Civil rights activist Helen Burroughs / SUN 11-20-16 / Famous crosser / Some break dancers informally / Major theme of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep / Wham-O toy introduced in 1961 / Biblical figure referred to as son of desert / Fourth-largest news agency in world / Patron saint of soldiers athletes / Cassock wearer / Yossarian's tentmate / One dishing out digs

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Constructor: Ed Sessa

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: "Cross References" — bodies of water crossing the famous people who literally crossed them:

Theme answers:
  • MAGELLAN / PACIFIC
  • LINDBERGH / ATLANTIC
  • MOSES / RED SEA
  • MAO / YANGTZE
  • WASHINGTON / DELAWARE
  • NAPOLEON / BEREZINA
Word of the Day: BEREZINA River
The Berezina or Biarezina (Belarusian: Бярэ́зіна; pronounced [bʲaˈrɛzʲinɐ]) is a river in Belarus and a tributary of the Dnieper River. [...] Napoleon Bonaparte's army suffered heavy losses (about 36,000) when crossing the Berezina in November 1812 during his retreat from Russia (see Battle of Berezina). Since then "Berezina" is used in French as a synonym of catastrophe. (wikipedia)
• • •
My friend Craig compared solving this to doing homework, and I have to agree. The crossing gimmick is OK, but it wears thin quickly. What you're left with is just trivia, and trivia of very uneven familiarity. WASHINGTON / DELAWARE came without my having to think at all, whereas the YANGTZE does not leap readily to mind when I think of MAO, and the BEREZINA? Well, I've never heard of that. Ever. I am certain I'm not alone in that. There's also the minor but pretty hilarious problem, caused by theme crowding, of LINDBERGH's crossing not only the ATLANTIC, but the RED SEA as well. Just him and MOSES ... leading the Israelites ... (if you know anything about LINDBERGH's, uh, political leanings, then this imagined team-up is especially funny). There are some interesting longer non-theme answers in the grid—I particularly like the DIET SODA / SEXOLOGY juxtaposition, for some reason—but overall, filling this in felt more like drudgery than fun.


The shorter fill is once again particularly noxious. A GIBER (AGE TEN!) who REPENs his XOUTS? Man, XOUTS really truly hurts. Can't fathom anyone's using or saying that ever. Lots and lots of other over-familiar repeaters, and not a lot of payoff. I have no problem with some low-rent junk if it's holding up something lovely, but not much is truly lovely here today. Today's difficulty was mostly in the vague cluing. [Entice] for BAIT, for instance. I needed 3/4 of that before I could tell what was going on. And occasionally there was (for me) difficult trivia, like ANZIO, NANNIE, and (as I've already said) BEREZINA. [7-up, e.g.] is a pretty good misdirect, though the uncapitalized "U" should've clued me in that it wasn't referring to the soda brand. See also the very next Down, 6D: Partridge family member (HEN), which I thought was referring to the musical TV show of the '70s. But there were no tenacious trouble spots. I had MACK at 10D: ___ truck instead of TACO. That probably caused the most problems.


So, hey, this week I'm launching "On The Grid," a (probably) monthly crossword podcast with my friend Lena Webb. We taped the first installment last month in Somerville, MA, and now it's edited and done, so if you have 24 minutes, give or take, check out Episode 001: "MAI / TAI". Thanks.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

106 comments:

George Barany 12:10 AM  

@Ed Sessa's puzzle was not particularly difficult, and @Rex's review pin-pointed its issues.

Thanks so much for the @LINDBERGH link. An American hero with the Spirit of St. Louis, but then ... So much to say, but maybe best pursued off-blog.

jae 12:18 AM  

Exactly what @Rex said, I mean exactly!

Da Bears 12:24 AM  

Rex, so perceptive and yet so obtuse. All crossword puzzles are like doing homework. The only difference is that crosswords are not mandatory.

RAD2626 1:11 AM  

Puzzle is pretty easy with only NAPOLEON's crossing not a gimme. No problem with MOSES and LINDBERGH sharing a square. Having six themers or twelve entries is pretty good, even for a Sunday. Really liked NEW YORK TIMES, NO DAY AT THE BEACH and NBA ALL STAR GAMES. Terrific long fill.

Podcast was interesting. Interview with Erik Agard really interesting. Enjoyed Mai Tai and "e" discussion. Overlooked ezine which I would vote okay on as legit. Keep the musical interludes. Fit perfectly. Encourage everybody to listen. And not snarky at all.

John Child 1:17 AM  

Liked the podcast Rex, and the music choice. And thanks for the Lindbergh link.

The puzzle was easy enough, but the dozen cross-referenced clues were tedious. I ignored them for a long time, and finally had enough other fill to complete them quickly, other than BEREZINA.

Prison Bars.

Trombone Tom 1:23 AM  


My take on the puzzle is similar to @Rex's. I thought the partridge clue was a good misdirect.

It was more fun than "homework" would have been. But Sunday puzzles often have that marathon feel.

Count me among those who have not heard of the Berezina. Unlikely that I'll remember it. Oh, and who knew that General TSO, long of crossword fame, was also known as Zuo Zongtang.

Long, soaking rain here today; something that California desperately needs.
My only real hiccup was trying INFEsTED before INFECTED.

GILL I. 1:53 AM  

BEAUX GESTES? Really? Like gallanted maybe or valorously?..and what a way to clue EMPATHY - like I know who Philip K Dick is.
Yikes....BEREZINA notwithstanding etc etc.
Actually, except for NAPOLEON and his escapade in BEREZINA, I found the theme answers fairly easy. I do, though, want to know why the LANAI is a place for a home pool. In my world the LANAI is what you sit under and enjoy a Mai Tai.
Lots of places I struggled, so yes, it did feel a bit like homework.
I had the hardest time getting 1A. Good whiskey always burns my throat going down - or maybe it's the cheap stuff. For some reason, if I can't get the 1A on a Sunday, I get grumpy.
Viva la PEPA and her SLIP N SLIDE.

chefwen 2:19 AM  

You're right @Gil I. No way are you going to have a pool on a LANAI, maybe a pool table but definitely not a pool.

Serviceable Sunday puzzle, not quite what I look for in a big 'ol Sunday, but good enough. Mom loved to chime in with "good enough seldom is". Thanks, Mom!
I miss Elizabeth Gorski's Sundays, where sometimes you got to draw a fun item, like a Martini glass. I get her weekly puzzles, which are great, but I would love for her to come back with a few Sunday extravaganzas.

I just scanned the puzzle and 105A got me laughing, DA BON, don't they mean DA BOMB? Oh yeah DAB ON, I remember now.

One write over agile at 102A before DELAWARE made me change it to LITHE.

Martín Abresch 3:38 AM  

I live in Columbia City, a neighborhood of Seattle. It was home to the Heater Glove Company, which produced the leather aviator helmet worn by Lindbergh on his flight in the Spirit of St. Louis (now on display in the Smithsonian). I'm also reminded of one of my favorite sports team names ever, the old American Basketball Association Spirits of St. Louis.

Otherwise, I don't know. My brain just isn't getting much pleasure from crosswords these days. This one felt like homework to me, too. ENROL and EDUCE and REPEN and so forth.

MOSES parted the RED SEA rather than crossing it. Thumbs down to that entry.

Over at XWordInfo, both Jeff Chen and Jim Horne mention that it reminds them of a Patrick Berry effort from a decade ago. I looked over Berry's grid and did not see NAPOLEON crossing BEREZINA. Huh.

I liked the clever clue for EWE (Mama baaer). Took me way too long to figure that one out.

Loren Muse Smith 5:22 AM  

Yeah, I was looking for WASHINGTON and DELAWARE, too. I was also looking for Rubicon, but I couldn't remember who crossed that. And Styx. But Charon shares no letters with Styx. And he isn't famous for that first crossing, right?

I also kept Ederle's name in mind looking for the English Channel. Hey – Moses wasn't in a boat, so I thought she'd be fair game. (@Martin A – but after he parted it, they all crossed it, right? Some of the lollygaggers may have WADED there at the end.)

@Martin A (again) – I loved the "mama baaer" clue, too. I also liked the O-ful clue/answer for ONO: Yoko from TOKYO. Too cool for school. And it crosses TO BOOT. Hoo, boy.

@Trombone Tom – me, too, for "infested" before INFECTED.

I had a dnf because of "Lucretia/Antio." Ah me.

Hey, @Z – did you end up with "acromats" crossing "b-moys"?? Hah.

THERE NOW. How are these words supposed to make you feel better? They could also be a command: THERE! NOW! Roll your rollie chair back over to the computer I assigned you! Or a question: THERE? NOW? Patrick Berry is in the Stamford Marriott lobby??? OMG!

And we also have THERE THERE – Everyone was drunk, and they probably won't even remember your little "HEN dance. And NOW NOW – calm down; run get your Spanx, and we can all help you get them zipped up.

Rex – I would've preferred X OUTS being clued as a verb.

I liked ENROL. But I'm probably a loner on that one.

I like a theme that plays with the word "cross." This one was just fine by me. Thanks, ES.

Lewis 6:20 AM  

Not memorable, but it filled in so steadily it didn't feel like a trudge, and it kept my solving muscles honed. Grateful for that. What I liked most were the clues for RODEO, TIE, HEN, and EWE, and the sweet poetic cross of PEW and EWE.

I also liked other "names" in the grid: CAL LEDAWAY, A.C. ROBATS, ROD EO, EVA DES, DEB UT, AL EPH, MA GELLAN, ART LAB, BEAU X. GESTES, DEL AWARE, DON ATES, and rap singer DA BON.

Leila 6:58 AM  

Where is "Rubicon?" Isn't that perhaps the world's most famous crossing?

Muscato 7:12 AM  

this was one of those "Oh, God, I better get more coffee - this is going to take forever... Oh, look - it's done" puzzles. Slow start and then steady progress, except that I've always been lousy at explorers and was baffled by AGE TEN and woefully ignorant of NANNIE Burroughs and so stuck until the last moment on the NW. But now I can spend a while today reading up on a too-little (to me) known civil-rights leader. And maybe watching a few choice Simpsons episodes. Who says doing the crossword isn't useful?

chefbea 7:41 AM  

Finished the puzzle last night, but have never heard of the Berezina river, I have of course seen the Spirit of St. Louis. It's in one of the museums in St. Louis...Think it's The Jefferson Memorial. I'll have to check it out

smoss11 8:13 AM  

Hated the crossing abreviations. Had infested for infected which magnified the abreviations cross (ESP & NSEC). Didn't think the theme was particularly clever. Rally a ho hum puzzle for me.

r.alphbunker 8:17 AM  

Sometimes its fun doing homework. I had fun with this puzzle. Had SMALLCAR initially for {49A It's easy to park} influenced no doubt by a puzzle I did yesterday that had the clue {Small car specialist} _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Unfortunately I give students REFerences rather than RECommendation so I finished with {25A One of the Borgias} LUFREZIA. Details are here.

'mericans in Paris 8:20 AM  

I agree with @Gill I. that all Xword puzzles can feel like homework, but some homework can be fun.

Mrs. 'mericans and I were put off by the "See 2-Down" sort of cross references, but then once we got WASHINGTON crossing the DELAWARE, it became a nice little challenge. We, too, expected to see Rubicon there somewhere.

Most of the puzzle went SMOOTHly for is, and we finished it APACE, but had to guess at BEREZINA. We've been living in France for 30 years now and have never knowingly heard anybody call a disaster une Bérézina. Turns out, however, that une bérézina électorale is a reasonably common phrase. Time to dust that one off an make it part of the current post-election discourse.

We chuckled through "SLIP 'N SLIDE" as we tried to guess the many new products that Wham-O came out with in the early 1960s. (Although they didn't invent the Frisbee, they sure popularized it.) They were also responsible for the Hula Hoop, the Super Ball, the Trac-Ball, Silly String, the Hacky Sack and the Boogie Board. How can one fault a company that has brought so much fun to the world?

But I digress. Some of the answers made me SADR, like "Shock and AWE" crossing WMD. Other downers: DIE TSO DA (what General Zuo Zongtang's enemies said as they began their charge); HEISTS; INFECTED; [because] I SAY SO (the new mantra of fact-free governance), and its close relation, LIE; PRISON BARS (a place to order "My Tie"?); and UZI.

By the way, in the world of trade (which I still think is something good), an "eX OUT" is a subcategory of a tariff line and corresponding commodity description. For, example, an "ex out" of HS 2204.21 "Non-sparkling wine, in containers holding 2 litres or less" might be red wine in containers of that size.

Nice to see TACO as a type of truck. My first guess, however, was DUMP (rhymes with ...). Which reminds me, nature calls.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

Cant believe I giimme'd NAPOLEON/BEREZINA and MAO/YANGTZE but dnf'd with May 8 1945 as VJDAY. Back to history class for me...

Hartley70 8:35 AM  

Spot on my average Sunday time. My final letter was the X in XOUTS. This wasn't an exciting theme, but it held my interest and gave me one challenge at BEREZINA. I didn't find the fill as annoying as Rex did. This one felt like the new normal for Sunday, serviceable, but sadly no Hallelujah moments.

Michael Collins 8:53 AM  

16D highly annoying. The Roadrunner says MEEP MEEP not BEEP BEEP!

Tita A 8:54 AM  

Seriously? For myself, I am much happier to have these as either gimmes or learning moments then knowing random pop... I'm not just the get-off-my-lawn variety of pop haters...whether it's BABALU or ADELE, Game of Thrones or Lost In Pace, I would rather leave them to the TV Guide puzzle.
But most definitely happy to push this knowledge through my noggin.

I admit that I groaned when I realized the entire theme was x-refs...ugh...major ugh.
By then I got LINDBERGH/ATLANTIC just off the E. Next, MAGELLAN/PACIFIC also just off the E.

Oh...and actually, this is a pretty major error...MAGELLAN was not-famously-enough killed in the Phillippines. His crew, many who were Basque, continued on.
Oh...his name is actually Magalhães, in his native Portuguese.

Last fun fact...it was he who named the ocean PACIFIC.

Oh did we have fun with the neighbors SLIPNSLIDE.

Didn't know MAO/YANGTZE, but very get table.
BEREZINA, otoh, required every cross.

Thank you, Mr. Sessa.

kitshef 8:56 AM  

Theme trumps fill, I always say, though this puzzle put that to the test. I thoroughly enjoyed the theme, and looked forward to see what the next cross would be.

Alas, there is a lot that must be overlooked to get there, starting with BEEP BEEP, which ought to be hmEEP hmEEP (though I would accept mEEP mEEP). Then there are the odd semi-abbreviations like BBOYS, XOUTS, LDRS, RECS, PROF and IDED.

Next, obscure proper names: NANNIE, EVERS, the GREENS, NUNN, and for most folks probably ODOM (the last a gimme for me).

And of course, GIBER and REPEN.

TACO truck made me queasy.

So a lot not to like, but I had fun, and isn’t that why we do these?

Z 9:08 AM  

@LMS - No, but I did have -EEP -EEP for the longest time.

Homework... I bet you didn't know that there is very little good evidence that daily homework has any positive correlation with learning. I suspect this is because there is so much homework like this puzzle, tedious trivia without any context. We all recall that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, but do we know why it mattered? How the behavior of a demagogue claiming he was the only person who could solve the Republic's problems led to the end of the Roman Republic? Nah - let's just pretend that some dead dude crossed some river a couple thousand years ago is the only thing we need to remember. If you want students to learn from homework it needs to be meaningful, it needs to illuminate patterns and insights. A bunch of factoids without context are oft forgotten soon after the test.

Anyone else notice all the three letter answers. POE, TSO, ONO, MAO. Why no Ché or Eno? Looking back there aren't that many for a Sunday, but it felt like a half the puzzle was three letter answers.

George Barany 9:09 AM  

Fun to read the whole range of comments that accumulated while I was sleeping. To those looking for the Rubicon crossing, see this Patrick Berry Sunday puzzle from a decade ago (it also has a chicken crossing the road, for comic relief).

A small amusement today, ACROBATS clued as "They might jump through hoops for you" vis-à-vis LITHE, clued as "Like gymnasts" (and ACROBATS too, me thinks). Another small amusement, I originally had SCArfS_UP for 1-Down, which led to some pretty interesting crossings before I (relatively quickly) sorted it all out.

I can certainly understand those who were Naticked by the LUCREZIA/ANZIO crossing. Lucretia Mott was a pioneering abolutionist and women's rights activist, and "antio" means "goodbye" in Greek (so Google tells me). On the other hand, Lucrezia Borgia was immortalized in a Donizetti opera (click on the link), and who hasn't taken the memorable Anzio battlefield tour? (Hint: I have never seen the opera, nor taken the tour).

When the tigers broke free 9:15 AM  

"And the Anzio bridgehead was held for the price of a few hundred ordinary lives."

Great song from The Wall (movie), but not The Wall (album). Later included on The Final Cut.

NCA President 9:19 AM  

I was naticked at the LUCREZIA/ANZIO crossing...I think I know Lucrezia, but I thought it was spelled Lucretia, and since I didn't know Anzio, "Antio" looked fine. So stuck there.

I was waiting for Hannibal crossing the Alps....along with Caesar crossing the Rubicon...Orpheus crossing the Styx...or hell, the proverbial chicken crossing the proverbial road...but I got Napoleon crossing whatever the heck that thing is and for whatever purpose. Sure, it's one of those "Hey, just be glad you learned something!" moments, but frankly, I wasn't in the mood.

As with others, I wondered about the how practical it would be to put a pool on a lanai. Isn't a lanai a porch? Maybe it would be a pool to soak your feet in.

I know YANGTZE from my days of watching Captain Kangaroo...he used to read a book about a duck named Ping crossing that river. I really liked it for some reason and the Yangtze has been etched in my mind ever since.

Yesterday we had KOD today IDED. I rest my (yesterday's) case.

It was a Sunday puzzle which I have come to do only because the NYT applet keeps track of that kind of stuff and for some weird reason that matters to me...but I've come to not really like them. This one was better than most, but too many isms for me to really like it. With all the other puzzles, Mon-Sat, an ism here and there are kept to a minimum because they are small...but on Sunday, those quirks and isms get magnified and become annoying. I guess the point of a Sunday puzzle is that people don't work on Sunday so they can spend all morning doing a puzzle. But, IMO, it's too much.

Evil Doug snark in 5...4...3...2...


phil phil 9:25 AM  

The needy. They formed an official group now?.

What's next The Seedy.

'mericans in Paris 9:40 AM  

To all you folks complaining about BEEP BEEP. I, too, thought it should be something else. It sounds more like mmbe-BEEP. But do a Google Images search on the cartoon, and you'll see the speech balloons always show it as spelled "BEEP BEEP".

Maruchka 9:47 AM  

Fun for awhile, then went sloggy. Clueing could use more SNAP, n'est-ce pas? Am with @MichaelC and @kitshef on BEEP BEEP. 'Little Nash Rambler" might have been more on point. Whatever happened to novelty songs, anyway?

Infested/INFECTED (hi @TromboneT) only do-over.

@Gill - My Fav of the Day is EMPATHY. I'm a Philip Dick fan (always include his first name) and I agree with Mr. Sessa's clue. Wackily mundane terror, where humanity shines.. or doesn't. This shortish story was the basis for "Blade Runner". Philip Dick died too soon..

Off to a neighborhood gathering. Some jerk(s) painted swastikas above Go Trump in the children's playground. WTF?

Wm. C. 9:53 AM  

@Professor Barany --

Was Ms. Mott an aetheist who wanted to abolish evolution? ;-)

Wm. C. 9:57 AM  

Oops, meant Deist there. [Blush!]

Hungry Mother 10:01 AM  

For me it was the crossing of ZOE with BEREZINA that was my Waterloo.

pmdm 10:04 AM  

I am mightily impressed that some here realize it is hmeep hmeep rather than beep beep. The commentaries included with the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVDs clearly explain that fact. Interesting, though, that Chuck Jones (who directed all the roadrunner cartoons from Warner Brothers' Termite Terrace until the studio closed in the early 60's) did not worry about that, since one of his cartoons is actually titled "Beep Beep." Still, the clue is wrong.

Thanks, Da Bears, for giving me a chuckle. When I was growing up, I loved playing Hanon and Czerny exercises (homework for piano players) because they limbered up my hands allowing me to play other stuff so much better. I don't seem to get a similar benefit from the crosswords.

For what it's worth, I have heard people say "x out" instead of "cross out." Sometimes I hear the phrase said "x it out." Perhaps not frequently, but enough to make it seem a reasonable crossword entry to me.

George Barany 10:08 AM  

@Wm C., thanks for catching the typo in my reference to Lucretia Mott. Or maybe I can blame spellcheck?!

Anyhow, this link has much more information about her (and recall, she only came up in the context of justifying the understandable use of "t" instead of "z" in the spelling of 25-Across).

Happy to continue the conversation off-Rex. I would be interested to learn more about your interesting background.

Nancy 10:09 AM  

I was 4/5 of the way through the puzzle, when I noticed that MOSES was actually physically crossing the RED SEA. Son-of-a-gun, I thought, I wonder if they're all like that? And so they are. All of them -- MAGELLAN and LINDBERGH and WASHINGTON and all the rest are physically crossing their respective bodies of water. What a neat feat of construction, I thought. But why, oh why was I so slow on the visual uptake, as per usual? Since I started this late last night, maybe I was tired. More likely, I was simply too busy with the [always annoying] cross-referencing to notice where the previous answer had gone. But anyway, I found this quite enjoyable despite the cross-referencing. I think "medium" is the right category for this -- not really hard to any great extent, but with enough "crunch" to keep me engrossed throughout. And filled with proper names that are Worth Knowing, which seldom happens these days. Very nice job.

Teedmn 10:16 AM  

Tough Sunday - I crossed the Rubicon when I couldn't figure out how to spell LUCREtIA's/LUCREcIA's/LUCREZIA's name. Yes, ANZIO looks completely familiar now but too late to prevent the DNF. At least I wasn't crossing the river Styx.

I think 6D gave me the biggest laugh - I was so fixated on the Partridge Family TV show, I couldn't get past it. Of course, if I had remembered Shirley Jones, I might have seen that a three-letter word wouldn't work there. Sheesh. And I took AWE out because the D of DUI called for an IED. I forgot about the WMDs. Oh, right, there weren't any.

I never saw a SLIP'N SLIDE until the last 10 years - they've been around since 1961? Wow.

Would you really put a home pool on a LANAI (porch or veranda, per the online dictionary)? I needed every cross to see that one. And GIBER was trying to be some sort of landlord, handing out digs. I don't think my brain's cross-referencing function was working well today.

Interesting historical puzzle, thanks Mr. Sessa.

Happy Pencil 10:19 AM  

To construct a puzzle like this and not include Caesar crossing the Rubicon, the most famous of all water-related crossings, left me feeling very disgruntled. Boo! Hiss!

If anyone's interested, Scott Berg's biography of Charles Lindbergh is definitely worth the read. The chapter in which he describes what the Atlantic crossing was actually like is incredibly gripping and will give you a whole new appreciation for the risk Lindbergh took.

Passing Shot 10:21 AM  

Really did not care for this. I don't know what the precise crossword "term" is, but it felt "choppy" -- I was jumping all iver the place, filling in random bits of trivia/knowledge and interpolating the answers from any letters. Not fun, no flow, and nothing to keep me interested other than the accomplishment of finishing it.

Lewis 10:29 AM  

@lms -- Love your avatar!

Nancy 10:29 AM  

Oops. Going back to read the comments just now, I see that I had 1 natick: the misspelled LUCREtIA crossing that nowhere, nohow beachhead ANtIO. Shoulda checked my grid, as one of the posters here always says.

@Z (9:08) -- Loved your pedagogical take on context. You can be my "Teach" or PROF any time. Context is one of the reasons that I majored in Government, whereas I would never have chosen to major in History. Knowing a lot of facts, without regard to trends and tendencies and ideas, has always bored me. Plus the reality that I simply don't remember facts in the absence of context. (Sometimes I don't remember them even when there is context.)

@Tita (8:54) -- We seem to have had the exact same reaction to this puzzle as compared with puzzles requiring pop culture knowledge. It's wonderful to see that there's someone else who makes a distinction between knowledge Worth Knowing and knowledge Not Worth Knowing.

Joe in Newfoundland 10:31 AM  

BERE(?)INA and (?)OE was mildly unfair, I thought.
Shame = PITY? Is that in a dictionary somewhere?
I guess Mr Sessa would have had to use JULIUS as CAESAR would touch but not cross RUBICON, which is counterfactual. That would work if Leibniz wrote puzzles, I suppose. JULIUSCAESAR would have worked, I suppose.
Lots of rain here too, since Wednesday. Tomorrow promises "chances of showers" which means it might be moments of sun.

GILL I. 10:32 AM  

@Maruchka. I know, right? But when a perfectly fine word is used by referencing an author that maybe a bajillion people have never heard of, I get SADR.
By the way...did you ever try Pikanhas Brazilian steakhouse in Point Richmond? I don't even know if it still around but last I was there (maybe 8 years ago) it was pretty good.

G. Harris 10:47 AM  

Rex gauges puzzles by the beauty of their construction; some of us rely on the pleasure of completion. When Rex has trouble solving, he deems it bad construction. When we have a problem we schuss it out with crosses and guesses and take great satisfaction in working it through. I was pretty pleased with my result today, getting answers that were beyond my store of knowledge.

Nancy 10:56 AM  

Rex -- I'd send this to you off-blog if I had your email address but I don't. I clicked on your puzzle podcast just now and clicked off less than 6 seconds later. I couldn't stand the scratchy, loud, abrasive, electronic-sounding "music" that emanated from it. It sounded like no group of musical instruments I've ever heard in real life. I fully understand that not everyone in the world is as noise-sensitive as I am -- and aren't they lucky not to be! -- but I would lose that "music" just as fast as you can. Either replace it with beautiful real music played by real instruments or replace it with no music. I'm not being snarky, Rex, I'm trying to be helpful.

Bill L. 10:56 AM  

Since I didn't have to spend a lot of time searching the grid for the x-refs I found this puzzle okay. I generally don't care for them at all.

Fave cross was APPLIED SEXOLOGY. I have heard of Associate of Applied Science degree. I would like to see the course list for this other AAS degree.

@Rex - cool new podcast and I Look forward to the next installment featuring eels. This guy is in your neck of the woods. He loves his eels and would probably be an interesting guest, though I have no idea how he feels about crossword puzzles.

jberg 11:07 AM  

Yeah, pretty much what everyone said. I, too, wanted Hannibal as well as Caesar, as I failed to notice that the things crossed were all liquid. Unlike anyone else, apparently, I wanted Thor Heyerdahl crossing the Pacific, and even took out the second H when it didn't fit. It took the SLIP N SLIDE to make me see the error.

When I read the clue for 84D, I was terribly afraid it would turn out to be REink -- so REPEN was kind of a relief.

@Z, at least our current Caesar-pretender is not camped outside the capital city with a couple of legions of troops personally loyal to him.

Norm 11:10 AM  

I seem to recall a spirited (and probably inconclusive) dispute about BEEP BEEP versus MEEP MEEP some years back. Good to know that some things never change.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

The Beep Beep clue is just wrong. He say "Meep Meep!"

r.alphbunker 11:19 AM  

Homework I did in high school and remembered has helped make me the solver that I am today. I went through my solution and labelled all answers that I might have known from some class that could be given (e.g. a class on rap music) and discovered that 63 of the 140 answers could be so labelled.

It would be interesting to give an online course on today's puzzle with one lecture per answer. For example, the lecture for {54A Zuo Zongtang, a.k.a. General ___} TSO would be about Chinese history, his role in it and why the dish was named after him. The TSO lecture would probably require more than one lesson because the subtleties of Chinese cuisine would have to be discussed and the students would have to find a Chinese restaurant and sample the dish.

Bloggers here could give lectures. For example, @Tita A could give the lecture on {2D Famous crosser of the 39-Across} MAGELLAN explaining how a small country like Portugal became a world power. And @M&A could give the lecture on {71D Instant: Abbr.} NSEC explaining the technology that lets us make such precise measurements of the natural world. And @Teedmn who impresses me as a very empathetic person could talk on {22A Comforting words} THERENOW explaining experiments that showed the effects of compassion on the brain.

kitshef 11:23 AM  

@Joe in Newfoundland. Pity = shame in the sense of something causing regret.

Isn't it a pity, isn't it a shame
How we break each other's hearts and cause each other pain
How we take each other's love, without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back, isn't it a pity

George Harrison

John McKnight 11:25 AM  

this puzzle made me sad yet angry.

Stephen Bailey 11:34 AM  

Thanks to being a daily commuter on Kenilworth Ave in DC, NANNIE was a gimme. For years the exit was simply Burroughs Ave, but when new signage went up a few years ago, she was honored with her full name in 2 lines on the big green sign: Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave.

Dense Old Biddy 11:35 AM  

Study of History is all facts and no context? Pathetic.

Rex, keep the Jazz in your podcast.

old timer 11:40 AM  

I was extremely gruntled with this puzzle. Helped that I got RECS and LUCREZIA right away, therefore ANZIO. Now I had been wanting "beau gestes" forever, and my jaw dropped wide open when I realized Mr. Sessa was going to give me the entirely correct, entirely French BEAUX GESTES.

For me the best thing about the puzzle was that it did *not* have the obvious Caesar/Rubicon and Hannibal/Alps pairings. The other best thing: every single thing I did not know, including BEREZINA, I was able to get on crosses.

Nice to see SLIPNSLIDE of course. We used to have a back yard with grass in it, and our girls and their friends loved to use it on a hot day.

Unknown 11:45 AM  

What's the RSS feed for the podcast so I can subscribe?

chefbea 11:58 AM  

@Nancy I am very sensitive to sound also. E-mail me and We'll whisper about it

Z 12:06 PM  

@Dense Old Biddy - Not when taught/studied well.

@jberg - The behavior of the FBI has had one interesting outcome, donations to the ACLU are way up.

Beep Beep or Meep Meep? It has come up once or thrice

mathgent 12:13 PM  

I think that today is one of those days when Rex is struggling to find something to criticize. He hasn't had one of these for a while.

Liked it. Happy to learn BEREZINA. It is a flaw to have Lindbergh crossing REDSEA, however. A solid B.

Nancy 12:14 PM  

@Dense Old Biddy -- Perhaps History was better taught wherever you went to school and college, but I went to some very well regarded educational institutions and I can tell you that rote memorization was more often than not necessary to remember the plethora of dates and names and places that were necessary to remember. In high school, where you took "Social Studies," not "History", it could be a wonderful experience when you had a wonderful teacher and not so much when you didn't. I remember that our 9th grade teacher had each of us create a newspaper for an imagined day's news in ancient Egypt -- was she great or was she great? And yet she's the same teacher who said: "Facts before trends, everyone!" 10th grade teacher was deadly. The less said about her, the better. 11th grade -- a Brit who insisted on calling Soc Studies "History" -- didn't exactly make the course come alive either. 12th grade -- the best teacher I had in any subject throughout high school -- made the horrors of WWI so vivid, replete with literature and first-hand accounts from the era -- that I felt I was in the trenches myself. It's because of her that I chose the college major I did. But not History. Government. My college Intro History course was a bloodless and colorless overview and a complete bore, whereas my first-year Govt course was endlessly fascinating. So while I have experienced History made interesting, Dense Old Biddy, I've never felt that that's something you can rely on. I do suspect, however, that @Z, based on today's post, could make even the Carolingian Empire (ugh!!!) interesting.

Joseph Michael 12:23 PM  

Not a fan of cross references in crosswords, so this theme left me kind of cold. Got double "Z"apped by the Z in LUCREZIA and the Z in BEREZINA.

Like the literal crossing of the answers, but then again, as Rex pointed out, you have LINDBERGH crossing the RED SEA. You also end up with MAGELLAN crossing the SLIP N SLIDE, MOSES crossing the GREENS, and NAPOLEAN crossing THE NEEDY.

Liked the clue for AGE TEN, but otherwise have to agree with those who thought this felt like doing homework. And I did feel that Hannibal was slighted in the choice of theme answers.

AliasZ 12:36 PM  


CAESAR could have crossed the RUBICON only at the R. I liked that none of the theme crossers did it at a starting or ending letter. I also liked that all crosses occurred across water.

Fun puzzle, if a bit tedious. For me LDRS, XOUTS, REPEN and OSTEAL stuck out as the worst of the 140 words today.

There were many other crossing events in this puzzle:

ANTSY | ART LAB -- Nervous painting dog.
IF EVER | CALLED AWAY -- Title of advice column for busy executives.
ASSENT | GREENS -- Vegan's credo.
HAD IDEAS | PRISON BARS -- Convict's dashed escape plans.

etc. And my favorite:

APPLIED | SEXOLOGY -- Putting Kinsey's teachings into practice.

Have a cheerful Sunday.

CDilly52 12:48 PM  

Meh to the puzzle, although aliasZ's observations added a good chortle. Kudos to the first podcast. Looking forward especially to interviews with the crossword glitterati here in the Oklahoma outback!

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

Amen

Alysia 1:06 PM  

This puzzle reminded me of my of my favorite (terrible) jokes. It goes:

What did Washington say to his men before crossing the Delaware River?

>

>

>

"Get in the boat!"

Rabi Abonour 1:18 PM  

I'm again left clueless about what Will Shortz thinks BBOY means.

QuasiMojo 1:20 PM  

I would have preferred Charon crossing the Styx to some of the nonsense included in this puzzle. X-outs? Apparently anything goes in the NYT puzzle these days, even nonce words that are infelicitous and imbecilic.

@Nancy, I also had "Social Studies" in high school, with a lovely Hawaiian teacher. I also had Lucretia (I guess I was thinking of that gorgeous-sounding opera singer, Lucretia Bori.) Luckily I did mine online and the thingamajig wouldn't let me finish until I corrected it. Pretty silly of me considering I do know Anzio. If the grid were larger on my screen, I'd probably have noticed my mistake. But I can't seem to make it grow. My eyesight is "slip, slidin'" away.

Numinous 1:27 PM  

I'm not going to say this was hard but I will say this was a bitch to do. So many short answers, ugh.

Famous people crossing bodies of water? Well . . . Yes, we have NAPOLEON crossing the BEREZINA, MAGELLAN crossing the PACIFIC, and MAO crossing the YANGTZE. Then you head easst (that would be the famous Korean General Yu) and find the ATLANTIC crossing LINDBERGH, the RED SEA crossing MOSES, and the DELEWARE crossing WASHINGTON. Is it also possible that RED and SEA should have been somehow seperate clues so that MOSES could part them? Okay, okay, crosses are crosses but bodies of water tend to be horizontal. The first three make more literal sense to me. This is not a nit I would usually pick but the issue jumped out at me.

I did hope for Caesar and the Rubicon. Hannibal and the Alps, not so much. I tried to fight that lat battle in the computer game, Rome. I'm just not that good a tactician.

"May 8, 1945" d DAY wouldn't fit and of course that was in 1944. I'm as bad at dates as some of y'all but I remember that vj Day is sometime in June or July, or at least I think I do so VE DAY had to be the answer. Actually vj DAy was September 2nd..

Interesting to learn about the BEREZINA but that was the only thing this puzzle had going for it.

MartyS 1:32 PM  

Mao swam across the Yangtze. Moses parted the Red Sea. Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic. Magellan sailed across the Pacific. Washington and Napoleon floated across their respective rivers (Washington in a sneak attack, Napoleon in retreat).

Kim Colley 1:41 PM  

To entice is to lure. "Bait" is an enticement. Agree with Rex on XOUTS and REPENS.

Shame. Shame. Shame.

Dick Swart 1:51 PM  

Easy enough, 'Berezina' excluded.

My problem was starting too quickly with a quick scan of the theme and the entries. Filled in 'Hannibal' instead of 'Napoleon'. Didn't even look at the crossing ... amazed that 'Alps' would be spelled with so many letters. And then the letters were
a river favored by the French as an expression. Merde!

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Not too happy about 101 down crossing 121 across: IF EVER crossing EVERS. Internet ERA? Is that green paint? Wondering....

JP 3:39 PM  

"C'est la Bérézina" is a common expression in French. "What a disaster!"

Carola 3:40 PM  

Nifty puzzle, with its triple meaning of "cross." I enjoyed figuring out all of the crossings. Homework-like, perhaps, but I spent most of my life either doing it, assigning it, or grading it, so that was fine.

I'm happy to report that my range of knowledge extends from BEEP-BEEP to BEREZINA (the latter thanks to recently reading War and Peace), but then I guess I also have to confess to never having heard of NANNIE Helen Burroughs and to misspelling LINDBuRGH (pre-BEEP). I was interested to learn that St. SEBASTIAN is the patron saint of soldiers. Pierced with all those arrows? Yikes. I liked WADED next to the DELAWARE, for those who missed the boat.

@Maruchka - thanks for the Nash Rambler laugh.

Meg Greer 3:50 PM  

Rex and acolytes – this blog has just been mentioned in November 18 "The New Yorker Radio Hour" podcast in a discussion between David Remnick and David Haglin. If you don't want to listen to the whole thing, the mention is approximately minute 40. Kudos!

Airymom 3:59 PM  

"Artlab" is not a word or a concept. Google it all you want, but no one says it. How do I know?....I asked my daughter. She is a senior at the magnet high school for the arts in Towson, MD. Her major is painting and her minor is film-making. She never heard of artlab. Art classroom, studio, art studio. Lab means chemistry or physics.

Larry Gilstrap 4:24 PM  

This puzzle tied up a bit more of my Sunday than usual. I blame cross referenced cluing. Anyway, I live in an area where roadrunners are a fairly common, yet always delightful, sight. They are voracious predators, if you didn't know. Google "Roadrunner vs. Rattlesnake," if you are dare.

I would be remiss not to mention Medgar EVERS, who was assassinated in 1963 near Jackson, MS. His murderer Byron De La Beckwith was finally convicted thirty-one years later in 1994, after his third trial. Justice moves slowly sometimes. "You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea," is part of Ever's legacy.

What? Nobody has yet mentioned the latest installment of The New Yorker Radio Hour? David Haglund, described as literary editor for newyorker.com, apparently has a crush on OFL and is a fan of the blog. Huge shout out to Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle, but no praise for the commentariat? Wow!, anyway.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

Anyone else tired of Z's idea of an edifying comment?
I kmow he's a stalwart here, but come on, he got the 9-4 odds problem terribly wrong yesterday and he's got Caesar wrong today. Do we have to read this tripe endlessly?



Anonymous 5:11 PM  


Here is the link to the "The New Yorker Radio Hour" podcast podcast that @meg hadmentioned in her post http://www.wnyc.org/story/david-haglund-picks-three/

ArtO 6:05 PM  

Well, why not say it...@georgebarany...Lindbergh embraced the Nazi regime and tarnished his reputation in a most repugnant manner.

Are there similar odors wafting through our land these days? Unfortunately, so.

Maruchka 6:32 PM  

@Gill - Thanks for the reminder! I do want to try it. My beloved aunt couldn't do waits, so we'd go to the Mac.

A Mr. Dick story: I was browsing a bookstore sci-fi section a few years ago. All books were on open shelves, except his. They were in a locked case. Asked why the clerk replied, "shoplifters". Apparently, Phil was once hot - as were the missing paperbacks.

@Carola - Yes! More fun songs, please.

Z 8:08 PM  

@Anon5:00 pm - No. You do not have to read my comments. Here is how you do it: When you see a blue letter "Z" followed by the word "said," id est, "Z said," you can just skip to the next comment. Of course, if you don't read my comments you won't click on the link here and find the explanation of gambling odds I read before commenting about them yesterday. Since you are, hopefully, not reading this, maybe someone else could explain where I messed up.

600 8:38 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy 8:46 PM  

@ Rex- I love your podcast! Especially the questions related to E-words. I was answering out loud. How fun!
I've been eagerly reading your blog nearly everyday for 3 years and have recently visited your twitter account.

I understand you and many Rexites abhor Donald Trump and many republicans.

I abhor Hillary Clinton and many democrats.

Yet how cool we all have a passion for crosswords!

Please don't take this as snark. I find snark childish. I do apologize to @happy pencil. That was moi who snarked about Barbra Streisand last week. Geez... Just got tired of @Z, @George Barany and @NCA president.

Anyhoo, thank you Michael and Lena!! Looking forward to your next On the grid!! (Great name!)

Me Meep

Carola 9:00 PM  

@Maruchka, I just remembered the apt, "What did DELAWARE, boys, what did DELAWARE?"

Numinous 9:57 PM  

DELlA wore Street clothes! *












Thank you, Earle Stanley Gardner.

NYer 9:59 PM  

Ok that's it. With everything that's gone on this past year and especially in November, I just can't take any more negativity. So goodbye @rex, I won't be reading any more of your critiques. I'll just keep on solving the puzzles and enjoying them.

Leapfinger 12:41 AM  

Late precinct reporting same thoughts of Hannibal (it fit the 1D space, didn't it?), and of Julius C crossing the Rubicon. I spose we can't expect Earhart crossing the Atlantic, but it's too bad Cleopatra wasn't put in crossing DE [SE] NILE.

Oddly, Lindbergh was the only one who crossed his body of water without getting himself or his conveyance wet. [I'm not counting Moses, because miracles are exempted.] Bill Bryson gives an interesting account of Lindbergh and the early days of aviation in One Summer: America, 1927. It isn't as much about the historic flight itself as it is about the pre- and post-amble, the economics, the science and the culture of it. The book also has Babe Ruth and baseball galore, the disastrous flooding of the Mississippi, Herbert Hoover, Al Capone, and Silent Cal...so, something for everyone, and about as much context as a body could want.

Like @Numi-nous, I noticed the waters flowed Down instead of Across in the Eastern hemisphere. Unlike the eddying of waters changing direction with crossing the equator, I can't see either a reason or a purpose for this. Maybe it's a little-known effect of crossing the lovely Meridian of Beaux Gestes.

Some smaller beaux gestes:
Why did the CLERIC cross PRISON BARS?
There was a NUNN for BAIT on the other side
What do you get when you cross [My} FAIR LADY with PROF
Eliza Higgins
What do you get when you cross EMPATHY with APPLIED?
A person who can't stop saying THERE NOW, THERE NOW
What do you get when you cross SEXOLOGY with MORAYS?
Something that can rEELy SLIP 'N' SLIDE
Why was Papa cross when Maman gave him her cold?
Because he was a MERE MERE-INFECTED PERE
Anyway, SEXOLOGY is just the study of HE-ists and SHE-ists [in assorted perms&combs]

Glad y'all decided against the pool in the LANAI; that's a RITE CITE for SADR Budweiser.

Been hours since I solved, but I remember enjoying it a bunch. See you TOMMORAY.

Da Bears 1:01 AM  

With any luck I get the last word, not that it matters.

I cannot remember the last time I really enjoyed a Sunday puzzle. They have been corny, lame or just plain dumb. It’s been so long since I did this puzzle I can’t remember which category it belongs in.

Rex constantly complains about the lack of quality in the daily puzzles. Well, that is nothing compared to the lack of pizzazz to the Sunday puzzles.

It’s funny that Rex compares this puzzle to homework. I can’t remember when they weren’t.

Leapfinger 2:51 AM  

I feel badly that you don't enjoy Sundays more than you do, Dab Ears. Must make it hard for you to rejoice in the Lord's Day as one ought.

Speaking of 'last words', did you catch my late yester-ones about 'Obiter DICTA' and 'O, bitter Ditka'? That was by way of being a small present to you.

Goodnight, Gracie.

Bob C 9:38 AM  

By sheer coincidence, I happened to do the Patrick Berry puzzle yesterday (from a book) while having completed about half of this one. Enjoyed the former a lot more.

Unknown 4:45 PM  

Get a grip people!
It was a good puzzle.
And consider: If you don't know the answer then it's likely your fault not the puzzle's fault
Jim H

Fred Romagnolo 11:06 PM  

Julius Caesar could cross the Rubicon without crossing a first or last letter. In doing so, btw, he spelled the end of the Roman Republic. Lindbergh's flight was a great accomplishment; it's a pity his memory is tarnished by his later misjudgements about Hitler.

Robert Berardi 3:09 PM  

As someone who spent the first half of my life as an art student and the second half as an art teacher, I can pretty confidently say there is no such thing as an ARTLAB.

Bobbo 8:52 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle accompanied by an appropriate amount of the "smooth" stuff. Hannibal and Caesar would have been too obvious thus appreciated the crossings as listed - loved someone's idea of actually parting the Red Sea answer with Moses, something for someone to do in the future! Agree Lindbergh's feat and his persona short of his politics don't receive the esteem they should ( and don't forget his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh who wrote some meaningful prose as well).
Slip and Slide brought great memories of making a fool of myself in front of my children and their friends.
Strongly encourage all to take the time/cash to travel to Maui (site of Lindbergh's death), drive the breathtaking Road to Hana, rent a seaside cottage in Hana with an oceanview hot tub in the center of your lanai - a sunset in the hot tub with an appropriate libation viewing the gorgeous sunset will make you never question this clue/answer again.
Am a puzzle neophyte but love reading each person's assessment of the worthiness and quality of the puzzle - I appreciate that someone takes the time and effort to construct something that can be so entertaining (?addictive) for so many.
Always fun to hear Rex's input -do not have to agree with him to enjoy his input. Thanks. I guess that means I should donate - right?!

Uke Xensen 12:28 PM  

Enjoyed this for the crossing (but then, history & literature are my things). All were easy except Berezina.

rondo 11:45 AM  

Actually noted the solving time today, less than 35 minutes, so an EZ Sun-puz for me. BEREZINA by crosses(har) and hiccupps only on LUCREtIA and NESTle, otherwise a SMOOTH counter-clockwise solve.

My IRISes are all yellow, though they came out of the same box of bulbs as my mom's, whose are all purple and white. Go figure.

Better clue for XOUTS woulda been "cheap golf balls"; brand name balls with cosmetic defects and Xs stamped over the brand name. For the frugal and/or infrequent golfer, which I hope to never become.
i'll use the "good" balls when trying to reach the GREENS.

I've only IDED one circled clue as frequent yeah baby ZOE Saldana. Stop it with the green and blue make-up, please.

Nice enough puz if ISAYSO myself. First post from the new laptop; the old one got slow and/or INFECTED once it reached AGETEN.

spacecraft 11:55 AM  

When I see this name on the byline, I may just start not doing the puzzle at all. Here's a guy who just doesn't care:

--> TOITY. Any time you have half an expression which can be clued one and only one way--and conversely, which clue can lead to one and only one answer--this should not appear. It's just...ugly.

--> BBOYS? I have no idea; this is a term from the hood; if you're not from the hood forget it. Plus, it's another one of those damnable single-letter add-ons.

--> LDRS. I'm not sure what can be done with that entry, given the two long crosses forcing a _DR_ pattern, but the better constructors don't paint themselves into a corner that way.

--> and the deal-breaker: XOUTS. At this point, barely halfway down, I simply said to myself: I'm not going to do any more of this. I don't like cross-references anyway, literal or not. So, trash it.

Burma Shave 12:31 PM  

NANNIE ISSUES

LITHE and FAIRLADY LUCREZIA’s suitor HADIDEAS
to SLIPNSLIDE her ONEPICE off her well-BUILT chest.
“CANI undo these SNAPSUP top?”, he SMOOTHly PLEADS.
She EVADES ASSENT, “ONO, surely my BEAUXGESTES?”

--- SEBASTIAN BEREZINA

Ray o sunshine 1:22 PM  

Thought this one a cinch but couldn't figure "nannie" crossed with "hen" (kept trying to remember David Cassidy's mom!) so DNF. Learned something about Napoleon though.

AnonymousPVX 2:45 PM  

This went quicker than I thought it would. I'm not a fan of the "infinite cross-reference" puzzle, where it seems every other clue references another. But I got through it.
But it seems like folks are on their last good nerve here. It's only a puzzle.

BS2 2:53 PM  

LDRS MORAYS IDED

WASHINGTON was CALLEDAWAY, UPROOTED TOBOOT the Brits,
ONEDGE he crossed the DELAWARE to make good on NAPOLEAN’s CHITS,
they’d be THERENOW to this DEI if WASHINGTON had not APPLIED his wits.

--- MOSES “MAO” TSO

Diana,LIW 3:22 PM  

BEREZINA. Right. Missed it. But so did Bill Butler, so good company. Also learned from Bill that Bart Simpson's name is an anagram of brat. Bet every single one of you knew that.

So...choice words in the puzzle. My in-laws owned a home in a gated golf course community in Florida. The lot they purchased backed onto the course - they wanted a large green area behind the house. Privacy. Instead, they had golf carts, with waving golfers, all day long. They hated that. But worse, my f-I-l would write every month about yet another golf ball going through the screen surrounding the LANAI - landing in the little lap pool. He'd curse each time. After they passed, I found a large pailful of golf balls in a closet.

@Spacey - my most recent b-boy sighting was in this year's SNL Halloween skit by Tom Hanks - David Pumpkins and the haunted elevator. You can Google it - silliness ensues. Perhaps it'll make up for your solving experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS00xWnqwvI

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Pumpkins' frights and golf balls

leftcoastTAM 4:56 PM  

Was going to take a pass on this one because cross-references are my least favorite puzzle parts. That, together with the usual Sunday slog factor seemed to rule it out.

Started doing it anyway. Found it seemed kind of easy and interesting enough to continue. Saw that the Cross References theme was not just a warning of tedium but an alert to something going on in the puzzle's structure. Good, let's do it....

To make a boring story short, the last letter entered was the first "E" in the BEREZINA/ALEPH cross. Never heard of the river, but ALEPH looked more familiar than Alaph, and BEREZINA just felt and sounded right.

End of story.

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

Is a PEW "observed" in church because that's where it is, or is there more to it than that?

Anonymous 9:02 PM  

Was looking for Hannibal crossing Alps, Caesar crossing the Rubicon, Columbus crossing the ocean blue, Napoleon crossing Russia, (or per old fiddle tunes - the Alps, the Rhine.) but Berezina?

Phillip Blackerby 2:51 PM  

I believe 27A included an editing error. Should have been "Bad things to be behind" to generate answer PRISON BARS.

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