Writer Lowry with two Newbery Medals / TUE 9-26-17 / Robust-sounding teens of children's books / Prof's URL ender / Superfood Amazon berry

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Constructor: Joy Behar and Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (gotta know comedian names *and* figure out all the punniness...) (still finished in just a shade over 3:30)

THEME: Comedian puns — familiar phrases reclued (and -spelled) as if they had something to do with famous comedians:

Theme answers:
  • PURPLE HART (17A: Comedian Kevin after having a sloppy jelly snack?)
  • PAW PRINZE (25A: Get frisky with comedian Freddie?)
  • PRYOR COMMITMENT (40A: Comedian Richard being sent to a psychiatric facility?)
  • BARR FIGHT (51A: Cause of comedian Roseanne's black eye?)
  • FALLEN IDLE (62A: Result of comedian Eric's untied shoelaces?) 
Word of the Day: Freddie PRINZE (25A) —
Freddie James Prinze (/ˈprɪnz/born Frederick Karl Pruetzel; June 22, 1954 – January 29, 1977) was an American actor and stand-up comedian. Prinze was the star of 1970s NBC-TV sitcom Chico and the Man. He is the father of the actor Freddie Prinze Jr.. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle was ... a joy. (Sorry. Sorry ... But only kinda sorry.) The theme is simple but consistent, tight, and appropriate (to the celebrity constructor), and it all just works. Much more delightful and interesting than your average Tuesday puzzle—a low bar, yes, but it's the only bar that matters for a Tuesday puzzle. The fill is pretty darned clean, and you get some interesting longer Down answers in the bargain (I particularly liked RESCUE DOG). The comedians skew ... let's not say "old." Let's say, "established." Kevin HART is (by far) the youngest of the bunch, and the only one still doing stand-up. Unless Roseanne is still doing it and I'm just unaware. I don't think Eric Idle ever did stand-up. The other two comedians are long dead. You definitely have to be Of A Certain Age (i.e. my age or older) to remember Freddie Prinze, who died in 1977, in his early 20s. His son (Jr.) is a pretty successful actor.

The puzzle is pretty name-heavy—both because of the nature of the theme, and because of a lot of incidental names—and this sets up some pretty serious possibilities for failure. I had no idea how SUSIE Essman spelled her name, so I'm just lucky that I had (vaguely) heard of LOIS Lowry (and that LOIZ is not, you know, a plausible human name). It is absolutely completely possible to be a reasonably intelligent person and never have heard of LOIS Lowry or SUSIE Essman *or* Freddie PRINZE, in which case, yikes. NYAD is another bygone name that's come swimming out of the past and into this puzzle (44A: Swimmer Diana), and she could cause trouble, as her weird name has two *other* names crossing it; but dear god let's hope solvers know AMY March and IDA Lupino. That's pretty basic stuff. (Although now I kinda hope some poor sap out there guessed IRA Lupino)

I didn't like the clue on NOTORIETY, which is too abstract and vague a concept to qualify as an "Achievement." An "achievement" should be a specific thing, like a rank or a prize, not FAME or ILL-REPUTE or RENOWN etc. Maybe I would accept ORGASM, but that's not exactly NYT territory. Also, booo to the corniness at 54D: What Tarzan's friends advised him to do? (GO APE). Why are there friends here? Who "advises" a "friend" to do that?! The whole hypothetical situation is ridiculous and contrived. I mean, you can have your Tarzan/APE joke, I guess, but ditch the "friends." They just make it weird.

I haven't heard "Attention K-MART shoppers!" since I was a kid. Wikipedia tells me that: "At the height of Kmart's popularity, the phrase "Attention Kmart shoppers!" entered into the American pop psyche, appearing in films and other media such as Troop Beverly Hills, Six Days Seven Nights, Rain Man, Beetlejuice, Madea Goes to Jail, and Dawn of the Dead." That is one hell of a motley watch list. But now if anyone ever asks you what Troop Beverly Hills and Dawn of the Dead have in common, you'll have at least one answer. Unless there's a zombie Shelley Long in Dawn of the Dead that I forgot about. Then, two. Two answers.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George Barany 12:13 AM  

Nice collaborative puzzle by @Joy Behar and @Lynn Lempel, and gracious review by @Rex.

I'm blanking out on a joke that I heard many many years ago, but still remember the punchline: "Attention, K-Mart shoppers." Can anyone help?

Also, ranking member @ADAM Schiff has been a rather regular presence on MSNBC this year, and I would bet he's thrilled to be name-checked in a New York Times puzzle. It's nice to be reminded that John le Carré, at age 85, has yet another novel about SPIES that has just been published.

Tom 12:14 AM  

A few seconds slower than my typical Tuesday. Agree with the strangeness of GOAPE. Not what the British would consider appropriate. Also don't like the Madoff clue. You can be notorious, which is what Bernie and Al were, but notoriety is much less criminal.

Overall skewed pretty much past century. Went to school with Dick Dorsa, whose family was the originator of EGGO frozen waffles. He got a Corvette at graduation. I got a typewriter.

Laura 12:19 AM  

Yep, poor sap here. I had IRA, but also considered IAN. Knew AMY March despite never having read the book, but wondered if it could possibly be AMi (then decided that the i spelling was too modern). Never heard of NYAD. Only knew PRINZE because of Freddie Prinze Jr., who I didn't realize was a different person until I read your blog. And who the hell is Eric Idle? Signed, a 35-year-old

Casimir 12:21 AM  

Thanks to OFL for the write-up, with which I mostly agree. The puzzle played easy for me time wise, but I'm old and knew most of the names! One small quibble. I seem to remember that people used to say that one has "achieved notoriety," and I took that to be the sense of that clue. Otherwise, great puzzle and analysis!

Mark Barrett 12:27 AM  

For the punchline, "Attention, K-Mart shoppers", there is this one:

What is the national anthem of ____?

Any puzzle that uses HARDYBOYS is okay by me.

Anonymous 12:52 AM  

We liked the cluing for "Deer friend".

Tom 1:14 AM  

Eric Idle is one of the originals from Monty Pythons Flying Circus, along with John Cleese et. al. Puts the clue solidly in the last century.

Ellen S 1:16 AM  

Hah - I never heard of SUSIE Essman *or* LOIS Lowry, and couldn't remember how to spell Freddie PRINZE's name, but my reaction was the opposite (or inside-out, or something) of Rex's. I thought it was too easy, even for a Tuesday, even for a Celeb Collab. I didn't like the fill like SAL, WOKS, ROOTS, ETON, nearly everything except the theme answers -- but the puns redeemed it.

Ellen S 1:26 AM  

On reconsideration, reading Jeff Chen's writeup, like it better than I thought i did. The longer non-themers like HARDY BOYS, NOTORIETY, DALAI LAMA, RESCUE DOG, were honeys. And again, i really do like puns.

Mike in Mountain View 1:33 AM  

For those too young to know of Monty Python: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOrgLj9lOwk

jae 1:35 AM  

Medium for me. The goofy theme gave me a chuckle. Liked it. A cut above the typical Tues.

SUSIE ESSMAN is also very funny.

Theodore Stamos 1:47 AM  
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Theodore Stamos 1:48 AM  

I had to run the alphabet on the NYAD/IDA crossing. A minor natick foul if you ask me. But other than that, I liked the puzzle. Richard Pryor is by far the best comedian in the grid.

ArleneWKW 2:19 AM  

First time achievement: I successfully completed the NYT crossword puzzle for two consecutive days on my own.
Usually at some point, I use the "check" function online to complete them.
Even with that help, I'm still a Sunday through Wednesday solver.
I didn't know most of these comedians, but the crosses got me there.
A totally satisfying experience!

Acorn Commitment Mopes 2:24 AM  

LOVED this! And so right on for the the famous collaborator!!!!

Tiny bit thrown as I had HARDYBOYS and then PURPLEHART and thought bec it was Joy BeHAR there was going to be some HAR dy HAR HAR theme!!!!
But there was no misspelling in the HARDYBOYS pun, so then caught on that it was just the across answers...
You'd think I'd know better!

I love that they snuck in SUSIE Essman as a bonus comedian answer and added another female comedian to balance it out a bit.
Plus it was cool that the comedians crossed the spectrum of Black, Hispanic, Jewish, English, female...BRAVO!

The puns were strong and original! PRYOR COMMITMENT!!!! BARRFIGHT!!!! You gotta love it.

Just great and anything with the DALAILAMA gets all thumbs up for me.

And I guess I'd lightly argue that Diana NYAD is sort of still current (pun intended) for that extraordinary swim she did, in her fifties no less, a couple of years ago from Cuba to Florida.

Much JOY, thanks Ms BeHAR and Lynn IMPEL/Lempel!

Thomas 2:54 AM  

Fun puzzle. The clue for NOTORIETY seemed fine to me. Saying that someone has "achieved NOTORIETY" for for some deplorable act is so common that all I needed was the initial N.

smalltowndoc 3:18 AM  

I liked it. All of the pun-themed comedians are well known (at least to me) and the puns, themselves, worked. The fill was clean.

NYAD and IDA are NYT Xword regulars, so, no problem with either of them.

The only thing I noticed was a missed opportunity for to clue some of the answers as additional comics: AMY Schumer; SAL Mineo. And, of course, the potential Natick in the NE could have been easily avoided by simply cluing LOIS as Clark Kent’s co-worker Lane.

Johnny 3:38 AM  

I've never been in a K-Mart in my life, yet I knew "Attention KMART Shoppers" from Johnny Carson who would use it as schtick when his monologue was bombing. I've never been in a Wal-Mart either.

Eric IDLE of course is from Monty Python and was Brave Sir Robin and Roger the Shrubber and Stan/Loretta and Private Watkins among others. Everyone's heard of Richard PRYOR and Roseanne BARR, no one has ever heard of Kevin HART, and Freddie PRINZE was never funny so who cares.

You'll probably continue to see a lot of answers that are "last century" because there were 100 years in the last century while there have only been 17 years in this century. If you do the math that's a 100:17 ratio. Plus, all the really good stuff happened in the last century. All the "new" and "current" and "fresh" stuff is honestly pretty weak and we all know this whether we admit it to ourselves or not. If I was a young person today I would study engineering and develop a time-machine because in a couple of years you're gonna really wish you had one, pal.

Who the hell is AMY March?

Loren Muse Smith 4:20 AM  

I agree with Rex on the “joy” part and on the tightness. Five common phrases respelled and repurposed to go with comedians.

I noticed BARR crossing NOTORIETY. Ahem. What with the National Anthem being back in the news and all…

For that azure expanse, I put in “sea” and then got that weird icky rush from my toes up to my head – the one you get when you’re almost in a car accident - because of ASEA. I was thinking Noooooooo – there’s no way that could have slipped past everyone. Whew.

Maybe a Ferrell cat would PAW PRINZE. Or a Poehler bear.

No time this morning, but I really liked the theme. Nice job, you two. I’m taping The View today to see if Joy talks about this.

Lewis 5:41 AM  

Joy, congratulations, your theme answers (three of which were yours, according to the constructor comments on Word) were lovely!

What I love about Lynn Lempel is that her cluing -- even early in the week -- isn't mindless. The brain has to be engaged and it takes great pleasure from that. Lynn, IMO is a solver's treasure.

Aketi 5:43 AM  
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Aketi 5:55 AM  

@lms, Did I read that properly? Did OFL really write the words "a joy"? About a puzzle? I had to double check because it somehow bypassed my synapses the he could have ever actually written that and so I missed it when I read it the first time.

@Laura, count me among the poor saps here, I knew NYAD, but not IDA.
@Acorn commitment mopes, Diana NYAD did her swim in her sixties, not her fifties.

I confess I don't like puns and I never watched The View.

I felt like the puns descended from the PURPLE HART into the BARR FIGHT that led the IDLE to FALL. The PRYOR COMMIMENT may have been the illness that led to the descent.

PAW PRINZE was so unlike the others that I excepted the typical Rex objection. Fortunately, the cats have gotten the message that having their paws washed is so unpleasant that they've stopped playing in the paint and leaving a trail of PAW PRINZE across the floor.

BarbieBarbie 6:22 AM  

Good review. Good puzzle. I agree with @OFL on all of it (that I can remember without tabbing back).
@Laura, Eric Idle was the creator of the Broadway musical Spamalot, which we saw with our children, who were old enough to love it, which makes it this century. My daughter's in grad school now, which makes her not too different from you in age, if you're That Laura (hey! NOTORIETY!).

Hungry Mother 7:00 AM  

Way fast for me today. Could hardly enjoy the solve because it was done too soon, but not complaining. Fun theme.

QuasiMojo 7:18 AM  

Count me among the few (apparently, so far) NAYSAYERS. Way too many names and corny jokes for this one to be a JOY. More like Palmolive: "you're soaking in it."

I had PRYOR CONVICTION before COMMITMENT which seemed more apt, considering he used that pun for the title of one of his autobiographies.

A puzzle based completely on pop TV "celebrity" names is a new low. More YUK than YUCK. And do we really NEED to be reminded of Paula DEEN?

kitshef 7:24 AM  

Super-easy, and thus dull. Trying to think of anything that gave resistance. Just some names: ADAM, SUSIE and LOIS.

I like the clue for GO APE. Then again, I like Six Days Seven Nights.

Oh, and first guess for PURPLE HART was james jammy, which turned out to be pretty far off.

Old Lady 7:34 AM  

Someone else's Natick is my Boston - knew both NYAD and IDA immediately. Some fun stuff here. Didn't know that "Attention KMART shoppers" is no longer a feature of shopping there.

kitshef 7:37 AM  

Also, I did not realize until reading @Acme's comment that this was a celeb puzzle. Not sure who this Joy Behar is, but IMDB says she was in Madea Goes to Jail, so that's something.

Hand up for @LMS SEA and ASEA at one point.

Passing Shot 7:38 AM  

Delightful puzzle. Loved PRYOR COMMITMENT. IMPEL is great word. Thank you Ms. Behar (a recent answer!) and Ms. Lempel.

Kodak Jenkins 8:08 AM  

cute puzzle though so heavy on proper names that i had to guess a couple to finish. I had never heard of ADAM, LOIS, SAL,NYAD, WREN, SUSIE or IDA.

Don't really know who Joy Behar is either, though the name is familiar.

Why is RAP a seance sound?! Anyone?

abalani500 8:10 AM  

"Achieve notoriety" seems a common enough phrase. To check I googled it and it showed up after "achieve noto..." and one of the first answers was a headline from The Onion: "Female Serial Killer Has To Work Twice As Hard To Achieve Notoriety". So there you go. Delightful puzzle.

Stuart Showalter 8:15 AM  

Someone was obviously impersonating Rex in doing the review, because it contained words like joy, appropriate, delightful, and interesting. Those are words that Rex does not have in his vocabulary.

Nancy 8:16 AM  

I'm not quite sure what Joy Behar had to do with this. Was the finished puzzle put under her nose and she breathed on it? I love Joy Behar -- I find her funny and smart and often quite provocative. I didn't think the puzzle was any of those things. Too many proper names, very corny puns, and yawn-inducing fill. On second thought: Maybe the puzzle was put under Joy's head and she took a NAP on it.

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

I'm 25 and frequently frustrated by the oldness of NYT clues but Eric Idle was the first comedian name I got. I don't know if Pythons are relevant now, but they definitely were when I was growing up, despite already being dated.

GHarris 8:20 AM  

Found it relatively easy despite not knowing many of the names. All were easily gotten from crosses. Amy March, a sister in Little Women (never read it)

chefbea 8:23 AM  

What a great puzzle!!! I think Joy is from Connecticut...go UCONN. And all the food...wok, Paula Deen and eggo. Had to google a bit to get the names of the swimmer and susie, and Lois.

Thanks Lynn and Joy for a PUN puzzle!!!

Anne Meilof 8:34 AM  

I believe the dear departed RAPs on the table during a seance to announce his presence.

Mohair Sam 8:35 AM  

Don't watch "The View" and whenever I see Joy Behar clips she seems to be yelling at somebody. So I came to this one with great trepidation. I was pleasantly surprised, nicely done. Very much what Rex said.

IDA Lupino a terrific actress and one of the first women directors in Hollywood. She was to film and TV directing/writing/producing as Gracie Slick was to Rock Music - she opened the door for women. She was the first woman to direct a "noir" film, "The Hitch Hiker" 1953 (all male cast) - saw it recently on TCM - ace flick.

Gotta agree with Rex on the NOTORIETY clue, talk about vague. Surprised @Rex had no comment on Paula DEEN. Didn't know LOIS or SUSIE, but as Rex said, who's named LOIz? Philadelphia's Kevin HART appears at local sports events a lot, stick a microphone in his face and he'll make you laugh - that guy is relentlessly funny.

clk 8:42 AM  

On the NYT Wordplay blog, they describe their roles. Joy came up with the initial example of comedians in punny expressions that got them started, provided 3 of the 5 theme answers and edited the clues to make them harder.

evil doug 8:46 AM  

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Oh, hello and welcome to “The View.” Today is Black Friday, all day long, and I’m going to stay black all day because of it.

JOY BEHAR: Isn’t it a little racist to call it Black Friday?

GOLDBERG: [laughing] Well, I would have called it African American Friday, but that’s taking something away from it.

BEHAR: [still serious] But there’s a negative connotation to it? Or does it mean something else?

GOLDBERG: [patiently] No, it’s like when you make all the money — you’re “in the black.”

BEHAR: So it’s positive?

GOLDBERG: Yeah. It’s in the black, so it’s a huge great thing.

BEHAR: A lot of times, like blackmail is negative, black sheep.

Sir Hillary 8:48 AM  

This is fine I suppose, but only using @Rex's low-bar standard. It's a neat idea to find five comedians whose surnames are homophones for other words, but none of the puns really sparkle -- @LMS's avatar blows them all away.

For me, ADAM Schiff is and will always be the long-tenured "Law & Order" DA. RIP Steven Hill.

Le Carré's SPIES are heroes only if you like those with a boatload of sordid flaws and demons that usually fail on their missions, often losing their souls and/or their lives in the process. He's my all-time favorite author, so can't wait to read his new one.

Love the clue for BAMBI. Hate the clue for GOAPE.

Dumb error du jour: setting "Phantom" in PAdua.

Best part about the puzzle: I'll be whistling "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" for the rest of the day.

Two Ponies 8:49 AM  

I always was amused by the coincidence of a swimmer having the last name Nyad.
Considering the recent discussion about female constructors I knew before I came here that Rex would be gushing about it.

I am honestly shocked that so few solvers recognize Eric Idle.

I wouldn't call my image of a pylon a "tall supporting tower" even though it's probably technically true. All I see is the dreaded orange cone.
Nice job Lynn.

Two Ponies 8:55 AM  

Almost forgot, thanks for the Kinks video. If you have never listened to the lyrics you are in for a treat. Quite amusing.

pwoodfin 8:58 AM  

Diana Nyad swam from Havana to Key West after her 5th try at age 64! She is an inspiration to anyone who's ever put off completing a life goal. Everyone should know this woman's name!

Ben 9:01 AM  

For Millennials of a certain age, LOIS Lowry is an automatic answer. Number the Stars and The Giver were/are required reading for pretty much any students of a certain age (and rightfully so).

Mohair Sam 9:25 AM  

@Sir Hilary - A special thank you for calling my attention to @LMS's avatar. I clicked on the thing so I could read the tiny writing at the bottom. I'll be chuckling all day, that is so wonderfully, mindlessly stupid.

G. Weissman 9:28 AM  

I rate this puzzle a meh.

katherine catmull 9:30 AM  

I'd stick up for NYAD as others have noted -- she did her last, highly-publicized swim in 2013. And GO APE, while not brilliant cluing, I think assumes that you know his friends were, themselves, apes, in which case their suggestion makes more sense.

evil doug 9:31 AM  

I'd have gone with LOIS Lerner. Dovetails nicely with Capone and Madoff, too....

ArtO 9:34 AM  

Didn't know several of the names but easily worked out with crosses. Thought the puns/theme were great. Wonderful puzzle.

Dave OB 9:47 AM  

Rex: "It is absolutely completely possible to be a reasonably intelligent person and never have heard of ... SUSIE Essman."


John V 9:48 AM  

So, I knew most of the proper names, except for the co-constructor. Easy puzzle as the crosses were fair. Always like Lynn's puzzles.

Joseph Michael 9:54 AM  

After reading all the rave reviews, even from Rex, I was relieved to read the criticisms of @Quasi and @Nancy because I thought I was the only one in the world who did not like this puzzle (though I do admire both constructors).

If you're going to build your theme around proper nouns, don't fill up the rest of the grid with even more and more proper nouns. By my calculation, more than half of the real estate of the grid is devoted to names, including some pretty obscure ones (Diana who?).

I do crosswords to stretch creatively and untangle word play. When there are too many names, it feels like I'm in school taking a TEST.

On a positive note, I did enjoy learning that Helen Keller was a co-founder of the ACLU.

GILL I. 10:09 AM  

Would have loved to have seen a Whoopi cushion sitting on top of O'Reilly. Asking too much?
I figured I'd be in for a treat when I saw who the constructors are. My mom lived with us during her final years and her morning treat was watching "The View." I started watching with her as soon as Whoopi came on board...
Starting out on the puzzle I kept thinking how I might dislike this one because of all the names. The theme answers more than made up for it.
RESCUE DOG my favorite. I first learned to SKi in a resort called Navacerrada outside of Madrid. We'd go up often and stay the night in some funky, cold hotel. They had a huge St. Bernard with the required little barrel of "Fundador" brandy nestled around his neck. You could take a nip or two as he wondered around the resort wagging his enormous tail. Sweetest dog on this earth but if ever there were an avalanche, he'd be the first one out of Dodge City.
Congratulation Joy on your puzzle. I'm betting working with Ms. Lempel was fun. Why not try a second one with our resident stand up Andrea Carla Michaels? I'd pay top dollar for that one.

Cassieopia 10:10 AM  

I found myself saying, "Who? Who? WHO?" as I dashed through the solving experience, but in the end crushed my average time and loved the cluing. I don't even know who Joy Behar is, although I know the spelling of her name because crosswords.

NYAD and LOIS were the only gimmies...Diana Nyad has long been a hero of mine. In 1982, some women's magazine published a Diana Nyad workout that one could do in their living room. My first child was 4 weeks old and I was feeling flabby and out of shape, so tried the workout which involved doing the overhand crawl in the air. I pulled my shoulder and to this day it gives me a twinge now and then.

I for one loved the puzzle. Fresh and different for a Tuesday. Now I have to go watch some Monty Python because that aspect of my education is obviously sorely lacking.

Bryce 10:16 AM  

Congrats @ArleneWKW!

Liked the puns. Paw prinze was the last to fall for me--cute though.

Aketi 10:31 AM  

@Nancy, coffee went up my nose. I thought you liked puns, which I usually barely tolerate or hate.
@Jospeh Michael, I too liked the Helen Keller clue. I worked for Helen Kelter International for a while. She left behind quite a legacy. I think Annie Sullivan's life is equally interesting.

Unknown 10:33 AM  

Newbie question: In the printed solutions here, what's the meaning of the highlited answer and the extra-highlited character?

oldbizmark 10:36 AM  

Natick-ed on IDA/NYAD cross. Otherwise, nothing to great/bad about this one.

Lindsay Sturm 10:41 AM  

I was the poor sap who guess IRA Lupino... what can I do - she died when I was 6!

Otherwise fun puzzle!

jb129 10:41 AM  

I thought it was easy & enjoyed it a lot - thank you Joy & Lynn!

puzzlehoarder 11:00 AM  

It's a slight coincidence that today's celebrity just appeared in last Saturday's puzzle. This was a very easy solve. It did have some obscure names but NYAD wasn't one of them. It's too distinctive. My one real slow down was correcting my initial misspelling of 9D, I at first put in DALILAMMA. Even for me that's pretty bad. However I did spell NOTORIETY correctly just off the N and maybe the first T.

I think it's a little ironic to feature some talented comedians in a puzzle who's real theme is lame humor. I'm just not a pun fan.

phil phil 11:07 AM  

@unknown 10:33
I do believe the hilites are the last word and last square filled in by Rex

mac 11:08 AM  

Very nice Tuesday puzzle! Ran into a slowdown at Lois, Susie and Prinze, but got it.

I like Joy Behar, congratulations to Lynn and to her.

Hartley70 11:22 AM  

I have to admit I am familiar with all the people in this light-HARTed puzzle, as well as Joy Behar. I feel about JOY as @Nancy does. She's terrific and very visible on television. SUSIE Essman is the reason to watch "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as all you "Seinfeld" fans really should do. I bet @Loren saw her on WWHL this week.

I found this easy, but most enjoyable, and I didn't check the constructor until I was finished. I love these constructor partnerships and I hope the NYT will continue the fun after 2017.

I too think Le Carre is a master of fiction, @Sir Hillary. I thought he was finished with the genre and I'm excited to read the new one too. 60 Minutes ran a wonderful interview with him last week.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:23 AM  

I'm here to be that guy.

I understand that Idle can be outdated and all, but Monty Python is truly timeless and everyone should watch everything they have done.

Also, Idle wrote the Broadway play Spamalot so you imight see his name on a poster or something I don't know how that works.

Masked and Anonymous 11:34 AM  

Totally Tremendous TuesPuz. Knew all the names, at least vaguely, except for SUSIE/LOIS -- and guessin the "S" was fairly easy: no nanoseconds were harmed. @RP covered that and most of the other hi-lights. Always a great day, when @RP has lotsa them hi-lights.

Joy & Lynn should just go on ahead and construct most of the TuesPuzs. Think of it, Joy -- a semi-dependable career with $150/puz collab paydays.

I personally would stay away from BARR FIGHTs. She could definitely take m&e.
staff weeject pick = ENO. Better clue: {What you get when you get one back??}.


Thanx, U primo gal constructioneers. Fun solvequest.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Julie Riordan 11:35 AM  

Did anyone else quickly, and incorrectly, put in jammyjames for 17A?

jberg 11:50 AM  

OOH, this fill was really clean. NEHI! EGGO! OER! But OK, the theme was neat. Hard for me, as I don't really know comedians names -- and I was thinking "stand-up" so IDLE was slow to come. PRYOR I knew, but wanted 'restraint,' which fortunately falls short by a letter.

As @ACME and others have pointed out, Diana NYAD is pretty current, and pretty famous. The problem is, if you're going to be a swimmer and name yourself after a water nymph (just kidding, it was her adoptive father's name), then people are going to want to spell you NAIAD. At least I'm going to. I knew it was wrong, but needed the crosses to figure out the right spelling.

People say "achieved notoriety" all the time, as in "I achieved NOTORIETY when I stood up to speak and my pants fell off."

Just did a quick check to see if anyone is named LOIz. Here's one.

old timer 12:01 PM  

I didn't like the puzzle because I didn't know PRINZE or HART and though I certainly know Eric IDLE thought be pun with FALLEN was atrocious. Plus it took 20 minutes to solve instead of the 10 or 11 minutes I expect on a Tuesday. I was totally shocked by OFL's language -- words I did not think were in his vocabulary,

@George, you would not repeat the "Attention KMART shoppers" joke in polite company, What is the first English phrase a Latino kid in California ever hears? Not a nice joke at all.

Sir Hillary 12:03 PM  

Eric IDLE walks into a travel agency. Graham Chapman is the travel agent.

CHAPMAN: So, you want to go on holiday?
IDLE: Yes, I came across your advert in the bolor supplement.
CHAPMAN: In the what?
IDLE: In the bolor supplement.
CHAPMAN: The...color supplement?
IDLE: Yes, that's right. You must forgive me, I'm afraid I'm unable say the letter B.
CHAPMAN: You mean C.
IDLE: Yes. It's all due to a trauma I suffered when I was a sboolboy. I was attacked by a bat.
CHAPMAN: Ah, a cat.
IDLE: No, a bat.
CHAPMAN: I see. Well, can you say the letter K?
IDLE: Oh sure. Khaki, kettle, Kuwait, Kings Bollege in Bambridge.
CHAPMAN: Well, why not use the letter K instead of C?
IDLE: You mean, spell bolor with a K?
CHAPMAN: That's right.
IDLE: Hmm...kolor. Yes, that's very good, I'd never thought of that. I really am a stupid bunt.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

@Jberg I think it will take a while before Loiz achieves notoriety. He seems to be a French artist who still has not arrived. There were too many names in this puzzle but I knew about half of them. If I hadn't remembered blitz, I would have been stuck in the northeast. I can see why Rex didn't go too hard on this puzzle. It had a lot of female names in it and was composed by two ladies. Additionally, Joy Behar is on the same side of the political spectrum as Rex is, so what could there be to criticize?? The puzzle was decent but I didn't laugh at any of the puns.

Kath320 12:32 PM  

Ida Lupino may be from a different era, but she was an incredible woman at a time when women didn't have a lot of power or options in Hollywood. Check out her bio!

Uke Xensen 12:33 PM  

This was easy. But "dumb puns on celebrity names" is my least favorite crossword theme. Disliked.

Sam Field 12:40 PM  

Minor nit to pick, Rex: hearing of LOIS Lowry and SUSIE Essman has nothing to do with intelligence.

Maybe I only took offense to that because I didn't know either even though I love Curb. And I have heard the name Freddie PRINZE Jr., though I couldn't tell you a thing about him or his father before today. But I also did not know AMY March, Diana NYAD, or IDA Lupini, but I'll chalk those up to being a somewhat younger male that doesn't read much fiction. Lots of names today!

Loved the theme, though, so I didn't mind slogging through the unfamiliar names too much :)

Adam 12:41 PM  

All the downs were easy, so this puzzle was cake, but with those long acrosses, it was definitely a puzzle d'un certain age.

chefbea 1:10 PM  

@Sir Hilary...LOL...that was a good one!!!

oldactor 1:14 PM  

@Sir Hillary

Thanks for that! I'm going to memorize it and tell it at every dinner party.

Prime Time 1:23 PM  

Chico and the Man along with shows like Sanford and Son make me yearn for the time when we all still had a sense of humor and could laugh at ourselves.

Düdie 1:25 PM  

I never found it funny but the joke was: What`s the national anthem of Puerto Rico? I suppose you could swap PR with any state known for being avidly pro-KMart.

Teedmn 1:28 PM  

I join @LMS in having had an azure, expansive Sea at 28A. Then at 45A, I got all nautically technical and decided "away" was Alee. When that became ASEA, I was heard to CRY "nooooooo" but KFC saved the day (how often does that happen?)

Nice job, Lynn Lempel and Joy Behar and congrats on the NYT puzzle debut.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

"And who the hell is Eric Idle? Signed, a 35-year-old"

I can tell you from memory, no Googling, Eric Idle was a Monty Python member, and some of the Pythons were in "A Fish Called Wanda", along with Kevin Kline, who married Phoebe Cates, who had the famous swimming pool scene in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", which turned out to be a fantasy by Judge Reinhold, who was arrested a few months ago in Dallas... and I'll stop there.

However, I forget what I walked in a room for, forget to bring my cell phone when I leave the house, pay the electric bill twice and not the gas bill ...

Signed, a 60-year-old

Kathy D. 1:59 PM  

Ended this puzzle with a smile on my face.

A lot of fun, thanks to the two constructors -- and their sense of humor, puns included. Love Joy Behar on TV, and Susie Essman, too, who is Behar's best friend.

Essman is hilarious on Curb Your Enthusiasm and any time she's a talk show guest. She and Larry David together on a late night show -- hilarious, gut-splittingly funny.

More puzzles like this please, Will Shortz.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

3 minutes and 30 seconds? That is amazing. It took me 13 minutes. That was without any hints nor errors. A Tuesday record. But 3 and half minutes is very fast. What is your quickest Tuesday solve time,Mr Parker?


Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Agree with Rex. Will Shortz is the best.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

@Kath 320,

Lupino was great. A real pioneer. But just because there weren't a lot of women behind the camera or in the studio offices, doesn't mean that women didn't wield tremendous power in the studio system. Tell Norma Shearer that women didn't have power (LOL. She did whatever she wanted at MGM). Ask a free agent like Carole Lombard who was paid as much as any actor by the mid `30s. Leading ladies of the Golden age of Hollywood did just fine. And it wasn't just the top ones either. Actresses, not actors were, by and large, the studios prized assets.

To all long time readers. You may recall a kerfuffle some months ago about whether it was a day at the beach or at the day at the park. for what its worth, on today's front page of the Times there's a small headline No Day at the Beach.

Carola 2:43 PM  

@Rex, thank you for the IDA Lupino clip, and belated Happy Blogiversary.

Puzzle: my not being familiar with the comedians meant that the theme didn't register very high on my Delite-Meter, but those stellar long Downs make up for a lot. Also liked FLAK under SKY (FLAK = Flugabwehrkanone - anti-aircraft gun).

Devin W 3:15 PM  

Wtf Is NEHI??! Never seen it in my life

Joe Bleaux 3:39 PM  

Way better than an average Tuesday. Thanks, LL and JB. @LMS. Re the Roseanne/anthem kerfuffle back in the day, I knew a copy desk chief who, tired of a frequent misspelling, began advising guilty writers to remember that Ms. BARR had made an ASS of herself with her spitting, scratching baseball bit. Maybe his mnemonic device helped avoid the recurrence of an emBARRASSing error. @Arlene WKW. Congrats. The longest journey, etc. ...

Larry Gilstrap 3:45 PM  

Generous assessments all around for a Tuesday, why not?

The color of sloppy jelly results in PURPLE HART? I guess grape jelly is more popular as a snack condiment than mint jelly, definitely more popular than Kentucky Jelly. Hi @Loren.

Speaking of badass women, Ida Lupino crossing Diana Nyad fits the bill. The latter is much more than an ultra-athlete; well, she did swim around Manhattan Island once. Can you imagine? I've admired her work as a TV commentator for many years on swimming events. Top notch! I was also a fan of her syndicated radio program The Savvy Traveler, heard on various NPR stations. She is a great interviewer and story teller. Who knew about Helen Keller's connection to the ACLU?

Puzzle deja vu: PAW PRINTS, NOCTURNAL and DIURNAL, and KRILL which Melville called BRIT. I'm flashin' man!

Joe Dipinto 4:27 PM  

This was a superbly snappy Tuesday puzzle. I didn't really notice the surfeit of proper names -- I knew all of them except Lois, which was easy enough to figure out -- so that didn't bother me.

Fun fact: Ida Lupino directed the classic Twilight Zone episode "The Masks."

evil doug 4:32 PM  

I was at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego with my family that day. Roseanne's crotch grab was obviously an effort to mimic players doing that. But bastardizing the Anthem--in a conservative Navy town--got a similar reaction to what we saw this weekend....

Joe Dipinto 4:32 PM  

Rex is in the Mini Crossword today.

aging soprano 4:40 PM  

At least today there was no HANKY PANKY.

Cass Garnet 4:51 PM  

"It's not a man purse, it's called a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one."

"So does Joy Behar."

G. Weissman 5:07 PM  

Hey everybody, Bryce liked the puns.

G. Weissman 5:09 PM  

I heard that Joy Behar insisted that Brian Eno be mentioned in the puzzle.

62 year old 5:30 PM  

Who are all these young whippersnappers who have never heard of Eric Idle and Nehi soda?
Get off of my lawn! (Fist shaking and crabby face)

Nancy 5:30 PM  

Thank you, thank you, @puzzlehoarder, for telling it like it is: this feeble celebrity pun puzzle is not doing the funny and delightful Joy Behar any favors. To @Aketi -- yes, I love puns when they're good. These are not close to good. It's like saying: I thought you liked movies. You say you loved "Strangers on a Train." So why didn't you like "Howard the Duck"?

Two Ponies 5:34 PM  

Yuck, Evil Doug, what a terrible thing to have to witness.

Joy2u 5:55 PM  

I couldn't spell, DALAILAMA to save my life . . made a real mess out of the NE corner by trying, too.

Noticed Joy Behar as the constructor and had a big smile going in (I'm also Joy). And here she was just a 42D last Saturday (Joy of TV). I always notice whenever there is a Joy in a puzzle. It tends to increase mine.

@smalltowndoc . . Sal Mineo was an actor, not a 'comic'

@Devin W . . Nehi is (more likely 'was') a fruit flavored soft drink. Don't tell me that you do not remember M.A.S.H.'s Radar O'Reilly whose beverage of choice was, 'Grape Nehi'.

RooMonster 6:31 PM  

Hey All !
Wow, never realized there was a bunch of commentors who have no idea what my avatar is.
If you've never seen (or heard) a Monty Pythons Flying Circus show, do yourself a huge favor, and watch an episode or two.

As for puz, liked it. Good for a Tuesday. Don't watch "The View", but know who Behar is (and how to spell it thanks to crosswords!).


Mohair Sam 6:51 PM  

@Sir Hilary (12:03) - Thanks for posting. The mental picture of IDLE delivering the line "Hmmm .... kolor. Yes, that's very good. I'd never thought of that." line - few can pull that off.

Smith 8:04 PM  

Online Supports...

Teedmn 8:52 PM  

@Joy2U, a belated welcome 2U re: your introductory post last night.

Anonymous 8:53 PM  

Lots of love for Nyad. But there are very serious serious doubts about her epic swim (I think it was from Cuba to Key West). In any event, the telemetry of her rate suggests some hanky Panky. ( waaay to consistent considering tide and wind)
She's every feminist's darling, but almost certainly a liar and a cheat.just sayin.

joy2u 9:02 PM  

Teedmn 8:52 PM

Thanks, I'm working on GROKING the profile thing now so it should be up soon.

Cliff Robinson 10:43 PM  

I'm relatively new to this blog so had to Google the origin of Natick Foul. Read the whole entry from a decade ago and laughed when I saw clue and answer (swimmer Diana) NYAD in that day's puzzle too

Anonymous 10:51 PM  

It’s soda pop from the 50s/60s, made famous as the drink of choice of TV’s Radar O’Reilly in M*A*S*H. It’s made a comeback though as I just had one last week at a Chicago BBQ joint called Smoque.

Z 11:46 PM  

No issues with the names today. An honest “LOL - you obviously don’t teach middle school English” at Rex’s, “I had (vaguely) heard of LOIS Lowry,” comment. I’m pretty sure The Giver is taught in every 7th grade English class in the universe.

I hesitate to say it because I’m usually being sarcastic, but Best Tuesday Ever. Unlike tomorrow where I had a whac-a-vowel DNF. A mayor crossing a word where two vowels work for the clue seems especially unfair.

Shelby Glidden 1:55 AM  

on the Sept. 15, Friday's, it was (27A) "I know, right"
and (32A) Neumann that did me in on a pretty good run... �� plus, (1D) i had "i'm paying" and it was
"i'm buying"... putting in the wrong answer can be quite the deterrent ��

Unknown 11:10 AM  

Nyad is not a has been. Two weeks ago she led over 100 walkets on a 7- day walk from Boston to Portland, ME. She is amazing.

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Burma Shave 8:58 AM  


had STYLE and TASTE ANTI-society - she'd LEI with HARDYBOYS.


rondo 9:27 AM  

The celebrity co-constructor is 75, would there be any reason to think the puz would skew young? No w/os here, so it couldn't have been too tough. With one exception the theme people are/were funny; never found Roseanne BARR entertaining in the least. But it's got the DALAILAMA going for it, which is nice. Big hitter the LAMA.

I have the entire Monty Python collection on video. Eric IDLE is soooo good.

Since we're skewing old today, thanks to OFL for the video of old-school yeah baby IDA Lupino. That scene is just waiting for a BAR(R)FIGHT to break out.

Even without the themers there's plenty of PPP, but nothing to CRY or MOPE about.

thefogman 10:46 AM  

This one was Thursday to Friday-ish in difficulty for me. I breezed through most of it. Then I was stumped in the NE corner for quite some time until I realized it was PRINZE and not PRINcE. Then BLITZ came next along with ANTI which begat ACLU, UCONN, LOIS and SUSIE. Theme was punny but not hilariously funny. All in all, a decent puz, albeit a tad mean in spots for a Tuesday. Props to the guest constructors.

spacecraft 11:43 AM  

So far this is a two-Monday week for me. A slight hiccup when I assumed (you know what that does) that the 4-letter big nuisance starting with P was Pest. Guess I was just going too fast.

I'm apprehensive when a byline includes a celeb, but I shouldn't be. Either the celebs have more wordsmith talent than I gave them credit for, or the "team" effort is largely the pro's. Today is a case in point. A very clean, if skewing PPP-heavy, grid with an amusing theme. Even the weak Natick in the NE practically solved itself; as @M&A says, "no nanoseconds were harmed."

DOD? Well, since we're on comedians anyway, why not AMY Schumer? WOKS for me. Score a birdie for the gals. EXIT.

Diana, LIW 12:41 PM  

Joy is back, and it's the week of Diana.

As @Rex noted, knowing the comedians was key. Nothing to MOPE about today.

If you were going to try your hand at constructing a puzzle w/o the aid of a computer program, how would you begin? Hypothetically, of course.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoasTAM 1:51 PM  

Clever and fun. Good, consistent theme clues and answers, with some tougher fill to make it a bit more challenging.

Solved this in a counter-clockwise movement frome the NW to the NE where there was some resistance: the SUSIE/LOIS/BLITZ cluster together with the Z in PRINZE. Then there was LEO the "Lion observed at night." What? Ah, must be a constellation. Fine.

Had the soft, mysterious tAP before the startling RAP. Have played with a Widji (sp?) board but never attended a seance. Could be fun.


leftcoastTAM 2:32 PM  

Ouija board. Good for crosswords. Can't remembers seeing it in one.

rainforest 4:11 PM  

Joy Behar is 75?! I'm gobsmacked (just like to say that word). I think she is great. I used to watch The View regularly, and maybe I'll go back to it once in a while.

Fun puzzle. I feel sorry for the commenters who say "I don't like puns, therefore I don't like this puzzle". Poor babies that constructors don't create puzzles just for them.

Lots to like in here.

Anonymous 5:11 PM  

From Syndication Land:

@Diana, LIW I think it would be really hard to construct a puzzle without the aid of a computer program. Patrick Berry has a book out there called "Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies." He has eight chapters explaining every detail of creating a crossword puzzle. It also comes with lots of his puzzles to solve so it's well worth the price of admission.

Diana, LIW 6:47 PM  

Thanks Anon 5:11 - I went right to Amazon. I have this tiny bee in my bonnet about attempting to construct. Maybe it's just a bed bug. The only crosswords I've constructed were part of my mid-term and final exams in a course I taught on how to learn. (Learn like a two-year-old.) (AKA - make it fun.) Should have the book by Friday. Most likely, you'll see me in the Times in 6 or 7 weeks.

Lady Di

lodsf 11:02 AM  

Random late post: I always remember Nyad from a long ago clue by Merle Reagle that asked for (approximate quote): “famous swimmer with name a homophone of a mythical swimmer.” [To this day memories of MR pop up when doing a crossword. Such a sad, too early loss.]

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