Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: [@#$!]-ing animal puns

The theme is what it is. Cute. Not terribly coherent. Given all the reasons I've heard for puzzles being rejected, I'm kinda surprised that LYNX got in there, in that it creates a plural where all the other answers are singular (yes, that can most definitely be a deal-breaker in some cases with some editors, if my sources are telling the truth). Andrea, wasn't that one of the reasons your HEATH puzzle (which appeared in the LAT yesterday) was multiply rejected? Because of Tim MEADOWS? Anyway, I don't think the odd plural is that big a deal. I wish there was more payoff in the non-theme fill, instead of blechhy stuff like IRED (37A: Teed off) and an "H"-containing MYNAHS (25D: Chatty avians). [Cruciverb.com is not responding right now, or I would check on the comparative frequency of MYNA and MYNAH] WEE LAD (30D: Li'l fellow) is a bit grating to my ears, but it's so unusual and original that today, it's a high point.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Antlered salon employee? (styling moose)
  • 31A: Lost bobcat? (missing lynx)
  • 45A: Wildebeest who doesn't spare the rod? (spanking gnu) - good clue
  • 52A: Unwelcome porcine party attendee? (crashing boar)

Though most of today's fill is quite ordinary, there are a few highlights. MOE isn't especially noteworthy as an answer (especially when it's not clued via "The Simpsons"), but the clue here is fantastic: 25A: Curly poker. I like that the clue on WORLD was not (to me) a gimme. Perfectly apt, but quite vague when you don't have any or many crosses: 4D: Word before class or war. My wife and I do the xword in The Listener (NZ) and they frequently have clues like "Word that can appear before blah, blah, or blah," and I am Terrible at that kind of clue. 9 times out of 10 my wife comes up with the answer first. As you know, I cannot get enough HOBO in my puzzle, so I enjoyed 14A: Boxcar hopper. I'm not normally a cheerleader for foreign words, but for some reason SUISSE really lights up today's puzzle (28D: Geneve's land). Of course I may just be feeling self-satisfied because my French came in handy. That happens. EXPATS is a fun word to say (27D: Nationals living abroad, informally). For some reason, my brain is trying to clue the word in question-marky fashion: [Former Summitt namesakes?].


  • 23A: Woodworker's groove (dado) - I'm becoming alarmed at how frequently I am seeing this word. OK, so it's only once every several months, but with a word like DADO, that feels like a lot. I'd like to ask constructors to back off. I don't want to see this word become the new RELO.
  • 34A: Heebie-jeebies (unease) - a dull answer to a lively clue.
  • 50A: Broadway musical with the song "Will I?" ("Rent") - saw it, forgot it. Maybe my next taste of Broadway will be better ...
  • 57A: Crawfish's home (bayou) - Good clue, colorful word.
  • 66A: European deer (roes) - did not know there were particularly European, though I feel as if I've typed those very words before...
  • 8D: Showy blooms (begonias)
  • 9D: Prom accessory (corsage) - nice combo. Would anyone ever wear a BEGONIA as a CORSAGE?
  • 35D: Yemeni port (Aden) - first, I get ADEN and OMAN confused (stupid, I know). Second, I have a weird aversion to both words, from a crossword standpoint. I know I will have to use one or both eventually, but I'm trying to keep stuff that screams "crosswordiness" to a minimum.
  • 44D: Pulmonary organ (lung) - I have no idea why the word "pulmonary" is fascinating me this morning. Maybe my brain is just massively dissatisfied with the words it has available to it this morning. Actually, I think my brain is just preoccupied with this:

Jon Lester, cancer survivor, throws no-hitter at Fenway vs. Kansas City Royals - Red Sox win 7-0

Thanks to Matt for sending me the text message that allowed me to catch the final three outs.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 8:56 AM  

100% agreement. So easy. My favorite was SPANKINGGNU.

JannieB 8:58 AM  

Guess I have a lower threshold of pain, but I enjoyed this puzzle. I thought the puns were good and well-clued. Actually laughed at a couple. Curly poker was just genius - best clue/fill in the grid, IMHO.

I'm enjoying RP's occasional rants about the tribulations of construction. Makes me appreciate the good puzzles even more to know how much attention is paid to the details. It never occurred to me that lynx/links was a possible no no. Can't say that it bothers me very much, but it's the little things that make the NYT the benchmark for good puzzles.

Just curious Rex - what will your by-line be when you do get published??????

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Billie Truitt, today's constructor, is unfamiliar to me but the puzzle seemed to be just as well done as yesterday's by Mike Nothnagel -- four theme answers which are fresh and amusing, plus fill which may not have down crosses like Mike's "Piscopo" etc. but BANISTER and BEGONIAS work well here! I know some people groan at puns, but they are fine with me and I liked the four theme animals with the bonus of MYNAHS and ROES and even fur COAT!

My solving wasn't as smooth as yesterday, with little hitches to correct this time: started with "tell" instead of the better BLAB, "backside" for something to slide on instead of BANISTER, and I even managed to put a "b" on the end of IAMS instead of "s" by not checking the clue! However, they just slowed me down, no real problems. Fun that OLD HAT showed up so soon after our "red hat" discussion the other day, and OCEAN was tricky for Continental Divide, but I didn't have trouble with MOE the "Curly poker", or the choice of states for Salem in OREG.

One tiny nit at 28D: SUISSE without "La ___" in the clue, because by itself it's the adjective "Swiss" rather than the country Switzerland. At least Rex was spared a second Broadway clue besides 50A RENT, in that 40A SALESMAN was clued without reference to Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman", whose revival a few years ago was directed by my son-in-law Bob Falls winning Tony Awards for lead actor Brian Dennehy and others, and going on to further acclaim in London's West End! (Please pardon the brag).


Peter Sattler 9:07 AM  

MOE, too, and his clue made me laugh out loud -- as did your picture of Gary Gnu ("No gnews is good gnews!").

But even MOE made me remember how many of my gut answers were wrong today. When I first read "curly poker," for example, I thought PICK/PIK and PROBOSCIS (like a butterfly). Even worse, in the top-center, I guessed TELL for "spill the beans," AWAY for "Up and ____," and MASS for "Salem's state." Thank goodness that BLONDIE was there so set me straight ("All of my thoughts are bright, long as he thinks they're his"). Comic-based answers are always a gift.

Speaking of which, I do think you need to post a picture of Atom Ant in honor of 7D!

Tony from Charm City 9:17 AM  

Am i the only one who didn't like SPANKINGGNU? It's cute and all, but I never say "spanking new" and nearly never say "brand spanking new."

Speaking about gut answers, did anybody else confidently put PELT in at 52-D? This made me second-guess SKIRUNS since URALS (wrongly) fit a 62-A. It only derailed me for maybe thirty seconds, but that was enough.

janie 9:18 AM  

>Not terribly coherent.

wow. i find the theme to be *very* coherent -- that it holds together quite consistently, logically, aesthetically -- the last two especially. point taken about the plural/singular issue... but in all cases, ya got yer animal following an "-ing" adjective -- and to fresh effect: crashingboar? spankinggnu? sweet!

and ditto ditto ditto curlypoker/moe!!



Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Agree, "Curly poker" is a superb clue for "Moe," and lynx also caught my eye as not singular.

Re. jannieb @ 8:58am:

I think you mean you have a higher threshold of pain...

jubjub 9:35 AM  

While I'm aware of the three stooges, and that "Moe is their leader", I didn't get the MOE clue at all. In fact, I thought the answer must be TOE, since a toe is like a finger which one uses for pointing, but curlier? I don't know what I was thinking.

I also liked SUISSE, since I lived in Geneve as a kid.

I had a number of mistakes that were hard to get out. I had UNREST instead of UNEASE, and had no idea about DADO. Thus, getting BLONDIE from BLON_IT and WEELAD from -RELAA was hard. Why -RELAA? Because I somehow got the definitions of arrive and depart confused in my head. Reminds me of when I was little and could not get straight which one was tomorrow and which one was yesterday. The last mistake in my puzzle was YES instead of YEA making BESTS instead of BEATS.

ROES was also hard for me. Never heard of it. Had DOES, which at least seems related to deer. I don't like that GRILLE has an E at the end, seems to ooh la la for a vehicle part.

PS I don't live in the BAYOU, but we have crawfish in the pond at my school. Just thought I'd brag about that :).

Orange 9:45 AM  

Rex, you've got it backwards. RELO is the new DADO. DADO is like STOA—used to pop up in crosswords much more often than it does these days.

I liked the theme—crisp and easy, obvious but not stale. I couldn't hold the links plural against the puzzle—it added an X to the puzzle.

Bill D 9:57 AM  

A cute little Tuesday puzzle, which is about expected. No real problems except having "Lentos" for LARGOS and 6D and had to keep overwriting it as I went. It's been so long since I've had to read a musical score!

I had the same thought as Artlvr about SUISSE - I was thinking "Isn't that an adjective?" and thought it should have been clued as such. There was some fill that was OLD HAT, but certainly not that one - my favorite! Also liked DADO, ONENESS (like, far out, man), GRILLE and EX-PATS. Always a cheer for geology, so rah-rah MICA. Not big on DOER and IRED, but they were small prices to pay. How many times have I seen ERIE in the last week? It's all over the puzzle universe lately.

Rex, if you want to know what real Broadway is all about, run to the Vivian Beaumont Theatre to see South Pacific. Truly a classic; the show that defines musical theater. If you don't get Broadway after that there's no hope - just go back to watching the Sox...

GlennCY 9:57 AM  

I don't agree with the great praise for Spanking Gnu. Who ever says that? The expression is BRAND spanking gnu. It can never stand alone like that! If the puzzle had been at least a little challenging I might let it go, but this puzzle had nothing.

JannieB 9:58 AM  

@anonymous 9:27 - you're right, of course. I always get that mixed up.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

Not a great achievement to no-hit the Royals!

Unknown 10:04 AM  

I found a few challenges in this puzzle. I have to wait until I have two letters to guess CA valleys now. For some reason, I entered smashing BOAR and had fro for BOB. DADO isn't in my vocabulary like dido and if you have trouble spelling like I do, BAYOU doesn't come easily. I did like the puzzle, but it reminds me of two mysteries. Where does the phrase Brand SPANKING new come from (and it isn't spanking babies) and why is CRASHING almost always limited to bores?

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

A no-hitter is NEVER anything short of a great achievement!

(I watched the game from right outside Fenway, and am increasingly annoyed that I didn't bother to try and scalp a ticket!)


Joon 10:14 AM  

overall, i liked this puzzle. i think this is a debut construction for billie truitt--if so, congratulations. this was a neat puzzle. i like how the long acrosses in the middle gave the puzzle kind of a wide-open feel even though the corners and sides were pretty well sealed off.

there was some great fill, and some not-so-great fill. i'm extremely irked by IRED, since i refuse to acknowledge that IRE is a verb. i think i've seen DADO before somewhere (i think as part of a pedestal), but i didn't appreciate it crossing the what-the-hell-is-that IAMS. MYNAHS was an utter mystery to me, H or no H. but EXPATS (asante samuel and adam vinatieri?) was great. i loved WEELAD because those words actually go together. can't you just picture groundskeeper willie saying, "och, when i was a wee lad..."? while we're here, the cartoon figure you should definitely post a picture of for ATEM is rainier wolfcastle, attempting to play radioactive man. "up and at them!"

[Curly poker] was a brilliant clue. loved it.

RENT is, as far as i can tell, the best broadway musical ever made, not that i'm an expert on the genre or anything. so if you don't like RENT, it may be that you just don't like musicals. which is fine.

artlvr, it would be pretty tough to clue SALESMAN in a particularly broadway-oriented manner. if the clue has "Death of a ___" or willy loman or arthur miller, it's going to be pretty easy even for those who have never heard of the revival, since that's pretty much the best-known play in the history of american literature. i suppose you could go with the vague [Title character in a recent Broadway revival], which is the sort of clue that makes solvers tear their hair out.

Orange 10:30 AM  

Glenncy, "spanking new" -"brand spanking" gets almost a half million Google hits. "Brand spanking new" gets 922,000, so I think "spanking new" is in the language even without the "brand."

Rex Parker 10:36 AM  

Only someone who doesn't follow baseball could make such a comment about no-hitters in general, and particularly about the worthiness of this year's Royals (who are, after all, better than this year's Yankees at this point).


Bill D 10:47 AM  

@joon - Rent is the most popular musical ever made; South Pacific is the best. Big difference.

archaeoprof 10:49 AM  

Like Rex, I've just turned in my grades, so maybe that's why I enjoyed this puzzle so much. But here's a confession: I can't seem to stop myself from crossing out the number of each clue as I fill it in. Is this a sign of mental illness, or an abused childhood, or worse?

Ladel 11:00 AM  


It's difficult to analyze why you do it, only you can figure it out, but when you do you will be cured and stop this needless waste of energy and lead. Filling in the grid is the only sense of achievement you need, drawing a line thru a solved clue as if you were checking off a to do list is redundant at best. Neat, tight little puzzle for a Tue, almost had a comic book feel to it, doncha think Rex?

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

@ joon: thanks! I don't know which musical is historically tops, but RENT would not have come to mind... In recent years, the Elton John/Tim Rice musical "Aida" (also directed by Bob Falls) ran on B'way for over five years and its touring companies in Europe, Japan, etc. were/are big hits as well...

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

I'd have clued it crawDADs sted crawFISH, since that's what they usually call 'em down on the BAYOU.
- Tom in Pittsburgh

Jerry 11:22 AM  

The thing I liked best about this puzzle is that there were very few clues that included some incredibly esoteric knowledge ("Nobel Prize for Yak Herding, 1943"). All in all a fun Tuesday.

Joon 11:28 AM  

i guess i might not have made it clear enough that i was expressing my own opinion on the matter, not any kind of objective truth. so i wasn't quite expecting to be told i was incorrect. i've listened to south pacific and it isn't all that, whereas (almost) everything about RENT is shockingly good. aida i haven't seen.

like i said, i'm no expert. i've only seen a handful of shows, and listened to a few dozen more on CD; of those, RENT is far and away the best.

i don't even know what metrics you might use to determine "most popular historically." what does that even mean?

dk 11:29 AM  

Does no one see the abyss, sense the slippery slope? Last week it was THONG and PUTA, today we have SPANKINGGNU... can you not feel the flames of hades.

Please join me in creating:

X - Cross
W - World
O - Order, for
R - Required
D - Decency

Of course we will have snacks at all meetings.

So IRED I think I will TAKEANAP.

dk 11:30 AM  

And, you do not have to tell me what curley poker really means!

miriam b 11:40 AM  

archeoprof: In her roman à clef, Heartburn, Nora Ephron reveals an alarming fact about an ex-husband: After he has attended to any matter on his calendar, he effaces the listing with White-Out. Now THAT's scary. Your habit sounds a lot more benign. As a compulsive list-maker and crosser-outer, I can empathize.

I loved MOE ("Curly poker") though, like most females, I fail to comprehend the enduring popul;arity of the Stooges. A male cousin used to torment me with blow-by-blow descriptions of Stooge movies. He always sort of cornered me, Ancient Mariner style, the better to inflict this outrage.

I loved the puns, and being eidetically inclined, had fun vizualizing these animals. I found the MISSINGLYNX, of course, hiding in the brush after the CRASHINGBOAR had frightened him, causing him to leave the party.

I'm planning to SEW today - not wishing to look OLDHAT, I'm working on a SPANKINGGNU dress. I'm quite a DOER, as IDLE hands are...oh, you know.

miriam b 11:50 AM  

Or maybe I'll just TAKEANAP.

Ulrich 11:50 AM  

I'm probabaly as allergic to (bad) puns as Rex is, but still, I found today's theme more entertaining than yesterday's b/c, like miriam, I smiled when I pictured the animals in question (a crashing boar, though, is not a stretch b/c they are known to come crashing through the underbrush).

@miriam b: I'm male, yet was always mystified by the appeal of the 3 Stooges--I actually cannot sit through an entire movie.

Pythia 11:58 AM  

The theme is cute, and the lynx entry seems legit and consistent. It's the base phrase that's plural. The madeup phrase is singular, just like the other madeup phrases.

OTOH, I'm not wild about SPANKING GNU. The base phrase doesn't seem legit. The term "brand spanking new" is a modification of "brand new," isn't it? What's "spanking new"?

MYNAHS only bothered me because the clue uses "avians" as a noun, and avian appears to be an adjective only.

Some nice nontheme fill mixed in with the bland stuff -- today we were IRED in ADEN. The clues saved the day for me.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

@ Tom in Pittsburg

Grew up in New Orleans - attended Nichols State University on the banks of Bayou Lafourche.

We NEVER call them crawdads - It's always crawfish.

Bill D 12:25 PM  

I've read that every song save one in South Pacific has been a No 1 hit somewhere in the world. But mere listening is not enough - go see it! Groundbreaking when it debuted, it is still a relevant tale. IMHO, none of the modern genre hold up next to it, musically or otherwise.

@puzzlemensch - I think Yak Herding won his Nobel in 1944, not 1943...

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

I "Sew"ed up this puzzle but am clueless as to why "sew" is the right response "to make darts."


JannieB 12:38 PM  

@profphil, a dart is a fold sewn in fabric that gives a garment shape - If you consider a tailored blouse, you'll notice darts at the bust line and sometimes darts in the back at the waist.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  




Anonymous 12:54 PM  

@profphil: picture a pie with small wedge -- the fabric fold runs from point of the wedge to outer rim -- then the sewn line brings the two sides of the wedge shape together on the diagonal from the fold line, starting at the wedge's point and ending at the widest distance along the designated arc on the rim. Ironed flat, your dart lifts up the fornerly flat plane of the pie. Do it twice up from the bottom edge of a blouse front, and you have created the needed fullness for the chest area as opposed to the waist. Same in downward direction on a skirt to get fullness at the hips as compared with the waist . Tailoring, anyone?


Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Just a counterpoint on the plural debate: I agree that the original phrases have a mismatch, but the punny entries are all singular, which makes the theme consistency fine by me. (And a very nice puzzle to boot!)

Rex, as a budding puzzle constructor, do you really need to bring new issues so Will can reject more puzzles? :-)


Doc John 1:21 PM  

I'm on the "Curly poker" train. Great clue, indeed.
For the previous poster, Curly was one of the other Three Stooges and he was always getting poked in the eye by MOE.

Did ENRAPT bother anyone else?

Guess where I learned what darts were? "The Silence of the Lambs".

For your listening pleasure: the Grateful Dead do Scarlet BEGONIAS

Let's not forget Les Miserables! (If you don't like that one, please hold the criticisms and put-downs. This is just one man's opinion.)

P.S. I enjoyed Rent when I saw it, although I didn't come away from it with any tunes in my head. I liked the movie a lot better.

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

No-hitters are both rare and spectacular displays of skill and prowess no matter who (whom?) is at the plate. To shut down an entire team of like that, and have the stamina to go all 9 innings keeping that extraordinarily high level of play, is quite an achievement. Remember that every single player in the worst team of the major leagues (which the Royals are not this year) has been the best player on every team they have ever been on, and are in the top 1% of 1% of 1% of baseball players in the world. And this coming from a Yankee fan!

Sorry for the deviation from the crossword. Let me try to get back on track...hmm...ok, so DADO threw me because with the DAD- in place, I figured that DADA is weird enough that it could feature woodworking grooves prominently, somehow.

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

Oh, and "Curly Poker" was awesome.

Anonymous 2:45 PM  

Begonias are wimpy little flowers IMHO. A whole plant may be a little bit showy, but an individual flower? Nah.

chefbea 2:46 PM  

the original South Pacific was the best - Ezio Pinza, Mary Martin, Bloody Mary, Bali Hai, Some enchanted evening - I could go on and on,
Fun puzzle today.
When we have the first meeting of XWORD I'll bring wild boar and some moose burgers for snacks.

dk 3:29 PM  


Agree, agree on the Original South Pacific humming "Bloody Mary is the Girl I love" as I type.

For the meeting: I will bring the whoppie pies.

Bill from NJ 3:30 PM  

This was one of those puzzles where when the first theme answer falls, the rest of the theme falls quickly. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just fairly common for an early week puzzle.

I liked the way the various theme answers sealed off the corners. If you started in the corners, the theme anwers fell and vice versa.


I think you confused the Category for the Prize winner: the Prize for Yak Herding in 1943 was won by Farntipi Scoopturn-Yee

jae 3:31 PM  

Cute puzzle. Would not have known about the LYNX issue if Rex hadn't mentioned it. I also confused OMAN and ADEN and hadn't seen MYNAH with an "H" before. Had YARN for TALE and didn't read the 55D clue carefully and put in ELSE. All this made for a slower than usual Tues. for me, given a pretty easy puzzle. Add me to the legion of "Curly Poker" fans! Some of the funniest (to me) Simpsons bits are reminiscent of Stooges slapstick.

JC66 3:38 PM  

Ulrich, I think you have to be about 7 or 8 the first time you encounter the Three Stooges to truly appreciate the subtleties
inherent in their schtick.

I'm with bill d on South Pacific. I was fortunate enough to see the original in 1950 and the revival a few weeks ago. It's absolute magic.

chefbea 3:56 PM  

anyone do the LA times puzzle today and note that two answers appeared in both puzzles?

JC66 4:36 PM  

@ chefbea1

I just finished the LA Times and hadn't noticed any duplications. When I went back and did a quick check, I was only able to find one.

Oh well.

JC66 4:37 PM  

I'm going to take a nap.

Barbara Bolsen 4:56 PM  

Add me to the list of females mystified by the appeal of the Stooges. Still, I knew enough about them to know who the curly poker was. Must be the fact that my two younger brothers watched them religiously, so they provided part of the background noise of my childhood, along with (segue to baseball theme) the Cincinnati Reds. Although I live in Chicago and work close enough to Wrigley Field to have to worry about game day traffic and parking disruption, the Reds ARE baseball to me. Vivid summer memory: standing at the ironing board in front of the screen door on a sweltering summer day, listening to Waite Hoyt call a Reds game while I iron my dad's handkerchiefs.

P.S. Pete Rose went to my high school. His younger brother was in my graduating class.

Anonymous 5:06 PM  

Another clue for DADO: Mexican (or anywhere else in the Spanish speaking world) die.
Now, I thought the expression was "sparkling new". Can someone explain the sense of spanking here?

Anonymous 5:19 PM  

I disagree with complaints about DADO. I realize the issue is with the frequent x-word us of an otherwise obscure word, but it really is a legitimate term for the wide cut of a special saw blade.

RELO, on the other hand, is slang at best and barely a word at all. Maybe my argument falls apart because a realtor might say RELO just as often as a carpenter would say DADO, but I have closer ties to the carpenter community and I'm sticking with my opinion as stated.

Anonymous 5:23 PM  

Rex, I sort of have to agree with Jane DOH and others that LYNX as the answer is singular, so not really a plural, nor inconsistent in that sense.
And to be honest, I think HEATH/LEA/MEADOWS/FIELD was in part rejected bec it was a) submitted the week of Heath's untimely death
(tho I meant it as a tribute)
b) two were first names, two were last names (and?!)
and that it was Peter at the Sun that had issues over that S...
(we also had many lengthy, philosophical discussions about the S in Julian SANDS...whether that mattered when we are talking about a beach.)
I'm very whiny with Will and Peter, but part of me likes that they are so on top of detail...
That said, I personally find the different between MEADOWS and MEADOW sort of moot. I can't help it that she's not Sally FIELDS! Everyone thinks she is...that should count for something right?!
For chrissake, it was FOUR actors with green names!
I even had HOME in the grid with the clue "A Prairie ___ Companion" (or a clue to this puzzle's theme) and Rich took THAT out, claiming it made it too easy!

So, in sum, I was actually thrilled that it found a home with the LAT, as it is one of my favorite puzzles.
PS I wrote thanks to all who sent kudos in yesterday's blog but I didn't post till after midnight, so again, thank you to bill d and jc66 and mac and john reid for all those nice comments.

Orange 5:33 PM  

A dear friend of mine, a woman, has always been a huge Stooges fan. (And not the Iggy Pop sort of Stooges.)

Isn't there some animal that is known for having a corkscrew-shaped penis? A [Curly poker], as it were? Yes, says Google: pigs, ducks, and bulls with anomalies. Crikey.

mac 5:52 PM  

I thought it was a cute puzzle with some interesting clues and answers. Hesitated filling in lung because I didn't want a U at the end of 45A, but it worked out after all. I also put in "pelt" for coat.
I've never heard "brand spanking new" before, just brand new and spanking new.
I can only take the Stooges in small doses, but then I wasn't exposed to them until in adulthood. I think slapstick is a little more popular here than in some European countries, GB being an exception.
Rex, do you have to kick the Yankees when they are down?

JC66 5:56 PM  

@ mac

It's tough to kick them when they're up, tho. Isn't it?

Bill from NJ 5:58 PM  

As I recall it, The Three Stooges turned up on TV in the late 50s. They were short subjects played prior to features in theaters in the 30s, were roughly 20 minutes long and were ideal for the insertion of commercials to flesh them out to 30 minutes in length.

My father saw the orginal Stooges in movie theaters and was delighted to introduce them to his children.

Some of my fondest memories were those of my brothers and I watching The Three Stooges with our father after he got home from work.

It may have been the connection between his childhood and ours but for people of an age - particularly boys - the Stooges turned up at just the right time in history.

Anonymous 7:52 PM  

Yeah, those folks in Acadiana sure don't like any deviation from 'crawfish.' It's 'crayfish' that seems to irritate most.

Curious, Barb in Chicago, what an apparently cultivated Reds fan would make of Pete Rose? Maybe I'm reading between the lines incorrectly, but I would guess he's a bit of an embarrassment. Sort of like Jose Canseco to an A's fan. Or maybe when you have such a spectacular buffoon, you end up kinda liking the guy anyway?

Anyhow, I read out the puns to a colleague this morning and he thought they were good, too. Both groans and chuckles. Excellent example of fine Tuesday style.

JC66 8:11 PM  

@bill from nj

I should point out that, as an 8 year old, I would go to Saturday matinees with my older brother where they would show 5 or 6 cartoons, 3 or 4 shorts (the Three Stooges included ) and 3 feature length films (mostly Western and Comedies). We'd go in at 12:30 and be out by 4, filled with popcorn, Goobers, Coke or Nehi. Some weeks they'd give away free dishes.

This was before TV.

But they had discovered dirt.

chefbea 8:21 PM  

@jc66 how bout bob and moose

Michael Chibnik 8:23 PM  

I've done a lot of crosswords and don't recall having seen "dado" before. I know that I must be wrong about this, though.

A number of years ago, I found myself at a dinner sitting next to a leading Mexican public intellectual. I had no idea what to say to him. The guy across the table for some reason started talking about "los tres chiflados" and the great man went on a half-hour monologue about how wonderful the Stooges were.

JC66 8:48 PM  

@ chefbea1

I caught the moose but missed the bob.

mac 9:22 PM  

Red Sox fans have been known to kick the Yankees when they were up....

PuzzleGirl 10:14 PM  

RELO doesn't bother me a bit. Hubby and I are actually getting ready to move over the summer as a result of a job transfer. I consult the RELO agreement daily and talk to the RELO consultant at the RELO company, well, let's just say often.

My parents are EXPATs. That's a cool word.

I didn't like the puzzle but I think it's because I entered MISSING MYNX. Me: "Well that doesn't make any sense at all!"

Anonymous 10:16 PM  

Hey Mexican Girl, my thought on the origin of the use of SPANKING with regard to the commonly used phrase "brand spanking new" is the traditional (now outdated, I assume) practice of "spanking" a newborn baby to get it to take a big breath of air and start screaming.

Rock Rabbit

JC66 10:29 PM  


Yeh, but they're usually smart enough to let sleeping dogs lie.

mac 10:37 PM  

Dogs? See how rude they are?

Bill from NJ 10:56 PM  


This was exactly my father's experience - in the 30s and 40s. He regaled us about the same things you just described.

My point was that events tend to recycle themselves.

Anonymous 12:44 AM  


I also believe there is a type of insect (a wasp, maybe?) who has a corkscrew-shaped *cough* and unfortunately so - it's designed such that in order to impregnate the female of the species, the shape of it gets stuck in the female's *cough* and is forcibly ripped off, killing the male in the process. Or something to that effect. I remember watching a horrifying video of it in an evolution and behavior class.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

In most dictionaries, the plural of Lynx is Lynxes.

Rex Parker 8:55 AM  

The original word that's being punned on - LINKS - is plural. None of the others are.

miriam b 9:10 AM  

anonymous: The problem some folks were having with MISSINGLYNX was that the homophone, links, is plural, whereas the other homophones (bore, new, and moose) are singular - though one could argue that moose can also be plural.

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

I thought the best part of this puzzle was ANAP right above NAPA (36 and 39 across). Not quite as cool as if it had been APAN over NAPA (palindromes > anagrams) but it would be quite a time coming up with a clue for the answer TAKE A PAN. (or PANA, perhaps "ma canal prefix"?)

Still, ANAP and NAPA made me smile.

Chrisvb 1:31 PM  

7/01 It's a bit lonely out here in Six Weeks Later Land, but here goes, in case anyone is still reading.

I felt no trace of Solving Thrill on this puzzle, just fill 'em in and go on. Not to imply that I understood every clue, just that the crosses made everything quite easy and correct. Until reading the Comments, I had no idea what Curly Poker was.

Interesting how one's age makes some clues easy and others you draw a total blank. I am from an age where women actually bought fabric and made clothing out of it, so Selvage yesterday was a complete gimme, and Darts today was a good clue.

I just got my Commenting Permission from Google so I am late in mentioning a fact from travel to France. They DO use the term "OH LA LA" very naturally, in place of where we might say "My my my." It is not necessarily a comment that something naughty is happening.

embien 3:32 PM  

7/01 from Syndicationville.
I live in Oregon and I can tell you that there are a couple of things that get Oregonians IRED. One is the (primarily East Coast) mispronunciation of our fair state's name "Ory-GONE"; the other is thinking that OREG is a correct abbreviation of our fair state's name (the correct abbrev. is ORE, unless you are addressing an envelope, where the USPO has deemed OR the correct abbrev.)

I even have a bumper sticker that reads "ORYGUN".

Anonymous 9:42 PM  

Chrisvb: good way to put it. No Solver's Thrill. I thought it was cute and it was rewarding to see the pun answers take shape, but no "Gotcha!" experience. However, that's kinda what I expect on Monday and Tuesday--reliably easy, and just cute enough to make it hold my attention. And I too was taught to make clothing. A big shock came when, after many years away from the sewing game, I decided to be the Perfect Mom and make my little kid a Halloween costume. I was shocked to realize, when they added it all up at the register, that sewing something is decidedly NOT CHEAP once you get all the doodads. So you sew for the creative thrill if you get one, otherwise, alas, is makes sense to leave it someone in Southeast Asia. Docruth

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