Talking toy since 1965 / SUN 12-6-15 / Food service giant based in Houston / Big Easy lunch / Blowtube projectile / Fictional Potawatomi tribesman / Punk subgenre / Druggists implements / 2013 Spike Jonze dramedy /

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "With Drawl" — familiar phrases have a word changed by extending it by one syllable to a near-homophone ... thus the (imagined) "drawl" (extension of the vowel sound); of course wacky phrases call for wacky "?" clues

Theme answers:
  • JUST ONE MOWER THING (24A: How you might classify a blade, a gas tank cap or a starter handle?)
  • FEAR OF HYATTS (27A: Reason to stay only at Hiltons or Marriotts?)
  • CREATIVE RIOTERS (45A: Mob that disturbs the peace in new and interesting ways?)
  • PRETTY SHOER (61A: Attractive blacksmith at a stable?)
  • NIGHT MAYORS (75A: Municipal leaders who work the late shift?)
  • PRIAM REAL ESTATE (91A: Troy, in the "Iliad"?)
  • BAYER MINIMUM (109A: Smallest possible aspirin dose?)
  • DOUBLE YELLOW LIONS (113A: Normandy's coat of arms, basically?)
Word of the Day: SEE 'n' SAY (93D: Talking toy since 1965) —

• • •

This wasn't that enjoyable for me, and was one of the weaker, wobblier Patrick Berry crosswords I've ever solved. In order to get the drawl effect, I have to ... fake a Southern accent. If I just say the phrases as they appear in the grid, they just sound ... different. Slightly longer, I guess, those hyper-syllablized words are, but "Drawl" ... I dunno. I think some of the wacky phrases are cute in and of themselves—I'm partial to PRIAM REAL ESTATE, myself—but somehow the conceit here feels a little limp. Grid is also not as solid and sparkly as I'm used to seeing from PB1. Feels highly segmented, resulting in few interesting longer answers. Also, CV JOINT? Is that a commonly known thing? [this is different from asking if it is a thing, which I'm sure it is]. That answer screams "the theme made me do it!" Actually, it's the execution of the theme in the grid, i.e. the stacking of theme answers, that brought that answer about. That answer goes through *three* themers, and multiple theme-crosses are always the most compromised answers in the grid. You gotta work them out early in the construction, because they tend to be the places you have fewest options, and any move you make before bolting them down is only going to reduce your options further. Don't believe me? Just check out CV JOINT's symmetrical counterpart—the equally odd, semi-arcane, and obviously improvised SEE 'N' SAY. Both answers are fairly short, so each locked-in-place letter (i.e. each letter that belongs to a theme answer in the cross) causes greater fill restriction than such letters would cause in longer answers. Just compare CVJOINT and SEENSAY to the much longer and much more familiar MONASTERIES and COMPARTMENT, both of which also cross three themers. Longer answers --> greater flexibility. More real estate, more versatility. CVJOINT and SEENSAY are really pinned down by being made up of 3/7 theme-answer letters.

Not much to say about this grid, really. Beyond CV JOINT, only one part of the grid gave me any real trouble: ST. CHARLES. I did not know it was a city, let alone a city in Missouri, let alone the former capital of Missouri, so it was really hard to parse. Might've been easier had I been *certain* about SYSCO (I was not) (my first answer there was TYSON) (65A: Food service giant based in Houston), and if COARSE hadn't worked just as well if not better than HOARSE for 72A: Rough. I imagine that that exact square, that crossing, is going to be at least a minor sticking point for a Whole lotta people today. I just watched "The Women" (d. George Cukor, 1939), and good chunk of it takes place in RENO, where a bunch of women go on the train to get divorces from their husbands (none of whom appear in the movie—no men do). I feel like we just saw ROLO. It's been a week of ROLO and APRILS. MONDO ROLO. (I screwed up MONDO too—had MOLTO (??)) (42A: Extremely, in dated slang). I'm already phenomenally tired of all "Frozen" clues, I've realized. "Frozen" is basically just a fount of "new" clues for old answers (ANNA, ELSA, OLAF, and now apparently SVEN). Surprised we aren't seeing IDINA Menzel more often.

Matt Gaffney (who writes the amazing metacrossword "Matt Gaffney's Crossword Contest," among other things) now has a daily mini-puzzle: 10x10 themed crosswords, delivered fresh to your inbox every day. Here's all the info you need. Subscriptions are cheap, and Matt's work is always top-notch (read about him here). If you want a little nugget of crosswordy goodness waiting in your inbox each morning—small enough to solve relatively quickly, juicy enough to be worth the effort—then this is a good option for you. Give it as a holiday gift, why don't you!?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:19 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Fairly typical Sun.  "Cute" puns, reasonably smooth fill, nothing really memorable....yeah, I'm with @Rex on this one.

I did know SYSCO though, their trucks are all over my area plus I've seen it in a previous puzzle somewhere. 

Da Bears 12:34 AM  

Rex deserves a gold star for his review because I am sure it did not come easy. He just condemned an idol of his and I, for one, admire his integrity.

I agree that this puzzle fell flat and felt flat. But everyone needs to make a living, so I don't begrudge Patrick Berry for cranking out a puzzle to pay his rent.

Lee Coller 12:49 AM  

I really hated this puzzle. Even after I got the theme it took too much effort to figure out how the theme answers related to normal phrases.

Food service giant is just too obscure, unless you are in the restaurant industry you aren't going to know Sysco (yeah, you've seen their truck but I bet you didn't know where they were headed). I actually knew sysco, but "food service giant" was just too much of a stretch for me, Houston was no help at all.

Alan_S. 12:53 AM  

Bravo! Finally a really good Sunday mag puzzle. It's been months if not years since I've been compelled to write in a positive comment here.

Plenty of clever clueing, a smooth n breezy gimmick that mostly works, some fun aha moments. All in all, just what you want on a Saturday morning. Easy/Medium for me.

I'm often on board with Rex's griping but today I couldn't disagree more.

Martin 1:02 AM  

"CV joint" is commonly known as "the thing that made my car go clunk that cost $300 to fix." If you drive a car it's a matter of when, not if.

chefwen 2:42 AM  

This one was pretty much lost on me. I can't even imitate a southern accent when I'm traveling down there. Now send me to Fargo, I've got
that Midwestern thing down pat. Still trying to figure where the accent comes with CREATIVE RIOTERS. Writers translates to Rioters in the south? Lines into LIONS?

CV JOINT, I guess I'll have to Google that, sounds like a bar for civic minded people. I see, constant velocity, makes sense now. NOT.


Charles Flaster 3:02 AM  

Liked this easy one much more than Rex. Once I pronounced the first themer I entered--JUST ONE MOWER THING -- I realized we were looking for weird homophones.
Also liked cluing for OTIS and SLEET.
No CrosswordEASE which is unusual for a Sunday. Also no write overs.
Thanks PB.

Evan Jordan 4:01 AM  

Faking the southern accent to sound out the answers made it fun. Some sections went fast and gave me a rewarding sense of being better than I am. Other spots (many that Rex mentions) were very challenging but equally rewarding once solved. What's not to enjoy? Maybe there's such a thing as crossword anhedonia brought on by long-term chronic crosswordese .

Hilary0 5:57 AM  

CVJOINT and SEENSAY were obvious to me and don't seem contrived.

Z 6:24 AM  

I once paid to replace a CV JOINT. Has to have been 25-30 years ago. So I got it and immediately wondered if they were still things or if they had been replaced by something better.

I thought it was just me and my growing "meh" reaction to almost every 21x21 grid. Apparently not. I had issues with the spelling of learned from xwords NECCO (had NiCCO), planet before SPHERE, MOney before MOOLA and cOARSE before HOARSE. Otherwise just sort of slogged through. The themers are mostly decent (personal fav is NIGHT MAYORS - I imagine mine at Lafayette Coney Island at 3:11 a.m.) but there are SOOoooo many three letter answers. I don't love RAMPANCY, SYSCO, or NECCO, but those are minor nits compared to the plethora of TRIPS.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:49 AM  

Fun puzzle, Easy by my standards.

A tale of somewhat linked write-overs: Bouncing around the grid in my usual Sunday fashion, I had noticed 78 D and 110 D, DIGS and RIGS, which may have set me up. First I had 112 D, "Personal assistant in "Young Frankenstein," as IGOR, which had to be written over as ILSA. Later I found 83 A, "Songwriter Novello," and working off the I in DIGS, and a vague memory, I said, "Oh, there's IGOR now!" Only later was I guided by the cross to the correct IVOR.

'mericans in Paris 7:02 AM  

We liked this puzzle -- indeed, we like just about any puzzle that provides some resistance but is doable without resorting to Google. So it was more easy than medium for us. Several clever misdirects. Liked the theme, too (having lived in the Deep South for 10 years), especially JUST ONE MOWER THING.

That said, we did struggle at the same points as @Rex -- e.g., wanting to enter teSCO before SYSCO. And we agree that it is high time to give "Frozen"-based clues a rest. We IMPLORE you, NYT!

@Rex's explanation of the challenges facing constructors when crossing several theme answers is interesting. However, I had to stare for several seconds at Rex's last sentence in this explanation before I sussed it out: "CVJOINT and SEENSAY are really pinned down by being made up of 3/7 theme-answer letters." I would have written it as "... by having 3 of their 7 letters crossing theme answers."

"MONDO" is truly extremely dated slang. My main recollection of its use is in the title of the 1962 Italian classic documentary film, MONDO Cane ("A Dog's Life") -- which I saw at age 9; it was where I first learned about cargo cults -- and the 1966 mockumentary MONDO bizzaro ("Weird World"). The latter was also the title of a 1992 album by the Ramones.

Regarding CVJOINT, why is a car part any less legitimate than, say, a French word or a rap song? We didn't know the "CV" part of the answer, but were at least able to get it from the crosses.

Question for a lawyer: Could Hyatt claim that a clue that asks "Reason to stay only at Hiltons or Marriotts?" and is answered by "FEAR OF HYATTS" is slanderous?

Aketi 7:46 AM  

This puzzle did not quite put me in a COMA, but I didn't fine it to be the least bit EDGY. I didn't realize until I was done (unrepentant cheater that I am) that I did not consult with Dr Google even once. The word checker, however....

I liked RIFFS above CHOPS. Interesting pairing of TONTO and RHETT from an ERA was racial stereotyping was far more prevalent.

While I came up with RAMPANCY on my own without resorting to going through the entire alphabet with the word checker (which I admit I did do elsewhere in the puzzle when my brain was stuck on pause for something I might have easily seen in a more caffeinated state) it is one of those with words that just somehow seems off. So when I googled it, I was amusied by the first definition that popped by Halo Nation that it is "a terminal state of being for Artificial Intelligence constructs, in which the AI develops "delusions of God-like powers" as well as utter contempt for its mentally inferior makers".

chefbea 7:47 AM  

Got most of the themes but couldn't figure out creative rioters!! We live in the south and no one talks like this puzzle. Did not know cvjoint and never heard of riffs. Not a fun puzzle

Z 8:30 AM  

@Martin - LOL. I'm pretty sure my CV JOINT repair way back when cost me about $300. You nailed it.

@Da Bears - My guess is you're joking, but constructing puzzles doesn't generally pay the rent.

@'MiP - Hyatt can claim anything it wants, but to prevail in court would take a lot more than this. Slander has a pretty high bar to cross. (Not a lawyer, but dealt with a lot of school law including explaining to administrators that a parent being a jerk isn't the basis of a lawsuit)

demit 9:06 AM  

I didn't think the "drawl" necessarily meant Southern accent. I saw it as drawing out one syllable into two. FEAR OF HYATTS made me laugh out loud. One of my faster Sundays, but not so easy that it made it no fun.

Nancy 9:12 AM  

My only complaint about the puzzle is that it was too easy for a Sunday. Other than that, I thought it was adorable. I had a few writeovers: TEN before FIN at 23A (Guess I didn't know what a sawbuck was); COARSE before HOARSE at 72A; FOOL before TOOL at 62D; and SAMBA before RUMBA at 102D. Other than that, no problems. I liked all the theme answers, but then my appetite for bad puns knows no bounds.

Tita 9:12 AM  

A fine Sunday. Got it at FEAROFHYATTS, and that caused a smile.

Favorite learning moment of all...CLOWDER... Not just the learning of that particular collective noun, but all the images that Google served up...(post-solve, of course!)

Liked Maker of indoor cars. Didn't know CHOPS were only for musicians.

And of course, y'all know that my erstwhile altar boy brother once sprinkled in some white NECCO wafers with the hosts, to watch unsuspecting partakers' reactions. Ok..I'll place a moratorium on that story, since it seems NECCO is the new OREO.)

Thanks, Mr. Berry.

Mohair Sam 9:20 AM  

Yeah, I agree with @Rex on this one. So hard to complain about a PB, but I'm with OFL on his "I dunno." There seemed to be a different drawl sound for several of the themers - and I don't think I've ever heard writer as RIOTER (nod to @chefwen) unless from a Yankee really overdoing it.

I'll bet CV JOINT is as well known among solvers as Morey Amsterdam or any of several Frozen characters or rappers - it's good.

Hand up with the cOARSE before HOARSE crowd, and with the throng who think it the better answer. Igor before INGA too. Thought PRETTYSHOER was the best themer both on clue and sound.

@'mericans - Identical MONDO Cane memories.

@chefwen - You did it! Mrs. M now a BOK CHOY convert - thanks for the recipe.

GILL I. 9:21 AM  

@chefwen...CREATIVE writers? Just ex me out if I'm the millionth responder.
I found this pretty hard. I got the southern drawl and all that at FEAR OF HYATTS and I love imitating any accent but all those ARTY clues and answers had me working my brain off.
Why in heaven's SPHERE is a musicians virtuosity CHOPS? I get that it means some sort of ability and maybe that's a music genre lingo thingy but that kept me from seeing SYSCO and HER and that whole damn area.
I feel like a PRU LIL TOAD because I had so many re-writes and I do these in pen and my crossword puzzles looks like a gLOB/BLOB.
Me too, for not enjoying this is as much as I should.
Must be my mood because it's really cold outside and nasty and I have to get my butt and our two pups up and out of here to visit a very sick person. Maybe we'll get ACME tomorrow to cheer me up.

Roo Monster 9:29 AM  

Hey All !
I liked it! Fun sussing out the "drawl"s, fav being FEAR OF HYATTS.

Gotta disagree with Rex today on the grid. Doesn't seem segmented to me. Still end up with some nice long Downs. Also slightly disagree with @Z (which, for the record, I usually don't, and always enjoy his posts) about the too many TRIPS. Only 26, which isn't bad in a 21X21.

Had a bunch of writeovers. As I do the puzs in ink, (what can I say, I live life dangerously! :-P ) the paper looks a bit, um, inky. Had my infamous one-letter DNF. Argh! The past two or three LATSunPuzs (get them in the free weekly mag out here) are the same way. One wrong letter. Man, that chafes!

So, overall a good smooth Berry-esque SunPuz. Some very good clues, light dreck, and entertaining! Started the day off on a good foot.

ADIUE. (too obvious?(

Bill L. 9:51 AM  

Had a CV JOINT replaced on my AWD car last Friday and remembered SEE N SAY from being a kid in the sixties, so no problems with those answers. Took a while to get RAMPANCY so PRIAM REAL ESTATE was last theme answer to go in. Liked it more than most Sunday puzzles of late.

Lewis 9:55 AM  

Is it PC to highlight people who speak with a drawl?

The theme was cute, but the cluing -- as usual for PB -- was terrific. Some of my favorites were those for MONASTERIES, COMA, DOLL, POLE-VAULT, SLEET, GILLS, TOME, EXTRA, and there were more. I expect to see some clunker answers on Sunday, even in a PB puzzle, given the number of answers. I had "mucho" before MONDO, otherwise things fell easily, this may be my fastest Sunday ever. This one made me exercise my brain and brought some smiles to my face, that is, it was one of the very good ones!

Maruchka 9:58 AM  

Must reluctantly agree. Not PB's best. However, the first solve was PRIAM REAL ESTATE, and I was hooked.
As a tall young 'un, I was often cast as the older Southern gal. Drawl, all y'all.

Igor/INGA, glob/BLOB, Affleck/STILLER (whadda I know),

@Rex - Just re-viewed The Women, too. Loved Mary Boland's RENO scenes. L'amour, l'amour..

@'mericans -I remember MONDO Cane, too. Especially the theme song. Boy, was that overplayed. NO MORE 'MORE"!

Tuning in tonight for the President's address. Does anyone else think Trump and Cruz are acting like neo-Fascists?

Horace S. Patoot 10:03 AM  

I imagine most VW Rabbit owners from the 80s know very well what a CV joint is -- replacing one cost about half a month's income for a grad student. There's a really cool animation at the Wikipedia article, if you like that sort of thing.

Maruchka 10:12 AM  

@Gill - CHOPS has been in musician-speak for long time. Especially jazz. I don't know the root, though. It's migrated to describing other skill sets as well.

Teedmn 10:38 AM  

PB1 comes through for me today with the a punny Sunday. I'm with @Rex for liking PRIAM REAL ESTATE best, along with BAYER MINIMUM. It was an easy Sunday; usually I can't fill in the 1A right away but the first three acrosses went in with no question (great clue for COMA) though I stopped at 12A, thinking it might be "planet".

A few writeovers - EPICENTER started out as "fault line" and Prawn instead of PO'BOY at 122A caused a BLOB of black ink down in that section. It took me longer to do this puzzle than I thought it did - it seemed like it was going so smoothly that I was surprised 30 minutes went by.

I have to disagree with @Rex on CV JOINT - it went in with just the C and I. I guess he probably doesn't live where everyone drives 4WD trucks - a common replacement item here in MN. I'll agree that HOARSE was poorly clued - if I hadn't stayed in ST CHARLES one night before taking off on the KATY bicycle trail heading across Missouri, I would have questioned that one more.

So it was a successful Sunday in my book, especially after my epic failure yesterday. Thanks, Mr. Berry!

jberg 10:54 AM  

I enjoyed the theme. The theme answers were pretty gettable once you figured it out, but they were awfully fun to say. Except fo 113A -- that would certainly have been gettable had I happened to have any idea what the coat of arms of Normandy was, but jeez! That was tougher than CV JOINT, which at least I could see had to be a joint of some kind. I guess it's because an ordinary U Joint won't work if you're steering with the drive wheels? So that's three things I learned, including good old ST CHARLES. I actually wrote in ST JOSEPH, all the way to the end, before I noticed that it was one letter short.

My other, more consequential writeover was PLANET before SPHERE. That kept me from getting the NE for a long time -- I had to go solve the rest of the puzzle before I could see SHRED and work my way back in there.

But ... TONTO was a Potawatomi? What's the textual authority for that, I'd like to know. Or is this something from that recent movie, rather than the original radio/TV series?

There are probably many of you who know more about this than I, but my understanding of CHOPS is that it originally referred to the lips of trumpet and trombone players, which have to be tightly controlled to get the right sound. Like many things in jazz, (think 'axe') the term became generalized to any physical ability to play an instrument. But some of you musicians can probably make this clearer.

There used to be a big NECCO factory in Cambridge MA, where I was living at the time. I was mildly allergic to chocolate, so the day of my draft physical I drove slowly by the plant with my windows rolled down, breathing deeply, in hopes that my sinuses would stuff up and I'd get classified 4-F. It didn't work (although I wasn't drafted, ultimately) -- but it made NECCO a gimme for me.

Norm 11:07 AM  

The reactions to this puzzle seem to depend on the solver's ear. I got a lot of smiles, so I liked it a lot. As one of many who has had to pay big bucks to replace a CV JOINT, that was a pretty easy entry after plopping in COMA and VEER and thinking -- that can't be right ... but it was.

Paul Johnson 11:35 AM  

This theme has been done way too many times and is frankly condescending, smug and even derogatory. While so many on this blog lose their minds over anything vaguely racist, sexist or phobic, all too many are ok with Northeasterners denigrating Southerners. Sho is funny ha yall talk. Not really.

MI Nana 11:47 AM  

Liked it a lot. Favorite was Priam Real Estate followed by Fear of Hyatts. Agree with all who say it isn't a bad clue just because OFL doesn't know something ( eg, Missouri's former capital). I had coarse, knew Sysco and worried and played with the obviously incorrect stcc until hoarse dawned on me. I enjoy those Voila! moments.

Gregory Schmidt 12:09 PM  

I enjoyed it alright, but thought the theme was not as tight as it might have been. For example, in NIGHTMAYORS, only the 2nd word is "drawled". For consistency, there should be an "ah" vowel in the first word as well; something like "knot-mayors". Also, I don't think PRIAM works.

Wm. C. 12:23 PM  

No problem with Sysco, I've invested in in in the past and done well with it.

No problem with Necco, it's diagonally across from the MIT Mass Ave entrance. It's the New England Confectionary Company, if you care. Walking by, I could always smell the confectionaries bubbling away inside. Even after stopping production, the old building still gave off the odor.

Pretty Shoer was a Pretty Easy early give-away to the conceit.

Like others, never heard of CV Joints, and the ouef, arty, and oater string made me finish last with the One Mower pun.

Ken Fowler 12:26 PM  

Worth a chuckle, particularly that I had to say CREATIVE RIOTERS aloud before I heard the "drawl". It's fun, fluffy and I'm glad it's not the only challenge of my day.

Chexkid 12:44 PM  

Typo, Bob? YF asst. is INGA not Ilsa, unless you used 119A as gala and not correct Gaga. It also messes up 113A, too.
I knew CVJoint and Sysco, but I struggled a tad with Sven. I am one of the few people, who have never seen the movie.

Chuck McGregor 12:45 PM  

Looked at the constructor's name and said (audibly to no one) "Oh no."

Slooowly I found a few things (some turned out to be wrong) that I could fill in here and there. However, overall it seemed impossible I would finish.

Then a few other answers fell, mistakes were corrected (writeovers aplenty), and eventually I got it all with only one cheat. I looked at my phone keypad to get the OPER abbreviation as a possible gimme.

I, too, did this in ink and (Hi @Roo Monster) "the paper looks a bit, um, inky."

An enjoyable the solve as it always feels good to solve and (sometimes) conquer a PB creation. So much great stuff in the grid.

But wow! There are little in the way of interesting word juxtapositions. I'm quite sure this says something good about the grid, though I don't know what. There are a very few uninteresting ones like CVJOINT TOOL. I may have missed possibilities, but otherwise only found these lame ones:

CAT PSI (homonym for the eye of a feline...Greek style?)

ARTY LEASHES (censors?)

and, when it comes to vegetables, I am always PRO PEA!

Said they were lame... :>)


Lee Glickstein 12:50 PM  

I liked it. It was not keyed specifically to the southern drawl, as some have assumed it was supposed to be. The answers all fit well and pleasurably into the dictionary definition of drawl. (How many times do you have to say or type "drawl" before it sounds like a nonsense non-word?)Drawl, drawl, drawl.

H777 12:53 PM  

CREATIVE "writers"

John Deuel 12:59 PM  

We enjoyed this one in my house! Thanks, Patrick!

Bronxdoc 1:03 PM  

No joy in the Bronx for this one. A slog.

OISK 1:05 PM  

The puzzle suffered from the curse of high expectations. I saw Patrick Berry's name, and settled down expecting a genuine treat. What I got was a reasonably pleasant Sunday puzzle, with some clever cluing. I enjoyed it, but far less than I thought I would.

old timer 1:09 PM  

Glad to see y'all, 'mericans. And no, Hyatt could not sue for libel.

I think we have Will, or one of his minions, to blame for the "With drawl" heading. Most of the themers don't sound all that Southern to me, just your garden variety punning.

I found the puzzle quite difficult, but as with most PB opera (that's the plural of opus, y'know), doable without consulting Dr. Google. I had "form" for NORM, which meant it took forever to get NIGHT MAYORS. And I wrote in "rises" instead of RISER, which meant I did not get PRIAM's REAL ESTATE.

The last entry: SEENSAY. Which I felt just had to be wrong. Until I remembered that my elder daughters had a See 'n Say back in the day, I think Mr. Berry is (or was) the father of young children. Few who have not been parents know what a SIPPY cup is. I knew "Up on the Housetop" by heart, myself. And I trust any child of PB's is headed for one of the IVIES.

I have a couple of quibbles. First, I don't believe you can still sleep in a COMPARTMENT on the train. Used to be a standard room choice in a Pullman, but no more, I I think. Second, aren't GEONOANs usually called "Genoese"?

Martín Abresch 1:17 PM  

I remembered that there was a food company with a name like SYSCO. CISCO? That's a tech company. CITGO? Gas stations. SISKO? Star Trek: DS9 Captain. Guess I'll leave it to the crosses.

Laughed hard at JUST ONE MOWER THING and PRIAM REAL ESTATE, so I enjoyed this puzzle. Also liked FEAR OF HYATTS and PRETTY SHOER.

I'm not a car guy, but I knew CV JOINT.

Liked the clues for OTIS, MONASTERIES, and ST CHARLES.

Numinous 1:17 PM  

I put the cOARSE before the HOARSE too. OWWTH. I live in the south like @Chefbea and none of the "drawls" sounded like anyone I know or have heard around here. TV must be slowly eradicating regionality because I was here a long time before coming across a southern accent. I have to laugh at Hanibal Lechter's line in Silence of the Lambs where he claims that Clarice's accent is "pure West Virginia." I lived in WV for three years and never heard anything that sounded distinct enough to characterize that way and I knew a buncha locals. If anything they all sounded like people in Ohio or Pennsylvania. Now I live in Georgia, even married to a Georgian, I don't hear southern accents all that much. But I will say, they fer SHOER don't sound like them there, @chefwen, Fargo folks.

I JUST wasn't thrilled with the theme at all. It wasn't until I came here that southern accents even crossed my mind. You think "Drawl" gave it away? Poeple in England think American English is a drawl. So, no amused chuckles from me on this one; it was more like a bunch of, "Oh, okay, if you say so." moments. I'll toss my car keys in the bowl with everyone else and say that there was some right clever cluing though.

Musicians, @Gill I, usually guitarists but jazz musicians and others as well, often refer to their instruments as axes. By extension, what they do with them are CHOPS. I knew a drummer once who had gone to Berklee. He played for a week with a couple I knew who were a piano/bass duo. He told me that, as it had been a while since he'd played, it took him a few nights to get his CHOPS back.

@M&A and Chuck McGreggor: since you two were the only ones to try the answer and weren't that far off, email me (even if y'all have to create fictitious gmail accounts) and I'll send you the correct answer and the promised puzzles if you want them.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Short for "constant velocity joint". If you have a car with driven front wheels, the joints allow rotation at a constant speed regardless of the angle of the wheels.

Ludyjynn 1:34 PM  

@Mericans, a Plaintiff in a defamation lawsuit must prove actual harm/monetary damages as a result of the spoken (slander) or written (libel) remark. Truth is an absolute defense to a claim of defamation. In this case, it would be extremely unlikely for a Plaintiff to prevail. Also, since lawyers take defamation cases on a contingency basis, and are not paid by the hour, I don't know any lawyer who would waste her or his time pursuing this lost cause. BTW, the three defamation cases I took on during my years of practice all settled in Plaintiffs' favor prior to the trial date because the Defendants feared a worse outcome if the jury had a say in the matter!
I really enjoyed both the clue and FEAR OF HYATTS answer; thought it was adorable.

Overall, liked the puzzle more than Rex. I had to put in the work, but appreciated the reward for each themer. Thanks, PB and WS.

thursdaysd 1:39 PM  

Didn't realize until I read Rex's review that this was a PB puzzle. Big surprise as I thought it was a big bore, and I usually really like PB's puzzles. Maybe it's because it's a Sunday - am beginning to wonder why I bother doing the Sunday puzzle.

Never heard of SYSCO or MONDO, and have never watched - nor plan to watch - Frozen.

George Barany 1:46 PM  

@Rex in his review identified many of the issues that I had while solving this puzzle, so let's keep to a "well said @Rex" and not belabor any of it. We need to remind ourselves how spoiled we are by the consistent excellence of all aspects of @Patrick Berry's work.

Surely many of you saw this recent flattering profile. My new son-in-law will join the University of Georgia faculty come August 2016, so I'm looking forward to meeting @Patrick in person whenever we head to Athens to visit with Deb and Logan.

Personal lessons: (1) Don't try the puzzle on hard copy while surrounded by screaming fans at a Saturday evening NCAA women's volleyball match. (2) Don't try the puzzle on-line once home, when dead tired. (3) There was much to enjoy today, at a leisurely pace with frequent "pause" ... very hard to break in, but eventually worth it.

One of the theme entries reminded me of this joke [actually, with the link I provide, it's #3 of 3]. Hope these all bring a chuckle!

Johnny Vagabond 1:51 PM  

Honey? Pumpkin? Pet names? That is soooo bad. Simply not inferable You could throw not any two words for that answer!

weingolb 2:19 PM  

demit is right... this theme is not Southern accents. It's simply about creating drawls. A drawl is when you prolong vowel sounds. So writer > rioter, bare > bayer, lines > lions etc.

AliasZ 2:43 PM  

This puzzle was like perfect Sunday-morning pancakes: light and fluffy, with some blueberries, raspberries -- entirely fitting for a Berry puzzle -- and other delicious morsels hiding inside.

The "Surely you can't be serious!" "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley" theme was a delight to uncover. Thank you Patrick.

LB 3:33 PM  

Have you seen the puzzle that attempted this with, say, a Boston accent? Adding R's where none exist and leaving them out where they belong? Maybe. Maybe not? Would it be offensive? If not, good idea for a theme.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:59 PM  

@Chexkid - Yes, that was a typo in my comment. Since I do the puzzle on paper in ink, and I never attempt to erase, just literally write over, I can't always see what's there, but it is INGA. Also, I do the Sunday puzz on Saturday, while having lunch, while listening to "Ask Me Another" on WNYC. But I can only enter my comments Sunday morning, because I'm too old to stay up until Rex posts at midnight! And at 6 AM on Sunday, I wasn't too attentive.

And, yes, @Wm. C. -- I bought more than my share of NECCO wafers at that factory store in Cambridge in the years when I lived in the Baker House dorm at MIT. And had a meal plan that only fed me on weekdays. So I would take extra dinner rolls during the week, wrap them in paper napkins, and save them for the weekend. In the days when college students didn't have TVs, or cars, or credit cards, .....

Norm 4:34 PM  

@Paul Johnson: It's been done with the Boston accent many times as well. Chillax, please.
Signed, born a Tarheel/grew up in Boston/moved to California/try to guess what I sound like ;)

Carola 4:36 PM  

I agree with @Rex that this was kind of a work-a-thon, although PRIAM REAL ESTATE made the effort worthwhile for me.

@'mericans, @Mohair Sam, - I also thought of MONDO Cane, although I've never seen it: by reputation, it was way too EDGY for a Midwestern girl.

@George Barany - Glad to see there's another volleyball fan here. I say, Go Badgers, but if they can't make it all the way, I'm all for the Gophers. Go Big Ten!

Jim in Chicago 5:07 PM  

Wikipedia says that the first capital of Missouri was St. Louis. St. Charles was second.

Nancy 5:15 PM  

@jberg (10:54) -- That's the funniest "how-can-I-get-out-of being-sent-to-Vietnam?" story I've ever heard, while being sad and quite endearing in its complete naivete. (But I'm glad you got out of being drafted another way.) It reminds me of the day before my brother, 5 years younger than I am, with a bad back history inherited from our mother and with a note stating such from an orthopedist, was slated for an army medical examination to determine his draft status. He called me into his room. "I want you to sit on my legs while I do sit-ups," he told me. I said to him: "Come on, you know I can't do that. You could cripple yourself for life!" "GOD DAMN IT, NANCY!" he yelled, 'DO YOU WANT ME TO BE SHOT TO PIECES IN VIETNAM? JUST BLOODY WELL DO IT!!!" So, against my better judgment, I sat on his legs while he did 15 excruciating minutes of sit-ups. When he was finished, he could barely get up off the floor.

Needless to say, he flunked his army physical. More effective than chocolate, @jberg.

Z 6:16 PM  

@Maruchka - Based on Umberto Eco's definition, without question. (Here are the same concepts in more list-like form)

GILL I. 6:19 PM  

@Maruchka, @Numinous. Muchas thank youse....I'm probably the only person on this blog that doesn't really care for jazz. My husband loves it though. When I get control of the music, I'll stare at the CHOPS of Jonas Kaufmann or Adele.

Mike D 9:43 PM  

I know I'm late to the game, but the earth is most definitely not a SPHERE. A rare wrong answer in a NYT crossword.

Maruchka 11:42 PM  

@Z - Thanks so much for the Eco documents. I'm a bit sleepy now, will read tomorrow. NB: I seem to remember Giuliani, directly after 9/11, warning that any retribution against NY Muslims would be punished by law.

Anonymous 5:48 PM  

Solved it without help, but still hated it. "PRIAM REAL ESTATE" especially. The name "Priam" in "The Iliad," referring to the king of Troy, is pronounced PREE-am, not PRY-am in English, so the answer doesn't even work. So much for smarty-pants Patrick Berry, who never misses an opportunity to show off his supposed erudition and well-readness (is that a word? So what if it isn't). He apparently doesn't know how the king of Troy's name is supposed to be pronounced. This puzzle was for the bu-words (birds).

rain forest 12:55 PM  

This is a fun piece of fluff that I found easy. CV JOINT, SYSCO, and SEE N SAY, were gimmes, and I liked the imagined drawl sound. Not really a drawl, but with FEAR OF HYATTS, you get the idea pretty quickly.

Interesting, or maybe just weird, that many CATs is a clowder. With the cats I've had, clawder would be closer to the truth.

Nice to have a big Sunday puzzle I could just rip through.

PS Didn't post yesterday, but that was another easy one for me.

spacecraft 1:00 PM  

Hand up for cOARSE and the WOE-ness of CVJOINT, but otherwise a Berry nice experience. Dayum, as his drawlers or @M&A might say, he's good. A.

Burma Shave 1:55 PM  


I GUESS it’s ETHICAL and within the SPHERE,
for LUCK, that LIL DOLL let ONLY me do HER,


rondo 2:18 PM  

Finished this puz in an ORDERLY fashion with only DaLe and Igor as write-overs. The silly drawling reminded me of Scott Bakula on NCIS: New Orleans.

Finally a SVEN to go with all of the previous OLEs. You’ll get that for sure if youre from MN.

We’ve got a PIA and a DANA, but not clued as yeah babies. Dr. Frankenstein, not exactly to then yeah baby Teri as INGA: “What knockers!”

SNL fans want Vanessa to wear BAYERMINIMUM.

TOOL is in DEPALMA, HER hand, mon AMI.

Great character name from GOLDENEYE: Xenia Onatopp
MINIMUM humor derived; puz was OK I GUESS.

spacecraft 5:07 PM  

@Mike D and @anon 5:48: This is the kind of nonsense up with which I shall not put. A perfect sphere would require a surface with no hills or mountains or valleys or trenches--and of course, un-flattened poles. Barring such minor irregularities, what other geometrical shape would you assign to Earth? Should we call it a cube? Bah. BTW, I didn't even try PLANET because that looked too obvious.

And the PRIAM comment: strange that it includes "well-readness (is that a word? So what if it isn't?)" Okay, so what if the constructor assumes a long I? You can't nitpick one mistake and then turn around and "so-what" another. We English speakers are accustomed to assigning the long I to that name; none of my profs ever considered that a big deal. Why do you? Could it be because you DNF?

AnonymousPVX 5:55 PM  

I would point out that CV joints are not only in FWD cars. If you have a rear wheel drive car with independent suspension then you have 2 CV joints per side in the rear. You also have them in a RWD driveshaft.

rondo 7:56 PM  

@PVX, aren't they UJOINTS for RWD?

Bay Gelldawg 8:26 PM  

I was hoping to find an explanation here for 1 across.

I just don't get how "Butter?" = Ram.

Would someone please explain?

leftcoastTAM 9:45 PM  

I had a hard time sounding out the presumed drawls, not discovering what sounds I should be incorporating into the theme answers.

Was it a southern drawl? western plains? Appalachian? Some kind of generic drawl? Hell if I knew, and I still don't know

Consequently, I messed up the long themers and several crossers, ending in a big DNF.

I may just be an idiot with an excuse.

Aries (not the constructor) 8:54 AM  

@Bay Gelldawg - Rams are known for BUTTING their enemies with their heads.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Since when is being a "commonly known thing" a requirement for NYT crossword fill?

And besides, after oil filters, air filters and wiper blades, the CV joint is probably the most commonly replaced part on most modern cars. I would guess that makes it more "commonly known" than, oh, say, PIA mater. I, for one, was grateful for some fresh fill that derives from the normal range of human experience, rather than academic or showbiz arcana.

I thought the theme was on the weak side but still fun, the cluing terrific, and the difficulty just right for a Sunday puzzle. More like this, please!

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Rondo@7:56 PM - It used to be the case that RWD vehicles all used U-joints. But once CV joints had come into common use in FWD vehicles, where they are required for smooth steering, their obvious advantages of less vibration, and therefore less wear, resulted in their gradually replacing U-joints even in RWDs, first at the rear axle-half ends, and eventually in the driveshaft as well. The weakness of the CV joint is the difficulty of keeping it lubricated and free of contamination. They are typically enclosed in a rubber boot, but once the boot cracks, the joint begins to deteriorate.

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