Nine-fingered hobbit / WED 12-23-15 / Toy Story dog that shares its name with missile / French upper crust / Singer Williams of Temptations / Uncle on Duck Dynasty / Dios's enemy

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Constructor: Jim Peredo

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: "GOD BLESS US EVERY ONE" —each word from this quote from "A CHRISTMAS CAROL" (36A: Novella whose final words are found in the circled squares) is embedded in its own theme answer. Speaker of the quote is TINY TIM (with "TIM" all "tiny" there in his own little square) (65A: Speaker of the words in the circled squares, expressed literally)

Theme answers:
  • GODOT (13A: Samuel Beckett's "En attendant ___")
  • NOBLESSE (22A: French upper crust)
  • PUSSY GALORE (27A: "Goldfinger" temptress)
  • THE VERY IDEA (44A: "Nonsense!")
  • SKIN TONE (53A: Complexion)
Word of the Day: MONA Van Duyn (56D: Poet ___ Van Duyn) —
Mona Jane Van Duyn (May 9, 1921 – December 2, 2004) was an American poet. She won every major American award for poetry and was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1992. // Van Duyn won every major U.S. prize for poetry, including the National Book Award (1971) for To See, To Take, the Bollingen Prize (1971), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (1989), and the Pulitzer Prize (1991) for Near Changes. She was the U.S. Poet Laureate between 1992 and 1993. (wikipedia)
• • •

I was mostly indifferent to this puzzle until that TINY [TIM] moment. That made it all worth while. You've got a dense theme with a quotation *and* a work title *and* a speaker *and* a rebus square all going at once. Plus the fill's not bad overall. I didn't know OTIS or SCUD or MONA Van Duyn and I never would've guessed the plural UGHS, and I had NOBILITÉ at first instead of NOBLESSE. PLUS, I didn't pick up the battlefield context of 38D: Call preceding "Medic!" and I had NOUN instead of TOOL at 2D: Jack, hammer or jackhammer and then I got sidetracked for a moment wondering if the clue on UNCOOL was still correct (7D: Like wearing socks with sandals, say). If you were paying attention this past summer, you probably noticed teenage boys wearing dark socks with shorts, which used to be an UNCOOL old-man look, but apparently no longer. I would not be surprised if socks w/ sandals ended up on the "cool" side of the ledger sometime very soon. But back to my main point, which is I had all these moments of sputtering and stalling and *still* finished this one in the mid-low 3s (fast, for me, for Wednesday). I'd like to thank PUSSY GALORE. At least I assume that's how I got rocket-boosted through this grid.


One issue: the clue on TINY [TIM] (65A: Speaker of the words in the circled squares, expressed literally). It's not "expressed literally." It's redundant, literally. Expressed literally, there would simply be the "TIM" box, i.e. a tiny TIM. So ... phrasing. Everything would've been great if you'd just left the unnecessary "expressed literally" out of it. Just leave clue as is. It's great. We can find TIM. We can see he's "tiny." It's a great, great, unexpected little discovery awaiting us at the end of the puzzle. Don't overexplain, thus mucking things up. Just let it be, man.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I constructed today's BuzzFeed crossword puzzle. Let's just say ... it stinks! (all short, punny reviews, welcome!!)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

71 comments:

jae 12:03 AM  

Easy for me too. About the same as yesterday's. 

Did not know SILAS as clued (evil monk in The Da Vinci Code, yes) having never seen the series, but I filled in all the across answers first so I never saw the clue.

Pretty zippy theme answers, not much dreck, a bonus rebus, liked it a lot.

Charles Flaster 12:15 AM  

Liked this very easy romp.
Much easier than Monday or Tuesday just past.
Liked cluing for UNCOOL ( excellent visual) and EPHEMERA.
No CrosswordEASE but would have liked a symmetric answer for TIM ( probably very difficult to effect).
Also enjoyed the French take on GODOT.
Second place in trivia tonight--did not know the last three sports movies to win Best Picture. Only knew two them.
Thanks JP

kozmikvoid 12:26 AM  

I'm quite perplexed. I genuinely believe that Will has his days confused. A Wednesday-ish Tuesday followed by a Monday-ish Wednesday? Finished faster than my Monday average and fully expected a thoroughly panning review. I just don't get this one. No surprises, no "Aha" moment. Straightforward fill with a randomly placed, poorly clued rebus at the end. The quote was fairly obvious so filling in the circled letters basically completed the puzzle. And the simplicity of the quote's speaker made the rebus an auto-fill. PUSSYGALORE, YAYAS, SEAMEN, BRAS all make it seem a bit like a snickering 12-year-old boy snuck this one into the NYT. Disappointing follow-up to an enjoyable Tuesday.

chefwen 1:39 AM  

O.K., now we're getting into the spirit of things. Another easy but fun puzzle, this week is shaping up rather nicely.

Looked up EPHEMERA after the fact as that was a new word for me. Let's see how long I remember it. Poetry is not on my list of things I enjoy so MONA Van Duyn was also an unknown, thankfully she filled herself in. One write over, Bon AMI over Bon mot.

Jim Peredo 1:54 AM  

Thanks, Rex. The "expressed literally" was added in the editing phase. Just sayin'.

Hungry Mother 6:48 AM  

Very nice Wednesday, fun solve.

Aketi 7:26 AM  

It IRKed me MASSIVEly that the iPad accepted my puzzle as complete when I caved and put just in the T while thinking that NOTE just didn't make sense and it should be TIM not T. THEVERYIDEA that you could have a rebus along with a bunch of circles just did not cross my mind. And on a Wednesday too. I stared at square with the a big T instead of the TINY TIM after I saw that Rex has sussed out the obvious rebus and I erased the whole puzzle and filled it in again. Thus, I discovered that my theoretical fill time typing on an iPad could actually drop below 10 minutes. So now that there has been a possibly temporary improvement in m

Then of course there was PUSSY GALORE and yet another play on BRAS and cups.

Not sure how I feel about LEGO crossing EGGO.

Thanks to my son's class in Human Geography last year, I now know that in addition to the TUTSI and the Hutus, there are also a CASTe of Pygmies called the Twa who were less affected by the massacres that occurred between the other two groups.

I think I need my second cup of coffee now to face the day.

Mohair Sam 7:37 AM  

Super easy Christmas present from Jim Peredo and Will Shortz. Like @Rex we enjoyed the TINYTIM rebus surprise at the end, and didn't need the "literally."

Didn't have to wait for GODOT, NOBLESSE seemed likely, and PUSSYGALORE a gimme - so the theme fell quickly and the puzzle was essentially done. Several short answers were unknown here (many the same as Rex's) but the crosses were fair and easy.

Whenever I see a snarky review like Maltin's at 18 across I'm reminded of the nastiest book review I ever saw. It was in Newsday, at least 40 years ago - it began: "Jacqueline Suzann, that renowned typist, . . . ."

Z 7:44 AM  

I was feeling all Grinchy until I paused to consider the deeper metaphysical meanings of A CHRISTMAS CAROL puzzle with PUSSY GALORE and MASSIVE SEAMEN as apparent seed entries. I feel like we've been schlonged. I mean that in the most respectful way.

Aketi 7:47 AM  

@ Nancy, I bet you liked the LYRIC in this puzzlle. As for the backstroke, I only do that with fins on my feet, a wetsuit warming my SKIN, a regulator in my mouth, and a fully inflated BCD (buoyancy control device) strapped to my body. Without those four TOOLs I am definitely not a SEAwoMaN, I think it would be UNCOOL to do laps in a pool with those TOOLS. I might at most fpget away with the fins and the wetsuit,

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

I love Rex Parker. However, the word "quote" is a verb, not a noun.

Airymom 7:59 AM  

I'm no prude. A few nights ago, I watched "Pulp Fiction" for the fifth or sixth time, this time with my high school daughter (an assignment for her film class). She couldn't believe that given the language and content, it's one of her "old Mom's" favorite movies. The word "f-ck" is used about 500 times in the film, there's anal rape, oral sex.

I'm also Jewish, so I don't have a religious/spiritual feeling about Christmas and the birth of Jesus. I appreciate that it is a wonderful and meaningful day for my Christian friends.

Which brings me to this-- "pussy galore" does not belong in a NY Times puzzle, or any other puzzle. Not on any day, but even more heinous when it is a Christmas puzzle. It is a vulgar, misogynistic name.

Shame on Will Shortz and Jim Peredo.

Sorry Rex, but I'm disappointed in you for your lack of disgust.

NCA President 8:00 AM  

Read Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point" to find out how dark shoes with dark socks and shorts begin trending after years of being taboo. Fascinating stuff.

In my part of the country I wish large beards would stop trending...but that's just me. They can have their flannel and PBR, and I'll even grant them a fedora (kinda), but the beard...ugh.

Oh, yeah...the puzzle.

It was good.

I also feel I could probably travel to France and get by there pretty well just on the French I know from xwords.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:31 AM  

Made me laugh, so just fine.

Ghost of Crossword Past? -- 60 A/54 D: "LEGO my EGGO" ;>)

Aketi 8:34 AM  

So it's now three and out, my mood has EVOLVEd under the influence on more caffeine and a piece on the radio show "Note to Self" that covered the influence of LEGOs on creativity. Apparently, building with a LEGO kit before undertaking a creative task reduces creativity compared to freestyle building with LEGOs before the task. The piece reminded me of the giant white free form Lego art installation at the Highline in Chelsea. Even though the installation was designed for kids, when I went to visit it, mostly adults were playing with it.

http://www.thehighline.org/activities/the-collectivity-project-for-kids

Just wondering what a study of the totally addicting Mine Craft (aka Mind Crack) might reveal. It is actually possible to build minicomputers within that game, I saw a You Tube of someone who had spent so much time in that game that they contracted a fully functional electronic Tic Tac Toe game within his Mine Craft World. Which would foster more or less creativity? Free style virtual blocks or actual blacks with instruction sheets?

Nancy 8:40 AM  

Very Christmas-y...but how did PUSSY GALORE finagle her way into such a pure-of-heart puzzle? I imagine this was much more fun to create than to solve. Other than the really, really TINY tim surprise, I found this pretty much of a bore.

GILL I. 8:45 AM  

It's nice to see MONA clued as Poet Van Duyn and not as the eyebrowless Lisa. I read her "Letters From a Father" many moons ago and it depressed the TUTSI out of me.
I too enjoyed this puzzle. The many names might IRK some of you here, but I knew them all. I Got PUSSY GALORE just off the P. How can anyone not remember that name? I had to look up EPHEMERA because I forgot what it meant. It sounds more like something you'd take for an asthma attack. Anyway, I like it along with everything else. Well, maybe I didn't like EGGO. The commercial for that unEATable waffle makes me want to sing Jimmy crack CORN just to block out the the mom's voice as she texts her daughter who is sitting next to her while the dad does the same except he's probably looking at porn on his iPhone.
Christmas about to be upon us....it's very cold here and rainy and I'm loving it all....
GOD BLESS...


Hartley70 8:49 AM  

Yes, it was easy. Yes, I adored this little early Christmas gift. As Rex pointed out, it has it "going on". Bring on the themes, the gimmicks, the tricks...it's CHRISTMAS!

There were a lot of proper names and I didn't know them all, but they were inferable. How did I not know OTIS? Or YAYAS? Could there be two ORCAS? But this zipped along like the front of a parka, and it was done. I'm willing to bet a good time was had by all.

Alias Z 9:00 AM  

for the second time recently, OFL is very late in clearing the posts. Once again I suggest that he take up the offers he's had to share the moderation with a few of the regular posters here. Why bother?

Teedmn 9:07 AM  

Great Christmas-themed puzzle. I had a couple of missteps, easily fixed (Jaws before ORCA while I was thinking ”1977? Can't be" and UGli fruit wasn't music to the chef's ears). I've never seen NOBLESSE oblige in a puzzle, and EPHEMERA, LEGO crossing EGGO, AMI crossing AIMEE, SKIN TONE added up to a lot of good stuff here.

I didn't like the image brought to mind by I'M HIT and there were a lot of proper nouns, a few of which could have been clued differently (VEGA, OTIS, MONA) but I solved this in less time than yesterday's and I wasn't trying to go fast so they were all fairly crossed, for me anyway.

Thanks, Jim Peredo!

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

Hey Rex, if you had to change so many answers, how does it rate "easy?"

Pete 9:22 AM  

A (seemingly) average puzzle elevated well above at the last minute. Well done.

In puzzle news unrelated to today's we have this excursion into absurdity, courtesy of the NYTimes, in response to "What's your favorite Poem": SHEILA NEVINS: My favorite poem is John Donne, “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions: No Man Is an Island.”. Rant away

Martin 9:33 AM  

I have a quibble with the "Pussy Galore" clue. Pussy is not a "temptress" in Goldfinger -- Bond essentially rapes her. It would be much easier to characterize her as a pilot, a femme fatale, the female lead, or even the Bond Girl rather than a temptress.

Nancy C 9:38 AM  

I, too, enjoyed the tiny TIM at the end of the puzzle. Also enjoyed the crossing of Lego with Eggo. Fun enough.

chefbea 9:41 AM  

Fun puzzle!!! and Christmas theme!!
No one has ever said ugh to my cooking!!
FYI they now make special socks to wear with flip flops...sort of like mittens

Rabi Abonour 9:43 AM  

The redundancy on TINY TIM bothered me too, but otherwise I liked this one. Not really any groan-worthy fill, which is sadly an achievement for the Times these days. The NW was the last piece for me - neither the Temptations, Three's Company, nor Ellery Queen are in my pop culture wheelhouse, and I (perhaps embarrassingly) did not know Waiting for Godot was original written in French. Given his name, I always assume Samuel Beckett was British.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Agree with easy. A tad nitpicky about redundancy of the revealer, but as RP points out, a very nice surprise that enhanced the entire experience, especially if you got to the SE corner late in the puzzle. Happy Holidays to all.

RT

cwf 9:43 AM  

Clean and fun. Got the theme (mostly) off of GOD BLESS from the remaining circled letter counts. Dual Rolling Stones refs and what I will take as a shout out to the great garbage-punk band PUSSYGALORE.

jberg 9:58 AM  

At first I thought this would be tough in an annoying way, will all those entertainment figures and movie characters, none of which I knew (except GODOT, superfluously clued as French.) Then I noticed that I had BLESS in a bunch of shaded squares, looked at the other shaded squares, and there it was.

Dueling Suzannes, LEGO my EGGO, but no 'humbug' to go with BAA. My only tiny holdup was wanting SEAnce before SEAMEN, but it still went super-fast.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

I think if you wanted to introduce someone to the NYT crossword, this is a fantastic puzzle to use. It demonstrates a couple of the unexpected tricks that make the NYT so great. Circled letters revealing revealing a phrase along with the theme referencing title and speaker clues, a season relevant theme, and a simple rebus square as well. Not too difficult but challenging for someone who isn't used to seeing stuff like that in the other syndicated puzzles.
I briefly got slowed down in the NE and in the circled phrase after putting 'cobs' instead of 'corn', but had enough of a hint in the title to figure out that Christmas had to be in there (helped that I had shopping to get done right after). Nice enjoyable solve minus the UGH sound I made when I put that down.

Loren Muse Smith 10:15 AM  

Rex – you're right – "jocks" have been wearing socks with sandals for years now. Definitely not UNCOOL.

And I agree with you on the reaction to the TINY TIM flourish – brought a huge smile.

Almost a periphery themer with BAA, Humbug. Cool.

I sure have missed participating here, but I have some extra time now to read big lists of approved comments all at once. I guess my enthusiasm for the new system here was ephemeral. I've been participating at Wordplay, and I like it over there just fine. People are very nice. Very smart and clever. Deb's write-ups are always entertaining. But…the site is not nearly as user-friendly for me as it is here. I also have a newfound appreciation for Rex's system of just taking donations rather than subjecting us to the gazillion pop-up ads I have to x-out of over at Wordplay, which, apparently, has to use the same system of all the NYT blogs.

I keep seeing TOOL near UNCOOL, thinking the schlonged comment yesterday. Talk about your MASSIVE shtup-up. (36A)

Hey, Jim – LEGO my EGGO! Happy Holidays, everyone!

Jlb 10:19 AM  

Fun puzzle.

I hope Rex is right about socks and sandals becoming less uncool. I really hate wearing real shoes, but my toes get cold.

chefbea 10:46 AM  

@Loren god to see ya

@Nancy click on my name (chefbea) and you'll get my e-mail address

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

Speaker of the words..., redundantly. Liked this puzzle. Being a hetero female, I have never enjoyed Pussy Galore literally, figuratively, or fictional character namely.

I have 14 year old daughters. THE Christmas gift in the 14 year old girl set is Birkenstocks. And socks. No, Birkenstocks do not now come in attractive models. They remain comfy and ugly. So, $260 later, not including socks, I have paid through the nose for what in my oldster mind is a fashion atrocity. At least it's not Crocs. And they can't grow beards (@NCA Pres). I take my comfort where I can.

Chuck McGregor 10:56 AM  

COOL puzzle leading to CASTing out these CORNy, possibly UNCOOL, juxtapositions:

DIABLO STYES (now those gotta hurt)

ERIE MONA (It’s that smile….)

MASSIVE PELE (Bloated soccer star)

REAM OLYMPIA (What the Dems do to Senator Snow [Maine shout out])

SOMER’S RATSNEST (not the neatest actress on the block)

ROOMY ORCA (Extra large sea mammal)

LONI PLUS (Extra large BRAS)

IDLE UGHS (Musings about nasty things)

PUSSY GALORE (Way too obviously prurient name for a Bond girl*)

* I saw 'Goldfinger" first run at a cinema near my college, so the audience was mostly male students. I leave it to you to (easily) surmise their reaction (noting it was 1964) when that name was first spoken!! If I recall correctly (could be very wrong), it was the yeah baby Ms. Blackman in a bikini introducing herself to James. We could not believe this was “passed” by the censors at the time.

Found this tidbit about my state: “The first act of movie censorship in the United States was an 1897 statute of the State of Maine that prohibited the exhibition of prizefight films. Maine enacted the statute to prevent the exhibition of the 1897 heavyweight championship between James J. Corbett and Robert Fitzsimmons. Some other states followed Maine.” (Wiki)

Boldly wrote in 9d Kleenexs (UGH). After seeing that was quite wrong, struggled with HAst versus HATH for a while to get the NE.

OK. Now, I grew up and still live by the sea, am a Navy vet, so have been in and around boats all my life. I had SEA_E_. Think I could figure out SEAMEN?? I had to cheat (and thus the source of my DNF) by revealing the “M.” Head slap!! OY!!!

@LMS: This fan of yours thinks it’s definitely not UNCOOL seeing you post here again.

Holiday Cheers

old timer 11:04 AM  

THE VERY IDEA of putting PUSSY GALORE in a family newspaper! And adding to it all those young women who used to arouse EROS in teenaged boys, like Suzanne SOMERS, and MONA (not that MONA, but the one in the song). (But then, NORA Ephron had more brain appeal than sex appeal, though I suppose Carl Bernstein would have disagreed).

I have always wondered how Ms. Galore got past the censors. But she did.

AliasZ 11:18 AM  


This was a lovely Christmas wish puzzle from TINY TIM and the NYT to all of us. Thank you!

It was a little jarring to see PUSSY GALORE right above A CHRISTMAS CAROL. THE VERY IDEA! Then there is EROS, SEAMEN, CLASP your TUTSI, and REAM... Whoa!

A CHRISTMAS CAROL,
And PUSSY GALORE?
Instead, listen to
Bizet's Farandole.

This is so eerie:
I LEFT MY DEARIE
Upon Lake ERIE
With seven SEAMEN,
And hobbit FRODO,
Waiting for GODOT.

But with NOBLESSE,
three times, no less,
I kicked the hobbit:
"LEGO my EGGO!"

NOBLESSE brings to mind the ballet "Nobilissima visione" by Paul Hindemith, depicting episodes from the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

Let me leave you on this noblest plateau with best wishes on Christmas Eve Day eve day.

Numinous 11:28 AM  

Wearing socks with sandles Is definitely UNCOOL! Literally UNCOOL. That's the point @Jlb. Who wants COOL toes when wearing sandals in the winter? It's also very retro. The Japanese have worn things, @chefbea, that we called Tabbies with Zories (the name I knew long before I head of thongs or flip-flops) in the winter since forever. They are those sock-things with the split between the big toe and the rest of the toes (I grew up in the SF Bay Area, lots of Japanese culture around there). But, "How retro?" You ask? Maybe a couple thousand years. The caligolae (boots) of the Roman legionary were open toed lattuice-sided ankle sandles often with hob-nailed soles. In Gaul, in the winter, they adopted the leggings of the Gauls to keep their tootsies warm. Sandles with socks make sense especially if you don't like wearing shoes. My solution: Uggs. I'm old enough now I couldn't give a rat's* what people think of my footwear.

I really liked LEGO crossing EGGO. I thought it was kind of catchy, maybe it could be used as a tag line or something.

I enjoyed this easy romp. I thought it was amazingly easy and it supported my theory that the longer it takes me to fill the Mini, the easier the main puzzle is. I got the idea at the revealer in the middle but I typed out CHRISTMAS CAROL then had to erase backwards to include the A to make it fit. I didn't mind PUSSY GALORE but I was rather surprised to come across her main support later on. In the end, I was having trouble in the SE until i looked at NO_E and thought [TIM] would fit nicely here. I typed it in the rebus box and the band began to play.

Well done, Jim Peredo!

brandsinger 11:31 AM  

Agree with all who were aroused to notice the sexual undercurrents here -- eros, pussy, somers, mona, bras, Loni, etc. Nothing wrong with undercurrents, but I kept visualizing the constructor as a skinny 60-ish chap with a stack of Playboys in his attic.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Great puzzle for me. Boy, everyone here is super tough! I totally missed the rebus TIM... I thought the clue `Sorry, gotta run!" was just a short note left for someone to find. Tomorrow will be my 50th in a row... but I'm new and still learning.

Numinous 11:38 AM  

I forgot.
*An Australian expression: I couldn't give a rat's arse (Anglicised spelling).

AliasZ 12:05 PM  


@LMS, thrilled to see you here again. Take off your coat, pull up a chair and stay for a while, willya?

Gregory Schmidt 12:31 PM  

I'll just echo Aketi, and say that the possibility of a rebus square on a Wednesday never crossed my mind, so I stared at that last square in consternation, wondering how the heck NOTE lined up with its clue. When I came to the blog and saw TIM, I just rolled my eyes. Sorry, no joy today, just general annoyance. It also felt heavy on oddball proper names for a Wednesday.

I've been working my way through the archived Sunday puzzles, and I must say that my absolute pet peeves are puzzle tricks that are surrounded by proper names. Really hard to figure out the constructor's "cleverness" when you can't be certain of the correct crossings.

thfenn 12:31 PM  

Loved it. Christmas spirit themed with PUSSYGALORE (and all the other aforementioned nods, be they snickering or titillating). THEVERYIDEA! Plus some Stones, some ice cream and waffles - what's not to like. And got a record Wednesday (meaning I finished well under 20 minutes, still a feat for me). All good.

Will just add the online version let me complete it with TINYT crossing NOTE...and saw it should be a tiny little tim in that square but got congratulated before I could fix it...

Paul Johnson 12:36 PM  

Are you freaking kidding me? In the middle of one of the most innocuous phrases ever GOD BLESS US EVERYONE the puzzle constructor worked in PUSSYGALORE??? But then he did throw in MASSIVE BRAS, ROOMY PLUS sized LONI (a D-cupper), SEaMEN, EROS (hubba hubba) and dumb buxom blond SOMERS. If only VIAGARA could have been worked into this very conflicted puzzle, making TINYTIM not so TINYTIM.

Hartley70 12:48 PM  

@chefbea, your email address keeps bouncing back. Could you have changed it? Nancy and I have both tried it with the same result.

Masked and Anonymo3Us 1:06 PM  

Maybe 65-A's clue had the "expressed literally" added, to let Wed-level solvers know that somethin is rottin
in the state of Denmark. One rebus square is, after all, a bit tricky. Not sure what average solver thought,
but I'd go with @009, on not givin the extra little warning.

yo, @muse: Good to see U back home here for the holidays. Merry Christmas back at yah.

Good puz, and God bless Pussy Galore and Tiny (Tim).

M&A


**gruntz**

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

Hi @Nancy, thanks for yesterday's offer of a swimming tutorial. I do know the elementary backstroke, the frog kick version, and that is what I switch to when the side stroke becomes too tiring. But because you can't see where you're going, I do prefer the side stroke. That said, I'm like @Aketi and prefer to be a SEAwoMaN with fins and snorkel as my preferred TOOLs. I like the bouyancy offered by the SEA. You won't catch me swimming in Lake ERIE!

Gerry Kahle 1:16 PM  

Yet again French as the official second language of the NYT puzzle. Why?

Arlene 1:23 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle - got the shaded square theme at BLESS. Almost last to go in was TINY tim - loved that rebus - like icing on the gingerbread house.
And I've been wearing socks with sandals for a very long time - knew it was uncool but didn't care - and now it seems I was cutting edge.
Hey - maybe even doing crosswords will catch on too!

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

Rex surprised me by commenting that PUSSY GALORE helped him get going; while it did me, too, given Rex's complaints about the old-fashioned tendencies of the NYT puzzles, I'd've thought he'd grumble that a more relatable answer would've been ALOTTA FAGINA. :) :)

I very much liked the LEGO/EGGO.

But for a Christmas-themed puzzle, weren't PUSSY GALORE, Suzanne "ThighMaster" Somers, and LONI "Baywatch" Anderson, not to mention BRAS, EROS, and even DIABLO, strangely inappropriate? Was this puzzle meant to be ironic?

Roo Monster 2:05 PM  

Hey All !
Put me in the like crowd. Had some wrong Downs in, til I figured out the circles. Had ---VERYIDEA in, and SKINTONE (also nOun, wich got me -OD--), so was able to scan over the circles and see the quote. Filled in the rest of the circles, making puz much easier. Though I did have A CHRISTMAS stROy in first. (The ole brain going all dyslexic on me.) Was a tad shocked to see Ms. GALORE myself, but Will has been risque of late with some answers. Did figure out the rebused TIM though!

Writeovers: nOun-TOOL, SOMmer-SOMERS (head slap, there), IRe-IRK, hUTus-TUTSI, stROy-CAROL.

So overall cool, easy WedsPuz. Christmasy. And even snuck me in! ROO, MY word!

YAYAS
RooMonster
DarrinV

OISK 2:19 PM  

Humbug! Got the theme immediately, and being a great fan of the Alistair Sim movie, filled it in with no trouble, including the Tiny tim. But this was loaded with pop references either completely unfamiliar, or familiar only from prior crosswords. Never heard of Otis Williams. Dog from Toy Story?? Milo Oshea? (prior puzzles) Suzanne Vega?? How about the astronomical clue, just as a change of pace? Who is Chris Hayes? Aimee Mann? Prior crosswords. Akira? Prior crosswords, Uncle Silas??? Yayas? (prior crosswords)

OK, I had no problem finishing, but to me, the fill is loaded with pop garbage, and it detracts from the pleasure of solving. ( Yes, I know, one man's garbage is another person's art, and perhaps I will get around to enjoying "Yayas" some day......Nah.)

Z 2:39 PM  

Finally got around to Rex's Buzzfeed masterpiece. it helps if you are familiar with Uttar Pradesh geography.

chefbea 3:17 PM  

@Hartley 70 @Nancy Just looked at my address. should work it's.... chefbea1@yahoo.com
now everyone knows

Numinous 3:32 PM  

@Gerry Kahle: Ironically (or not), in the home of the English language, French is the second language. Well it was almost the first language after 1066 (or MLXVI in ESE). When I lived in London, I was surprised how many people spoke at least some French even if their pronounciation was much like Texans' pronounciation of Spanish. French was always the language of art, love, diplomacy and, now, the future (google it), it's not surprising it spills a bit over into things like the NYT puzzle.*

Wondering how @Paul Johnson know what size bra LONI Anderson wears.

@LMS, great to see you here. I hope you'll continue to drop in from time to time at the very least. I really miss your comments here.





*Footnote day:
Tongue in cheek.

Nancy 3:52 PM  

@chefbea -- As Hartley 70 already mentioned: neither of us could get through on your email. (I've spent most of the day pre-packing: i.e. trying on clothes to see what goes with what, what looks good, and how little I can get away with bringing. You'd think I was going to Alaska for a month. Actually, I'm going to CT for 2 nights.) So I was glad that Hartley volunteered to let you know your email isn't working for either of us.

I have a 4-paragraph email to you, written this morning, sitting in my "sent" box that I will re-send if I ever can. Meanwhile, have a great holiday.

the redanman 4:16 PM  

I have always worn socks with sandals, Noël

Hartley70 4:57 PM  

Re: the swimming stroke conundrum @Nancy, @Aketi, @Teedmn et all. No one has mentioned the #1 reason why the side stroke is far superior to the elementary back stroke, IMHO. It may take a little more effort. You may be able to avoid concussing your head. But most importantly, your hair looks a heck of a lot better when you emerge from the deep!...unless you're Bo Derek of course.

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

@Numinous: Celebrity Measurement has this data:

http://www.celebritymeasurement.com/1223/loni-anderson-bra-size-height-weight-age-body-measurements.html

kitshef 6:28 PM  

Anonymous 1:47 - I believe you are confusing LONI Anderson (WKRP in Cincinnati) with PAMELA Anderson (Baywatch). I expected @Rex to complain about LONI, given that she's been in nothing for a decade and her heyday was the 70s.

NOBLESSE was my sixth word in, and immediately got the theme from that, which made this a very, very fast Wednesday (though after my brief unsatisfying flirtation with fast solving, I no longer notice the actual time).

This is, I think, the fourth high quality puzzle in the last five days (Sunday being the exception). You go, NYT (snap)!

Leapfinger 9:10 PM  

Considering A CHRISTMAS CAROL and TINY [tim] at the tail end, I was thinking that SILAS should have been clued by 'Marner'. That would have made sense had "Silas Marner" been written by Dickens instead of Eliot. Couldn't tell why PUSSY GALORE was in the grid except to give us a Great Big Christmas Goose.

@Aketi, glad you passed on that tidbit from Human Geography (an intriguing classification, to my mind). It fits in nicely with the TINY [Twa] entry also, and ought to be a consolation to everyone who had picked SMALLER before SPARSER yesterday.

@Numi, you probably were led astray by Ms GALORE, but I think those isolated-hallux booties are called tabis, not 'tabbies'. I bought some as a teenager after seeing Sayonara seven (yup, seven) times and being thoroughly brainwashed by all things Japanese. It might be due to some partial webbing of the toes, but I can't begin to tell you how uncomfortable they were. If nothing else, they obviate that whole socks-and-sandals issue.

AS SAM Beckett said just as he had to GODOTcom: LONI soit qui mahi pense, ORCAST the first stone.

Much NOBLESSE, much obliged.

Diana,LIW 11:29 PM  

Hey Rain Forest

If you didn't see them, check out the late posts yesterday. Hang in there - wee need you!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 10:27 AM  

LYRIC YAYAS

THEVERYIDEA of PUSSYGALORE has me and DIABLO dreamin’,
Is it UNCOOL to ask EROS for more? Or is that EPHEMERA for SEAMEN?

--- TINYTIM GODOT

spacecraft 11:20 AM  

First off, there's only a handful of syndilanders here, so @Rainy: stay with us please! If you go, you WILL be missed!

It is strange, sometimes, solving on the syndicated timeline. All my Christmas stuff has been packed away, and here comes old Ebenezer and company. It is a bit of a jolt to find Ms. GALORE ensconced among the Cratchit family. I'd like to tiptoe thru the tulips with HER--or LONI. But as to the offensiveness of the name? We must keep in mind that Fleming chose to go WAY over the top with Bond girl names, starting right off with Honey Rider. I mean, come on now: ONATOP? This is meant to be laughed at, not to take offense. STOP TAKING OFFENSE, PEOPLE! Or, as the brainwasher in "The Manchurian Candidate" said: "Always with a sense of humor, comrade, always with a sense of humor."

I first thought ORCA was going in 1-down, but I met up with that beast in the next block over. Having a single rebus square is certainly avant-garde; I don't mind that. I call it "thinking INSIDE the box." Sort of. Anyway, a fun solve, and only a MGMT and an OAS away from squeaky-clean fill. An easy A-.

Oh, one more thing (sorry, I've been watching Columbo reruns late-night): I've been remiss in not welcoming our newest denizen: no longer. A hearty if belated welcome to you, @Diana LIW!

rondo 11:43 AM  

One of the advantages? of being in syndi-land is that we get to celebrate holidays all over again. And still two possible shots at a Christmas puz.

And what a present today! When it rains, it pours, feast or famine. 1970s TV acting yeah babies Suzanne SOMERS and LONI Anderson, another Suzanne in singer VEGA, PLUS another yeah baby singer AIMEE Mann. Maybe even the talented NORA and MONA. And need I say PUSSYGALORE? This is a MASSIVE list.

Mini Rolling Stones theme and a LEGO my EGGO both brighten the day.

I did this puz in NOTIME and with EASE, enjoying the entire CAST. No BAA humbug from me.

rain forest 1:51 PM  

Geez guys/gal(s). To quote Sally Field: "you like me. You really like me."
I could say I was just kidding about not commenting anymore, but that wouldn't be true. However, you've convinced me to stay on in this tiny, perfect little group, overlooked as we are, but finding acceptance among ourselves. Leaving? THE VERY IDEA!

I have liked all three of this week's puzzles, easy as they have been, and all three have been just a little different from the norm. They may be EPHEMERA, but they've been fun.

"Thinking inside the box"-good one, @Spacey.

Nice to see all the yeah babies for @Rondo, perhaps balanced by those SEAMEN, if that's someone's pleasure (nothing wrong with that).

And of course, a belated yet sincere welcome to @Diana, LIW. I think I'll refer to you as @Lady Di henceforth.

High, low, or any kind of dudgeon re PUSSY GALORE. Come on, folks. Get some perspective.

Diana,LIW 4:08 PM  

After surveying the clues and discovering about half, yes half, of them referred to a particular name (and I didn't recognize most of them off the bat) I had my grumpy-cat face on. Thought for sure it would be tougher than it was. But then I got some toeholds, and unremembered info crawled out of my brain. I haven't seen many Bond movies, but even I knew this femme fatale. The novella's name and quote helped the solve become easy peasy.

Then, at the final moment, how to get Mr. Tim into the puz? Timmy? TINYt (lower-case t - doesn't make sense.) Even with the most ham-handed of clues I DNF'd. Argh! It's another rebus! Nooooooooooo!

Still, it is fun reliving Christmas in almost-February.

My grandmother made a stuffed cat for my second birthday. Her name was Pussykins. PK went everywhere with me. She attended every day of kindergarten, and had her name on the roll call. (She would say "mew.") After a while a bunch of other kids added their dolls and animals to the list, and then the teacher told us we'd have to call out only the names of the kids. She did, however, note on my graduation letter that PK was now eligible for first grade. One Saturday I lost PK. Inconsolable. My first brush with utter loss. Grandma made me another cat (Emergency PK) but it wasn't the same. All the grownups retraced their steps on Monday, and they found PK, alive and well, having spent a couple nights in our local bank. I still have PK and PK Junior. So whenever I heard of that Bond woman I had to smile.

Hello back at ya Rondo!

I hope Rainy got all of our messages. Syndies unite!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Cathy 8:13 PM  

@Rain Forest- I read REX PARKER everyday, in fact the only blog I read and sometimes respond to.(stress) My little happy escape. And always the previous days for comments. They've not been missed!

@Rondo- Rondo Rondo Rondo, how can I start the puzzle without thinking yeah baby for you:) 1 across, singer WILLIAMS of the temptations. Had the supremes in my head, huh? Mary Wilson?

@DianaLIW- Funny, I remember brainstorming why @Spacecraft always appeared after the spellcasters.

@Spacecraft- Was happy you weren't the cause, and in Vegas no less:) Always wait for your grade:)

@LeftcoastTam- So happy I'm not the only one posting late, you make me smile:)

@Z- who knew?

@Burmashave- What can I say? Ha ha!! Today especially!!

@RonDiego- Where ya been buddy?

@Centalscrutinizer?- Joes Garage, Zappa fan:)

It's almost Christmas, so time to start on my tomato plants:)

Later!



Diana,LIW 8:29 PM  

Aargh, back at you Spacecraft! And now Rainy.

Happy dance for Rainy remaining. I should have said Syndies unite, or untie!

Wouldn't it be funny if this ALE LOL (brew ha ha) brought more Syndies to the comments? We MUST outnumber the Times dailies, no? C'mon folks, the pool is warm. We won't letcha' sink.

OTOH, Rondo, American Beauty was one of a dozen "eight-tracks" I had in my old Volkswagen. It played over and over on my trip to Watkins Glen in 1973 to see the Dead, the Allman Bros, and The Band play all weekend. Good times indeed.

Stay calm and carry on...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords (AKA Lady Di)

leftcoastTAM 1:54 AM  

My posts are falling through the craaaaaaacks! Helllllllllppp! [Thud!]

Maybe the moderator is moderating me. Maybe I'm missing one step or another in the posting process. Maybe I'm just imagining it. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Helllllllllpp!

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