Equity valuation stat / SUN 11-22-15 / Board game popular throughout Africa / Big name in microloans / Site of King Rudolf's imprisonment in fiction / Small body of medical research / Dweller along Wasatch Range / Danced to Xavier Cugat say

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: "Right On, Right On!" — theme answers turn right (i.e. drop Down) when they reach a word which can also mean (when preceded by the phrase "Right on...") [Exact]

Theme answers:
  • TIPPING / POINT (25A: Threshold of major change)
  • SHOW ME / THE MONEY (39A: Catchphrase from "Jerry Maguire")
  • PAID THROUGH / THE NOSE (65A: Was a victim of price gouging)
  • RACE AGAINST / TIME (75A: Rush to beat a deadline)
  • MOVING / TARGET (101A: Mark that's hard to hit)
  • SNOOKER / CUE (117A: British pool stick)
Word of the Day: KIVA (118D: Big name in microloans) —
noun
noun: kiva; plural noun: kivas
  1. a chamber, built wholly or partly underground, used by male Pueblo Indians for religious rites. (google)
Nah, it's probably this one:
Kiva Microfunds (commonly known by its domain name, Kiva.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income / underserved entrepreneurs and students in 82 countries. Kiva's mission is “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” // Since 2005, Kiva has crowd-funded more than 1 million loans, totaling more than a half a billion dollars, at a repayment rate of 99 percent. As of November 2013, Kiva was raising about $1 million every three days. The Kiva platform has attracted a community of more than 1 million lenders from around the world. (wikipedia)

• • •
I've seen this answer-dropping-type theme a bunch. Did this one bring a new twist to it? Sort of. It's not a very tight theme. Seems scattered in a bunch of different directions. There's the turning right part (which is really a turning Down part) and then there's the part where you have to prepend "Right on" ... I guess the first "Right on" (of the title) refers to the direction change and the second to the phrase that has to follow the Down part for the [Exact] clue to make sense. Seems conceptually messy. Mainly, it just wasn't that fun to solve. There was some initial scrambling to get the concept under my feet, but then the theme answers ended up being both easy and kind of forgettable. Also, [Exact] doesn't feel like a very exact clue for all those "Right on ___" answers. Right on the money, sure, but right on cue? Tough to swap out "Exact" there. I am sure you could lawyer up an example, but it seems like a stretch.


The puzzle was memorable much more for a bunch of (to me) tough crosses, rather than for the theme. I'll start with KIVA, which I needed every cross to get because WTF? It's new fill ... is it good? This is how I felt the other day about HOLI, which is clearly a valid answer, but ... actually, now that I think about it, HOLI > KIVA for sure. One is an ancient festival, the other is a company. HOLI has the advantage of being (worldwide, anyway, I would think) far far better known. It does not surprise me that HOLI would be in the grid. It does surprise me that KIVA is. Its fame feels marginal. But I learned a new thing *and* the crosses were all fine, so no problem.


I had real trouble, though, in the NE with the crossing capitals. I never remember ASMARA (28A: Eritrea's capital), and HARARE (12D: Zimbabwe's capital) ... well, it came to me, eventually, but I had LAHORE there at first, which isn't even the right continent, let alone the right country. When you add in the inExact clue of [Rap] for HIP-HOP and then the unexpected price/earnings or P.E. RATIO (17D: Equity valuation stat), that corner was trouble. Also a lot of trouble: SWELLS (54A: Puffs) / WARHEADS (55D: Sour candy brand). I just don't know the latter. No hope there. And then [Puffs] for SWELLS ... that took me a while to see (though I see it now). Then there was MANCALA (35D: Board game popular throughout Africa), which I've seen before but never remember, crossing PALISH (?) (43A: A little light), which I didn't get even after having it down to P-LISH. That's more scary crosses than I'm used to facing, but they all fell into place, eventually. Fill overall seems fine, though it can get pretty rough in the short stuff, here and there (AST B'NAI ... HRH AGAL ... REECE SSS ... TAVI AMOI, etc.). AZTECAN and UTAHN and RUMBAED aren't prettifying the grid much either. Still, overall, it seemed no worse than average.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

69 comments:

jae 12:16 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  WOEs were WARHEADS and MANCALA with an occasional erasure here and problems in the same places @Rex had them, except for KIVA which was a gimme.  My bride has been funding KIVA projects for over 6 years. I did have to stare a bit to  grok the theme.  

Clever, liked it.

jp flanigan 12:32 AM  

KIVA was a gimme for me. If you ever hear or read about micro financing or know anything about multinational NGO work, KIVA is a household name. Surprised it's never been in a crossword before.

John Child 12:41 AM  

As OFL says, HARARE and ASMARA were hard, but I thought them fairly crossed. Same with KIVA, but why not a pueblo clue? SOPHIe finally resolved because ABRAM looked better than eBRAM.

But I finished with an error at PoLISH and MoNCALA. I was polishing the silver to make it a little light(er)... Nope, but PALISH was truly unfortunate with that cross. I can't even say it any way but PAL-ISH. And the W in SWELLS was a blank square when I threw in the towel. I think I would have seen it if the clue had had an "(up)" added.

A missed opportunity not to use {Puffs} again for SMOKE?

And how is ELEVATE (a verb) clued by {Up}? I know that up can occasionally be a verb, and I have upped an ante or two, but one would substitute "increased" or "raised" in that case, wouldn't one? Jeeves, would one up one's sprained ankle or up the tone of a discussion?

However {Modern spelling?} was worth the price of admission, and ZENDA and KIX made up for the LIMP BLIMP. And the theme gimmick was clever enough to keep me going, which isn't always the case on Sunday. Thumbs up from me despite my kvetches.

chefwen 3:25 AM  

This was a whole bunch o' fun for me, mainly because I caught on early in the game with TIPPINGP OINT.
In high school we had a foreign exchange from HARARE, so that was easy for me. ASMARA was a different story, that took all crosses. Have to fess up to a couple of cheats, KIVA, MANCALA and good old DR. DRE to name a few. Of course, DR. DRE is one of the few rappers that I DO know, but not by the name of Andre Young. Oh, you can throw NANOBOT on that cheat list, cute word though.

Got AZTECAN and RUMBAED but they both just didn't look right.

@Tita - Thanks for the stroll down memory lane with the Hall of Fame revisited. That was as much fun as the puzzle.

Cabe Franklin 5:29 AM  

Surprised not to have seen ASWAN DAM often before, and some of the cluing was cute (exasperated cry in the morning; crocodile tail; small body of medical research). I braced myself for a tough one once I saw all the proper nouns, but once I got the theme it unlocked it. Nice to have thought of Aztecs for Olmecs and then to have a chance to use it up in the middle.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:26 AM  

I solved it, but I didn't *get* it.

The filled grid looks like an ordinary Sunday, and it was easy to ignore the complicated explanation and just fill the themed answers with a drop at the end. But I was perplexed that 2 D, LIMP, could drop off from 1 A, BLIMP, to give the same answer. Was this a deliberate mis-direct?

I had no idea about 55 D, WAR HEADS candy, and somehow got stuck on the idea that 54 A, Puffs, were SHELLS, as you might have a creampuff pastry as a cream-filled SHELL, so I finished with one wrong letter.

Lewis 7:16 AM  

Part two of the theme, that the down part follows "right on", is the best part of the puzzle to me. Because I didn't know the capitals (I would not be a good Jeopardy contestant), the NE was very tough (I had to Google). The fill and cluing didn't really stand out, but filling in the puzzle's landscape required much recall and problem solving, the best noggin nourishment in a box that I know of, and I'm grateful.

chefbea 7:32 AM  

Tough for me. Had to google a lot. Got the theme at paid through the nose. Too many things I didn't know..Kiva, Marcala Harara etc.

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

Easy-easy. Fast, and only needed a couple of crosses to get the specials. But i liked it anyway. Kiva was completely fair. We can't fuss one week about puzzle references that are not up-to-date and then complain another week because we aren't up-to-date ourselves. I had a hard time with the crossed capitals, but that's because I have a brain like a seive.

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

I only had ---MP for 1A ("Big gasbag") and was deeply disappointed in it turning out to be BLIMP rather than a certain GOP contender

The Rhino 8:31 AM  

Though I agree it was nothing particularly memorable, I enjoyed the solve. I came close to completing it, but had to cheat in the end to find my mistake. It was not, as I expected, at the crossing of ASMARA and PERATIO (which I guess is a PE RATIO. I don't know what that is, and - as a 40 year old homeowner - I am now afraid to ask). Nor was it around OLMECS. But my mistake was IMAtO and tESTS. So, a DNF for Sunday, but that's okay. I'm still on a crossword high from solving Saturday's puzzle.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

Part Three- (Can I help it if the news fits the puzzle? I’m waiting for RABID for the sleepy-eyed wonder..)
In Birmingham Alabama yesterday, a protester, not a RIOTER
bearing a sign ‘Black Lives Matter’ quietly subverted the gourmand’s ALI riff, at which point the candidate TASKED his SWAT team, interrupting them
from an ARMCURL or two, with “Get him the hell out of here.” Have the ANIMALS reached a TIPPING POINT? Nah! The crowd of SWELLS joined in, and with OLYMPIC enthusiasm against the speaker’s TARGET! The victim LIMPed out of the venue, received perfunctory AID at the site, but refused further EMT WHATSIT. Would HRH allow his son to be treated in such an OMERTA fashion? The protestor needs to sue, demanding the “billionaire” show him THE MONEY and pay THROUGH THE NOSE. What this fat BLIMP gets away with!(The preposterously long red tie conceals nothing, Donny.) CUE the prayers to Saint TERESA, though at this point they’re a RACE AGAINST TIME, I GET IT.

Nancy 9:09 AM  

I'm of two minds about this one. I thought the theme was very clever and well executed and I (mostly) hated the fill.

I got the theme at SHOW ME THE MONEY. Luckily it's a film I saw and the catch phrase is really, really memorable. After which, all the theme answers dropped into place for me. It was the other answers that nearly done me in. Where do I begin with what I didn't know? Another rapper, RIGHT ON CUE. (I must steel myself to the fact that, if I want to continue to do the Times puzzle, I will be meeting a brand-new rapper every day.) Two capital cities crossing each other. (Well, that's my own fault; I am geographically challenged and always have been). MONCALA????? It may be popular through Africa, but I've never heard of it. Am not familiar with the Mario Brothers, much less with what they wore. I never heard of KIVA. I don't know Gabrielle REECE. I forget who put it so well yesterday on this blog: The problem with proper names is that you know them or you don't know them. Period. But I did finish today. @OISK was the inspiration. He's finished the last two days of proper name, pop culture-infested puzzles, whereas I didn't. And I thought: Today, I'm going to be as stubborn and persistent as he's shown himself to be. And so I was.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

What does 87 across mean?

Nancy 9:16 AM  

Oops. I forgot about WARHEADS candy. I never heard of it and I'm certainly glad I haven't. While you'll seldom see me get offended by any answer in a crossword -- it's just a word, it's just a puzzle, after all -- here, I AM offended. Not that the candy name is in the puzzle, but that there's a candy that exists that's named WARHEADS. With all the suffering and misery in the world caused by war and WARHEADS, what genius thought it would be cute to name a candy after such a thing? Possibly the most tin-eared brand-name I've ever heard.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Got answer from crosses but what does 93 across mean? Wicca?

Virginia Lady 9:31 AM  

Thank you John Child! I got Wicca through the crosses, but did't "get" it until just now! I am surprised people did not know Mancala & warheads. You must not have had kids that grew up in the 90s when Mancala had a resurgence (a great game btw) and loved those disgusting (imho) sour warheads!

Cassieopia 9:31 AM  

"Big gasbag" was a teaser: ---MP. Not sure if the sly wink was intentional but it made me smile nonetheless.

billocohoes 9:32 AM  

@The Rhino - don't be afraid, P/E is the ratio of stock prices to a company's earnings, an indicator if the stock is a bargain.

Hand up for SHELL for SWELL, and questioning HIPHOP for RAP

Teedmn 9:43 AM  

I had to have help to see the second part of the theme. I got the Right turn part but didn't see that Right On POINT/CUE/THE MONEY, etc. were all phrases. After this was POINTed out to me, I liked the theme a bit more.

I didn't have any really inspired errors today. Adult went in before IMAGO (where I almost DNF'd because I had LaBIDO/aMATO/tESTS and just as I was about to come here, I saw the correct IMAGO and saved myself from yet another DNF confession.) The obvious galaS should have been the obvious PROMS but HIP HOP cured that. That was a tough section.

I aaHed before I OOHed. And TCM started out as mgM, which was my very last entry with the C for MANCALA/TCM, truly a WOE.

So if you put your KIX or Cocoa Puffs in Caffè LATTÈ or DIET POP, they don't so much SWELLS up as go LIMP. (And I don't think the addition of a SPRIG of parsley would improve the flavor of any of those taste combinations.) Is A SWAN DAM the mother of cygnets? Is RUM BAED for you or GOOD FOR you? Is seeing DDAYS in the grid multiple times this week some sort of code? WHAT'S IT all really matter, anyway?

OVERALLS, I liked seeing NANOBOT, CARIBOU, liked the clues for DUNCE, BLIMP and HONESTY. Thanks for the Sunday puzzle, S.A.D. And JC.

Maruchka 9:49 AM  

This was home on the range for me. Easy, smooth, in my wheelhouse. Small missteps were Bens/BNAI and NANOBit/IMAGi. No idea what a MICDROP is, but it worked. Thanks, Messrs. Donaldson and Chen.

KIVA is an especially wonderful tool for supporting women with home-based businesses. I've given over the years, and thanks for the reminder to do so again. Bit of a trip down memory lane, too. When I lived in Santa Fe, we had a KIVA in the yard. Along with many black widow spiders and centipedes. Wear boots, not ACICS..

@BobK - Your SWELLS alternate whet my appetite. More pastry cream, please.

Z 9:57 AM  

I liked the theme more than Rex. I like that the themers turn right on "right on." On the other hand, what's with that comma in the puzzle title? No real issue with the fill. Sure, there's some junk, but in 21x21 that's petty much inevitable. It's fairly well spread out and relatively innocuous. Ebon before ONYX and AMC before TCM. Otherwise a clean fill.

I don't understand Rex's complaint about HIP HOP.

@Rhino - Price/Earnings Ratio. You can find a lot of gobbledygook about it on the interwebs, but really it comes down to "Hey, if I divide these two numbers that are easily (but not TOO easily) found I can make it seem like I'm not pulling stuff out of my ass."

AliasZ 10:11 AM  


Clever corner-turning theme. I only wish the phrases actually turned right on "right on" instead of turning down on "right on." But it didn't take anything away from my enjoyment.

I consider it poor grid architecture to isolate the SW and NE corners the way they were. Those minipuzzles made it virtually impossible to PALISH this one off cleanly, especially the NE.

Thinking "Be unable to make further progress" was IN A STALL, then the less-than-common P/E RATIO, and two obscure capitals crossing -- BAM!!! (as EMERIL would say) I HIT A WALL. That square 28 could have been any vowel. This was ten times worse than the NC WYETH / NATICK crossing. Therefore I propose that from now on such impossible-to-infer crossings be called "Asmaras" instead of "Naticks." How about it? I totally Asmaraed there. [If it's RUMBAED, then it must be "Asmaraed", right?] Or should it be Harare-ed? Let me think about it.

Other WOEs: MANCALA, DUMA, ZENDA, KIVA, NANOBOT, etc. I knew a couple of these, but not all. Thank goodness for D-CUP. The odd-looking UTAHN reminded me of the third UN Secretary-General. A general question here: is "Let's Get It Started" as popular in rap as "Eri tu" in opera?

@George B, shall we start a new count of D-DAYS in a row?

For the past few days the NYT made me feel that they promote only one musical genre. We had DIDDY, THE NOTORIOUS BIG, MC HAMMER, DR DRE, HIPHOP three days running. It is narrowing the focus evermore to one sub-sub-genre, and rubbing my face in it: if I don't know these, I am an old fogy and unwelcome in this new era of hip. I am in the minority, and as such, a victim of discrimination. Where do I complain?

Happy Sunday!

David L. 10:11 AM  

Paella for tamale at 113-across messed me up for a long time.

Aketi 10:25 AM  

I was ON A ROLL in some parts of the puzzle and (briefly) HIT THE WALL in others.

@jpflanagan, Regrettably my former work with with multinational NGOs did not turn KIVA into a household word for me. Then again, I never worked on microfinance. Just kept wanting KIVU, which is region in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a beautiful lake. It is where I RUMBAED for the first time. And sadly now a place of conflict.

I expected Rex to be far more annoyed with HARARE, ASMARA, and MANCALA, which were definitely in my wheelhouse.

When I got to OLD SAWS I thought about OLD FOGIES earlier in the week, Haven't we now covered the gamut of OLD things? BATS, BAGS, NAGS, and HAGS? If you put those four in a puzzle isn't that one of those thingamajigs that qualifies as a theme? WHATS IT called? Oh yeah, I GET IT, a word chain.

I also liked BLIMP and HAVE A GAS in the same puzzle as well as ARM CURL and SPOTTER.

Music Man 10:27 AM  

Got the theme on my first entry SHOW ME THE MONEY, but had trouble comprehending it completely. Like, I got that it turned [right] and right on the money, but I didn't see how they were connected. Later I realized it's because it said right on twice in the title, but still, like your well placed meme, turn down for what? The two capitals were huge naticks for me. Warheads was a gimme, I used to destroy those, well actually they used I destroy me, my tongue in particular, they would burn holes right in my tongue, some harsh stuff for sure. I felt this one had some really crummy fill and an inelegant theme, so, meh.

Roo Monster 10:41 AM  

Hey All !
Clever SunPuz. I like how the Right-Turn-Downs were actually clued rather than just a - there. Took a second or two to wiggle out what the theme was. But after I found it, made solving a bit easier. Smoothly went through most of the grid, but hit a wall in the NE. Couldn't get a toe-hold, and with two unknown-to-me Capitals crossing, ended up Googling said Caps. Was able to sniff out the rest after that. I cry Capital Natick! :-)

Lots of repeaters, HALLE/HALLO, AMO/AMOI/AMOS, IFSO/IPSO,. And a DEN/NED mirroring. Just an observation.

Liked it overall, some fun clues, dreck-lite. Along with the Googs, also 5 letters wrong, so a DNF. But in regards to the theme, I GET IT. Which is always a plus!

SCOOTS
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Fairly easy, but I solved it without having the slightest clue what all those Exacts meant. Ah, now I get it.

Steve M 11:19 AM  

Warheads mandala Asmara ......not ez

jberg 11:51 AM  

This was a miserable failure for me. I thought that game was called 'takoradi' (actually a city in the region the name comes from), but had no idea about MANCALA, and no idea about the TV channel either, so I guessed a D where they crossed.

I liked it though. First of all, on the right vs. down issue -- if think of the answer as a car driving along a road, it turns right when it gets to the end. At least, that's how I saw it, so that was fine.

I think what @Rex means is that HIP-HOP is much more than rap-=the former is a subculture, the latter a music genre-- so the clue, while not wrong in the crossworld, is inexact.

The best part of the puzzle, though was the two LIMPS just before the "sex-therapy subject" clue. Honest to God, I had the LI and thought I saw where it was going. But the puzzle took a U-TAHN at that point.

old timer 12:12 PM  

DNF for me (I had MANDALA instead of MANCALA and also Fort SUTTER instead of SUMPTER, though if I had not wanted just to *finish* the damn thing, MC HAMMER would have fixed that error).

I got BLIMP right away, but stupidly wrote in "mammals" instead of ANIMALS. I never can remember HARARE, though with enough crosses I got it of course. ASMARA I do know. Got the trick with SHOWMET
HEMONEY, and that did help with the other themers.

Having raised three daughters, TAVI was a gimme. I probably could get a Masters in Kid Lit, though for some reason "Hop on Pop" was not among our many Dr Seuss books. The ones I liked to read were the two Cat in the Hat books and Fox in Socks, which I might be able to recite from memory: "Now wait a minute, Mr Socks Fox" was my favorite line to read.

I thought it was brilliant to find a way to include AZTECs and OLMECS in the same puzzle. Even more brilliant to have Pooh saying "Hallo", which of course he does, being a Brit from the 1920's.

Hartley70 12:14 PM  

This puzzle took me to school in a few spots. HALLO, Africa! Good to see ya for a change. Tough answers but great to learn. I figured @Aketi would be drawn out by this puzzle, and here she is. HALLO to you too!

I got nabbed by PoLISH/PALISH. I've never heard of PALISH, and if I had I would have spelled it PALe-ISH. Maybe if I'd been an art major way back when...

I liked the theme for Sunday and was pleased to see it's double meaning as the downward turn happened. It gave the easy answers some extra zip.

AliasZ 12:29 PM  


What are the odds? HARARE was in the news today. Next up: A slight disagreement turned into a fistfight during a MANCALA game in ASMARA. Film at 11:00.

Masked and Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Theme type U see often, but served with a nice twist. thUmbsUp.

Guapos:

OLMECS. Short for OLd MExiCanS. [source: Wiki-Waki-Pedia]

KIVA. I'm with @009: learnt something new + easy to evoke from all the crossers.

HARARE/ASMARA - YowchA. Woulda been super-cool, if they coulda worked in NATICK, cross in that same mystery "A", on the diagonal. Clearly, they wanted to save it for M&A to do, in a runtpuz …

MICDROP - fave entry. Anytime the constructioneers can fill a jumbo grid cleanly and still work in stuff like this, they have M&A's undying respect. Even if they ganged up on us, to do it.

Fun. Thanx, Sam Chen.

Masked & Anonymo9Us


**Egg-layin gruntz**
**Must be seen to be believed**

The Ear Worm 12:34 PM  

I too, had IMAtO, but my wife knows things and saved me a Google so I'm going to claim victory :)

Z 12:45 PM  

WICCA

AMIDST

MIC DROP

MANCALA

Anything else and you're on your own.

Always check your grid 12:51 PM  

@Nancy, If you had MoNCALA you had a DNF, see @John Child's post.

Tita 12:57 PM  

Was annoyed when I saw TIPPINGPOINT, Thinking it was a ho-hum theme done in a ho-hum way. I was well into the puzzle before I realized the "Exact" part. That upped the interest plenty. And, the double theme helped in a few cases too.

My nit is that I thought they would all have to physically turn, like TIPPINGPOINT does...meaning-wise and theme-wise.

@AliasZ...add TIPPINGPOINT to your days-in-a-row count.

Loved clue/answer at COLORED...reminds me of one of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes...
https://emmarlocatelli.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/calvinandhobbes.gif
Sorry I can't embed links on the iPad...but trust me...it is really worth copy/pasting.

My tin ear made me wonder about HIPHOP Clue. That corner was the hardest...I had IRIS, but changed it to cone (which are actually *in* eyes), cause all I could hunk of was golIVE.
Didn't matter, cause of PoLISH ...same rational as @John C).

Liked it a lot, Mr. Donaldson!

Davis 12:59 PM  

Completely disagree regarding Kiva. They're the biggest game in town in the microfinance world, and microfinance has been on the rise for almost a decade now.

Of course, I say this as someone who has been using Kiva for many years now, so maybe this is an instance of "it's good because I know it".

Fred Romagnolo 1:00 PM  

I got the first half of the theme, which was sufficient. I had to google MANCALA, and I didn't know SMOKE in that context. WARHEADS and SWELLS was another problem. I only know DR DRE from crosswords, and didn't know MIC DROP. As is clearly evident, I'm from the first half of the 20th Century. If you could see my puny body, you'd know I'm a stranger to ARM CURLS and SPOTTERS. And, of course, having LIBIDO and LIMP in close proximity is definitely Ageist!

Carol S. 1:17 PM  

Can NYT Please For the Love of All That is Good, SMOKE away the DCUPs? By male editors/constructors? Do female constructors use clues about men's athletic cup sizes? Condom sizes? No??? Well... RIGHT ON THE NOSE. There's plenty to talk about; can we leave my breasts out of it?

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Surely the genius who coined WARHEADS was more concerned with the name's appeal to children than with its "cuteness."

ArtO 1:52 PM  

A fun, not too difficult solve with exceptions already noted by many...HARARE crossing ASMARA ( I actually guessed right on Harare), MANCALA, KIVA, WICCA (Wikipedia,I guess, but that's more than spelling), SOPHIe resolved with ABRAM. As with Rex, NE fell last with P.E. RATIO finally falling.

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

I got that the answers turned down, though neither the title nor the "exact" clue made sense until I came here. I recently cleaned out a closet, so Mancala which was big in games stores at one point, was a gimme. Lots I didn't know, but enough letters in the crosses to be able to figure it all out, even with all the people names. Fastest Sunday in a while for me.

Norm 2:05 PM  

Anonymous@9:19 -- WICCA = New Age witch-based religion = modern casting of spells [assuming they do so] = modern spelling

Anonymous@9:16 -- AMIDST is fancy British-ism for among

dick swart 2:21 PM  

A totally get-able Sunday!

Two remarks:

1. I tried so hard to make you-know-who work for 1 across. Alas, 'tnai', 'rimp', and 'um' didn't quite make it.

2. I have made 44 loans through Kiva. If you are not familiar with it, give a look at kiva.com. It is possible to specify gender, country, single borrower or group, area of application, and some degree of eco-friendlness. Micro loans are a very successful way of supporting enterprise for those who may not qualify for traditional banks.

Numinous 2:22 PM  

DNF'd at PoLISh. Who ever says something is a PALISH green? "Crawled out of my tent and lit a fire to meke coffee under the PALISH sky of dawn." Gimme a break. OWWTH.

I really liked the Right On, especially after I read Jeff's explanation. If you picture a little man from above, running along the answer, when he gets to the corner, he turns right. Sam originally thougt to have the answers begin with a down and then go across but Jeff saw that as turning left which conflicted with the theme, Right On, Right On. It never hit me, Right On TIME, etc., I was contenting myself with On TARGET and On THE MONEY.

I've never heard of MANCARA so MoNCARA looked just fine to me and I've already discussed that "A" above. Everything else managed to fill itself in eventually and I would have to rate this EASY since, but for the A, I'd have finished this only two minutes slower than my best time which is about half my average time for a Sunday.

I had to smile at WARHEADS. I remember my step-kids offering one to their mother, proffering it as a basic Gummie. She spat it out and growled at them as they giggled insanely. I believe I had seen that coming. They had given me one and I blithely pretended to like it, disgusting as it was.

I'm not convinced that HIPHOP is a fair answer for rap. HIPHOP, as well as being some sort of lifestyle, is a genre if music that doesn't always contain rap. Originally, rap was a thing unto itself sans melody. HIPHOP seems to have more MUSicality. Just MHO. I'll ask my roommate who, in his past, has produced a few HIPHOP albums.

My egg rings arrived from Amazon. I'm going to try to produce a McMuffin.

CP 2:25 PM  

Like another commenter, I unfortunately DNFed on IMAtO crossing tESTS. Otherwise fun puz for me, and added GEST to my internal list of possible English words. A King Rudolf and his imprisonment in ZENDA was a new bit of fact today too.

Jamie C 2:53 PM  

Anyone else feel like having "gas bag" and HAVE A GAS in the same puzzle was a nono?

Nancy 3:02 PM  

@always check... (12:51 pm). You're absolutely right, of course. I saw my error when I went back to read everyone's comments and saw that I, too, had PoLISH instead of PALISH. I didn't post again in order to mention it because 1) I didn't think anyone would especially care, and 2) my mea culpa might well have not appeared today before midnight. But thanks for caring, @always check your grid. I'm trying to guess which eagle-eyed blog regular you are. :)

Amy Pearson 3:03 PM  

@Carol S: Thinking that there's something in the puzzle that refers to your breasts seems oddly self-absorbed. The clue is about a bra size, not a breast, and to claim that the mere mention of a bra size should only be in the purview of females is both sexist and wrong.

Alicia Stetson 4:13 PM  

@Carol S, that was a joke, right?

Music Man 5:06 PM  

Wicca like wiccans, like witches (kind of), wiccans cast spells, ERGO modern spelling=Wicca

Music Man 5:10 PM  

I think because rap is only one aspect of hip hop culture, there's I think 4 or 5 aspects that comprise hip hop, rap being one of them.

kitshef 7:04 PM  

Loved the puzzle; thought the theme was clever and well-executed, and liked the clues for WICCA, DUNDEE, HRH.
@Nancy - of course we care.
Overwrites were numerous. mamMALS before ANIMAILS; ebon before ONYX, WHosits before WHATSIT, Ski before SNO, aztECS before OLMECS, eST before AST, eLEE before ALEE (filled in before looking at the clue and thinking it would be Robert _____), AllAn before ABRAM.
Funnily enough, never got the full theme. I thought the downs were just 'on THENOSE', 'on CUE', etc., rather than 'right on ...'.
Not fond of the clue for CARIBOU, though you can justify it based on behavior or sub-species. But they are the same species, so calling them relatives feels wrong to me.

Deborah Wess 9:02 PM  

Definite hand up for hip hop NOT same as rap. Mancala, Kiva, and Wicca amongst many things I knew. Made puzzle easy and enjoyable. Got show me the money early on and all the rest of theme dropped easily into place. (Pun intended)

Vixen 10:03 AM  

@kitshef, I don't see that problem with CARIBOU. Almost all of my relatives are of the same species.

Buss Smith 10:28 PM  

Where are Mr. and Mrs. 'mericans this week? The comments don't seem complete without them!

hankster65 11:13 AM  

Yes!

Anonymous 9:42 PM  

Glad to see someone besides myself having a hard time finding any other answer to 1a than the gasbag from my home state of NY!

spacecraft 12:54 PM  

I agree with @Nancy on the naming of WARHEADS. As I was filling it in, I became increasingly incredulous that a candy company would really come up with such a name. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Are there not enough bombs in the world? Even WHATSIT would be an improvement. Come to think of it, there's a name that would inspire curiosity; probably sell ten times as well as...that other thing.

Hand up for thinking I'd discovered the theme with the LIMP BLIMP--a craft not recommended for travel! Wasn't 100% sure where we were going with TIPPING___, but when "You had me at hello" didn't fit SHOWMETHEMONEY was a given, so I saw that we had to supply the "understood" ON atop the down portion. Once that was settled, the solve wasn't that hard. I dimly recall seeing HARARE somewhere, saving me from that natick.

I'm a little surprised there hasn't been a wider and more spirited discussion of rap vs. HIPHOP. While I'm certainly no expert, I can sense that the two terms might not be congruent--which would bring the clue under fire. I managed to suss out the two (!) rappers elsewhere in the grid; even I have heard of those guys. Still, the trend is most dismaying.

I didn't know the African game; there's no listing in my dictionary for it. PoLISH looked so obvious, but I struggled to reconcile that word with "A little light." Then it hit me. PALISH. O-kay. Sure. But that entry is awfully weak. ish.

Some very nice bright spots; some clunkers. A tick above average, for me. Agree with easy-medium. B-.



Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Mostly easy-ish, but nevertheless enjoyable.

I enjoyed seeing NANOBOT, AZTECAN, WICCA, ZENDA and SNOOKERCUE.

The several references to HIPHOP, not so much.

A couple of quibbles:

An enjoyable event is a gas. One does not, in my world, HAVEAGAS (or if one does, it is a source of abdominal pain).

MANCALA crossing TCM = Natick, for me. Also, Wikipedia claims that "No one game exists with the name mancala; the name is a classification or type of game." So the clue, it seems, should have been "a type of board game..." But it would have made no difference to me; I got it only with a WAG.

Burma Shave 1:39 PM  

LIBIDO TIPPINGPOINT

If IMUP ONAROLL when IGETIT, with AGAL I’ll HAVEAGAS,
WHATSIT GOODFOR if you let it HITAWALL with no lass?

The pimp said, “SHOWMETHEMONEY, SIR, if you want to BREED hoes.”
But in my LIMP RACEAGAINSTTIME for her, I PAIDTHROUGHTHENOSE.

--- ZENDA HINDI

rondo 2:11 PM  

So at the RIGHT there’s an implied (RIGHT) ON, going down on the “exact” clue. Fascinating. Har. IGETIT.

For your LIBIDO there are numerous yeah babies in all-timer HALLE Berry (crossing LAY!), Gabby REECE, ALI Larter, and Tori AMOS. None of them that close to DCUP, but I’d give them all LEIS. Could also have had one in SOPHIA, but I suppose there’s a limit. IGETIT.

HIPHOP and rap are the same to me. No good. I(don’t)GETIT.

You could get ham ONAROLL as well as ONRYE. That’s how IGETIT.

Sunday gimmicks? ASWANDAM annoying thing, IGETIT.

rain forest 2:25 PM  

HALLO!

We read from left to right, or at least I do, and so the ends of the themers are indeed turning right relative to the direction the word(s) are proceeding.

Maybe HIPHOP involves more components than "pure" rap, but to me, it is rap.

I liked this one. Nice theme which incorporates two well-know phrases for each themer. Decent to very good fill. Knowing the African capitals helped, and the things I didn't know: NANOBOT, WICCA, MIC DROP I got from crosses and learned something, to boot.

Interestingly, or not, I selected PALISH green paint for the walls in my office.

Anonymous 6:32 PM  

@Nancy

If you've never had a Warheads candy, you don't understand the term. It explodes in your mouth. Very sour. An acquired taste; not that I like them, but I don't spit them out.

rondo 6:55 PM  

BTW, I sort of knew a defacto leader of folks who follow WICCA, at least around here, and who has recently passed. He once lived along a road project I was managing, so I had some minor dealings with him. He ran the Llewellyn Press, if you're interested. I bought a couple books they published just to look into the WICCA thing. I may dance with them some equinox.

Jane 6:20 AM  

I was disappointed that you didn't know Kiva, Rex. It's been around for a long time. My daughter in law introduced me and I've been funding with small micro loans for at least five years. Although some of the fill was hard, I got it all...and given that, I liked how easy the theme answers were, once I understood.

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