Lash with bullwhip / SUN 4-8-18 / Novice parasailer's fear / Ball hit for fielding practice / 1987 action film originally given X rating for violence / Podcast that won 2014 Peabody award / Long-armed climber for short / Instrument whose name means three strings / Bygone channel that aired Veronica Mars

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (very easy except for the actual spoonerisms)

THEME: "Triple Spoonerisms" — Three-word phrases (not including incidental words like "of" and "the") are spoonerized in this weird way where the initial consonant sound of each word is pushed down the line one notch, so ...

Theme answers:
  • "Streak of bad luck" becomes BEAK OF LAD STRUCK (24A: What caused the nosebleed on the playground?)
  • "The buck stops here" becomes THE STUCK HOPS BEER (30A: Tagline in an ad for Elmer's Glue-Ale?)
  • "Hail Mary pass" becomes PALE HAIRY MASS (60A: Description of a yeti?) (if you've got white FUR, you're not "pale," exactly ...)
  • "Bearer of glad tidings" becomes TERROR OF BAD GLIDINGS (67A: Novice parasailer's fear?)
  • "Stock car races" becomes ROCK STAR CASES (76A: Containers for electric guitars?)
  • "The Santa Fe Trail" becomes THE FANTA TRAY SALE (106A: Best place to buy a platter of fruit-flavored sodas?)
  • "Feel right at home" becomes HEAL FIGHT AT ROME (114A: Mend fences after Caesar's civil war?)
Word of the Day: Lash LARUE (57A: Lash with a bullwhip) —
Alfred "Lash" LaRue (June 15, 1917–May 21, 1996) was a popular western motion picture star of the 1940s and 1950s. He had exceptional skill with the bullwhip and taught Harrison Ford how to use a bullwhip for the Indiana Jones movies. LaRue was one of the first recipients of the Golden Boot Awards in 1983. (wikipedia)
• • •

I learned something about spoonerisms today. Now, I love Spoonerisms. I keep an ongoing list of baseball's All-Spoonerism team (ask me about starting pitcher Hill Fuse—he's a firecracker on the mound!). Spoonerisms are fun. Half my day is doing spoonerisms in my head (the other half is anagrams). So I didn't think I had anything to learn about them, but I did, and here it is: they don't work in triplicate. A spoonerism is something you grok immediately, it's pitch perfect, and it is completely dependent on the one-for-one swap. Sound-for-sound. Passing sounds down the chain ... not nearly as satisfying. Also, if my solving and post-solving experience today are any indication, not at all easy to understand. It was like homework trying to figure out what half of these damn themers were supposed to be spoonerisms *of*. It's not that they're not (mostly) clever, it's that I have to *work* to figure them out, which pretty much voids the spoonerism of its spoonerismness. The raucous guffaw of instant recognition is replaced by the pale aha of scribble games. Spoonerisms rule, triple spoonerisms ... rule somewhat less.

And a couple of slightly irksome things about the theme execution on this one. These are definitely peas under the mattress, but ... I can't help being sensitive. First, I got really irked that, in order to find the pre-spoonerized phrase, you *sometimes* had to start with the initial consonant sound on the third word (as with BEAK OF LAD STRUCK), and *sometimes* had to start with the initial consonant sound on the SECOND WORD (as with TERROR OF BAD GLIDINGS). This is nails on chalkboard stuff to me, not just because there's a lack of uniformity, but also because that non-uniformity has no pattern. No symmetry. If first, middle, and last had started on the third word but the rest had started on the second, I could've lived with it. But as it is—it's chaos, man. Then there's THE FANTA TRAY SALE, which is actually one of three winners in today's themer group. But that clue: 106A: Best place to buy a platter of fruit-flavored sodas? ... a SALE is not a "place"!!! It's an event! "Where are you going?" "To the sale." "Uh ... the sale WHERE!?" End scene. I had so much trouble with this answer, for this reason, and also because I had SNORT for 84D: Mock sound of disinterest (SNORE). This left me with THE FANTA TRAY SALT, which I really, really couldn't get despoonerized. I had somehow convinced myself that a SALT was a place ... where you SALT things away? Maybe I'm thinking of "saltcellar," which, it turns out (spoiler alert), is not an actual cellar. At any rate, a SALE is an event, not a place, I have spoken.

The rest of this grid is just fine. Smooth, nice good. I have nothing to say about it because it is all awfully straightforward, and there's nothing particularly scintillating about the fill, though the clue on PENAL CODE is an unquestionmarked doozy (83D: Rules for forming sentences). I had DEPOSE before DEPORT (51D: Kick out), and TRASH HEAP before TRASH PILE (2D: It's a bunch of garbage). HEAP's better. I have no idea why the simple word RESET has this absolutely contorted B.S. "D.C.-speak" clue (5D: Complete policy overhaul, in D.C.-speak). I left the spaces after RE- empty until I got them all from crosses because I couldn't accept that an answer with a clue that dumbly specific could have an answer so basic.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 12:08 AM  

I managed to fill in all the squares correctly without deciphering all of the Spoonerisms, which might be considered a feat in itself. 106Across looked to me to be the Santa Fe trail, but didn't fit. Patrick Berry never disappoints. I would love to have a younger, more elastic mindset, but we do with what we have.

George NYC 12:11 AM  

Isn't a fungo a kind of bat, not the ball it hits?

dmw 12:36 AM  

Wife and I took 38 minutes.

Deep Mac 1:02 AM  

All of Rex's points taken. Nonetheless, solving this puzzle absolutely delighted me. It made me buzz with warm, glowy, juicy feelings. It was yummy! Thank you, Patrick Berry!

chefwen 1:20 AM  

Got HAIL MARY PASS, stared at the others for a while and thought to hell with it, I’ll just wait ‘til Rex shows up. Pretty sure I saved myself a big headache.

RIP Off like a bandage before RIP OUT and like Rex SNORt before SNORE. Really wanted YEaCH, never have seen it spelled YECCH.

like Rex said, pretty easy minus the theme.

PaulSFO 1:27 AM  

Gerorge NYC: I thought so, too. However, I found this on a baseball-bat site: "[A] fungo (fungoes for plural) is a ball tossed into the air by the batter and struck as it comes down during practice sessions."
So, apparently, a 'fungo ball' is any ball which has been thrown up in the air and hit. Similar to a "thrown ball."

I didn't have a problem with three-word spoonerisms. However, the clue/answer combinations were too absurb to be amusing.

Ryan LaRue 1:40 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 1:44 AM  

Very easy but I had the same issues as @Rex in sussing out the Spoonerisms...more work than fun. Still, liked it.

ScottK 1:46 AM  

Triple spoonerisms don’t work? Clouseau disagrees.

Mike in Mountain View 2:03 AM  

Rex echoes my experience and thoughts. SALt before SALE, DEPOse before DEPORT, three-word Spoonerism themers to difficult to grok to get the fun payoff.

@George NYC: both the bat and the struck ball (i.e., the fly ball or grounder) are called a fungo, although the physical ball itself is not a fungo. Its etymology is uncertain. I always thought it was a compound word and that the name of the bat was back-formation from what the bat was used for (a fun go rather than a real at-bat in a real game), but this is apparently incorrect.

Cliff Robinson 2:25 AM  

I like SNIP for “Cutlet?” !
RNA/DNA is becoming the new TSAR/CZAR — no indication which word/spelling to use.
Fungo is frequently used to mean tossing a ball up to yourself and hitting fly balls and grounders to fielders during baseball practice

JOHN X 2:30 AM  

30 minutes to fill in the grid only to get the iPad warning that there was an error (or more).

I couldn't find it, even though I knew something was wrong with THEFANTATRAYSALT (it seemed like it was a twisted "San Andreas Fault" except it wasn't).

I ended with a DNF because I had SNORT instead of SNORE.

Melrose 2:39 AM  

This was fun. Theme answers were tough. Agree with Rex that they don't quite work as spoonerisms.

Shza 3:05 AM  

Third time this year I’ve seen “orang” in a crossword as a supposed “for short” version of orangutan. Still never heard anyone ever say “orang” in 39 years of real life. I was not a fan of this one. Easy for a Sunday, but some of the themers were really ugly (BEAKOFLADSTRUCK, I’m looking at you).

rutterj2 3:21 AM  

19:02 but, damn, those themers were tough.

smoss11 3:53 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle a lot but triple spoonerisms made for some borderline nonsense (glue-ale?). Surprised that Rex, as a professor of literature,didn't comment on John Kennedy Toole showing up in the puzzle.

Anonymous 5:05 AM  

I kept reading Glue-All, which I assume is an actual Elmer's product, so could not sus answer. I don’t see the problem with calling these themers triple Spoonerisms. That’s really the essence of Rex's laughably overwrought objections,

Lewis 6:03 AM  

Are you kidding me? Coming up with TRIPLE spoonerisms? Have you ever tried to do this? I thought the theme and its execution were brilliant, remarkable. Berry just took playing the spoons to a new level, and I bow down to the master. PALE HAIRY MASS -- Hah! ROCK STAR CASES -- How did he come up with these?

Well, as a word play FIEND, this was right up my alley. PB, once again, did not disappoint. The day he does, well, it will be a blushing crow, but I don't think that's going to happen.

'mericans in Paris 6:07 AM  

I don't mind the idea of triple spoonerisms, but at least half of the THEMES landed flat in this house. The ones that worked for me were PALE HAIRY MASS and TERROR OF BAD GLIDINGS. ROCK STAR CASES is just a thing -- not funny -- and the others feel contrived, ALIEN even.

Like @Rex and several others, we struggled for the longest time with 106A. It was finally Mrs. 'MiP who figured that one out (correcting my SNORt to SNORE).

Seems to be a bit of a sub-THEMES going on, with ETHER, BED SIT, NOD OFF, SNORE, and then finally -- after a Non-Ninter's Lap -- RISES. Another, more violent one, one could be a tiny story:


Have a GRAPE time, y'all!

Glen Luckjiff 6:41 AM  

It’s Santa Fe Fault

Jofried 6:42 AM  

Apparently I’m the only person who has never heard of a spoonerism. As a result, I did the entire puzzle without ever understanding what was going on with the theme answers. This made for one long tedious slog through the puzzle. Not enjoyable, but I’m glad I have this blog to go to when I’m done. I now understand the theme!

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

Am I the only one who doesn't think that TERROR and BEARER actually rhyme? Maybe it's a Boston accent thing, but this really threw me for a loop while solving since I pronounce TERROR with an "eh" sound and BEARER with an "air" sound.

Ruth F 7:42 AM  

True, these were not the hysterically funny fast-paced spoonerisms of the Capitol Steps. I had to work to suss them out. And some were better than others. So? It was still a lot of fun to work at them, with plenty of aha moments. A very satisfying puzzle. Such a treat to have Patrick Berry on a Sunday.

chefbea 7:43 AM  

Finished most of the puzzle but did not get all the spoonerisms

I make pralines every xmas and I love Reubens!!!!!

Loren Muse Smith 7:45 AM  

Gotta agree with both Rex and @Lewis. I’m with Rex on the coolness of a well-played spoonerism. But figuring these out was hard. How. Ever….. I enjoyed the exercise and the aha moment. And as @Lewis says – this had to have been hard, to come up with triple ones. Lear Don Jetter. Dad Bear Hay… I got nothing. So I agree – brilliant.

Hey Sir Patrick – 2015’s FACT (70D) called and wants its definition back.

I’m with Rex that THE FANTA TRAY SALE was a winner. But, @Ryan LaRue, yeah –his rant on a SALE not being a place didn’t work for me, either. An event can absolutely be referred to as a “place” . . .

*Place where you see your kid play Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor – recital
*Place where you see a heartfelt standing ovation for the Vienna Boys Choir – concert
*Place where you see Grayson Allen make an ass of himself – basketball game
*Place where you see Uncle Mike make an ass of himself – Bobby’s rehearsal dinner
*Place where you see Loren following Patrick Berry around in case he might smile at her – ACPT
*Place where you don’t want to nod off – job interview
*Place where you wipe your Cheeto fingers on the guy’s suede shoes behind you because you think it’s the carpet and you do this several times before you realize both your mistake and the the fact that he’s watching you – high school talent show

And I just can’t unsee in my head now that PALE HAIRY MASS in a SPEEDO. Nothing left to the imagination. Doesn’t that violate some kind of, well, PENAL CODE? Here’s where I get all proud to be an American and stuff… David Sedaris wrote once that he was proud to be an American ‘cause we pick up our dogs’ poop. I’m going to add that I’m proud that our men pretty much don’t wear speedos at the beach. I realize there are a bajillion readers here who are not American and who will look down your nose at me. I don’t care. And I don’t care if you’re built like a D-1 linebacker – burn those speedos with your wives’ gauchos. (Gill I – I can tell by your pics that you’re a Sophia Lorenesque beauty. And I’ve never seen you in gauchos. But seriously – lose them.)

Patrick – wood gun.

kitshef 7:47 AM  

Astonished when I looked at the constructor name (post-solve). SERIAL with an awful clue, TOOLE and DOBRO all crossing a pair of themers is just so un-Berry. The theme, Berry. The fill and cluing, Patrick Berry’s less talented cousin.

I did enjoy the sardonic clue for FACT.

PECAN made me think back to our nutty discussion. In case you wondered, not a true nut.

Ted 7:52 AM  

"Easy" my ass. Blocked ALL OVER the board.

A partial list of WTF:


Any of these little fill problems, plus a handful of names, would have normally fallen to crosses. But not today, where crosses were ungettable mashes! Utter failure after half an hour, with only 60% of the grid (mostly around the outside edges away from the god-awful themers) filled in.

I agree with Rex: a Spoonerism should be a two-part swap. I am reading some of these and STILL cannot decipher what they are meant to be.

Z 7:53 AM  

@Lewis is correct. But, that the creation of something was impressive doesn’t mean it works for the audience. Some of these were hard for me to suss out, and then once I did it wasn’t really an a joyful “aha!” More of a “glad that’s over.” Intellectually I see the cleverness, I just didn’t feel it while solving. Part of this is I think spoonerisms are best delivered aurally. You hear it, experience that, “wait, what?” moment, then have the wry smile/groan at the word play. I think triple spoonerisms work when heard, not so much in crossword form.

Mark 8:02 AM  

I agree with Rex on his main point, triple spoonerisms aren’t much fun to hear and need figuring out. I agree it’s hard to find them, but I’m not sure you should. But it is a theme that has to be done in a Sunday puzzle, and a lot people seem to have enjoyed it, so I guess ok

QuasiMojo 8:20 AM  

When I saw Patrick Berry's name at the top, I felt like "a kid in a candy store." And he did not disappoint. This was a tortured feast of unbridled fun. Like @Rex, I made all the obvious mistakes, including Trash Heap, but I added a few of my own. SELMA Hayek. ABSTENTED. I might have made up a new word with that. But I got them all fixed and managed to hear the closing bell in less than a half-hour. Not bad for a Sunday.

I loved the Spoonerisms even if they didn't make much sense. When you are deliberately toying with the language, I think we can cut the constructor some slack in the clueing department. I think Rex is right about a sale being an event, not a place. (As is a recital, btw, @LMS.) A recital hall is a place. The recital is the event in that place. But as I said such parsing is not worth the time we spend on it in this context. That spoonerism had me for other reasons since I thought it was a play on "The Tennessee Waltz." (I had SALT for way too long and thought it might be ZEE WANNA TEA SALT or some such.)

I also loved how Mr. Berry squeezed in a quibble, knowing full well we'd all have "quite a few" to NITpick about. Thanks!

Glimmerglass 8:22 AM  

I agree with Rex that triple Spoonerisms are not ones that would ever (or almost never) appear in real life, but who said they have to be? It’s a PB game, and I enjoyed it. The gripe that they don’t follow a consistent pattern is ridiculous. It’s PB’s game, so he makes the rules. If I were being @Rexal retentive, I’d gripe that some begin with THE and some don’t. In every case the base phrase was no help in solving, but so what? The fun was in figuring it out after the fact. I found this disappointingly easy for a PB, but the fun was the gimmick, of which I am in awe. Maybe I found it easy because I am old (I was given ETHER when I had my tonsils out).

pmdm 8:23 AM  

Impressive? Yes. Fun? No. Ergo: Successful: No. At least not for me. Patrick does not deserve us to bow down to him for this puzzle. Seems to me that this type of puzzle usually elicits harsh complaints that the constructor is just showing off. One expects from Mr. Berry fill that is better than average. (OK, way better than average.) I guess we are not disappointed there. But still: no fun.

RJ 8:38 AM  

@Jofried I have never heard the term and had no idea of what you were supposed to do with these phrases. I also agree with @Z...just because the creation was technically difficult to achieve doesn't mean it made the puzzle fun. I can admire the construction but still found the result not to my taste.

@LorenMuseSmith - I first saw a man in a SPEEDO in the summer of 1974. I had just graduated from high school and went to Hampton Beach in NH with friends. There was a large group of Canadian vacationers and several of the men wore speedos. It was a traumatic event, particularly for catholic school girls. You can imagine what we talked about for the rest of the afternoon!

My favorite spoonerism was PALEHAIRYMASS, probably because it made sense without knowing about spoonerisms.

Wine Diver 8:39 AM  

Everyone knows that a yeti has hair, not fur. Duh.

BarbieBarbie 8:41 AM  

I enjoyed the themers and also enjoyed the fact that PB was messing with me by getting me to slow down and say each one out loud. It may be an impossible feat when even Berry doesn’t do it, but it would have been so cool to see the permutation order be the same every time. I thought it was going to be all 312, then I got to the first 231 and thought uh-ohhhh, this is going to see Rex off and he won’t even know why. But luckily there were more. I have to go back now to see if it was a pan-permutagram.

Agree about the gauchos. Even real vaqueros don’t wear them. I think they’re supposed to look like those leather chaps, but instead they look bulky and silly IF they are in a stiff bulky fabric like the FLOTUS ones. If they drape better, well OK, now they are fancy capris. Not for some of us...

Mohair Sam 8:43 AM  

Very fast solve, Berry-clean as always. I agree with Rex to some extent, spoonerisms should hit you quickly, but it was fun figuring out the phrase after it filled. Did make most of Rex's mistakes too, SNORt and DEPOse the most difficult to overcome.

TOOLE's "A Confederacy of Dunces" is either the best book I've ever read or the worst. I'm never quite sure (but I did read it twice). Kept a BEDSIT in London's Stock Newington while I was stationed in England, cheaper than paying for a hotel every weekend - and not terribly far from White Hart Lane. Did you know that Jerry ORBACH was the first to sing "Try to Remember" in the off-Broadway production of "The Fantasticks"? Speaking of beautiful lyrics from that period . . . . .

Whenever SPEEDO appears in the puzzle I can be relied on to sing my interpretation of The Cadillac's "SPEEDO" for several hours. Lady Mohair finds a reason to go shopping (or meet her Fancy Man, who knows?) during these sessions. A taste of the lyrics:

"Well, now, they often call me Speedo
'Cause I don't believe in wastin' time

Well, I've known some pretty women
And that's caused them to change their mind

Well, now, some may call me Joe
Some may call me Moe
Just remember Speedo
He don't never take it slow"

(Lady M will be back after lunch)

Once heard a very long joke that ended with "Boyfoot bear with teak of Chan" - is that a quadruple spoonerism? And try cluing that one, Patrick Berry.

Nancy 8:44 AM  

MATE GRINDS LINK A THIKE. I had the exact same mistake as Rex: SNORt instead of SNORE. So, like Rex, I had THE FANTA TRAY SALt. And when I finished and went back to see what the triple Spoonerisms amounted to, I could figure out all of them but that one. With SALt, there's no way you can Spoonerize the thing into THE SANTA FE TRAIL. Instead, THE FANTA RAY SALT sounds sort of like a triple Spoonerism of The San Andreas Fault. Sort of. But not quite. So I had to come here to look it up, only to find why it didn't work. And thus, a DNF.

What the heck. It was fun anyway. Nice and playful and--surprisingly for a Patrick Berry--not too hard. But then PB can do it all -- hard, easy, whatever. He's the best.

Teedmn 8:54 AM  

DNF on a Patrick Berry - oh the ignominy! One typo and one stupidity. I can forgive the first, sort of, but putting in SaMBA for the Swahili lion and not noticing that I had a BaB hanging around my neck?

PALE HAIRY MASS and TERROR OF BAD GLIDINGS are really nice. The rest are okay; the elegance isn't in the actual spoonerism, but in how the original phrase morphs, for me.

As usual, Patrick Berry does a superb job. I liked seeing RIBALD, ABANDON, NOT MUCH, BANG UP, BEDSIT (I haven't seen that one in a while, guess I need to revisit my Brit lit). The clue for Lash LARUE was great. I'm not fond of the clue for TILING at 56D. And 81D, Actor's last line = CUE. What, they're going to fire the poor thing for one flub? Are we talking about a try-out here? Am I overthinking this? But if those are my only nits, it's obvious this was a nice puzzle. Thanks, PB1.

Aketi 9:00 AM  

@LMS the BiG HAIRY MASS and your response to it made my week. Well that and the clip of the FLOTUS gaucho pants.

mmorgan 9:05 AM  

I also had to figure them out after filling them in -- and loved them all! Count me among the "How on earth did he come with these?" crowd.

Hartley70 9:06 AM  

It's a delight to see a PB puzzle on a Sunday morning. Thank you to the Master!

1a is a very, very bad memory. Thank the Lord anesthesiology has advanced!

I still remember the moment in junior high when I was introduced to spoonerisms in class. It became a raucous hour but such fun. Kind of like this morning for me!

I feel the need to weigh in on the gaucho pants controversy... so much more interesting than baseball. They're an unfortunate choice for short Irish ladies of any shape, but a tall beauty like @Gill, who I'm sure can roll her r's like a champ, can wear anything she likes and rock it with the right attitude. (Even without her horse and bullwhip on the pampas.)

Nancy 9:06 AM  

@JOHN X (2:30 a.m.) -- Aha! I see you also were thinking THE SAN ANDREAS FAULT when you had SALt. Once again, mate grinds link a thike.

@Anon (7:15 a.m.) -- I had the same reaction: TERROR and BEARER don't rhyme. (I pronounce them both the same way you do.) It's really not the sort of mistake that anyone named Berry should ever make.

@Loren and @RJ -- I couldn't agree with both of you more about SPEEDOS. I love your description of sighting them on a beach "a traumatic event", @RJ (8:38). A terrific line and not without a large measure of truth (pun intended).

Aketi 9:09 AM  

@LMS, I’m not sure telling GILL I to lose her gauchos will succeed. I am sure that it would be a bad idea to tell the old men at Coney Island to lose their SPEEDOS. They might proudly take you up on it right there on the beach.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Deliverin' vases to Vandross? Cartin' Luther Ming.

SteveF 9:12 AM  

I had salt too. And I kept wanting to grok the San Andreas Fault from the Fanta tray salt which kind of sorta works if you elide the syllables

Hungry Mother 9:28 AM  

YECCH was the only mar to an amusing and enjoyable solve. That could have been YECCo, YECCy, or YECCc as far as I was concerned.

Birchbark 9:28 AM  

I wonder whether the non-whiz-bang response to the triple spoonerisms has as much to do with the grid design. Lots of short twists and turns, probably because the themers need a lot of fill to get the job done. Like a closed, defensive game of chess -- interesting and deliberate, but not the sort of swashbuckling adrenaline you get from a king's gambit or a wide-open grid.

@Mohair Sam, agreed on Confederacy of Dunces. I read it a year or so ago. A fun and funny book, but I'm sort of glad that there aren't too many like it.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Pale Hairy Mass => Hail Mary Pass was a Natick for me.

Oops, Doug Flutie lives there. ;-)

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

I check this blog knowing full well I'm going to be annoyed. So many of these comments seem to highlight so many people's sense of entitlement. Some people seem to think it's UNFAIR if they don't understand something right away or if they've never heard of a certain word before. GET OVER YOURSELVES! If I don't finish or make a mistake, I see it as a failing on my part and take it as an opportunity to learn something new. I don't blame the puzzles creator. If you don't like having to think a little, stick to the Monday puzzle. If you're going to whine, make your own puzzle and show the rest of us how brilliant you are.

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

RESET: term used repeatedly in DC to refer to such things as establishing ANEW a relationship with Russia.

GILL I. 10:10 AM  

Oh my god...I'm still laughing at @austinburns SHILL WARTS.
I love spoonerisms. I love malaprop's. I love anything that screws up the English language because NO ONE does it better than me (I, for you purists)...!
Going into Sears and asking for the shitted feets aisle. Doc, Sneezy, Dumpey and Gropey. Having said that, I'm going to say that I much prefer the two-part swapper. I only seriously laughed at PALE HAIRY MASS. The rest made me work too hard with very little pay-off.
I think most of us here love Patrick's crosswords. Sometimes he's a BEER party, other times he' a fancy cocktail. This was a BEER party for me (I don't drink the stuff as a rule nor do I particularly like it). He's a master and this shows how good he is. Sadly, it did not entertain me as much as I'd like. I really needed a Manhattan!
OK you gaucho grouches. @Loren...I had to go to Google to look at pictures of gauchos because nothing I wear looks anything like Melania's frumpy outfit. So, I think what I don are called culottes...Does that make it better? I can't lose them because I have about 20 of them with matching espadrilles...I'm a bit anal! Mine drape...Is that good? I'm a bit tall....will that change your mind? I seriously need your approval or I'm going to have angst and a bit of the ague.
Now, if we're going to talk SPEEDOS on a public beach, then god help us. I like to stare at the hunks and if you're one, then bless you. Otherwise, it's like looking at an oversized woman wearing a slingshot.. I want eye candy.

BarbieBarbie 10:17 AM  

@Mohair, no, it’s two doubles.

I totally and completely LOVE LOVE LOVEtoday’s Diagramless by Steinberg. That guy is just amazing. What an artist, as it were.
@LMS, you would like it too. Won’t say more because spoilers... everyone who has it, go do it. It’s not hard, even for those of us who don’t usually take that particular challenge.

QuasiMojo 10:23 AM  

@Teednm I think actor’s “last line” for “cue” refers to the line from another actor before your own. It’s your cue. And often is the way you know what your line is. If an actor flubs a line, the responding actor may lose his or her place. I’ve seen it happen too many times! Lol

Ando 10:24 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith: I disagree, and agree w/ Rex, here's why: All your examples work better after removing the word "Place" at the beginning:
"Where you see your kid play Grieg's Concerto": RECITAL
"Place where you see your kid play Grieg's Concerto": SCHOOL AUDITORIUM
*Where you see Grayson Allen make an ass of himself": BASKETBALL GAME
*Place where you see Grayson Allen make an ass of himself": CAMERON

and so on

(ps: yes it's actually CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM but that's too long for a grid.

ArtO 10:28 AM  

Fantastic PB construction. A real workout but ultimately satisfying. Thanks to @Rex for the translations.

PENALCODE should have had a ? That said, it was a totally class A clue. What else from PB?!

Teedmn 10:42 AM  

Thanks, @QuasiMojo, that makes sense of the clue now!

Dan Steele 10:47 AM  

Of course they're not going to be as much fun as a regular spoonerism. Of course they're not going to be readily identifiable when spoken aloud. Still, they are so clever. And if you know what the term spoonerism means, he played so fair. It's in the title! Most of us knew exactly what we were getting into, and I for one had great fun trying to figure them out. And hey absolutely DO NOT run into your friend at the "concert hall." You run into them at the CONCERT. At least here in the backward USA.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

I fully agree with Anonymous @ 9:57 AM.

Well said, sir/madam.

Mohair Sam 10:57 AM  

@BarbieBarbie - Yeah, you're right.

Typo in my post - I lived in Stoke Newington, not "Stock". I'd blame auto-correct like a lot of you do, but it's turned off on this lap top.

'merican in Paris 10:58 AM  

Here's a few more 3-word spoonerisms; the letters that have been switched around are highlighted in bold:

-- Fighting Fire with Fire

-- Making a Mountain out of a Molehill

-- Throw in The Towel

Clever, eh?

Candice Bates 10:59 AM  

i'm over these themed weekend puzzles. they used to be a joy to crack, and now i'm just frustrated. feel like they are trying too hard

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Snort... DNF
Thinking about it, "snore" actually works better with the clue, so...
"Santa Fe Trail" never popped into my head.
Nice Sunday puzzle, though.

TubaDon 11:16 AM  

With the help of a spot of Irish Breakfast Tea I was able to solve this contiguously from top to bottom while ignoring the themes. Despite my respect for Patricks ingenuity in sussing out triple spoonerisms, I do agree that double spooners roll more trippingly off the tongue. Clues that somehow popped out without conscious thought: DOBRO, SIMBA and ISLEY.

CashPo' 11:32 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith, I guess David Sedaris didn't get out much. Most people in America do not clean up after their dogs.

FLAC 11:36 AM  

Very, very clever, if unavoidably clunky at times. Mr. Berry is one fart smeller.

BarbieBarbie 11:37 AM  

@DanS, totally agree. You are IN the concert hall when you are AT the concert, in my lexicon. But this is probably regional?

Alan_S. 12:11 PM  

Hey Rex, will you ever bop stitching?
There's nothing wrong with a wee spay throonerism. Pine funday suzzle, etc, etc.

Masked and Anonymous 12:19 PM  

@RP: yep. A spoonerism is something U should grok immediately. A triple spoonerism is too hard to figure out, unless, say … it were splatzed into a puz situation, where U have to think on it for a bit to solve the little puzzle it posed, say. Just sayin.

Pretty smooth set of weejects … so many lil darlins (22), so little desperation. Makes U wannna NODOFF. staff pick: UPN. Better clue: {Atom preceder??}.

Surprisinly meager non-theme long-ball stuff in this puppy. Anyhoo, was real partial to TRASHPILE and ROBOCOP. And am relieved to see that ORANG finally has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity. [Sweet pale hairy mass.]

Only egregious themer omission: {Pewit home on a torii lantern?} = ? ? ? *

Thanx, PB1.

Masked & Anonymo10Us

* = Gate Light Nest.


Malsdemare 12:20 PM  

Yup, these were labor, but I really liked the workout. It’s one of those fun times when the clue gave me a toehold and then my lizard brain took over. My wicked moment came with YECCH; not knowing the actor, that last letter could have been a variety of things. Liked the evocation of "Confederacy," a book a found profounding disturbing when I read it long ago. Maybe I should reread it, but I've gotten hooked on John Dunning at the moment, so Toole will have to wait.

Oh, @glimmerglass, you revived one of my more horrific memories. i was thirteen, daughter of a doctor, and thought I wanted to follow in his footsteps. So when I was told I needed my tonsils out, I said I wanted to watch. The surgeon obliged, injected some local anesthetic and then I experienced some of the most intense pain I've ever had. Why oh why would ANYONE let a 13-year-old make a decision like that?

Yes, short Irish women should skip the gauchos. My sister, two inches shorter than my 5’3” wears them all summer and they make her look far shorter than she already is. But at our age, shorts are no longer an option so that's her compromise. I wear longish shorts and spectators be damned. Guess I — sort of — understand the speedo choice. Back in the 80s when competitive swimmers wore them, the kids called them "weenie poppers." And that's what "pops" into my head when I see men wearing them. I wonder if knowing what they are called would dissuade men from wearing them. Probably not.

@Gill culottes are absolutely acceptable; it’s that the gauchos hit mid-calf that makes them so unattractive on many people. Skirts that length are also very unflattering on many women. Knee-length, ankle-length? Sure! Mid-calf, ugh!

@Mohair, this one's for you. Roy Rogers is out riding one day when he encounters a cougar. Roy and the beast tangle, and in the process, the animal gets Mr. Rogers' brand new boots and destroys them. Roy goes home and tells Dale the sad tale. She suggests they go find the miscreant, so they mount up and head into the hills. After riding for a while, Dale spots movement in the hill above them and queries, "Pardon me Roy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes?"

Carola 12:32 PM  

For me, this was less a joyride than a slow crawl featuring multiple detours and dead ends, in which I was unable to recognize any of the thematic landmarks until I finally arrived at the FANTA TRAY SALE. Ohhh. Still, it was difficult for me to work out the theme answers; at least knowing a couple of the relevant consonants helped. I liked the nosebleed, yeti, and parasailing ones best.
TERROR and BEARER rhyme perfectly for me; it's always interesting to read comments about the regional differences (remembering an earlier merry-marry-Mary discussion - the same vowel + r AREA, I guess). I can't imagine how they wouldn't rhyme!

Sandy McCroskey 12:38 PM  

I don't have any problem with triple spoonerisms; they remind me of the most popular form of French wordplay, verlan (for "l'envers"), in which not only the first sounds of words but any sounds or syllables inside them can be switched around. Most of these were pretty transparent, I thought.

Thomas B. Woodward 12:48 PM  

Bishops don't wear miters, but carpenters use them.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

@Anon 9:57 - In a like vein, I'm perpetually surprised that there are some who don't seem to grasp the concept of wordplay!

Budgie smuggler.
Banana hammock.

Roo Monster 12:56 PM  

Hey All ! (Was gonna start Eh Hall, but doesn't work too well.)

Whenever I see Yeti, I always think of the movie "Monsters, Inc." where Mike and Sully get abandoned and meet him. Great line: "They call me the Abominable Snowman. Can you believe that? Why not the Adorable Snowman?" Har.

Liked the puz. Agree it was easy outside the spoonerwhatsits. Haven't seen PB1 in quite some time. I thought he had quit sending puzs into the NYT. So that was nice. Just a few writeovers, the FLORal-FLORIc-FLORID one held me up for quite a spell. But ended up 100℅ correct, with no cheats! YAY ME!

Was gonna complain about the Glue-All one as making no sense, but finally see it's Glue-Ale after reading the comments.

A jang-up Bob by PB. :-)

LA RooMonster

David 1:08 PM  

I've tiled a few bathroom floors in my time, and I've seen many more bathrooms with tiled floors. It's a good idea to wear knee pads while tiling a floor and, if you're not careful, it'll look a mess.

That said, whoever invents a self-tiling bathroom floor will become a billionaire pretty quickly.

Trombone Tom 1:13 PM  

@Gill I, you pretty much said it all.

Patrick Berry never fails to please me. And word play is my thing.

I blazed through the puzzle last night but gave up on untangling the triple Spoonerisms until today.

Just as good as the puzzle were the many bon mots posted here.

Mohair Sam 1:16 PM  

@malsdemere - OMG that was beautiful. True story?

Liz 1:19 PM  

This is an old joke: the Russian who tried to get his son a yacht club membership because he wanted to see his red son in the sail set

Adam Frank 1:25 PM  

Funny - THE FANTA TRAY SALE was the first themer that I got. But I agree with @Rex on this - it was a slog. It was work. And it wasn't that much fun. I was looking for a pattern to the consonant shift to try to help, but I realized after I got ROCK STAR CASES that there was no pattern. Work without the fun - and given the title I knew exactly what I was looking for, and it still took me far too long to figure out what the un-spoonerized phrases were supposed to be. Thumbs down.

John McKnight 1:28 PM  

If the plural of titmouse is titmice then how come the plural of mongoose isn’t mongeese? Thank you for reading my contribution to this website.

Big Jim 1:40 PM  

Mardon me padam, this pie is occupewed. May I sew you to another sheet?

jberg 2:18 PM  

I'm in the same boat with @Nancy and @John X -- not a bad place to be, but of course I'd rather have got the solve. I think I misread "disinterest" as "disdain" in the 84D clue, so I was just set on SNORT. I should not have doubted PB -- San Andreas Fault is only a 2-way Spoonerism, so he would never have put it in.

But Nancy, we're going to need a source for THIKE if you want to claim it as a word.

I liked it, though--I think @M&A makes the point, it's not that the Spoonerisms are all that funny per se, but that the struggle to figure them out is enjoyable. Sort of like Samuel Johnson's talking dog.

When I was a freshman, the guy in the next dorm room was in Navy ROTC. He had to learn a complicated set of rules about when to 'uncover' -- i.e., take your hat off -- while in uniform. Turned out that most indoor venues were a (45A) NO DOFF zone.

Aketi 2:51 PM  

@RooMonster, when my son was little the Martial Arts CREDO included a line about indominatable spirit which the kids invariably changed to abominable spirit. It was adorable,

@Malsdemare, I have tried a few minor procedures on local anesthesia, but can’t imagine tonsil removal. YECCH . I’m an inch shorter than your sister so I don’t buy shorts period, except the ones I’m required to wear over tights for No Gi BJJ.

@GILL I, Coffee went up my nose over your slingshot comment. There is a huge controversy in a Facebook group for women in BJJ. One of the Gracie women who exposed most of her “slingshot” in a photo shoot to sell Women’s Gis. She had the bod for it but some commenters felt it degraded the sport, while others didn’t care. Most agreed that women wouldn’t flock to buy the Gis because they wouldn’t want pants that exposed their assets while they were competing.

Carola 2:54 PM  

@BarbieBarbie, I agree with you about today's diagramless. It's my favorite kind of puzzle and this one is a jewel.

sanfranman59 5:00 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:21 4:18 1.01 53.3% Medium
Tue 6:17 5:37 1.12 72.0% Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:29 6:00 0.91 36.0% Easy-Medium
Thu 7:59 10:01 0.80 22.1% Easy-Medium
Fri 23:07 13:23 1.73 95.3% Very Challenging
Sat 27:32 16:06 1.71 96.5% Very Challenging
Sun 36:18 21:52 1.66 97.3% Very Challenging

Not my day. I just couldn't parse any of the spoonerisms. Plus, it took me over 3 minutes to find an error at the end. Like Rex, I had a plausible SNORt for SNORE at 84D and though the spoonerism at 106A made no sense to me that way, I just figured that I wasn't parsing it properly.

Another very rough weekend of NYT puzzling for me.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

Love Toole’s CoD. As most probably know, it was published posthumously and never really finished. It begins to unravel something like four fifths of the way through, if memory serves.

Z 5:26 PM  


TomAz 5:50 PM  

Count me among those who had SALt instead of SALE.

Don't count me among those who think triple spoonerisms are weak just for their very tripleness. I thought many of these were fun. Yes a few were meh but so what.

Good puzzle.

Michael5000 6:02 PM  

We felt exactly the way Rex did about the irritating triple spoonerisms, but we at least laughed while rolling our eyes. It's an advantage of solving as a duo that when the theme annoys or overwhelms, at least you're in it together.

Larry Gilstrap 6:03 PM  

Even after reading all the nibbles and quits covering just about every element of this puzzle, I liked it. Sure, it had that Sunday thing going on, but I enjoyed figuring out those themers. Wordplay is at its best when the arrangement of letters is associated with significant meaning, so Spoonerisms can be delightful. Anagrams, not so much.

I second @Loren's old school standard for a FACT. They do exist, whether they fit one's world view or not.

Hey, I understand and appreciate regional dialect. To my mom, the day after Friday was pronounced "Serdee." I get it, but TERROR and bearer rhyme most times I hear them spoken.

SNORE clued as a Mock sound of disinterest is spot on. A snort is an emotional reaction showing anything but disinterest. Like historic hotels? Add La Fonda on the Plaza which sits along the Santa Fe Trail.

Bonac Pride 6:25 PM  


Bonac Pride 6:26 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bonac Pride 6:37 PM  

Garage, cake, yard, white....SALES

Unknown 6:43 PM  

Am I the only one who has no idea what stuck-hops beer means in regards to elmer's glue?

thefogman 7:07 PM  

That Rex Parker is such a smart feller. Or, in keeping with the theme, would that be a fart smeller?

Z 7:17 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 7:18 PM  

@unknown6:43 - The clue reads “Tagline in an ad for Elmer’s Glue-Ale” So “STUCK” references the glue and “HOPS” references the HOP plant used to flavor beer

thefogman 7:54 PM  

I did not know what spoonerism meant before I looked it up.
I figured the theme had something to do with three-way spooning, which would not be appropriate for a family publication such as the New York Times.

Joe Dipinto 8:49 PM  

"I got this fantastic bag yesterday at the sample sale."

"I ran into an old friend at the Sandbox Percussion performance."

"The last time I saw Poindexter was at high school graduation."

Yes Rex, they are all *places* in that they answer the question of where the thing happened.

pcardout 8:55 PM  

Ah, Gilstrap, are you another New York to New Mexico transplant? La Fonda is nice to walk through ... can't afford to stay there!

I got the whole puzzle w/o figuring out the dang pattern. That rarely happens to me.

puzzlehoarder 8:58 PM  

I started this last night and finished it in a brief session this afternoon. I got down to the very bottom theme entry before getting the theme. Finally knowing the trick I was able to change HID to HAD. This allowed TRAY to rhyme with Fe. That was the only time I got to use the theme to help solve.

I think I prefer PB1 as a Sunday constructor. His style is too user friendly for a themeless.

Anonymous 9:19 PM  

Mind blown.

wgh 10:03 PM  

Um, ok. I hated it

BarbieBarbie 10:51 PM  

Unknown@643, The buck stops here.

Dick Swart 11:19 PM  

I agree with Rex. Three-change spoonerisms are not quick takes, such as might be made in real speech.

Solved puzzle first, then went to work on spoonerisms

Anonymous 11:36 PM  

I thought Serial had a great clue, but I'm an Ira Glass fan/NPR nerd in the extreme.

Anonymous 11:39 PM  

CoD most overrated book ever! Yet to meet one woman who liked it.

James K 12:47 AM  

I enjoyed the triple spoonerisms, even if they are a different animal from the doubles. They made me smile. I didn't have any trouble with Sale as Salt. Of course "Sale" can be a place. "Where were you this morning?" "Oh, I went to the book sale." I got caught on "More rare" as "tender," which didn't quite work (it would really have to be "tenderer"), but then when I figured out "Pale Hairy Mass" I realized my mistake.

John Hoffman 2:46 AM  

Never heard of the football term "Hail Mary Pass" so that spoonerism didn't make any sense to me. Crossword puzzle was not hard but the theme answers were odd -- strange. Still a good puzzle.

mine! 3:34 AM  

It’s SETAR not SITAR. SITARs have tons of strings. A SETAR has THREE. I am so angry

Z 6:23 AM  

@mine! - Don’t be angry. The clue is about the name SITAR, not the thing itself. Wikipedia cites Merriam-Webster as the source for the etymology.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

As usual the ckues were not edited - yecch (??) - could have been a lot of fun - unfortunately was NOT!

Bob Mills 1:16 PM  

"Mock sound of disinterest" should be SNORT, not SNORE. There are dozens of better clues to describe SNORE than that one. Otherwise a fun puzzle, and kudos to the constructor.

Robert Kreek 4:50 PM  


Donald H 7:38 PM  

A pitcher for the old braves team Mel Famey had a lot to drink before a game and couldn't get anybody out, walked 8 or 9 batters, the other team said "it must have been the beer that made mel famey walk us"

muskox 6:47 PM  

Is a SNORE really a sound of disinterest? Shouldn’t that be uninterest (lack of interest)? I realize lots of people use them interchangeably, but would have thought the style folks at NYT would have insisted of reserving the former for “absence of bias”?

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

A lot of prison related stuff- no clue what a spoonerism was- still think it yecch. Got most of this puzzle. I took comfort in know that I had the same hangs up as Rex- trash heap etc. - 87 a took me forever even tho only 3 letters would do fro it- b, t and d. which of course - only a b would do- kept trying to make it terror of bad landings the answer to 106- I got Fanta but could not get the rest. and had sales for spend, ethos before credo . all in all an ok puzzle, but I must say it was also bogus- had edit before wrap. just a lot of redder herrings that threw me off. a week later here in upstate. We still have no signs of spring- we had a lot of icing over night here. had to scrape the windows off this morning. . Ps loved the shout out to Jerry Orbach- loved the orig L&O- the only good one in my opinion. and only have reading Rex - did I get the theme answers as far as what they really were. Before that it was a string of words that made little sense. sigh, better luck next time...

spacecraft 12:41 PM  

One-letter DNF due to that mock sound SNORt. The crossing spoonerism made no sense to me with either letter, but the down clue fits more with SNORt than with SNORE. IMHO.

The non-theme AREAs are typically Berry-smooth, which almost allowed me to finish. But SNORt/SNORE is like SCAB/SCAR; most clues fit wither. That's why, if the cross is at all in question, great pains must be taken with the either/or clue. This is a rare PB no-no, and that's all I have. DOD is of course SALMA Hayek. No score for a DNF.

Burma Shave 2:39 PM  




rainforest 2:51 PM  

Put me in the DEPOse before DEPORT and SNORT before SNORE camp, but I quickly revised those. I have a "friend" who makes a SNORE sound whenever I begin a story of interest to me but not him. If he didn't outweigh me by a hundred pounds, I'd hit him

I echo all those who've said that triple spoonerisms are not immediately as funny as the regular genre, but it was fun to work them out. I also agree the fill was smooth, as expected.

Not a masterwork of a puzzle, but fast and fun nonetheless

I'll try to remember to attach my name this time.

rainforest 2:55 PM  

Forgot to mention that YECCH is the correct spelling, per Mad Magazine.

Good one, as usual, @Burma Shave.

Richard @ BitPerfect 2:59 PM  

I also had SNORT and was stuck trying (unsuccessfully) to deconstruct "SAN ANDREAS FAULT"

rondo 3:30 PM  

Well, the paper came around noon just as I was finishing up removing a foot of snow from both of my houses' driveways and walks, and this is what I had to sit down with. Didn't check the constructor's name until about halfway through, and was I surprised. NOTMUCH here to cheer about, damn near made me NODOFF and SNORE (yes, I got it right). Mighta liked TERROROFBADGLIDINGS if a good friend hadn't been killed in a wind shear incident on his hang glider. A small "har" on a coupla others.

Kudos on a proper use of TAR.

If you don't tip your hat is that a NODOFF? kinda like a dook

I don't know about you, but I use Thousand Island dressing on my REUBENs. Nevah, evah, had Russian on one.

Thanks for yeah baby SALMA Hayek as the high points of the puzzle.

Between the snow and this puz it's no way to SPEND Sunday.

AnonymousPVX 4:00 PM  

Wow....I really dislike puzzles like this. Ok, I’m sure it was hard to create and all, but this was zero fun.

leftcoastTAM 8:56 PM  

Not a fan of Sunday puzzles, but PB's by-line lured me in.

Very clever spoonerisms, triples to boot, and toughest parts of the puzzle to uncover. Last one to appear was THEFANTATRAYSALE, with FANTA leaving me dubious. Still, they all evoked pleasureful "aha's".

Took LOTS of time, but worth it in the END[s].

Diana,LIW 10:49 PM  

Oh well. Interrupted by dinner and the symphony. Great excuse not to finish.

Usually love PB - this was close, but cigar free in the long run.

Lady Di

Rube 10:11 AM  

No. There is no rhyme here. Totally blown by editor constructor. I could understand how someone might try to force something off the era of good feeling in American history

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