Old-fashioned dagger / TUE 10-3-17 / Famed German hypnotist / Manager at train depot / Tureen dipper

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Constructor: Chuck Deodene

Relative difficulty: Challenging (not sure why, exactly ... but 4:00 is slooow for me, for Tuesday)

THEME: CENTER / ISLAND (36A: With 38-Across, feature of an upscale kitchen ... or of 17-, 23-, 47- and 58-Across) — there are names of (actual) islands embedded in the center of each theme answer:

Theme answers:
  • BALTIMOREAN (17A: One might stare at the Sun)
  • BUSHEL BASKET (23A: It holds four pecks)
  • STATION AGENT (47A: Manager at a train depot)
  • FORMAL TALKS (58A: Discussions that might lead to a treaty)  
Word of the Day: Carson DALY (26A: NBC host Carson) —
Carson Jones Daly (born June 22, 1973) is an American television host, radio personality, producer and television personality. Prior to 2002, Daly was a VJ on MTV's Total Request Live, and a DJ for the Southern California-based radio station 106.7 KROQ-FM. In 2002, Daly joined NBC, where he began hosting and producing the late night talk show Last Call with Carson Daly, and occasionally hosting special event programming for NBC, such as the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show, and executive producing New Year's Eve with Carson Daly from Times Square beginning in 2003.
Daly has since been involved in more prominent roles at NBC, such as becoming host for its reality music competition The Voice in 2011, and joining NBC's morning show Today as a social media correspondent in 2013. (wikipedia)
• • •

So the islands are in fact dead center, which is a nice touch. I don't expect most people to notice this, but I appreciate attention to detail and careful craftsmanship. That first themer doesn't have the island broken across two words, which is of course the IDEAL (and the fate of all the other center islands), but the consistent centering makes me care about this little detail less. Also, that clue is pretty good (17A: One might stare at the Sun). I didn't find the puzzle particularly entertaining, largely because the themers were all either dull or unfamiliar to me (or both). Is it BALTIMOREAN like Delorean and Korean or like foreign. BALTIMOREEEEEAN? Or Baltimoran? You see, I've literally never heard anyone say it. See also BUSHEL BASKET (?). I know the phrase STATION AGENT only from the title of a movie I never saw, and FORMAL TALKS is about as interesting as beige paint. But, despite the fact that the theme type here is very old/common, it's done in a neat way, and the grid is satisfactory, so this certainly beats your average Tuesday puzzle.

There is one answer that I am having trouble stomaching, though, and that's 13D: Writing in digital format (E-TEXT). I can't begin to say how terrible this is, how tin-eared, how technologically illiterate-sounding this is. "I'll send you an E-TEXT!" Just try saying this to ... well, anyone with an E-TEXT-receiving device in the 21st century. I can't tell if it's another word for "text message," or a word for any writing (text) written electronically, or what? Is this E-TEXT? These words that you are reading right now? If so, how weird that I've been writing in E-TEXT, for the general public, for 11 years, and I have never even heard the term that apparently describes the thing that I am writing.* Also, how weird that I watch "Psycho" every year on Halloween—I've probably seen it more than any movie save "Dazed & Confused"—and I couldn't remember Norman's mother's name (NORMA). I had MOMMA at one point, ugh. Also, wtf, Norman's mother's name is NORMA? Norman, NORMA. That's ... not normal. I also struggled to get IN HELL x/w YAH and also x/w LA ROSA (which I had as DEROSA ... I only ever see that guy's name in crosswords).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*E-TEXT appears to be a word for electronic textbooks ... for scholastic use ... nothing about the clue suggests this ... ??

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:14 AM  

dear sir,

you are insufferable.

the universe

Laura 12:17 AM  

It took me a while to enter E-TEXT because I thought it couldn't possibly be the actual answer. I mean come on.

dumbnose 12:21 AM  

This puzzle was just bad. Every themer was completely underwhelming. I usually fee like you're too hard on the puzzles. This time, I think you're being too lenient. The islands were centered? Great. I would've taken uncentered island names (or no island names at all) for some decent long words.

Trombone Tom 12:38 AM  

Not bothered by E-TEXT as I've seen that referenced. I thought the puzzle was perfect for a Tuesday and, for once in my life, found it far easier than did OFL.

The theme was ok even if it didn't wow me. The fact that the four islands are common crossword fill was a plus.

Couldn't remember ELYSEE but the crosses saved that.

I remember vividly the big deal made at the time when Julius LA ROSA was axed.

JC66 12:59 AM  


So let me get this straight, you think what's not normal about Norman Bates' relationship with his mother is that her name is Norma?

How about him dressing up like her and stabbing people to death?


From yesterday, if you've posted something that you'd like to change, just copy the post and delete it (hit the trash can icon under your post). Then refresh. You'll see "Comment Deleted" where your post had been. You can then paste your original post in the comments box and edit away. Hope that helps.

Hartley70 1:02 AM  

The theme was different and entertaining. I liked the CENTERISLANDs. The fill and clues we're straightforward but the fill was just enough "off" that I didn't blow through the puzzle.

Julius LAROSA was not cool and Perry Como was. Who knows why? These things are just self-evident. I had forgotten all about Julius, but I'll always hear Perry singing, "Letters, we get letters..."

I just read recently that an OUTIE belly button can be or conceal a hernia. It's better to be an Innie.

Larry Gilstrap 1:06 AM  

OK, here goes! I was thinking that the themers were pretty solid. As OFL observed, they contain actual islands in the actual centers. In fact, the entire puzzle had a nice geography VIBE, and that is a good thing. Map immunity is some strong mojo. We even get HAM BERG, stretching here.

My mom used to sing a song lyric to me when I would have fit in a BASKET: " I love you, a BUSHEL and a peck..." which my phone tells me was in the Doris Day movie Lullaby of Broadway from 1951. She must have heard it on the radio, because she never went to a movie theater. Wasn't that just on TCM?

Finally, someone thinks that the relationship between Mrs. Bates and her son is not normal because of their names? A movie critic once questioned the motivation for the unnatural avian rage displayed in The Birds. The answer: Hitchcock wanted them to do it. Two scary films, indeed.

TokyoRacer 1:27 AM  

Station Agent is a terrific movie! Highly recommended.

Norma/Norman: of course it's not normal, it's Psycho!

Finally to Anonymous: Please stop posting on this forum. In fact, it is you who are insufferable.

Robin 1:27 AM  

No complaints with E-TEXT here, as I interpreted the clue as meaning a digital edition.

The one close I didn't like was for TEN. Got that one by the crosses, and then after the puzzle was done stared at that one for half a minute before realizing what the clue meant.

Slowed down at the end by YAH as I originally entered Yep, then changed it to Yeh, and then finally to YAH because the A was the one letter in the puzzle that I had wrong.

Overall my time wasn't great, although I don't consider the puzzle to have been particularly challenging.

Theodore Stamos 1:52 AM  

DNF because I could have sworn that the correct phrase is TOW the line, not TOE. i just assumed WTEXT was some technology I have never heard of. I picture someone TOWING a line - as in pulling on it to help move things along. TOE?! I guess you learn something every day...

andrea carla michaels 2:09 AM  

@tokyoracer 1:27
That is really funny!!!
I'm sure it was intentional by the writer to foreshadow that Norma/n was one.

Would like to second recommendation of Station Agent!
Breakout film for tons of fantastic indie actors (Patricia Clarkson! Bobby Carnavale! Peter Dinklage star turn way before Game of Thrones!!!!)

andrea carla michaels 2:17 AM  

Norma Norman Normal mistake!
Think more track and field (on your marks!) than boating

Anonymous 2:29 AM  

Was anyone else completely missing the clue for 10D? I don't mean just not getting it. I mean for me, it's literally completely blank. I see others have an arrow there. I do not. I just got it from the crosses. Solved on an iPhone 8 Plus if that makes a difference. A friend with an iPhone 6S said hers showed the arrow just fine...

jae 2:38 AM  

Medium for me. Solid theme but a tad blah, or just about right for a Tues. Liked it.

Also hand up for the excellent "Station Agent".

Moly Shu 3:07 AM  

@Roo, glad to hear you're OK. Thoughts and prayers to you and your oven of a city. It is my home away from home and I plan on visiting in a month. Nothing or nobody is gonna scare me away. Again @Roo, peace, namaste, etc etc.

ArleneWKW 3:10 AM  

My second week of successfully completing the Monday and Tuesday puzzles without outside help!!!
I had a eureka moment when, with the help of crosses, I got the answer for 10 down
I didn't "get" the theme until I read Rex's write-up.
It's fun to read the comments.

Thomaso808 4:23 AM  

Solving with the NYT app on an iPad, the clue for 10D did not show up at all. I got it by crosses and had to go to Xwordinfo to see the clue.

I did not get the theme until, again, Xwordinfo, but I also didn't really try very hard to get it. Just solved it by clues and crosses.

This puzzle was well constructed, but it seemed pretty blasé. A lot of two-word, borderline green paint answers like GETSBY, GOHOME, SAYAH, INHELL, ATEIT, etc. I did like THINKSMALL. I did not like ETEXT.

Overall, it was just OK, but as Jeff Chen pointed out, that center island group of black squares is quite unusual and cool.

evil doug 4:33 AM  

After a long run of "Tuesday's almost as bad as Sunday" puzzles, I've sensed a recent uptick. Pretty neat package today.

Had never noticed, but love that NORMA named her son Norman. Perfect Hitchcock touch.

I might have clued DUCT to TEARY instead of fumes. But fumes is a cool word.

I'll be SAYing AH at 8:30. Can almost bet on the next damn crown....

Carson DALY: Proof positive that there's always hope to succeed in America regardless of God-given talent - - or lack thereof....

My dad's dad was a station agent in Podunk, Illinois. My dad worked for United Airlines. I think attraction to transportation might be tucked in a chromosome somewhere. Speaking of which:

Kramer: Hey. (notices Elaine) What's wrong?

Elaine: Oh, Peterman ran off to Burma, and now he wants me to run the catalog.

Kramer: Where?

Jerry: Myanmar.

Kramer: The discount pharmacy?

BarbieBarbie 6:27 AM  

Spoiler alert, but maybe his mother's name wasn't actually Norma. If you know what I mean.

E-text is fine. It's what you read on an e-reader. In the case of the original Kindle, it's even written in e-ink. Too late to fight it.

@Larry, Bushel and a Peck is from Guys and Dolls. It's Miss Adelaide's stage number. She's the one who sings Adelaide's Lament, one of the all-time great Broadway songs. Anyway, older than your iphone found. Doris Day, ewww. More like Ethel Merman or somebody.

Anon@2:29, I had no clue for 10D on my iPad. Which made me say "ten. What's ten?" aloud. Which worked!

Nice puzzle, medium difficulty, marred by my failure to grok the theme until I came here.

Johnny 6:35 AM  

Pretty good for a Tuesday. The story of the Julius LaRosa firing has always facinated me ever since I heard of it back in the 70s. I always imagined his getting fired on the air as much more violent than what really happened when I finally heard the transcript years later.

Speaking of the 70s and getting fired on the air, to answer @BarbieBarbie from yesterday:
Yes, it's a true story. My dad took me to a Monday Night Football game at RFK Stadium in 1975. I immediately scoped out where the ABC Broadcast booth was, and at halftime I got up by myself and went to go find it. Even then I knew that the halftime show was on tape and they weren't live at that moment. I found the booth, and there was Frank Gifford inviting some college girl groupies to come in so I tucked in right behind them. The booth was the size of a walk in closet and I plastered myself against the back wall and tried to be invisible. After about five minutes I asked Howard Cosell for his autograph. He slowly turned around and looked at me, and with his yellow ABC Sports blazer and big green cigar said "Son, we're on the air!" And he said it in a perfect Howard Cosell voice. And then they kicked me out.

Hmmmmm 6:59 AM  

Still don't understand 10D

Hungry Mother 7:11 AM  

Very nice Tuesday puzzle with just the right amount of crunch. Lots of downs today.

Doris 7:27 AM  

The Metropolitan Opera opened with Bellini’s Norma a week ago. Why couldn’t the puzzle contain a bit more High Culture?

clk 7:28 AM  

iPhone SE also showed a blank too. It's interesting to hear that it displays differently on different iPhone versions. I wonder if it has more to do with the iOS and app versions we're all running.

Doris 7:30 AM  

Addendum: Not that I’m not a fan of Psycho. And I just saw that you can get a shower curtain with HELP!!
smeared on it in huge, bloody letters.

Two Ponies 7:36 AM  

The execution of the theme using islands we all should know as common stand-alone answers is pretty slick. Sort of an inside joke.
Here's my nit to pick. Does anyone actually call this a center island? Just by being a cabinet unattached to the wall makes it an island. Isn't calling it center a bit redundant?
That makes it sound like I did not enjoy this but I did. A fun Tuesday is a feat.
Well done Chuck D. Is this a debut?

I wonder if @Rex comments as Anonymous sometimes. I'm making a wild guess that Anon 2:29 is him.

kitshef 7:38 AM  

Re: 10D. This appears to be an OK idea that simply does not work in our multi-platform world. In the newspaper, it appears as an arrow pointing left. Based on comments above, some platforms display nothing at all. On my printout from the NY Times site, it appears as <_ _ which makes no sense at all (I think they were trying for <--). Anyway, it is supposed to be an arrow pointing to the number of the clue, which is TEN.

Decent little theme and a mostly unobjectionable puzzle. LAROSE is sure out of place on a Tuesday, but I can live with one or two of those.

Baltimorean rhymes with DeLorean.

JJK 7:41 AM  

Easy for me except that I have NEVER heard of Julius LaRosa so between that and not getting "ateit", which is not a term I would ever use in my life, I had a lot of trouble in the SE corner. I also don't get the answer for 10D, and I don't understand what "baltimorean" has to do with looking at the sun.

QuasiMojo 7:43 AM  

"_I am Norma Bates_," said the high, shrill voice." -- from PSYCHO by Robert Bloch.

Another silly Tuesday puzzle with a pointless theme. Who cares that there are center islands? Isn't that some ridiculous name for a table in a kitchen? What does that have to do with Timor or Malta? There's no connection between any of this. Just some random idea that a constructor concocted. How does this entertain us?

PSYCHO may be Hitchcock's most famous film but it's hardly his best. It pains me to think of a college professor watching a film every year on Halloween about a man who kills young women who come to his motel. Or does the fact that it's a "woman" who does it somehow dissipate the misogyny? You cry out against "co-ed" being used in the Times, but have no problem with slasher films?

evil doug 7:56 AM  

Hint: Nothing to do with "the sun", everything to do with "the Sun".

Anonypuss 8:05 AM  

@TokyoRacer, I enjoy the snark from Anonymous. Although I don't always agree with him, I admire the way he says a lot with a few words.

Unlike Rex, I found today's puzzle easy. But he still beat me by 14 seconds. And he says his time was "slooow." Jeez.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Just because you've never heard BALTIMOREAN before doesn't mean it's not a thing. Maybe you need to spend a little bit more time in Charm City

GHarris 8:13 AM  

Hah! Easy for me, yet did not finish anywhere near Rex’s 4 minutes. Guess it’s all relative.

pmdm 8:23 AM  


Do you mean that one has to first select all the text in a comment (not copy it) and then delete all the text? That makes a little more sense to me.

chefbea 8:25 AM  

What a great puzzle...because of the kitchen..of course. Have always had a center island, until this house. Loved ladle crossing flambé . Loved the clue for 10 down!!!

If you eat too much in the kitchen...you will need liposuction!!!

kitshef 8:29 AM  

@JJK - The Baltimore Sun is a newspaper. H.L. Mencken famously wrote for the Sun. Also, Jim McKay who was in my youth the face of the Olympics on TV (and Wide World of Sports).

Z 8:30 AM  

@constructors - If this is your disambiguation page at Wikipedia it just might be time to remove the person from your word list.

@Evil Doug - Inoffensive, light, with just a little fizz to make you think something is there... Carson Daly is the Bud Light of TV personalities. I agree, too, with the recent uptick on Tuesday quality.

@Theodore Stamos - "W-Text" should be a term.

@Two Ponies - Based on reading Rex for years and following him on Twitter I am confident that all of Rex's comments here are under his Avatar/Nom de Blog. Not that he ever comments here often, and he visits less ad less as time goes by.

@Quasimojo - Hitchcock's misogyny is well argued. Psycho is a great film and the women in it are fascinating people to discuss. The murder victim is first seen in post-coital discussions with someone obviously not her husband. She embezzles money. She gets what is coming to an adulterous thief... But wait - the agent of justice is a cross-dressing man acting on the wishes of his dead mother? Sort of turns that whole Old Testament ethic on its head, doesn't it? I never have decided what I actually think is the message here, which is what makes Psycho great art. Stake out an opinion, an impression, a take-away, and immediately be forced to rethink it. Good Stuff.

Paul Rippey 8:35 AM  

Have you ever seen a picture with both Rex and Anonymous in it? I haven’t either. Just sayin’...

puzzlehoarder 8:46 AM  

I put ISLAND in at 38A without reading the clue because I had enough crosses to recognize the word without the clue. I nearly finished without knowing the theme at all. What took some extra time was fixing my YEP supported by INPAIN write overs and figuring out the theme. Even with that I put in some more time figuring out that 17A was a newspaper reference and that 10D was numeric. I thought the dashes represented the ones and tens columns and the clue meant something TEN or less. Or it may just be an arrow. Either way it's TEN.

barry milliken 8:46 AM  

The clue is an arrow pointing at the number 10: which is spelled "ten".

barry milliken 8:48 AM  

People in Baltimore read the Baltimore Sun every day.

mathgent 8:59 AM  

I enjoyed it. Thirteen red plusses in the margin is high for a Tuesday.

Even though the theme didn't help the solving, I liked the neatness of it.

Jeff Chen mildly complained about the glue. I agree that IAMSO is bad, maybe also SNEE (Shakespearean?), but NATAL and MTNS are fine with me.

I don't ski. I guess that a black diamond trail is a challenging one. Is that a common term?

Airymom 9:01 AM  

"A Bushel and a Peck" is from act one of "Guys and Dolls". Miss Adelaide sings it. While they still let me sing to them, I sang it to my kids every night.

Linda Vale 9:02 AM  

This puzzle was so easy. Unbelievably so. So easy that it was the first time I’ve beaten Rex on his solve time. After finishing, I actually checked to see if this was a Tuesday puzzle and not a Monday. So very disappointed.

Michael Collins 9:06 AM  

Actually, we tend to call ourselves BALTIMORONS. And unfortunately, the Sun has withered to a husk of its former greatness.

G. Weissman 9:14 AM  

"I am so." People say that to doubters all the time, right?

Marcie Watts 9:16 AM  

@ Michael Collins. Sad but true regarding the Sun. From one Baltimoron to another.

Wm. C. 9:24 AM  

@Mathgent --

Re: ski trail difficulty signs ...

Yep, a black diamond trail is the most difficult. Usually right under the ski lift (maximum slope, shortest distance up/down. In some places there are even double-and triple- black diamonds.

Green circles are easiest, blue squares intermediate.

This from one who has lived in both New Hampshire and Colorado.

Wm. C. 9:27 AM  

@Michael, @Marcie --

Re: Baltimorons ....

I once had a roommate who told everyone that he went to UC Berserkely.

Questinia 9:29 AM  

This puzzle had all the sweet, semi-twee comfort I expect in a Tuesday crossword. Like a well-crafted doilie,

Nancy 9:35 AM  

This would have been an identical solving experience for me if there had been no CENTER ISLAND in the middle of four words. So once again we have a puzzle where the construction gives the constructor, rather than the solver, pleasure. I suppose it's a nice enough feat, but all I can say is: Yawn. Still, there wasn't much junk and for that I'm grateful.

I do feel that FORMAL TALKS is Green Paint.

IN pain before IN HELL, with Yep at 45A. TAG straightened me out.

Finally -- a song and a singer I know. I remember "Anywhere I Wander" (53A), even though I didn't remember that LAROSA sang it. It's by the late, great Frank Loesser and it's from the movie HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON. Too young to have seen it? Go rent it right now, immediately. If you have kids or grandkids, so much the better, but they're not a requirement. Charming, delightful musical with wonderful songs by one of the best composer/lyricists who ever lived.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  


Banya 9:40 AM  

Rex, if you're a fan of Psycho, you need to see Bates Motel STAT. Norma Bates will be in your brain forever.

Nancy 9:57 AM  

@BarbieBarbie beat me to the punch by pointing out that "Bushel and a Peck" is from "Guys and Dolls" and that Doris Day wasn't the one who made it famous. Not Ethel Merman either. It was the incomparable Vivian Blaine. Of course, that wasn't even her showstopper. Her showstopper was "Adelaide's Lament". Guys and Dolls -- another movie for y'all to rent if you never saw it. Also by Frank Loesser. This is really Frank Loesser's Day today!

And btw, @Airymom isn't the only one to have sung Adelaide's various songs. My very talented niece sang it at her high school production, bringing down the house with "Adelaide's Lament." But wait, that's not all. At my brother's all-boys high school decades earlier, my brother's best friend played Adelaide. He was the best Adelaide I've ever seen, in that he was the funniest. I liked him even more than Vivian Blaine.

Re: "Psycho". A school friend warned me that if I saw it, I'd be afraid to take a shower for the rest of my life. Since I'm afraid of enough things, thank you very much, I decided not see it. Half a century later, I still haven't seen it. Whenever they're showing a clip of it on TV, I either close my eyes or turn off the set.

John V 10:01 AM  

A perfect Tuesday, arguably the hardest day of the week to get right.

Joseph Michael 10:28 AM  

OK Tuesday puzzle with a little more YUK than YAH in the fill.

Nice that the ISLANDs are each in a CENTER position but that didn't add much to the solving experience for me as I wrote in entries like ETEXT, MTNS, IAMSO, and ITE.

On my copy of the puzzle printed out from the NYT site, the clue for 10D is only a period. I gather from the comments here that some of you had an arrow instead. The arrow I get. The period I do not get. I guess it's a typo?

I've never been on any of the islands featured and wondered if there might have been a Hawaiian island included in the bunch.

Like it or not, "Psycho" is a classic among Hitchcock's many masterworks and it's no coincidence that Norman's mother was named Norma. Every detail, from the stutter in Norman's speech to the stuffed birds in the motel office to the aerial view of the detective approaching the door of mother's bedroom serves a distinct purpose in storytelling.

Great clip of Arthur Godfrey and Julias LAROSA. I remember both names but wasn't aware of the drama that went on between them.

RAD2626 10:30 AM  

Thought having CENTER ISLAND in the middle was also a nice touch. Put in ELYSEi at first but MiSMAR did not seem correct. And Yuri Gellar was definitely not German. Liked the islands and the fill a lot. Would give both yesterday and today IDEAL ratings for early week puzzles.

Cassieopia 10:32 AM  

@JohnV, agreed.

Dan M 10:36 AM  

IN HELL / LA ROSA got me. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this, especially with the wee bit of grid art (CENTER ISLAND in the middle literally spanning a center island).

Couple movie comments, Rex: (1) You should really see The STATION AGENT. Really excellent flick. Peter Dinklage is perfect in the lead. (2) I think Dazed & Confused is also probably the movie I've seen more than just about any other. Never gets old, and despite being in high school in the 90's and not being a stoner in the least bit, could find myself and basically everyone I knew in those characters. So good.

Cassieopia 10:43 AM  

I loved it. This was a fast Tuesday for me (10:51 on the iPhone; my Tuesday average is 16) and I didn’t grok the theme until afterward. BALTIMOREAN was simply inspired cluing, and despite having a blank for 10D in the app, I still understood the answer once I got it.

A really nice Tuesday.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

Why is anyone even posting? The first comement said it all.
Though Quasimojo's wasn't just correct, but nice to read.
For what it's worth Rex, I notice the island's placement. Does that mean I'mean as astute as you? And why no bitch about normalizing Myanmar? All that does is legitimize the ruling junta. It's Burma, assnole.

John Child 10:55 AM  

It astounds me that neither Rex nor Jeff Chen found BUSHEL BASKET a common term. Citified folks who don’t live in apple country I guess. Fine Tuesday puzzle IMO.

Aketi 10:57 AM  

@William C, I thought maybe it was an east coast west coast thing. But I checked and even in New Hampshire you can find double black diamond slopes. Most of my east coast skiing/boarding has been in the Live, Freeze, and Die state. I prefer blue squares but tolerate the black diamonds if the get me to a good blue square run.

That Berserkly thing is very old. All the students at UC Davis could come up with was rearranging the letters on their bumper stickers to spell CUD.

It's not that unusual for families to modify names of parents for their opposite gendered child. My Dad was called Paul and his mother was Pauline. Being named Paul didn't lead my Dad to stab women in the shower.

Kayemtee 11:02 AM  

I thought it was a great Tuesday puzzle. I didn’t time myself, but finished it without taking any pauses. Didn’t pay any attention to the theme. The Station Agent is a great film; perhaps Rex should spend more time watching movies, less on crossword puzzles.

GILL I. 11:44 AM  

As Tuesdays go...YAH and bonus...@Rex sorta liked it. YAY.
Yes, do see The STATION AGENT for no other reason than to watch Peter Dinklage act. I LOVE that guy; he's my favorite in Game of Thrones. And @Nancy...go rent Psycho. Pour yourself a glass of Pinot, put your feet up and turn the volume up to loud. If you were 10 years old, I might not encourage you but dang, the movie is awesome. You already know about the bathroom scene so you won't be scared. Hell, I watched The Shining and decided I could never ever stay at a hotel in the Rockies - but I got over it!
Liked that MYANMAR sitting there surrounded by MTNS and ISLANDs. Liked the clue for ADIEU and seeing LA ROSA IN HELL.
Thanks Chuck Deodene for a Tuesday that didn't cause heads to explode.

Nancy 11:50 AM  

@Aketi (10:57) -- Love your last sentence about your father. Really funny! Also, as someone who hates winter, I enjoyed your "Live, Freeze, and Die" reference, which I'd never heard, to NH. Remind me not to live there, and certainly not to ski there. I had a tennis friend who did just that many years ago, only because a cute guy invited her. "I was so cold on the lift at 6 a.m. that I started to cry," she told us at the tennis courts a few months later. "And then my tears froze."

old timer 12:04 PM  

The arrow did not print well in my paper, so I thought the clue must be Morse Code for TEN.

Took 20 minutes to do in pen and ink. Long for a Tuesday. And I never bother to figure out the meaning of the revealer. I know OFL or someone here will explain it. I agree with whoever said the puzzle was more fun to construct than to do.

Kimberly 12:07 PM  


For the last several years there was a tv show which was a precursor to Psycho (which was in quotes. Titles aren't usually in quotes, so that was our clue that it wasn't necessarily a direct reference to the movie). The mother was named Norma. And yes, it isn't supposed to be normal. The mother/son relationship was decidedly abnormal, which probably (that's sarcasm. You sometimes need help with the less obvious stuff, so I thought I would help you out there) was the reason the son became a serial killer.

Crosswords rely heavily on pop culture. Eschewing pop culture to the point where you miss, well, everything, makes it ludicrous when you mock and belittle the crossword puzzles. You're allowed to be ignorant. You're allowed to be arrogant. You really aren't allowed to be both.

oldactor 12:36 PM  

@Nancy: It might be less scary for you to watch "Psycho" if you knew that all that blood in the shower scene was actually Hershey"s chocolate syrup.

RooMonster 12:47 PM  

@Moly Shu 3:07 AM
Hey, thanks. I'm a Limousine driver in town, but I am a day driver. Too much shit at night. Leave that to the younger folk!

This was just a lone dickhead who had way too many guns. I wish he had fallen out of the window and paralyzed himself rather than be a pussy and shoot himself.


GILL I. 12:53 PM  

Hi @Roo.
My husband and I spent all day yesterday indoors watching back to back movies. We didn't read the paper not did we watch the news. It was just a few minutes ago that I decided to read the Bee. I almost wished I hadn't. Horrible front page news.
Glad you're OK.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

@ Nancy,

You're not a missing a thing. Psycho is a lot like East Coast skiing---vastly overrated. It sure aint in Hitchcock's top 5. Probably not his top 10.

JC66 12:55 PM  


Select then copy, on my Mac.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Oh damn!!!! Sorry @Roo. I'm just now gathering you're in Vegas. Glad you're ok.

Teedmn 1:01 PM  

"Don't hide your light under a BUSHEL" always seems to need an implied BASKET to explain the metaphor. It brings to my mind an image of someone placing a lantern under the wooden-slatted basket where it will proceed to burn up expose the light and...it's weird how these phrases can take on a life of their own.

I finished this puzzle and went looking for the hidden kitchen items in the theme centers. After giving up on that fruitless search, I recognized TIMOR for what it was, hah.

I had to bring out my inner Marge to hear YAH at 45A. Here in the Twin Cities area, you are most likely to hear YeAH, which has the "a as in cat" sound and YAH is only said ironically unless you're up on "the Range" (the Iron Range).

I like the phrase THINK SMALL. Seeing FLAMBE, I wondered if missing the accent in the grid would raise as big a stink as the missing tildes do. (I'm not trying to be an ANO here.)

Thanks, Mr. Deodene, for a nice Tuesday.

JC66 1:03 PM  


Went skiing, a green circle indicates beginner level. Blue square indicates intermediate and a black triangle (referred to as diamond) indicates advanced. A double diamond is the most difficult.

Teedmn 1:09 PM  

The clue for TEN had an arrow? My printed copy only had a dot - I was stretching it to mean it represented the tenths place in a decimal? An arrow makes much more sense.

@Tita A, from yesterday, your mother and her friends' conversation solution sounds perfect. Unfortunately, my Dad accosts total strangers with his TMI :-(.

Canon Chasuble 1:10 PM  

It is a terrible thing to be old and know that Alan Alda's father, Robert Alda, starred in the original Broadway production of "Guys And Dolls"!!

evil doug 1:12 PM  

An iconic ad :


Anonymous 1:14 PM  

LOL at missing accent. As you know, the only time "proper" accents
diacritical marks, or pronunciation for that matter, are used is with Spanish.
Ever hear someone say "Veen" for Vienna? Listen to NPR and every Spanish proper name is pronounced with painstakingly pronounced Spanish.
Wonder why.

Diamond Lil 1:16 PM  

@ Nancy, You probably are a very nice person but some days you sound like the lady @LMS tries to avoid at the grocery store.

Joseph Jakuta 1:20 PM  

Definitely more BALTIMORAN but most correctly BAWLMORAN.

Two Ponies 1:21 PM  

Speaking of movies, someone here recently recommended "The Wrecking Crew." Saw it last night. Wow, talk about unsung heroes of the music industry. They were on practically every record and TV theme song ever made.
The blog has given me some good book and movie advice over the years. Thanks everyone.

JC66 1:25 PM  


Went skiing, a green circle indicates beginner level. Blue square indicates intermediate and a black triangle (referred to as diamond) indicates advanced. A double diamond is the most difficult.

Bob Mills 1:27 PM  

Finished it without ever getting the theme. Is that good or bad?

jberg 2:04 PM  

@Bob Mills, whether it's good or bad is entirely up to you -- but you're missing some of the fun if you don't pause after solving to figure out what the theme is.

Back when we still had LPs, I had them of both the songs of Oklahoma! and those of Guys and Dolls, and listened to them all the time. Nevertheless, my first thought here was "that's not from a movie, it's from Oklahoma!" The rustic quality just threw me off. Anyway, I grew up virtually in a middle of an orchard, and there were bushel baskets all over the place; and we learned that there were 4 pecks in a bushel in the same class where we learned that there were 8 furlongs in a mile. I'm in Boston now (where people call themseves MASSHOLES, by the way), and saddened to realize how many residents have never seen a live cow. I once had a neighbor whose adult daughter wouldn't eat the raspberries from her mother's garden because she didn't think food was safe unless you bought it in a store.

Anyway anyway, there really is a Doris Day version.

I wanted STATION master, and was going to commplain about AGENT, but I gather from all the talk about the movie that that is just me.

Ever since EF Schumacher I've thought THINK SMALL was more of an IDEAL than a lackof ambition.

But with 43A in there, I had to love the puzzle.

Dan 2:04 PM  

Ugh some of these clues were painful. Didn't get ideal at first since I spelled it Baltimorian - again, nobody uses that term. E-text is not the greatest but I can stomach it. But "SNEE"?? I hate words that only ever appear in crosswords - even googling snee returns nothing unless you go to crossword solver sites. Berg is dumb, Yuk is dumb, and I still don't get how ASTO means concerning.

tea73 2:05 PM  

FORMAL TALKS vs informal ones is definitely a thing. They usually precede peace treaties.

Hands up for not getting the 10D clue (printed fine). I don't like it, too cutesy.

While the center islands were of no help in the solving experience, I kind of enjoyed going back to look for them.

My time was apparently slightly below my average - but my average may include falling asleep, or answering phone calls without hitting pause.

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Never noticed the theme. Also struggled with YAH and INHELL, especially since i wrote in FORMATTALKS. (i know - pretty dumb), but I knew where the errors were at the end and got eventually

Yaffa Fuchs 4:46 PM  

Was easy for me. But what I want to know is why are you people doing the crossword at 12:30 am????

Trombone Tom 5:46 PM  

@Yaffa Fuchs keep in mind the time differences across the U.S. While I may at times be up doing crosswords at 12:30 local time, my post that shows "12:38" was actually made at 9:38 local time.

Aketi 6:06 PM  

@Roo, glad you're safe. So sorry that Vegas went through such a horrible incident.

Joe Dipinto 7:41 PM  

@Dan 2:04 -- "As to the situation at hand..." = Concerning the situation at hand...

"The Station Agent" is enjoyable if you like quirky indie films with characters who, for example, decide to set up housekeeping in an abandoned railroad car, or run a concession stand in the middle of nowhere with zero customer traffic. The three lead actors are good but the writer apparently wrote the parts specifically for them, so it's not like they were gonna be bad. The movie strains a bit too hard for cutesy absurdism for my taste.

Chance 9:45 PM  

Rex's time isn't one I can touch, but I had the same thoughts as he did. Somehow challenging, even though I knew almost all the fill. And very, very boring clues.

Bushel basket is a well known phrase which has 380,000 hits on Google with quotes, and is found in many Bible translations. Recently I heard Jim Gaffigan say it in one of his comedy specials.

Sherm Reinhardt 10:35 AM  

I am geographically inclined-- read atlases for fun-- and I had no idea about the theme until I came here. That's probably because I solved the puzzle while my wife was on the phone with an insurance agent arranging a policy for our new house, and I was fixated on CENTERISLAND being part of the kitchen. I've never called it a "center" island, only a kitchen island. So I just solved and was gratified that Rex thought it was challenging, because my time was above average.

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thefogman 9:06 AM  

I found this one to be easy, even for a Tuesday, but it was lots of fun anyways. I really like themers and I loved this one. I like the placement of the black squares forming the shape of an island in the center of the grid. I like how the names of the islands were all directly in the center of the words containing them. There is an elegant beauty to this puzzle. Well done Chuck Deodene.

Burma Shave 9:46 AM  


DALY with the ACE Green Bay LINEBACKER,
“IAMSO tough, nobody GETSBY my IDEAL blocks,
so GOHOME a loser as USUAL you Packer.


rondo 10:20 AM  

Kinda liked the CENTER ISLANDs. As mentioned above, a better than USUAL Tuesday. That might happen when you THINKSMALL about the USUAL Tues-puz.

At least we were spared a clue about the TWEETer-in-chief.

OLE’S here once more without Sven or even Lena.

Yeah babies coulda been Taylor SWIFT and NORMA Jean.

YAH, not quite IDEAL, yet better than USUAL. ADIEU.

spacecraft 11:15 AM  

YAH, purty good. Fargo always makes me think of the Sesame Street sleuth: Fargo North, decoder. Getting the un-loves out of the way, I coulda done without ATEIT, MTNS and IAMSO, the RPR. Good theme and execution. Nice fill; though fast is the LINEBACKER who can tackle a WR. The USUAL position would be safety or corner. Still, if the QB spots 1-on-1 coverage on his WR by a LB, that's where he'll throw, so the clue is legit. We have INHELL and ELYSEE. Now THERE's yer polar opposites!

I remember the LAROSA kerfuffle; ol' Arthur ran the tightest ship ever. It was his way or the highway, and Julius chose the latter.

I agree with @rondo's candidates for DOD; since my own Mom was NORMA I will go with Marilyn. And who wouldn't? Birdie.

Diana, LIW 12:55 PM  

@Strayling - got your letter string from yesterday - took me a bit...

Thought this was right in the Tuesday range. And yes, @Spacey - IAMSO and other RPRs could take a breather.

Only write overs (erasures) were the fume channels and ewes before EMUS. Worried at first that my lack offootball knowledge would be a woe, but 'twas all fair.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 4:21 PM  

Nice one, @Burma Shave. Are you a football fan?

This was a decent Tuesday puzzle in that it was pretty tight with a nice revealer. A CENTER ISLAND is what my Mom always wanted, and eventually got it when she moved into a townhouse.

Even though @Spacey calls it a RPR, I liked that I AM SO was not clued as one, which has been the norm...or NORMA, or Norman.

Enjoyed it.

Scott McLean 1:29 AM  

So much crap in the fill, I can’t believe anyone enjoyed this. SNEE ODED UNI IAMSO ASTO ITE OLES YAH... YUK.

And we didn’t even get to hear from M&A about seeing both “Darlin” and “Har har” in the clues. Bummer all around.

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