Egg-shaped Hasbro toys introduced in 1971 / SUN 12-17-17 / Nighttime Cartoon Network programming block / Protagonist in Infinite Jest

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Constructor: Andrew J. Ries

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Oh, One Last Thing" — familiar phrases have long "O" sound added to end, resulting in wacky phrases:

Theme answers:
  • STIFF AS A BORDEAUX (24A: Comparatively strong, like some French wine?)
  • VANITY PHARAOH (40A: Egyptian leader obsessed with his appearance?)
  • NEW YORK MEZZO (43A: Certain Lincoln Center soprano?)
  • ROLLING IN THE DEPOT (63A: Shooting craps while waiting for one's train?)
  • I REST MY QUESO (85A: Comment from a cook who cools the cheese sauce before serving?)
  • KOSHER PICCOLO (89A: Woodwind that's O.K. to play?)
  • LOVE IS IN THE ARROW (104A: Cupid's catchphrase?)
Word of the Day: MIRA NAIR (44D: Director of 1991's "Mississippi Masala") —
Mira Nair (born 15 October 1957) is an Indian American filmmaker based in New York City. Her production company, Mirabai Films, specializes in films for international audiences on Indian society, whether in the economic, social or cultural spheres. Among her best known films are Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, the Golden Lion-winning Monsoon Wedding and Salaam Bombay!, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. (wikipedia)
• • •

What are we doing here? I mean ... what? Add-a-sound? That's it? What year is it? This was grating. I learned who MIRA NAIR is—that's the puzzle's one upside. I'm genuinely startled by the rest of it. Startle by how ambition-free it is. How 1998 it is. How not funny the theme clues are. Just startled. Also, a hearty "*&%^ you!" to 102D: Go forcefully (through). I had PLO_ and wrote in a "D" ... and then wondered how [Certain soft drinks, informally] could be DEDS. Wanted to change it to DADS (the root beer), but was 99% sure PHEROMONA was wrong. DEWS!? F*** that S***. Seriously, shove your skater-bro-speak nonsense. The puzzle had already lost me by this point, but finishing here, with this weird cross, took me from mere dislike to contempt. Don't get cute, especially when you haven't bothered to get serious about your *&$^ing theme in the first place. Man, I am swearing tonight. I care a lot. What can I say?

Misspelled PHARAOH, probably because of that stupid horse a few years back, and so that section of the puzzle got rough for me. Between the *G* SPOT and the MODEL *T*, parsing many answers in that area proved difficult. Also, I don't really know who LOUIS NYE is, though the name rings a faint bell (21A: Comedian who was a regular on "The Steve Allen Show"). MIRA NAIR, I absolutely did not know. The whole puzzle, I was thinking that "Mississippi Masala" was "Mississippi Burning" (1988, not 1991). Needed every single cross to get her, and still wasn't sure about it at all. Spelled HASEK like so: HACEK (90D: Goaltender Dominik in the Hockey Hall of Fame). Nope. I'm never ever sure if I've got the vowels right in AMIDALA. Can't believe anyone still knows what WEEBLES are (116A: Egg-shaped Hasbro toys introduced in 1971). They were advertised on TV when I was a kid and *I* forgot they existed. Really helped that for Saturday's puzzle I'd spent several minutes combing through Paul ANKA videos on YouTube (38D: Paul who sang "Lonely Boy"). I forgot that "Rolling in the Deep" was a thing, so ROLLING IN THE DEPOT was by far the hardest themer to pick up. But despite the proper noun trouble (all over), this was a pretty quick solve. Until PLOD / DEDS, that is. Ugh. Sundays, man.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Polanski could've been avoided. You have to *try* to add him to your puzzle. I don't get it. (TESS)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


mmorgan 12:07 AM  

I was sure Rex would hate the wacky "O" answers but most of them were pretty good! Of course, LOVE IS IN THE ARROW only works if you pronounce ARROW to rhyme with the first syllable of PHARAOH, but whatever. I was baffled by ROLLING IN THE "DEEP-O" but looked it up afterwards and it seems to be a song by some popular singer I've barely heard of.

I had two big problems:

1) I was not able to let go of (Stu) SUTCLIFF for 50D which held me up for like forever before I finally got rid of it and allowed PETE BEST to appear. (And anyway, it's Sutcliffe with an e.) Pete and Stu should have formed their own band.

2) I had miNT for 92D ("Lincoln's place") and couldn't let it go, which left me with two unfillable squares and a big fat DNF, on the certainty that 89A ("Woodwind that's O.K. to play") would end in OBOE.

Oh well. Otherwise it was very quick and some good fun. And I loved I REST MY QUESO. (And I do love kosher pickles.)

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

How else would one pronounce arrow? Genuine question, sorry if this should be obvious.

mmorgan 12:20 AM  

@anon 12:13 -- to me the ARR in arrow does not sound like AIR or FARE. It is more closed. I'm trying to find good rhymes but so far I only have the first syllable of Sarah -- but I don't know how you pronounce that. How about MARROW? Or the a in CAMERA. Or Sam. That's like my a in arrow.

Anonymous 12:27 AM  

"Praise the Lord, curse the constructor, and pass the Lipitor."
-- Rex Parker, 2017

Anonymous 12:27 AM  

@mmorgan -- where are you from?

mmorgan 12:35 AM  

@anon 12:27 - I'm from New England (which itself has several thousand regional accent variations). Do you pronounce the a in SAM or CAMERA the same as AIR or FARE? (I love these variations. Sorry to take up so much blog space, I'll shut up now).

Anonymous 12:44 AM  

"Contempt"....what a surprise.

Mexgirl 1:01 AM  

For someone who's not a native speaker of your language, I find these themes extremely difficult to understand (the wit, I mean). I start to always doubt myself: " it pronounced like THAT??"
Anyway, it was fun to solve, though I don't get the "cleverness"

Brian B 1:06 AM  

I keep thinking I should make a bot that will automatically put up a comment every time a new post comes up, saying "Well, *I* liked it."

David Schinnerer 1:29 AM  

Finished in 23 minutes, so pretty easy one today. Didn’t love nor hate it. Just did it.

And wanted to be in first 10 commenters...

Anonymous 1:43 AM  

I’m just waiting to see the utter contempt for having “Roman Polanski” in a clue that “Kevin Spacey” received the other day. That is all.

Oh, and also I was tripped up like mmorgan with SUTCLIFF, even though I knew it had an “E” at the end. Also tried “SUTCLIFE” but that sure wasn’t right either.

Joe Dipinto 2:12 AM  

Mezzo-soprano is not a "type" of soprano, as the idiotic clue suggests. A singer who is a mezzo-soprano has a different vocal quality from that of a soprano. But, no surprise, the cluing continues to go downhill...

Brian B 2:19 AM  

Polanski def should get double the approbation of Spacey. That name has no business on the puzzle page.

Anonymous 3:28 AM  

Horses for courses, I guess. I liked this Sun puzzle. Dews/Plow doesn't seem worthy of such scorn.

'mericans in Paris 3:35 AM  

HEY ALL! Before too many other people start BEEFING about 'DEWS, that is not just "skater-bro-speak nonsense": it's slang in many areas of the Deep South, where the lemon-lime soft-drink Mountain DEW has been popular since the 1960s. Regionalisms are OK by me, given the number of clues that are specific to greater NYC.

Where we struggled was the extreme NW. Had that space at the cross of H_MI and L_EDE open for a long time. Finally guessed "E", but wondered why the LEad sentence would be spelled LEDE. Can anybody explain that?

Learned a new word, HEMI, though the first definition that comes up, as it were, in the Urban Dictionary is very, very different. Think of the answer to 24A.

The other major over-write was 20A. On the strength of a couple of letters, I confidently entered goriLla, wondering why a guy in a gorilla suit would be the quintessential "party animal". (That would be a great clue for "donkey" or "elephant", IMO.) Mrs. 'mericans finally sorted out that area.

Otherwise, we appreciated HERE I AM crossing LOOK AT ME, and (milk)MAID following COW.

All in all, we mostly enjoyed the solve, though we'd not classify this one among the TIP TOP. More like an ALSO RAN.

travis 3:35 AM  

Even though it is horse piss, Mountain Dew is considerably more famous to me than Dad's root beer. Seems a weird thing to get upset over. I'd even go so far as to say I'm only familiar with Dad's from crosswords.

Taffy-Kun 3:53 AM  

No strong feelings about the animal, but why is Pharoah a "stupid horse"? You lose money, Rex?

KRMunson 4:11 AM  

Easy peasy Sunday for me. Theme was ok, not stellar, but didn’t turn me off. Overall a quick, lite jaunt.

'mericans in Paris 4:47 AM  

" ... cross of H_MI and L_DE", obviously.

One cavil: transport DEPOTs are normally places where trains (or buses) are housed when not being used, and also repaired and maintained, not places where one amuses oneself "while waiting for one's train" (or bus). A better clue would have been "Shooting craps while surrounded by parked buses?"

JOHN X 4:52 AM  

Well I thought it was a pretty good Sunday puzzle. Rex, you must just like to get mad because I can't see what the problem is. The phrases are there and you add "oh" and you get the answer. I've tried, but I can't seem to get offended by that. Same goes for the soda pop answer.

TREPID is a neat word I never hear. I hear INTREPID a lot though. That's a good name for an aircraft carrier or a lunar module. In Japanese, the USS Hornet was translated as the "Flying Dragon" which is an awesome name when you think about it.

I got drunk with LOUISNYE and Buddy Hackett in a Chinese restaurant in Santa Monica a few years back. Good times.

Margaret 4:54 AM  

I have been reading Rex for a while now....are there ever any puzzles he does enjoy? Why does he do it if he hates them all so much? Meanwhile I thought this was a good standard Sunday. Probably Wed level difficulty, not too quippy or punny which I like - too many puns (like yesterday) is annoying. I liked the BIGGULP/GILT/GAUNT/GULF crossing - clever.

Loren Muse Smith 5:00 AM  

I will never, ever tire of the add-a-sound theme. The resulting phrase is always a surprise, and I like it. No matter that some aren’t that funny. They’re startling, and that’s what pleases me. It’s kinda like playing with those decks that have the various upper bodies and various lower bodies. When you mix, say, a beefy man on top with a little toddler’s body on the bottom, it’s such a surprise. I like it.

KOSHER PICCOLO isn’t a knee slapper, but it’s just so unexpected. That one was my favorite.

Rex – I agree on ROLLING IN THE DEPOT. I’m not familiar with Rolling in the Deep.

*mmorgan – me, too, for Stu first.

PERFIDY. I’m going to try to work that in to more conversations. There’s a pretty perfidious teacher downstairs from me. (OK – sidebar rant. Get this. This teacher was griping that some students think that even though they have too many absences to be exempt from final exams, they’re still trying to insist that they should be exempt because of their grades. She’s like, Where do they get this sense of entitlement? I’m thinking, Uh, seeing you park on the stripes that are not a parking space so you can park closer to the school because all the other spaces are taken and you don’t want to walk? Maybe start there? I’m too trepid to call her out. Sigh.)

FINITO kinda feels like a themer wannabe.

101A – “try me” before TEMPT

I noticed the PHEROMONE REEKS. Yeah. I know that guy.

My first Kenyan weapon was a saber.

I have to agree with @’mericans – nothing wrong with DEWS here in WV. And you can get them in BIG GULPs. I swear I’m always stunned to see the size of a BIG GULP. It’s as big as a cookie jar. Oh, and I’ll have a Big Gulp Mountain Dew, but do you have someone who can help me carry it to my car?

I appreciate that Andrew gave us lots of different spellings to get that O sound. I thought of PEPPERMINT PATIO Now I won’t be able to stop trying to think of others, the sign of a fun theme, if you ask me.

Anonymous 5:10 AM  


RJ 5:42 AM  

I always learn something new

by 1965, alternative spelling of lead (n.2) in the newspaper journalism sense (see lead (v.)), to distinguish this sense from other possible meanings of the written word, perhaps especially the molten lead (n.1) used in typesetting machines.

Lewis 5:59 AM  

Ohio to all this Sunday!

Soho, regarding the puzzle, what I liked:
* The clever title.
* The other puzzle answers ending in the long O sound: HERO, ICESHOW, ARSENIO, OSSO, FOE, GESSO, FINITO

That is all I care to espresso. Thank you very macho.

Lewis 6:01 AM  

@loren -- Good one with Peppermint Patio!

'mericans in Paris 6:03 AM  

Liked your PEPPERMENT PATIO, LMS. Here's some others:

-- MUSLIM BANJO ("Hybrid Alabama-Oman string instrument?")

-- AT BATTEAU ("Simple address for a French sailor?")

-- MAD AS HELLO ("Not very angry?")

-- VACANT LOTTO ("Game of chance with no winning number?")

-- YOU CAN'T WINNOW ("Disdainful remark to an inept farm worker?")

There must be thousands ...

Anonymous 6:05 AM  

I'm from NJ I agree totally with mmorgan. "Air" and "arrow" do not have the same vowel. This is like one of those tests that can guess where you are from based on how you pronounce "Mary", "merry" and "marry" (all differently for me).

Agree with OFL that the "stupid horse" has ruined my ability to spell PHARAOH. Also hated DEWS but at least I learned that it's a regionalism - thanks 'mericans in Paris.

Lewis 6:13 AM  

@kaffy-tun... American Pharoah -- note the spelling -- won the Triple Crown in 2015.

evil doug 6:27 AM  

Break window:
defenestration preparation.

BarbieBarbie 6:28 AM  

Startled to see DEW described here as lemon-lime when it is honeydew. And, horrible.

The a in arrow is pronounced like the a in bad, everywhere I have lived. Air is like, well, hair. More like the e in wet.

I like added sounds, and here the added sound was spelled differently every time, which added crunch. I liked this one. It was pretty easy, but I liked it.

Jack 6:32 AM  

Glad to know I wasn't the only one who didn't like that clue!

Anonymous 6:41 AM  

Anon 6:05 - of the Mary, merry, marry trio, which has the “air” vowel and which the “ARROW?”

Hmmmmm 6:52 AM  

Never heard of Adele? Really?

Jonathan Alexander 6:56 AM  

I from San Diego, and we pronounce ARROW with the same sound as AIR, no difference in sound in the Mary, merry, marry trio either. I live in MA now and sometimes I do detect some differences in the relative hardness of the a sounds (even though the soft a(r) sound gets all the attention "pahk the cah in hahvahd yahd")

Easy overall puzzle - halved my normal Sunday time. Thought the theme was fine, despite Rex's predictable grousing. Especially because the words in the actual phrases are hidden by the different spellings on the Oh sounding words.

Although a commenter above listed several phrases above that can be transformed in to the Oh phrases, the actual spelling of the word is embedded with a tacked on Oh sound, so I think is is slightly more elegant than at first blush.

Jonathan Alexander 6:58 AM  

And as for the PLO(D) DE(D) trap, I got stuck there too, but was able to quickly garner DEW PLOW out of it, so I don't get Rex's fuss on that in particular

Cory Osborn 7:08 AM  

Time to go drown my rage with a six pack of Deds after that plow/d chicanery >-(

Jj 7:25 AM  

Am I the only one who reads this blog just to read the clever commentary of LMS, rather than the the rants of Rex?

phil phil 7:34 AM  

First round errors for me
brick for IVIED
(leaping) lorD for (milking) MAID
TEase for TEMPT
I liked it, through it quicker than most Sundays which usually come close to 'why-bother-to-slog-thru-the-unfunness status.

chefbea 7:38 AM  

Fun puzzle, which I finally understood this morning!!! I still have a weeble from one of my children...we always say...Weebles warble but they don't fall down.

I rest my queso!!!

chefbea 7:39 AM  

That should be wobble!!!

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

Sheesh, what a dick!

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

Was half expecting a rant on the "sex" clue. "How dare you determine someone's sex without asking them "

Z 8:00 AM  

I liked this way more than Rex. The west went down Monday easy, which meant this avoided that usual Sunday Slog feeling for me. I especially liked LOVE IS IN THE ARROW (sounds right to my midwestern ears).

@LMS - I guarantee you that calling her out wouldn't be worth it, so good call. I also never understood students not having to do Finals, though. Seems like a great time to demonstrate to the student what the student has learned. I mean, has a good teacher ever not known with a fair degree of accuracy, about how each student was going to do on the Final?

Okay people older than me - I'm pretty sure "Rolling in the deep" was a phrase before Adele recorded the song. But I google the phrase and it is all Adele all the time, even when I try to take out results mentioning her (just how many sites are there offering to parse lyrics?). Any ideas on the origin of this phrase and how it was used? Is the song properly titled? To me it seems like there was some religious connotation, but I didn't see anything like that as I scrolled through search results.

John Morrison 8:07 AM  

The word I hated was 'TREPID.' WTH?

Trey 8:18 AM  

You are not alone in that. And a few others with solid comments

mmorgan 8:18 AM  

Oh joy -- there's one of those 12 page super mega puzzle inserts in today's NYT.

Eric 8:20 AM  

Can someone else pretty please explain why "entertainment with camels, maybe" is an "ice show"? It's killing me inside.

I expected googling 'ice show camels' would clear it up for me, but all I see are a couple of mentions of an old song called Camel by a band called ICE (I don't think that's the answer), and then some suggestions for how to make ice cream from camel's milk. I don't recommend switching to image search from there, as that brings up a bunch of pretty morbid photos of camels being slaughtered (eew).

What am I missing here? Thanks in advance!!!

Trey 8:21 AM  

Lede ((per M-W dict) the introductory section of a news story that is intended to entice the reader to read the full story

Trey 8:27 AM  

Another problem I had was PHEReMONE which gave FINITe. Could not see the error in the vowel. I will kinds agree with Red about DEW PLOW DEd PLOd. I was positive that PLOd was correct so DEW never crossed my mind. With the commercials on TV “Do the Dew”, it is fair.

Interesting to have ABCS next to ABS and HEY and HAY

Theodore Stamos 8:30 AM  

Just because someone's name is in the puzzle doesn't mean they are being celebrated. I mean, STALIN has been in a puzzle before, for crying out loud.

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Camel spin is a move(?) in ice skating...weak ass connection imo...i got the answer from the crosses and then looked to see if it was correct...

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

@Eric: a "camel spin" is a figure skating move.

Lewis 8:32 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Go Democrats 8:35 AM  

They wobble Not warble.

Rob 8:35 AM  

@Eric: I didn't understand it either, but a camel is a type of spin in figure skating, per my wife. I was thinking people in camel costumes, like Ice Capades or something.

I liked this, I have fun with the add-a-sound ones and I liked that the constructor took multiple routes to the /o/ sound (-o, -eaux, etc.). Not real difficult, but hey, it's a Sunday.

I am always amazed at the pop culture disconnect in crosswording. I know that the hobby skews older, but something like ASTA* draws nary a word, but an Adele reference baffles people. She's one of the biggest names in modern pop music.

* Admittedly, I've seen it in crosswords so much now that it's automatic for me, and I *have* seen The Thin Man. But that movie is over 80 years old. Most people my age -- I'm in my mid-30s -- won't even recognize it by name.

Glimmerglass 8:36 AM  

Lousy write-up, Rex. The theme was flawed, but not for the reasons you list. It’s a cute idea, and some of the themers are actally funny. I REST MY QUESO, KOSHER PICCOLO, NEW YORK MEZZO, and VANITY PHARAOH are all quite good. The clue for 24A is off. The answer is not a comparison without the first “as.” ROLLING IN THE DEPOT would work with an Adele clue, but not as a familiar phrase (“rolling in the dough,” “rolling in the aisles” “rolling in the hay”). No one I know pronounces ARROW with a long A. The rest of the review just grumbles about stuff you didn’t know or couldn’t remember. Not a review of the puzzle — it’s a review of yourself.

John McKnight 8:37 AM  

i got slowed down by the RAREBIT/GABLE/GSPOT area a little but otherwise the pacing was consistent. i don't like or dislike the theme. during the solve i could predict that i was going to maybe have to spell PHARAOH and that's one of those words for me that i've turned over to autocorrect. i didn't know who LOUISNYE or MIRANAIR were either but i guess who cares. i didn't get bored, so i'll take it. have a great sunday yall.

QuasiMojo 8:40 AM  

OH, the humanity!!

Count me among the DADs over DEWs. I thought PLOD was a lousy answer but it made some sense.

Having never heard of ROLLING IN THE DEEP, I was mystified by that clue and bummed.

@LMS you had me laughing with your SPEEDO avatar today. How 'bout PANTY RADIO?

EdFromHackensack 8:40 AM  

Can someone please explain NEWYORKMEZZO? What is the original phrase supposed to be? New York Mezz? New York Mets? This one bothers me. Hand up for DADS/PLOD. I do hard copy do no Happy pencil , I never know til I get here if I got 100%. I guess I didn't today. DEWS is hard to swallow though.

Hungry Mother 8:41 AM  

Maybe it was the two 5K races that I did yesterday, but this outing wore me out. I got it done, but a long slog. Very nice theme and puzzle. I wearily enjoyed it.

tkincher 8:42 AM  

I was born in ‘78 and I still remember the WEEBLES, both the toy and the jingle in the commercial.

Rather liked this one, but KOSHER PICCOLO stands out as not quite working if, like me, you pronounce that first O in PICCOLO. I also managed to misspell PHARAOH at first, but otherwise this one was on the easier side.

tkincher 8:44 AM  

@EdFromHackensack: You’ve got it, New York Mets-o.

Eric 8:48 AM  

Ah!!! Thanks for clearing sup the camel situation for me, all!

Adele 8:48 AM  

According to an interview from Rolling Stone magazine: adaptation of a kind of slang, slur phrase in the UK called 'roll deep,' which means to have someone, always have someone that has your back, and you're never on your own, if you're ever in trouble you've always got someone who's going to come and help you fight it or whatever like that. And that's how I felt in the relationship that the record's about, especially 'Rolling in the Deep.' That's how I felt, you know, I thought that's what I was always going to have, and um, it ended up not being the case.

American Pharaoh 8:51 AM  

Some stupid human blog host didn't read the clue at 117A and put in "Dads". It reads "informally" you stupid human, Dads is the formal name.

Two Ponies 8:53 AM  

I can't recall any recent puzzles that had so many extremes of fun and agony.
Beef is a bit of food?
Only one ear popping on the plane? What am I, a mantis?

Mountain Dew tastes like Juicy Fruit gum to me.

@ Anon 7:58, How about an embryonic gender preference test?

@ Eric 8:20, the camel here is a skating move.

Adult Swim?
Then we get the over-used Teri.
These are the sorts of ups and downs that made this feel so unbalanced.

De Niro in Ronin was great. Intelligent thriller.

Ernst Grafenberg 8:54 AM  

The G-Spot was named as such in 1981, so it's association with the Kinsey Institute is a bit of a stretch.

GHarris 8:56 AM  

Had to google dev, Tess, Enos and weeble in order to get through SE corner. Dews was no problem. The rest of the grid was relatively easy.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

mmorgan said...
Oh joy -- there's one of those 12 page super mega puzzle inserts in today's NYT.

Anyone know if/where I can access that online? I have an online subscription to the Times. Thanks.

Jon88 9:03 AM  

It's a plus on the theme that each appended "O" sound is spelled differently, and each involves a spelling change on the base word. But putting the flawed air/arrow themer at the bottom is causing Merl Reagle to roll over in his grave. The best and/or weirdest entry should go there, not the flawed one.

Stuart Showalter 9:04 AM  

@EdFromHackensack — 43A refers to the baseball team the New York Mets.
@Anon 3:28 am — NO puzzle is EVER “worthy of such scorn” as Rex spews. I wonder how any group of constructors, no matter how large, could come up with even a couple dozen puzzles in a year that meet his exacting standards, let alone 365 of them.
What a jerk he must be to live with.

Laurel 9:06 AM  

A camel spin is an ice skating move.

New York Met 9:12 AM  

"Certain Lincoln Center Soprano" = New York Mezzo.

I came here to point out a flaw in the theme thinking that the twist was on "New York Met-zo," as in, The New York Met is where said mezzo-soprano would be singing. Glad I came here to find out that the soprano must have been singing the national anthem at a NY Mets game.

I'm also surprised that Mr. Ries didn't work GESSO into the theme.

Teedmn 9:15 AM  

"Oh, one last thing" is a great title to this puzzle. Too bad I didn't appreciate the absolute literalness of it until after I was FINITO. But not GROKking that didn't hold me up any and I don't think it would have necessarily helped me solve either so...

I liked this - yes, it's a well-worn theme genre but so what? LOVE IS IN THE ARROW is worth doing the whole 21X21. I was going to question ROLLING IN THE DEPOT as a "huh?" but I Googled "rolling in the deep" post-solve and I see it is a song by Adele, so it's a thing, just not one in my ken.

I REST MY QUESO - my experience with the base phrase of this theme answer is that it doesn't mean what the speaker thinks it does. In my experience, after someone says "I rest my case", (usually in an insufferably smug tone), I am still left shaking my head, not convinced in the least. But HEY, it seems like all one needs to do these days is announce something and, voilà, it must be true.

A mini-body shaming theme: ABS, GAUNT, BEEF[cake] - dare I add 24A and 58D?

Were WEEBLES supposed to be fun? I remember the ad plug, "WEEBLES wobble but they don't fall down". So you poke at them a couple of times, they don't fall down, and then what? Pointless, in my opinion.

Andrew J. Ries, thank you for an entertaining puzzle, one that seems to have raised, for me, some questions for the AGEs (or not).

kitshef 9:23 AM  

Easy, but with a very nifty theme. Nice warm-up for the mega puzzle section.

Not familiar with AMIDALA nor MIRANAIR – not even sure whether one or both needs a space in there. Anyone who finished up with MIbANAIR crossing bAD, you have my sympathy.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Mia Farrow shot a narrow arrow.

Virginia Dare cut her hair and didn't care.

Nancy 9:35 AM  

There are 74 comments (!) ahead of me -- so I'm sure whatever I say will have been said...and said already. I loved this puzzle. Am predicting that half the blog will love it and half the blog will hate it. It's puns again, and there are only two questions I ever ask: Are the puns clever and entertaining? And is the puzzle challenging or am I mindlessly just filling in words? Yes, the puns are clever and entertaining and yes, it was challenging. KOSHER PICCOLO; STIFF AS A BORDEAUX; VANITY PHARAOH and NEW YORK MEZZO are, in fact inspired.

So are there already 68 comments on the LOVE IS IN THE ARROW pronunciation. Probably. It didn't work for me, either. I pronounce AIR to rhyme with Care and I pronounce ARROW to rhyme with Narrow, Marrow, Taro and Wheelbarrow. (Oh, wait, that probably doesn't tell you anything. Because you probably pronounce all those other words strangely, too.)

Thanks for the treat, Andrew. Ignore Rex. He's not a Pun Person. Never has been, never will be. Let's go back and see what everyone else has said...

Joel Palmer 9:44 AM  

I have a pretty decent vocabulary but :gesso" for white undercoat; really?

DBlock 9:55 AM  

There was a note that the extra puzzle section was print only as a thank you for something ( not quite sure what).
No doubt someone could scan and share

Bingo Long of Traveling All-Star Fame 9:57 AM  

This is basically a trivia quiz combined with a theme that crumbles under its own weight. Ambitious effort by the constructor, yes. Unfortunately, one has to flog themself to get through it. One again the NYT misses the mark in terms of achieving any type of balance between challenge and enjoyment. The WSJ is becoming the Rosetta Stone of The Xword kingdom while the Times continues to provide this type of garbage day-in and day-out. Rex may go overboard with his frustration, but his conclusion is painfully accurate.

JR 10:10 AM  

Rex is the opposite of Mikey from the Life commercials. He hates everything. I liked the puzzle and the phrases. Also liked it because it was not impossible to do in most places. I would love to see a puzzle that Rex absolutely thinks is great.

Bruce Levy 10:11 AM  

Found this one pretty easy, perhaps because I knew Mira Nair and Louis Nye off the top of my head. There is a lot of faux cleverness these days in the themes, which is getting tedious.

Maruchka 10:13 AM  

A very good question, @'mericans. I worked in a city room for three years without knowing the LEDE v. Lead answer. Buried, like a back story. Anyone?

Charles Flaster 10:13 AM  

Easy, straightforward, uneventful.
Felt like I just kissed my sister. ( Do not have a sister).
I will take away LOUIS NYE who along with Don Knotts and Tom Poston provided me with many hilarious moments in the early ‘60s ( 1960’s). They were from Steve Allen’s
“Man on the Street” skits. Why hasn’t some retro station brought Steve back?
Liked cluing for PLOW, BEEF, and KOSHER PICCOLO.
101 Across needed an exclamation point! (IMHO).
Thanks AJR

Nancy 10:14 AM  

Thank you, @RJ 5:42 a.m. -- I have been thinking for many years now that I'm losing my mind. What on earth is LEDE? The first sentence of a news story was always the LEAD, until one day it suddenly wasn't anymore. And now you tell me that the spelling was inexplicably and arbitrarily changed ca. 1964 -- without asking anyone if they approved, I assume. I wouldn't have approved, had anyone thought to ask me. A LEAD is a sentence that leads. LEDE is bloody ridiculous. Wondering if the people who made this change are the same people who changed Peking to Beijing, Mao Tse-tung to Mao Zedong and Bombay to Mumbai. Shouldn't there be a vote over these things? Who gets to decide?

@Anon 6:05 -- FWIW, I pronounce Mary like AIR and marry like ARROW. I'm a born and bred Manhattanite; the other NYC boroughs might pronounce all the words differently. Can't be sure.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

The pharaoh and arrow clues don't work if you are from the New York City area because we don't pronounce the A's in those words that way. We use the A in apple sound. Regardless, I knew the answers because I now live in CT and that is how people say them here.

GILL I. 10:17 AM  

Oh come on, @Rex. There's gotta be a sense of humor lurking somewhere in your funny bone. WHERE'S MY QUESO didn't get a little chuckle from you?
I was thoroughly amused by this puzzle. I also liked Andrew's cluing. My favorite - and it made me laugh - was "entertainment with camels, maybe." Because I'm a child, I immediately envisioned camels dancing in pink tutus.
I know what PERFIDY means but I don't actually think I've heard anybody use it in a sentence. I looked up the pronunciation and I'm glad I haven't used it in front of some intellectual because I would get the same amused look I always got when I massacred Yosemite.
Had some trouble with some of the names.
ADULTS WIM, STIFF AS A BORDEAUX, SEX FILTH...what a fun way to start the puzzle.
Love Adele, love ROLLING IN THE DEEP, loved this puzzle because it made me smile and I like to smile.

Michelle Turner 10:19 AM  

Gesso is used on oil paintings as the white undercoat that provides a base to paint on. If you paint directly on the canvas lots of your expensive oil paint will be absorbed. Gesso is cheap and provides a good base coat.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

Astounded at the number of people that have not heard of the song Rolling in the Deep by Adele. It's only a few years old and was at the top of the charts for a while, might even have won some awards. Not sure about the awards though.

evil doug 10:23 AM  

Flying Disco:
Deney Terrio's private jet.

Maruchka 10:24 AM  

Leisurely, clean, calm and not too PPP. What's better for a snowy Sunday? I REST MY QUESO.

That and KOSHER PICCOLO are favs of the day. Speaking of - last night the Mitzvah Mobile units had their own Santacon-crush. At least 50 huge, loud music vans barreled along Houston, with police escort. I LOVE NY!

Birchbark 10:26 AM  

"Greeting Jerry Maguire at the gates of the Inferno?" -- YOU HAD ME AT HELLO.

Adele (ROLLING IN THE DEEP) -- quality powerful emotive blues sensibility. Good for pop music in the last decade.

Returning to my generation, for those who not remember laughter, spend some time watching WEEBLES do what they do. @TeedMN, it may take a while, but be patient as the humor can be subtle.

Apologies if this post appears twice -- I believe I was mistaken (?) for a robot on the first try.

ghthree 10:39 AM  

My wife and I solve jointly over breakfast. We usually finish, but about half the time, we have to Google a thing or two. Today, we ran into a DNF in the Northeast. For 16 Across (Things that people like to have ripped?) I wrote CDS, and neither of us considered an alternative. Otherwise this was a normal Sunday.

On the question of final exams: in my senior year of college, I took first-year French. Most of the rest of the students were freshmen (nowadays called "first-years" for Political Correctness). I attended almost every class and did well in the final. Then my prof announced that the entire class would be given one more test which would not affect our grades. Its sole purpose was placement for second-year French. Since I wasn't going to enroll for it, I asked to be excused from the test. The prof told me if I didn't take it, he would give me a failing grade.

I knew I was doing well, so I figured I would improve his overall score a bit vis-a-vis the other professors. For a millisecond, I considered not taking the test, or tanking it (I had enough credits to graduate even if I failed French). But my own pride (ego?) won out. Not only did I improve his average slightly, but my score was the highest of all the students in all the French sections. So he got a "poster child" and I got an ego boost. A win-win situation for both of us.

Ellen S 10:51 AM  

@Jj 7:25 — nope. I read the comments for @Loren’s anecdotes.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

@Joe Dipinto - clue is not "type of" soprano, it's "certain" soprano, It fits.

Mohair Sam 11:05 AM  

The more hideous the pun the more I love it. And this entire effort was worth it for KOSHER PICCOLO. Any and all sins in the cluing, structure, and PPP accuracy are forgiven.

Pronunciation complaints about "airrow" but not "phairaoh"? - Neither works perfectly for me, raised on Long Island. Had Rex's experience almost to the letter (except I enjoyed it) right down to the Dad's/DEWS thing. I see the insulted Triple Crown winner American Pharoah posted here at 8:51 and misspelled his own name. Rex was right, stupid horse.

I'm with @Lauren - PERFIDY is just a great word that needs more using. TREPID looks lonely without its "in". And I'm wondering how many of us didn't need every letter to fill PHEROMONE - toughie.

Fun Sunday puzz Mr. Ries, thanks.

Hartley70 11:07 AM  

I'm in the posse that loved this puzzle. Even when I had filled in a themer, I had to pause to figure it out. I saw VANITYPHAROAH first and was like, "WHAAA?"...and then "WHOA!"

KOSHERPICCOLO was terrific and reminded me how difficult it is to get a good half-sour outside of NYC. I've been looking for decades. This fall I strolled into an ALDI in Vermont and there was the holy grail. A container of fresh half-sours for under three dollars. That chain is a gem! May they "live long and prosper".

I knew all the people and I'm gobsmacked that Adele and "ROLLINGINTHEDEEP" escaped any English speaking individuals. "HELLO"!

Knitwit 11:14 AM  

I loved Monsoon Wedding!!! This puzzle not so much, but finished before noon without any help from Google, so there is that!

G. Weissman 11:17 AM  

This puzzle has an ARR of b.s.

G. Weissman 11:19 AM  

I always wondered why the Mets don’t spell “Mets” MEZZ. I mean, it sounds the same, right?

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Re 40D, Vera, a “woman’s name that means ‘truth’”. It is, or was, a common Italian name. If you are going to name a baby girl “Vera,” the name suggests that you are hoping she will be truthful, mostly in the sense of being “loyal” or “faithful.” Thus she is to be loyal to the family, namely the father, and not be unchaste, until such time as she is consigned to her husband, to whom her primarily loyalty is then owed. The female adjective *vera* (the masculine is *vero*) has become an Italian noun, vera, meaning a wedding ring, again a symbol of fidelity. I suspect that even in traditionalist Italian culture, such as southern Italy, the name has gone out of fashion, since it suggests the woman’s lack of autonomy and the parents’ (especially men’s) jealousy and fear of her autonomy.

Some 20 years ago I was in a very proletarian pizzeria in Naples, in the port area, where no one spoke a word of English. They heard my accent and handed me an English menu for their Italian pizzas. Little of the English made any sense. My guess is that a few American sailors had gone there some years previous, and had left when they found they could not order in English. Thus someone found an old Italian-English dictionary, and set about creating the English menu. My favorite item was “wedding ring pizza.” It translated the pizza “vera Napoli,” i.e. “true or authentic or original Neopolitan pizza.” “True” in Italian is going to be in the dictionary only in the masculine form, vero; vera was there only as “wedding ring.” So the translators went with that! I am not making this up.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Dragoncat 11:25 AM  

Rex's comments left me thinking he didn't get that it was an "oh" sound that was added to the answers. Once I got that I rolled through the answers. Enjoyed it. Appreciate "perfidy" ( and that I knew the word) as well as some others. Sorry Rex.

irongirl 11:39 AM  

Shouldn't we be clutching our pearls over SEX, FILTH, GSPOT, PHEROMONE, and on Sunday, no less?

Since today is my birthday, the one upon which I become eligible to claim social security but won't because it's better to wait . . . I feel happy that despite the pearl-clutching I know Adele and Rolling in the Deep. She is amazing.

However, I agree that the song title isn't exactly a common phrase. I was expecting Rolling on the River, but then that's just a song, too.

Teddi and Teddy 11:41 AM  

We like how Rex rants. He does jillions of puzzles and is picky, picky! If you really know the territory you can get away with being critical. Plus they are funny to read.
Resting our queso!

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

The horse is "stupid" because Rex can't spell.
What a fatuous ass this guy is.
The puzzle is fine. Get the hell over yourself.

chipperj 11:43 AM  

It's only taken me 6 years reading this blog to figure out that Rex doesn't like it when he doesn't know words (like "PLOW"?). Maybe you should read the puzzles after they're completed?

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Michael's review was ridiculous and foul-mouthed. If he continues to write junk like this when he is stoned, I will just skip over it as @LMS is so much more enjoyable to read. I enjoyed the puzzle, Andrew. Even though there are regional dialect variations, I don't think the puzzle has to work for everybody. So I can't cry foul on that one. I don't think plod really has the meaning of trying to go forcefully through. Plow fits much much better as an answer. I grew up hearing Dew as slang for Mountain Dew as in "give me a Dew" so that wasn't a problem. Also, that silly commercial on TV is like an earworm: "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!"

Suzie Q 11:46 AM  

Well we got our Star Wars clue so I'm happy....not!

Intrepid is more common but also trepidation.

Cookie you can't chew - Iron Oreo.

Malsdemare 11:47 AM  

I guess my bar for a good puzzle is pretty low; I finished this without a google, grinned at the theme answers, wrestled in places with "tip of the tongue" stuff, but ultimately got 'er done. I disagree with Rex; I thought the themers were just fine. How can you not like KOSHERPICCOLO? Lots of names, some I knew — MALONE, LOUISNYE — some I didn't but got from the crosses. A mighty fine Sunday, IMHO.

I'm a girl, I marched yesterday in my pussy hat and Nasty Woman pin to protest the tax bill, I kept my birth name, I taught my kids to respect everyone. And I just can't get upset every time some loser puts in an appearance in a crossword. It's Rex's blog and he can do as he wishes, but Polanski didn't bother me. So he's a d***head. Turns out lots of guys we once respected are d**ks. Don't invite them to your party, refuse to buy their merchandise, let yourdog poop on their star outside wherever that Hollywood thing is, pickett their businesses and movies. Words — names — are standins for a person; they are not the person and they can't hurt you. Okay, off my soapbox.

billocohoes 11:48 AM  

Must add to the list of words which we only use in the negative. I’m gruntled with TREPID’s inclusion.

Remember the camel spin because of ‘76 Olympian Dorothy’s variation, the Hamill Camel

Roo Monster 11:51 AM  

Hey All !
Over 100 comments already, so not gonna read 'em all before commenting. :-)

I liked the puz, sure it's a simple theme, but that doesn't make it a bad theme. The themers were good. But no REVELER.

Had a DNF at MODELa/aLIa/GaPOT. Didn't know what a GaPOT was, but had it in anyway. Also, FINITe/PHEReMONE, because it sounds like an E. But otherwise I'd rate this puz easy. Which is nice on a SunPuz. Only one writeover I can think of, the I in AMIDALA, had an A.

EMUS as lean meat, huh, anyone ever have EMU? Does it taste like chicken?

The DeNiro flick RONIN is pretty good, if you've never seen it. A huge car chase scene, which never gets mentioned in the Pantheon of chases. Better than the infamous Bullitt chase.


Carola 11:58 AM  

LOVE IS IN THE ARROW is the one that completely won me over. Bullseye! I'm surprised to learn that ARROW doesn't sound like "air" to everybody and thus spoiled the fun.

This one was do-over city for me: I had Ironweed set in urBANa ("Huh, that's interesting") before ALBANY, ninO before PASO, bLOW before PLOW, Dare before DEFY, Elks before EMUS (because we've had that weird plural before).. Like @Rex, I always have trouble with AMIDALA; I can only remember it's sort of like armadillo and thus get the middle vowels reversed.

Cairabou 12:08 PM  

@Barbie is right. Air Hair. Arrow marrow. It's not bone mairrow. Lessen ya'all are rollin in the deep deep south? Which, by the way, is an accent I wish I had so don't get tetchy. It makes every sentence charming.

Masked and Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Not complex -- but great, goofball themers. Would like to be on the brainstormin team, when they are tryin to clue up themer phrases like LOVE IS IN THE ARROW or STIFF AS A BORDEAUX.
And, @Evil D. - har and thUmbsUp. Yer BREAKWINDOW rates a mic drop. M&A-bebrainstormed clue: {Unleash gas so hard that damage ensues??}.

fave clue: {Entertainment with camels, maybe} = ICESHOW. Cruel and unusual. honrable mention to the 115-A clue, tho.

Oh, man … M&A lost a potent pile of precious nanoseconds, relentlessly tryin to shoe-horn LEAD into that NW corner. Learned somethin, the hard way, up there.

Thanks for the funny SunPuz, Mr. Ries.

Masked & Anonymo9Us

On the 5th Day of Christmas, my true luv gave to m&e…

Five. Gold. U's.*
Two Tiny Feys,
And a SIRENE in a FERRITE tree.

[*and a bonus 4 more of the lil darlins]


Mr. Big Stuff 12:14 PM  

What a grump!

pabloinnh 12:19 PM  

Had the "L" from Albany and wrote in Louie Nye right away, with fond memories of the old Steve Allen "man in the street" sketches. Had to change it to Louis because "seder". I never heard him called Louis, only Louie, which to me are totally different. Is this a St. Louis--St. Louie type of thing, or am I also misremembering Thomas Poston and Donald Knotts?

pmdm 12:25 PM  

Because of the snow in NYC, my paper never came, so I have to go out and buy one. For me, the puzzle justified my effot.

Gill I: based upon this write-ups, he either doesn't have one or it is extremely limited. I just think crossword themes don't much intersect with what he wants.

Glimmerglass: What you observed is the general rule. Excellently put. Sadly, it's probably the reason Shortz dismisses him.

Nancy: For yesterday's comment, you are welcome.

Now on to the second crossword puzzle in today's paper.

brainman53 12:36 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
brainman53 12:38 PM  

That’s because it wasn’t.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 12:41 PM  

I’ve seen a few camel toes at ice shows.

Alan_S. 12:44 PM  

Are you kidding? I'm not a fan but even I know; it didn't win an award, it won ALL the awards that year.

old timer 12:47 PM  

The three grandchildren in Sir Paul's delightful ditty, "When I'm 64": VERA Chuck and Dave. Or Veera, Chook and Dave. for you Liverpudlians.

brainman53 12:47 PM  

“Hemi” refers to the old Dodge 426 C.I. Hemi engine. The piston heads were hemispherical as opposed to flat. Apparently this increased surface area resulted in greater explosive force, thus increasing the engine’s power. It was a 60’s thing, popular with teenage boys and immature men. have no idea whether it it exists today nor why this useless fact remains in my head today.

Buggy Bunny 12:52 PM  

"So you poke at them a couple of times, they don't fall down, and then what? Pointless, in my opinion."

well, if your 6 months old, lots o fun.

FrankStein 12:58 PM  

Enough with the Adele clue defenders. Just because someone is famous to you does not make it impossible to believe no one else has heard of her. Some of us don't listen to pop music and never watch awards shows. So she ain't in our wheelhouse and won't ever be unless she wins a starring role at the Met as a MEZZO.

Tarheeled 12:58 PM  

Easy, easy, easy puzzle. Just went smoothly from top to bottom. Enjoyed the themers. Not a single natick. Although I never heard of MIRA NAIR or HASEK, the crossings were clear. Obscure names are my usual Waterloo.
Merry Christmas to all!!

Stanley Hudson 12:58 PM  

Oh oh so delightful. Thank you Mr. Ries.

Buggy Bunny 1:01 PM  

“Hemi” refers to the old Dodge 426 C.I. Hemi engine.

yes and no. it first appeared in the 1951 (!!!) according to the Wiki, but the famous one was used widely in NASCAR in the 60s, so much so that Ford and GM tried to get it banned. irony: Ford's cammer hemi a few years later *was* banned because GM complained. anyway, it's the hemispherical shape of the combustion chamber that matters: centered plug with spherical fuel burn pattern and huge valves (because they were mounted on opposite sides of the hemisphere) were the point. you can buy one today.

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

“How 1998 it is.” Like your mother last night.

Alan_S. 1:15 PM  

Ok, we get it, Rex is a dick. But if it weren't for him we wouldn't have this wonderful forum where we get to hear from all kinds of people; young & old, right & left (mostly left; this is the Times after all), prudes & perverts, intellectuals & idiots. Y'all know which category you fall into but OFL seems to fit into all of them. Hmm?

I found today's puzzle to be easy, average and nothing worth praising or complaining about, so there!

I'm with all of you who come here to read some of the wonderful and witty commenters, and have to thank Rex, miserable as he is, for bringing us all together.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Great puzzle, very smooth and easy. As for Polanski: just because our prudish country has a problem with him doesn't mean the rest of the world or I should. And if every artist were judged by his work rather than his art, "Rex" wouldn't have much to teach about.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

Let me guess, Rex: Roman Polanski is a leper but Woody Allen is ok, right?

Alan_S. 1:25 PM  

Wrong! I'm not a fan of the current pop music scene, don't watch the Grammies or much network TV, am in my 60's, and the only radio I listen to is NPR or Howard Stern, but I'm not yet Dead! So of course I know Adele.

brainman53 1:35 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith, clearly you so enjoy add-a-theme puzzles because you, as I do, enjoy puns. Apparently Rex is the camp that relegates the pun to lowest form of humor. That’s his opinion. We have William Shakespeare, Edmund Burke and Alfred Hitchcock on our side.

When puns work, they kill. When they fail, they do so loudly. That’s the appeal to punsters.

BTW, puns are known to millenials as Dad Jokes. That’s appropriate.

jberg 1:35 PM  

I tried to read all the comments before posting, I really did, but I gave up around 85. Maybe later.

A dwarf planet is a planet, but a MEZZOsorrano is not a soprano. Sorry.

El PASO has to rank pretty high in the worst-clue-ever category. Right next to "The _____", its English translation.

I loved the theme, with all the different spellings of the OH sound, each of which was a nice surprise. Plus, if you take the theme answers alone, they are only a J short of a pangram. That would have been quite a feat. Wait, there's more -- there's no J in the whole puzzle, either. I love it.

clk 1:37 PM  

I thought this was a great puzzle. Lots of different ways to spell that oh, one last thing. I liked all the themers. I also thought that rolling in the deep was a phrase before Adele made it popular but I'm not sure what it would mean.

I still don't understand how it sounds to pronounce ARROW without an AIR sound. And are people really suggesting that it's a regional dialect to pronounce them with the same sound? I've heard it that way all over the country. I'm pretty sure the regionalism is to differentiate them.

shannon lee 2:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
shannon lee 2:03 PM  

@mmorgan Have you been under a rock for the past decade? "some popular singer I've barely heard of."??????????

mmorgan 2:19 PM  

I'm sure I'm over-quota but just wanted to respond to @shannon lee: Sometimes these day I wish I were under a rock, but popular music hasn't been my thing since about 1974 or so. I've heard *of* her but as far as I know, I've never heard any of her music. So that answer didn't make sense to me since I didn't know the base phrase. But I don't expect to know everything in a puzzle. I probably know some things extremely well that you've never heard of. And vice versa. And that's fine!

Incidentally: the SUPER MEGA puzzle in the insert today spans two physically separate pages (unlike the last one, when it was in the middle fold of the insert). That makes it really difficult to enter answers down the center column. Humph.

Austenlover 2:28 PM  

I had no problem with fair and pharaoh or air and arrow, but I remember a puzzle from some years ago which used words starting with wh and w as homonyms. I was shocked to discover some people pronounce Whig and wig exactly the same. It’s diversity, folks.

Anonymous 2:29 PM  

I for one, did fall for Dads/Plod. I *knew* pheremona wasn't right, but hey what do I know? Maybe that's the plural or something..

Otherwise, enjoyed the puzzle.

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

I’m surprised no one else comented on VANITY PHARAOH and its nonsense grammar. The answer to the clue needs to be VAIN PHARAOH. Which wouldn’t have worked very well as a themer...

pcardout 2:37 PM  

Pushing 60 years old. Grew up in New York. Now live in rural New Mexico. They play country music, classic rock, and Mexican polkas on the radio. Barely know who Adele is and have never heard anything she sang that I know of. It's a big country. I like the NYT puzzle because it has clues from all eras and places. I guarantee you I get all the out west and Spanish related clues.

Anon 2:40 PM  

Yeah me too. Worst of the themed clues

Teedmn 2:59 PM  

@Buggy Bunny - six months old explains it. I was 11 in 1971 when WEEBLES debuted. It doesn't explain this kid!

JC66 3:17 PM  


I think the puzzle's title serves as the reveler.



From late last night, I was just trying to be humorous about all the people who were commenting to you.

Airymom 3:29 PM  

"Rolling in the Deep" obscure? Are you kidding?!? It hit #1 on the charts in 11 countries, it was Adele's first #1 song in the U.S., it was #1 on the Billboard chart for 7 weeks and on the Billboard charts in one list or the other for 65 weeks. It was chosen by "Rolling Stone" magazine as the best single of 2011. It won three Grammy awards. It is only the fourth song in the history of the Grammy awards to win both "song of the year" (given to the composer and lyricist) and "record of the year" (given to the performer and production crew). The other three are "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "Bette Davis Eyes", and "First Time Ever I saw Your Face." It is the highest selling single ever on iTunes. All this information is from Wikipedia, or Google search. i know the song, my 20-something kids know the song and even my 95 year old mother has heard of it.

Churlish Nabob 3:48 PM  

So lemme see if I have this right? “Rolling in the Deep” was a huge hit? Can 25 more people weigh in?

Nancy 4:13 PM  

Hi, @JC66 -- I sort of thought that's what it had to be, but I wasn't entirely sure. And while your post was awfully subtle, it was also cute. Thanks for the shoutout.

Anoa Bob 4:38 PM  

I've seen this issue before. Today it's with "Polanski" the clue for TESS. Someone remarks that maybe a better, less offensive to some, clue could have been used. Then some else comes along and defends it by pointing out that we see other unsavory people in the puzzles all the time, today I think it was STALIN. And of course there's the oft seen IDI or AMIN or both.

But there is a difference, a big difference, at work here. When we see IDI or AMIN or STALIN, et al., they are in the grid!. They are there because they are grid glue that holds together some good---we hope---fill. They facilitate getting the puzzle completed. But "Polanski" serves no such purpose. It's a clue and there are many ways to clue TESS without resorting to a controversial one.

I remember another case when the grid entry was EVA and the clue referred to Hitler's mistress. Some commenters protested but then others came along with a similiar argument that we see unsavory characters in puzzles all the time, so why not Hitler. Same grid entry vs choice of clue conflation as above.

retired guy 4:48 PM  

They call it that good old mountain dew,
And thems that refuse it are few,
I'll shut up my mug
If you'll give me a jug
Of that good old mountain dew.

That's all I've got to say....

Lurker Librarian 5:34 PM  

@Z and others, I always assumed that "rolling in the deep" was nautical. Ballads from several hundred years ago that focus on sea warfare commonly contain poetic phrases like "rolling at the bottom of the sea" to describe lost sailors and sunken ships, and The Deep(s) is a traditional name for the ocean.

I've heard of Adele but never listened to her work (no offense to her--pop music just isn't my thing), but from what I've read, the nautical meaning works well with her song and she may have been unconsciously referencing it.

Two Ponies 5:44 PM  

Regarding the Adele discussion, I know that this person exists but only peripherally. So to all the incredulous commenters out there she is not universal to people who get their entertainment elsewhere.
Get over it.

Shelby Glidden 5:50 PM  

Kosher piccolo was was my first theme answer, to wit i responded, "oh!", a musical theme as in The Magic Flute. Alas, it was not to be. @David Schinnerer 1:29 AM i shudder to think of you busily scribbling next to me as i try to think of any plausible answer to the next clue.

Jack Dammit 5:52 PM  

That is just hateful . . .

old timer 6:02 PM  

Polanski went to a party and let a 14-year-old girl who had no business being there give him a BJ. The reason he has been allowed to stay in Europe is that the people there felt his crime was relatively innocuous.

smalltowndoc 6:04 PM  

Puzzle was enjoyable but not great. It was my fastest Sunday yet, 40% of my previous best time, I kid you not.

For those who have never heard (or heard of) “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele, I suggest checking it out. I’m no kid (I turned 62 last month), but I am quite familiar with this song and love it; it really highlights Adele’s incredible soulful-beyond-her-years vocals. It won the 2012 Grammy for “Song of the Year”. On YouTube, the official “Rolling in the Deep” video has been viewed over 1.2 billion (that’s “billion” with a “b”) times!

By the way, I grew up in PA and DC and have lived in NJ and TX, and nowhere have I ever heard the first syllable of “arrow” sound anything close to “air”. The “a” in “arrow” rhymes with “marrow”; “air” rhymes with like “mare”.

Larry Gilstrap 6:05 PM  

Fascinated by the whole concept of the PHEREMONE. Animals are keen to the signals sent, but we humans have probably lost the ability or the instinct to sort out the subtle messages. We rely on language to communicate. Maybe we should go back to smelling each other. You go first!

MIRA NAIR was new to me, through no fault of her own. Momentarily balked at TREPID, but of course we use TREPIDation. Hand up for the PHARAOH foul-up. Nice horse!

PERFIDY gets worn-out by the cruel nurses in Angela's Ashes in reference to anything to do with the English. Frank McCourt was a career high school English teacher. I honestly don't remember if I have ever seen it used elsewhere. Wasn't there an old song "Perfidia"? My phone tells me it was big.

Shelby Glidden 6:09 PM  

@American Pharaoh 8:51 AM Feeling your oats
might put bubbles up your nose. Hoping the bluebird of happiness accompanies them.

Shelby Glidden 6:13 PM  

@Two Ponies 8:53 AM Get a little dewy-eyed, myself, at first sip. Always enjoy your contributions.😀

Andy 9:11 PM  

Don't worry. It's not you. I speak native American and this puzzle was pure dreck. (That's Yiddish for cra p,in case you don't know! :)

Andy 9:14 PM  

So glad there are othes here bothered by this. Does anyone edit these puzzles anymore?

No accounting for taste 9:19 PM  

Checked out the Adele video seen by over a billion people. Never heard it before. Don't want to hear it again. Thought it was awful.

OISK 9:19 PM  

For me, "Adele" conjures up the laughing song from Fledermaus. Perfidy always brings to mind "Perfidious Albion," as in the line from the great Irish song "The Foggy Dew." "Oh the night fell black and the rifles' crack made perfidious Albion reel."

I enjoyed this puzzle, and I was able to finish it. ( as opposed to last week's debacle, that crossed an acronym for a rock group E _ O with the name of a rapper, TA_IB. Still bothers me, a week later).

I found the theme enjoyable, and the cluing fair. No complaints whatever. ( well, one. AMIDALA? Star Wars? I guess I had better see the new film if I want to continue solving...)

Devoted Reader 9:31 PM  

Re 40D, vera means true, not truth. I know that is nitpicking, but if you can't nitpick on a crossword puzzle blog, where can you?

Ralph Phillips 9:53 PM  

I loved Louis Nye on the Steve Allen show.Hi Ho Steve-arino

Jack 11:33 PM  

Whenever we encountered a sketchy clue, my wife and I would cross off a letter from the constructor's name as well as from Will Shortz' name. That happened for this one. It wouldn't have been hard to do it better."Certain Lincoln Center singer" would do nicely and has some alliteration, too.

Jack 11:42 PM  

Trepidation rather than Intrepid helped me get TREPID. But I've never seen that word before.

semioticus (shelbyl) 1:05 AM  

I mean, OK for a Sunday, I guess.

Fill: I guess I'm generally repulsed by a puzzle when it feels like it's full of 3 and 4-letter words. I can't help it, I can't look past it. This one had a ton of such answers. I liked PERFIDY and FINITO and GSPOT (I feel like we've been seeing a lot of sensual words lately), aaaaaand that's it. Nothing to make me feel special. Oh, and before I forget, ASTA. Seriously, ASTA? Still?

Theme/long answers: Eh. I've seen this theme before. What is good is that every single theme answers is a variation of the "oh" sound. It respects the solver in that regard, which sometimes is a luxury good for Sunday puzzles. Other than that, nothing to pique my interest. LOVEISINTHEARROW and Cupid clue was nicely done, though, I'll give it that.

Clues: "Something that's free of charge", "Units for binge watchers," and nothing else. Not one memorable clue. Very meh work. When the theme is meh and the fill is meh, at least entertain me with the clues. But nope.

Pleasurability: GI really didn't enjoy anything about this puzzle. Now, did it frustrate me? GAUNT-GAIT/MIRANAIR and BERMS/RAREBIT-MODELT sections took me some time, but it wasn't that annoying. But yeah, this one was really bland. Yet on a Sunday, as long as it's a decent work, I'll count myself as slightly entertained.

GRADE: C+, 2.95 stars.

Randall Clark 1:07 AM  

DNF. Naticked on LOUIESvYE/AvA. No fair crossing names that are not well known. I'm 52 and I've never watched the Steve Allen show.

Joe Dipinto 1:33 AM  

@Anon 10:58 am -- nope, you lose. Soprano is one voice type; mezzo-soprano is another voice type. Joyce DiDonato, e.g., is not in some general category called sopranos by virtue of the fact that she is a mezzo-soprano. She's a mezzo-soprano, period. As Jack at 11:33 pointed out, the clue would better have been "Certain Lincoln Center singer."

Anonymous 3:55 AM  

Sunday puzzles just do not seem as interesting. Do not know why. Had to look the Queen's name because I did not know if it had an i or an a in the third letter. Was not sure about mezzo either and changed it to a p. Finished without hints but got a few wrong. Done better on Sundays.


Scott Wilson 9:45 AM  

Man you’re getting really cranky. Nothing wrong with DEWS and PLOW. I mean I like you a lot but sometimes it seems when you get stuck you lash out and attack it as Bad Fill.

thefogman 10:00 AM  

What a feast! The themers were challenging, clever and rewarding to solve. I DNF'd because of one square, where 16D crossed 21A. I know nothing about college basketball and who the hell is Louis Nye? That;s so unfair. The constructor is an ARS for doing that to us.

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

Perhaps for Rex's mental health he should concentrate on a different puzzle. Maybe the daily and Sunday from the Washington Post.

Grandmama 6:40 AM  

I’m at an age that helped a lot with this one! My kids played with weebles and my parents watched Jack Paar. From that alone you could probably guess my age! Still that section with G-spot, rarebit and model T drive me nuts! Good puzzle all and all!

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

Rex, Rex, Rex... I find the over the top and constant negativity to be a huge downer. I ask, what purpose does it serve you to be this way? How does it help us, your BLOG reading audience? How does it help the crossword constructors? How does it help you? I read this, and the last thing I want to do is contribute to your Blog to keep it advertisement free. And likely, if it weren't ad free, you might come to realize that your tiresome negative banter has a cost... Here are a few suggestions... Maybe it makes you feel better about yourself? Maybe it is your "persona," your "brand." Maybe it is the only way you know how to behave?

Emily Bates 3:34 AM  

Hasbro Toys in India are available as you can shop them on iBhejo as they provide a lot of international brands which you can get shipped directly.

Anonymous 7:24 AM  

Me, three

Brian/NS 11:27 AM  

A pox on all you naysayers. Do you have any joy in life?

Lurking ,just behind you! 11:34 PM  

Me four. Wish ACME were here more often, too.

RonL 10:35 AM  

Anonymous @ 8:32 PM: Me five!

Teedmn 12:15 PM  

@rondo, thanks for yesterday's shout-out and congratulations on being a grandpa!

spacecraft 12:52 PM  

I had a wonderful post, but there was a "conflict" and it got lost. Here's an abbr. version:

Had fun digging out all the "O" sounds. Never heard of that Rolling in the Deep thing, and the last themer doesn't work phonetically, but the rest were very good. TERI Hatcher is DOD. Liked it. Birdie.

rondo 1:09 PM  

@teedmn - just callin' 'em like I see 'em (if and when I see 'em). And must now be officially "old". Or one STEPPE closer.

I don't listen to "pop music stations", except maybe on road trips, but I knew Adele's song ROLLINGINTHEDEEP - O (89.3 The Current was playing and interviewing her before she got "big" big) and presumed the phrase had an earlier incarnation. Kinda liked KOSHERPICCOLO as well. And VANITYPHARAOH. There's definitely air in ARROW.

Recently signed on to Sling TV - mainly to get ESPN, but there's about 20 channels, including Cartoon Network - so I actually knew ADULTSWIM. If *Squidbillies* makes a puz appearance I'd truly be surprised.

For about the hundredth time yeah baby TERI makes her appearance.

Better than many, or even most Sunday puzzles, IMHO. SEASONS greetings to all.

IBbaldie 1:37 PM  

My college Journalism profs would have had extreme trauma with "LEDE" (19A: First sentence of a news story). The opening PARAGRAPH of a news story, which contains the quintessential information, is the "LEAD", man. Spelling is not only important, it's critical. Especially as it effects the crossing words. This is as ridiculous as "mic" for microphone, which has been "mike" since the advent of radio, for heaven's sake. Or the non-existent word "pleaded" for "pled". I know it's a living language, which means some terms are in development, but could someone please pay homage to traditional language?

Burma Shave 1:48 PM  




fakt chekker 2:05 PM  

@IBBaldie - Maybe you're just too young to know better, but perhaps you ought to check your facts and history before ranting. "Lead" was a different comment from an editor re: typesetting. It hasn't always been digital:

Multiple sources:

Journalists use the term LEDE for the first few sentences of a news story—that is indeed how they spell it, instead of “lead”, presumedly for historical reasons that involve mechanical typesetting and lead (the metal, that is). The LEDE is the lead portion of a news story—it gives the gist of the story, it sets up the story and, most importantly, entices the reader to read the rest.



the opening sentence or paragraph of a news article, summarizing the most important aspects of the story:
"the LEDE has been rewritten and the headline changed"

Presumably *real* journalists check their facts before spouting off.

fakt chekker 2:29 PM  

The Lede or Lead
The Lede
Word Origin & History

c.1965, alternative spelling of lead in the newspaper journalism sense (see lead (v.)), used to distinguish this sense from other possible meanings of the word, perhaps especially the molten lead used in typesetting machines.

Spelling the word as lede helped copyeditors, typesetters, and others in the business distinguish it from its homograph lead (pronounced \led\ ), which also happened to refer to the thin strip of metal separating lines of type (as in a Linotype machine). Since both uses were likely to come up frequently in a newspaper office, there was a benefit to spelling the two words distinctly.

r 4:11 PM  

Short comment. The last two were ripped out, dammit.

I finished and liked yesterday's puzzle.

Today's was also liked and finished. Clever, cutesy themers, especially KOSHER PICCOLO and LOVE IS IN THE ARROW.

Hopefully the above gets through, otherwise, I give up.

strayling 7:54 PM  

Serendipitously, we get a Ho Ho Ho theme on Christmas Eve. Have a merry one, fellow left coasters.

Eric Selje 9:46 PM  

Merry Christmas from those of us who receive the puzzle a week late. I enjoyed this very much – kudos to the creator for using a different letter combination for each O sound!

Michael Bates 12:56 PM  

most of the time, I'm certain I'm the "runt" of the puzzle solvers.
But Louis Nye ? Really? Never heard? Me thinks I've moved from the end of the trough......

RonL 1:41 PM  

Michael Bates: You're just not old enough! Steve Allen had a stable of comedians on his show, including Louis Nye, Don Knotts (the nervous guy), Bill Dana ("my name Jose Jimenez"), Tom Poston, and others.

Anonymous 4:08 PM  

rolling in the deep is an adele song- I'm 66 and I knew that. come on people the puzzle was kind of clever kind of stupid- kept trying to fit Sutcliff when I finally got Pete best- I was a huge beatle fan too so no excuses. love is in the air- so air-o don't get the beefing on that. I thought the theme answers were kind of ingenious. I was able to finish in multiple tries this puzz w/ no help from resources. I thought the clues and answers were different and interesting- so all you whiners -get over it

dude ward 8:48 AM  

Is it possible that Rex is getting even more cranky? Not getting semi-obscure clues sends the poor man into a rage. I'm far from pronouncing myself the, "King of Crosswords", however was able to grok "weebles" and spell "pharaoh" correctly. Also "plow" is really obvious. On the other hand Star Wars references, Harry Potterisms and American college team abbreviations? Grrrr....

Phillip Blackerby 7:21 PM  

Chrysler's Hemi engine remains popular in the top of the "300" model, the "300C." It is also the muscle under the hood of the Dodge Charger and Challenger lines, in two displacement volumes.

Phillip Blackerby 7:28 PM  

PepsiCo has spent millions on ads saying, "Do the Dew." Yet somehow, in Rex's cloistered life, he has managed to avoid encountering "Dew." This is far from arcane knowledge.

Michael Leddy 8:25 PM  

Surprised to see HAL Incandenza here — 84-Across, “Protagonist in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.”

“I am in here,” as Hal says at the start of the novel.

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