Sunday, June 1, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Extra Syll-Uh-bles" - common expressions have an "uh" sound inserted into them, creating comical new expressions, which are clued

Short write-up today. I slept in and haven't had breakfast. Patrick Berry's puzzles are always very inventive, and this one's no exception, though I liked this one less than I usually like his puzzles, for a handful of reasons. First, the "uh" insertion doesn't have a big payoff in most of the answers. When the answer is great, it's Great: MORALLY SAFER is pure gold. But RED SKELETON just lies there. Many people think that's the guy's name anyway (they're wrong, of course, but still - there's little Pop in that change). Further, there are two "-able" words created by the insertion of "uh" (that may be the ugliest-sounding sentence I've ever written): Bible => BUYABLE, Humble => HUMMABLE. Then there's CORONER ON THE MARKET; I've heard of the expression "to CORNER THE MARKET," and maybe "having or getting a CORNER ON THE MARKET," and I guess it's this last one that's being played on here, but without the lead-in verb, the phrase CORNER ON THE MARKET seems weird. Does not stand alone well, to my ear. Then again, THE SALIVATION ARMY and RENT-A-SENATOR are quite nice.

Other issues for me: tons of names I didn't know, many that seemed rather obscure (more on them below). And then a few clunkers, like IMAGED (82D: Projected onto a screen) and ... actually, if we're talking True Clunkers, I think IMAGED is the only one. Hmm, not bad. All in all, a solid, tough-ish puzzle.

Theme answers:

  • 22A: Waistband sold in stores? (buyable belt)
  • 27A: Wiser from an ethical perspective? (morally safer)
  • 32A: Fighting force trained by Pavlov? (The Salivation Army)
  • 56A: Freelance autopsist? (coroner on the market) - "autopsist!?" "Mommy, when I grow up, I wanna be an AUTOPSIST!?" Scary word.
  • 63A: Catchy song parts heard on "Name That Tune"? (hummable beginnings)
  • 81A: Stones and brickbats? (rioting implements)
  • 92A: Store that peddles political influence? (Rent-a-Senator)
  • 99A: Boiled lobster's feature? (red skeleton)

I rated this puzzle "Medium," but I think it might have taken me longer than the average Sunday. I never really got stuck, but I kept having to move around a lot - leads would just peter out as I moved from section to section, and I'd have to approach empty sections from their opposite ends in order to get them to fall. Sometimes I can move through the puzzle on what feels like a single, unbroken wave. Not today. The main problem was names, which is to say, my ignorance of those names. Oh, and the occasional word from outside my ken like VALANCE (35D: Ornamental piece of drapery) or LEONES (18A: West African coins). Let's start with RABAT (21A: World capital formerly a pirate stronghold), which only just now struck me as slightly familiar as an African capital - aha, Morocco. As I was solving, my brain kinda wanted RABAT, but I didn't know why. It was as good as a frog sound to me. The names of People were the real problem. An example of how bad it was: INIGO (34D: Architect Jones) and MELMOTH (9D: "_____ the Wanderer" (1820 gothic novel)) were gimmes for me, and I still struggled with names in this puzzle. How deep can you go into "Adam Bede" before somebody calls "foul" (87D: _____ Sorrel (woman in a love triangle in "Adam Bede"))!? And does anyone really remember the name of 30D: Buchanan's Secretary of State (Cass)!? Criminy. There's also some home I've never heard of: GRAEME Park (52D: _____ Park, historic home near Philadelphia). And then a host of names I just had to piece together, including:

  • 59A: Renaissance painter Uccello (Paolo)
  • 61A: Lady Bird Johnson's given birth name (Claudia)
  • 78D: Belarus port (Pinsk)
  • 84D: Ohm of Ohm's law (Georg)

Many, many other names, but thankfully I knew most of them. I like names in my puzzle - a lot. So I can't complain. Live by names, die by names. Thankfully, basic puzzling skills (and fair crosses) insured that I didn't Die today. In fact, there were a string of EZ answers that helped me out, including:

  • 69A: X3 and X5 maker (BMW)
  • 90A: Attorney general during Reagan's second term (Meese) - he's in the puzzle a lot
  • 108A: Only beardless one of the Seven Dwarfs (Dopey) - oh, puberty, why must you be so elusive for poor DOPEY?
  • 8D: Rimbaud's "_____ Saison en Enfer" ("Une") - long way to go for UNE
  • 21D: N.F.L. star Grier (Rosey)
  • 23D: Bug-ridden software releases (betas)
  • 43D: "Tattered Tom" author (Alger) - The "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" guy
  • 58A: Founding member of the Dadaists (Hans Arp) - I always want his name to be JEAN; this is because when he spoke German, he referred to himself as HANS, and when he spoke French, JEAN. Entirely logical ... for a Dadaist.
  • 94D: _____ Roberts, first inductee into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame (Nora) - I've never read a romance novel in my life but I know this woman's name. I think I've seen it plastered in huge ornate letters across so many books in so many grocery store lines that it somehow stuck.

Though I went slowly, I really botched only one answer, and that was early on: I had INCS (!?) for INTL (12D: Like many large cos.).


  • 30A: Two points? (colon) - wickedly good clue
  • 39A: Auto superseded by the Rambler (Nash) - not having lived back then, I thought the NASH was a Rambler.
  • 45A: Some cloisonne pieces (urns) - I was thinking of "pieces" as component parts, not the finished objects themselves ...
  • 66A: Country with a camel on its coat of arms (Eritrea) - It's a a big day for Africa in this puzzle. I count three answers, at least.
  • 104A: Ankle covering (gaiter) - I think skiiers sometimes wear these to keep snow from getting in their boots ... or not. I haven't skiied in a while.
  • 4D: Record keepers, of a sort (diarists) - I'd rather be a DIARIST than an autopsist ... yes I would ...
  • 10D: Composer Pachelbel (Johann) - my first guess was JOHANN, but I had a Very hard time pulling the trigger for some reason...
  • 36D: Timber-dressing tool (adz) - good ol' ADZ(E), slowly but surely striving for a place in the Pantheon of crossword fill.
  • 41D: Squirrels' cache (acorns) - also [Squirrels' cachet], probably ...
  • 42D: Word to which a common reply is "Bitteschon" (Danke) - hey, a German word I know. Hurray.
  • 46D: Bacterium that needs oxygen (aerobe) - yay me! A science answer that I knew with no crosses. Can't say the same for the rotationally symmetrical AMINES (55D: Organic compounds with nitrogen).
  • 59D: Place to keep Mace (purse) - had No idea that Mace was a trademarked name (such that you would capitalize it). I thought maybe there was some guy named Mace that you kept ... somewhere.
  • 69D: Fighting words ("Bring it on") - if you are a complete dipshit, yes.
  • 79D: Think that might is right? (misread) - another superior clue
  • 85D: Queen of mystery (Ellery) - back in the Day. Ellery Queen was a pen name used by a couple of cousins, as well as the name of the detective-hero they created. Read about "him" here.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Unknown 8:46 AM  

So, that's how you spell Morlly (I guessed morley). That gave me inte for INTL and I still couldn't pick between them as a cos. I thought cos was one of the sine family (co-sine) and inte abbreviated integer. Ironic, because I struggled more in the Dakotas and hope someone will tell me how good/or what MELMOTH is. Crossing Cass and near NASH (I swear Nash Rambler was the car sung about in Beep, Beep, from a group in the puzzle last week). I didn't get COLON for a time. So, I don't like that area at all, but at least I got it.

Thought it was a fine puzzle from one of the masters of the craft.

PINSK is in the same crayon set with Brownsk, redsk and greensk, I guess.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

I finished in decent time without Google, etc. However, I still don't understand rent a senator.

Doris 8:55 AM  

PINSK was a gimme, not only because one set of my grandparents came from some shtetl in Belarus (not either Minsk or Pinsk, regrettably), but also because of the great Tom Lehrer song "Lobachevsky."

If you don't feel like pasting in the URL, here's the relevant section. Love it.

I have a friend in Minsk,
Who has a friend in Pinsk,
Whose friend in Omsk
Has friend in Tomsk
With friend in Akmolinsk.
His friend in Alexandrovsk
Has friend in Petropavlovsk,
Whose friend somehow
Is solving now
The problem in Dnepropetrovsk.

The other great line from this song is "Plagiarize, plagiarize/Let no one else's work evade your eyes."

In the mathematics world (to which I am not privy), apparently Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky was accused of appropriating others' ideas.

Very droll puzzle today.

P.S.: @fpbear The store chain is RENT-A-CENTER.

miriam b 8:58 AM  

I had to say RIOTINGIMPLEMENTS out loud a few times, alarming a nearby cat, until it made sense. Funny and ingenious puzzle.

CLAUDIA was my first fill. I have a daughter and a friend who share that name with Lady Bird. To my knowledge, my friend Claudia doesn't have a nickname, but my daughter is sometimes addressed as Maurice (short for Maurice Ponk of Goon Show fame). I have no ready explanaton for this.

The capitalization of Mace eliminated for me any thought of its belonging on my spice rack. With a lower-case "m", it's the weblike covering of the nutmeg. Use with restraint, both can be toxic in large amts. Does the trade name of the pepper spray have to do with the narsty medieval weapon, I wonder? I'd rather have breakfast than Google that right now.

Never heard of MELMOTH or GRAEME.

I agree with you about "corner on the market", which sounds as if it should be "drug" etc.

I know Red Skelton was a good soul, but I thought he was so unfunny as to be embarrassing. As I've mentioned, I held the same opinion regarding Lucille Ball. Also Red Buttons, come to think of it. Discrimination against redheads? There may be a dissertation in this.

I really need breakfast.

ArtLvr 9:07 AM  
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Doris 9:14 AM  
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miriam b 9:18 AM  

@phillysolver: I'm sure it is "Morley". Please note that the extra "uh" sound affects the spelling of the original phrase in some, but not all, instances. For example, the "uh"s in REDSKELETON and in SALIVATIONARMY don't affect the spelling, but MORALLYSAFER and RENTASENATOR do. These are puns, of course, which means that audio is the key.

I hope this makes sense. I really need breakfast.

Doris 9:21 AM  

Even though I think that one should be allowed only one comment per puzzle (!), I had to get in that your French should have come in handy for COLON, as it's "deux pointes," or "two points" en fran├žais as well. Sorry to be so intrusive.

dk 9:21 AM  

Gheez Louise,

It took me forever to get ALBUM and I was focused on some type of behavior for Pavlov but not salvation or in this case salivation.

I am with @phillysolver on the PINSK crayons flesh went unused in my box which is of course why...

Speaking of Mott the Hoople, this little ditty will get your porridge cooking:

Gaiters are more often worn by hikers to keep dirt out of our cool boots.

Off to think unclean thoughts about Susan DEY and get a bagel.

Unknown 9:21 AM  

@ phillysolver

You first guess was correct. The journalist's name is "Morely Safer." But the puzzle doesn't care about the initial spelling, only the word that emerges after the phonetic changes (like Renta-Center becoming RENT A SENATOR).

Two big miscues for me: HOT BUTTON for HOT POTATO, and DUCHAMP instead of HANS ARP. It was hard to let those go.

ArtLvr 9:32 AM  

To me, this is a neat one from Patrick Berry! I suppose some people will find it punny, but I think it would be tough to be both innovative and amusing if little gimmicks like today's with wide latitude were disallowed... I find it more interesting that it isn't the same syllable added in each phrase, especially for a Sunday.

I liked all the theme answers, especially THE SALIVATION ARMY; maybe the play on Morley Safer and Red Skelton less than the others. However, the ones that took me the longest were 81A RIOTING IMPLEMENTS , because of "sum" rather than NET stuck at 83D for a while, and then 92A RENT A SENATOR ! The SW was tricky: I was thinking "suit" at 93D "alter pieces" instead of EDIT, then PINSK popped up and all was well.

My last fix-up was 30A COLON for "two points?" Weird to see BOB with 7D clue "Weave's partner", after our recent discussion of the bob at the end of a plumb line... If I were Emily Jo, I suppose I'd be tempted to illustrate a slavering ATTACK DOG with little words GNAW and GAME (please leave out the MARE)!

Happy June 1, everyone! ∑;)

JannieB 10:28 AM  

The minute I figured out buyable belt, I thought Rex was really going to hate this puzzle! Fortunately, it got a lot better. Loved almost all the other themed answers. Colon/Cass/Melmoth just never rose into my consciousness. I should have figured out the first, the others were my WTF's for the day.

Didn't Nash & Rambler eventually merge into AMC? I think Nash was first, then Nash Rambler, etc?

Ulrich 11:06 AM  
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chefbea 11:13 AM  

I thought Nash was the company that made the Rambler.

Was a fun puzzle. Got Red Skeleton first , then the rest came. Just now understood rioting implements!!

@miriaumb - hope you finally ate breakfast -Maybe eggs with hot potatoes

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Ahhh, a feast of puns. Interestingly, I haven't seen the usual complaints about puns, probably because these were so good. SALIVATION ARMY even got a laugh out of my hipster son-in-law.

miriam b 11:35 AM  

@chefbea1: DANKE for your concern. In a rush to get out my RIOTINGIMPLEMENT and write checks to several INTL companies, I wrapped my MOLARS around a homemade whole grain waffle doused with blackcurrant syrup, which Eastern Europeans deem to be good for what AILS you. Still feeling DOPEY, I grabbed a cup of black coffee and a couple of chunks of pineapple, and I'm good to go until lunch. That would be a good time for a HOTPOTATO topped with hot salsa, Monterey Jack and sour cream with garlic chives from the garden. I can put on another potato for you, if you like.

janie 11:52 AM  

melmoth/colon/cass also my wtf area...

and as for nash/rambler, well, that's a combo i'll always associate with the "novelty" song by the playmates, "beep beep."

for the uninitiated/curious:

beep beep



chefbea 12:06 PM  

@miriamb - sounds good to me, just don't sprinkle mace on it

Ulrich 12:07 PM  

Hans Arp was born under that name in Alsace (German "Elsass") when it belonged to Germany between the 1870/71 war and WWI. When it became Franch (again) after WWI, he had to change his German first name. But he kept referring to himself as Hans whenever he stayed in Germany. BTW he founded the Cologne DADA group together with the locally born MAX ERNST, one of the reasons why that city is a must-stop in Germany for xword puzzle fans.

Wheeler 12:07 PM  

I *am* old enough to remember, and as a kid our family had a "Nash Rambler." So I didn't exactly understand the clue, it seems incorrect, but "Nash" was the only word I could associate with "Rambler" so filled that in anyway.

Jane W

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

One clue/answer that really bugged me: "It's in the spring" for water. I get what it's going for and that it's trying to be "tricky," but the spring, if not prefaced by a specific spring, is most definitely the season. It just doesn't make any sense to refer to some hypothetical spring as "the spring." Changing an indefinite article to a definite article is not a minor alteration where meaning is concerned.

On another note, sometimes I wish there were a set of clues for the college-aged set, where all clues relating to minor cultural trends from way before our time were changed to something different. I'm specifically thinking about the Rambler/Nash cluing here. I've never heard of either of those cars. I just Googled them and apparently they're made by AMC, which I know of only from their famous commercials and that they were responsible for the Gremlin. Of course I know that some of the older set feels the same way about some of the answers geared toward my generation (especially internet-specific references, I would think), so I guess the lesson here is that you can't please everyone.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

By the way, Rex,were you referring to any dipshit in particular who famously said "BRING IT ON"?

dk 12:43 PM  

Thanks to folks like @ulrich we could get a degree from this blog.

Nash and Rambler were infamous for having a front seat that would fold back flat, as in a bed. AMC went on to produce the Pacer and one other that looked like a wedge of cheese (@anon got that one with the Gremlin).

Lastly, @anon. One of the great things about these puzzles is they span generations. Thus you get to learn all sorts of great information, some of which is transferable. Today's ADZ for example will kick some Kiester in Scrabble. And, knowing DOPEY is the dwarf without a beard thats MEGA.

We also get food tips, poems and french lessons. And, that is just today!

@chefbea would you make maced potatoes with RIOTINGIMPLEMENTS.

Leon 1:27 PM  

Good Sunday work-out.

DANKE to all for the site and comments. A great way to learn some new things.

MELMOTH is freely available on a Project Gutenberg Site.

jae 1:35 PM  

Medium-Challenging for me. Many unknown names which I mostly got with one exception, the PAOLO/COMTES crossing. Not knowing either I went with PAULO. Enjoyed most of the puns but needed Orange to explain RENT-A-CENTER as I've never heard of the store/chain???

My beef is that Sun. is supposed to be more like Thurs. than Sat. So why not clue INIGO with Princess Bride and CASS with The Mommas and Poppas instead of a 15th (?) century architect and a very obscure cabnet member?

I also did this slowly with only a couple of missteps--INCS and NEXTEL (never heard of ALLTEL). In all a fine tough puzzle.

Joon 1:38 PM  

beautiful puzzle today. most of the puns were truly excellent.

i didn't realize until coming here just how name-heavy this puzzle was, but i loved it because they were mostly names taken from interesting (to me) areas of endeavor and not crappy TV shows from the 1950s. INIGO jones? MELMOTH the wanderer? HETTY sorel? JOHANN pachelbel? GEORG ohm (wow)? PAOLO uccello?!? all gimmes, believe it or not. lewis CASS was not quite a gimme but i've heard of him. he's in the song "james k. polk" by they might be giants. i believe he was a democratic presidential candidate in 1844. anyway, the overall effect was that it was like doing a chronicle of higher education puzzle, except supersized. great stuff.

by the way, rex, you don't have to go very deep into adam bede at all. HETTY sorel is arguably the book's main character, ahead of adam himself. she's certainly the only character i could have named from the book (other than adam).

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

"Auto superseded by the Rambler" for NASH is just plain wrong. Nash Motors made the Rambler. My Dad had a Nash Rambler. AMC bought Nash Motors and continued making the Rambler. Nash was a company, not a car model. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I enjoyed the theme answers a lot, but disliked the rest of the puzzle as it tried way too hard to be clever and misleading.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

Not my favorite Sunday puzzle, and rather too many obscurities for the payoff, but I suppose it will do...

55D:AMINES is not immediate even with a scientific background because it could also be IMINES or even AMIDES or IMIDES.

Anybody else sidetracked by "rioters' implements" for 81:RIOTINGIMPLEMENTS?

There's an Italian/classical-music mini-theme in 64D:LARGO and 76A:BRIO, both clued without specifically hinting at the Italian or musical connection.


I imagine some readers here also solved Fraser Simpson's cryptic on the same page. For those who do not, apologies for going off topic. For the sake of those who didn't solve it but will, I'll rot13 my query; to decrypt, use the mouse to copy the following text into the window at and hit the "Cypher" button:

Gjragl-Frira Npebff frrzf gb or NFFVFGF, ohg V pna'g oryvrir gur jbeqcynl vf n ubzbcubar bs "nff plfgf"(!). Vf gurer na vagrecergngvba zber fhvgnoyr gb gur cebireovny oernxsnfg gnoyr?

--AQR (er, NDE)

miriam b 2:56 PM  

Gosh, Noam -

V qvqa'g jnag gb oryvrir gung, ohg gurer vg jnf. V pna'g vzntvar nal bgure cbffvoyr vagrecergngvba. Cyrnfr yrg zr xabj vs na nygreangvir bpphef gb lbh. Zrnajuvyr V'yy gel abg gb erzrzore bapr urnevat na nyy-gbb-ivivq qrfpecgvba bs n cvybabvqny plfg.


Unknown 3:09 PM  

NDE ...that is an oronym akin to 'Youth in Asia' for mercy killing and the Burt Bacharach hit lyric, 'You see disguise, the ski's in love with you.'

Thanks for the rot13 book marked.

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

fun puzzle. None of the foregoing bothered me, but will someone PLEASE tell me how "lees" solves "bottom of the barrel"? Also I put Minsk for Pinsk and figured the resulting across MGA was Miami (or some other M city or state) golf club!

Doug 3:57 PM  

Swell puzzle! got the top 3/4 in good time, but wow did the SE and SW really mess with me. Didn't know CRASH, HETTY, PINSK and LANG, so with the 3 theme answers being too spotty to answer, I was stuck. Had to finally google for the above and then closed off the grid.

Thought we would have "Reynaldo pseudonym" for ORANGE!

I bought a house with a good chunk of land here in Vancouver and did things I've waited years to do: Buy a rosemary bush and build a compost heap. Enjoyed AEROBE and HEATS which are part of my current compost heap! The thing is about 75F in the center and emits steam when I turn it over. Ahh, the simple pleasures in life.

JannieB 4:05 PM  
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JannieB 4:08 PM  

@anon 3:41 - "lees" is the sediment wine leaves in the barrel after it's been aged.

Michael Chibnik 4:31 PM  

A tough puzzle for me. After not googling on Friday and Saturday, I had to search for melmoth and never did get alltel, lees, and leones. Just not on Patrick Berry's wavelength today -- I'll have to see if this also the case in the future.

Orange 4:38 PM  

Noam: I suspect you overlooked the indefinite article, which needs to be "recited" along with the derm chapter.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

thanks for "lees" answer. I would call that "dregs", but will try to retain lees for future reference.

Doris 5:00 PM  

From Tennyson's "Ulysses":
"I cannot rest from travel; I will
drink life to the lees...."

Sorry. Must get a life.

Anonymous 5:06 PM  

Had I but died an hour before this chance,
I had lived a blessed time; for, from this instant,
There 's nothing serious in mortality:
All is but toys: renown and grace is dead;
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere LEES
Is left this vault to brag of.

mac 5:17 PM  

It was a tough one for a Sunday! I got it without googling but worked all over the place, sort of clockwise from the East and then filling in some holes. I like the tricky cluing and some of the long answers, some not so much.

Anon12.08, Princess Bride would have been an infinitely harder clue for me and I wasn't alive in the Inigo's time. If you had done some of the young, very young constructors' puzzles you would see they often use arcane clues/solutions, too.

I know a girl from Minsk but never heard of Pinsk, cute. I don't think the "on" was right in the corner the market answer. I also wanted Jean for Arp, doesn't a J look weird in an English language puzzle? Found the crossing of Cass and Nash tough, and had to get quite a few names from crosses.

@chefbea and Miriam: The best mashed potatoes I know are made with hot milk and butter, so not too greasy, then it has a raw egg beaten in and gets a sprinkling of nutmeg or mace!

chefbea 5:35 PM  

@mac - a raw egg?? i'll have to try it

Anonymous 5:49 PM  

I kept expecting SCHWA in the puzzle - the name of the uh-sound - but in spite of its absence, I liked the puzzle.

I also liked the "bring it on" comment. A lot.

And the mashed potato recipe above looks great.

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

@Miriam B and Noam: I just read your hilarious discussion re today's cryptic. Somehow I do these puzzles without EVER understanding some of the clues. Today's was worse than usual for me! I'm grateful for your help with that one.

Teresa 6:01 PM  

I started the puzzle in ink in my second favorite coffee spot this morning. Got a lot done then moved to pencil once I got home. I looked at it off and on during the day, then finally moved to google a few minutes ago. I got stumped by the same words as Doug ... and could not get through the SW (or the NE).

But it was a fun puzzle. I laughed out loud at Salivation Army (that was after staring at the clues way too long). I love puns when they come in the hard way.

Chip Ahoy 6:25 PM  

Here's the thing; If I wanted to do a puzzle populated with actors and actresses I'd solve the thing in the TV Guide. I object to the present editor allowing so many Hollywood clues and answers to infect the NYT, which at one time didn't allow such nonsense. I realize it makes things easier for constructors and makes puzzles generally more approachable to a wider audience but I still don't care for them. I read the clue for 1A and closed up the puzzle, unwilling to spend another moment. Sorry Patrick, your puzzle is undoubtedly brilliant, but no woo for you. Apologies for being a spoil sport. I just am.

Anonymous 7:32 PM  

Wobbith is right I believe, but I think NASH became Dodge, no? I'm pretty sure I remember a Dodge Rambler (we had a Dadge Dart with a pushbutton AT on the dash). This also goes to anonymous about the culture of clue-ing. Need to know your REO if you're going to do the puzzle. My only real complaint about this one (apart from never having heard of RENTACENTER [why haven't the Golden State Warriors patronized that store?] and sharing Rex's qualms about corner ON the market) is that I don't pronounce SALIVATION with an UH. That answer was obvious, but coupled with not knowing Rent-A-Center, I wasted some time looking for something more complicated than the simple UH addition. Pretty cool puzzle all in all.

JC66 8:37 PM  

@chip ahoy

Congratulation!!! I guess you showed everyone.

But If you read the above comments, you must realize you missed one fine puzzle in the process.

alanrichard 8:43 PM  


Joon 8:50 PM  

which is sillier, refusing to do any puzzle which contains any hollywood reference, or judging an entire sunday-sized puzzle based on the first entry? it's close, but i'll go with B.

Anonymous 9:47 PM  

@Norm - Maybe it's the power of suggestion after being deluged with Dodge RAM commercials. They did make a Ramcharger for a while, but I don't think Dodge ever made a Rambler.
NASH merged with Hudson to form AMC in 1954 (so I was wrong about AMC buying Nash).

@Alanrichard - Rent-A-Center is a huge nationwide chain of stores where you can rent-to-buy furniture and appliances and stuff. So Rent-A-Cen(uh)ter = Rent-A-Senator.

@Joon - Yes, B. But A is just unbelievably lame, too.

Anonymous 10:35 PM  

[Re my rot-13'd query on the cryptic puzzle]

Thanks, Orange, for giving what must be the intended reading, which is much less specifically unpleasant than what I had imagined.

@Phillysolver: I know about the use of homophones (or "oronyms" if you prefer) in cryptic clues, but couldn't believe (rot13)"nff plfgf"(/rot13) -- which brings to mind not your "euthanasia" or "disguise" examples but a famous mishearing of a line from "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds": "a girl with colitis goes by" (for "...with kaleidoscope eyes")!


Anonymous 12:16 AM  

Missed the H at the NASH MELMOTH crossing.
The Salivation Army made this puzzle Perfect!

miriam b 12:21 AM  

@ Noam: Aren't the last 3 examples of mondegreens? My all-time favorite is a mishearing of a lyric from John Fogerty's Bad Moon Rising. The line "There's a bad moon on the rise" sounds to some like "There's a bathroom on the right." I suppose this is convenient for the girl with colitis.

I gave a book of such mishearings to a former boss for his birthday. I wish I'd bought a copy for myself. It was called "When a Man Loves a Walnut."

For his next birthday I gave him a book by John Train called "Valsalva's Maneuver", which is a compilation of terms for very specific things or actions. That time I did buy my own copy, but at the moment I can't find it.

Orange 1:12 AM  

Noam: Given that the answer word's first syllable is a schwa, while the word cryptogrammed to "nff" is pronounced with a short A sound, why, I don't know how you'd persuaded yourself that the "nff" might be a factor in the answer. It probably has to do with all the profanities you use, as Rex has previously noted, eh? :-)

Anonymous 1:41 AM  

@Noam, miriam, etal

Re: the cryptic puzzle:

Gur hfr bs gur negvpyr "n" trgf gur pbafgehpgbe bss gur ubbx. "n" + "plfgf" fbhaqf yvxr "nffvfgf".

Ab onpx raqf vaibyirq.

Bchf2 (opus2)

alanrichard 6:55 AM  

I got rentasenator contexturally but I never heard of Rent A Center. Pretty soon Winn-Dixie will be appearing IN the NY Times puzzle!!!

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

I have never heard of Lobachevsky accused of plagiarism. Unlike what sometimes happens in priority dispute wars, Lobachevsky is usually given equal credit with Bolyai and Gauss, and everyone is satisfied.

I assume Lehrer picked Lobachevsky for the song simply because he is Russian, famous beyond famous among mathematicians, long long dead, and he has such a nice polysyllabic name.

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

im new to this column so please excuse my canadian take on things, but i must take umbrage with the answer to 56A. CORONER ON THE MARKET fits the clue well enough but not the overall theme of the puzzle. it is too clunky. i assume the connection is to corner the market which gives this answer too many extra syll-uh-bles. however there is no rule saying 'not allowed ' BUT IT JUST STUCK IN MY CRAW, THIS ONE. sorry caps unintended but now i likes 'em.

Julie 3:59 PM  

Actually, the Nash clue was correct, but who would know that? The Rambler was first made by The Thomas B. Jeffrey Co., and later sold to Nash, which was then later sold to GMC. The Jeffrey Rambler didn't resemble the Nash Rambler in any way, but they had the name first.

Of course, the only way I know that is Wikipedia (which is written by everybody, so who knows if it's even true, hahaha.

kas 4:03 PM  

I thought it was "writing instruments" not "writing implements" or were both words a pun?

embien 4:53 PM  

From syndicationville.

Although it is technically true that the Nash company bought out Jeffery, I think it's a stretch to say that NASH is a correct answer to the clue 39A Auto superseded by the Rambler.

Among other things there was a gap of some 35-odd years where no Ramblers/Nashes were produced. The first Nash Rambler was produced in 1950.

RENT-A-CENTERs must be East Coast. I've certainly never seen or heard of such a place here in the Pacific Northwest (we do have a chain of RENT-To-Owns in these parts.)

I only just now got the pun on RIOTING IMPLEMENTS. I guess I'm just happy to complete a Sunday with no googles, even though the puzzle contained a ton of stuff I'd never heard of. My last fill was the P in HANS ARP/IMPLEMENTS, never having heard of ARP and not seeing the pun in the theme answer.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

In the past when reading people's comments that said something like, "I googled it", I assumed that they meant they filled in an unknown word and then looked it up to enrich their vocabulary. After reading this, I realize that they're just looking up answers. You really can't say, "I didn't know X, so I googled it, then I was able to fill in the grid. You didn't fill in the grid, you looked up the answers. You may as well just come to this site and check the rest when you get as far as you can. Just don't say you finished the grid.

Anonymous 1:24 AM  

Anonymous' comment about googling is a bit harsh. It's hard for me to believe anyone who claims to always fill puzzles without resort to any secondary sources ever. No atlases, no dictionaries, no thesauruses, no NYTimes Crossword Word book? Ever? If these are legitimate, then why not google? Is there anyone who can ferret out unknown references from crosses all the time? Boy, I sure can't (but, on the other hand, I do not profess to be an extraordinarily competent crossworder). And even after googling, I find, as in today's puzzle, that many of the crosses are still very difficult. It also does not, in my estimation, subtract from my enjoyment of a puzzle.

As to Nash: I'd forgotten the merger with Hudson to form AMC, but a short time prior to that, Nash merged with Kaiser, at which point Kaisers were no longer produced, only Nashes. I think the company was called Kaiser-Nash.

shiroijin 4:10 AM  

I kind of agree with anonymous about "cheating" because unlike BOB said, I finish plenty of Sundays with no help - and I am POSITIVE I am not an "extraordinarily competent crossworder".

Rex Parker 6:29 AM  

All this talk about Googling is, frankly, idiotic and tired. It's been covered and recovered and talked to death. Solve the puzzle however you want. What do you care how others solve? It's only "cheating" if you pretend you didn't do it.

Most people who read this site (myself included) Google only when they are done - as in, the grid is filled, or that's it, can't go any further. 99% of the time I complete the grid and *then* Google what I didn't know (and had to get from crosses).


shiroijin 3:14 PM  

You're right Rex, nobody should care how others's supposed to be a fun past-time, isn't it? Sorry to rehash...won't happen again. Nice start for my first post, huh? I've been itching to get involved for months because finding your site was a godsend! NOBODY I know does the NYT so for years I had no-one to talk it over with. It's amazing (and wonderful) how many times I've read something and thought "That's exactly what I was thinking!" Thanks for all your work...It is very much appreciated.

Anonymous 2:36 AM  

Yup. I agree with your standard, Rex, but I'm not very close to your 99% rate, especially on Saturdays. It's a nice aspiration; I'm afraid, however, my brain is not getting any nimbler these days (especially late at night, when I get around to the puzzle).

Anonymous 6:18 PM  

With a 2yr old, I get to do the puzzle in 3min snippets about 4-5 times/day, but usually I'm down to obscure things by Thurs. I'm doing the Phila Inq so I'm a week behind, but I'm planning on putting Graeme Park on our summer visit schedule since I had never heard of it before.

Rentasenator was a horrible play on 'Rent A Center'. I just couldn't get it to work because of the spelling change.

Thrilled to find this site! It's now top of my bookmarks...

Anonymous 6:21 PM  

Just backread some comments -- I guess I'm toast because I instantly go to my husband for the obscure sports things...

Anonymous 6:21 PM  

Just backread some comments -- I guess I'm toast because I instantly go to my husband for the obscure sports things...

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Graeme Park in Horsham is well worth the time to find out about - We were very excited to be included in the puzzle.

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