SUNDAY, Jul. 8, 2007 - Elayne Cantor and Nancy Salomon

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "R-Rated Film Remakes" - Puns (oh boy, huzzah) on famous movie titles, aka Porn Remakes

At least one of these allegedly fake titles is real, i.e. a name of an actual porn flick. Not only that, the same title has been used in sitcoms at least twice as a parody title. That title: "BROADCAST NUDES" (88A: Remake about a TV station/F.C.C. controversy?). It was a 1988 porn film. It was a passing reference on "The Simpsons," and it was the title of an episode of "The Larry Sanders Show." Just FYI.

I say the difficulty level here is "Medium" only because it took me longer than it should have to get the theme, primarily because I tripped all over what should have been an easy answer, 32A: Remake about impiety during a storm? ("Sinnin' in the Rain"). I had the -NIN- part of SINNIN' but put in RAINING ... then figured out the answer but couldn't get it to fit (didn't realize I had to drop the "G" I had hangin' on the end there). The first answer I got after that, very easily (too easily?), was "THE NAUGHTY PROFESSOR" (68A: Remake about a lecherous instructor?).

Other theme answers:

  • 23A: Remake about a red, white, and blue libido? ("Lust in America") - what's most striking about this clue, strangely, is its use of the serial comma, which the puzzle normally eschews between penultimate and ultimate item in a list...
  • 51A: Remake about a strip club? ("Risque Business")
  • 106A: Remake about a holy person's slip? ("Saint Misbehavin'")
  • 119A: Remake about a ribald watchman? ("The Bawdy Guard") - Had GUARD and filled the whole thing in without ever looking at the clue.

Assorted observations:

13A: Cape Cod course (chowder) - thought the answer was a golf course. CHOWDER always makes me laugh because of a "Simpsons" episode in which the mayor's nephew threatens a French chef for not pronouncing "Chow-DAIR" correctly (the mayor and his whole family speak with heavy, Kennedy-esque accents).

21A: Daddy Warbucks's henchman (The Asp) - wow that's cool. I had No Idea.

22A: Lowly digs (rat hole) - is this literal? As in, rat's holes are low (to the ground)? Or metaphorical, like a slightly nicer way of saying "sh#thole?"

40A: No dessert for dieters (torte) - ??? This clue is awful. What dessert is for dieters? Most are not. And what if the "torte" were somehow defatted or tofued up, such that a dieter might eat it? I can imagine dieting and eating a TORTE - maybe just a sliver. Seriously, make your clues Specific! TORTE-specific!

41A: Game co. that originated Dungeons & Dragons (TSR) - now you all know that I played this game for a few years as a kid, so of course I'm going to blog about it, but ... as of this moment, I have no idea what TSR is or stands for. I had to rely on crosses for this one. Stands for "Tactical Studies Rules," apparently.

74A: Rodrigo _____ de Vivar (El Cid) (Diaz) - I'm sure I've had this before, but still didn't know it. It was inferrable with just a couple crosses, thankfully.

103A: Following closely? (aping) - liked it, not sure why.

125A: Difficult (ornery) - such a great word, though [Difficult] seems far too tepid a clue.

8D: Actor Brian of "Juarez," 1939 (Aherne) - Now that I see this name, I know that I have blogged about not knowing him before. Just not in this movie incarnation.

16D: Fans' sounds (whirrs) - clever. Wanted HURRAS or RAH RAH.

17D: Japanese "thank you very much" (Mr. Roboto ... I mean Domo Arigato)

18D: 1983 Nicholas Gage book ("Eleni") - again, smacks of something that I've blogged before. Still, didn't know it.

60D: Olympic track great Johnson, familiarly (Rafe) - wanted MIKE, at first, then this guy's name came to me out of the blue.

30D: Essen's basin (Ruhr) - edumacated guess

35D: Lucky ones? (Irish) - took me pathetically long time because I wanted it to end in "S."

83D: Wrist bones (carpi) - great word. Never seen it in the grid. Looks like a typo of CAPRI.

86D: Where Hercules slew a lion (Nemea) - I went through a Hercules phase a while back (doesn't everyone?) and so his labors are well known to me.

121D: Slingshot's shape (wye) - oh I don't like that at all. If that's how you spell the letter "Y," then no one should ever do it. Isn't WYE a river? Try that next time.

122D: Children's author/illustrator Asquith (Ros) - Long, long way to go for this answer. Why not [Frasier's colleague] or [Icelandic rock band Sigur _____]?

I'm done.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Linda G 10:41 PM  

I guess I still have my Hercules phase to go through. Life is worth living.

I just knew you'd love the puns ; )

Howard B 11:46 PM  

If you like WYE, you'll love AITCH when it pops up in a puzzle ;).

I had no idea that IMDB kept track of porn titles. What's more surprising than that is the IMDB page you linked to contains user ratings... I mean, enough people managed to watch and rate it so that it averaged a 4.7?!? And what constitutes a 4.7, say, as opposed to a 6 or 8? Do I even want to know?

Anyhow, a puzzle with theme answers made from actual titles like that might be even more amusing.

Oh, and I guess I should be a pain and mention that Frasier's coworker is actually 'Roz', and sometimes gets clued just like that. I would have had as good a chance with the Icelandic band than the clue they gave, though.

Well, I have to go divert a river to clean up some little horse farm. Have a great rest of the weekend.

Orange 12:25 AM  

Either Ben Tausig's Chicago Reader puzzle or the Onion A.V. Club puzzle he edits or Matt Jones's Jonesin' puzzle had a porn title theme a few months back. My Technorati search function isn't backing me up on this, but I swear it happened. Anyone remember this?

Rex, you want WYE to be clued as a river? You have totally sold out to crosswordese, man.

TSR can't stand for that! It makes no sense. Never heard of it. Maybe my husband has, though.

Good catch on the serial comma. If I were president, I would pass an executive order mandating the use of the serial comma. And you know that would make me a hero to thousands of copyeditors who kill commas that they secretly love.

Anonymous 4:12 AM  

Nicholas Gage was a NYT reporter who went to Greece to discover how his grandmother (mother? or aunt?) died in the Greek civil war just after WWII. He wrote a best-selling book called "Eleni" about her, which was made into a pretty good movie maybe 20 yrs ago. For some reason, this clue keeps turning up in NYT xword puzzles, long after everyone has forgotten the book and the movie.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

domo arigato, howard -- you used the phrase here on friday and i (mostly...) remembered!

and "eleni" -- it's that combo of vowels and consonants that keeps 'er so alive.

happy heatwavy sunday --



GEO President 9:13 AM  

This is a day late, but read this sentence about Natty Bumppo and thought of you:

"He represents a missed opportunity in American history, the possibility that European immigrants might have joined with Native Americans rather than dispossessing and killing them, and that from the merging of the two cultures might have come something new in the earth, a people free, proud, and self-reliant without the pettifoggery, greed, and corruption that have infected the history of American culture."

--James D. Wallace

I'm not so sure that's what Natty Bumppo represents, but hey--"pettifoggery."

Orange 10:00 AM  

Speaking of Natty Bumppo, this site lists porn titles that pun on existing titles. Yes, there is a "Lust of the Mohicans."

(Confidential to Rex: "Ally McFeel"!)

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Nicholas Gage:

When Nikos Gatzoyiannis (his real name) was born in Epiros, Greece, his father was working as a short-order cook in Worcester, Massachusetts, sending money back to his family in the old country. Cut off by World War II and the ensuing Greek Civil war, the boy would not meet his father until he and his sisters were found in a refugee camp in Greece and shipped to Massachusetts. By this time, the children's mother, Eleni Gatzoyiannis, had been imprisoned, tortured and executed by the Communist guerrillas who occupied their village. Her "crime" was arranging for the escape of her son and daughters after she learned that the guerrillas were planning to gather all the village children and send them behind the Iron Curtain to be re-educated as Communist soldiers.

Fairly easy puzzle. But for the longest time I had OSU for 2D, so iron on was isonon and drove me nuts.

Now back to tennis.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

This puzzle had to be easy! I completed the whole thing without resort to your blog for an answer or two!

Michael 1:58 PM  

Risque Business instead of Risky Business? Wow, real clever. As long as they're doing this porn title thing, why not include Saving Ryan's Privates or Glad-I-Ate-Her?

I did like "Liberty" = SHORE LEAVE.

Also, I managed to fill in the answer to the French clue, and later looked it up. Now I know what honi soit qui mal y pense means. Too bad Styx didn't have a hit song with that lyric or it'd be easier.

Shame be he who thinks evil of it.

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

Night of the Living Head

This puzzle was more of a Wednesday's difficulty than a Thursday's (which I have read a Sunday is supposed to be). I like having moe to chew on on Sundays.

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

serial comma -- just saw sicko -- which i loved -- and whose credits're bound to make ya very happy, orange. there it was on the silver screen: written, produced, and directed by...

btw, my college harbrace's sez: the final comma is often omitted, especially by newspapers, when the series takes the form a, b, and c. but students are usually advised to follow the practice of the more conservative books and periodicals in using the comma throughout the series...

best --


p.s. guess who's just learned some html tricks? ;-)

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

It's actually Shaving Ryan's Privates.

Orange 5:50 PM  

There are many pornified titles indexed at Pimp Daddy Swank's World of Comedy Porn Titles. The Night of the Living Head? No, they went with Giving there. Both Ryan's Privates titles are listed, the Saving and the Shaving. Say what you will about the lowness of puns as a form of humor—some of those titles are hilarious.

klochner 11:54 PM  

tough fill -

1939 actor brian of 'juarez' crosses with daddy warbucks henchman.

that was the only spot where I had zero chance of actually getting the fill. I also had mgm for 7d which made me try for "grease" as the henchman, at which point I foolishly changed my spa to sea
for "hot spot," hoping there was some hot sea i didn't know of.

Chip Ahoy 2:06 AM  

I settled for "much commerce nowadays" being EMAIL, although I didn't really like it, leaving MSR for " D&D originator, which suited me just fine. Couldn't be bothered to look up anything.

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

I'm a newbie -- don't you do the acrostic?

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

I got half way through when I realized I was really bored and not enjoying myself.
Better way to spend my time today.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

It'll be a strange day if A Midsummer Night's Cream ever makes it into a NYT puzzle.

Anonymous 5:47 PM  

Newbie to your blog, but not to NYT Sunday Xword.
Thanks for this site. Since I'm one of those who prefer toughing it out w/no "aids" until finished (even if it takes me several soakings in the tub), I have to be careful not to view your posts prematurely: the puzzle you list as July 8, for example, is not published in our local paper until July 15.
Sinnin' in the Rain caused me a little hiccup too, but the down crosses morphed it into line.

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