Key Largo gangster Johnny / SUN 7-10-16 / Painkiller first sold in 1950 / Nonhuman 1930s film star / Sitcom whose title character was Fran Fine / Longtime Texas politico Phil / Journalist columnist Carl / Beeper from a long time ago / Disputed North Pole visitor / Comp-sci acronym / U people / Music's Prince of Soul / Treated with preservative as telephone poles

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Double Quote" — double letters throughout grid: when you read them in order (top down, left to right) you get a quote from YOGI BERRA (114A: Speaker of this puzzle's "double quote"): "A NICKEL AIN'T WORTH A DIME ANYMORE"; since the quote is doubled ... the nickel *is* ... worth a dime ... then? Honestly, at the moment I don't understand. Maybe something having to do with the idea of not having "two nickels to rub together"? And the adjacent (doubled) letters represent that ... rubbing? I'm tryin' real hard here...

Word of the Day: ASTON Villa (59D: ___ Villa (English football club)) —
Aston Villa Football Club (/ˈæstən ˈvɪlə/; nicknamed Villa, The Villa, The Villans, The Lions) is a professional association football club based in Aston, Birmingham, that plays in the Championship, the second level of English football. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, since 1897. Aston Villa were the originators and founding members of the Football League in 1888. They were also founding members of the Premier League in 1992. In June 2016, the club was sold by American businessman Randy Lerner to Recon Group, owned by Chinese businessman Dr Tony Jiantong Xia. (wikipedia) (they were in the Premier League, but they *just* got relegated, wah WAH...)
• • •

I've been sitting here waiting, hoping someone on Twitter or Facebook will confirm the theme for me. I really don't get it. I get that two nickels make a dime ... but I don't see how doubling the quote is funny / cute / anything. You're just saying it twice. You're saying the "dime" part again too. Why is doubling it funny? This seems an aaaaaawfully long (and dull) way to go for some kind of simple math joke. You need two ... nickels ... to make a dime? Between being cornball and being confusing, this puzzle strikes me as quite poor, *especially* for Patrick Berry. I expect the joke to Make Sense and I expect it to Land. Neither thing happens. It's all baffling to me right now. Add to that a highly segmented grid that offers very little mid-solve pleasure—with no theme answers to carry you through the puzzle or anchor you to the theme in any way—and you get a really disappointing Sunday.

What is there even to say? The double-letter thing occasionally leads to some interesting fill, like "I INSIST" (27A: "No, no, it's my treat") and CHUKKERS (which, in a weird coincidence, I just encountered accidentally in the dictionary the other day) (36A: Time periods in a polo match). I would've said SAW LOGS, not SAW WOOD, so that was strange. I did like that brief moment where I had no idea what *four* circled squares in a row could signify (i.e. that moment before I realized it wasn't four, but two and then two more). Had trouble with the final vowel in HIASSEN and they hyper-formality of BY YOUR LEAVE. Also had trouble with the seeming avalanche of "?" clues, esp. 62A: Tank tops? (GAS CAPS) right on top of 66A: Corresponding expense? (POSTAGE), which was crossed by something called a FLAT CAR, which I had as a FLAT BED for a while. Clue on SCAPEGOAT was also oddly misleading, so that whole ENE section was probably the roughest for me. But in the end, it wasn't hard to solve at all. Just thematically bewildering.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. please stop emailing me explaining who Yogi Berra was (I know) and that he was famous for his muddled / nonsensical quotes (I know). The "humor" of the quote is not the question here. The nonsensical "doubling" theme is the problem. Two nickels make a dime. Two quotes *about* nickels and dimes make ... two quotes about nickels and dimes.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:22 AM  

Easy for me. Rex said it.

Melrose 12:32 AM  

I printed this puzzle out, but the circles didn't print, so I didn't know they were there. I finished the puzzle without them, but had no idea of how the theme worked. For me, a theme is less enjoyable if you don't really need it to solve the puzzle.

Da Bears 12:50 AM  

Rex, deja vu all over again. Sorry. That's about it.

George Barany 1:10 AM  

@Rex, I was as befuddled by the puzzle's raison d'être as you evidently are, all the more so because @Patrick Berry's byline carries with it certain expectations. The doubling of letters "trick" emerged fairly early, with crossword standby SAAB at 1-Across followed soon thereafter by the intriguing I_INSIST, and it actually helped clarify quite a few of the other answers along the lines already covered in @Rex's review. Not that this realization helped enough with HIAASEN, a name that I was unfamiliar with (maybe I should broaden my reading horizons).

My two other stumbling points involved new personal vocabulary word CREOSOTED (at least, with all impeccably fair crossings) at 43-Down, and the MaNET/ENNIa vs. MONET/ENNIO conundrum in the northeast corner. When YOGI_BERRA became clear quite late in my solve, I reviewed the doubled letters and immediately recognized the quote, so that had to do for an "aha" moment. That, along with the appreciation that--even with 144 words rather than the normal Sunday limit of 140 words--this grid must have been really hard to construct.

Not clear how the title "Double Quote" is of help to the solver, but what a treat it was to see 39-Across, "U people?" actually turn out to refer to me and my fellow PROFS at "the U."

I did console myself during the solve with the thought that readers of the blog who might be anxious for more could possible enjoy the puzzling tandem of Wit and Wisdom, along with the bonus links associated with each of these puzzles [please trust me that they are relevant to today's @Berry offering, and to something that came up yesterday with respect to one of @Barry Silk's clues].

Charles Rosenzweig 2:22 AM  

"Double talk"?

chefwen 2:30 AM  

Getting the two letter deal right off made for a pretty easy solve, but I'm with Rex on the theme. Two nickels make a dime, so? Maybe someone will come up with a more clever explanation than I can muster up.

Biggest highlight for me was seeing one of my favorite, extremely funny authors CARL HIAASEN. Love his books.

Dr. Bunger 2:37 AM  

I began doing the Times years ago in syndication next to the cartoons in the Santa Ana Register. No bylines for puzzle constructors, ever. Rexworld has sects: speed solvers, constructors, experienced plodders. Lately, I have been following this blog and following the dialog between constructors. I have learned that Patrick Berry is well respected, perhaps idolized. My print out had no circles or shading, but I did see them at NYT. That double letter thing threw me for a loop, causing me to over think the downs and miss out on some of those clean stacks across. I INSIST is totally in my language, but I'd rather hear it than actually have to say it. They nicknamed Lawrence BERRA a Hindu YOGI, and the name will live forever.

r.alphbunker 3:24 AM  

Given the title, any quote would have worked, so why this one?

Double play is a baseball term
Double digit inflation is suggested by the quote
Doublemint gum; money is minted
An X (10) is constructed from double Vs (5s) alluding to Yogi's Berra's Italian ancestry.
Berry and Berra differ by only one letter

Charles Flaster 3:59 AM  

Very easy but love Yogi quotes.
Creative cluing for GAS CAPS, POSTAGE, RADAR, and ARTOO.
No crosswordEASE and no writeovers.
Thanks PB

'mericans in Paris 4:29 AM  

We agree with @Rex's easy-medium rating, and would have preferred a puzzle that was not, effectively, two puzzles knitted together by just two down answers (40D & 61D). And, like @Rex, we had "SAW lOgs" before "SAW WOOD". (Either is legit in my view.) But otherwise we have a completely different take on today's puzzle.

For us, the quote was incidental to the solving experience. We figured out the double-letter trick pretty quickly, which made solving easier than usual.

As for the fill, ASTON Villa was a gimme. It's not only a major UK soccer team, but also the name of a well-known (in France) pop-rock band. Here's a couple samples of their musique ... er music:

Surprised that Carl HIAASEN was clued as a journalist and columnist, rather than "journalist-author", and that @Rex had trouble with it. I recommend highly one of Hiassen's first books, "Double Whammy". Hilarious!

DNF because we entered "NOt" instead of "NOR" in 28D.

Today is a BIG day in France, as it plays Portugal in the finals of th European Cup. Allez les Bleus!

RAD2626 5:50 AM  

I just accepted that the two letters were the nickels and enjoyed the puzzle. Besides, most Yogi quotes require a double take. Clues for POSTAGE, GAS CAPS, and NARRATOR all in a row were fiendish and clue for RADAR was the best type of misdirection: pronunciation.

Gholczer 5:57 AM  

Nov 17, 2011 - "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore” is a bit of monetary nonsense that has been credited to New York Yankee baseball great Yogi Berra since at least 1979. A nickel (five cents) is worth half of a dime (ten cents). The joke is on the slang sense of “not worth a dime” for “worthless.”

SaraB 6:39 AM  

Is this the first time Carl Hiaassen made the puzzle? If you haven't read him, try "Tourist Season" to start.
I read it 20 years ago, and I'm still laughing about one of the jokes.

smalltowndoc 6:41 AM  

Once I realized it was a "Yogiism", things came together fairly quickly. I like @Charles Rosenzweig's suggestion that the theme reflects Yogi's penchant for double talk.

My mood went downhill when I encountered PERCODAN, because it reminds me of the epidemic of presription opiate abuse and ensuing fatal heroin ODs we are seeing more and more frequently, even in my small town. An entreaty to my fellow physicians (especially ED docs; you know who you are): enough already with the opiate prescriptions for every ache and pain!

Sorry, I'm off my soapbox now.

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

Hm. I think you're being overdemanding, Rex. Two nickels DO make a dime, so by doubling up the "a nickel" quote it is fixing the Yogi-ism.

blinker474 7:11 AM  

What's the theme? I see the two circles as the nickels that do, or don't, add up to a dime.

chefbea 7:14 AM  

Hand up for not understanding the quote...but a very easy Sunday puzzle. Googled a few things then it all fell into place. Did not understand by your leave

Anonymous 7:16 AM  

Could the double theme have something to do with a pun on the first and last words: SAAB SEEN could also be heard as SOB SCENE?

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

Between political correctness and whining, I think it is time to rename the blog. I suggest "Mrs. Grundy and Eeyore Take Turns Nitpicking the NYT Puzzle."

Ruth F 7:28 AM  

I'm an experienced plodder and did not overthink the theme. Circled letters were doubled. It was a quote. "Double talk" or "double take" might have been better, more clever theme statements, more in line with the character of Yogi Berra quotes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle. I love Yogi Berra quotes, I love Carl Hiaasen. I got what was going on early, and it sped up my solve. But I still had plenty of fun aha moments because of clever cluing and misdirection. I grew up " sawing wood," not "sawing logs." I think it's equivalent to whether you put "stuffing" or "dressing" in your turkey. Thanks to Patrick Berry!

Trombone Tom 7:42 AM  

I think @Rex is trying to make too much of a Berra quote. Take it for what it is! Like many Sunday puzzles, this was not especially difficult, just a long process.

Pretty much what @RAD2626 said. Maybe not the most enjoyable PB, but satisfying nevertheless.

Crazy Cross 7:56 AM  

The two explanations in the comments so far that make the most sense to me in explaining the double letters are double talk and double take, both fitting for Yogi Berra quotes. I didn't get it either.

Glimmerglass 8:07 AM  

I agree that this Berry was easier to solve than his usual constructions, but without the doubling gimmick, which the title suggested, I think I would have found it quite hard. But (after SAAB and I INSIST) being able to write in the twin of each circle was a huge help. This puzzle, however, must not have been easy to *construct*. Finding a bunch of words with double letters, okay, not so hard. Then arranging the doubles into a quote, much harder. Then fitting the words in order into a grid with mostly excellent and sometimes original fill, unbelievably hard. Even though this puzzle didn't give me my usual Sunday hour, I remain in awe of Patrick Berry.
How to parse the theme? Who cares? A dime is double a nickel. It doesn't pay to look for more.

Aketi 8:09 AM  

@r.alphbunker, loved your list of reasons.

@M&A, were you pleased to find more than one U-person in the puzzle today? Or do U feel that the other U-people diminish Ur Uniqueness?

I liked the SENIOR down in the southeast. As most of us AGE, aren't we all prone to thinking things were cheaper and better in our youth? When my son was on the debate team, one of his suggestions for a debate topic was accepted. The topic whether or not the US should get rid of.coins altogether. Even quarters. He developed a fairly convincing economic argument for the demise of coins.

Loved the cluing for SCAPEGOAT and GAS CAPS,

Never heard of SAW logs so WOOD was an instafill once I got over the fact that SNORED was too short and had no double letters. Of course SNORE actually did make it into the puzzle anyway.

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Easy. Close to Boring. Usually I think Rex is too hard on the constructors, but this time he pulled his punches. One Down-cross got you twice the Across letters, which made the fill too easy. "Saw wood" is definitely a thing- maybe logs are regional? Amusingly (though not for me), "rat traps" fits in all ways where "ash heaps" goes, which had me messed-up in the middle until I just filled in the quote. What was the deal with the clue for 116A? For awhile I was thinking that "seen" was actually the last word in the quote. Of course the EE is the last letter, but why mention that in the clue? Is it supposed to be tricky to figure out the TDRL ordering? Finger pointed accusingly at Shortz for that one--it has an editor-enhancement feel.

Teedmn 8:22 AM  

I like the "you can say that again" quality of this puzzle.

It was fun to have SAME HERE cross ARTOO.

Did anyone else have oxEn in at 65D before ALES? Nah, I didn't think so.

Very smooth and the doubles and recognizing the quote did help me solve the sticky area of TOM RIDGE and SAW WOOD. Thanks, PB1!

Eric Blair 8:25 AM  

Yogi Berra's "double-speak"?

Lobster11 8:41 AM  

I've enjoyed so few Sunday puzzles in recent months that I have on numerous occasions seriously considered just not doing them any more. So I was practically giddy when I saw PB's name on the byline today. Finally, I thought, I'm going to have a great puzzle with which to spend my Sunday morning. And the weather was perfect for sitting on the porch with my coffee for as long as it was going to take, which I hoped would be a good long while.

Well, what a disappointment. It was by far the easiest Sunday puzzle I can remember ever doing: I was writing answers about as quickly as I could read the clues. The double-letter thing, which might have been a welcome aid in more challenging puzzle, unfortunately made it even easier. OFL complained about the "avalanche" of "?" clues, but I found myself wishing there were more, as those provided my only (brief) moments of (mild) enjoyment. It was over in a flash.

As I was zooming through my for-all-practical-purposes-themeless solve, I kept wondering what I was missing. OK, the designated squares contain double letters. Fine, but that's way too obvious and simple to be all there is. Presumably those will somehow spell out a quote in the end, but that kind of post-hoc theme is almost never much fun and surely PB knows that. So I kept waiting for the other (3rd?) shoe to drop. Surely something big is gonna happen any minute that's gonna wow me and leave me with a grin for the rest of the day. I clung desperately to that sense of eager anticipation until the bitter end. It ain't over 'til it's over, right? Then I read the quote and just shook my head. Is it a "double quote" because a dime is worth two nickels? Is there some other fiendishly clever interpretation that we're all missing. Beats me. Who cares?

I'm sure this must have been a very difficult theme to pull off -- at least with a minimum of crosswordese and other such dreck, which is the one positive thing this puzzle had going for it -- and so maybe constructors will be impressed. Maybe I should be too. But mostly I'm just bummed.

kitshef 8:50 AM  

Extraordinary easy and extraordinarily dull. Got the quote at "A_ICKEL", filled in all the double letters, and was done in a trice. I did stew briefly over the ENNIO/MONET cross but convinced myself MONET was correct (ENNIO beign a WoE).

I did learn that Pan was from Arcadia, so that's something.

Nancy 9:02 AM  

There was a quote? Who knew? All I saw were a lot of double letters that made the puzzle much easier to solve, without making it any more interesting. I thought this was a crashing bore, in fact. Had I noticed Berry's name at the outset, I would have been more disappointed from the get-go. But, no matter how long I participate in this blog, I STILL forget to look at the constructor's name before I begin. Only when I am mid-puzzle, either very happy or very UNhappy with it, do I think to check it out. Most times, I can't even remember whether I do -- or don't -- like the constructor. PB1 is an exception, of course. But this was really a lame-brained theme, I thought, nor was the fill much fun, either.

tb 9:02 AM  

I didn't even bother to "decode" the quote because I knew it would be something like "drink mover ovaltine."

Ugh. I was so happy when I saw that today there was a Patrick Berry puzzle and an acrostic. The crossword was a joyless slog and when I saw that the clues for the acrostic were about baseball, I didn't even start.

What a letdown.

Blue Stater 9:04 AM  

Dreadful Natick at 104 (HIASSEN and AEON), and didn't get the gimmick, which I almost never do (probably because I hate gimmicks, which I regard as makeweights in generally weak puzzles, a hallmark of the current era). Otherwise I liked this one -- smooth and crunchy, typical of the P. Berry era.

msue 9:08 AM  

This puzzle was shockingly fast for my typical Sunday. Didn't know HIASSEN, but his high praise in the comments so far has inspired me to add his work to my reading list. Thank you. My biggest smile on the list was 43D CREOSOTED. My father-in-law, who was also my geology prof (at the U, lol), said 'creosote' about 10 times whenever we drove across country on a field trip. The endless miles of power lines caught his eye since he'd grown up in a time when the landscape was uninterrupted. The word always amused me, and I tucked it away until today's puzzle apparently. Thank you, Patrick Berry, for that memory.

Hopefully without being a total sap, that is one of the reasons I love puzzles so much. I come from several generations of puzzle people. A silly word like CREOSOTED can instantly evoke a memory of a happy time when they all still were here. The oldest person had dibs on the puzzle - first my grandfather, then later my mother. Then me. It connected us. All that from CREOSOTED. It is going to be a good day.

Mohair Sam 9:19 AM  

Classic Berry cluing, typical Berry lack of -ese. So I'm not going to complain. By far the easiest Patrick Berry puzzle ever for us - theme gave itself away with its title and 1A.

It's amazing how smooth this puzzle is considering it had to be constructed with three double I's, four double A's, and a double "Y". Our only write-over was at CHUKKERS which for some reason I thought were called snookers (don't ask). Had no idea PERCODAN had been around so long, doesn't that sound like 1980's branding? Edward G. Robinson's Johnny ROCCO was maybe the most fun-to-hate movie villain ever.

One summer of my life I worked on a new 100+ acre horse farm. We spent much of the time running fencing for fields and paddocks. These fence posts involved the stink of new CREOSOTE. Miles of fencing, thousands of CREOSOTED fence posts, thousands of post holes dug in boiling heat surrounded by the stink of CREOSOTE. I hate the word CREOSOTE.

On a lighter note - and back to the theme - Five'll get ya ten that YOGI BERRA is the most quoted person in the NYT puzzle. Not Lincoln, not Churchill, not Dorothy Parker, nor Ogden Nash, not even Oscar Wilde. Nope, it'll be Yogi.

GILL I. 9:48 AM  

Hey Hey I say. I'm just buMMed that PB didn't fit YankEE in there.
Yogi was known as the double-talk Why overthink this perfectly fine Sunday puzzle.
I circled my double letters and when I got to the end, I did my little drawing and yup, that worked. I see what you're doing here. I'm impressed because this had to be hard as nails to construct.
Hand up for reading Carl HIAASEN...laughs are good for the soul.
I really didn't say everything I said....

Chaos344 10:13 AM  

Very easy for a Berry puzzle. I solved it as a themeless, and couldn't give two, er, um, "nickels" about the mystery surrounding Mr. Berry's intent. Too clever by half,I'd say?

@chefbea: In the military, it is against regulation and protocol for enlisted personnel to overtake commissioned officers from the rear. As the enlisted man/woman draws even with, (but not past) the officer, he or she must render a hand salute and say, "By your leave Sir?" The officer will then reply, "Carry on soldier/sailor/airman."

That's the long and short of it.

Mary Perry 10:42 AM  

It was likeable enough.

old timer 10:42 AM  

"Experienced plodder"! I resemble that remark. I did it in the print Magazine. And while the double-letter trick helped to some extent, i found myself absolutely stuck in the NARRATOR/ASHHEAPS part of the center, until I realized that "stud" was wrong and STAG best fit the clue, giving me POSTAGE. And PROPS. The only gun I could think of that shoots blanks is a starter's gun at a track or swim meet. But PROPS is good,

AREAS was my last entry, forcing me to change "net" to SET SHOTS.

I have to admire the puzzle that could not have been easy to construct.

In a few hours I'm going down to the pub for an ALE and a chance to cheer on Les Bleus.

Horace S. Patoot 10:56 AM  

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore!" (but two nickels are). I think that's the theme.

jberg 11:04 AM  

What everyone else said -- you have to admire the construction, but are left wondering why it was worth it -- and the double letters make it too easy.

I did like the way that, just as I was about to object that SHIITES were a group of people, while SHIa was the 'branch,' Mr. Berry pointed out that I was a NIT picker. And we have ACME for the second day in a row -- come back, Andrea!

My wife's cousin is currently vacationing in the mountains in North Carolina. They were on the phone a couple days ago when the cousin looked out the window of her cabin and realized that she was a BEAR WITNESS, or ATTESTor.

ENNIO Morricone won the Oscar for best original score (for "The Hateful Eight") this year. Reportedly Quentin Tarantino used the occaison to state his opinion that Morricone was the best composer ever, and not just of film music, which he called "that ghetto." The debate over whether it's racist to use 'ghetto' as a pejorative is still going on.

I'm pretty sure PELICANS pouches are part of their beak, not their throat -- I spent way too much time trying to fit some kind of grouse in there.

Ah well, it's Sunday, and there is much to be done.

Kimberly 11:14 AM  

I have no idea what the point of the doubled phrase was, either (although for those who instead chose to explain what the phrase itself means, well bless your hearts).

I did find it odd to have multiple answers repeated from yesterday (like "acme" and "onus"). I know this is unintentional, but still bizarre. We see it a lot where the daily mini from the app echoes answers from the daily puzzle, but it's odd to see that kind of repetition within the puzzles themselves.

Lots of NYT-is-psychic moments today. I was even watching a TED talk about introverts vs extroverts, and the word "introvert" came up just as I read the clue for 23 across. I paused a few times to see if the speaker might hand me any more answers, but he failed to oblige.

Bill Levine 11:17 AM  

Morricone was the 2016 Oscar winner, not 2015. The clue was wrong.

thomas greisen 11:19 AM  

I lost interest halfway through and did not finish. Just too boring. I know that Patrick Berry can do better.

Aketi 11:32 AM  

I liked the creativity of cluing the STAG and the STUD without referencing Y CHROMOSOME traits. Yet the STUD, not the STAG, is linked to the SOLOIST even though STUDs usually come in pairs,

There is a SPICY YEARN, ENTICE, and SAVOR sequence, but also the more menacing PREYS UPON. I remember a few puzzles that had YOU'RE IT, but this is the first puzzle I've SEEN with YOR ICK. Is it rude to DIS someone merely because they're ICKy? Or is it DEEMed appropriate if they PREY UPON those who shalt not be NAMED (or not badly clued) anymore in crossword puzzles?

ASHHEAPS pivots into the more uplifting ACME, but with the drop of one line on the M and the straightening of another, it turns into the unsightly ACNE.

My Dad always PELICANs. As a boy he rescued one with a broken wing and talked all his friends into fishing fr it. He also talked the town doctor (when he had imbibed a good amount) to set its wing. So glad have made a comback from the years when their numbers declined from exposure to DDT. Every time we spotted a pelican in San Francisco Bay, my father would recite this poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt:

A funny old bird is a pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belican.
Food for a week
He can hold in his beak,
But I don't know how the helican.

Carola 11:34 AM  

I finished the puzzle with ??? over my head about the raison for the double quote, so I much appreciate the suggestions in the comments: double talk, double take, two nickels, and all of @r.alphbunkers. I wasn't familiar with the quote, but after A NICKEL AIN'T, I was able to guess where it was going. I found most of the fun in the puzzle in admiring how Patrick Berry dealt with all of those double letters. I particularly liked SAW WOOD, BY YOUR LEAVE, and HIAASEN. I wonder how many more double I's he'd have been able to come up with.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Maybe PB will explain the theme, but I don't think it's anything more than what the title says: a double quote.

Hartley70 11:40 AM  

@msue loves CREOSOTE; @Mohair hates CREOSOTE. I prefer yesterday's NOSEGAY to come my way any day. I love this place. No matter how uncontroversial the puzzle, Rex and the commentariat can always find a point of contention. Hooray us!

I agree that this PB offering was about as ho-hum as it gets, even with the two nickels looking at me all over the page. Maybe I just don't appreciate the Yogi Berra thing. Is he supposed to be intentionally funny or just a dope? Of course, I don't get The Three Stooges either.

Chuck McGregor 11:56 AM  

If you please (my first stab at 107a), my take on the theme was doing double takes as I INSISTed on persisting with wrong fills, such as CHUcKers (for obvious reason). Others were Kong for ASTA, tOY for SOY(with a bottle of Kikkoman’s in the fridge), esTeRS for ATTARS, invesTOR for NARRATOR, eaTON for ASTON, and [something] naTION for UNFICATION. Also misreading a few clues, like 9a Austrian for Australian didn’t help.

Had to read @Rex for the quotation after several cheats needed to finish. I wasn’t thinking it PB-esque until after that. Reviewing it changed my mind or what’s left of same.

We closed The Music Man last night after our four sold-out performances and I'm off to strike my audio equipment used for the show.


MI Nana 12:13 PM  

Easy, except where it wasn't. Had Percocet for too long, then Astor which didn't help. Don't know Ennio so randomly opted for Monet instead of Manet. But loved the puzzle for reasons given by Charles Rosenzweig, r.alph bunker and rad2626. This was a double header for me. And given all the enthusiasm for the unknown-to-me Hiassen,I have added him to my reading list for cheer in dark times, proving it ain't over til it's over.

AskGina 12:13 PM  

I like the way certain answers revealed themselves over time (like, oh yea, it was Tom Ridge) which I guess is the real fun for the experienced plodder (EPs of the rexworld unite! We have an identity). Percocet instead of percodan and even tho I've I think I've seen rearm before, it didn't stick. Thanks Rex. Just wanted to say it

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

Another hard Sunday for me. Two hours to solve. Is that normal?

Da Bears 1:10 PM  

No help on Wordplay in answering Rex's question. My theory is that PB constructed this puzzle with the double letters to signal the letters in the quote and WS added the circles, which helped the solver but detracted from PB's original purpose. I cite the clues in 1A and 118A in support of my theory.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  


Chaos344 1:35 PM  

@Anonymous at 12:27

30 years ago, two hours for a Sunday puzzle would have put you among the elite "speed solvers." Today, not so much, but keep at it.

Numinous 2:16 PM  

"A nickel ain't worth a dime any more"? Hell. A dime ain't worth a nickel any more. I remember candy bars from before they wen't up to a dime each. I remember marijuana infused late nights back in the 60's at Palmer's Drug Store buying six candy bars for a quarter while giggling insanely. Dime ain't worth a nickel? Judging by candy-bar-inflation, a dime ain't worth a cent any more. All I can think about Patrick's theme is, "Two for the price of one"?

I filled this one in correctly in a little over an hour but the iPad app refused to believe I had. Using the Puzzazzz app, I typed it all in and got a correct indicator. Finally, after 35 minutes of searching, I decided to clear the iPad puzzle and typed the answers in in about then minutes to get the equivalent of Mr. Happy Pencil. Oh well, these things happen.

I can't say I didn't enjoy doing this puzzle but I can say I didn't enjoy the clean-up once it was done. But that's on my iPad.

Last night, I heard a great horned owl near by chatting with another a little further off (I was on the back porch). For one reason or another, I walked to the gate to the yard. There is a big old tree right there. I heard the distant owl then I heard the nearer one. It was directly above me. Those five minutes were way more rewarding for me than today's puzzle

Norm 2:17 PM  

It's a double quote [quotation] because it's repeated. And you put quotations in double (as opposed to single) quotes. This was an amusing & lighthearted puzzle. Y'all should stop trying to make everything deep & complicated. Not everything has to be an opera; sometimes you just want a musical farce. And, as Yogi said, "If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be."

Masked and Anonymous 2:18 PM  

Flat-car-out l-u-v-ed this Patrick Berra puz! Theme Desperation!

I thought it was fairly obvious what PB1 was up to, with the theme:
1. Uses double letters instead of each single quote letter, because he wants his theme to be worth a dime. Different. [Actually, like it or not, his theme was worth a thousand bucks.]
2. Pun on "double quote". Also kinda cute.
3. The clever part of the theme is the double letter gimmick. One must then proceed to *justify* usin the gimmick. Et Voila! Theme Desperation! har

Fill got deliciously desperate, for a PB1 puz, here and there. AA's, II's, YY's, KK's, WW's, and HH's can really back a dude into a corner, I'd reckon. But, hey -- if you're gonna get desperate, why not go whole hog? Bump the day-um word limit up (did it: 144). Pump in the cheater squares (didn't do it, much). Skip the whole pangram thing (always does it). Talk big about U's ("U people?" clue, but only 7 U's in the whole SunPuz-sized grid; and none of em double-U's). SAWWOOD. OOZEDESPERATION. Yes! Primo. Like vindaloo must be like, if its the vindaluu variation.

Thanx, Mr. Berry (and Berra). F-U-N. You dared to be desperate, for a change! Welcome home!

Masked & Anonym007Us
"Not all U people are profs"

Desperate dessert, with a cherry on top…

RAD2626 2:32 PM  

Hans Conried played Uncle Tonoose on the old Danny Thomas sitcom - probably a character that would not be allowed today. He was known for his malapropisms. On one show, in response to how he had slept, Uncle Tonoose responded "like chopping firewood". Too bad he had not done today's puzzle.

Dick 2:34 PM  

An easy solve but a difficult theme. Not worth the time to sort out double letters into a quote. Quote not memorable Yogi.

For me the puzzle was 'themeless'

Hungry Mother 2:58 PM  

Very enjoyable puzzle today. I liked the cleverness of some of the answers to get the doubled letters. Generally, I only use a theme for its usefulness without probing beyond into deeper meanings. It's all just a simple pastime for me.

Oscar the Grouch 3:14 PM  

Actually, they gave out the 2015 awards in 2016. He won for The Hateful Eight. Even though the ceremony was in Feb 2016, it honored the previous year's films.

rhenny 3:35 PM  

I was puzzled (ha) by the doubling, too, and briefly thought it was to mimic the "Pride of the Yankees"-type echo of the microphone at the stadium. Do I win some sort of overthinking prize?

Paul Johnson 4:16 PM  

Really Rex? Not a word about Serena? Thought for sure you'd work in a comment on certainly this generation's greatest woman tennis player and arguably, even likely, of all time. WHAT A MATCH!!! Her serving for the championship reminded me of stories about Bill Tilden who, it was said, would walk out onto the court with 4 tennis balls in the final game, daring his opponent to return even one. Kerber did return #4 but weakly and set up a simple volley to seal the deal. Pretty awesome.

Laurence Katz 4:32 PM  

Theme is the title: double quote, which means that the double circled letters spell out the quote twice. Which maybe somehow relates to the nickel-dime thing. Or not. Regardless, the quote is doubled and I think that's the whole gimmick.
Otherwise, on the pedestrian side for P. Berry.

Leapfinger 4:41 PM  

@jberg, I wouldn't spend too much time trying to fit a grouse in the pelican's pouch. I'm almost positive the grouse won't like it, and the pelican might turn into an Up-CHUKKER.

Of course, a nickel never was 'worth a dime' (idiom = single quote marks) and the whole theme (being what Yogi apparently did say) was a real quote(= double quote marks). If I'm wrong on this, I'm sure someone will read me the RIOT Tact.

Agree with everything good said about CAR[sansO]L HIAASEN; some of his books may be best read in the order written. Madly funny, but with meat on the bone. @George, metoo with ENNIa/ENNIO: the title just sounded more like Claude MoNET than Edouard MANET.

Briefly considered [Tank tops] = TURRETS, but reviewed the fill I had, and was convinced PBerry wasn't going to allow double letters outside the theme. Sure enough, keeping it clean is the PB1 tradition; I think that makes it elegant and worthy to heap PREYS UPON.

Besides, it has @Lewis written all over it.

jclaireb 5:23 PM  

I recently read that Berra caught both games of a MLB double-header 117 times. That's crazy to me! And a record that'll stand forever. Who would do that now? So I thought maybe the double letters referred to that?’s-thing-caught-ends-117-times/

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

Very easy for me, but fun. Rex, you're waaayyy overthinking things re the theme. The puzzle is titled "Double Quote" because each letter of the quote appears twice in succession--i.e., is doubled--ya know, as if you had double vision or a double stutter or something? That's it. Now rest easy.

Aketi 6:08 PM  

@M&A, you are THE primo U-person. Glad someone else actually liked the puzzle.

Definitely decided I've got to enjoy what I can when I can after today's SAD experience of walking home from the dojo just in time to see the police and ambulance taking care of someone who went to sleep on a park bench in the middle of the divider on Broadway, never to awaken or SAW WOOD again. I suppose it is a far more peaceful way to go than other more violent ways that have been spattered all over the news lately.

As my son says "Peace Out".

Life is short, try to enjoy what you can while you can.

OISK 6:10 PM  

I can't remember an easier Sunday. I barely stopped to think. Sometimes when I fill in a puzzle too rapidly I leave a careless error there, and I did this time as well. ( Profs - I had Press. Don't ask....) I liked the theme and the fill. I did not know it was a Berry puzzle until I came here - like Nancy, I often don't bother to look.

Pete s 6:31 PM  

I thought it was going to be two different quotes by Yogi. I wonder how hard that would be to construct, if you could even find two quotes with the same number of letters

old timer 6:37 PM  

Buster Posey, IMO the best catcher of the 21st century (try running on the guy, you'll find out) could not hold a candle to the immortal YOGI BERRA. And I think he would agree. He can only do what he does (catch perfectly and always be a major threat at the plate) because he gets the time off BERRA could only have dreamed of.

The 2016 Oscars will happen in 2017 BTW. The award is for the year the movie came out, not the following year when the Academy Awards are presented.

Bill L 6:49 PM  

According to a source cited in the Wikipedia article on the US nickel it cost 9.41 cents to produce a nickel in 2013, so maybe a nickel is sorta worth a dime. A dime cost 5.61 cents to produce (2011).

Sports Illustrates put out a tribute edition after Yogi passed and it was filled with wonderful stories about him. He led a remarkable life. Well worth a read for even non-sports fans.

Peter Strauss 7:19 PM  

Easy solve, unsatisfying puzzle.
Double Quote simply refers to the quotation from Yogi Berra showing up twice.
98 Down.

Andy 9:13 PM  

Didn't get the theme either...above-mentioned suggestions help. But I'm still like "wtf" NYTimes?? Maybe if you're all out of good Sunday themes we should take a hiatus for the summer.

Z 9:20 PM  

Where's @Lewis? I expected a count of double letters from him today.

I liked the joke more than Rex by at least a nickel's worth.

@Bill Levine - The error of your ways has been pointed out multiple times. Don't feel bad, though. The plaint has come up so often that Rex has a whole question devoted to it in his FAQs. #16a, to be exact.

I feel like I'm repeating myself... Almost as if I posted the link to 16a yesterday but too lazy to post the link two days in a row or something.

Posting late today. Played in the DUFL League Tournament today. My team won it, thank you very much, roaring back from 8-11 down to win 13-11. Woo Hoo.

Unknown 9:38 PM  

Agreed Dr. Thanks for the voice of reason.

TheAnalyst 9:41 PM  

Easy easy easy. Nothing special, nothing very interesting.

No. 1 Fan 4:18 AM  

@M&A, Har for your spicy vindalulu.
Not all U-people are U-pruf, either Har-dly.

@Numiness, your five minutes sound idyllic.Based on my experience of tending to a Large Owl of indeterminate specification after it had dove into a swimming pool, I'd suggest that care be taken about standing in the downstream area of a large treed owl. Either end of the owl, if you take my meaning.

@Z, @Lewis is vacationing in Venice. Or Venus, Anyway, someplace moist.
Remember that attention must be paid, not only expected.

[typed but not submitted, Sunday 2145]

Anonymous 12:01 AM  

Perhaps each pair of circles is meant to visually suggest two nickels tangent to one another. That's how I rationalized it to myself.

Arty 9:58 AM  

Too much overthinking on the meaning. Nickels, then dimes, had become practically worthless, was what Berra tried to say. So that, in a backwards way, what you could have at one time bought with a nickel (e.g., candy bar), you could not even buy with a dime! Hence, the old nickel, once a valuable coin, wasn't even worth twice its old value, the dime, now.
The doubled letters were likely a simple reference to this observation.

Martin Gersa 10:32 AM  

Very easy puzzle to solve. However, as easy as it was to solve, it must have been that difficult to construct. Doubled letters (like nickels and dimes) scattered (in order!) throughout an *entire* Sunday grid -- 27 characters long! -- is a mind-boggling, glorious, and almost inconceivable *construction*. To denigrate a puzzle of such technical majesty for "theme" is to lose sight of the brilliance of the people who actually create these puzzles. Rex ought to re-think his attitude on this one and see this puzzle as pure genius. (Oh, and this comment is late because our newspaper prints the NYT puzzle several weeks later.)

spacecraft 12:03 PM  

The Yog was always good for a laugh. Solving this took 50% skill. 50% luck and 50% patience. No brilliant idea about the doubling, except the idea of "double talk" already mentioned; deja vu all over again.

Quality fill assures an enjoyable solve, as per usual with PB1. Clues were clever enough to take us out of "slam-dunk" territory, so yep, easy-medium. Watching a truly epic duel between Mickelson and Stenson for the Claret Jug, and saving out one of myriad birdies for today's puzzle.

Nigel Pottle 2:09 PM  

Late to the party since I do the puzzle in syndication. But - notwithstanding Mr. Berry's presumed challenge to create the puzzle, when the end result is so boring and easy to solve, it was a great waste of effort. This puzzle was no challenge at all. Not worth a plug nickel. What a waste of talent. And it seems the only hard part is figuring out the point of the puzzle's trick - and unless Mr. Berry or Mr. Shortz tells us what was in their heads it seems no one gets it at all. Worth less than one star in my book.

Nigel Pottle 2:14 PM  

An additional note: I just realised that I got both 23A and 24A, two of the longest words in the puzzle, entirely by the down clues. Every letter. As I was reviewing the puzzle I happened to see the words "introvert" and "unification" and when I looked up their clues thought "hey, I didn't see those clues when doing the puzzle". Another clue that this puzzle was way too easy. PS. And I'm pretty certain I would have had the answers if I'd done the across clues first, too. Way too easy.

Diana,LIW 4:13 PM  

After I successfully (look at them double letters) solved the puzzle (more doubles) I went back to the circled (shaded) answers and placed the first letter(s) in order and came up with a quote. Then I went back and did the same with the second letter. And came up with the same quote! Y? Y?

Also discovered that I'll have to wait until some time in 2017 before I know who won the Oscars in 2016. Again - Y? Y?

Surprised there was no mention of Hamlet skewing old, and the golden calf's maker, waaaay old. Y? Y?

Had a fun time with the puzzle - enjoyed the misdirecting clues all over the place. Don't care if my time is "too fast" or slow.

As always, the comments gave me something to ponder. Experienced plodder. Not sure what I think of that. I think of myself as a struggling (in a good way) learner, who is hoping for a promotion to 5th grade some time during summer school. Who knows, one day - college? Grad school? My highest degree is in Adult Education. Hey - a dissertation on crossword puzzles as a form of adult education - that would be a kick! (And, trust me, the adult ed field would go for it.)

Loved msue's story about her f-I-l and creosote - brought back memories of cross-country drives.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting...Y?

AnonymousPVX 4:25 PM  

Easy and enjoyable, other than the natick at 22A/18D.

leftcoastTAM 5:36 PM  

Nearly bailed out of doing any more Sunday puzzles last weak, noting that they were TIMESINKS and almost inherently slogs.

But on seeing this was one of Patrick Berry's, I couldn't resist a RETRY ("Have another crack at" it).

I wasn't disappointed. The double quote scheme bothered me not at all. It definitely expedited filling in many of the blanks. Though relatively easy, it was smooth and consistent, as one would expect from Mr. Berry.

I do still have the reservation that these Sunday puzzles, whatever their varieties and qualities, are inherently slogs to some extent given their sheer size and bulk.

I liked this one.

Diana,LIW 9:42 PM  

@Lefty - glad you didn't bail on Sundays.

Just wondering to you and all readers - how do you define a "slog?" It seems to have several meanings.

Also wanted to add my name to those who love Carl Hiaasen. Gave some of his novels to Mr. W and he laughed out loud.


Z 10:18 PM  

@D. LIW - Oxford suggests "a spell of tiring work." Puzzles that make me chuckle, go "Aha," or are finished quickly are never a slog. If the trick is easily found, isn't overly lively, and there is lots and lots of non-theme material the risk of being a slog are raised. 21x21 grids, with so much space to fill, often feel sloggy to me.

rain forest 12:17 AM  

Oh for Pete's sake, or should I say Patrick's sake. The theme was simple: take a quote, and double all the letters within the quote. Period.

Did this after getting back from a week+ vacay, and so that is my essential comment. No time to comment on Monday's nice one by LL. This one though, was typical Berry. Smooth and fun to solve.

Paul Boudreau 10:16 PM  

I know this is waaaayyy late and probably no one will read this but, I am a long-suffering Villa supporter and have been doing crosswords for thirty or forty years. I laughed aloud (kids these days call it LOL) when I saw the clue, having never come across it before anywhere. Icing on the cake though was coming here, as I often do after finishing a puzzle and seeing that Rex had chosen it as the word of the day... simply brilliant!

And yes, 'mericans in Paris, great band who chose their name after the football club.

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