Only the first PB1 Immunity, on this pup. So … does *not* blanket green light the usage of all yer RE- words. Only some are now acceptable: RE-TEAM. RE-BECCA. RE-GNAL. Speakin of which ...

* RE-GNAL - This completes our NW openin corner wrap-up. As @009 always points out (other than today), that there openin corner is the most important thing of all in yer puz. (Unless U got HOGCALLS, somewheres else, U gotta allow.) The rest of the grid can be total gibberish, as long as U seal the deal, up front. So … PB1 Immunity is really sayin somethin, when the word debuts in his NW corner area, ergo. This is a powerful, powerful statement, that gives the word almost … regnal … status, for use by other dudes and dudesses, in there grids.

Welcome aboard, y'AWL!

And thanx for the fun solve, Mr. Berry.



Anonymous 2:46 PM  

Rarely do a Sunday puzzle without looking anything up on google. Almost gave in on Colorado's team but perservered in that corner and got it all by myself!

I generally scan the clues for easy ones that I can fill in without crosses. Cassie was the first one I wrote in. Clearly an old Broadway fan from way back.

Fun puzzle for me today. Just challenging enough without being frustrating or having too many ridiculous clues (though "mouses" was a stretch).

woolf 2:57 PM  

Spanish name for Jesus smack between Ted Nugent and Ayn Rand. Any other flaws in this puzzle are forgiven, because this is some deep-cut trolling.

Carola 3:12 PM  

A "Double" weekend for Patrick Berry. His puzzle in yesterday's WSJ is entitled Double or Nothing.

Elephant's Child 3:20 PM  

@NCAPrez, Yes, 54-40_OR_FIGHT was a political slogan, and I'll bet a higher proportion of Canadians know it than do Americans,apparently. Dang Manifesto Destiny vox pop. @old timer, thanks for adding some perspective. And yes to you also, for having Igor first.

@LudyJ, even in the plural, one might think twice about offering anyone some CLAPS, even though antibiotic treatment is readily available and effective.

In non-theme news, MOUSES was very Klibanesque, and CITY_GIRL had the effect of reminding me of The Country Girl, which won the future Princess Grace Grimaldi her Oscar. [I liked her better in High Society.]

Nothing like a Sunday PB'n'Joy.

Music man 4:24 PM  

Fun puzzle, I made one somewhat similarly to hide cache coordinates. Dnfs in the NW but other than that I felt this was fairly easy for a PB. Loved the clue for FARMS

Barbara 4:25 PM  

Remember it well

wreck 4:27 PM  

This was pretty much my average Sunday time, so I guess "medium" is about right. This was a fun puzzle with the usual great cluing we expect from a PB.

My 2 cents -- Lewis's F/Q's are usually puzzle theme related in some manner, so I think they are appropriate!!

aging soprano 4:47 PM  

Only it was CLAPS. Oh well, if it was good far a laugh...

Blue Stater 4:50 PM  

@beatrice - Many thanks, The ESC key does the trick. After I posted here I queried the NYT and got the same answer. It would seem to me to be a sort of obvious move to post that information on the site somewhere, but the NYT is doing a lot of things these days -- in the puzzles and elsewhere -- that I just don't get.

OISK 5:05 PM  

Enjoyable, fun, clever puzzle, but with two possible errors for me. Since this is Mr. Berry, he gave me a good hint on one of them. I never heard of 13 going on 30, and I wasn't sure whether PG-12 was a movie rating. But he said "middle school," so I thought 13 was more likely. It's a lucky thing I have heard of 30 Rock.

Other tough squares for me included a character from a show I never watched - I had J A __ , and a "star" from "Kinsey." Bad cross for me. I initially had "Geeson", but Jan with Neeson made more sense.

Then there was Lisa Lisa (???) Never heard of Cult Jam either. Berry generally avoids these obscure pop references. "___arrives" (soul album). That is Berry playing fair - I have never owned nor listened to a "soul" album, but Aretha is the "Queen of Soul," right? There was also a character from "Chorus Line" (Cassie,) Ted Nugent, (?? Name seemed vaguely familiar), There was also Esai Morales, but at this point he is a crossword "must know..."

Great Sunday puzzle, despite my personal quibbles!

aging soprano 5:16 PM  

I actually got an early start on this puzzle this morning. Since Sunday is a work day here, I am usually too tired by the time I get around to it. But this morning I managed to figure out the number business at 52 PICKUP and 5440 before having to stop and get on with my day.
I rarely complete a Sunday, but I have a good time trying until I give up and go to REX. Today was no different, only I managed to finish more than usual. I also get stumped in the SW.
Knew Cassie, of course. Saw Chorus Line for the first time on our honeymoon 40 years ago. My husband, who had never seen a Bway musical, was overwhelmed. He particularly love Tits and Ass, of course. I kept waiting for 76 Trombones and the 76ers to come up in todays puz, also 2020vision crossed by the Roaring 20s and/or 20 questions, but PB had other ideas. Oh well. Past bedtime. Good night and happy SNORES.

Airymom 5:55 PM  

I completed the puzzle by the side of the pool on this perfect (82 degrees, low humidity) last Sunday of the summer season. I'll have to wait until May 30th for my next pool side solve.

Happy Labor Day everyone! Terrific puzzle--easy, well constructed, little junk.

I saw "A Chorus Line" on Broadway three times in the late 1970's via student rush tickets which cost $5 each. Great show...changed musical theater.

Hugh 6:31 PM  

Had fun with this one even though a bit on the easy side -got all the themers - but initially had "NC17" for 93D and finally realized that if you're 17 in middle school, something is wrong.

Liked the cluing for "NOSEJOBS" and "FARMS", I didn't think anything was too much of a stretch. Also liked the misdirects of having singular clues yield plural answers and the other way around - good stuff.

Thank Mr. Berry for a fun Sunday!

Have a great week all!

Z 6:41 PM  

@woolf - great catch.

I just got an email from a friend about the gifts she got for another friend who is getting remarried. The emailer knows she often misspells "marriage" so she googled the word. Along with the correct spelling she got lots of ads for marriage spellcasters. I picked a random day's post to show her how bad it was here. On the December 1, 2014 post I counted 51 spell caster "comments" out of 112 total comments, a goodly number before the syndi comments and then still a whole bunch after them. {SHAKES FIST AT SKY} DAMN YOU REX - END THE MODERATION TYRANNY. Or not.

BTW - Best Sunday in awhile it seems. Most weeks the first word that comes to mind is "slog." Not today.

GILL I. 6:46 PM  

@Malsdemare.....Yikes! You can't imagine though how much fun we had with CLAMS.

Anonymous 6:47 PM  

been reading this bog and often the comments for a few years now so thought i might chime in

i live on the west coast and get the paper NYT delivered and the last thing i read/do is the crossword so by the time i am done the rest of you are long finished.

not been enjoying the puzzles so much lately so this was a treat - got the theme quickly and mostly was an easy solve.

agreeing with others in thinking that cassie from chorus line was not an obscure clue. not in a puzzle that had ted nugent in it

lots of oldies - fun puzzle

Fitzy 9:40 PM  

Just finished this fun puzzle in little over an hour which was excellent time for me considering I often put in 2 hours just to get through half. And nice to see that there are no nasty Rex put-downs like "feeling like a ****ing genius for once" or any of that. But that may be because today's puzzle was constructed by Patrick Berry.

Eric 12:36 AM  

For some reason the IOS app is not registering my filled grid as correct, even though I think it checks against Rex's answer - any oddities in putting the rebus numbers in on this one?

Visco 2:21 AM  

Great puzzle, but I still want to point out an error: 69 Across "Italian religious figure" is CRISTO. But it turns out that Jesus wasn't Italian! I looked it up :-)

Anonymous 7:29 PM  

@ludyjynn, Rex has a blind spot a mile wide when it comes to musicals, so it always makes me chuckle when my gimmes (like CASSIE today) completely stymie him.

Steve J 8:46 PM  

Coincidentally, one of the stars of ADAM-12 passed away the day this puzzle ran.

Jenepher Reeves 10:03 PM  

I think the Bee, e.g. clue (119 across) and "social" answer refer to the fact that bees are social creatures, not like a quilting bee being "a" social.....

spacecraft 12:13 PM  

At first I went "OHNO! GOD!" when I uncovered AGIN, AAA, RETEAM and REGNAL in just the NW. But things seemed to settle down after that. The first 15MINUTES in, I'd never have believed this was a PB. (Yes, you ridiculous timers, it takes me that long to do a corner BECAUSE I'M NOT IN A RACE!)

But then we settled INAGROOVE. Despite being a Hitchcock fan, I did not realize that REBECCA had an unnamed heroine. Nor did I have a clue about the "bonus double," LISALISA. Only writeover: NC17 instead of PG13. Then I reread the clue: "middle school." If you're 17 and still in middle school, you've got a problem.

Just don't tell me I should've heard of that director in the 79-across clue, whose name I can't even TYPE (no diacriticals) let alone pronounce. THAT intellectual I will never be. A-.

rondo 1:14 PM  

This was an ENGAGING Sun-puz. Often wondered why NO.S don’t show up more often, probably more limiting than one thinks.

If our NCAA MN Golden Gophers hadn’t played Colorado State yesterday, RAMS might have taken a while to fill. Ugly win for MN, BTW.

Ted NUGENT is an over-the-top conservative, but he can still play. Saw him a few years back.

SERENA doesn’t strike me as a yeah baby, but as dominant as Steffi Graf, the Homely HUN (Pat Reusse’s moniker for her).

Pretty sure I’ve seen all the movies/TV shows in the numbered answers. Kinda EZ today.

Christine Gardner 1:50 PM  

delightful ... knew all the double digits ... guess that says something about my age ...

Ray o sunshine 1:57 PM  

I usually hate rebus puzzles but this was fun and made sense. Finished in record time for me but got hung up on Dr. Frankenstein's assistant. Didnt want to give up on "Igor"

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

Can someone explain 15 MINUTES to me? Back in 15 MINUTES?

I had 60 in their for a long time which killed AP_I_60 (since I tried to make FOxxxTs too hard; and had no clue who/what something-LISA was (had monaLISA for a long time to just have something there to work with).

Anonymous 4:36 PM  

me again....... never mind. Just realized in my paper the clue for 62D reads as

62 Figurative duration

short lived fame.

Phillip Blackerby 7:27 PM  

Easy. Was able to get enough crosses to figure out the few clues I didn't know. The real puzzlers for me were AVIANCA / CRISTO and LLEWYN.

But ddon't you think it's time toretire oretire ESAI, AAA and EWER permanently? Or at least get better clues for them?

Sorry to be late to the party, but the Arizona Republic publishes the NYT puzzle a week later than the NYT does.

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