MONDAY, Apr. 30, 2007 - Allan E. Parrish

Monday, April 30, 2007

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: B-ND vowel shift - five theme answers are phrases that end with BAND, BEND, BIND, BOND, and BUND, respectively

This puzzle was more Tuesday than Monday. Several answers I did not know and had to get from crosses, which rarely happens on Monday. I solved reasonably quickly, but had to flail around a lot. The theme is listless, but the non-theme fill is actually pretty interesting. I especially like the K-riddled NE corner.

First, the theme phrases:

  • 17A: Elastic holder (rubber band) - took me forever to understand that the RUBBER BAND doesn't "hold" "elastic," but is a "holder" made out of "elastic"
  • 25A: Home of Notre Dame (South Bend)
  • 36A: Entrance, as through oratory (spellbind) - the adjectival "spellbinding" (1.4+ million hits) and "spellbound" (3.2+ million hits) are much more common than the verb "spellbind" (59,100 hits), though "spellbound" is helped in its total by being the name of at least two reasonably well known movies.
  • 51A: Ian Fleming creation (James Bond) - my favorite answer of the bunch; he's been flexing his puzzle muscle (or shaking his puzzle martini or whatever) a lot in recent months
  • 60A: 1930s political group (German Bund) - my least favorite answer, not least because I have never heard of it (I don't think...). My searches show it more commonly referred to as "German American Bund," and this should add nicely to recent discussions about the the propriety of putting Hitler in the puzzle, as the GERMAN BUND was decidedly pro-Hitler and openly anti-semitic. This, from Wikipedia (sorry, it's nasty, but someone's gotta point this stuff out):
Arguably, the zenith of the Bund's history occurred on President's Day, February 19, 1939 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Some 20,000 people attended and heard [American citizen Fritz] Kuhn criticize President Franklin Delano Roosevelt by repeatedly referring to the president as “Frank D. Rosenfeld”, calling his New Deal the "Jew Deal", and espousing his belief in the existence of a Bolshevik-Jewish conspiracy in America. Most shocking to American sensibilities (and arguably creating more animosity toward the Bund), were outbreaks of violence at the gathering, between protesters and Bund storm troopers.
Somehow [1930s political group] doesn't quite get at the heart of the matter. If there is some other GERMAN BUND of which I'm unaware, whose sole purpose was to spread sunshine and joy and give candy to children, I apologize sincerely for any confusion or mischaracterization.

Pretty fancy for a Monday...

42A: Landon who ran for president in 1936 (Alf) - what is it with this puzzle and '30s politics?! Had to get this from crosses. The only thing I like about it is its proximity to ALIEN (47A: Non-earthling), which prompts me to think of a completely different ALF.

4D: Polio vaccine developer (Sabin) - dammit, where is Salk!? Salk is the Monday guy. SABIN's usually on from Wednesdays-Sundays. I always forget SABIN's name. Poor SABIN. He is the John Oates of polio vaccine developing. Actually, that analogy makes little sense, but I just like remembering John Oates.

8D: Certain diplomat (consul) - man, I don't even know what a CONSUL does. We have a CONSUL's Family Restaurant around here somewhere ... whoops, sorry, that's Consol's. Nevermind.

25D: Synagogue (Shul) - derived from a German word meaning "school" - is this supposed to make up for GERMAN BUND?

26D: Chicago suburb (Oak Lawn) - sounds vaguely familiar, but ... is it really that well known outside the Chicago area?

40D: Oakland county (Alameda) - and I thought OAK LAWN was overly regional. Yeesh. I was born in S.F. and grew up in California and I had to guess at this.

45D: Royal headgear (coronet) - again, this is just a little fancy for a Monday. Wanted CROWNS - actually entered CORONAS (!?) at one point...

11D: Greg of "You've Got Mail" (Kinnear) - first of all, no one wants to be reminded of that movie. Try something more pleasant (and timely), like "Little Miss Sunshine." Second, I can name three people from "You've Got Mail" (sadly for me) and KINNEAR is not one of them. Strangely, Dave Chapelle is.

53A: "Filthy" money (lucre) - such an ugly, ugly word, which is perhaps why no one uses it much, and when it does get used, it's usually preceded by "filthy."

61D: Letter between pi and sigma (rho) - jeez, even the Greek letters in this puzzle are running toward the obscure end. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw RHO in a puzzle.

44D: Doug of "The Virginian" (McClure) - Who of what? Try [You may know him from such films as "The Erotic Adventures of Hercules" and "Dial 'M' for Murderousness"] - wait a minute! Here's a site that claims that Doug MCCLURE was, in fact, the model for (the above-referenced) Troy MCCLURE. Ah, internet, is there anything you don't know?

And finally, speaking of "The Simpsons" (and I was) ...

Two "Simpsons" Clues!

21A: Lisa, to Bart (sis)
41D: Bart or Lisa (Simpson)

Not scintillating, or very original, but I'm (probably) never going to complain about a "Simpsons" clue ... unless you get facts wrong. Then maybe.

Happy Monday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:15 AM  

enjoyed the puzzle and analysis, but here i am gettin' a kick outta the "spellbound" cover with that lady spelunker dressed for the occasion in her saucy red dress, *pearls* and **heels**!

what a hoot!!



dfan 9:24 AM  

This went pretty fast for me except for the center. I had OLDTOWN (which I learned from other crosswords, grr) instead of OAKLAWN, YEAS instead of AYES, and I completely couldn't parse "Entrance, as through oratory", thinking that it was the noun entrance as in the act of entering, rather than the verb.

I don't think I've ever encountered the word OGEE before.

Alex S. 9:27 AM  

I live in Alameda County so that one was pretty easy (later in the week I might have paused over the possibility that it was referencing Oakland, Michigan).

So long as it isn't done admiringly, I don't have a problem with Hitler and Nazis in the puzzle.

Rex Parker 9:45 AM  

Alex - I'm pretty much with you on the Hitler / Nazi business

and Dan - surely you are being facetious about OGEE ... it's a crossword mainstay. It's in the Pantheon!


Anonymous 9:54 AM  

I think Allan Parrish did a neat job of arranging the B_ND theme answers in alphabetical order.

Rex, as a Bosox fan, you should know that the Oakland A's plays their home games at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.

I agree with Alex about Hitler/Nazis. They're a part of our history (albeit a very repugnant part) & shouldn't be swept under the rug.

Linda G 10:07 AM  

I'm glad to see you included Alf's picture.

The Simpsons AND Diane of Cheers. It's a good day for Rex.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

If only they had clued NED and MCCLURE in relation to The Simpsons.

And I totally had to play the alphabet game on the RAHAL/SHUL crossing. YU(c)K.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

For some reason when I see LAWN in any suburb name, I think of only two things - Glenlawn, where Nell and the gang lived on Gimme A Break and Lawndale, where the cartoon character Daria lived with her wacked-out family. What does this say about me????

Breezed through whole puzzle. This may be a first for me. Can the tournament be far behind? ;)

DONALD 11:02 AM  

Nice rant!

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

I think I know Alf Landon from Jr. High Social Studies. I liked that one (and find the alien Alf singularly unattractive).
I had to guess at the H in SHUL and RAHAL. I don't recall ever seeing this word (SHUL) before. And I'm pretty sure the three stooges had another laugh sound that was more bizarre and distinctive. Was it NYUK? Every once in awhile I try to watch more than 30 seconds of the Three Stooges. After all, it's part of the cannon of American comedy, right? But I can't. It just makes me uneasy, and I see nothing funny in their schtick. But I digress. This made for a block of four squares in the middle of the Monday puzzle that I essentially had to get through educated and uneducated guessing.
Isn't Alameda also an island in San Francisco bay? I left California at age 8, but once I had a few letters (A, L and M, say), I was reasonably certain that Oakland's county must be Alameda. Whereas OAK LAWN was more of an "OK, sounds plausible" type of solution. Though an OAK LAWN must be a bear to mow. And speaking of obscure places in larger places, how about SOWETO? SOWETO is familiar to me as a place in South Africa, but I didn't know it was "part of Johannesburg." Did you?
And by the way, doesn't SWEEP, which crosses both SOWETO and OAK LAWN, strike you as slightly out of sync with the clue? With ADOS (bustles) and SPELLBIND (Entrance, as through oratory), that's at least three clues in a Monday puzzle that strike me as not quite right or perhaps a bit forced.
I rather like the word lucre, as a word. Was unaware of the quasi-obligatory "filthy" connotation. Webster's on line makes no mention of this. I'll have to delve deeper.
YAW is a good word. So is LOOPY.
That's all.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

Even I as a Yiddish speaker ( not fluent)found shul and bund unexpected. In my youth I attended Shul regularly and called it that and still found myself staring at the 4 letter space at a loss for a 4-letter word for synagogue. There were also a group of Jews in a Bund who were secular, socialist and Yiddishists. They were known as Bundists. Once I got the answer, I recognized even the German Bund.

As to having Bund in the puzzle, I am fine with it. Although, I would prefer not to see Hitler especailly during Holocaust Memorial week especially clued to The Producers (as it was last week or was it 2 weks ago?) It's more emotional than logical as my Dad is a Holocaust survivor and it upsets me to see Hitler in a place of fun and serenity (sometimes), that is the NY Times crossword.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

mmpo, SOWETO is the name given to a number of townships situated on the fringes of Johannesburg that collectively became the ghetto where all blacks were segregated before and during apartheid.

Campesite 12:25 PM  

I had a feeling there may be a Simpsons subtext on your blog today as I did this puzzle. Would have liked to see FIFE clued with maybe 'emotional deputy Barney.'

MMPO: you're right, Alameda is an island in the Bay, and as an Oakland native for me this was a gimme.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  


Gloriously entertaining entry on a Monday-mild puzzle! I am intrigued by the way you find more content than at first seems to exist.

Thanks for the history lesson - appropriately sobering.

Norrin2 1:09 PM  

I was putting the accent on the wrong part of the the first word in 36 Across too. I thought "Entrance, as through oratory" would be like a break in the conversation.
Any connection at all between a bund (which I've never heard of before today either) and a bundt cake?

Anonymous 1:40 PM  


Yes Bundt cake and Bund are related. Although pronounced differently "Bund" as Boont and "Bundt" as Bunt.

A Bund is a union, group or gathering. The Yiddish Bundists were basically Unionists and socialists. While the German Bund was an American Nazi supporting group.

Women of Hadassah (a women's zionist organization in America) requested a pan for baking a central european cake called kogelhopf (baked-hoop) from a cook/bake ware company and the inventor came up with the bundt-pan. He called it a bund (t) cake because it would be served at social gatherings. I believe because of patent issues and wanting to disassociate the cake name from the German Bund (Nazi supporters) he added a "T."

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

I hate you:


Norrin2 2:37 PM  

Thanks, Profphil.
It's amazing what you can learn doing crossword puzzles

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

Yes, Profphil, thanks for adding the info regarding both the Yiddish Bund and the (tasty) bundt cake!

Anonymous 3:49 PM  

As an Alameda County resident and A's fan, I must point out that perhaps Rex was befuddled because our home stadium has been renamed McAfee Coliseum. Not that ours was a storied park, but still . . .
I was familiar with the German Bund through Philip Roth's excellent book The Plot Against America.

caraleigh 6:00 PM  

I also would have thought of it as the German American Bund, though my primary associations with "bund" are from plain old "The Bund" (certainly not long enough for theme fill), the Yiddishist union in the old country.

It'd been the subject of some personal wordplay once before...

in a store window

Alex S. 6:42 PM  

Yeah, been about 5-6 since the naming rights were sold to Oakland-Alameda Coliseum (I think the Oakland Arena across the sidewalk just sold out last year).

At least with McAfee I can pretend it is named after some legend from the team's past. Which I couldn't with the previous Network Associates Coliseum.

Anonymous 6:43 PM  

Fenway Park is named after a swamp!

Anonymous 10:39 PM  

"...the way you find more content than at first seems to exist."

Ultra Vi has surely identified at least one of the outstanding features of Rex's blog that makes it so appealing and keeps those first time answer seekers coming back whether they need an answer or not. Let's hear it for the analytical skills developed on the way to an English PHD. HUZZAH

A Quiz for all of us beneficiaries:

Question 1. How many other such ENTRANCing features of Rex's blog can you identify?

Question 2. Compare and contrast the ENTRANCEment quality of Rex's blog with another blog of your choice.

Answers receive an automatic A+ as a grade.

Anonymous 11:14 PM  

I for one admit to being entranced without any reason.

It's just great reading - entertaining, elucidating, and entrancing.

Thanks, Rex. I mean, King Rex.

dfan 9:25 AM  

Rex said: "Dan - surely you are being facetious about OGEE ... it's a crossword mainstay. It's in the Pantheon!"

I just started doing crosswords seriously about a month ago. So I'm all over ERLE and ERNE and YSER, but for some reason I hadn't encountered OGEE yet. Good to know that it'll turn up again.

Orange 9:43 AM  

Dan, your other need-to-know architectural terms are APSE and NAVE, EERO and ELIEL Saarinen, MIES van der ROHE, and I.M. PEI (whose first name is IEOH)

Unknown 11:58 AM  

From six weeks later: I wasn't alive in the thirties, never heard of any BUND including a German one, but somehow found this to be the easiest puzzle of the year....

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

Six weeks later ...

Never took Social Studies in the US of A but somehow remember Alf Landon's name. Didn't know WHAT he looked like!

I ran accross the German Bund in "Two O'Clock Eastern Wartime", which has a Nazi sub-plot and is full of trivia about the good-old-days of radio (is that what people into old comics should listen to?) Thanks for all the tasty bumpf on bundt, prof. Never know when that will come in handy.


Anonymous 3:09 PM  


I also found this to be the easiest xword puzzle in my short (9 months or so)attachment. May have helped that I grew up on the South Side of Chicago right next to OAK LAWN and that I now live 2 counties up the East Bay from ALAMEDA.

- - Robert

Anonymous 5:23 PM  

Oak Lawn sounds like a peaceful place to be interred.

Any fool knows that the Three Stooges' laugh was "Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!"

Is "Yaw" really a deviation from course? It's one of the degrees of movement in flight, but surely a rocket can pitch or roll off course too, right?

Hmmm. The first definition from FreeDictionary:

1. Nautical To swerve off course momentarily or temporarily: The ship yawed as the heavy wave struck abeam.

(However, in my defense:

2. To turn about the vertical axis. Used of an aircraft, spacecraft, or projectile.)

Anonymous 10:10 PM  

I vaguely remember the GERMAN AMERICAN BUND being mentioned in Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

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