TUESDAY, May 22, 2007 - Roger Wolff

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Relative difficuly: Easy

THEME: "Do-Re-Mi" - three 15-letter theme answers are the definitions of "Do," "Re," and "Mi," respectively, according to the song "Do-Re-Mi" from "The Sound of Music"

This puzzle is pretty awesome. I would love to have seen the look on Mr. Wolff's face when it dawned on him that

DEER A FEMALE DEER (17A: Doe, in song)
DROP OF GOLDEN SUN (36A: Ray, in song), and
NAME I CALL MYSELF (55A: Me, in song)

are all fifteen-letter phrases. What luck. I like how other theme-related answers (clued in non-movie fashion) are strewn about the grid, including DO-RE-MI (43A: Money, slangily), GERMANY (35D: 1990 reunification site) (yes, the film is set in Austria and Switzerland, but the Third Reich is ascending...), and EDELWEISS (11D: Alpine flower) (like "Do-Re-Mi," a song from the movie). As far as conception and execution of theme goes, I'll give this puzzle a 98 out of 100, with two points taken off for not picking up the song's fourth note in the theme answer, e.g. [Far, in song => LONG LONG WAY TO RUN ... damn, 16 letters ... 2 RUN? That's what it would be called if it were covered by Prince]. My favorite part of this puzzle is that - in a puzzle dedicated so thoroughly to "The Sound of Music," the constructor decided that the one movie title in the grid would be ... ROBOCOP!

32D: One dressed in blue (policeman)
15A: Plan that stinks (rotten idea)

ROBOCOP was indeed a POLICEMAN and a ROTTEN IDEA (just ask his creators).

27A: Teeny-tiny distance (micron)
48A: Charged particle (anion)

Puzzle science. Before I started doing puzzles, I knew that an ION is a charged particle (atom with extra electron??), and that MICRO- meant small, but MICRON was barely in my vocabulary and ANION not at all. They are useful.

14A: On deep water (asea)
5A: Covered with water (awash)

I'm a-fraid that I a-must a-say that I'm a-ppalled by the inclusion of both these words, and so close to each other. Other pair I'm not too fond of: the intersecting IN ESSE (44D: Real) and ESTE (63A: Spanish direction).

Today's "Celebrity" Peanut Gallery

  • 20A: Three-time U.S. Open champ (Lendl) - I played a lot of tennis when I was a teenager, and I was a huge John McEnroe fan. Thus, I hated Ivan LENDL with the white hot jingoistic passion of any red-blooded American tennis fan. It helped that he looked like the skinny bastard son of Frankenstein's monster.
  • 3D: Oscar-winning Witherspoon (Reese) - Just yesterday I saw it written somewhere that she had won an Oscar for her performance in "Walk the Line" and my reaction was ".... really? How did I forget that so fast?" Oh, I know where I read it - in an article on her divorce from Ryan Phillippe. Apparently both of them want physical custody of the children ... but I digress.
  • 4D: N.B.A. first name that's Arabic for "noble" or "exalted" (Kareem) - what is this, twice in three days for KAREEM? Quite a comeback for someone who's been retired almost twenty years.
  • 12D: Entertainer Pinky or Peggy (Lee) - Peggy LEE gives me fever. I don't know what Pinky LEE does.
  • 26D: Actress Verdugo (Elena) - I know her from crosswords, and that is all.
  • 47D: Golfer Mediate (Rocco) - best name in the puzzle. This guy would make a great way to clue MEDIATE, actually.
  • 56D: "The Greatest" (Ali) - not his birth name; see also KAREEM. I've told you all about the ALI signature hanging over my desk here. Some day I will scan it for you (and me, I guess, so in case there's ever a fire or something I have a record of it).
  • 58D: Author Deighton (Len)

My favorite answer in the grid (besides ROBOCOP, of course) is ONE, TWO (54A: Boxing combo) just because it's colorful and fun and kinda violent. My least favorite: MOLINE (39A: One of the Quad Cities, in Illinois). Don't like how it looks (a typo of Alfred MOLINA's last name?) or sounds ("Mo-LEEN?" "MO-line?"). Also, don't like that it's pretty obscure to a non-midwesterner. Otherwise, this puzzle was pretty damned enjoyable.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS I take it back: "ALLISON Road" (18D: "_____ Road," 1994 hit by the Gin Blossoms) is my least favorite answer - anything that makes me recall the pop culture HADES (1D: Pluto's alias) that was the early-mid 90's deserves a good beating. What a dumb name for a song. At least the puzzle didn't make me remember the Gin Blossoms' other, bigger hit, "Hey Jealousy" ... dammit, now I've gone and made myself remember it. I'm off to find another, less inane song to get stuck in my head.


Unknown 7:00 AM  

I thought the INESSE/ANION crossing was a bit of Thursday in Tuesday clothing. And I took four years of high-school Latin....

Orange 7:10 AM  

Let's see...as a Midwesterner, can I name all four Quad Cities? Moline, Dubuque, Peoria? Yes, no, and no. The term includes Davenport and the more obscure Bettendorf on the Iowa side, and Moline, Rock Island, and the never-heard-of-it East Moline in Illinois. Yeah, that's five Quad Cities, all right. They've even got an "international" airport, though I fail to see documentation of any international flights (and that Wikipedia article is awfully rah-rah/civic-boosterish).

DONALD 7:22 AM  

"It helped that he looked like the skinny bastard son of Frankenstein's monster."

Damn! That's cold!

xwd_fiend 7:44 AM  

Loved the thematic content, but was so convinced that ray was a somthing of shinging or other -ing sun that I blew my chances of a really good time.

Noted that NOTE TO FOLLOW SEW is also 15...

Orange 7:51 AM  

Good to see the xwd_fiend from abroad here—I brought Times (of London) puzzle number 23,604 home from vacation, and will be sure to read the blog post on it when I'm done (or when I've given up, defeated).

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Those have got to be the easiest 15-letter answers ever. If there is one song in the language that absolutely everyone knows the words to, this has got to be it. Which does not mean I'm not impressed.
With the R in place for 15A, I (ever so briefly) attempted RED HERRING. Yuk.
When I reached 32D, I started singing My Favorite things to myself, thinking the answer might be in there. "Blue satin sashes" convinced me that it wouldn't.
I used to hear money referred to as dough, but I've never heard it called DO RE MI. Cute though.

Rex Parker 8:28 AM  

Also noted NOTE TO FOLLOW 'SEW,' but then thought that perhaps the note would not be written out that way (i.e. as "SEW" instead of "SO").

Don't know much about "Quad Cities," but I live in the "Triple Cities," and if you can name THEM (no Googling) then you get a Coke (unless you, too, live here, in which case you are ineligible for said Coke).


Orange 8:30 AM  

I've never heard of the Triple Cities, so I'll help myself to a Diet Coke from my own fridge if you don't mind.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

triple cities. hmmm -- confluence, metropolis and gotham city?



Anonymous 9:16 AM  

d'oh -- not gotham city... springfield!


Alex S. 9:43 AM  

If there is one song in the language that absolutely everyone knows the words to, this has got to be it.

Turns out I only the song through the end of "do". So I unintentionally cheated on this one. I sang out loud the "do, a deer, a female deer" hoping to trigger myself into the rest. But it didn't work; however, it did trigger my wife and once heard there was no way to pretend I hadn't heard it.

I've never heard of "do re mi" as money but all the accrosses (excepte IN ESSE) were pretty much gimmes.

In addition to KAREEM being in yesterday's puzzle, wasn't SAAB in Sunday's?

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

'Sol' is the propper spelling of the note, but googling the song lyrics reveals that the line is indeed, "a note to follow sew"

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. It actually got me singing, first Edelweiss and then Do Re MI. Speaking about Do Re Mi, I've heard it used for money, probably in noirish films with Humphrey Bogart or his ilk.

barrywep 10:35 AM  

I have been to the "Twin cities" of Illinois. Anyone know which they are? No googling!

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

Are the triple cities Albany, Troy and Schenectady?

Norrin2 11:18 AM  

"Robocop" may be the only movie title clued as such in the grid, but it's not the only movie title. Have you forgotten the Will Smith biopic "Ali"?

Jim in Chicago 11:27 AM  

98 out of a hundred is a bit high for me. Points off for ANY puzzle, even Monday or Tuesday that has to resort to "nene".

Was I the only one bothered by the dropping of the "a" in front of each phrase which should be "Doe, A deer..." etc., without somehow acknowledging it?

I filled in everything with no problem except I got stuck on DeReMi (makes complete sense now) in combination with "anion" and "inesse", leaving me with the "IN" blank.

I was also briefly thrown off by "Omani" as I had "Irani", even though I know better.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

It bothered me that 15A: DO RE MI has a different spelling than the clue for 55A: Me, in song. Even though the song "If You Ain't Got That Do Re Mi" spells it that way, somehow, it just seems wrong, since the Do Re Me song clearly refers to the mnemonic one.

Linda G 12:21 PM  

Was so sure that 17A referred to a DEER A FEMALE DEER, but I also wanted the A. When I saw that it wouldn't fit, I checked a couple of downs and knew that was right. From there, I just assumed it would be dropped on all the others. I agree that it was awkward, but it was such a good puzzle. Was it his debut?

Campesite 12:36 PM  

I liked this puzzle as well. As for the long answers, I too wondered where the 'A' was on DROP..., but since the others did not include the beginning 'A' I was fine with it.

Can Kareem even fit in a SAAB?

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, TI = the notes of the scale.

What's so great about the little song Sister Maria sings is:

DOE, RAY, ME, FAR, SEW, LA, and TEA. You've gotta love it.

Very clever, Mr. Roger Wolff.

Rex Parker 1:43 PM  

Well, if we're going to count ALI as a movie, why not count "Steel" or "Disarm"?


Anonymous 1:48 PM  

Too bad the Alison of Elvis Costello's song has just one "l"--it would have been a much better song to not be able to get out of your head.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

Triple Cities: I don't know, but anyone who read the Sun article the other day can guess that one of them is, um, um, Binghamton? I forgot already. Does each of the Triple Cities have its own river? Twin Cities. Minneapolis and St. Paul, no? Unless I'm wrong, that's a lot more common knowledge than any of these other groupings.

Washington state has the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick and Richland), but Walla Walla, an hour's drive from there, is much more fun to sing about (Deck us all with Boston Charly, Walla Walla Wash and Kalamazoo...-Pogo, I think).

Alex, I liked your Do-Re-Mi story.

Howard B 2:14 PM  

(evil mode)
Gin Blossoms were played way too much by everyone during my college years. Bleh. It finally paid off.

Hey Rex:
"I get knocked down/but I get up again...you're never gonna keep me down". Repeat ad nauseam. You're welcome.

Replacing one early-to-mid 90's pop song with another is often an example of 'the cure is worse than the disease', I think ;).

barrywep 2:15 PM  

I asked about the Twin Cities of ILLINOIS, not Minnesota.

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

Oops, read too fast--mea culpa!

Al Sanders 2:49 PM  



barrywep 3:41 PM  


Good guess, but no:


barrywep 3:43 PM  

Rex's question was harder since there are no cities near Binghamton, as far as I am aware.

barrywep 3:59 PM  

I spent a fair amount of time in Bloomington, and was reminded of its twin when it made the tile of Karen Hughes' book: "Ten Minutes from Normal".


Anonymous 4:07 PM  

Perhaps all are not familiar with the original words to the song :?). Mr. Wolff would be out of luck here, no 15 letter combinations.

Dough the stuff I buy beer with *
Ray, the guy behind the bar
Me the guy I buy beer for
Far, the distance to the bar
So, I think I'll have beer
La, la la la la la beer
Tea? No thanks I'll have a beer
Which brings us back to dough, dough, dough, dough

Alternate: Dos a beer a Mexican beer

Orange 4:25 PM  

I like David's song! And I knew Barry's Twin Cities were Bloomington and Normal. But I don't at all understand the anonymous comment complaining that DOREMI doesn't include ME. Nor does it include DOE or RAY, for that matter. I do not think a "Do Re Me" song exists with that spelling.

And I am pretending Howard didn't try to plant that evil, evil earworm—I can fight back with the dirty weapon of Semisonic's "Closing Time," complete with whiny "I know who I want to take me home...I know who I want to take me home...I know who I want to take me home...take me ho-o-o-ome."

DONALD 4:35 PM  

DO-RE-MI-BEER by Homer J. Simpson with illustration at:


Anonymous 4:45 PM  

Har! I've always heard a slightly different version though. It's a common cheer at soccer, rugby, hooligan-ish matches.

Dough, the stuff that buys us beer
Ray, the guy who sells us beer
Me, the guy who drinks the beer
Far, how far I'd go for beer
So, let's have another beer
La, lalalalala beer
Tea, no thanks I'm drinking beer
And that brings us back to dough...

rhyannelise 5:21 PM  

how about

"If you ain't got that Do Re Mi, Boy,
If you ain't got that Do Re Mi,
Well you'd better go back to beautiful Texas,
Oklahoma, Georgia, Kansas, Tennessee!"

Howard B 6:29 PM  

Semisonic, ooh, that's vicious.

"Time for you to go out to the places you will be from" may very well be the most stilted language ever used in a lyric. I think they managed to add an entirely new tense to the English language.

Take me ho-ooooo-ome.

Now back to the puzzles.

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

Liked the puzzle! Really liked hearing all of the beer songs -- Cool!


Anonymous 7:35 PM  

Wicked puzzle.

Petty gripes include NENE and SMEE.

(Better than SNEE though. I really hate that one).

PG :)

Anonymous 8:18 PM  

I knew I've been reading this blog too much when I looked for Ultra Vi to provide the correct spelling of the scale! I'm 47 years old and I've been answering ----- Verdugo for at least 36 years! Aren't there any other Elenas?!?

Anonymous 8:28 PM  


If you are from Binghamton, then the triple cities have to be Binghamton, Endicott and Johnson City. I may not be eligible as my best friend lived in Binghamton in the mid-70s and we used to play bridge at IBM.

Steve M

Anonymous 8:35 PM  

I was sure "Ray of song" would be Ray Charles, because the three theme answers couldn't possibly be such a gimme. But all was forgiven when DOREMI appeared in the middle of the grid! Fun! When EDELWEISS finally revealed itself, well I wanted to give Roger Wolff a big ole bearhug. Thanks for making my day!

ps Being a bird nerd, I liked seeing NENE, OWLET, and TEAL all together. Too bad SMEE couldn't have been SMEW (hee hee, I can hear a bunch of you snorting now....)

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

mmpo - any Pogo erference always appreciated.

rex - I don't see any faculty named Sharp on the SUNY - Binghamton sight. Another alias?

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