FRIDAY, Apr. 18, 2008 - Joe DiPietro (BYGONE MONTREAL EVENT)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (except for one square in the NW)

THEME: none

OK, I need backup. I need someone, somewhere in the world to confirm that NABES (1A: Films are shown in them) is an absolutely @#$@#'ing insane word from another era that has Not Seen The Light Of Day in my lifetime (1969 onward). Even trying to find a definition on Google was tough. Google doesn't seem to know it's a word (usually you can click on a word that you search in the upper right corner of the results page, but NABE and NABES offer no such option). The first search for NABES yielded a site telling me that if you unscramble the letters, you get BEANS. Thanks. I had to go "below the fold" (i.e. I had to scroll down) on my search for NABE to find the Merriam-Webster site, which yielded this:


by shortening & alteration from neighborhood
1 : a neighborhood theater —usually used in plural with the 2 : neighborhood 4

Never ever ever ever heard it used at all ever anywhere. I went through the alphabet many times, with BABES being the only actual word I could get. Do they show films in BABES? I doubt it. The entire puzzling experience was completely ruined for me by this answer. Because the "N" in NET LEASES (1D: Certain rental arrangements) ... meant nothing to me. Could just as easily have been JET LEASES or even PET LEASES for all I knew. What's worse - NABES is part of a "film" two-fer - we also get the intersecting SLO-MO (5D: Films can be shown in it). So ... is that supposed to make it OK? Supposed to make me like it? Wow. NABES. I'm just ... NABES? Someone please tell me when the last time this word was used by anyone anywhere. Please. It was bad enough when I had to accept that RIALTO could be a generic name for a theater. I refuse to accept the 21st-century validity of NABES.

It's a shame that this puzzle is fatally marred, because there were some wonderful moments before the final fiery crash. Loved the many, many multi-word phrases, especially the perfectly colloquial STEP ASIDE (6A: "This is how it's really done ..."). I started with a nice little gimme in the NE: ABE (10D: Former Japanese P.M. Shinzo). Then I filled in a few more answers here and there, most notably my homeboy DONNE (13D: "Holy Sonnets" poet). Finally settled into that NE corner and moved through the puzzle from there in a mostly clockwise fashion. First snag was the front end of SANIBEL (38A: Florida island). I gave myself SANIBEL as an option, but I couldn't make anything work initially, so I backed off it. Thought MIRABEL ... but then left it and went into the SE corner. If only I could have remembered the pesky NOL (39D: Cambodia's Lon _____), I might have made quicker work of the puzzle's middle and moved right over to the west side.

One of the highlights of the middle of the puzzle is not only having a throwback movie answer from my teen years - ROB LOWE (28A: "About Last Night ..." co-star, 1986) - but having a nearly ready-made tongue twister sitting there all in a heap. Try to say ROB LOWE LOB ROBE six times really fast. It's hard, really hard. Your family will wonder what's wrong and possibly want to call the hospital when they hear you, so forewarn them. (LOB = 30D: High return, ROBE = 33A: Angel's garb)

Mixed Flavors:

  • 20A: Jazz singer Carmen (McRae) - I love the way her name is spelled. I cannot explain why it's so beautiful to me. If Charlotte RAE were Irish and black and sang jazz and were named Carmen, this is who she would be. (PS, Carmen MCRAE is fabulous - here's a great clip, in case you've never seen/heard her before)
  • 22A: You can see right through it (pane) - got this instantly, but I Challenge. There are reasonably opaque panes of glass that you cannot, in fact, see through. Not clearly anyway.
  • 27A: Its closing duet is "O terra, addio" (Aida) - "See you later, earth!" I think that's what Major Tom said to Ground Control, too.
  • 47A: Rival rival (Alpo) - no idea this was a dog food. Tried AVIS here at first.
  • 51A: Exam takers now, exam givers later (pre-meds) - yes, this is good. Especially like the change in the meaning of "exam" within the clue.
  • 54A: Weekly World News newsmaker (alien) - see Emily's drawing of John Philip Sousa (which I posted in yesterday's write-up) ... oh heck, here it is again, just because I know most of you are too lazy to go back and look at it:
  • 57A: Site of Mackinac Island (Lake Huron) - I knew it was in one of those Lakes up there, but I had A GUT instead of A RIB at 54D: Bust _____ (laugh hard), and couldn't figure out what LAKE --GON could be. Bust A RIB ... is pretty weak.
  • 60A: Grammy-winning Baker (Anita) - auspiciously, I had her playing on my iTunes much of yesterday. I absolutely love her 1986 album "Rapture." Her voice is miraculous. I was probably the only teenage boy who adored Anita Baker. I remember driving to school in my beat-up '77 Toyota Sport Coupe (it was maroon and my sister called it "The Sport Poop") and singing "Sweet Love" along with ANITA at the top of my teenage lungs. Good times.
  • 3D: Quit meddling (butted out) - during the NABES debacle, I second-guessed all my Downs, including this one. Went through whole alphabet: "... RUTTED OUT? GUTTED OUT? CUTTED OUT? That almost sounds like something ...."
  • 7D: Main ingredient in tekka maki (tuna) - never heard of "tekka maki," but TUNA was not hard to piece together. TEKKA MAKI ... now that would be brutal in the grid. Though probably no more brutal than NABES was for me today. NABES even sounds horrid. So nasally. Ugh.
  • 26D: "The Seven Year Itch" co-star (Ewell) - Over the years, I have found it handy, crossword-wise, to know this guy's name.
  • 29D: Ocean blue (briny) - finally stopped looking for words meaning "blue" and went to words for the ocean that olde timey sailors (or TARS) might use. "Ocean blue" is also a song by ABC (coincidentally, like "About Last Night..." and ANITA Baker's "Sweet Love," from the mid-80s).
  • 34D: Americana symbols (apple pies) - symbols you can EAT! (4D: Put away one's groceries). My favorite kind.
  • 36D: Bygone Montreal event (Expos game) - easily my favorite answer in the puzzle. It's a multi-word phrase that refers to a defunct baseball team, and it has an "X." What more could I ask for?
  • 44D: "_____ Woman" (1972 #1 song) ("I am") - This answer makes me want to say hi to my mom. Hi mom! Here's a video - about which I have one word: cows (literally, cows). This is possibly the worst video ever. If you turn off the sound, it's like watching a medical film about a woman whose arms do not move in concert with her legs when she walks. I did not know until this second that Helen Reddy was an Aussie.
  • 58D: Barkley was his V.P. (HST) - it seems very sad to me that before this second, I could not have named Truman's Veep.
  • 61D: Colt's fans? (NRA) - great, great clue. Should have been in yesterday's puzzle.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 8:55 AM  

THANK YOU. I went screaming to your blog because of that one #@$(@#&# missing letter in the NW corner.
I'll now put an "N" in the box marked "1". The term "net lease" actually does exist. But nabes ain't theaters, no matter what Merriam-Webster claims.

JC66 8:57 AM  


Otherwise, a fine puzzle.

Mike McDonough 9:13 AM  

"Nabes" is short for neighborhood; kind of the inverse of "hood." I spent about 10 minutes on that first square of 1-across before it dawned on me.

Carisa 9:18 AM  

So it's unanimous so far because that darn 1A square vexed me too.
And I really wanted "A GUT" for the busted item in 54D instead of the less common "A RIB".

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Totally agree with you on the Nabes thing, but just thought I'd also alert you to a Google function that may come in handy in the future...

If you type into the search field (minus the quotes):

"Define: X"

Where X is any given word, google will show you all definitions for that word from a myriad of different sites. Copy and paste this into your browser (if it doesn't come up as a link):

To see what I mean...

Unknown 9:21 AM  

Over half of my solving time was in the NW. Having LEASES gave me every three letter word you can imagine that might work and for a long bit I had 'day'. I doubted every down and had a few other missteps along the way. I was unhappy last night when it was finished. I do think that making One Across the hardest fill is a tricky way to go since that is where I always start a puzzle. I am sure that is why it was chosen. I collect trivia, but I will not expect NABES to be asked in any other venue. Jim's database notes three previous occurrences in the middle 1990s. I guess we have all moved on. I think the NYT is creating an angry middle class of solvers where APPLEPIES substitute for real solutions. I am calmer now and just want to read everyone else's rants. Thanks Rex for the forum to do so.

I think there were a few other problems that EVENOUT the really good parts. Bust a gut, u gotta be kidding, Ateam for the best, all seemed to be clued to mislead. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but the answers were mostly stretches of the concept. A well constructed and memorable puzzle.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Twas easy except for Nabes which
I finalaly got.
Also I too had Bust a gut; never
heard of bust a rib.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

Rex -- Agree with everything you said, and got NABES only because all the other choices seemed worse...

Glad to see LAKE HURON get some recognition! The bridge connecting Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas is still one of the wonders of our world. Apparently it's the only such project pushed through by the engineer, who studied it on his own and at his own cost for about twenty years! Has open grids in the roadbed so wind can go through it. Quite spectacular.


Unknown 9:24 AM  

@ zach

I am posting the Google result for your suggestion...

No definitions were found for nabes.

Pretty funny!

Anonymous 9:27 AM  


Hahaha, I didn't even think to actually use it to check for nabes - so any humor there was purely unintentional.

I mean...umm...YES! You see the grand scheme of my superior sense of humor. My funny can not be contained.

Orange 9:29 AM  

Rex, you goofball! Say "Rob Lowe lob robe" six times fast? I only challenged my readers to say it five times. (Me, I can't get past one. When I try, I bust a rib.)

I learned NABES from crosswords. It's a slow gimme now. You'll see—you won't necessarily like it any better next time, but there will be a next time.

All I know about Tom EWELL is that if I see a ["Seven Year Itch" actor] clue, the answer is EWELL.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Nabes was totally unknown to me (age 56, Ph.D. in literature). And I agree that "bust a rib" sounded like a miss to me.

Unknown 9:32 AM  

Add me to the list of NABES malcontents. I would guess that Mr. DiPietro was probably just as unhappy about dropping that in the puzzle as we were, but at least throw me a bone in the cluing. Local theater OR slangy home turfs. Better yet... "anagram of BANES".

After I was forced to erase the sub from subleases it was just a jumbled mess of confusion from there.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Knowing for absolute certainty that the answer to 1 down was NETLEASE was no help at all with NABES and in fact threw me into an existential quandary wherein I doubted the continued sanctity of life. I also had a hard time with the N in SANIBEL/NOL. When you say Cambodia to me, I say POL POT to you. So I wanted Pol in there on the theory that most Asian countries allow their citizens a choice of only about a half-dozen names.

My subspecialty in vice-presidential trivia helped break open the SW of the puzzle after I fell into the AGUT trap. I'm probably the only person in the country who would love to be the vice-president. If something happened to the president, I'd immediately appoint a vice-president and make him or her switch with me. I'd like to be "all-time-vice-president" like that alpha kid in fifth grade who always wanted to be "all-time-quarterback" for both teams on the playground.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

My inability to see SLOMO last night at 5D stopped me from accepting NABES. I had heard of it, and it does not really bother me. I just popped into the Variety web site and found 6 references in the plural, four of which were for this century. But if you check the other tabs for media press and media web, and also the singular form, the term seems reasonably well established.

Perhaps Carmen McRae is pleasingly spelled because McRae is nearly an anagram of Carmen. Carmen EmRac is a palindrome.

Bill from NJ 9:57 AM  

I worked as an accountant for a lady who owned movie theaters in the 70s.

The movie industry bible, VARIETY, listed the amount of money individual films grossed by breaking out the individually owned theaters (NABES, short for neighborhood theaters)from those owned corporately (CHAINS).

The 70s was the end of an era when there were still individally owned theaters out there. I worked in Dover DE and the lady owned theaters in all the small towns in the southern part of the state, 13 theaters in all.

They were charming, free-standing structures that doubled as community centers that hosted school plays and the like at the very end.

These small town theaters were called BIJOU and RIALTO and names like that.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

Aw, you guys are too young, or too unconnected to show biz. ;-)
NABES is a common term in Variety, used when they talk about movie attendance!

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Uh, yes, NABES is a real word, but SPORTO? Give me a break. If a PAL ever called me that, I'd be tempted to push him off a cliff.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

I must be wierd: NABES was no problem for me, but SPORTO ?!?? Who the heck uses that word?

Ulrich 10:06 AM  

I must be making progress b/c I had exactly the same mistakes Rex had, with the additon that I had "you MUST BE kidding" for a while. Square 1 was my last hold-out, too, and I had to google for possible letters that resulted in existing words--hit "n" on my second try (after "l"--discarded "b" for the reasons rex stated). Too bad, b/c the many multi-letter answers are really great.

If it hadn't been for that cursed square 1, it would have been my best Friday effort ever.

Question: What is a "café noir"? Got this through crosses w/o knowing what it was.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

bill from NJ -- you beat me to it, and went into nice detail too!

Ulrich 10:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich 10:13 AM  

I got it right after hitting publish--it's a drink, not a place where gumshoes in fedoras hang out!

Rex Parker 10:13 AM  

"Aw, you guys are too young, or too unconnected to show biz."

Guilty and guilty.


Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Right on about SPORTO. That's really reachin'. I sensed some sort of rebus or un-Friday-like trick when I had SPO and three blanks left.

Did anybody try WORLDSFAIR for the clue about bygone Montreal event? I had it and APPLEPIE in the grid together for awhile, knowing one of them had to be wrong (though they both worked with the ANITA cross), but it took me awhile to discover which one. (POX was what decided it. Pox is a great word.)

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Well this bygone Montrealer liked the puzzle, despite causing me to tear up at my beloved lost Expos. Second time this year.

NABES was also new to me (although it would have been a good name for a former Expos right fielder). I can hear the PA announcer at Jarry Park now:

Batting third the right fielder, le voltigeur de droit, Ernie Nabes!!

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I accept "NETLEASES" easily enough -- we deal with "triple net leases" all the time, meaning corporate leases where the renter pays rent plus taxes, utilities, and something or other I forget. So I was sure of the all the crosses but still drew a blank on "NABES."

"SPORTO" also was unfamiliar to me.

Tekka maki is the only thing I ever order in a sushi bar, lacking imagination or any desire for variety, so that was a gimme.

In spite of "NABES," I liked the puzzle. Lots of clever but (mostly) fair misdirection. I tried just about all the wrong answers everyone has listed above.

The "docks" clue reminds me of Stephen Maturin's joke: "Why is the dog-watch shorter than the other watches?" "Because it is cur-tailed."

Pete M 10:18 AM  

I had no issue with NABES, as I've seen it in puzzles before (I think fairly recently, even). But there were several missteps that took their toll: TOTAL for EQUAL (Come to), A GUT for A RIB (not alone here it seems), HEX for POX (though, curiously, the wrong answer was still valuable as it broke open EXPOS GAME for me... love when that happens!), SELLER for TELLER (had me looking for a phrase starting "So be..." instead of "To be...", and finally in the SW I had MUSTBE instead of WERENT for "You ___ kidding!" and I was sureit was right because it fit so perfectly with LEMURS (They have big eyes). Arggh. :)

Even with all that (or maybe because of it?) I thought this was a great puzzle. Very enjoyable, and more challenging (to me) than Rex's easy-medium rating.

miriam b 10:25 AM  

SPORTO? Sounds like an athletic shoe to me. And I've never busted ARIB.

I had LEMURS where OGLERS should have been until LAKEHURON straightened that area out.

NABES? Well, that was in my memory bank, but even when I was a kid the term seemed somehow archaic.

Now to have some café NOIR (hold the CREAM).

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

NABES - I'm surprised at the number of people that don't recognize this one - I learned it doing crosswords. I'd never heard of it before I encountered it in crosswords and reacted much like everyone else, "%$#@&%"? I've seen it at least three times. I've only been doing the NYT for a little over a year, but I've been doing the LAT puzzle for many years, maybe that's where I learned it. Doesn't that cruciverb site have stats on things like this? Orange? Maybe it’s just one of those that stuck in my brain because it was so odd, there are plenty of others that Rex routinely calls “gimmies” that I can never seem to remember.

Rex Parker 10:28 AM  

How I know SPORTO, by Rex Parker.

John Bender to Andrew Clark, in "The Breakfast Club" - re: Claire Standish:

"So... so. Are you guys like boyfriend-girlfriend? Steady dates? Lovers? Come on, sporto, level with me. Do you slip her the hot beef injection?"

And later, Claire to Andrew:

"Oh, be honest, Andy. If Brian came walking up to you in the hall on Monday, what would you do? I mean picture this, you're there with all the sportos. I know exactly what you'd do; you'd say hi to him and when he left you'd cut him all up so your friends wouldn't think you really liked him!"


Bender: Sporto...
Andrew: What?
Bender: You get along with your parents?
Andrew: Well if I say yes, I'm an idiot, right?
Bender: You're an idiot anyway. But if you say you get along with your parents well you're a liar too.

And finally, Brian Johnson to Andrew Clark, re: Allison Reynolds:

Brian: wanna get in on this? Allison here says, she wants to run away, because her home life is unsatisfying.
Andrew: Well everyone's home lives are unsatisfying. If it wasn't, people would live with there parents forever.
Brian: Yeah, yeah I understand. But I think that hers goes beyond, you know, what guys like you and me consider normal unsatisfying.
Allison: Never mind, forget it, everything's cool.
Andrew: What's the deal?
Allison: No! There's no deal, Sporto. Forget it, leave me alone.

The end

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

p.s. Back to the Mackinac Bridge -- it spans the Mackinac Straits, which is where LAKE HURON meets Lake Michigan. Opened to traffic in 1957, it was designed by engineer David B Steinman and constructed by a firm called Modjeski (good name for a puz.)! The Annual Walk, a celebration with thousands of pedestrians crossing, is set for Sept. 1 this year, and takes an average of two hours -- no porta-potties provided.

The more famous annual Chicago-to-Mackinac sailboat race, over 100 years old and one of the longest fresh-water races in the world, involves hundreds of boats and takes several days, if one is able to finish!


Anonymous 10:33 AM  

I put that 'N' in last, as well, fully expecting the applet to tell me my solution was incorrect. I was planning to try 'L' next (thinking of some strange connection to "astrolabes," which I couldn't define well if pressed to. Except now I could have google do it for me).

Otherwise, my saddest moment was when I realized my first instinct to fill in ROBLOWE was correct, but I rejected it because I thought I was looking at a Down clue and it wouldn't fit.

@Norm: I have heard people use the nickname "Sport." If a PAL called me Sport, I would be tempted to push him off a cliff. If I heard anyone use the word "SPORTO," I'd do it without thinking.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

Well, thanks, Rex, for making my SPORTO rant obsolete even as I was typing it. I still hate the word.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

Yes! I had "LEMURS" too, crossing you "MUST BE" kidding. And "MUST BE" gave me "MOM CAN I" instead of "WILL YOU" for "please, please, please." And "HEX" for "POX." And "IS THAT SO" for "TO BE SURE." I had "WAKEN" for "EQUAL" as a match for "come to." "ABOIL" for "ON LOW." "DROP BY" for "STOP AT." "STAND BACK" for "STEP ASIDE." Many, many false starts. But it all worked out.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

nebraska doug:
Cruciverb database lists 17 "nabe" or "nabes" since 1997. And it only catalogs the biggest publications.

PuzzleGirl 10:42 AM  

Wow. I am on the same wavelength with tons of you today. NABES makes me want to tear my hair out. In fact, I'm not going to put the N in that last, empty square -- it would make me feel dirty.

Like many of you, I was equally dismayed by SPORTO and thank you, wade, POX is an awesome, awesome word (although I, too, had HEX at first).

I first had "you ARE NOT kidding" then "you MUST BE kidding" but neither worked with "I BEG YOU" (for "Please? Please? Please?"), which I was really sure about. PAH! Thought Rival was a brand of coffee-maker??

Finished the puzzle (except The Square That Shall Not Be Named) with one Google. It's really too bad about that 1A thing because otherwise it was an awesome puzzle.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Ah, the Breakfast Club. There was no more life-changing event of my adolescence than seeing that movie, rivaled only by reading "Catcher in the Rye" when I was fourteen. I had so much angst, man! You wouldn't believe my angst! Nobody understood me, man! I wonder if the movie is even watchable now.

Unknown 11:01 AM  

@ puzzlegirl

the square that shall not be named...hilarious!

Checking my list of words waiting to be recognized, NABES isn't close ,but here are a few words that are close in spelling.

Napducation n: Stuff that you learn while sleeping in class...bits of words, half of equations and some things that you can fill in on a crossword without knowing why you know it.

Napedexperts n: Students when awaken ed answer the instructor's quesiton correctly.

Napjerk n: The convulsion of the body just as you are about to doze off (usually in class).

Napressions n: Indentation lines on your face created by putting your head down on your desk.

Naperville n: Lecture halls for hundreds of students usually at 8:00 AM.

Rex Parker 11:01 AM  


First, apparently at some point in your life, you were me. Not sure what happened in the interim...

Second, the movie is not only watchable, it's fantastic. Dated, yes, but actually (still) legitimately funny. Remains the most quotable movie of my life. I *was* Brian Johnson (minus the near-perfect grades)


Bill from NJ 11:03 AM  

Never, ever heard the word SPORTO as a synonym for PAL. What the hell is a SUPER-ETTE? PAH? ARIB?

Got off to a bad start with this puzzle. For example:

I had GOMAD at 49D and HST at 58D, coupled with AGUT (54D) and OPINED (46D) which produced-M--H-G-N at 57A: Site of Macinac Island which I KNEW was in Michigan so I KNEW I was on the right track.


I attacked this puzzle quad by quad and ended up in the SW hellhole mentioned above.

All in all, It took about an hour to straighten the whole mess out which I wouldn't even have attempted if it were a Tuesday puzzle.

Good solving experience.

Unknown 11:06 AM  

I am happy to have learned the word "nabes." I can see using it now to refer to small locally owned business in general. I live in a small town and I like to support the nabes with my business.

It took me way too long to come up with Sanibel considering the many happy long weekends I have spent there. I guess Florida just has too many islands to make that an easy clue.

Pete M 11:06 AM  

@wade: It's still watchable, but you gotta rent it (or buy it); the edited-for-TV version is painful. (Same with "Sixteen Candles"). :)

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

Rex, I'm just afraid if I watched it now I'd find myself identifying most with the principal. Or maybe the janitor. ("Someday these kids are gonna be runnin' the country. This is the thought that wakes me up every night.")

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

@ Wade Funny you should ask because I saw Breakfast Club for the first time just yesterday! My husband had the same feeling as you did when it came out but being ten years older than him I dismissed it at the time. But I really enjoyed it. Still, I prefer my 70's high school years to the 80's any day. Two Ponies

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Well, dare I even say it, both "nabe" and "hood" are colloq. terms for neighborhood. So although I didn't know NABES specifically as a (or is it plural?) local theater, it didn't raise such an issue with me.

But would my disgusted SPORTOS really say PAH? Yipe!

Unknown 11:16 AM  

@ wade:

The Breakfast Club holds up. I still laugh when Brian talks about the flare gun going off in his locker and destroying his elephant lamp.

I'm an idiot because I can't make a lamp?
No, you're a genius because you can't make a lamp.
What do you know about trigonometry?
I could care less about trigonometry.
Did you know without trigonometry there would be no engineering?
Without lamps there'd be no light.

miriam b 11:23 AM  

A few comments back, I said that SPORTO sounded like an athletic shoe. This finally caused me to Google, and I found that Sporto is in fact a brand of women's shoes and boots. They're not athletic shoes, though. They look like something you'd need to go to Mackinac Island.

Rex Parker 11:24 AM  

At the risk of starting a "Breakfast Club" quote-off:

John Bender: Hey, Cherry. Do you belong to the physics club?

Claire Standish: That's an academic club.

John Bender: So?

Claire Standish: So academic clubs aren't the same as other kinds of clubs.

John Bender: Ah... but to dorks like him, they are. [To Brian, the dork] What do you guys do in your club?

Brian Johnson: Well, in physics we... we talk about physics, properties of physics.

John Bender: So it's sorta social. Demented and sad, but social.


Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Two Ponies, sounds like you might be more a "Dazed and Confused" kind of gal. That one wasn't a life-changer for me (I was too old when I first saw it), but it's a great movie. I'm not sure how universal the depiction of high school is, but I can say Linkladter absolutely nails the Texas high school experience (right down to the desultory "good game" hand slaps with the opposing football team), notwithstanding that it's set about a decade earlier than my high school experience (GHS class of '85! Seniors rule! Go Steers!).

"St. Elmo's Fire?" Um, not so much.

Rex Parker 11:30 AM  

OK, you all canNOT start in on "Dazed and Confused," because that is the *second*-most quotable movie of my life (the most watched overall), and I'm going to go into some kind of nostalgic conniption and just start quoting movie lines all day.


Margaret 11:31 AM  

Ditto, ditto, and ditto on Nabes, Sporto, A Rib. Ugh. This one took me over an hour to slog through.

Barkley was FDR's veep, too, so that threw me even further off Lake Huron. Curious that the Barkley answer intersects with a lake because there is a lake named for Barkley. It's in the sw corner of KY (along w/ Kentucky Lake, known as The Land Between the Lakes.) Anyway, Barkley Lake Lodge (designed by Edward Durrell Stone) is a beautiful resort in a lovely spot.

@Anonymous: Curtailed didn't just remind me of Maturin, it was the reason I got it!

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Rex,got any weed? Be a whole lot cooler if you did.

Mike 11:57 AM  

"I get older and they stay the same age...awwwright"

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

I finally finished the puzzle without Googling but was sure 1 Across was wrong. So I came to see what was the correct answer for 1 Across. I was stunned that nabes was correct. I did however know netleases was a word which is why I stuck with it. Originally had tenancies and then subleases, finally netleases.

Fun yet challenging. Difficult but doable for me though.


Anonymous 12:38 PM  

@ Wade Thanks for the tip. I have not seen Dazed and Confused but was really into Led Zep (still am) and spent a fair amount of time dazed and confused back then so I'll give it a go! Two Ponies

Pythia 12:59 PM  

Nice puzzle. Way too easy, but fun anyway. "Bust a rib" is so bogus. Sporto is defined in the Urban Dictionary as follows:

[jock type guy on the constant prowl for chicks (mainly at bars), over-gelled hair, tight shirts, drives a modified Honda with a loud but still mediocre engine etc etc

check out that sporto over there trying to pick up chicks at the gym]

Gotta love the imagery!

imsdave 1:04 PM  

Must be set leases, no net leases, no jet leases - no googles today, also a blank in the Voldemort square (loved that puzzlegirl). A bit distressed to hear that this was so easy for everyone today, I struggled mightily despite knowing Rob Lowe, Aida, sanibel, Lake Huron, McRae, and Ewell. Actually met Carmen McRae at Jimmy Ryan's in NYC in the early seventies. Roy Eldridge was playing and she stopped in to say hi. FYI, if any of you have a clue as to Roy Eldridge is (Little Jazz to Louis Armstrong's Big Jazz), his real name is David Roy Eldrige which we had to argue about and produce driver's licenses for, as those are my first two names. Anyway, I thought it was hard and enjoyable.

mac 1:12 PM  

Chose between l and n for quare 1, and had to take the n, with an l it sounded too anatomical.

I also had avis instead of alpo, hex instead of pox, tried world's fair, and had a hard time with the different actors, bits of culture I am not too familiar with. I thought the Colt's clue was great, as well as compare.

All in all a good Friday puzzle!

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

All those Breakfast Club lines use sporto as a synonym for jock, not pal.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

SPORTO noto fairo. IMHO.

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

I learned NABE when I was learning all the four letter words good in Scrabble AND THEIR MEANINGS (contrary to your complaint about Scrabble players not even knowing what the words mean!) and I remember railing about its ugliness even in that context. Seeing it rear its ugly head in a crossword almost made me feel better...tho it was also the last letter I filled in...and I'm old AND show-bizzy!

It was weird that AGUT allowed for
_ _ _ _ _ _ GON so at one point I even thought maybe somehow it was LAKE WOEBEGON and there was some sort of rebus!
literally took an hour to undo! And if it weren't for the laughs I get the next day from your blog, I would just feel empty and exhausted afterwards and question my entire raison d'etre!
(no pressure!) ;)

Anonymous 1:49 PM  


Was there a goof in your link to Helen Reddy?

I always right click a link, goto Properties, copy the location, and go there in another window. It's actually quicker than being taken off your page and then reloading when I come back. And, no, it's not my browser, just your site.

Anyway, your link is:
And when I pasted in the URL, it came up with a "Gay Baha’is" rant page. I Googled the URL and there were two links: (I believe) The correct one:, and yours (with the "&feature=related" added).

Just nitpicking. (Your assessment of the video is spot on, by the by)

PuzzleGirl 2:03 PM  

@jpchris: I didn't have any problem with the link. Maybe for this particular one you might just try clicking on it and seeing what happens.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

I agree totally with the "bust a gut" vs. "bust a rib" complaints many had. Did anyone else notice that the LAT today had "bust a gut" as an answer? What a weird coincidence!

imsdave1 2:21 PM  

@nebraska doug - had it in my notes to comment on two bust a guts on the same day (that seem's to happen a lot), but after giving up on adding an extra letter to Michigan, didn't think I should - glad I'm not the only one to see the semi-weird connection.

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

nebraska doug and imsdave1, that is an eerie coincidence. There's also some spooky shit goin' on on the back of a dollar bill.

Anonymous 2:33 PM  

I got a lot of email about NABE so I looked it up on my database to update my own blog entry. It turns out it's been used 8 times before in the NYT, 4 singular and 4 plural, but the last reference was over a decade ago! No wonder it tripped us up.

Joon 2:45 PM  

i had a problem with NABES, but i don't any more. it's a word; i didn't know it; now i do.

the whole SE corner of this puzzle kicked ass. APPLEPIE, COUPDETAT, EXPOSGAME--that rocks. oh, and crossing PREMEDS (wonderful clue). i had the same missteps as everybody else (AGUT, TUTTI, MUSTBE, UGH, HEX, ABOIL... though, it really shouldn't be ABOIL, since that's not what "simmer" is all about). my texas/louisiana was particularly tough to unravel, as i was pretty confident about AGUT and GENE (instead of LORE), giving me -GEN, -UNE, and -TED for the long acrosses there. i wanted COPENHAGEN but that didn't quite fit.

when i finally finished, i was rather pleased with GOAPE. that's so much fresher and more interesting than the usual meaning of APE in crossword puzzles.

even if you don't count NABES, i thought this puzzle was tougher than a usual friday. there were plenty of places to go wrong. and not because the clues were intentionally tricky (which i love), but places where (at least in my opinion) the correct answer wasn't the "best" answer. (ARIB is the #1 culprit here, but i'm looking at PAH as well.) that, i don't love as much.

Joon 2:50 PM  

one other thing--did we ever get a verdict from rex on spoilers for non-NYT puzzles in the comments box? i haven't done the LAT yet, but i always get around to it eventually. it's mildly annoying that now i know one of the answers.

but while we're on the subject--i won't spoil anything, but today's new york sun has an absolutely spectacular clue: ["Yo, Hadrian!"] (3 letters). i'm still in awe... and envy... and stitches.

imsdave1 2:56 PM  

@joon, I did it again - couldn't resist commenting on nebraska doug's comment on the coincidence. As to that spoiling the fairly easy LATimes puzzle, I doubt it, but apologies proffered anyway.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

I usually comment in the morning, but I wanted to give myself a chance to finish the NW, as it seemed impossible to me. I left it alone for a while, came back, and still couldn't get it. Otherwise, I liked this puzzle a lot. Loved EXPOSGAME, ABE, PREMEDS...some good stuff. I did get tripped up in the SW with AGUT/ARIB, but got it worked out. NABES is over my head. grumble

Joe in NE

dk 3:10 PM  

Hej (Swedish theme will reveal itself in the fullness of time) Sportos,

I pick HIDEF not NABES and do not care that the rest of the NW is trashed because of it.

Aquavitae translates to water of life, if you have partaken of it you know it is really the water of death. That said it is a great cross with EAU.

I support all the rants on the NE corner and a POX on ARIB (should be agut).

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

Super-ette is a mini-supermarket.

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

Shoudn't 37A be "eaux"?, seeing as the clue is plural.

Lac content = eau

Lac contents = eaux

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

@Rex - Didn't you mean to say that Donne was your NABE-BOY?

I've been wanting to start an over/under pool for the number of comments here, with a suitable rake to me of course. I figured today for about a good 75 comments by 6PM when looking at the puzzle. Then we get to a day like today, with movie quote-offs & I realize that was a foolish idea.

Speaking of movies, something has always puzzled me. In what F***ing parallel universe does a guy like Tom Ewell get a babe like Marilyn Monroe (Seven Year Itch)? How do I get there? Seriously, how? Please? Please? Please?

kate 3:42 PM  

I would hate to admit how much time I've spent on this fine day reciting "babes, cabes, dabes, eabes, fabes, gabes, habes..." to myself, hoping something would finally make sense.

jae 3:45 PM  

I was sure I screwed this up and was pleasantly surprised when google told me NABES was actually something. Thanks for the rant Rex! That said, I enjoyed the bottom half of this one but NABES, SPORTO, PAH, and ETTE took the fun out of the top half. Bust AGUT had me thinking MICHIGAN which didn't fit and I also tried MUSTBE, NAME for LORE, and IBEGYOU (eventhough I knew NOL, desperation). I did need my wife's help on TUTTO which got me off CARLEASES and allowed me to finish NW NABES and all.

BTW I've seen Breakfast Club, Dazed and Confused, et. al. but they don't have the same impact when you're in your late 30s early 40s. Seems to me those types of movies didn't exist in the mid 60s--The Graduate maybe?

Anonymous 4:13 PM  

Jae, I think those movies didn't exist before the mid-sixties because that's when teenagers were invented. And angst was still limited to the Danes.

imsdave1 4:15 PM  

@humorlesstwit - as I recall, Tome Ewell only imagined getting MM - never really happened - what a cruel hoax.

Bill D 4:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 4:24 PM  

Never heard of NABES, or NETLEASE. But, I put in WET LEASE, which is a real term for when an airline leases a plane along with crew, maintenance, etc. That left me with WABES, which, frankly, made about as much sense as NABES.

But, my real problem with the puzzle is the extremly large number of multiple-word answers. I quickly counted at least 21. On a Friday? How about a few actual clever single-word answers, please!

Bill D 4:31 PM  

Well, SPORTOs, I'm glad I'm not the only one who could not make sense of NABES. I struggled somewhat today, largely because, although LAKE HURON was one of the first answers I filled in, I removed it when "Lemurs" seemed to confirm my "You MUST BE kidding", along with Bust "A GUT" seeming to cancel it out. I was positively married to Lemurs, to my detriment; it is so much better an answer than OGLERS, if I do say so myself.

I, too, should have had SANIBEL sooner, but I kept trying to stuff one of The Keys in there! Briefly tried to make "EXPO SIXTY-SEVEN" out of EXPOS GAME by trying to come up with some bogus French ending; didn't work. Didn't even notice the suspect PAH when I finally put in STEP ASIDE, SPORTO.

I absolutely did not like the plethora of multi-word answers - at times I felt like I was solving a bunch of clues for 2-letter words. By my count there was one 4-word answer, four 3-worders, and a mind-boggling 16 2-word answers, and that's giving AQUAVITAE, SLO-MO, PRE-MEDS and WEREN'T the benefit of the doubt!

All-in-all, despite a few clever spots, not a very elegant puzzle.

miriam b 4:41 PM  

There is a WABE, but I don't think you can see a film there.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"And 'the wabe' is the grass-plot round a sun-dial, I suppose?" said Alice, surprised at her own ingenuity.

Humpty Dumpty replies,"Of course it is. It's called 'wabe' because it goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it -"

Anonymous 4:43 PM  

I also thought about that whole eau/eaux thing finally deciding eau/water, in this context, is really already plural, sort of...
but it does seem like it would've been better to clue it "Lac content" which seems almost like a clever play on words.
But then I thought is "content" ok without the "s"? "What is the the content of a lac?"
It felt then I really was lac(king) content(ment)

Joon 4:50 PM  

i think content is right. you wouldn't say that [Bottle contents] is WATERS. WATER is the contents of the bottle. if you wanted to clue EAUX this way, you'd have to say [Contents of lacs], which is awkward, to say the least.

Anonymous 4:50 PM  

So unconvinced was I that "Bust a Rib" was a phrase, I googled it and found a gathering (for men 16 years and up) in Gainsville, FL which we may or may not have already missed (as it seems to list both March 29th at noon and Fri June 13th @ 6:30pm!)
"Comedian Phil diTommaso will be joining us for a hilarious time".

Then again, they may just be serving ribs you have to break apart...

Bill D 5:04 PM  

Miriam, your quote including "...And the mome raths outgrabe" reminded me of a puzzle in the past year in which OUTGRABE was clued "What the mome raths do", so we may see WABE yet!

miriam b 5:47 PM  

bill d, a close reading indicates that OUTGRABE is in the past tense. Infinitive is TO OUTGRIBE. Clue would be "What the mome raths DID."

I'm a known nitpicker.

Anonymous 5:51 PM  

Not to re-awaken the '80s movies quoteathon, but what about Ferris Bueller's Day Off? I loved that one.

Economics Teacher: In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?... raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. "Voodoo" economics.

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

I was wearing my expocap and had to wipe a tear from my eye after filling in 35D


Rex Parker 6:02 PM  

I love multi-word phrases. They liven up the joint. Perhaps there is a limit, and perhaps this puzzle is near that limit ... perhaps there's also something to be said about the *quality* of the words. Lots of prepositions probably aren't a lot of fun. STOP AT? SLIP UP? PUT A BID ON? ON LOW? BUTTED OUT? ON THE MEND? EVEN OUT? Yes, lots of prepositions. But I loved STEP ASIDE and EXPOS GAME and ROB LOWE and even TO BE SURE. I do not think multi-wordedness, per se, is a crime. In fact, it's one of my favorite things about Friday and Saturday puzzles (see "What Makes a Themeless Puzzle Great" link in my sidebar).


Anonymous 6:08 PM  

While I can understand your horrified reaction to Helen Reddy's video, you might cut her a break. This video was done in 1972 in the nascent days of music videos (MTV didn't start until the 1980s). As in many things, the Beatles started this genre with their release of the video associated with Strawberry Fields Forever in 1967.

On the other hand, no one ever said Helen Reddy was a gracefull performer. For evidence, I would point you to some of her excruciatingly awful television appearances on her own "Helen Reddy Show" (1973).

Unknown 6:08 PM  

I thought it was "A Limo" that "films can be shown in".

Other than that it all made sense.

Chip Ahoy 6:55 PM  

I have 0 interest in movies, stars, costars, directors, studios, whatever. It's a personal thing; I resent them in puzzles. Maleska would never allow them and that's why I loved him so. When I see the second clue, "costar of something something" I immediately close up the puzzle and get on with my life. Pffft. Sorry Joe, no woo for you.

Anonymous 6:58 PM  

While writing in "tuna" for main ingredient in tekka makki, I couldn't help but think that the main ingredient in tekka makki is actually rice.

avitabij 7:24 PM  

There's a book published in 2001 with this title:

The "Nabes": Toronto's Wonderful Neighbourhood Movie Houses


NYTAnonimo 7:48 PM  

Tutto pazzo!

Anonymous 8:06 PM  

Haven't bothered to read the blog or posts, but I imagine everybody else loved NABES, too. So elegant! So common! (I wonder why it's underlined in red, right now?)

Orange 8:25 PM  

Eli is funny.

Rex, I was exploring the same issue at my blog. Generally I love multi-word answers too, but I felt this batch needed more color, particularly in the longest entries. EXPOS GAME and AQUA VITAE were Scrabbly, but NET LEASES is so dry. The surfeit of prepositions littering the phrases kinda took some of the fun out of it. Every time we get a puzzle sprinkled with a bunch of colorful entries like TOYRUSKID or HAZMATSUIT, it raises our expectations. Today's had 72 words, the max for a themeless puzzle, so one might hope for a fireworks show with multiple oohs and aahs. This one skipped the grand finale—it was a good show, but not the best I'd ever seen.

Bill D 8:47 PM  

@Miriam - Outgribe, outgrabe - maybe the clue was "What the mome raths did" - don't blame the constructor; it's probably my memory that is faulty. Anyway, all us puzzlers pick nits.

@Orange - Did you mean the puzzle had 72 answers? The answers contain quite a few more than 72 words, and 3 of them are single letters, with nine of them 2-letter words.

Yes, EXPOS GAME & the like and even TO BE SURE, which contains two of the nine 2-letter words, are clever, but I stand by my claim of overuse of multiple word answers resulting in an inelegant puzzle. So there!

Ulrich 8:58 PM  

@bill: So there: When I got "went to bed" from having just "tto", which looks really daunting, and the beginning and ending letters, I really crowed--figuratively speaking. Multiple parsing possibilities are, to me, the challenge of multi-letter answers, and I enjoy that challenge--as the man said, suum cuique.

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

@fran I too tried "a limo" for 5D but fortunately eventually saw "slomo". However I had "p" in the unmentionable square because pet leases seemed most reasonable even though "pabes" made no sense. (Nothing else did either.)

Is it considered cricket for two answers to both end in "out" (23A & 3D)? I kept rechecking those answers, assuming one couldn't be right.

Mary in NE

Anonymous 9:51 PM  

just fyi (not sure if will would know him or care, you might though), tom MCRAE is also quite great. a voice that could make you cry. much like this puzzle. A RIB? not A GUT? you MUST BE kidding.

Doc John 10:23 PM  

Not much to add to what's already been said.

I was hoping to get TUTTO from my knowledge of music but it finally ended up that there's a restaurant in town called Tutto Mare and that's what did it. (So for me, the NW had 3 water clues.) And speaking of water clues, I think EAU is OK. The answer to the question, "What are the contents of a lake?" is "water", not "waters".

Although I didn't get NABES, it didn't irk me nearly as much as PAH. It seems that any 3 letter combination, when spit out, could express disgust. (I loved the photos Rex used to accompany NABES, too.)

There is an episode of Modern Marvels that deals with the Mackinac Bridge. I've always missed the beginning of it so had no idea it spanned Lake Huron!

Anonymous 10:27 PM  

Movie fact I didn't know until recently: the "Anyone? Bueller? anyone?" econ teacher was played by Ben Stein, who also writes a business column every couple of weeks or so in the Sunday edition of the very same NYT. He has even quoted that line himself recently.

Bill D 10:52 PM  

Stein also has a brand new movie out, "Expelled", apparently an answer, of sorts, to "An Inconvenient Truth". The TV teaser clip shows him playing the Bueller role in a HS classroom, questioning evolution. The NYT today absolutely panned this "documentary".

I used to love him on "Win Ben Stein's Money", a Comedy Central game show where Stein supposedly put up $5 grand of his money matching wits with three contestants. Jimmy Kimmel got his start as the questioner on the show - he was pretty quick and Ben was very bright, which makes his apparent rejection of Darwin all the more surprising.

mac 11:15 PM  

With the tekka maki clue I also immediately thought of the big lump of sticky rice under my sliver of tuna.
How odd that in 2001 the word "nabe" was still used in Canada.

Anonymous 11:42 PM  

I apologize for the LAT spoiler today. I considered that factor, but it was such an easy answer that I thought that no one would mind. I'll hold my tongue in the future. I couldn't resist commenting on the coincidence.

Anonymous 11:44 PM  

@bill d 10:52 PM re: Ben Stein's "Expelled"

my take is rather than rejecting Darwin, the movie is more about the lack of people's reading/listening/discussing/ thinking about all religions for a long enough period of time to arrive at comparisons of similitude, dissimilitude, wheat, and chaff.

Orange 12:23 AM  

Bill D: The lingo is that a "72-word puzzle" is one with 72 entries, no matter how many of those entries consist of phrases.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

I would be in favor of bringing back "nabes" for movie theater. It's descriptive and jaunty. The problem is not too many movie houses are in nabes anymore. They're in multiplexes! Yuck!

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Igot Friday's puzzle for the first time! Nabe is a common word in New York City.You see it in the Daily News headlines all the time. It used to be the headline of movie listings: "In the Nabes." Unfortunately, we don't have neighborhood movie theatres anymore. Nancy

terry 1:26 PM  

I don't think this puzzlemaker lives on the same planet as most of us. I have not been so angry at a Times puzzle in many months. Inexcusable. There - I've said it. Take that, sporto!

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

Had to give up on the southeast-had hex not pox, thought Rival made appliances, so had Miro, and not being sports minded, thpught 36D referred in someway to an Exposition of some sort?! All in all too many "wrongs" -and there comes a point where I just throw in the towel
The rest came easily (after I replaced "owlets" ) except for the horrendous 1A! Tho I predate 1935, I never heard of nabes. Maybe its a back east term-I grew up in San Francisco where the corner theaters were called (with good reason) "flea palaces"-sadly I think they are all gone.

embien 5:37 PM  

6 weeks later:
Anytime I see clues featuring co-stars, films, etc., I know I'm in trouble. I recognize that lots of folks love pop culture, but it's definitely not my cup of tea. PAH!

I initially wanted WOLVES for 48A (What big eyes they have), thinking of Little Red Riding Hood, but alas, it was not to be.

And, I have to say, five or so lines from one single movie (no matter how quotable) doesn't make SPORTO feel right to me. Of course there are lots of words I don't know... lists SPORTO as the Lithuanian for sports and no English definition, and it's not in my Merriam Webster's unabridged, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it. (I fully recognize that those sources aren't very strong on slang and vernacular usage.)

All in all a less than satisfying puzzling experience for me. PAH again!

Anonymous 6:28 PM  

Nabes; a rib; superette; sporto - brings back memories of hot, dusty classrooms, being told to write a poem on some obscure topic, and forcing rhymes out of desperation, twisting common phrases to "make it fit"!
(I think the class was intended to make kids HATE poetry. I even remember that my offering to force a rhyme - "good heaven" - was accepted!)
I still bust a GUT thinking of the rubbish we turned out, and so do my pals, who would not still be my pals if I started calling them sportos. Ouch!

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