Bonkers in modern lingo / WED 5-25-16 / Eastern mediterranean port since ancient times / Dough in hand redundantly / Acronym on Beyonce records

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Constructor: Andrew J. Ries

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: JOHNNY ON THE SPOT (38A: Person who's ready and able to help ... or a literal description of four occurrences in this puzzle)— theme answers start with words that are also the last names of famous JOHNNYs, and each of those first words sits on top of an "AD" (aka a radio or TV "SPOT"):

Theme answers:
  • CASH MONEY (17A: Dough in hand, redundantly)
  • CARSON CITY (25A: State capital near Lake Tahoe)
  • BENCH PRESS (52A: Gym activity that works the pectorals)
  • ROTTEN EGG (64A: Last one in, say) (this clue isn't right—it's "Last one in, in a familiar expression," not "... say"; ROTTEN EGG is not a synonym for "Last one in"—in fact, "Last one in" is only a ROTTEN EGG in that one expression) 
[For other possible theme dimension, see P.S. below]
Word of the Day: DARYL Hannah (69A: ___ Hannah of "Blade Runner") —
Daryl Christine Hannah (born December 3, 1960) is an American film actress. She is known for her performances in the films Blade Runner (1982), Splash (1984), Roxanne (1987), Wall Street (1987), Steel Magnolias (1989) and Kill Bill (2003). She is also an environmental campaigner who has been arrested for protests against developments that are believed by some groups to threaten sustainability. (wikipedia)
• • •

The constructor is on social media now bragging (I think) that no one seems to be fully understanding his theme. I have no idea if I have or if I have not, but if I have not, and so many others have not, then maybe the problem lies not with the solvers. At any rate, this puzzle was interesting in that it took a rather pedestrian concept (first words are also last names over various JOHNNYs) and gave it not only a snappy revealer but this unexpected "AD" twist. What's funny / not funny is that the "AD" thing explains / causes some of the grid's crappier (i.e. crosswordesier) moments: ADEE, ADLAI, ADA. I don't understand why JOHNNY itself is not on top of an "AD"—seems like, conceptually, that would've been more consistent / elegant. Instead you've got ATTA under there, which is as bad as anything in the grid (see ADEE). But I think the theme works and I like the little "AD" twist and so it seems like a fine Wednesday puzzle overall.

[DARYL]

I blanked on DRAKE (9A: "Take Care" rapper, 2012), even *with* the "K" in place. I own two DRAKE albums. So that's oddly embarrassing. "Hotline Bling" rapper, I'd've gotten. Had TWIST CAP for TWIST TOP (40D: Resealable bottle feature). I also didn't get FEED at first go round (61D: Farm store purchase) and took a couple passes to back my way into the SW corner (BENCH PRESS and OH COOL not coming immediately to mind). That is the full tally of all my problems. Otherwise, this one was just see-clue-write-answer fast. Bam bam bam (3:36). Faster than yesterday, which was a pretty easy Tuesday. So the whole week is running super-simple so far.


Looks like we got EDINA back, after having to endure that not-famous Minneapolis suburb whose name I've already forgotten this past Sunday. DEANE? Oh, no, right: EAGAN. Blargh. The constructor is a Minnesotan, so EDINA is this puzzle's version of a home-state shout-out, I imagine. See also OH COOL, both because Minneapolis / St. Paul is a cool place to be (I visit my best friends there whenever I can) and because it's *&#^%ing cold there, but if you live there, you're used to it, so when you walk outside in January, you're like, "OH ... COOL. Better put on pants."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. it occurs to me that you can SPOT someone MONEY (a ten-SPOT, perhaps) and you SPOT someone on the BENCH PRESS and ... I don't know, a CITY (like CARSON CITY) is a SPOT (i.e. a location), and EGG ... uh, something to do with spot? SPOTted egg? Honestly don't see the egg angle. But maybe that's the elusive theme element the constructor is crowing about.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

87 comments:

Hungry Mother 7:13 AM  

Very easy Wednesday for me. I often struggle in the middle of the week.

Loren Muse Smith 7:17 AM  

Ok. So no one had posted yet as I wrote this, but I bet it took people a while to see the, uh AD-ded deal here. (Rex - I knew you'd see it.) I had finished and was just sitting there, thinking how cool it would be to have SPOT refer to AD, and I tell you, to go back and see them all right there under the Johnnys was thrilling. Nice, nice job here.

Hey – and if you squint and accept how you pronounce ATTA, you kinda have an AD under the JOHNNY, too. It's not a D, but it's close enough. We used to call that sound a "one-tap trill." I think it's a "flap" now, though.

I admit that when the first two themers fell, CASH MONEY and CARSON CITY, I was thinking maybe it was another “candy coated” theme. COLD TURKEY, COVER STORY, CAMERA SHY… I was already feeling bad for Andrew that this wasn’t as fun as Michael Blake’s.

What with the Wheel of Fortune vibe of AN O and A DEE, my first thought for "school's end" was "ell."

Also – for me, a TWIST TOP is absolutely not resealable. Like a twist top beer bottle. A “screw top” is resealable.

Look. I get that I repeat myself here quite a bit. I repeat myself here quite a bit. But I will always admire the woman who, not knowing how to spell “HORS d’oeuvres” emailed me asking me for a list of our “house devours.” In her defense, hors d’oeuvres is a ridiculous thing to spell.

Andrew – cool theme with a sneaky after-the-fact Aha Icing on the Cake moment.

Glimmerglass 7:32 AM  

Pretty easy for me too, though I never saw the AD (tv spot) feature. I am resignd to not knowing rappers's names. It never bothers me to get one wrong. Since KARAT can be spelled two ways, I was guessing between Drake and Dr. Ace (or maybe Drace). DRAKE (common first or last name, or a male duck) didn't sound hiphop enough to be a rapper. No worries -- it was still an easy puzzle.

Z 7:37 AM  

Broke 9:00, which is easy Wednesday territory. Like the AD spots. Way to ensprucen a theme. Smells like pine.

Lobster11 7:48 AM  

Given all the hoopla in the blogosphere about the theme, it's ironic that this was one of those days when I happened to overlook the theme entirely while solving. The revealer was the first long entry that I got, at which time I promptly forgot that it was a revealer and that I should be looking for a theme. I later got all the themers without any reference to the revealer, and so didn't even notice the (now obvious) JOHNNY part of the theme -- much less ponder the ONTHESPOT/AD bit.

Now that I've the latter pointed out to me, I have to say that I'm much less impressed with it than the constructor seems to be with himself. Personally, I would not be eager to boast that I had created a theme so brilliant than nobody noticed it. And the price paid in fill quality far outweighs the benefits as far as I'm concerned.

seanm 7:51 AM  

surprised to see the easy rating. took me just over my average Wednesday time, over twice as long as yesterday. NW was completely blank on my first pass and took a little work to get through. the revealer phrase also took me quite a while after seeing the onthespot. only in the very depths of my memory. Seed before Feed also caused me some problems

Beaglelover 7:56 AM  

23A should read Scot's topper. One tops scotch with ice or water. One scotches a project by eliminating it.

Ethan Cooper 8:02 AM  
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Ethan Cooper 8:03 AM  
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Aketi 8:03 AM  

I'm just waiting for Z's PPP count to justify my annoyance with the plethora of names even though most were fairly easy

And waiting for the ETERNAL OPTOMISTs to help me see the fun in this ouzzle, I had a very TEPID reaction to all the JOHNNYs (CASH, CARSON, BENCK, and PRESS) on top of the ADs. I did not think OH COOL.

I did like CRAY, but my son and his friends usually use CRAY CRAY. I don't think I've heard it as a single word,

kitshef 8:20 AM  

Pretty much exactly what I expect on a Wednesday. Not fly-through-the-grid easy, but no real boggy areas either. Steady progress.

CARSON is a theme outlier in that the "Carson" in the themer is a person's name, while the others are not. I'd rather see something like 'Rocket to Russia' as the fourth themer.

Completely missed the "AD" angle, despite spending some time trying to see how the Johnnys are “on the spot” under a “literal description”.

My two favorite DARYL Hannah roles are both more than thirty years old now (Pris in Splash, Madison in Blade Runner). Splash seems like one of those movies that is being forgotten about, which is surprising as it has one huge star (Tom Hanks), and some other household names (DARYL Hannah, John Candy, Eugene Levy), a big-name director (Ron Howard), and pretty much created the name Madison for women. Oh, and is romantic and funny in ways that most modern romcoms are not.

I suspect @Lewis enjoyed this one.

Joseph Welling 8:25 AM  
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Nancy 8:27 AM  

Once again, I missed the theme entirely. Now that I see it, it's cute. But totally irrelevant to solving this easy puzzle. Never heard the abbreviation CRAY for "Bonkers." I think it's a BONKERS abbreviation, actually. I sometimes wonder what's to blame for all these atrocious modern abbreviations and acronyms. The Internet? Twitter? Texting? I haven't played Scrabble in many decades, but I think I'd have a real problem now, since I imagine that just about any abbreviation in the world is acceptable now. I'm also not sure why OH, COOL is synonomous with "Would ya look at that!" And isn't to SIN a hell of a lot more serious than to ERR? (Pardon the pun). I liked the clue for OP ED PIECE and the answer ROTTEN EGG. An okay Wednesday, nothing more.

Roo Monster 8:28 AM  

Hey All !
Got the Johnny's, but missed the AD part. Fairly easy, hold up at AJA/ALG/LOT. And how is SEN the answer to Session, e.g.?

CARSONCITY odd man out, as the other ADs are under the first rwo letters of each other themers. Could've had UTURN be something else that ended in AD. But then that takes away all those precious U's!

Not much IRKED me today. Good WedsPuz. That's my OP ED PIECE.

FRIED EGG
RooMonster
DarrinV

oconomowoc 8:28 AM  


EDINA could've easily been replaced with EVITA, with the overused ENERO changed to ETERO (opposite of 'OMO).

orangeblossomspecial 8:32 AM  

Oh JOHNNY Oh was popular in the late 30s and early 40s

Here's the original from 1917: Oh JOHNNY Oh

Rex Parker 8:38 AM  

Ethan Cooper and Joseph Welling (and future commenters, I can only assume),

You *might* try reading first.

RP

Jonathan Alexander 8:45 AM  

Originally thought the second part of the theme was Rex's postscript because I got CASHMONEY and BENCHPRESS before the other two fell. Then I was scratching my head with how EGG and CITY related to spots. Missed the whole AD thing entirely til I came here for my daily dose of NYT curmudgeonry (I'd say it's a 50/50 shot on a fair review here or below).

Over all the dreck was acceptable if you include the AD part of the theme but I agree it would have been more elegant to have the AD under the JOHNNY as well.

Jonathan Alexander 8:47 AM  

Senator Jeff Session I'm guessing?

George Barany 9:11 AM  

So, this puzzle by @Andrew Ries continues a string of recent contributions from the great state of Minnesota, and give us another opportunity to call attention to our upcoming upcoming tournament. It will be held on Sunday, June 12 (just 2 1/2 weeks from now!), and @Andrew is slotted to write one of the expert puzzles.

Thanks, @Rex, for noticing the little EDINA joke (@Victor Barocas had EAGAN with the same clue just a couple of days ago). Bet you didn't know we just had a Beyoncé concert on campus Monday evening. Thinking CARAT (instead of KARAT) momentarily gave me some rapper named DR_ACE.

George Barany 9:14 AM  

Thanks @Rex for the proposed explanation in your PS. Clever!

Also, ICYMI, there are Minnesota musical themes in "The Answers My Friend ..." and Purple Reign. The latter puzzle has a shout-out to today's constructor at 66-Across.

John V 9:14 AM  

CASHMONEY last to fall. Never saw the AD bit.

Lewis 9:17 AM  

@kitshef -- he did!

I love that counterclockwise SPOT beginning with the S in OOPS, echoing the theme (though probably unintentionally). There is a mini theme of words ending in A (8), with a subset of words starting and beginning with A (3). I liked the answers FANDANGO, ONSLAUGHT, and even ROTTENEGG, which, in this context I haven't thought about in a long time. The AD angle is cool and surprising, and the difficulty level just right for Wednesday.

All in all, a pleasurable outing. JOHNNY ON THE SPOT was right on the MONEY for me.

Trombone Tom 9:23 AM  

Add me to the list of those who completely missed the AD theme until I read #Rex's blog. I was wandering around trying to fit the JOHNNY's on or under black squares somehow.

Fairly easy puzzle for a Wednesday, except for not groking the theme.

lg 9:24 AM  

I never really got the theme after solving, but it makes sense now. As far as each theme answer also being something to do with SPOT, I guess that would work too, but I'm not so sure that the constructor meant for that to happen. Seems very forced if so.

Easy-medium for me all in all. Had quite a bit of not so great fill, but the themers were good. I completely agree that the clue for ROTTENEGG should have been worded differently, but it didn't keep me from getting the answer quickly. I enjoyed ONSLAUGHT, NADER and OPEDPIECE, though OPED may be used a little too often. Nice to have it used slightly different here, and I'll admit that I got hung up on it for a couple of minutes.

Not super great, not terrible, just kind of a Wednesday puzzle.

Roo Monster 9:30 AM  

Ah, thanks. I don't follow political anything, so that's why I didn't get it. Sneaky clue though.

Roo

chefbea 9:45 AM  

Easy puzzle with lots of food - roma tomatoes,fried, hors oeuvres and of course rotten egg.. Had no idea what the theme was until I came here...who is the Johnny in the Rottenegg??

chefbea 9:47 AM  

Most of you know I LOVE puns...so here's a good one for all of us

Crosswords are what you hear when you distract someone working on a puzzle.

Lily3 10:19 AM  

It took me a while to decide to enter the "c" on CRAY since I have never heard it used as a single word. I agree with @Aketi - it is always repeated, as in CRAY CRAY.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

@Lobster 11: Can't but agree. Theme scheme. Did this one seamlessly and themelessly.

jberg 11:06 AM  

Count me among the slow thinkers who noticed that Gould could spot money and weight lifters and let it go at that. Aside from that my only problem was getting my numbers confused and putting ROMA where RAGU belonged. I do prefer to make my sauces from scratch, I must say.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Too annoying. Some bad cluing.
The problem indeed does not lie with the solvers.

MJB 11:11 AM  

@Nancy: About a year ago you recommended autobiographies by Moss Hart and Alan Lerner; on your recommendation, I got them both -- and enjoyed them immensely. So I looked up Mary Martin autobiography on the Internet, and first popped up a new biography that is coming out this July: Some Enchanted Evenings: The Glittering Life andTimes of Mary Martin, by David Kaufman.

OISK 11:13 AM  

I didn't see the "ad" part of the theme either, but I didn't look for it. As to the puzzle - how many pop music clues are too many? Beyonce (ASCAP), Drake, Seger, AJA, Jimi...I incorrectly assumed that Dwayne (the rock) was one more...

@Nancy - Listened to Eartha Kitt "Mountain High..." and it is OK, but I am not particularly fond of her voice, and she sings with an annoying vibrato - almost sounds like she is trying to sound Asian. Please listen to the Jo Stafford ( a personal favorite) rendition.

Some of the cluing was very clever, and the "Ad" thing was cute as well, but too much pop culture for my tastes..

GILL I. 11:14 AM  

Even if the AD were free, I wouldn't buy it.
Lord, I hate starting my puzzle with something like an AMO/ASCAP. It IRKED me no end. Found a FANDANGO a FLEUR and JAFFA and started to feel better. Took me a while to finish.
Came here to see what I missed. I got the theme and all, but the AD was not to be AHAed till I came here.
Agree with @Roo Monster on CARSON CITY having her AD off sync, but after I took a closer look at the entire puzzle, I must say that I admire it.
Punto Final.

Hartley70 11:29 AM  

@Beaglelover, my thoughts exactly. The constructor must have more scotch in him and less Scots. I have the reverse.

Joseph Michael 11:39 AM  

The four ADs saved this from being a hohum puzzle with a lot of drek.

But how is LOT a "Great deal"? If it means that getting a lot if something is a great deal, it's pretty lame. And it certainly wouldn't apply to getting a lot of something negative. But maybe I'm missing something?

Ellen 11:55 AM  

"A lot" is the same as "a great deal," quantitatively speaking.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

So... I have recently had two of my comments on this blog not posted. I am guessing this one will not be either, but I figured it's worth a shot asking for an explanation. Is it you Rex, who decides what posts get censored? If so, okay -- it's your blog. But what is your criteria? Because the only comments of mine that have been censored were ones that differed your beliefs. My first comment that was omitted was one in which I challenged Rex's notion that the word "bra" was sexist. My second missing comment challenged him on his wish to erase the word "slaver" from our collective memory. I am really just curious, because I believe that Rex is a teacher (a professor?) Is this how he deals with dissenting ideas in his classroom? I would love a response. If I do not get one, I guess that will answer my question too.

Master Melvin 12:25 PM  

Crossname puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:38 PM  

M&A Help Desk items:

* @chefbea - Johnny Rotten is a pop singer/songwriter that was with the Sex Pistols.

* @Joseph Michael: I learn a "LOT" solvin crosswords = I learn a "great deal" solvin crosswords.

* @indie009: I'd say stop, after yer two-level theme theory of Johnny's above ADs.

* @Roo: yep. The UTURN entry would indeed be painful to remove. It would take with it 2 of the puz's 5 U-supply.

fave desperate themer: ADEE. fave weeject: KOD. Better KOD clue: {Katfish relative??}. Hard to come up with a better ADEE clue, but here it coulda been: {Spottee??}.

Pretty easy solvequest, for the M&A Expedition. ELYSSA, DRAKE/DWAYNE areas went slowest. Naturally, didn't see the theme for a while, but stopped, after gettin BENCHPRESS, to go back and spend the sacrificial nanoseconds to suss it out. Pretty clever idea. Just relieved that them there ADs weren't dog breeds, instead.

Other fave "ON's" …
* DRAKE on MAN/WOMAN.
* OOPS on POT.
* FRIED on EGG.
* ONSLAUGHT on NADER (sorta).
* DWAYNE on ELK (ditto).
* EDGER on the puz edge.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

Don McBrien 12:43 PM  

Got the theme right away, because I tried constructing nearly the same puzzle recently, but with different kinds of "spots" under each Johnny (wish I would have thought of ADs). Not the same entries, but the same 4 johnnys. I gave it up after finding the 7/31/12 LA Times puzzle, which is basically the same as this one without the "on the spot" piece.

Passing Shot 12:49 PM  

@chefbea, Johnny ROTTEN was the lead singer of the Sex Pistls and Public Image Ltd.

Teedmn 1:12 PM  

I agree with @Rex that Monday and Tuesday were easy, but today's played hard for me, mostly self-inflicted. Did anyone else put in mUrKY in at 21A and refuse to reconsider it when KO'D and DWAYNE confirmed it? I took IN ALL out of 15A in order to change 6D to FlameNcO, since that went with mUrKY but JIMI, ANO and FLEUR finally made me see DUSKY. And only the U at the end of RAGU allowed me to see that 32A was not a kind of beer (must have been thinking of Pabst's Old Style).

And I fast-forwarded through the AD's part of the theme.

I find FRIED on top of ROTTEN EGG is vaguely disturbing :-).

A fine Wednesday puzzle.

RAD2626 1:14 PM  

@Joseph Michael: There has been a great deal (lot) of commentary about the Ad subtheme in the puzzle today.

Okay puzzle. Not wild about some of the cluing but did not seem to hurt my time.

tb 1:15 PM  

I didn't see the ad aspect of the theme until I read the blog. And I still don't care about it. Pretty boring theme today.

I'd be oddly embarrassed too if I owned two Drake albums.

@George Barany: Are you from Minnesota?! I didn't know that!! How interesting!

chefbea 1:33 PM  

Thank U for splaining to me

Lobster11 1:44 PM  

To @Anonymous,

I've submitted posts from time to time that were never published, and I never knew why. In retrospect I came up with one or more hypotheses each time -- e.g., one included a Youtube link that might have been considered inappropriate for one or another reason -- but I know they weren't rejected for being critical of Rex, but they weren't. On the other hand, I frequently see posts published that are extremely critical of him -- sometimes downright insulting -- so I'm sure he doesn't just screen out criticism as a general rule. I've got to think that either there was something else about your post to which he objected, or it just slipped through a crack.

One other thought: Perhaps he doesn't publish criticism that is posted anonymously? I have no idea if that's true, but now that I think of it, that wouldn't be an unreasonable policy. Does anybody else know?

Z 1:58 PM  

@Anon12:19 - Can't really say why your posts didn't make it. However, disagreeing vehemently with Rex has not stopped many a post, so I doubt that is it. In fact, he's allowed through many I thought went over the line, although most often those are comments directed at him. I have had comments not get through on occasion, but never one that was particularly prickly. I ascribe these instances to either some error at my end or something wonky with Blogger. As for Rex's criteria, my understanding is feel free to criticize the puzzle or the idea, but refrain from criticizing the person.

@Aketi - Still doing puzzle on the iPad for a few days, which makes it hard to double check my count. A perusal of the puzzle gave me 25/76 Pop Culture, Product Names, or Proper Noun clues/answers. So right at the 33% line of too much. Given that at least two or three people have already commented amongst the first 43 comments I'd say there is too much.

Alex 3:01 PM  

I open myself to ridicule, but can someone explain ADEE to me? I had hopes that someone else had needed to ask, but no. A couple of people saying it is simple. OK. Will you let me in on it?

the redanman 3:09 PM  

I got on the phone, so I don't know how easy it was. Top half was drop dead easy, SE took the most effort. Wrote the central spanner in without a second thought just reading the clue, then I got on the phone and lost a little focus.

Might be the easiest Wednesday ever, I'll never know ....

Chronic dnfer 3:15 PM  

Can someone explain adee?

Tom 4:32 PM  

Nobody should crow about this one. Wham, bam, thank you WOMAN,(OOPS, is that a sexist comment?) done, did't even look at the theme possibility (ies?) Not interesting enough to bother. Did enjoy CASHMONEY, which I haven't heard in a loooong time. Otherwise just a Wednesday solve.

jae 5:25 PM  

Mostly easy for me too except for the NW. I had the tANGO before FANDANGO and ONSLAUGHT and JAFFA did not come easy. Plus, I had to convince myself that DUSKY was OK.

My post yesterday helped with 9a.

I also missed the AD aspect of the theme, partly because (@Roo and GILL I.) the CARSON outlier through me off. I did consider a version of @Rex's PS solution but gave it up when EGG wouldn't make sense.

That said, fun/clever theme with some nice long downs, liked it.

Joseph Michael 6:02 PM  

Ah, yes, of course. Thank you!

Unknown 6:04 PM  

Chick-a-dee. That's it. Now please explain 14 across. sen = sessions? I don't get it. Thanks everyone!

Joseph Michael 6:06 PM  

To @Ellen, @Masked, and @Rad2626, I offer a LOT of gratitude for your enlightenment.

Aketi 6:18 PM  

@z, I think it was that the Northwest seemed to start off with so many of the PPPs that gave the impression that it was on the high end. I wonder if you learned to read in Chinese or Hebrew first if you would be more likely to start in a different corner?

Kris 6:20 PM  

Hi All,
I just found this site for the first time,
though I have often done online searches
to help me solve clues on the NYT crossword
that I can't get. I often find sites that give the
answers but have never seen one where you
can talk about the crossword itself.

I am delighted to find you all.

Anonymous 6:32 PM  

@6:04 Google "sen sessions" for your answer. Isn't technology great?

Unknown 6:42 PM  

Sorry just reread the comments and got it. Thanks to Alexander I think.

Leapfinger 7:40 PM  

'A lot' and 'a great deal' are relatively qualitative ways of quantifying. If you get my drift, have I got a great deal for you!

Dos puntos para tu, @Fleur! Hay un punto negro en la pantalla que me tiene fastidiado.

@Teedmn, FRIED EGG over E_CEE is a little more appetizing, bien sur.

@tb, there are antibiotic regimens that will take care of you. It takes some doing, but you can be eradicated.

I LAUGH'T to see LOT beside ONSLAUGHT: ONSLOT would've saved so many letters.

Also at UTURN: since the beginning of time, we'd read those traffic signs like a querulous "No, U TURN!"

Liked both the puzzle and the HORS ERODE in on.

Leapfinger 7:50 PM  

@Loren, your avatar is a drop-dead groaner, but what's with the "candy-coated" theme? Hmm?

PS. Keep twisting the top and it'll screw on. It's all a matter of how much and when. Quantity vs quality, all over again.

Nancy 8:04 PM  

@OISK (11:13) -- I listened to the Jo Stafford version and I agree with you: I liked it best of the three versions I've listened to.

@MJB (11:11) -- First of all, I'm so flattered that you read the two memoirs I recommended last year, and I'm delighted that you enjoyed them. Re: the new Mary Martin bio that you saw advertised online: All things being equal, I usually prefer autobiography to biography. The person who's lived the life brings an immediacy to recounting it that few biographers can match. I've never heard of David Kaufman, the author of this new bio, and he may be great, but there are a lot of plodding, extremely prosaic biographies out there. What I suggest is that you go online and search for an excerpt from this bio. Reading any paragraph at random will tell you if the prose leaps off the page or lies there like a dead animal. And if it's the latter, get MM's own autobiography instead. She's not a great stylist, but she does bring immediacy and warmth to her own story. The section about PINZA is alone worth the price of admission. And remember I read this approximately 40 years ago.

the redanman 8:16 PM  

A little rôle reversal going on. .... Cute

chefbea 9:01 PM  

@Kris...welcome

kitshef 9:11 PM  

@Kris - welcome to the club.

Alex 9:21 PM  

Oh! CHICKADEE!!! Thank you, anonymous! And Jeff Sessions is/was a senator.

Z 9:29 PM  

@Kris - Welcome.

@Aketi - ASCAP, MEADE, SEN. Jeff Sessions, Johnny CASH MONEY, ADLAI, JIMI and HART. That 5x5 NW corner has three black squares and two letters that are not part of at least one PPP (the O and A in ONSLAUGHT). That means 20 of 22 letters are PPP in at least one direction. WOWSER. Again, this played easy for me because all this stuff was wheelhouse for me. But the complaints definitely have merit.

@Unknown6:04 - SEN. Jeff Sessions and Rep. Pete Sessions are worth knowing when solving crosswords.

Debsanger 9:37 PM  

4 down might be a Woodstock first name -- but equally the Woodstock LAST name -- Hendrix closing down the show with Star Spangled Banner. Nice touch, if intentional.

Laura Hoke 10:56 PM  

OOPS. This Scottish lass was IRKED at the goof.

Laura Hoke 11:15 PM  

@lily3, @Aketi, it used to be Cray Cray but now the millennials just say CRAY. Maybe it's because they're lazy? :P

kitshef 8:33 AM  

@Debsanger - Hey Joe was the closer at Woodstock.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

@ Anonymous 12:19 PM: My comments also disappear without the slightest explanation. I've been posting them anyway, which now appears hopeless. Bye-bye Rex et al.

Debsanger 9:59 PM  

@ kitshef: Thanks for the correction! It's been a while, and drugs might have been involved!

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

Rotten egg may be a spot in the sense it is a stigma. Merriam Webster site also says spot can be a mark of guilt or disgrace.

Burma Shave 9:48 AM  

TRI URN LOT AMO (CEE ERR)

Hey KIDDO, have a HART if you KARAT all for your honey,
ADORE the WOMAN, do not get IRKED, be sunny.
Be JOHNNYONTHESPOT, be AWARE it’s not funny,
or you’ll EARN an ONSLAUGHT for spendIN’ ALL your CASHMONEY.

--- JIMI-DWAYNE FANDANGO

spacecraft 10:59 AM  

Hand up for missing the ADs--though I try to do that at all times! And as usual, they provide an unpleasant experience, as OFL pointed out. I note that CARSONCITY is the outlier--the only one where the AD isn't under the first two letters. I agree that the constructor should have gone for just one AD under the revealer line.

Hand up also for having trouble with DRAKE, but for a vastly different reason. I am the proud owner of ZERO albums, of his or any other rapper's. As for the rest of it, the word TEPID comes to mind. The obvious DOD is DARYL, 'nuff said there...overall par.

P.S. Had great visit with son, including a road trip to a ballgame in Phoenix (our team whapped 'em 8-0!), through some of the most desolate country I've ever seen in north central Arizona. Yikes, don't break down out there!

Sailor 12:24 PM  

I enjoyed some of the longer answers: CASHMONEY, ROTTENEGG, FANDANGO, TWISTTOP. But I rolled my eyes when the puzzle began with the AMO/ASCAP crossing, and was relieved to find that was not overly characteristic of the puzzle as a whole.

Re the theme: I have to second (or third) @Lobster11 at 7:48 AM (and five weeks ago). When a theme is so obscure that most people only see it after it’s explained to them, it may provide some personal satisfaction to the constructor, but it’s of no particular use or interest to me as a solver.

leftcoastTAM 1:39 PM  

Enough trickiness here to qualify it as a bit more than simple and easy, even if it finally seemed easy to finish.

Had to figure out meaning of the theme before seeing JOHNNY CARSON first, then looked for and found the others after having filled it all in.

Still didn't see that all the Johnnys were indeed "literally" perched on an AD or spot.

Was initially diverted by a potential theme built around Pat Sajak's "Wheel of Fortune": ANO, ADEE, CEE.

CRAY is new to me, and I guess what you "get through hard work" is what you EARN. Well, okay if you say so.

Had an "OHCOOL" moment at the finish when I saw the AD here.

teach44 2:42 PM  

Did not get this puzzle until all done and rereading. Kind of clever!

rondo 2:51 PM  

I’d agree with easy. I think because of the number of threes – 19 if I counted right. A-words and abbr.s galore, AMO ANO AJA ADA ATTA ALG AWOL ADEE ASCAP and other “real” ones, including yeah baby ALYSSA. Gotta have some to get the ADs I s’pose.

I met yeah baby DARYL Hannah on the set of Grumpy Old Men in the early 1990s. She was using a cell phone (still almost the size of a brick back then) while awaiting her next scene. I believe she was calling John John. Good lookin’ WOMAN. She’d make UTURN and look.

Did I ever mention I played in a band that opened for JOHNNY CASH? MN State Fair. I’ve got proof, and memories.

MPLS suburb EDINA makes a return. Cake-eaters as I described the residents to @Diana LIW and @teedMN.

Not a bad puz, perhaps with all the threes a bit TEPID.

Diana,LIW 3:46 PM  

My lowlights:

murky for DUSKY (Hi @Teedmn)
alyrsa for ALYSSA
and the ever popular Spanish dance, IanMango! Sure, why not?

DrAce made perfect sense to me.

And I didn't "get" either part of the theme today, as I thought perhaps the three "ONs" were it - yeah, I thought that was pretty TEPID, too. Should have looked closer, but I had no CASHMONEY bet on it.

Read an article this week that Barnes and Noble in that cruciverbalists' Mecca of EDINA will start serving wine and beer some time this year. Now you are AWARE.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 4:55 PM  

Increasingly, I am finding that commenting here in Syndiland is superfluous since pretty well everything I might feel like saying has been said several times.

I'm with those who liked this puzzle, and I was pleased to see the AD tie-in which validated the revealer. The little AD--- words didn't bother me because they are more or less necessary for the theme to work.

As always, it is amusing to see how many nits can be picked by so many nitwits, not naming anyone. To often the mentality seems to be, "OK, I'll solve this puzzle because it's here, but then I'll be sure to harp about the one entry that really bugs the crap out of me." This puzzle had nothing that IRKED me, but maybe I'm CRAY, or possible CRAY CRAY.

Diana,LIW 7:32 PM  

@Rainy

CRAY CRAY? Nae!

Perhaps you are blinded by your own genius, but we Synders have a higher calling. Certainly, you may have seen some of your own opinions already spoken by the Futurelanders in the tired, old posts of yore. This is what requires that we rise to the occasion. We go above and beyond. We SOAR, in crosswordeses.

How to explain this in a pithy and pleathing manner? We pick fewer nits, but pique more wits. Rather than harp, we play a heavenly lyre.

One thinks it has all been said, and then the Synders reach the next level. Smart Futureamas come here five weeks late to see new revelations, and they experience the best of both worlds.

Case in point - your hilarious unpacking of Chefbas's last name (Neck Of The W) the other day. Who else but a Synder would make such an astute observation?

@Rainy - do not deprive your tribe of one of its true voices. Comment on... (I shall now take the deLorean to Tomorrowland to point you to this post.)

@Rondo - yeah, I thought "Piece of Cake!" Twin Cities - Word!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crossword Synders to Unite, or Untie

leftcoastTAM 7:33 PM  

I don't know, @rain forest, we do come in after all appears to be said and done, but our comments are as fresh to us as are those of the realtimers--assuming we don't read theirs before writing and posting our own.

I've noticed that of some realtimers do check to see if we have responded to any of their comments, even if over a month later. I know I like to see that in our own time zone/space even if only one realtimer has done so.

I think you can be assured that at least we in syndiland give a damn about your comments as well as our own, despite the time gaps within the posting of our comments and the much longer one between ours and those of the realtimers.

(The implications of these time dimensions are a bit tricky to describe and keep straight, especially after a glass or two of wine.)

Teedmn 12:04 AM  

Future timer here. The Syndiland comments are definitely worthy of reading on their own terms though perhaps @Diana, LIW waxes a bit o'er-poetic? :-). Keep on, @rain forest, the Canadian point of view is always appreciated.

I saw the thing about The Edina B&N selling wine and beer at their store (along with an expanded food menu), one of four stores in the US. This seems ironic to me because if I'm not mistaken, the Edina cake-eaters (hi @rondo) have carefully limited the number of liquor stores in town (which possibly explains the large number of liquor stores in neighboring St. Louis Park). But if you are of the intelligentsia, reading "books", then alcohol is fine, I guess.



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