Mythical mischief-maker / TUE 6-6-17 / Warning letters next to web link / Regulation regarding 2007 #1 Rihanna hit / Foster child in Freaky Friday

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Constructor: Lisa Loeb and Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Medium (normal Tues. time)

THEME: #1 songs ... reimagined —themers are familiar phrases beginning w/ the (one-word) titles of #1 songs, and clued as if they were about the song:

Theme answers:
  • "UMBRELLA" POLICY (20A: Regulation regarding a 2007 #1 Rihanna hit?)
  • "HAPPY" HOLIDAYS (33A: Special observances for a 2014 #1 Pharrell Williams hit?)
  • "STAY" FOR DINNER (41A: 1994 #1 Lisa Loeb hit played at a potluck?)
  • "BABE" IN THE WOODS (52A: 1979 #1 Styx hit played for Little Red Riding Hood?) 
Word of the Day: NSFW (43D: Warning letters next to a web link)
Not suitable/safe for work or NSFW is an Internet slang or shorthand tag used in e-mail, videos, and on interactive discussion areas (such as Internet forums, blogs, or community websites) to mark URLs or hyperlinks which contain nudity, intense sexuality, profanity or disturbing content, which the viewer may not wish to be seen accessing in a public or formal setting such as in a workplace or school. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hello fellow solvers. Full disclosure: Doug Peterson is my friend and I just hung out with him all weekend, and heard a lot of (secret) (not really) back story about the creation of this puzzle. Also, he gave me a small stack of sleaze paperbacks to add to my collection, so I am good and buttered up and totally biased. I found the puzzle fairly entertaining, though the theme felt really, really loose. There are a gajillion one-word #1 songs, it turns out—so many, in fact, you'd think there'd be some way to create greater coherence among the themers, a way to create a cluing concept that unites the entries all ... just, more. Even the "played ..." concept ("played at a potluck" / "played for Little Red Riding Hood") would've been nice if it had been carried all the way through. But it wasn't. FANTASY FOOTBALL, MAGIC CARPET RIDE (15!), BURN NOTICE, SMOOTH MOVE, FAITH HEALER, STILL LIFE, LADY MACBETH ... I figure if you just churn out as many of these first-word-is-a-#1-song phrases as you can think of, some pattern will begin to emerge, something you can use to make the theme ... theme-ier. But maybe not. It's a light, cute theme as it is, but it feels a bit slight.

STAY FOR DINNER is (ironically) the weakest of the bunch, UMBRELLA POLICY the strongest. The long Downs are solid all the way around. Short fill gets a bit rough in places (ESE ENE ENS ECO AGIN SHES etc.) but I'm mildly impressed that there's no bad fill anywhere near that SW corner, given the spectacular amount of Scrabble-f**king that is going on there. Three Zs in a tiny corner, and all the answers solid? Nice. I really wish the editor would stop forcing the president* into (seemingly) every damn puzzle. There are (a million) other ways to make your puzzle contemporary—try one of those. OBAMA got in on the merits of his name (vowel consonant vowel consonant vowel). The puzzle's obsession w/ this non-crossword-friendly president* is gratuitous and weird. ALEC has done many other things ... and is also a Waugh or a Guineess, if you want to go that route.

[" ... ella, ella, ella ..."]

I loved the clue at 5D: Adam's family member (ABEL) because of the way it evokes the (two-d) Addams Family TV show / cartoon. Also think [Jabba-esque] is one of the better / more original / less abusive-sounding clues I've seen for OBESE. [Hit home?] is a brutally hard clue for SIDE A, but it's clever, and the crosses are all easy. I had two great wrong answers today: AND I for LION (14A: "The ___ King") (!?!?) and TYSON for MYERS (28D: Mike who played filmdom's Austin Powers). Once again, I say to you (and myself), it helps to read the clue carefully and completely.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. you might find this site ... interesting: 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Mike in Mountain View 12:06 AM  

Played medium for me, despite the fact that I don't know Ms. Loeb from Eve and could not identify any of the songs in the theme. Theme? Who needs a theme? It's a Tuesday, and it's easy, and the cluing was fun. I enjoyed it.

Thanks, Doug. Even if you didn't give me any paperbacks, sleazy or not.

Mike in Mountain View 12:07 AM  

Oh, and thanks, Lisa.

Brian 12:28 AM  

This flowed like a Monday for me, unlike yesterday's, which felt more like a Tuesday.

Lisa Loeb is great, so it's neat that she signed on for this. Yeah, it's a loose theme, and there's a bucket of crosswordese in it, but it was still a fine solving experience. The celebrity puzzles so far have been enjoyable with the exception of Clinton's, ironically, given his well-noted love of the puzzle. Looking forward to the next one.

jae 12:31 AM  

Medium for me too. Fun theme, great long downs, light on dreck, liked it a lot! Nice celebrity puzzle.

@Rex - I needed to stare at ABEL for a while before I remembered the Chas Addams cartoon/TV show family has two Ds.

Season 2 of AZIZ Ansaria's "Master of None" is one of the best things currently on TV.

George Barany 12:39 AM  

I appreciated the insights of @Rex on post-Annabel Tuesday, and thanks to @Doug Peterson and @Lisa Loeb for a very enjoyable and professional puzzle that was readily solvable even by one unfamiliar with most of the theme songs.

The OUR and DRE clues were both very sly, and today's SIDEA clue was more interesting than what was used for the same entry just this past Friday. The JODIE clue was wonderful; I never saw the 1976 version of the film and had quite forgotten that her career started that long ago [there was a remake in 2003, which I did see with my kids, that starred Lindsay Lohan in the foster child role].

Left over from yesterday -- I think it's fair to say that the "laugh clown" motif of "vesti la guibba" ought to be familiar to most people, even if they don't recognize the specific aria, and I certainly wouldn't expect the specific name of the opera character (CANIO) to be common knowledge.

Finally, a reminder to those still contemplating plans for this upcoming weekend. The Minnesota Crossword Tournament will be on Sunday June 11, and more details can be found here. Also, this article from a local publication highlights my friend @Victor Barocas, who is a driving force behind the tournament. I look forward to seeing some of you there.

RAD2626 12:39 AM  

So the Did Rex Parker Like the Puzzle is cute (and surprising given the railings of the commentariat) but funny that it features a quote from Annabel the Tired as its subtheme.

Puzzle was fun, easy and clever. Maybe best of the collaborations so far. Had the S in the bottom row so typed in Score for hit home? and always think the OLSEN twins are Olson but both just my own sloppiness. Nice Tuesday puzzle.

Anonymous 12:54 AM  

First and forth theme answers were nonsense to me, second and third were stale. Didn't understand the theme, still don't care for it.

chefwen 12:55 AM  

Other than HAPPY wasn't familiar with the other one word songs, so putting the theme together required a little brain power. The only reason I knew HAPPY was because I've been using it on some Birthday ecards. Cute little song.
Obviously, I don't spend a lot of time listening to music. I know, my loss.

Easier to fill in than yesterday's puzzle.

Larry Gilstrap 2:08 AM  

I follow new music, not necessarily pop music, but these four tunes are crossover ENOUGH to be played at a wedding reception near you. I'm not sure I've heard UMBRELLA. but I know the critics rave about Rihanna. Cue creative commentators with four letter hits. I can think of one, off the top of my head, but what good is that for research?

Heads up to Doug and Lisa, this was a Tuesday testimonial for a well crafted puzzle, through the OFL filter. Sure, an ENE here and an EARP there, but cluing our great-uncle ABEL, (moment of silence), by his dad's name, genius! Also, liking that Hit home/SIDE A thing that happened. Slowed me down. Thanks.

Poor little ENS lost in an eternal struggle to catch those Ems.

Ok, I saw FLYNN in the puzzle, but for some reason was looking for TIRES underneath.

CDilly52 2:27 AM  

I am right there with @George B. Since I am more of a classical/opera music listener, I was unfamiliar with all of the names and songs but managed to solve in my normal Tuesday time. Didn't fall for the Adams/Addams misdirect but did love Cousin ITT and Thing back in the day. How many of us used to say "thank you, thing," to family and friends?! This was a successful celeb offering. Even with the crosswordese.

Any softball fans in the house? Regardless of the team you support, the 17 inning Florida-Oklahoma opener of the WCWS was a gem! Don't think either team will have any spark (or a fresh and experienced pitcher) for game 2!

Larry Gilstrap 3:17 AM  

Do you want to STAY FOR DINNER? Gonna make a vow to incorporate that phrase into my personal interactions this month.

evil doug 4:18 AM  

You should have recused yourself, Michael. The theme lacked energy and the answers were boring. Prefacing your remarks with an admission of sucking up is no excuse. Your credibility was on the line here, and you failed the test with your atypically soft treatment.

Agave Claude Myers 4:48 AM  

I'll just repeat the letter I wrote to Doug...

Loved it! Congrats!
Very musical and bouncy and fun...
Didn't know ABEL nor GAIL, but that's just my sports downfall (altho I guess I should look up who ABEL ADAMS is!)
so smooth.

My only writeover was sAGe which would have made it an UMBRELLAPOLICe!
FAsE almost looked like a real word to me! You CAGY LOKI you!
congrats. I'm so glad you got the chance to do this with a writing partner perhaps easier to work with than I am?!
And I went wild for your DOZE UZIS AZI BOZO corner!!!

@RAD2626 12:39

And to you fellow nonsports fans, ABEL Adams is apparently some sort of wrestler...unless they are referring to the Finnish film producer!

I'm also assuming the OLSENS is a shout out to Doug's other favorite sisters!

FAIRENOUGH was really really perfectly clued.

And I inexplicably have a BOBBLEHEAD of... (let me go check) Hunter Pence if anyone wants to make a reasonable offer! You gotta LOVE the fact they got BOBBLEHEAD (going up and down!!!) into a puzzle.

evil doug 5:05 AM  

Big surprise: another sycophant heard from....

evil doug 5:42 AM  

Here's the *objective* lesson: pairing brilliant constructors with celebrities, and shoe-horning in ego-answers, only serves to dilute the puzzle. Would you rather have a typically strong Doug Peterson creation, or a Peterson counterfeit where he is restricted by his celeb co-constructor tying his hands?

BarbieBarbie 5:54 AM  

Good clue for DRE. Otherwise boring puzzle and a theme that feels after-the-fact invented; even if it wasn't, it could have been. There's a lot of complaining about NYT puzzle quality on this blog, but this one is an outlier, and not in the good sense. I don't want to assume that OFL wouldn't have had the grace to farm out a review that had actually been compromised by friendship, so I'll just assume that the recent bout of unwarranted vitriol has produced a backlash of unwarranted attar. Bleahhh.

Johnny 6:04 AM  

I always spell Errol Flynn's first name wrong. One R two Ls.

In Like Flynn!

W. Strunk, Jr. 6:08 AM  

When I was a mere babe, my mother used to take me over the river and though the woods to grandmother's house where we spent many happy holidays visiting and staying for dinner. I remember one year it rained so hard that I was thankful that my mother made it her policy to carry an umbrella wherever we went.

Why didn't Lisa Loab and Doug Peterson give my mother credit for the theme answers in this puzzle? That's PLAGIARISM!

Lewis 6:27 AM  

Yes, compared to his usual Tuesday review, Rex went LOKI.

Several high points for me. Remembering FELIX the cat for the first time in forever. The clue for CADDIE. The long downs, FAIR_ENOUGH, UPROARIOUS, and BOBBLEHEAD. And four crosses, from decent to excellent: SHES/OLSENS, LION/SNARL, CADDIE/WOODS, and MYERS/RUM (close enough).

Jonathan Alexander 6:35 AM  

Ha, great link - so meta! This puzzle should help your Tuesday score get back a bit.

Hated the theme. Felt super loose, and, like Rex said, there are 1000s of ways to do this theme. I think what I hated most was the cluing of them.

Glimmerglass 6:39 AM  

If a constructor wanted to make a theme outside of my wheelhouse (not even on a boat I ever ride), #1 Pop hits would be it. (I listen to classical jazz, classic country, and classical -- I'm old.) My days of listening to pop ended with the am radio era. The themers could all have been clued "familiar phrase" and in fact for me they were. Even so, this was a normal Tuesday difficulty, so "medium" is about right.

Hungry Mother 6:43 AM  

Lots of downs today for me (direction, no mood). Had "umbrellapolice" for a while, conjuring up all kinds of images, mostly in NYC for some reason. I ignored the theme.

kitshef 7:13 AM  

@Rex 'fessed up to his bias, so I will to mine. I love Lisa Loeb.

I like that the music covers ‘70s, ‘90s, aughts and teens.

AGIN does not mean Feudin’ with.

Had Score for ‘hit home’, thinking that was very clever.


Is BOZO the new ACNE?

Forsythia 7:23 AM  

Easy medium for me despite not knowing the songs or getting the theme. As @Glimmerglass said, "familiar phrase" so they filled in easily enough. Loved poster's comment, "not in my wheelhouse or even on a boat I've ever been on!"

Fun long answers and everything gettable with the crosswordese which greases the wheels of my early morning brain machinery...well that and lots of coffee.

Biblical Adam's sons ABEL and Cain...I assume the other comments were tongue in cheek.

As a former KY hillbilly, I agree with @kitschef re AGIN doesn't mean feudin'.

Loved all the Z's in the SW! And I have heard the term TUDE but needed the crosses for it.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

@Acme - just in case you weren't kidding, ABEL is biblical, not sports. ABEL was the second son of Adam.

Small Town Blogger 7:27 AM  

I wonder if Aziz Ansari is destined to replace Cheri Oteri as the crossword comedian of choice? I've encountered him in three puzzles over the last two months. My daughter was at NYU when he was there and became friends when he started dating her best friend. She still gets invited to his parties when he is back in NYC. I love his Master of None series on Netflix, odd for someone of my age group of mid-60's!

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

This puzzle was good.

Tita A 7:37 AM case your comment wasn't tongue-in-cheek...AGIN as hillbilly dialect for against..."If ye aint with us, yer AGIN us.". Not again.

Puzzle...meh. Y'all know how I feel about puzzles rife with trivia. Besides the themers there was plenty of pop that added to the boredom.
I also wish Will would stick with truely prominent people for this stunt, like Neil deGrasse Tyson, for example. Pop stars are fine, but I just don't hold them in higher esteem then, say, my third grade teacher, influential college professor, or the singer at my local theater.

Even beyond my personal ambivalence to pop-as-puzzle fill, the theme was way too loose.

I did adore the "Duck for cover" clue!!!

Lewis 7:40 AM  

@second that for Master of None, @smalltown and @jae.

Bill Feeney 7:42 AM  

How far out of my wheelhouse? I thought the whole theme answers were the titles of the songs. How old am I? My STAY is by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs.

Lars 7:48 AM  

Like many others, solved this through the downs. Even so faster than normal, maybe because the long downs only need a few early letters to get the rest. Certainly liked the south more than the north, and only delay came from staring at OOHED, SIDEA, and THUD for a while before getting that part.

In retrospect, the downs played too easy even for Tuesday, I think, allowing the long crosses to be completely ignored besides plugging in common words. But, admittedly that could be an age related view. Not calling myself old (yet), but admittedly playing in the second half. [Unless near-future science offer me a prospect beyond 114.] What is the age limit for having watched Dame EDNA? Not a particularly fond recollection, but did bring back some first-half memories.

Nate 7:50 AM  

Lisa Loeb was one of 9-year old me's very first crushes. This puzzle was perfectly cromulent and so is she.

chefbea 8:07 AM  

Didn't know any of the songs but had no trouble finishing the puzzle...was hoping for mac and cheese for the pot luck dinner!!!

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

I am serious. I did not know who Lisa Loeb was until I came to this blog and did some googling. And I could not have identified any hit of hers if my life depended on it.
So the "theme" meant nothing to me. Theme answers could have been clued as standalone expressions without recourse to one word song gimmick.
Solved the puzzle in normal time.

Really surprised that Rex did not pan this puzzle. His bias comes loud and clear.

Sir Hillary 8:15 AM  

Tuesday is always a meh day for the puzzle, but this one is better than most. Yes, of course the theme could have been extended to countless answers, but I'll settle for a puzzle that has four really good 10-letter downs knifing through three themers.

A LADDIE is a club attendant? News to me.

Mistake: DatE before DOZE.

I remember Lisa Loeb's hit quite well -- very much a 90s staple -- but do not know any more of her work. Until now.

Cassieopia 8:20 AM  

Put me in the "meh" group. Too many names and pop references. Would love to see the PPP score on this one, might work it up later. Some clues were brilliant, though: "a duck for cover" was my last fill and made me grin. "Hit home?" and "Go out for a while?" were also excellent. A few more of those, and about five fewer pop references, and I would have loved the puzzle a lot more. Just as in life, it's all about balance.

GHarris 8:23 AM  

I, too, first had score for hit home. May be clever but apparently more obvious. A fun romp overall.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Don't know Lisa Loeb at all. I thought the theme was very blah and not clever at all. I think OFL also hated it but downplayed his criticism because of Bruce being his friend. I enjoyed "uproarious".

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

The link was interesting in how wrong it was. The overall figure cannot be higher than 8 or 9 percent to be an accurate representation of the ravings of Rex. Who can say why he is still writing this blog?

Two Ponies 8:37 AM  

I very much adore puzzles that increase my vocabulary and rely on an education that goes beyond 7th grade.

Wm. C. 8:42 AM  

@SirH --

(Golf) clubs are attended to by a CADDIE. And it's ECO-friendly. ;-)

Z 8:53 AM  

So the YouTube ad algorithm decided I'm a 50-something man (true) who could use some ab work (true) to attract 20-something women in bikinis (ROFLMAO - how did YouTube know I was creepy?). It is well known established scientific fact that 20-something women are attracted to 50-something men with great abs. Honestly, I will be laughing about this for days.

@Larry Gilstrap -"crossover ENOUGH to be played at a wedding reception near you." Perfect description.

@Evil Doug - C'mon man. People have inveighed against Rex for being this harsh on puzzles before. He calls out the theme and the fill on a puzzle he likes and you accuse him of lacking credibility? Dumbfounded. I am simply dumbfounded.

@RAD2626 - I think the updates it's quote everyday. No more Annabelle this morning.

As for my own take - Best Tuesday ever*. I especially liked the long downs. The short fill didn't grate or distract from the rest, all I really care about since 3 letter answers are rarely going to charm. I'm surprised I missed the triple Z in the SW, that's not like me, but again, the short fill didn't grate so I didn't spend any time checking it. The theme was FAIR ENOUGH. Could someone take the same basic concept and improve on it? Probably. But I like that we get songs from 1979, 1994, 2007, and 2014. Sure, classical lovers are stuck in the crossword outhouse, but there is a nostalgic Pop Music hit for most of us.

*If you are newish to reading these comments you may over-estimate the level of praise that phrase actually conveys.

chefbea 8:53 AM  

P.S. Meant to add ...I never heard of Lisa Loeb

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

Obese is a medical term, not a slur. Or at least it shouldn't be a slur. So I have to disagree with you that equating Jabba with obesity isn't offensive.

I loved the puzzle though.

Mimi 9:06 AM  

Why bother with the lousy fill and just make every answer ME?
Wasn't that the point of this self-serving shallow exercise?

Mohair Sam 9:13 AM  

For those of you who, like me, checked the "Did Rex Like the Puzzle?" link - notice the positive spike on Mondays? Five'll get ya ten that the data accumulator included our always positive buddy Annabel in that Monday figure. If so, we are shown once again that there are three kinds of lies . . . . . .

I'm guessing these celebrity puzzles must be a blast for the constructors who get to work with all these super interesting people. Must be some lobbying going on to see which constructor gets paired with which guest.

"Stay" was the first song I recognized and I said to Lady M that I was surprised at the full "Stay For Dinner" title. Fortunately Styx "Babe" cleared that up.

Jeff Lewis 9:18 AM  

46%? I would have guessed lower. Agree with your rare Tuesday like, however I was close to half my average time.

oldbizmark 9:19 AM  

you are biased. the puzzle was total garbage. the NE sucks and the song titles were not puzzle worthy (never heard of "umbrella" and I am under 40). i agree, there was some clever cluing but it was all smoke and mirrors - to cover up stale fill. this one belongs in the trash bin and the real rex parker would agree and then some.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:21 AM  

Today was a good example of what got me started reading this blog. We had a bunch of 'hit' songs I'd never heard of (except 'Happy', which I have had piano students want to learn to play). And Rex gave us Youtubes of two of them. Which I listened to. Can't remember a thing about how either one goes, 5 minutes later -- how do these songs become hits? Was I supposed to be listening to the words or something? Anyhow, I originally thought that if I clicked on Rex's Youtubes now and then it would be a comparatively painless introduction to the popular music of the last 30 years, which I knew nothing about. It has been a rather slow survey class. Incidentally, those students wanting to play Happy, it didn't work too well for them. Like 'Frozen', kids can sing along to it I guess but it's too complicated for them to work out from reading the music notation. Kinda odd thing about modern pop.

Mike D 9:26 AM  

A lot of whining from dumb Doug today. He should probably start his own crossword blog since he's so much cleverer than rex.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Snowflake Reality Winner's tweets sound like echos of Michael Sharp's.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

My first ever "downs only" and I beat my Tuesday average by 2:20. This wasn't medium!

CDilly52 9:59 AM  

Adam, as in Adam and Eve...and their offspring.

jberg 10:22 AM  

So I come over to your place with a casserole, and you suggest that I STAY FOR DINNER? The potluck bit of the clue seems wrong.

Other than that, a fun romp, even though I a) knew none of the songs, b) didn't notice the apostrophe in Adam's,, and c) really, really wanted UMBRELLA POLICe.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Delusional losers. (NSA leaker, Sharp, and other snowflakes).

QuasiMojo 10:25 AM  

Never heard of Lisa Loeb or her SIDE A hit. And I found this theme to be "overgoingly" dull. So one-named songs can be turned into boring phrases? One hand clapping. Agree with @evil doug today.

Nancy 10:34 AM  

I took one look at the theme and said: Not a Nancy puzzle. Don't know a thing about these Number 1 hits. Couldn't care less about these Number 1 hits. Have fun, those of you who do care. See y'all tomorrow.

cwf 10:34 AM  

Any puzzle the references the Shangri-LAS is OK in my book. "When I say I'm in love, you best believe I'm in love, L-U-V."

David Schinnerer 11:08 AM  

Jeez...the "theme" AGAIN is that Rex would have picked much better song titles while he sits behind his computer criticizing other people who actually DO something for our entertainment. The King of Snark strikes again.

Oh, except his buddy did this one, so he went easy. Hmmmm...kind of calls into question all his reviews now. Does he go harder on people he doesn't like?

I guess my biggest revelation from this was... Rex has friends???

GILL I. 11:09 AM  

Oh, come on...this was a fun puzzle..and we get Lisa Loeb! I first heard of her through the Food Network. She and Dweezil did a few stints. She's adorable and I'm glad she did this Tuesday with DP.
I may be wrong, but I think Doug likes lots of names and this had a ton of them. CLAUDE, ALBA, ABEL, GAIL and ALDA all in one little corner breath. I knew them all but that alone can be a turnoff for some.
ERROL FLYNN was the one I really liked. The one name I didn't like was seeing Dame EDNA Everage. I think he's been told to hang up his dress.
Like @Andrea, loved the BOZO AZIZ OOZE UZIS corner.
Of all the guest co-constructors, this was my favorite. I, too, thought the Clinton one could have been sent to AARP.
@Rex...Let us know how "Rainbow in My Bed" ends. I bet it's colorful.

puzzlehoarder 11:16 AM  

I read the constructors names on my tablet last night but the fact that this was "that" Lisa Loeb didn't hit me until I saw her picture at xwordinfo. I always forget that they've been doing this celebrity thing and she's not that famous where it would hit you regardless. I don't care for the celebrity angle anymore than I do for themes so this was a double ho-hum for me. The clues for ABEL and SIDEA were top notch. GAIL was an unknown. @Sir Hilary it's CADDIE not LADDIE.

Joseph Michael 11:26 AM  

Nine of the top row of 13 downs (69%) are proper nouns. And that's just the beginning of what's wrong with this puzzle.

Let's face it, Rex. Where the constructor is your friend or FOE, this is a big nothing burger.

Yaffa Fuchs 11:38 AM  

real easy for me today except for " point taken"

Dick Swart 11:39 AM  

WOW. Out-of-it at eighty-two. I never heard of any of the songs. And have zero idea of who Lisa Loeb is.

But I do know 'Aziz'! And 'Errol Flynn'. 'Fair enough'.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Lisa Loeb,

Thanks for the nice puzzle. And of course the (maybe even) nicer music.

I'm guessing Rex has or had a crush on you. And frankly, it's the first thing he's been right about in ages.

One last thing. I actually like I do better than Stay. There, I said it.

Thanks again

Malsdemare 12:28 PM  

The puzzle was a fine Tuesday. I really don't know Lisa Loeb, and most of the other people in the puzzle are not those whose names I can pull out of the air, the exception being CLAUDE Debussy. But the long downs were terrific, and much of the fill made it possible to complete the puzzle, including sussing out the names of people who are not anywhere close to my wheelhouse, in a respectable time. So I'm good with that.

It was nice to be reminded of FELIX the cat and DELLA Reese. I must agree, having spent summers in Kentucky, that AGIN us is a real thing.

I watched La La Land last night; my husband left after a half hour, but I stuck it out to the end. Am I alone in wondering what the fuss was about? With the exception of "Start a fire," the whole thing left me puzzled. Okay, not remotely relevant to the blog, but I thought I'd ask.

Kenneth Wurman 12:29 PM  

There is no Abel Adams on the TV show, so I am not certain of the intended answer to 5 down. Google shows many with that name..

Kenneth Wurman 12:33 PM  

Probably Cain's brother

RooMonster 12:52 PM  

Hey All !
Liked it better than most here. Actually haven't heard any of these songs, and thought the whole theme answer was the actual name of the song. Came here to see it was only the first word.

Did like the long Downs. SW kinda cool. Two answers with _OZE. S Center kind of a mess, OOHED, NOT I, SIDE A, U TURN.



ANON B 1:06 PM  

I thought the theme was "Double Letters" in
the long answers although that's not much
of a theme. I'm an old guy and I don't
follow any of the modern singers.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

I knew the songs HAPPY and BABE. If it isn't older than 1990 or played on my local college indie rock radio station, I don't know it. Unless, of course, it is so ubiquitous that you can't escape it (HAPPY, e.g.). So the first theme had me a bit worried but I ended up solving this in my Tuesday range, at 7:16.

I've always read good reviews of Ms. Loeb's music but have never followed up to check it out. But I liked the puzzle - and I was about to comment that I enjoyed seeing the Little Red Hen's NOT I next to THUD when I realized I was thinking about Chicken Little. Talk about a joke landing....

Two write-overs - Mike Meyer (earp) MYERS, and I was first only "near" to not yonder.

Thanks DP, and congrats to Lisa Loeb on a NYTimes debut.

Joe Bleaux 2:06 PM  

Hand up on AGIN, from another former KY hillbilly. (And is it just me, y'all, or do the "celebrity" puzzles seem to have a lot more PPPs than the average puzzle?)

Stanley Hudson 2:08 PM  

Enjoyed this one, and it was nice that the puzzle words co-authored by one of my daughters favorites, Lisa Loeb.

Hats off to Bruce and Lisa for a solid effort.

Joe Bleaux 2:13 PM  

Only if the LADDIE is ELO-friendly :)

Aketi 2:17 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 2:20 PM  

I got all the names and knew none of the songs.
@Agave Claude Myers, enjoyed UMBRELLA POLICe.

I liked the RUM sitting on top of HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

My apartment is too small so STAY FOR DINNER is not in my vocabulary. Instead it's "Let's eat out."
But the way there is an INNER FORD in STAY FOR DINNER that has no tires except in its trunk.

@GillI, loved your travel story yesterday.

@Nancy, I thought you knew the 'TUDE of us LIONS better than that. Of course I had to keep at that upside down Bosu ball until I FINALly could stand on it for 10 seconds without looking like a BOBBLE-body. My Physical Therapist and my orthopedist threw the word "proprioception" at me to justify the torture. It immediately sounded like a word that would RILE some solvers ENOUGH that they might SNARL and others to be HAPPY with a new word.

Joe Bleaux 2:27 PM  

How many really young folks know what SIDE A even means? Great clue today for those who do know, though.

Naryana Gora 2:53 PM  

I would like a Hunter Pence bobble head.

Naryana Gora 3:12 PM  

Me too, knew none of the songs. Sorry. Liked the puzzle, though. Getable. The long downs were very good. AMEN/damn right, equivalent? Not so much.

Nancy 3:19 PM  

@Malsdemare (12:28) -- I wholeheartedly agree that LaLaLand was a terrible movie and that there is simply no explanation for all the hoopla. It's not just that the songs are weak, forgettable, and badly sung; it's that the two main characters are completely one-dimensional. You know nothing about her, other than she wants, wants, wants to make it as an actress and you know nothing about him, except that he wants, wants, wants to have his own successful piano cafe. Perhaps I'm being too cynical, but I'm wondering if all the excitement came from a new generation unfamiliar with the great masterpieces of the genre. An audience that's never seen "Porgy", or "Carousel", or "King and I" or "My Fair Lady" on stage. And that's never seen the great original movie musicals: "Singing in the Rain", "Swingtime" or "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". Because if they knew how great the genre can be at its best, I don't think they would have ever made a fuss over a mediocre film like LaLaLand.

Sir Hillary 3:46 PM  

I enjoyed "La La Land". It was not as good as, say, "Moonlight" or 20th Century Women" or "Hidden Figures" IMO, but I found it heartwarming, fun and a nice escape, very much a break from most modern films. I left the theater in a great mood. While I haven't seen every great "classic" musical, I've seen a lot of them, on stage and/or on film. To each his own, of course, but the whole condescension-to-the-so-called-ignorant-masses thing leaves me cold. Sadly, it's hard to escape, even on (especially on?) a crossword blog.

[/naïve lament]

QuasiMojo 3:48 PM  

@Nancy, uncannily enough I felt exactly the same way as you about LaLaLand without even having seen it! The interview with the director and a half-minute trailer were enough to keep me away. As I told a friend of mine (one of the few I have left), the problem today is a lack of talent. Earnestness does not equal excellence.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 3:58 PM  

Wonder if Kathy Griffin would like a Donald Trump bobble head?

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

Does anyone remember musical comedy?

Anoa Bob 4:02 PM  

Not up on the contemporary music scene, so the clues for the theme answers left me clueless. I thought the themers themselves, however were very lively, interesting phrases in their own right. They all score highly on the semantic loading scale. So this played like an early week themeless for me, and I'm good with that.

There were a lot of names, but many are grid-fill staples and should be in every solver's tool box. The others were easily gettable by crosses, so FAIR ENOUGH.

ERROL FLYNN is timeless Americana and will forever be the archetype of a swashbuckler. Swashbuckler. What a word!

Gonna visit uncle Google to see if they make a FELIX The Cat BOBBLEHEAD. [I just peeked. Yes they do!]

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

Anyone here breeding and raising Reality Winners?

tea73 4:31 PM  

Didn't recognize a single song title which makes me feel old. I actually have one of Rhianna's albums in my phone and one of its songs in my songs to listen to at the gym, not "Umbrella" though. I thought the theme was fine, but wish it hadn't been totally lost on me.

Did not catch the ABEL joke and wondered why anyone thought we'd have heard of an obscure Finnish film producer of that name.

Count me down as one who did not like LaLa Land. Forgettable songs sung by people who can barely sing or dance to not much of a plot. I liked the opening sequence it went downhill from there. I saw many of the other nominees for best picture and they were all better.

Agree that the SIDEA clue was great.

Malsdemare 4:44 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cocktail Gal LA 4:58 PM  

"Myers" crossing rum gave me a chuckle (even though, technically, the label says "Myers's").

Hartley70 6:40 PM  

Theme-wise "Umbrella" and "Happy" were total gimmes. "Stay" is another Rihanna hit so that confused me at first. In fact I like it so much I just put it on my iPhone as I write this. "Babe" suffers from serious over-exposure so I have to grit my teeth here. Lisa Loeb is terrific. Is there anything she can't do, like particle physics (?) plus she is quite the "Babe" in a smart girl Brown grad way. I'm a fan.

What day is it? Oh yea, Tuesday! The sun rises in the east and there's always grumbling on Tuesday. I'm glad it wasn't Rex today. I enjoyed this mostly because of the fill. The proper names were readily available and I was especially proud of knowing the sporty GAIL. I loved the cluing for ABEL and JODIE. The long downs were blissfully tough for a Tuesday. Doug and Lisa did a great job and I can't handle another repeat of Rihanna's "Stay" so I'm out!

Anonymous 7:54 PM  

I vow to not raise my kids to be snowflakes.

Chip Hilton 7:55 PM  

Ten minutes. Closest I'll ever come to Rextime.

Cassieopia 8:07 PM  

Finally took a minute to calculate PPP score (people, places, pop culture references); I came up with 43%.

Anonymous 8:51 PM  

What are your masterpieces of the genre?
I confess I'm not sure if we're talking about stage or screen or what.
Your list is great, but my gosh, what about South Pacific, Oklahoma, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and American In Paris? Hmm maybe, I'm not as discerning get as I thought.

Anyone care to chime in on the best (film) musicals?
My last confession: I Love Guyseeing ando Dolls (Brando and all)

Anon SOUTH Jersey

BarbieBarbie 9:04 PM  

Anon South Jersey, almost anything that Fred Astaire was in... When it's specifically a movie musical, the dancing is so important. As is the nonverbal communication between the characters during the musical numbers. Which was completely missing in LaLaLand. It was like eating at a restaurant where the chef had learned everything about cuisine by looking at photos on Instagram. It had the form, but it failed. Except, @Nancy, what about that ending...? The one part that was truly creative, and for some reason put me in mind of Eternal Sunshine, a movie I love.

Anonymous 9:44 PM  

Well observed. I think you do LA LA Land's open a disservice, however.
As for last year's best picture noms., check out Hell or Highwater ( I think it got a nod), it's superb.


So Jersey

Larry Gilstrap 10:00 PM  

I saw La La Land on the back of a seat in an airplane. Not a movie guy, but loved it!

Malsdemare 10:22 PM  

Dinner tonight with friends. No one liked La La Land. Yes, that last "what if" sequence was fun but pyrotechnics don't carry a movie, IMHO. Can I add 'Grease' to the list of fun musicals?

Cassieopia 10:26 PM  

"Sound of Music" here! Used to play it for my daycare kids after nap time. Now as adults, they still know ALL the lyrics... (btw NOT a La La Land fan)

Cassieopia 10:28 PM  

Clarifying comment - I played the SoM soundtrack and the kids danced. Did not mean to imply I plugged the kids into a 3-hour movie every day!!! Yikes. I ran a no-tv daycare!!!

KFC 11:13 PM  

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, now there was a musical!

Carola 11:19 PM  

I just got to the puzzle, even though it's almost tomorrow. I needed to come to @Rex to understand the theme. Never having heard of any of the songs, I had no idea of what was going on. Cute idea. Impressive Downs. Like others, I enjoyed puzzling over ABEL and CADDIE.

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Joe Bleaux 3:00 PM  

Thanks! I thought it seemed kinda high

Burma Shave 10:04 AM  


FACE it, Snow White’s FAIRENOUGH, and SHE’S a winner,
SHE’S AGIN’, but CAGY and READY to deliver ANY goods.

this stream of unconsciousness covered by an UMBRELLAPOLICY

spacecraft 11:30 AM  

This was totally out of my wheelhouse. I never even heard of the singer/co-constructor. At the last, I recognized Styx, and finally saw that the theme answers just started with short titles and attached the remains of familiar phrases. Otherwise all those long acrosses had to go in on downs. But there were other problems.

I'm not quite sure how "Point taken" gets to become "FAIRENOUGH." There's a general feeling of concession, I guess, but I'd certainly never clue it that way. UTURN is actually one of the few single-letter-using entries that meet my approval--but sandwiched between OOHED and SIDEA, it's keeping bad company. Oh, and that clue for SIDEA? Fiendishly clever...but definitely NOT Tuesday material.

I will concede that there are plenty of BABEs in the grid (FAIRENOUGH?). Jessica ALBA wins DOD, with honorable mention to JODIE Foster. But who liked this one? NOTI. Bogey.

Diana,LIW 1:08 PM  

Got Naticked in the __AVE, _B_L, _A_L area. The rest was pretty easy, so that's annoying to dnf on a Tuesday. OOHED indeed.

Lotsa 3s, ENS, ECO, ENE, etc. And we have BOZO AGIN - the new acne?

Off to read Rex and comments.

LOX forever!


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Bananafish 1:09 PM  

For the shockingly large number of crossword blog readers who claim to have never heard of Lisa Loeb before, I would say that we owe the entire hipster movement to her.

Diana,LIW 1:15 PM  

Oh - I fell for the Adam's family misdirect - got me good!

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 1:23 PM  

First thought, oh-oh, pop hits out of my range. But then, oh yes, don't have to know them if they're embedded in common terms or sayings.

So the more interesting clue-answers are in the fill, like ABEL, EIDER, EDNA, SIDEA, and TUNE.

Nice pairing of constructors, whom I thank.

rondo 1:45 PM  

Knew 2 of the 4 by name, recognized Ms. Loeb’s now that I checked the video, didn’t know the title. Wouldn’t know a Rhianna tune if it jumped up and bit me. Random phrases seem rather lacking.

DELLA and EDNA, out under the UMBRELLAPOLICY; GAIL Devers, trim your nails; JODIE Foster, UTURN around and bat for the other team; the OLSENS, be HAPPY, put a smile to at least one FACE; Jessica ALBA, SHE’S the yeah BABEINTHEWOODS.

These collaborations haven’t been much to write home about, but for a Tues-puz, FAIRENOUGH.

rondo 2:42 PM  

@Bananafish - Can't believe Ms. Loeb is responsible for all that. Didn't realize hipsters were a "movement" as much as they are people of an adult age who refuse to act like it. Or a particular style of women's undershorts.

rain forest 5:29 PM  

Whipped through this before buckling my swash and babysitting for 5 hours. Wears me out, I tell ya. When this kid becomes 4, I don't know what I'll do.

Didn't know the "celeb" co-constructor, or any of the one-named songs, but I got it all and so it was easy. The long down answers were the highlight, as well as some of the clues. Actually quite enjoyable.

Question: is ELO the band of the century (this one or the last)?

Scott McLean 2:54 PM  

I'm amused by all the pretentious "I know nothing about pop music because I only listen to Brahms" type of comments here.
Right up there with "I don't own a television" to say "I'm smarter than you" without actually saying it. *rolls eyes*

Anyhow, I really enjoyed this puzzle. It was fun, breezy, and zippy. Much like Lisa Loeb herself. I find her adorable.

Bravo, Lisa and Doug! Nice Tuesday diversion.

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