WEDNESDAY, Nov. 21, 2007 - Kelsey Blakley

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Military Movie Stuff - terms related to film that contain words that double as ranks in the army; in the answer, the "ranks" are abbreviated, as they would be in one's military title

Cute theme, I guess. My question: what is with the 10-letter Acrosses that are Not theme answers? They threw me off badly at first. I was trying to figure out what in the world BUYER'S GUIDE (19A: Consumer Reports offering) could have to do with PVT SCREENING (which I had as BRA[SS]CREENING at first, figuring, to my horror, that I was dealing with some kind of "SS" rebus...)? Those 10-letter answers Really Really want to be themed. I feel as if there should be some rule for the number of letters a non-theme answer can have relative to a theme answer, especially if it's running in the same direction as the theme answers. Maybe a minimum of two letters shorter ... just an idea. I think the puzzle seems weak to me because I look at both of those 10-letter answers and they seem like good places for theme answers - they seem like missed opportunities, somehow. Oh, for the record, the other 10-letter answer - SMOKE SIGNAL (64A: Means of visual communication).

Theme answers:

  • 21A: Film showing for V.I.P.'s, in the army (Pvt. screening)
  • 41A: Big studio release, in the army? (Maj. motion picture)
  • 59A: Common ticket category, in the army? (Gen. admission)

Bonus theme tie-ins - MATINEES (28D: Shows with lower-priced seats, usually) and FLOPS (1D: Lays an egg) and (stretching it) NO SHOW (50D: Standby's salvation).

The NW was slightly rough for me, in that I had BOMBS and FAILS before I ever had FLOPS at 1D. Thought I had no idea about the Ogden Nash clue (15A: Priest in an Ogden Nash verse - LAMA), until I remembered that that verse was the topic of a puzzle not long ago; something about a three-L'd LLLAMA ... oh yeah, there was a horrible pun on "Three-Alarmer." I have to stop having puzzle flashbacks. Completely clueless about 18A: "Little Shop of Horrors" dentist (Orin). Ooh, I just noticed that 1D: Lays an egg is next to 2D: Maggot, e.g. (larva) - nice, disgusting juxtaposition. SAY AH, indeed (24A: Doctor's request).

More of today's question marks:

  • 5A: Presidential middle name (Abram) - that's James ABRAM Garfield
  • 23A: Ludd, the original Luddite (Ned) - I love the word "Luddite." It's just fun to say. In other -UDD news, I have a student at Elmira named "Fudd."
  • 27A: Carte blanche offer ("Name it!") - man this threw me for a loop. I had N-MEI- and couldn't think of a damn thing. Then I thought maybe "Carte blanche" was literal - that there was a white menu out there with actual items on it that I didn't know about: "I'd like an order of NO MEIN, please."
  • 31D: "Pagliacci" clown (Tonio) - ah, my infamous opera ignorance. I thought "Pagliacci" was the clown. TONIO sounds like a bad 90's R&B act. Coolio meets Tony, Toni, TonĂ©.
  • 22D: _____ Canyon (Pueblo cultural area) (Chaco) - no idea. Just ... none.
  • 56D: Florida congressman Crenshaw (Ander) - is this fair game? WTF? If he didn't sleep with interns or seek sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom stall, how can I be expected to know him?
Pleasing things:

  • 6D: Smurf-colored (blue) - possibly the best way to clue BLUE that I know of. Most nefarious way of cluing BLUE - [Like Babe, e.g.]
  • 20D: Demarcation affected by warming (snow line) - not a term I hear much, but I got it almost instantly and like it a lot.
  • 42D: Cousin of a hammerhead (mako) - got in instantly. MAKO is your go-to answer if your answer is a 4-letter word for a kind of shark.

Enjoy Thanksgiving Eve,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Orange 9:47 AM  

ORIN will be much more familiar (and fairer game for crossword fill) in another month or so—Johnny Depp stars in the Tim Burton remake of Little Shop.

I won't explain the circumstances in which 2D and 24A are aptly juxtaposed, other than to say I've seen a lot of scary stuff in medical journals.

Fudd? No wonder he ended up in prison. His grandpa should've changed the family's last name the moment Elmer Fudd appeared on the scene.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

If they remake the original it should be Dr. Phoebus Farb.

I worked in a government personel office for a year and during slack times we'd go through the card files (no computers yet) and browse the names.

My favorite was Ogg (and there were a lot of them); that has to be the first surname on the planet.

Enjoyed the puzzle, very Wednesdayish.

Eric 10:45 AM  

Orange: actually, Johnny Depp will be starring in Sweeney Todd, not Little Shop. Bad news for ORIN! (Good news for TURPIN)

Rex, the long non-theme answers are 11 letters long, not 10. Seems that way cuz of the 16x15 grid. I was hoping you'd comment on it...why are they suddenly showing up willy-nilly??

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Rex, Chaco Canyon is an amazing place.

I do not recall Ander tapping in the mens room, which by the way just underwent a 20k rehab. It seems the place is now a tourist must see along with Babe the Blue Ox.

Tonio looks a lot like Marx brother.

Gooble Gooble

Orange 11:18 AM  

Eric: Oh, whatever. Are these not the same movie? Musically oriented, horror-skewed? Whatever. Can you tell I've never seen either?

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Johnny Mathis singing Chances Are is wonderful, wonderful.
Ipods again, they prefer AAC to MP3 format.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

I second the comment that the photo shown re: Pagliacci is a Marx brother, namely, Chico.
Btw, I Pagliacci [The clowns] is the name of the opera, not the name of any of the characters in it.
Rex is right: the non-theme answers are distracting and detract from the puzzle's quality.
One of the theme answers was confusing: the one about a film screening for VIPs: a PVT showing.
Of course, a PVT is anything but a VIP.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

i didn't really like "flak" for "harsh criticism." flak strikes me as being at the other end of the criticism spectrum from harsh--more like idle or frivolous criticism.

70A reminded me of something my irish grandmother used to say: "tisn't the cough that carries you off; tis the coffin they carry you off in."

"DNAs" was lamesville.

can somebody explain how onea means fit to serve? is this x-ese?

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Re: 69A Ogle seems an oddly clued answer. Come-hither makes me think of flirting or something much more fun and sexy. Lori

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

anon 11:39... One-A is the draft classification for "fit to serve", the first ones to go to war.

Am I the only one who felt a warm fuzzy for "difficult to fathom = deep"... fathoms are used in nautical measurements, "the deep blue sea". Ok, I'll be quiet.

I third or fourth or fifth the discombobulation with the non-theme long acrosses.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

Hi Rex, just found your blog yesterday, and was very excited to jump on as soon as I finished today's puzzle to get your thoughts.

I had major NW troubles as well, due largely to blanking on 24A and 4D until the very end. 19A and 64A were annoying, there's no excuse for a non-standard sized grid only having three theme clues. Otherwise, good puzzle, I thought.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  


Ditto on long non-themed. Too distracting, wonder what you are missing. Other movie army ranks too literal - No time for sgts, spec effects,

The 1-L lama, he's a priest,
the 2-L llama, he's a beast.

RE Little Shop of Horrors v Sweeney Todd:
Rex - Sondheim is a grad of your
favorite non-school. Cage, of course, a Pomona grad. Difficult to whistle Cage.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

"buyer's guide" and "smoke signals" actually contain 11 letters each.

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

TONIO is the clown character who sings the famous LAUGH CLOWN, LAUGH aria in I Pagliacci. Great stuff. You should give it a listen.

Le Master 12:31 PM  

When did Chico Marx play the role of Tonio? The closest I can relate any of the Marx Bros to Pagliacci is when Groucho sings "Vesti la giubba" while riding around on the giant suitcase in A Night at the Opera.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

For me, this one was firmly a Wednesday "medium".

I had BUYINGGUIDE for awhile, which threw me a curve in the north, and having no idea about either the carte blanch clue or the Pagliacci clown, I went with NAMEID and DONIO, deciding that the Carte Blanch card had some sort of name ID feature and that DONIO could be correct.

Like Rex, I'm surprised and disappointed with the two long answers that have nothing to do with the theme and spent some time staring at them thinking I must be missing something, but I sure don't see any possible connection.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Rex, even a specific tie to your favorite non-school today: James ABRAM Garfield assassinated on his way to his 25th reunion

Doug 12:55 PM  

Liked this a lot, and definitely had some Doh! moments: Not Right=ERRS, LIBx; Driver's warning: FiRE? Rebus FLARE, FaRE? I guess it was a nice mix of being very clever on some clues, and then being really clever ... by not being clever.

Didn't know a KOALA wasn't a bear. What is it? Another Aussie freak of nature like the platypus and Ian Thorpe? Speaking of Aussies, it's Mo'Member this month. The Aussie blokes all give up shaving and grow "mo"s to raise money for charity. So if you want to be lazy over the holidays just tell the complaining better half, "Honey, I'm doing my bit for society. Now get me a beer and I'll donate a dollar on your behalf."

Didn't know anything about Ogden Nash other than his name and after Wiki'ing him, some of his verses. So that was a nice bonus for the day and will have to get a book of his poetry.

Enjoy your turkeys this week and we'll watch your football from up here in Canada. We celebrate Thanksgiving in October, which of course means that we started the tradition, right?

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

Took a bit to nail FLAK and hence the NW. The word still looks odd after so many years of Roberta.

I didn't mind the long non-theme answers...their existence gave me an extra issue to question/solve.

The MAJ and GEN theme clues didn't indicate any abbreviation which threw me off for a bit.

rick -- in browsing the names in the card files, did you happen to come across a Myron Poindexter?

45a Gary's home (INDIANA) always reminds me of the song from The Music Man. It's a fun song to sing to yourself, replacing the words "Gary, Indiana" with "Ficus Benjamina" and making up lyrics about dropped leaves wilting plants.

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

"I wasn't kissing her, I was whispering in her mouth."

I wasn't born in Chaco but close enough.

grouchonyy 1:10 PM  

Was Chico for "A Night at the Opera" (how do you sleep with those buttons on your pajamas?) or Chaco Canyon (close but no cigar---wait, that's Groucho!

Rex Parker 1:13 PM  

Yes, I miscounted because I presumed a 15x15 grid and. The long non-theme Across answers are indeed 11 letters long.

And yes, Chico for Chaco. Thanks to the recent, observant commenter who understood.


wendy 1:26 PM  

You say Chico, I say Chaco. Let's call the whole thing off.

But seriously, I didn't realize the longer non-theme answers could be so disconcerting to folks. I liked them because they were so non-usual. As opposed to unusual.

Luddite is such a great word; didn't know the namesake's first name. I was recently accused of being one because I won't replace my 17-year-old tv until it croaks. Hey, I'm not in favor of our throwaway culture; so sue me, I say. I'm technologically advanced in other areas!

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Or, as the French would say, CHACOn son gout.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  


Koala is a marsupial(non-placental mammals with a pouch) like a kangaroo and wombat and most Australian mammals-- at least those that are indigenous. Unlike the platypus and echidna which are monotremes: egg laying mammals.

I was clueless as to Ander and had heat for foam which did not look right so I Googled and got Ander and Head. Groaned as head did not make sense until I realized it was the head on a glass of beer. Don't drink much beer and when I do it's out of a bottle.

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Myron Chaco,

The card file was almost 40 years ago. A few names stuck with me though, like Ogg. There were a suprising amount of people named Death.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

A nice Wednesday puzzle. Got buyersguide and smokesignal, so I knew they weren't themed, but I did feel like three theme answers were two too few. Could have felt like that because there were so many yesterday. The long down answers matinees, injections, snowline, rained out, and lots of fun answers (flak and flop, carpool, kick in, Indiana, name it, amity, etc.) filled things in nicely. Things I didn't know (lama, kansan, abram, orin, ander) were gettable from crosses. I agree with Lori that "ogle" and "come-hither look" don't seem to work together. Ogling is leering lecherously. Come-hither is more flirtatiously inviting. The former feels predatory, while the latter playful.

I was walking around singing GAry Indiana, Gary INdiana, Gary IndiANa, but now I'm walking around singing FIcus Benjamina, Ficus BENjamina, Ficus BenjaMIna. Thanks Doug!

Loved the scene in Night at the Opera where the stateroom on the ship fills up to the max with people, including a manicurist who starts to work on Groucho's nails. Groucho's instructions: "Better make 'em short, it's getting crowded in here."

Happy Turkey and Gravy to all!

fergus 2:06 PM  

Yes, the lack off any ABBR. in the MAJ. and GEN. clues did look like an error, especially after the V.I.P. hint for PVT.

DNAS seemed wrong as well as lame, but I'll leave it to a biologist to make that assertion.

I, too, thought Tough to fathom for DEEP was appealing.

Why whould TSP be a Med. unit? A teaspoon of cough medicine, I suppose, but that seems so quaint. I thought all medical stuff had gone metric.

I guess FLAK has evolved in current speech to seem more like petty and annoying, even irrelevant, commentary, rather than the Harsh criticism that would necessitate a flak jacket.

I wonder if Mr. Shortz mulled over the ordering of the the 64A clue? I might have preferred Visual means of communication for SMOKE SIGNAL, instead of the other way around. A slightly different emphasis, but just enough to get one to wonder?

Happy to KICK IN to this pot, rather than ANTE UP.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Rex pretty much described my experience. I got bogged down in NW with BOMBS initially, had BUYINGGUIDE for a while, didn't know the clown, stared at Carte Blanc, had HORN for FORE (and I play golf), but eventually got it all straigtened out. My only nit was in NW with PVTSC.. given the clue was VIPs and the other two theme answers were Army officer ranks not enlisted. Otherwise a fine Wed. puzzle.

Rikki -- I believe it is our friend Chico Chaco who has you singing ficus benjamina.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

I tried and I tried but I just couldn’t find anything to complain about on this puzzle. The long non themers seem lazy – did Kelsey phone it in to get some grocery shopping done? I have seen "The Little Shop" where Steve Martin played the sadistic dentist but couldn’t remember his name and thought OREL a likely answer – alas no. I also had NAMEID & DONIO for 27A & 31D and when I got it corrected from Rex I lost my will to complain – well almost. Enjoy the holiday all!

wendy 2:51 PM  

Rikki, to me OGLE is most definitely predatory while come hither is a whole different kettle of fish. I groused about this the last time Will allowed it in the puzzle, and it goes down no less bitterly this time. Still, my dictionary says the look can be either (1) amorous (2) flirtatious or (3) impertinent, so I guess technically I haven't a leg to stand on. (insert Groucho quip here)

Orange 3:59 PM  

Amen, Wendy. Regardless of what the dictionary says, the female half of the crossword-solving population probably finds OGLE creepy and unwelcome and doesn't care for it being clued like ogling is a good idea. But hey, if the crossword's looking to alienate half the solvers, who are we to stand in the way?

Anonymous 4:08 PM  

But orange, one of your favorite tools ends with an OGLE....

Anonymous 4:17 PM  

People who ogle probably think they are being flirtatious. That doesn't help the oglee, I know, but I really kind of like the word ogle. The other problem is that with such great letters, you can be sure OGLE will be looking at you from many a future crossword. Perhaps we can give ogle a better rep. Think of Groucho with head cocked and eyebrows flapping rakishly and cigar held aloft in his right hand. THAT could be an ogle. Yes? Definitely not a leer. Leers are smarmy. Ogles are round and have lots of eye action.

Let's hear it for the ogle!?!


wendy 4:28 PM  

According to a search I just did on this important topic, everyone's favorite Simpsons bartender, Moe, actually said in an ep, "All right! I'm going to sit at home and ogle the ladies in the Victoria's Secret catalog." I'm sure Rex or someone else can tell us which ep it was.

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

Ladies can ogle too.

The City neither likes us nor our Wit,
They say their Wives learn ogling in the Pit;
They’re from the Boxes taught to make advances,
To answer stolen Sighs and naughty Glances.

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

I've been sitting here practicing an ogle. Try it. I mean it. Try ogling. Once you've actually tried ogling, I think it will be difficult to ever take an ogle seriously again.

Here's lookin' at you, kid!

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

Re: ANDER Crenshaw...As he said (or actually, sang) in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Florida in 1994: "My name is Ander, short for Alexander..." I guess he figured if he shorted it to "Ander" rather than "Alex", people would remember it better...? Crenshaw was also president of the Florida Senate in 1993, and he now occupies a safe GOP US House seat in his home city of Jacksonville.

Eric Selje 5:53 PM  

What I thought was interesting was how the theme clue with "VIP"s had the rank of private, but the clue with "Common" had a rank of general.

Anonymous 6:20 PM  

Ah... sorry Chi Cha... I thought I heard Doug singing.

I find myself in the unusual position of not having to cook anything for Thanksgiving... very odd for me, a Major General Private foodie. So, while you are all rolling pastry and mashing yams, I am thinking about ogling and giving come-hither looks. Penny, I love all your posts and I always try to keep an open mind. In the interest of modifiying my initial gender-biased, and short-sighted view, I confess to having ogled (in any sense you wish to choose and in order chronologically) Paul McCartney, the captain of my high school football team, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, James Taylor... Cripes, this could take forever and I don't want to be a blog hogger, as Rick would say. The only one, of those, that I got the chance to give a come-hither look to was the football player and that worked out good for me, for awhile. I'm still holding out for either a come-hither or an ogle from Paul McCartney, now that he's free, but he has a new girlfriend and I have little hope. I see now that ogling can be less lecherous and that both men and women do both. I am feeling calm and at peace with the world.

Anybody need me to peel anything?

fergus 6:25 PM  

I've generally understood OGLE as crossing over the line from the permissable glance, and not necessarily making eye contact. Long ago I was given some guidance as to how long that glance could last in polite company. Leering, as someone implied, is crossing over another line -- beyond clumsy and impertinent -- perhaps criminally offensive. I would guess the lines vary a bit in different cultures, but I think they exist universally.

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

Back atcha Rikki. I hope you meant the young Robert Redford. I like his politics but he definitely has lost his looks. Paul Newman on the other hand... Oh God. Now you all know. I'm not deep. (ogle ogle) Actually I'm not sure you can be deep and pull off a really satisfactory ogle. This whole ogling discussion is leaving me anything but peaceful and serene. I just thought about ogling a younger man. George Clooney.
Gotta go peel.

Fergus, you may be thinking of leering. Sorry. ABOUT leering. An ogle is pretty direct and may include ocular awareness, I believe.

Anonymous 6:59 PM  

Excuse me. Could you please hold still while I ogle you?

Ahem. You there. One more ogle and you will be asked to leave the premises.

Oh my God. If I don't get an ogle soon I'm going to lose my mind.

Of course I slapped your face. You ogled me.

nuff said.

Happy Thanksgiving all.

Rex Parker 7:43 PM  

One of the things that drove me away, forever away, from the NYT Forum was the way the same people would just hang out and talk to each other - it started feeling very cliquish and exclusionary, and also slightly tedious.

When the same people comment 3+ times a day, it tends (whether it means to or not) to alienate other would-be commenters. Also, it eventually gets hard-to-impossible for any reader (i.e. me) to read all the comments. I'm wondering if I could ask for a two-comment-a-day maximum (well - more if necessary, but only if necessary) ... it's simply a polite request. I have no intention of policing this site for anything but irrelevancy and impolite behavior.


Anonymous 8:08 PM  


Oglee might become a crossword staple.


One of the things I like here is the intelligent banter, it may be between one group of people but anybody is free to jump in, no one is excluded.

This is the one of the least acrimonious blogs I have ever participated in , Orange and Linda G's are right in there also, and I think the banter and friendliness is why your blog is becoming popular.

I've been posting here for a month or so because it's fun. I look forward to multiple posts by Orange, Wendy, Rikki, Jae, Fergus, Myron, Rafaelthatmf, Profphil, Le master, etc.

It's your blog, your rules, but the discussion and evolution of the ladies take on OGLE today was extremely entertaining.

The thing that turned me off on the NYT forum was the personal attacks, there's no place for that.

Here I feel like we have a little crossword family, and I hope it grows into a large crossword family.

I do not think there is anything approaching cliqueishness or exclusion here and I hope you will reread the posts and come to the same conclusion.

Rex Parker 8:18 PM  


You are right about the lack of acrimony, which I appreciate (and, where necessary, enforce, vigilantly). I don't think there is anything close to Active exclusion or cliquishness among contributors here. I'm worried that the clique will be de facto - i.e. casual or new readers will see the same names over and over and think it's just a bunch of friends talking to hear each other talk. Now, I know, if that's what someone thinks, that's his/her problem. I'm just trying to do my best to keep this blog open and inviting and appealing to as many kinds of people as possible. All I'm asking for is a little restraint - people don't need to make every cutesy comment that comes into their heads.

I certainly don't want to discourage commenting - to the contrary, what I'm (always) hoping for is a wider and wider variety of commenters.

I'm just articulating a desire - I don't want anyone to feel personally targeted by my remarks. I'm ever grateful for the knowledgeable and (largely) good-humored contributions of my readers.


Anonymous 8:21 PM  

With all the discussion of OGLE, I am surprised no one had any difficulty with NO SHOW clued as "Standby's salvation." If I understand it correctly, it is actually the reverse if the meaning is about the actors. I guess it must be referring to folks waiting on line (although I have never heard them referred to as standby), in case there is a NO SHOW. Anyone have some more insight on this one?

ps - in spite of the multiple postings, I did enjoy the well-written commentary. And I would guess that the downside of short, pithy statements, is the need, on occasion, for a second or third. Ah, the tensions of a well-subscribed blog.

Michael Chibnik 8:24 PM  

I got this, but sure was slow for a Wednesday. I am always interested in how one person's gimme is impossible for me and vice-versa. Chaco was about the first answer I filled (a wonderful place) but the dentist in the Little House of Horrors (even though I've seen the movie) and the Florida congressman (even though I'm a political geek -- hard not to be in Iowa these days) were completely new for me.

Anonymous 8:28 PM  


Standy also refers to airline patrons. If there are noshows the standby gets on the flight.

Anonymous 8:34 PM  

As one about to embark on an airplane trip I connect standby with the airport. You MUST get out, ds, - take a vacation! Fly standby! Hope for a noshow!

Anonymous 8:34 PM  

I know what Rex means, and I think he is making the comments on a day that is an example of a few people more or less having a conversation. This is not typical for this site, in fact I find it a lot of fun when new people chime in who have just found it. I do agree with Rick, though, this is such a special place without the acrimony you find in almost every other blog.... I actually do think of the (named) commentors as xwp friends, who are going through the same turns of the mind as I am.

Anonymous 8:41 PM  


I have to 'fess up that I was a little intimated when I first found this blog. I did a little searching on the posters and found out they (you included) were tournamant participants ( you even post your ranking).

I lurked for a week or so and saw how good natured it was and decided to participate.

I am hoping I am the kind of person you are trying to attract (shaking head, no ego in this post). I am an average puzzle solver who justs enjoys a place where other solvers hang out.

The fact that some fast solvers and constructors hang out here is a huge bonus.

I really like your blog and find it more interesting when a long discussion occurs. I understand your concern but I think the average crossword solver is fairly intelligent and (god knows nobody else understands us) tolerant.

Anonymous 8:42 PM  

I'm sorry, I accidently posted as anon., it's me, Rick, again

Anonymous 8:49 PM  

Standby I think refers to, say, an airline passenger flying standby and hoping for a no show so they can get the now available seat. I think the theatrical community refers to the second banana as a stand in but I don’t know that for certain.

Your position (though definitely defendable) surprises me. As a new kid (ahem) I definitely never felt ostracized and actually enjoy the goofy back and forth. For a pastime with bookish devotees one might expect this forum to ramble into an academic chest pounding contest but this group seems to purposely keep itself above such arrogance. But as I said ‘tis your show and you should run it Nuff said. (Plus that’s two for me today anyway.)

Anonymous 9:24 PM  

Don't scold them for having fun!

Unknown 9:40 PM  

I couldn't figure out how Privates are VIP's in the military, until I realized that the screening was only for Very Important Privates.

Anonymous 10:34 PM  

In the words of the great William Smokey Robinson:

"Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my surface hid
Smiling in the public eye
But in my lonely room I cry

The tears of a clown
When there's no one around
Oh yeah, baby

That's about as operatic cultural as I get. Except that now I know that it should be Tonio in those lyrics.

Anonymous 11:03 PM  

Oooops, he said "I try to keep my SADNESS hid

sorry smokey, the fingers were faster than the brain...

Anonymous 11:47 PM  

Dear Rex,

I respect your concerns and your right to express them. This is your kingdom. I have been coming here since July and post nearly every day, and often twice a day, so my name is one that appears frequently, sometimes in response to something someone has said. I don't know what the blog was like before I came on, but since I started reading it, I have thoroughly enjoyed the content of both your page and the comments. I haven't seen friends yakking with each just to hear themselves talk or anyone posting every cutesy thing that came in to his or her head.

On the contrary I've seen an array of comments by a wide variety of people from all over the country, of different backgrounds and ages, with different knowledge at hand, and different puzzling skills. It's an intelligent, witty, respectful group, and, like Rick, I have learned so much and gotten so much better at the puzzle that I can't wait to get to it... and here every day. I think it's a great place to be, and everyone on it welcomes comments from anyone who chooses to speak. I can't think of anyone who comes here who would disagree. There will always be people who speak more than others, or raise their hands because they know the answer. You, no doubt, were one of them. Me, too. But I'm a Sox fan and a Rex fan, so ya gotta luv me. Enjoy your holiday.

Warm regards,


Anonymous 2:04 AM  

Just like the puzzle for me today, the train of comments is going all over the place.
The puzzle was a fun one for me today but it was weird because I didn't solve it in sections, just kept buzzing around it putting in letters here and there until it was finally all filled in. There were some strange clues but overall I found it pretty straightforward. And the fact that PVT was in a clue containing VIP didn't bother me at all- a private screening is for VIPs in general, not having anything to do with the army. The opposite for general admission- it's for common people, not just high-ranking officers.
Two observations from the doctor in me: I usually think of SAY AHH (with 2 Hs); a TSP is 5cc and I still see both measures being used.
There were lots of answers I didn't know but got lucky with the crosses (including the dentist and the congressman).
For the record, I agree with what Rex had to say about cliquishness.

Anonymous 3:38 AM  

Its late and I'm 1/3 of the way into a nitecap but here goes anyway.

First, thanks marcie for the William Smokey Robinson lyrics, I was trying to remember why I thought Pagliacci was the clown and that is exactly the reason.

Second, dealing with very intelligent, highly verbal people is alot like herding .... well you know. Tangents will be taken, silliness will ensue. I appreciate and applaud Rex's efforts to try to stay focused on the puzzle at hand, but some days it's just not going to happen. For me the comments, where ever they range, are very entertaining and something I look forward to daily. Hopefully, cliquishness will not become part of this open exchange of experience.

Thirdly, I left the "H" out of "straightened" in my previous post and for that I am profoundly sorry!

Anonymous 6:13 AM  

OK, anonymous and all the others: the clown who sings "Vesti la giubba" is CANIO (a tenor) first recorded by Caruso, 1st million-copy record.
Tonio is a lesser character, a baritone.

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

(I realize I'm over the 2-note limit proposed here, but its late... my apologies)

jae... you're welcome. I think many of us, especially those who grew up listening to "The Sound of Young America", have fallen into that same trap, of thinking Pagliacci was the clown. I still find it nothing short of amazing that the opera would even be mentioned in any song written basically for pop music listeners in their teens to early 20's, by a young man in HIS 20's.

It's on us that some of us went with the Cliff Notes version for our opera educations instead of pursuing the real thing and finding out that Smokey was using a LOT of poetic license there... or was just flat wrong.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Doc John, the 'cc' is now on the Do Not Use list at our institution; we are now to properly write 5ml. (I just use the tsp too)

Anonymous 8:19 PM  

Wow. I had so many answers that I thought perfectly fit, except for one letter where they crossed some other word that was a perfect fit - I thougth the theme was somehow to fit both of those letters in the same square like a rebus.
I had ANTEUP crossing MATINEES, so I figured there was a square with N/P in it, and I had SILENT instead of SOLEMN, which crossed with CAMPS, so I figured a square with M/N it it. None of that made sense....
Then I had SEALEVEL instead of SNOWLINE, which gave me TENDED instead of WEEDED. I had HORN in place of FORE but couldn't make that work either.

So, a bit of googling and then gave up to just read the blog and fill in the rest as I read, including the front end of all the theme answers.

I need to find a way to build up my skills in "clever thinking" somehow :-(


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