Chocolate-coated snack stick / SUN 12-10-17 / early 2000s outbreak for short / Irish form of Mary / Traditional Filipino dish marinated in vinegar soy sauce / Hermione's patronus in Harry Potter books / Standout hoopsters

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Constructor: Erik Agard and Laura Braunstein

Relative difficulty: Easy-Challenging (I finished in Easy time, but I had an error; the puzzle is *very* proper-noun heavy, so you just as easily torch this puzzle as fail miserably...)

THEME: "Full-Body Cast" — actors names ("cast"!) have "body" parts embedded (smushed and rebused) inside them—so the rebus squares are BIT PARTS (112A: What eight actors took on for this puzzle?). I guess the body parts are tiny (i.e. shrunk down to fit in one square), hence "bit"...

The Cast:
  • EARTHA KITT (25A: "Batman" actress, 1967-68)
  • DON CHEADLE (31A: "Traffic" actor, 2000)
  • JOHN LEGUIZAMO (36A: "Super Mario Bros." actor, 1993)
  • ELSA LANCHESTER (54A: "Bride of Frankenstein" actress, 1935)
  • DENZEL WASHINGTON (65A: "Training Day" actor, 2001)
  • MICHELLE YEOH (80A: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" actress, 2000)
  • RYAN PHILLIPPE (94A: "Crash" actor, 2004)
  • OLIVER PLATT (102A: "Frost/Nixon" actor, 2008)
Word of the Day: POCKY (73D: Chocolate-coated snack stick)
Pocky (ポッキー Pokkī, Japanese pronunciation: [pokʲꜜkʲiː] (About this sound listen)) /ˈpɒki/ is a Japanese snack food produced by Ezaki Glico. Pocky was first sold in 1966,[1] and consists of chocolate-coated biscuit sticks. It was named after the Japanese onomatopoetic word pokkin (ポッキン). // The original was followed by almond coatings in 1971, and strawberry coatings in 1977. Today, the product line includes variations as milk, mousse, green tea, honey, banana, cookies and cream, and coconut flavored coatings, and themed products such as "Decorer Pocky", with colorful decorative stripes in the coating, and "Men's Pocky", a dark (bittersweet) chocolate and "mature" version. (wikipedia)
• • •

For a Sunday-sized rebus, I solved this one very quickly. Normally rebuses slow me down—even after I've caught on to the gimmick, the rebus squares can still be peskily elusive little buggers.  And I'll admit to having trouble finding the body part in DENZEL WASHINGTON, as well as trouble remembering that RYAN PHILLIPPE even existed (haven't thought about him since "Cruel Intentions" (1999)). But otherwise, I cruised right through this thing, despite (and occasionally because of) all the proper nouns involved. The grid felt very dangerous—the constructors not only larded it with proper nouns, but dropped in some terminology not often seen in crosswords. POCKY! Do you all know what that is? I do ... but I think of it as having emerged as a foodstuff in America well after my childhood, so I don't know how much older folk know about it. And "NARUTO," yikes. I teach comics and *I* had trouble with that answer (largely because I don't read contemporary boy-manga (i.e. shonen)). I am very familiar with the title, but the spelling ... kept eluding me.

But the answer that actually brought me down was an answer I thought was more exotic than it turned out to be. I had the "Traditional Filipino dish" at 56A: Traditional Filipino dish marinated in vinegar and soy sauce as POREADOBO. Once I saw the clue, I figured it would just be some exotic word I didn't know, and I'd have to rely on all the crosses. So I did ... and one of the crosses betrayed me. 37D: Crash, with "out" (ZONK). I had the "Z" early on and unblinkingly wrote in ZONE. I think of "crash" as having to do with losing focus / steam, though it can also mean sleep. I don't feel like "ZONK out" and "Crash" are that interchangeable, whereas I think of "crashing" and "zoning out" as things I start doing every night on the couch around 9pm. Anyway, it's my bad, I'm sure ZONK is the better answer. I just fell in a hole I had no hope of getting out of. It happens. Rarely, to me, but it does.

I enjoyed the puzzle—the grid is full of sparkle. I had a few issues with the theme, though. HEAD, I would argue, includes EAR and EYE. Like, if you brought me a HEAD and it didn't have EARs and EYEs, I'd be like "what did you do to this HEAD!?" So there's redundancy in this body "part" list. Twice. Oh, no, wait: thrice—LEG presumably contains SHIN. You get the idea. Further, the LIVER is an internal organ, so that's ... weird. All the other parts are external / visible. So the assortment of body parts is pretty ragtag. But otherwise it's a pretty solid rebus, one I caught very early (at Cheadle) and only struggled with at OLIVER PLATT (I never saw "Frost/Nixon" and had no idea he was in it—I don't think of him as having any particularly iconic roles). Also, I happily put in RADAR at 103D: Real-time tool for meteorologists, so finding that LIVER was hard. And, again, why would I be looking for an internal organ?? But again, the whole thing was mostly entertaining and enjoyable. T'AIME is very rough, but it's the only answer I would absolutely bounce from the party (62D: "Je ___" (French words of affection)). The rest can stay. I mean, I probably wouldn't *talk* to IATE, but he can still hang if he wants (81D: "Must've been something __").

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I finished a new off-season baseball crossword. Enjoy:

Rex Parker's Off-Season Baseball Crossword #2: 
"Angel ... in the Outfield?" (PDF) (.PUZ

P.P.S. I-65 does not run through ATLANTA, so I don't know what happened with that clue. Typo for "I-75," I imagine...

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Exubesq 12:17 AM  

I had the exact same error and spent way too much time looking for it.

DebbieJRT 12:18 AM  

I feel better as I made all the same mistakes and got hung up in the same places. Actually had a pretty good time, for me, but it said I had a mistake. By the time I found it (POREADOBO, as well) I was firmly in average finish time. It was a fun puzzle.

Questinia 12:20 AM  

Same error here too but found it. I had a problem with ELSA LANCaSTER. It's LANCHESTER? I thought the cast in Lancaster was a literal reference to the theme.

Fun puzzle.

oldactor 12:27 AM  

I knew most of the actors but none of them fit. It had to be Elsa Lanchester but didn't fit. Tried so hard to put Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon but likewise. Wanted Don Cheadle for crash but he winded up in Traffic. Great aha moment. I thought there were only two actors in Frost/Nixon cause I never saw it. When I saw Oliver Platt in the cast (which I looked up) his liver jumped out at me and gave me all that I needed to finish this delightful puzzle. Loved seeing Earth Kitt again.

oldactor 12:29 AM  

of course I meant EarthA

Ellen S 12:49 AM  

I enjoyed it kind of because I had to look up all the actors except EARTHA KITT. Most of the movies I haven’t even seen, so it didn’t spring to mind who starred in them. And even after finishing the puzzle, the body part in DENZEL WASHINGTON keeps hiding from me. SHIN SHIN SHIN. I’ve heard of PORK ADOBO even though I’m a vegetarian, so I was able to correct ZONe out to ZONK.

I’m mostly grateful I’m caught up, for the moment.

Andrew R. 12:52 AM  

I-65 doesn't go anywhere near Atlanta, it hits I-20 at Birmingham. Is there some other interpretation to that clue?

Anonymous 12:53 AM  

Just checked the temperature in Hell to see if it had frozen over. A Sunday puzzle that I enjoyed and apparently Rex did too.

Moly Shu 1:03 AM  

I’m wondering what all the people who had ZONe for ZONK did at 67d?

Mark Barrett 1:08 AM  

Rex, you want to see some strange casting? Oliver Platt played George Steinbrenner in "The Bronx is Burning."

Joel 1:09 AM  

Came here to say what Andrew did. I think Mr. Shortz meant I-75.

TomAz 1:12 AM  

@Andrew R: I think the clue is in error. May be a typo. I-20, I-75, and I-85 meet in Atlanta; I-65 is not in the same state.

I do not like this puzzle at all. I don't like over-reliance on proper names, especially proper names of actors, because I do not believe the mediocre ones are worth knowing. I don't believe I've ever even heard of John Leguizamo -- when I google him I certainly don't recognize him.

But then to stuff mid-tier actors with rebuses? cmon man. that's dreck. How bout I make a puzzle full of lifetime .240 hitters, and include rebuses in their names, and errors in the clues, and you fill it out? Good luck with that crap.

This puzzle is bad and Rex's writeup is bad for not catching it. Rex, people on here carp at you for being negative, but you let me down on this one man.

Larry Gilstrap 1:55 AM  

Kinda what @TomAz said and I usually try to stay on the sunny side of life. I am aware that many folks in the crossworld admire the constructors, but what does that have to do with my assessment of this puzzle? The notoriety of the themed film stars is hardly consistent. Does anyone envision attending a MICHELLE YEOH retrospective anytime in the future? I assume OLIVER PLATT is an accomplished actor, but this is a Sunday puzzle, for crying out loud!

And another thing, mid-solve I flat out asked my resident fashionista if black attire could be an OPERA HAT; crickets. She's an authority, for crying out loud!

How often in this forum are themers held up to a standard of some sort of logical pattern. Yeah! HEAD is near the top of the body, but kinda wonky on the shoulder, stage right. In the other armpit we have a LEG and then an EYE god knows where? I like Picasso, who doesn't? but he gave us lovely abstraction. Who knew the LIVER was down around the ankle and strangely visible? Oh, the humanity! BIT PARTS strewn everywhere.

POCKY from crosses, fair enough. I really liked ROOKIE YEAR for Robinson's 1947 season and the rebus it contained. I enjoy following DON CHEADLE on Twitter and gave him a heads-up about his inclusion in the puzzle. I'm certain he and his publicist are pleased.

I'm yogic. This thing made me cranky. Maybe, it was something I ATE. Blame it on the vinegar and soy sauce and some mystery meat.

Robin 2:08 AM  

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones who entered ZONK rather than zone. I have no clue why I did so.

Haven't seen some of the movie referenced or else didn't recall that particular actors were in them. Nevertheless, given enough crosses one could fill them all in by just working out the names from watching enough movies (e.g. I mostly recall RYANPHI[LIP]PE from Gosford Park).

Not my fastest for a Sunday but nevertheless finished in a pretty good time.

Olav Megastar 2:25 AM  

I got the rebus pretty early at EARTHAKITT but that SE corner was a doozy even though I KNEW there was the last rebus there.

Some people hate Star Wars clues but I hate Harry Potter clues so please stop thanks.

I have a favorite animated gif of ELSALANCHESTER as the Bride of Frankenstein and she's screaming at Frankenstein as he reaches out to her just trying to be nice. And before anyone gets all pedantic and says that Frankenstein is the doctor not the monster just remember that Dr. Frankenstein created the monster so legally the monster is entitled to his name. Come on be fair the guy has bolts in his neck and the only eligible woman in town hates men.

The last square I filled in was 40D, because "N, seen from the side" looks to me like "I" doesn't it? "Z" is "N" seen from the top. Or something. I did a BONG hit before I solved so who knows.

Larry Gilstrap 2:38 AM  

Celebrity would have been a better word than "notoriety" in this context. Has it always been renown because of bad stuff? If so, my apologies to the actors.

chris 2:40 AM  

I guess I watch a lot of movies because all the actors were familiar to me and came easily. No problem with pork adobo, but I messed up Elway/Swann. Never having read Proust, I thought it might have been St. Ann and Eltay. Ack! So much for my knowledge of pro bowlers. My only excuse is that I grew up in Maryland with duck pin bowling. I'm assuming Elway was a professional ten pin bowler...

jae 3:45 AM  

Hi @chris - just in case you are not kidding John ELWAY was the 2 time Super Bowl winning Denver Broncos quarter back and nine time Pro Bowler.

Oh, and nice to have a Sun. with a bit of crunch. Liked it. (put in ZONK on the first pass).

'mericans in Paris 4:17 AM  

Relatively easy for us, but our view on the puzzle is more in line with those of @TomAz and @Larry Gilstrap than with @Rex's: we knew few of the actors, but thankfully EARTHA KITT, which gave us a foothold. Should have known ELSA LANCHESTER, I suppose, but didn't, because we had entered "kiD" for 55D, and only belatedly thought of LAD. That whole Nevada area was pretty tough for us.

The S.E. also proved elusive for a long time. Like @Rex, we happily entered RADAR and thought that suffices. Isn't RADAR, except when somebody wants to keep a record of it to cover their [insert body part] in the event of an airplane crash, always "live"? So isn't that "live" rather redundant?

OTOH, the several French-themed answers (SEINE, SWANN, [Le] HAVRE, T'AIME, NOTRE) helped speed up our solving time.

By the way, with KIEV and KGB in the puzzle, another title for it could have been "A TSAR is born".

I'LE sign of here 'cause I can't think of much more to say.

Kevin 4:50 AM  

Also made the same error about ZONK. I stared at the puzzle for 30 minutes, trying to find a possible error. But all the crosses in anything I didn't know for sure (Talib, for example) seemed rock solid. I even tried deleting and reentering the rebus answers in case there had been an extra space included at the end or something.

The ONLY reason I finally solved it was when I realized ZONE was also the answer to 37 down. I knew one of those had to be wrong, but even then it took several minutes to find the mistake.

Anonymous 5:06 AM  

If one of the constructors wasn't a regular contributor to his blog Rex would've torched this. Sad.

Go Democrats 5:20 AM  

I think calling 1947 Jackie Robinson's rookie year is racist. He did play in the Negro League.

Lewis 6:24 AM  

There were lots of easy footholds (most of the fill-n-the-blanks, i.e.) to counter the tough and obscure answers. I think the reason there were some lesser-known actors (as some have said here) is that there aren't many famous ones with body parts imbedded in their names; I say that after I tried to come up with some. All I got were body parts that weren't specific enough: mORGAN freeman and BUSTer keaton. Maybe someone here will do better.

POCKY and NARUTO, both from Japan, seem to be big deals based on their Google hits. Very nice clue for TEPEE. Excellent puzzle title as well. And I like the ZAP, BONG, and ZONK. Aside from the SE, this was a relatively smooth sail. And a great idea for a theme.

Loren Muse Smith 6:49 AM  

Laura! One of “our own” here at Rex. I always enjoy your write-ups when you’re filling in. Congrats on the debut! Erik is a constructor bad-ass and amiable fellow.

I got the conceit with DENZEL’s SHIN and settled in to find all the body parts. Made a little list in the margin and crossed’em out as I solved. Actually, I crossed out only EYE, LEG, and EAR. I didn’t write CHEST, HEAD, LIVER, or LIP. @Lewis - too bad Mark Neely isn’t more famous. Or that Jonas Salk wasn’t an actor. Or that there’s no Phillippe Nissan.

I’m pleasantly surprised that Rex let the A WALK partial at 1A slide. Usually a partial in that spot gets a snipe.

I managed to get the K at the end of 37D, but I changed it to “conk” out. Wasn’t familiar with the actor, but John Leguicamo looked ok.

Got a kick out of the back-to-back acronyms or whatever you call them: NBA MVP. A headline could be NBA MVP MIA in NBC Playoffs.

Laura, erik – I loved this idea and thoroughly enjoyed the solve. Nice job.

BarbieBarbie 6:53 AM  

One of my favorite bits of Disney trivia (ok, maybe my only bit) is that Elsa Lanchester was cast in Mary Poppins as the evil Katie Nana. Even almost has the BOF hairstyle.
Got the rebus at EARTHAKITT and I would argue that the rebuses make the proper nouns fall more easily, so they don’t really count toward the proper noun total. Had the same trouble with RADAR obscuring Oliver, though. Otherwise pretty easy.
I love all the nods to the blog. Including our rebus fix. One for @ED with YADA!
Ended up DNF because of the ZONe error, figuring the Filipino dish was some Spanish language thing I’d never heard of, and blind to the fix that the K would have given me.
I always like bigger puzzles, and I always always like rebus puzzles, so I’m happy even though my pencil is sad.

BarbieBarbie 6:57 AM  

@LMS, Phillippe Nissan, har! And your thumbnail is great today.

Anonymous 6:58 AM  

I rarely agree with Rex, but I would have written a very similar review. I too had ZONE, and almost had a DNF, until I tried the K.
Stop already with everything being racist (5:20 post). You're like the boy who cried wolf. Rex kept his outrage in check this past week, and that's a good thing. Enjoyed the puzzle.

Theodore Stamos 7:07 AM  

Are we supposed to know who ELSALANCHESTER is? It's a b-movie from 1935, for crying out loud!

chefbea 7:21 AM  

too tough for me!!! A rebus on a Sunday???? What happened to Thursday

Now to start my xmas baking!!!

Racists 'R' Us 7:32 AM  

@Anonymous @6:58, I suspect that you should not literally interpret @Go Democrats. He was skewering Rex for hypersensitivity and virtue signaling.

Enjoyable puzzle. Several aha moments. Solved in easy time.

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

This was brutal. Michael Sharp would’ve skewered it had his friend not been a co-constructor. Good on you Michael.

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

@go dem 5:20. Jackie Robinson won Rookie of the Year. So did Ichiro Suzuki, despite playing nine seasons in Japan and having over 1200 hits there. Was that racist too you snowflake?

pmdm 8:02 AM  

Jeff Chen thought this puzzle worthy of a POW award. I dislike proper names, so POW is what I feel should be done to the constructors. A shame, because the rebus idea is good.

Fitting that a typo found its way into a clue in today's puzzle.

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

It's a classic B movie. Not all B movies are obscure.

John McKnight 8:12 AM  

well i didn't like this. LIVER seems way off. i also didn't care about any of the fill; none of it was interesting. the phrasing in some (most) of the clues was also kind of tonally tedious ime. one of those sundays for me, i guess.

i wonder what would happen if a famous/accomplished/creative novelist were to do a guest spot editing the clues for one of these sundays? has that been done? anyone know the results?

kitshef 8:14 AM  

Found this hard, for a number of reasons. First of all, POCKY?!?!?!? All the crosses were solid, but huh?

Then there was the TALIB (WoE) cross with STEAL, which I had trouble equating with cop (I got there eventually).

Also, in most cases I couldn’t name a single actor in the work cited, and in three cases I’ve never heard of them at all (certainly there were not MEGASTARs).

And like Rex, plopped in RADAR at 103D and then had to figure out what to do with ORPLATT.

Avoided ZONE at 37D thanks to 67D.

EARTHAKITT was my key to figuring out the rebus, and I thought we might get all three-letter body parts (EAR, EYE, hip, jaw, LIP, LEG, rib, arm, gut … probably a couple I’ve missed). Actual theme was probably better.

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

Worst puzzle ever.

American Liberal Elite 8:20 AM  

Never heard of Oliver Platt, and "radar" alone worked just fine. So there was that. And "Rookiey(ear)" instead of "rooki(eye)ar" slowed me down, too.

Christopher 8:27 AM  

Is LIVE RADAR actually a thing? LIVE? Like Rex, I never thought I would get the Filipino food until I noticed ADOBO. Then the K of ZONK and PORK came to me. ZONK seems better than ZONE. Why do I think I hae the Smiths or more specifically Morissey, to thank for knowing the name Elsa Lanchester, even if I'm not sure i've ever seen a movie with her in it.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

@Go Democrats: Jackie Robinson won the Rookie of the Year award in 1947.Similarly, Ichiro Suzuki won the Rookie of the Year award in 2001 after playing nine seasons in Japan. Was that racist too you ? Don’t be a snowflake. You won’t find a more politically correct constructor than Laura Braunstein.

The Clerk 8:40 AM  

Not a good puzzle. Felt like a memorization test. Southeast was the Achilles HEEL. LIVERADAR is ridiculous; how else does one watch it, TiVO? Harry Potter arcana crossing anime proper nouns?

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

That Ryan Phillipe dude isn't real big on commitment.

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

He was named Rookie of the Year in 1947. Stop looking for problems where none exist.

evil doug 8:42 AM  

If you haven't seen "Witness for the Prosecution", you should check it out.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Shh - Will is on the radio!

QuasiMojo 8:51 AM  

"Bride of Frankenstein" was not a B-movie. It had a budget of $400,000 which was very high in its day. Its predecessor was a MONSTER hit for the company. And its director and star (Colin Clive) were the ELITE of Hollywood at the time. Karloff was paid a handsome salary too. It's considered one of the finest motion pictures of the period.

I was beginning to worry that Atlanta's URBAN sprawl was spreading to Alabama. Glad Rex pointed out the mistake about I-65.

I wish I could drum up the type of enthusiasm @Lewis seems to consistently demonstrate for various aspects of puzzles. This one left me ZONKed out from the get-go. Too many "STARs" to accomplish a theme that seems unoriginal even it it is. I guess Rex doesn't get out much. You can see some unfortunate people's LIVERs hanging over their belts. They are just cloaked in large FLAPs of fat and skin.

And I'd hate to meet an actor comprised only of an EAR, a HEAD, a LEG, a CHEST, a SHIN, an EYE, a LIP and a LIVER. But then I guess I shouldn't be surprised they don't have a HEART. Did anyone else expect to see EGO pop up?

Kevin 8:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jofried 9:00 AM  

Torture. I’ve never heard of nearly every actor in this puzzle. I don’t really watch movies or care about celebrities. I had ZONK and then tried changing it to CONK while flailing around with JOHN LEGUIZAMO as I had INITIA instead of INITIO. And never heard of SWANN or ELWAY (as a bowler). I really don’t like puzzles drowning in proper nouns. Not fun. Yuck.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

And surely you’ve seen Witness for the Prosecution .....

Kevin 9:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard 9:08 AM  

ELWAY made the NFL Pro Bowl that many times, I guess.

I thought the cluing was well above average here.

Lewis 9:08 AM  

@rex -- Re your puzzle... The theme was current and cute. 22D was also cute, but what would Rex say if he saw it in a NYT puzzle? Lovely clue for TSO, and I liked the answer 11D (and glad you didn't concoct a baseball clue for it). Felt like a TU/WED, and like all of your puzzles, it felt fresh and lively.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

If this puzzle had five or seven more proper nouns, a star wars clue, Ella Fitzgerald, and acne, I could say that it would have few contenders for the Most Non-enjoyable Puzzle of the Year. Really too bad. It's so close.

Andrew Heinegg 9:15 AM  

I don't like it or do well when a rebus pops up but, some of the 'objections' made to this effort are head scratchers to me.

Elsa Lanchester was not a b movie actress. Witness For The Prosecution, as Evil Doug suggested, is a fascinating movie that presented a credible love-murder-revenge motif with many famous a-rated actors. She was also in many popular films through the years such as Mary Poppins and was twice nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actress.

The blog discussion about Jackie Robinson is nothing short of amazing to me. How does a joke about a clue turn into snowflake name-calling!?! We used to be so civilized not long ago.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

I had a bad misunderstanding at first. I knew Eartha Kitt and I knew her name didn't fit. I thought it was spelled Ertha and I saw that if you went up a clue and then down again like ^ the tha were on the line above so I mistakenly thought all of the clues were like that until I realized that it was a rebus.

Nancy 9:48 AM  

I was ready to hurl this proper name-riddled puzzle across the room when I belatedly realized that it was a rebus. I spent the rest of my not-quite-successful-solve alternating between pure hatred for the arcane trivia knowledge it was demanding of me and blind devotion to all things rebus. I experienced a lot of Suffering, and while the rebus aspect of the Suffering was Good, each rebus was wrapped in a proper name I mostly didn't know, and that was Bad. Nor did I finish. I had DON COLE at 31A and MICHELLE OH at 80A. I could have cheated on all of these names, of course, but I don't cheat.

Interestingly enough, just yesterday, @mathgent emailed me about a WSJ puzzle he sent me that we ended up both enjoying. Seems that the WSJ commentariat mostly didn't like it, but @mathgent wrote: "There's no such thing as a bad rebus." Well, perhaps there is, @mathgent. And if there is, then it's defined by this trivia-laden slog-fest.

SouthsideJohnny 9:57 AM  

Today is a sad day. The construction of this puzzle was very craftsmen like and competent. However, it is unsolvable for 99.9% of the general NYT readers and/or puzzle subscribers. The only people who have a chance of completing this disaster are Rex, and perhaps 25 or so of the regular contributors here (and even they struggled). It used to be that an advanced beginner like myself could struggle a bit, make progress and at least derive some enjoyment. I don't know who the NYT puzzle editor considers his target demographic, but sadly, it does not include me (and I can handle M-W, and usually sruggle with Th and Sun).

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Wow that was tough. I felt a brief moment of sadness when I filled in POSTDOCS, who do so much great science but will became an endangered species with the new GOP tax plan.

Two Ponies 10:02 AM  

No fun at all.

"Leaves on a table" clues usually are a misdirection for salad.
When that is the only fun word play you know you are in for a boring solve.

@ Larry Gilstrap, Your comment gave me a mental image of the aftermath of an explosion and scattered body parts. Maybe that explains why they are in no particular order and liver is part of the rebus.

Nancy 10:09 AM  

Glad to see the comments of @TomAz, @Jofried, @John McKnight, @kitshef, @Larry Gilstrap and everyone else who found this wholly unenjoyable. FWIW, I also had ZONe instead of ZONK, giving me that famous culinary treat POREADOBO that is such a crowd pleaser. Since I crashed and burned elsewhere, I didn't even notice this particular mistake.

I got the rebus at ELSA LANCHESTER and I applaud everyone who mentions her in "Witness for the Prosecution." One of the greatest movies ever made and certainly, I would claim, the greatest courtroom drama of all time. Based on a brilliantly deceptive Agatha Christie story. It's hard to believe that there's anyone who hasn't seen it, but if there is, go rent it now.

Aketi 10:15 AM  

Thx to my son having read almost all of the NARUTO collection, that was a gimme for me.

Whenever I think of ELWAY, I can't help but smirk over my favorite last minute football turnaround ever.

KRMunson 10:17 AM  

Very hard solve for me, too. Got the rebus quickly but didn’t know the actors. Was a slog but amazingly I got through it.

Anonymous 10:19 AM letter words like chest and liver in one box to complete the clue is silly...I wrote all the puzzle's 239 answers in the 69 down space and called it a day...ugh...

Wm. C. 10:24 AM  

Hated it, hated it, hated it! Ruined what is usually my favorite XW day of the week. I'm not a movie person, and hadn't even heard of any, except for Denzel (and now only in retrospect remember that there was a movie Training Day).

OK, I assume most people are more movie-knowledgable than me, probably confirmed by the fact that I'm the only one lodging this complaint. BUT, a Sunday theme shouldn't hang folks like me out to dry, even if there are only a few of us, IMO.


Teedmn 10:24 AM  

JOHN [LEG]UIcAMa and Curriculum fITAE. Head cONK for the second one, a shrug on the double DNF miss on 36A as I joined @LMS in cONKing out.

I was in dire need of a breakthrough on this one, which [EAR]THA KITT finally provided. I used the theme shamelessly to figure out the actors' names. ELSA LAN[CHEST]ER and MICHELL[E YE]OH in particular. And O[LIVER] PLATT saved my skin on 103D, which had otherwise flown under my RADAR.

I found this fun and it went faster than most Sundays, albeit a triple DNF. Congratulations to Laura on her debut. She called out for more female constructors here on the Rex blog and has put herself on the line!! Thanks to Mr. Agard as well.

@Larry Gilstrap and @Two Ponies, I appreciate your dissecting the reason for the scattered body parts, har.

Birchbark 10:28 AM  

Double DNF on the proper nouns, cONK for ZONK. And it never occurred to me that RADAR would need LIVE as a modifier (as opposed to recorded radar?), so hit a true wall at 102A looking in the wrong square for the rebus. I also felt that a full body cast would have at least one representative from the upper limbs. So spent quite a while stabbing at arm, wrist, phalange, etc. as possible answers to complete an actor I didn't know and a popular manga title.

But otherwise a good steady solve -- BIT PARTS is a SLY revealer.

I liked @Rex's bonus puzzle. I think it would be a good Tuesday submission to the NYT. The baseball trivia is solvable without wonk-level expertise, which I take to be an accomplishment. The clue on 30A is one of the best of 2017 -- audible laughter.

Teedmn 10:31 AM  

And did any one else have "nap" at 76D for "Like some winks" (as in forty)?

KRMunson 10:40 AM  

@Chris. I had the same problem. I don’t know any pro bowlers, I thought. IMO it Should’ve been clued as “Pro Bowl’ers”.

Aketi 10:43 AM  

@Nancy I was thinking of @mathgent as I slogged my way through through finding body parts in celeb names. The body parts weren't that hard but I'm never good with celeb names.

As for ELWAY, he also reminded me of the time the head of the Division of Nutritional Sciences praised my letter to the editor of the Cornell Daily Sun in response to an article that trashed Joe Montana's performance as boring in the 1990 Super Bowl when he was pitted against ELWAY. I loved that game too.

ColoradoCog 10:53 AM  

I was able to avoid two traps that caught lots of others. First, having initially written in cONK kept me from the ZONe trap. Second, I thought that 103D was almost certainly “radar” but in the back of my mind I knew that “ladar” was also a thing, but I wasn’t sure what it was. So I kept that first space blank just in case and filled in “_ADAR”. Of course, that made the rebus square easier to spot later. Afterwards I googled “ladar” and learned that while it is a thing similar to radar, it has nothing to do with weather. Sometimes “fuzzy knowledge” can work to your advantage in a puzzle.

Churlish Nabob 11:14 AM  

Crybaby snowflakes whining about actors’ names. Go drink your afternoon milk.

Charles Flaster 11:20 AM  

Loved theme.
DNF at LIVE RADAR—thought RADAR was perfect. Can RADAR be dead??
Writeovers : BELL HOP for BELL bOy and ELSA LANCHESTER for ELlA rainEs.
NEON SIGN and OWIES were tough to digest.
Thanks EA and LB

Stanley Hudson 11:37 AM  

Unlike many others, I enjoyed this one. Several of the actors aren’t MEGASTARS, but they work steadily and so were recognizable enough.

And yes, “Witness for the Prosecution” is a great film.

the redanman 11:39 AM  

Same error, same meh here. Agree nearly 100% with Rex's O

Disappointing in the end

LIVER? - all the rest were external bits and pieces, I originally thought the constructor was good enough to get the body parts somewhat anatomically placed.

Oh bother ...

TrollZAPPER 11:41 AM  

Hey, Churlish Nabob 11:14: Have you ever solved a crossword puzzle in your life? Didn't think so. Why not try one sometime and stop pestering those of us who do solve them. Bet you'll fail at it. Bet you fail at most things in life. You come off here as trying to sound all superior to everyone, but IRL, you're obviously a Loser. And you know it.

Malsdemare 11:42 AM  

How did I fail this! Let me count the ways. Pro bowler? Why not ELtAY? That gave me StANN, but I haven't read Proust (sorry, Mom, I know he's your fav). I had cONK out and INITIa, but JOHN LEGUIcAMa worked for me because I've never seen the movie (though I've played the game plenty. I honestly don't get this fad of making movies from games, although having just written that, I've gotta admit that "Clue" is hysterical.) . But my yuuuge fail came with completely missing the LIVER. I assumed the rebus was in that blank space between N and RUTO, even while knowing there was no actor named Or something, because RADAR had to be right. Right? That one was my sole Google, my last fill, and I confidently expected the happy music, only to be disappointed.

But having a big DNF doesn't make the puzzle less entertaining. I too inserted CaST into ELSA's name and thought to myself, "Self, just insert CaST everywhere." It was Ms. KITT who pointed out the error of my thinking. Once I changed CaST to CHEST, I was off and creeping. Just getting to complete but wrong took a lovely hour of my morning.

I love rebuses so thanks, Erik and Laura. Now to read the rest of the posts.

Birchbark 11:43 AM  

@ColoradoCog, well played at 103D, and wish I'd thought of it. It's a good technique to unfill squares when facing a possible wall.

GILL I. 11:48 AM  

Oh, great....Names I can't remember (Hi @Nancy). Actors I've never heard of. Movies I've never seen. Can't think of a better reason to clean the house and do my laundry.
I think the concept is quite good if you're into that sort of thing. The rebus with body parts is clever but only if you know your movies and the actors. I only saw "Bat Man" and so knew [EAR}RTHA KITT. I had the KITT in place so I cottoned to the theme. Only problem was I thought everything else had an EAR in it.
I know DENZEL WA[SHIN]GTON but had no idea he was in whatever that movie was. Try spelling [LEG}UIZAMO...and so it went. Downhill.
Was I the only one in had to write in the N and turn it on its side to get the ZEE? I liked that clue.
Filipino food is delicious. There is chicken or PORK ADOBO. ADOBO simply mean to marinate and boy do they marinate...for days sometimes and cook it for hours. You have to be patient. It's worth it because it tastes like heaven. Great big family diner dish. I also recommend afritada.
LIVER belongs elsewhere. Maybe on a POCKY stick or in the NARUTO times or even in a TACO STAND.
I'm happy for those that liked the puzzle. I'm happy for @Laura B on the debut. I'm sorry for me because I wanted champagne and instead I got a Diet Coke.

Robert Friedman 11:50 AM  

They meant I-75 but forgot to fact check.

Adam Frank 11:51 AM  

When is RADAR not live? I mean, RADAR notices stuff in real time - LIVE RADAR seems to me to be superfluous. And not having seen Frost/Nixon either, and with LIVER being an internal organ (as @Rex mentioned), I was at a loss. I knew that OR PLATT was not the name of an actor, but every one of the downs (with RADAR) worked. I ran through body parts that I hadn't already put in, focusing on the A in NARUTO, since that was a complete WOE and it would be nonsense either way, but OR PLARMTT wasn't anyone I'd heard of, nor ORPEL BOWTT, and I couldn't come up with another vowel body part that hadn't been used (EYE, EAR). I would never in a million years have guessed LIVER (or any other internal organ, nor am I particularly familiar with OLIVER PLATT - although I know who he is, I would never have come up with him from that clue. I think that corner was unfair to solvers in a number of ways; I had to come here to find that LIVE RADAR is different from RADAR. Ah, well.

I enjoyed the puzzle otherwise but that SE ruined it for me.

Churlish Nabob 11:57 AM  

Hey TrollZAPPER, I solve xword puzzles every day, thank you. I’m an accomplished chef, a working jazz musician, and an award-winning ceramicist. Just relax, take out your dentures, and eat your cream of wheat while you watch the Lifetime channel.

Hick Hop Ditty 12:09 PM  

Hey Churlish Nabob, With that C.V. are you sure you're not Aketa?

Joe Dipinto 12:30 PM  

Pore Adobo, Rex? Really? PORE ADOBO?!! Did PORK not seem TOTALLY OBVIOUS?

I didn't feel anything about this puzzle. Finished it without either enjoying or hating it.

irongirl 12:33 PM  

I have no idea why but I found this to be a really easy and enjoyable puzzle. Oliver Platt was tough, but I'm so used to hearing the weather guy say "Live Doppler Radar" that it wasn't too painful to change Radar to LIVERadar. Elsa Lanchester: My former teaching colleague swore he knew that the Bride of Frankenstein was played by the lovely Angela Lansbury. That clue brought back fond memories of my putting him in his place for once.

I knew Zone couldn't be in the puzzle twice, so I appreciated that hint from the constructors to look again at 37D.

Thank you @Rex for the baseball puzzles. I've already bought my tickets for September when the Angels come to Houston in September to play my beloveds.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

“Elsa” Lanchester used to be in the Times puzzle a lot but only once in the last few years. Blame “Frozen.”

ArtO 12:37 PM  

Generally like rebuses and sussed this one out with earTHAKITT However, the obscurity of some actors and many others (as noted earlier) had me working extra hard without a great deal of satisfaction. Especially after putting in RADAR 103d and never having heard of Mr. Platt. Old enough to know ELSALANchestER so that helped. Just watched Denzel on Amazon last night in a not so greatl "Out of Time". He's good, as always, but a really contrived plot.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Re 44D: An ION is not a particle, as clued. It's an atom.

JC66 12:44 PM  

My question is, isn't Marissa TOMEI out of place in this rebus puzzle featuring actors?

Jan 12:53 PM  

It’s a pretty famous movie. I’m 40 years old and not really a classic movie aficionado and I knew Elsa Lanchester.

boomer54 12:54 PM  

Elsa Lanchester's greatest
role was playing the genius Charles Laughton's "beard "
during an enduring relationship ...

Malsdemare 1:00 PM  

@boomer54. Thank you for giving me Laughton's name. I've been trying to remember who her husband was, knew he was a great, closeted actor, could see him in my mind's eye, could NOT dredge up the name.

Austenlover 1:01 PM  

Elsa Lanchester was married to the actor Charles Laughton from 1929 until his death in 1962. They were a famous acting couple.

Z 1:13 PM  

Definitely not my cuppa. 21x puzzles too easily turn into slogs anyway, then toss in a theme that is PPP and a rebus conceit that I got on the first themer and this was the xword equivalent of flossing my teeth. I did it because it’s part of my daily routine but I didn’t enjoy it.

Hand up for agreeing that LIVER doesn’t belong nor does bodypartless TOMEI. Toss in the I-75 error and that’s three strikes, sit down like Stanton and Judge are going to do 300+ times next year.

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

I made the ZONE/ZONK mistake, and combed through the puzzle several times before noticing I had ZONE in two places---had it not been for the second ZONE, I'd've never found my error!

BarbieBarbie 1:29 PM  

Anon @12:42, yes an ion is a particle. Even in the sense of particle accelerators. Strip all the electrons off and accelerate the nucleus, which is an ion. Even with remaining electrons... you get it.

“Live” radar is what the weather broadcasters always say, to make it more convincing, I guess.

This puzzle was way easier and way more enjoyable than most people here are judging it. And no, I am not one of the best 25 solvers. Far from it. I think we have some kind of hexagonal echo chamber going here ( waaahh! Actors!) that isn’t fair to the constructors. Lighten up.

Hungry Mother 1:30 PM  

All was good until OLIVERPLATT, whoever that is. Like others, I wasn’t looking for internal organs. I figured that “arm” might be the missing part. So, for me the puzzle was almost good, but sucked. Who is interested in dead radar?

Masked and Anonymous 1:38 PM  

M&A puz solvequest quiki-summary: Body parts strewn all over the place, esp. in upper puzhalf.

Almost had to give up and do research in the upper halfpuz, as the crossin names started to crush in on m&e. SHEL TOMEI TALIB ELWAY MOIRA LEEANN SWANN JANE OLAV ESTEE, plus the themer names. Plus INITIO, which sounds like one of MOIRA's distant cousins. Holy NameKitt, Batman.

Bottom puzhalf became much more reasonable, as the name-callin game thinned out and things calmed down. The sun came out. Non-pewit birdies sang. Hardest stuff in lower half: TAIME. NARUTO. HANSEN. LIVER RADAR. ANTI-GONE.

staff weeject pick: HTS. Plural abbreev meat.
Odd but cool long-balls: NBAMVPS. PORKADOBO. SALTCOD. POSTDOCS. [Better clue: {Telephone pole repair people??}.] BIGTODO. KISSCAM.

Got BANGOR off just the ALGA-G, for some reason. That county name musta really sunk in, the one time M&A visited Maine.
Primo BONG clue.

Thanx, ErikA & LauraB [LauraSorceress, is that U?]. I'll go as far as givin U a polite tip of the old OPERA HAT -- but geez, that upper puzhalf didn't sing to m&e.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

fave themer flick = "Bride of Frankenstein", btw.


Joe Dipinto 1:48 PM  

@JC66 12:44 -- good point about Marisa Tomei. And MOIRA Shearer is remembered for "The Red Shoes."

puzzlehoarder 1:51 PM  

My one downfall on this puzzle was ORPLATT. Believe it or not I went through this whole puzzle without noticing that all the themes were based on the full names of actors hence the 'cast' of "Full-Boy Cast". Part of the problem was that I got the rebus with EARTHAKITT and I think of her as a singer more than as an actor. I also never read the clue for BITPARTS as that section went together so easily 112A went in completely from the crosses.

ORPLATT looked very wrong to me even while solving. Reading XWORDINFO I realized what the actual theme was and went back and tried to find where the rebus was in ORPLATT for a full 10 minutes and couldn't do it.

Not knowing who OLIVERPLATT is turns out to be especially bad for myself. I had some vague hunch about this so I showed the puzzle to my wife who doesn't do puzzles at all. She took one look at ORPLATT and said "Oh that's Oliver Platt." I'm like c'mon how do you know this somewhat obscure actor with no hesitation? I'd already looked him up on my phone and realized I'd seen him in a Jon Cusack movie called "The Ice Harvest." My wife reminded me that we went to see that movie because it was recommended by a mutual friend. He grew up with the author who's book the movie was based on and the character Oliver Platt played was based on our friend's uncle.

Other than the frustration of the dnf I really liked this puzzle. It was very well made and I appreciated all the obscurity and the mental gymnastics it required.

Alan_S. 1:54 PM  

Love movies and love crosswords so this was a gimme for me, as was much of the fill; i.e. awalk, apin, iate, nolo, sutra, notre, culpa, etc.
A tad too easy but, given the recent spate of awful Sunday entries, I'll take it. I enjoyed it.

One major complaint: Denzel Washington's role in "Training Day" was decidedly NOT a BITPART. He won the Oscar for outstanding LEAD actor for it, for god's sake!

Bruce Levy 1:54 PM  

Me, too with Zone/Zonk and the Filipino dish. Not the best clue, really, as Pork Adobo is, I beleieve, not exclusively Filipino. Fairly easy puzzle, I'm finding in general the Sunday puzzles to be a little tiresome of late. Too often they the cleverness of the gimmicks seem increasingly contrived.

Mr. Grumpypants 2:03 PM  

Definitely in the running for worst puzzle of the year. Hated it. This should have run in some stupid movie magazine, not the NYT.

Alan_S. 2:09 PM  

Yes we are. We do crossword puzzles.

Alan_S. 2:13 PM  

...and they're not called B movies when they've achieved a classic status as BOF has. Matter of fact, it was never a B movie even if Lanchester was a B actress.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

What the hell is an award-winning ceramicist? Is that like "best ashtray?"

Alan_S. 2:18 PM  

Agree w/ Anonymous @8:42. Please just stop it.
It's comments like yours that give the left a bad name.

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

I also found the list of proper names and obscure actors tiresome---a real yawner. Actually, Rex, you did not finish since you did not finish correctly. If you were doing the NYT app, the clock keeps ticking until you actually get everything correct. I googled several clues after "finishing" until I actually found my mistakes, and the clock stopped. I think I could have taken a pass on this whole puzzle and found something more interesting to do.

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

You can get Pocky and other Japanese candy at Cost Plus World Market.

Alan_S. 2:39 PM  

Because it didn't come off as a joke. It came off as an overly sensitive and overly PC comment that turns an innocent statement into a (perceived) racial slur. If race relations are to continue to improve, and there's no doubt there's plenty of room for improvement, then we all must stop deconstructing every little otherwise innocent comment. C'mon everybody, let's lighten up a little.

Alan_S. 3:09 PM  

Hey! No need to slander the Yanks and their new acquisition. You're probably right about the combined 300+ k's but please let us be contented in our dreams of what could be a very special season.

semioticus (shelbyl) 3:21 PM  

OK, the bad taste of Tuesday-Thursday is finally gone. A nice way to wrap up the week. Good job, NYT!

Fill: This is a very nice fill for a Sunday puzzle. %21.3 of it are 3-letter words, but they don't feel pesty at all. NBAMVPS, PORKADOBO, SALTCOD, TACOSTAND, POCKY (I think I'm hungry) Mr. Kweli, THEADVOCATE... Nice, fresh entries. KGB makes an appearance! If I had to nitpick, I could complain about NW and W a little (ATBAT, OWIES) but this was a very balanced fill overall.

Theme/long answers: This theme could have been bad. I'm not an experienced solver, but I'm pretty sure some variation of this theme was done at some point. But this is brilliantly executed. Consistent all around, actors/actresses relevant enough (except for Elsa Lanchester, I guess), the revealer is cute and informative. The theme just kept on giving and giving. Very nice job.

Clues: "Written deeply", "Leaves a lot on the table", "Before you can say Jack Robinson", "Growing art form", "Dame modifier"... Many nice clues in this one. I see in the comments above that some were problematic maybe, but there were enough sparkles to cover for those.

Pleasurability: What can I say? What a great way to start a Sunday. Tough enough, funny enough, smart enough... That it is proper noun heavy may have made it unpleasant for some, but not me. A couple of small problems in certain spots, but that's it. Smooth as silk otherwise.

GRADE: A, 4.5/5 stars.

Mohair Sam 3:25 PM  

Well we just absolutely loved it! You're all full of baloney (well, most of ya). We thought we were finished and then discovered we had only five body parts, an actor named COLE, another named O.R. PLATT, and we were stating a fact as ALGE. Hmmmm, back to the drawing board. Great fun unearthing DONCHEADLE from a movie we didn't know was made, remembering OLIVER PLATT's first name (all TV weather folks say "LIVERADAR"), and discovering ALLEGE.

Watched "Bride" just last week so ELSALANCASTER a gimme - the movie is proof she was once under 60. And yes @Evil, she's worth the ticket in "Witness for the Prosecution". And yes @Nancy, it's one of the best courtroom dramas ever.

Yeah, there was lots of PPP, but it crossed fairly. Heck, MICHELL EYEOH is new to me and several of the others hardly known. I thought you guys liked challenges. Next time we'll have them do Clark Gable, Brad Pitt, Bette Davis, and Cate Blanchett.

My only complaint is 41D, I'm surprised that wasn't caught. Anyone who understands highway numbering had to know that I-65 and I-85 were not going to meet anywhere near ATLANTA, and probably not at all.

Finally, scratching my head about those who had two ZONE's in the puzzle - Heck I prefer the sound of POReADOBO, and might try some, but the city ZONErs made it impossible to eat.

Awesome SunPuzz Agard and Braunstein - Thanks a lot.

Anonymous 4:49 PM  

Bangor reminds me of a joke. What are you doing this weekend ? I’m going to Maine. Oh yeah ? Yeah I’m taking my girlfriend up to Bangor.

Jack 5:21 PM  

Took me forever to realize we were talking about the football Pro Bowler Elway, not an (obscure to me) master of the lanes. Maybe it was having all those (obscure to me -- and many others, it seems) actors in BIT PARTS all over the place. I liked the reins gimmick and got it early with EARTHA KITT, but a themed puzzle based on a single data category that will be known to some and not others (not a film buff) seems unfair

Jack 5:26 PM  

*reins* not reins. Curse you, autocorrect!

Jack 5:27 PM  

One more time... *rebus*

Michael 8:27 PM  


thefogman 8:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 9:04 PM  

I finally finished this one with no errors. And yes, I did find it rather challenging.

Churlish Nabob 9:11 PM  

@Anonymous 2:14 PM, we’ll explain it to you when get your G.E.D.

Anonymous 9:13 PM  

Anonymous 4:49, Ohio joke: I can’t decide if I’m Dayton a girl from Eaton or Eaton a girl from Dayton!

Hartley70 11:17 PM  

I squeezed this out before midnight on Sunday and loved it. A Sunday rebus is a beautiful thing!

thefogman 11:42 PM  


The Beastie Boys were/are the best.

Anonymous 12:08 AM  

I'm still suffering. DNF.

Doc John 12:42 AM  

So just because you've never heard of someone, they're not worthy of being in a crossword puzzle. JOHN LEGUIZAMO, OLIVER PLATT, and MICHELLE YEOH are all well-respected actors in both movies and theater. Mr. Leguizamo has been in such films as "To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" and "Moulin Rouge" as well as receiving a Drama Desk award, Emmy award and Tony nomination. Mr. Platt, while not as prominently cast, has been in such films as "Frost/Nixon" (as noted) and "Bicentennial Man." He was also Tony-nominated for "Shining City." Ms. Yeoh, currently cast in the new Star Trek series, had been a fixture in Chinese cinema before achieving crossover success in "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon." All these names are well within the wheelhouse of anyone who pays attention.
And kudos to the constructor for even fitting JOHN LEGUIZAMO into a crossword!
I thought at first the puzzle would go from head to toe but it didn't and I got over it. And yes, the liver is definitely a body part.

Anonymous 12:48 AM  

I am sorry, but why?

Natick Runner 1:08 AM  

Wrapped it up after driving back from Vegas (it's a long way from Natick!). Grokked the theme early on with DON C[HEAD]LE. Figured there were a lot of body parts to be found.

Help early on from GF on PORK ADOBO, so maybe I wouldn't have gotten that one. I know about POCKY, but NARUTO was a WOE. Inferred ATLANTA from pattern recognition (the freeways, wrong or right, meant nothing to this left-coaster).

Had cONK and was trying to figure out how to fit brad piTT into 102A for a while, having not seen "Frost/Nixon". Got it straightened out, but then DNF at JOHN [LEG]UaZAMO / MaNARET (another WOE). Old time actresses were tough for me, but got 'em from crosses. Enjoyed the puzz, despite the slog. 15 min slower than norm. I blame rebus.

Oh, and my favorite OLIVER PLATT role is from "Lake Placid".

Anonymous 3:55 AM  

For 22 years, the official English name of 88A has been Kyiv, not KIEV.

Marlon 7:15 AM  

like those movie

Rube 9:46 AM  

A fun and fine puzzle with 1 problem aside from the interstate hway thing. To clue the accomplished Eartha Kitt via her second team role behind Julie Newmar as Catwoman in all of 2 lousy episodes is unfair to her and more so to the true answer to that clue, Yvonne Craig. By specifying 67-68, the clue properly and implicitly recognizes that Batgirl was not part of the 1st season. Pow. Zap. Oof.

OISK 11:28 PM  

Waited until today to slog through this. Disliked it very much. DNF on TA_IB and E_O. A Hip hop crossing Mr. Blue Sky band. Pure guess, and I guessed Tabib.

Amazed that I got through the rest. The last few months almost all of my errors have come on Sundays.

However, a one box DNF doesn't always ruin the fun. In this case, there was very little fun to spoil. Didn't know the movies, didn't know (nor even heard of) most of the actors.

Laurence Katz 2:04 PM  

Hell, "Bride" is even better than "Frankenstein."

ChE Dave 5:04 PM  

Saw the P in Oliver Platt and immediately thought RipTorn, who remembered as playing Nixon. Unfortunately, that was in Blind Ambition and the crosses gradually gave me “orplatt” and I then figured it out. Not difficult fill, but felt like a slogged through to the finish.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  


spacecraft 10:55 AM  

So OFL wouldn't reject any of this fill past IATE?? What about 1-across, for starters? AWALK is more awkward a partial than IATE. Oh, and we're just getting stared. RENTTO? HAVRE with "le" in the clue, and NOTRE with "dame" in the clue? Partials! And the abbrs! From 66-down we read: NBAMVPSTNG. Ridiculous! RDI HTS IST... I've seen junk fill before, but brother! this one's fully loaded.

I managed to finish this, after resolving the ORPLATT problem. OLIVER came to mind as my last aha! moment. The cross is patently unfair, since RADAR and LIVERADAR mean the same thing. I just don't know what good "week-old" RADAR would do--even if such a thing existed.

Half of these actors I didn't know--or in the case of 36-across, knew but misspelled. This was a chore. Themed and non, it is laden with PPPs. The triumph factor comes not from a satisfying feeling of accomplishment, but rather from sticking the slog out to the end.

I give myself a few points for that; the constructors get NIL. Oh, all right, it was a clever idea, and they did a good job density-wise, but I wouldn't relish consuming another such offering any more than I would SALTCOD. Yecch! Bogey.

For DOD, two prime candidates cross in the (hey, I did it first for a change!) NW. Bothe Marisa and LEEANN look good [TOME. I] think the sash goes to Ms. Womack.

rondo 11:18 AM  

I disdain a rebus puz. And the way I worked this one didn't help. Got the DONCHEADLE one then over in the east I filled in EAR in the last box of ROOKIEYEAR, not realizing yet we had to stick with actors. Inkfest there. BELLman for BELLHOP didn't help either.

Let's have a YEOH baby today for the complete, one-time wet TEE shirt Bond girl MICHELLEYEOH. Runners-up are also complete ELSALANCHESTER and EARTHAKITT. YEOH babies! No appropriate body parts for Marisa TOMEI. Today.

Didn't care for it over all, it put me in one of those MOODS.

Burma Shave 11:39 AM  


IATE APIN while on AWALK, it smarts,


BS2 12:02 PM  




BS3 12:33 PM  


erect a NEONSIGN that says, "We're COIN-OP."


These streams of unconsciousness brought to you because of TACOSTAND SALTCOD PASTRIES

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Usually moan when I realize the puzzle is a rebus...this time solved all the rebus clues but fell short on others either misspellings e.g. "slolum" or never-heards "Pocky" Also an "N" from the side would be an "I". Turned in-plane from the front would be a "Z"

fakt chekker 2:18 PM  

@anonymous 12:48 - you've been staring at your *vertical* screen too long. I presume you did your puzzle on paper today since you are commenting in syndicated time. Lay your completed puzzle face up on a *horizontal* table top. Now move *yourself* (not the puzzle) 90 degrees to one side of your table, doesn't matter which way. Look at any N. When "seen from the side" your N is a Z. Don't over-, or in your case, under-think clues like that.

rainforest 2:54 PM  

A medium-challenging effort today for the big Sunday puzzle. I got the theme with EARTHA KITT, and knew that other body parts were to be found and so DON CHEADLE was easy even though I didn't know that movie.

There were a number of sticky parts, but enough easy crosses to make it all work. Actor names I didn't know, a couple of them, could be unearthed courtesy of those crosses and knowledge of the theme.

The hardest for me was at 102A where I could see the body part had to end in "R", and I tried to fit Doppler in there. Up here in Vancouver, the weather person always refers to Doppler RADAR. After about five minutes, LIVER came to me, but I still had to guess at the "A" in NARUTO/PLATT, but it was the likeliest.

I liked this and really saw little in the way of dreck. Partials bother me not a whit, especially if they are in the language. Good job, people.

Anonymous 3:01 PM  

I live in upstate ny near Utica-so puzzles are always a week behind in the Utica of anyway after slogging my way thru this weird creation. it was the zingers thrown between the commenters that made my day - not this puzzle. Especially best ashtray - I was gut laughing

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

Thank you!!!! Ditto. What he said. Same. Cosign.

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

Like "Utica" above, I come to this puzzle a week late.

Nothing bothered me as much as the I-20/I-65/I-85 clue. It's a simple fact check. How can an editor of a puzzle as widely distributed as this make a mistake like that?

Really disappointing, Will Shortz.

AnonymousPVX 5:29 PM  

Well....I thought I had the solve, but a couple of wrong letters did me in. Not my favorite type of puzzle, I dislike themes and this was worse, the rebus. Meh.

leftcoastTAM 8:00 PM  

I had a rant prepared but lost it in cyberspace. The gist was this:

It all came down to the LIVE square in the SE. OLIVERPLATT was the only genuine BITPLAYER and a LIVER is not really a BIT part of our bodies as far as i'm concerned. Other theme clues/answers didn't make the cut for the same reason either.

So, will have to grudgingly admit to a one-square DNF under protest.

lodsf 10:18 AM  

Surprised that hardly anyone objected to the fact that Denzel Washington was not a “bit player” in Training Day, he was the star. Yet plenty of complaints about “obscure” actor/ actress names when, actually, according to the 112A reveal that was exactly what this puzzle was all about. I think that (and maybe the incorrect freeway) were the biggest fails of the whole puzzle. And the SE with little known (to many) actor x Japanese manga x Harry Potter was pretty natick-y.

Also surprised that so many people were stuck on the zon[e or k] / Filipino dish crossing when 37D was so obviously “zone”. Do speed solvers go so fast they don’t even notice other fill?

Anyway, since this was essentially a “tribute puzzle” — a tribute to movie buffs— the whole like/hate thing is kind of not relevant. Know movie trivia = liked it & vice versa, for the most part.

dapete 8:05 PM  

Did not like the "N, seen from the side" clue being ZEE. Should be N seen ON its side.

Also, how does "Turn up" = ATBAT? You ARE up to bat but you don't TURN up.

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