THURSDAY, Jun. 12, 2008 - Alex Boisvert (MOTTO DERIVED FROM VIRGIL)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Time Wounds All Heels" - the "quip" referred to in 56A: Speaker of the quip revealed by the ends of the answers to 17-, 25-, 35- and 48-Across (Groucho Marx)

I tore through this puzzle, with my only minor stumbling block being the theme-revealing answer itself. GROUCHO MARX is remarkably hard to parse if you don't have a few key letters. I was staring at G-OU-HOMA-- and couldn't do a think with it. Even dropping in a hypothetical "X" in the end spot didn't make it immediately obvious. Weird. I was a bit surprised to see a dominatrix in the puzzle (48A: Dominatrix's wear => SPIKE HEELS), and surprised also (less happily) by its unintentionally complementary answer, OOOH (36D: "How exciting!"). Made-up spellings make me grumpy. Once you add a third "O" to "OOOH," you can go to infinity "O"s as far as I'm concerned. Still, even though this puzzle was a breeze, it was a blast, and I have no serious complaints.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Precious moments (quality time) - this phrase / concept is appearing a lot this year for some reason. And by "a lot," I mean at least twice.
  • 25A: Phrase from which the exclamation "Zounds!" comes ("God's wounds!") - good day to be a medievalist. This one and the next theme answer...
  • 35A: Motto derived from Virgil ("Love Conquers All") were gimmes for me (the Prioress in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" has a brooch with "Amor vincit omnia" inscribed on it). I also had no problem with the tangentially related YE OLDE (12D: Start of many an English inn's name)
  • 48A: Dominatrix's wear (spike heels)
Lots of EZ stuff today, including EZ PASS (13D: Thruway convenience), which I believe is a Northeastern US phenomenon, but it's been in the puzzle before, several times, so maybe (some) people in other parts of the country know it by now. The SITAR was the first instrument that came to mind when I read 14A: Instrument often played while sitting on the floor. Here's a video of such a performance (I love how one of the youtube commenters writes: "that guy pwns on the SITAR"). GILA (21A: Arizona county or river) is perhaps the most noteworthy of your US crossword rivers. The OSAGE is a good one to remember as well (Missouri). Other EZ answers for me included:

  • ESPANA (47A: Neighbor of Francia) - what else?
  • URI (8D: Canton bordering Valais) - in three letters, this is about the only canton you want. Some part of my brain always wants it to be ULM, which is Einstein's German birthplace and has nothing whatsoever to do with cantons. Speaking of Germany ...
  • ANISE (33D: Flavoring for pfeffernüsse) came to me very easily. Why/how? I have never seen the stuff in my life, let alone tasted it.
  • SUPERMEN (37D: George Reeves and Christopher Reeve) - I do not like this in the plural At All, but it was EZ nonetheless
  • GAS (56D: Rightmost pedal) - too easy


  • 15A: "The uncertain glory of an _____ day": Shakespeare (April) - would love to claim that this was a gimme. Can't do so without totally lying. APRIL, like "Zounds," reminds me of Chaucer: "Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote," etc. Then there's TSE's response: "APRIL is the cruelest month..."
  • 29A: Notes in C minor chords (E flats) - I'm sure this is true, but it's not great fill
  • 33A: Like _____ in the head (a hole) - by far my favorite answers of the day
  • 53A: Peninsular nation (Qatar) - its puzzle popularity just goes up and up
  • 4D: Fullerton campus (Cal State) - hmmm. I would say Cal State campus = Fullerton, but not the other way around.
  • 22D: Maugham's "The Painted _____" ("Veil") - if I knew it, I forgot it.
  • 24D: Dweller along the Danube (Slav) - made my usual SLAV / SERB slip here.
  • 30D: Geek Squad member (techie) - "Geek Squad" is a Best Buy subsidiary. Do people in all parts of the country know that?
  • 45D: Choral platforms (risers) - do RISERS have NEWEL posts? (64A: End of a railing)
  • 11D: San Fernando Valley community (Encino) - whence the term "Valley Girl"!!!
  • 61D: Year Claudius I became emperor (XLI) - Year of the Emperor: YOTE! (pronounced YACHTY!)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Tony from Charm City 8:57 AM  

I also detested the SUPERMEN, but as I entered it, I knew it was correct.

Also, EZ Pass is mostly from Virignia up through New England, but Illinois and Indiana also participate. They may be new entrants into the fray.

Didn't know GODSWOUNDS, but it wasn't difficult to determine once I had the crosses.

Love AHOLE as well.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Agree with you on 37D, G.Reeves & C. Reeve are NOT Supermen per se, but they did play the one and only superman.


Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Pretty simple for a Thursday but fun. A little risque, too - you mention the dominatrix, but what about the AHOLE at 33A? I had a few false starts here and there - POMONA instead of ENCINO at 11D after getting "godswounds," IBM instead of SIM at 9D. But I actually liked the SUPERMEN at 37D - a nice twist.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Is it just me, or does the alternative meaning of "ahole" not pass the breakfast test?!?!?!?

Orange 9:31 AM  

Ulrich's on vacation, right? I'm on the second-string German team here. Pfeffernüsse is German for "pepper nuts," which is a terrible name for cookies. According to Wikipedia, only some recipes use anise. I don't know the German word for anise, but I do know that I loathe the flavor.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

Today's otherwise-useless-fact-that-I-learned-from-crossword-puzzles
is that John Philip Sousa composed Semper Fidelis. Since I had confused The March King (Sousa) with The Waltz King (Strauss), I was astonished that an Austrian had composed the US Marine Corps' musical signature. Once these two highly prolific composers are disentangled, it all makes sense.

jubjub 9:53 AM  

I was hoping to find a picture of Pauly Shore on the blog today, ENCINO man being the movie that gave him his big start. I remember the week when everyone came to school saying "Oooow Buddy!" (this was shortly after everyone came to school saying "Guess what. Chicken butt."). Aah, the 90s were fun. For any other children of the 90's, click here
for that photo you were hoping Rex would provide.

I think the plural of Superman is Supermans.

I managed to get GROUCHOMARX from the G-O without much of the theme answers filled in. Then I said to my boyfriend, "It's always Groucho Marx." True story :).

I had the most trouble with the bottom right corner; did not know NEWEL, Zhou ENLAI, REA, or of course which YOTE. That, and I also felt that SITAR should be spelled with a Y. Yesterday, it was CINNAMiN. I suck at spelling.

When I read "Painted __", VEIL jumped into my head (after I dismissed desert as having far too many letters), I don't know where from. Upon googling, I discovered that there is a recent movie starring Ed Norton by that title that I've seen previews for.

I resent Best Buy for claiming the phrase Geek Squad. I've had to resort to "gaggle of geeks" (which I only use affectionately).

I agree that OOOH is yuck.

Anyone else get LUNA moth from reading "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay"? No? I'm the only one? :)

My favorites: LACES (kept wanting to put something like palates), TIPTOES (was looking for something like erodes), A[*@!]HOLE, GUT.

"San Demis football rules!"

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

I'd have rated this one supereasy, more like a Tuesday or maybe even a medium Monday. No complaints though.

When it comes to quotations, my rule of thumb is if Mark Twain didn't say it, Groucho Mark did. If neither of those, it was Henry James, just not as funny. Somebody else also said some stuff, Pat Paulsen maybe.

There's EZPass in Texas, I think. I hear people calling it that. Myself, I doesn't gets on the big roads.

PIMA's also a popular Arizona county, not sure if it's a river, but it's what I first filled in for GILA.

Ladel 10:02 AM  

If you are a regular NYT solver a constructor has the expectation that your general knowledge of stuff is vast. That among that stuff is EZ...fill in the dots because there are EZ things all over including the NE pass, in Florida they call it a Sunpass. See also for more. There I feel better already, especially since the heat broke and life got Ezier.

Scott 10:05 AM  

I cruised through the puzzle until the far SE where NEWEL and ENLAI were totally mysterious to me and REA, XLI could have been any random letters (or roman numerals). A very frustrating end.

Did Groucho change the spelling of heal/heel? or did today's constructor?

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

SUPERMEN fits in a category I hereby dub "Bad gimmees" - words we don't like but are obvious answers. Feel free to provide more examples.

Strange breakfast test quotient today. "Mommy, what's a Dominatrix?"

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

I wanted Satie for Sousa, so I am guilty of trying to shoehorn a Frenchman in for Semper Fidelis.

URI is one of those words I just do not like. Why has this Swiss Canton been chosen above all the rest? Why not Jura or Vaud? I have never heard of these either...

The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) slowed me down a bit, but was filled through crosses. Wasn't sure if the answer would be an FDR-type (person) or one of the many TVA-type program acronyms.

Overall this week seems to be a bit light. Can payback time be far off??


Anonymous 10:45 AM  

I much prefer this puzzle to yesterday's. While this was not a very challenging puzzle, IMO it was much more interesting. I also did not like OOOH, and balked at it before finally typing it in. Old MacDonald had a puzzle EIEIO. In that puzzle there was excitement OOOH! or perhaps OOOOH, OOOOOOOOH, OOOOOOOOOOH!

jubjub 10:50 AM  

PS As I am attempting to become wise in regard to insects, I pasted together a collection of photos of Luna moths from Wikipedia & Flickr. Here it is, in case anyone is interested. I think they are gorgeous!

Alec 10:57 AM  

Great puzzle! As a former classicist, I can't resist pointing out that "love conquers all" originally had a very different meaning from its current interpretation. As used by Virgil, it doesn't mean that love will overcome all obstacles; it means that all creatures are subject to falling in love, whether they like it or not. A subtle difference, but a meaningful one...

Shamik 10:57 AM  

@tintin also voted ELECTed TVA for REA...but then again I also wanted Yogi Berra for Groucho Marx. That was my first guess without looking at fill or number of letters. He said a lot, too.

URI was in my back mind file cabinet and covered with dust, so took more time than it should have. And as for God and his Sounds, Wounds, Hounds...not a gimme for me. And that is despite having taken a whole semester of just Chaucer in college. (Hey...I needed one more upper level course for my English minor.)

EZPASS would be unnecessary if we didn't have GD tolls.

Finally, I wanted AKICK in the head until I checked in at HQS and found it to be just another A$$HOLE.

Joon 10:58 AM  

as i've said earlier, YOTE is vastly preferable to YOTP--and i say this as somebody who never studied latin or took a roman history course, but does know a fair amount of catholic church history. i didn't know the year claudius became emperor off the top of my head, but i knew it was mid-1st century. that helps a lot, as there are really only a few options (there's gotta be an L in the first or second position, for one thing). at least claudius is actually very famous and you could reasonably be expected to know when he was around. if it helps any, he was succeeded by nero, who was followed by the year of 4 emperors, which was in LXVIII.

by the way, in massachusetts, it's called FastLane, but it's 100% compatible with EZPASS.

i'm pretty sure best buy is a nationwide chain. at least, they have them in california, so it's not just an east coast thang.

today was the second day in a row i beat my previous best time for the day of the week by at least a minute. this is definitely the first time i've done thursday faster than tuesday.

but this was a very nice puzzle. good theme, good clues, good enough fill, and pangrammic without seeming forced. sure, it was a bit jarring seeing the plural SUPERMEN and the singular WILE, but that's not really that bad. the only thing i didn't like about it was one of my personal pet peeves, [New Deal inits.]. yuck. no matter what the answer ends up being, i hate seeing that clue.

AHOLE is pretty amusing (although not as amusing as it was in the context of this puzzle). i wonder if there's a way to work FYOU into the grid?

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

@ trout stuffed with sage
Wade...dude, if you are in there hum a few bars of The Eyes of Texas.

Where is artlvr's word pairing analysis? AONE/AHOLE?

/Sage Trout

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

No complaints that CALSTATE is an abbreviation, and not so clued?

Also, do "many" English Inn's names actually begin YE OLDE or is that just a stereotypical phrase. I don't remember seeing bushel baskets full of them.

29A the "C minor chord" clue, could have been phrased better. While there is certainly an E flat in the C minor scale, it is only used in some of the chords when playing in that scale. Further, the plural form bothers me, as there is no expectation or requirement that it appear multiple times in a chords and in the c minor root chord itself it would be much more common to see multiple c's than e flats.

64A - end of a railing - bothers me, it is a newel POST - I don't think it is commonly called just "newel".

Very easy puzzle for a Thursday, and I agree about AHOLE. My eyes actually went back to it a few minutes after I'd put it in and I shocked, just shocked I tell you.

Pythia 11:22 AM  

OOOH feels like a week of Tuesdays.

A puzzle with pizzazz. Love this well-known quotation, and that it was presented in a clever way. Clean fill and good clues. SUPERMEN clue gets a free pass even though it's kinda bogus, because other clue possibilities are possibly too hard for this level. Nietzsche?

jae 11:25 AM  

Liked this one.

The Painted Veil movie is worth seeing.

Nice dominatrix pic Rex.

Agree that OOOH is a bit much.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

"Geek Squad" ads appear on local cable here in Hood River, OR (Not a metro area). On the other hand, as befits the windsurf capitol of the US, the automatic lane system on the toll bridge across the Columbia to and from Washington, is called "BreezeBy".

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

Hate, hate, HATE when European Country / neighbor to Portugal/ Iberian nation is the clue to ESPANA, no tilde on the N. As I've said (and emailed, and called about) before, if you're going to spell it in Spanish, use Spanish letters - and there are more of them in that alphabet than in English. It's not LUN(Y)A moth. Frickin' Will Shortz.

Love Zhou EN LAI (two wds. pls.) because I studied him briefly. Hated REA and XLI, as with others here, and NEWEL is stupid. Liked all the high-value scrabble tiles (HQS, NEZ, ESQ) and had one more issue:

Sticking point, 57-D RUT - I had RUB, as in there's the ___.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

In what bible does esther come before the old testament it is several books after job.,

Unknown 11:45 AM  

Heh, heh. A-HOLE. Heh. Best middle-of-the-puzzle answer since PUTA. Is the Times trying to send me a message?

Brings to mind that family-friendly Simpsons line: "Marge, ixnay on the ashholetray!"

Also I really liked, just for the easy-hardness of it, the 3-letter "Member of computer family." MAC? Um, IBM? Oh..."computer family" in the non-metaphorical sense! (Then again, I never really though of those pixel-people as members of the SIM household.)

Parshutr 11:59 AM  

The only holdup for me was putting in WEENIE instead of TECHIE...I've never been to BestBuy, but once I got to EFLAWS, changed the W and was home free.
Love those SPIKEHEELS!
Trivia alert: aside from December and the Christmas depression, April is the peak month for suicides; the theory is that, having endured the winter, people are depressed because the weather is improving but their moods are not.
The puzzle was consistently intriguing for me, an old Latin scholar. And there is no breakfast test! It's ALL GOOD!

Unknown 12:01 PM  

The phrase from Virgil is not the oldest one referenced in this puzzle.
Time heals all wounds is from Sophocles in Oedipus Rex. Groucho twisted it around in Go West a 1940's movie. The original phrase
may, however, belong to one of America's funniest radio personalities, Jane Ace. Among other mangled phrases, these are attributed to her...
I wasn't under the impersonation you meant me.
I am his awfully-wedded wife.
I've always wanted to see my name up in tights.
I look like the wrath of grapes.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

I have never heard of EZPASS. From other comments I gather it's the same as FASTPASS here in California.

poc 12:38 PM  

ESPANA is a poor substitute for ESPAÑA. The Spanish Ñ is not simply an N with a funny accent, it's an entirely separate letter (it used to stand for 'NN', hence e.g. 'donna' was written 'doña' and there it stayed).

YE OLDE is a lot less common in England than you might think, except as a joke. YE is of course THE, and arose because of a misreading of the Angl-Saxon letter 'thorn' (pronounced 'th') which looks somewhat like a 'y'.

Apart from all that, this was way too easy for a Thursday.

Joon 12:38 PM  

anon 11:42, it's not just will shortz--it's all crosswords. in american crossword puzzles, by convention, diacritical marks are ignored. that's just how it is. by convention, we also ignore capitalization, punctuation, and spaces, and i never see anybody complain about those. why are people so uptight about the tilde on the N? (i've never seen anybody argue that whatever word crosses the I in NAIF or NAIVE needs an umlaut.)

anon 11:42, in christian bibles esther immediately precedes job. in jewish scriptures it seems to be several books after job. check it out.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

I enjoyed this one quite a bit, especially after guessing the theme from just the HEELS at the end of 48A and the theme-revealing clue at 56A. (Yes, 26A:GODSWOUNDS was a "gimme" too but I didn't see the clue until later.)

Pace Jim at 11:19 and Rex, 29A:EFLATS seems unimpeachable to me: a "C minor chord" is not just any chord that might be found in a C-minor context, but specifically the chord consisting of C, E-flat, and G; one doesn't often see more than one E-flat in a single C-minor chord, but the clue specifies plural "notes" and "chords".

Various other musical clues or answers today: choral 45D:RISERS, the misleadingly clued 28D:OPERAS, and also 5D:TRIO and 6A:SOUSA -- the last of which also nicely pairs with 20A:SOUSE (and I suppose the linking 6D:SAYSO).

A variety of languages too; 42/47/51A are a stack of French AUJUS, Spanish ESPAÑA (better to miss the tilde here than in AÑO), and Latin ERAT, and there's also Olde English (12D, 25A) and German (clue for 33D).

Re:x's specific comments: the clue for 2D:LIU seems much more NY-centric than 13D:EZPass; is 21A:GILA really a more "noteworthy crossword river" than OHIO?; yes, the clue for 56D:GAS is easy, but feels newish, and a bit misleading to a solver who spends more time at a piano than in an auto. Oh, and 33A:AHOLE -- I didn't even notice the alternative reading, a la PUTA, PENIS, and the G-rated ATOM that used to be clued all the time as "first half of series" or something like that.


Doris 1:08 PM  

Just to be super-obnoxiously pedantic, re the 12:38 posting, the diacritical mark over the "i" in "naïve" is not an umlaut. An umlaut changes the sound of the vowel. The mark is called a diaeresis and is used to indicate that the vowels are pronounced separately rather than as a diphthong.

Whew! Got that off my chest. Now to less important matters.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  


Thanks for your reasonable comments on the non-use of diacritical marks in crosswords. I think you're right that we simply need to understand that as a standard convention of crossword constructors and editors.

Re EZ Pass: I believe that it has come to Minneapolis as well (at least I think that's what it says above our HOV lanes) but it has yet to catch on much.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

THought this was a super clever idea tho way EZ.
However, I immediately started to write in Dorothy Parker...till I ran out of space...

Once googling, I agree that it was more likely to have originally been said by Jane Ace...but there is a funny site I stumbled upon with lots of great Groucho quotes:

Even tho EZPASS is prob totally East Coast, it was gettable and balanced with West Coast stuff like ENCINO and CALSTATE
(But, yes, the clue seems all wrong, it seems to call for an abbrev and is phrased too succinctly, like it should be "what the Fullerton campus is part of, for short" or something...I think one of its claims to fame is that Kevin Costner went there).

I've been thinking about OOOH.
My inital reaction was "OOOOOH, that ain't so good". But OOH is too short, like OOh = yuck and OOOOH is paradoxically not quite long enough or too OOOH seems just right.

I loved learning the original meaning of "Love conquers All", Thanks, smart alec!!!

Hmmm...Pepper nuts is the link between AHOLE and dominatrix wear?
I may have to tease Will relentlessly about this!
(Btw, does anyone else think it should be SpikeD heels?)

Also, for some reason, despite putting in SATIE, then SOUZA.

Despite having to go thru the whole alphabet to find the W in WILE, I did this one in less time than Monday's. Odd.

Altho it did give me pause to contemplate why EDDIE Murphy might have been in "Red Badge of Courage".
Now there's an idea for a remake!

Doc John 1:48 PM  

Unless this is a crossword pantheon-esque word about which I'm not familiar, I call shenanigans on SIM. As far as I know, there are no computers called SIM. Now, if the clue had been "Computer word", I would have been a little better with it but a SIM card doesn't really have that much to do with computers, unless you want to call a cell phone a computer (well, an iPhone really is a small computer I guess).

That stupid word and the fact that I was not familiar with URI (except as the abbrev for Upper Respiratory Infection) caused me to leave 2 squares blank today. I just couldn't come up with APRIL and I finally gave up.

Not happy with OOOH, for the same reasons as others have mentioned. As my SSSS comment of a few days ago, how many letters are allowed? There should be a convention for words like this and that's it. If you need to add more letters, fix your puzzle!

Laraine Newman: "I just had to get out of ENCINO, man!"


jubjub 1:57 PM  

@doc john, I think SIM refers to "The Sims", which is a spin-off of "Sim City". In Sim City, you design your own city. I think in "The Sims" you design your own family. Never played either. Here's a link:

PS "Young man, you can't just go declaring Shenanigans on innocent people! That's how wars get started! " :)

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

re: Jim in Chicago,
Thelonious Monk could get away with a Cminor chord without the 3rd (E flat).
Coltrane, "Monk might take a chord, a major chord. a minor chord, and leave the third out... It will just be in the right place and voiced the right way to have that minor feel." "Coltrane: The Story of a Sound" Ben Ratliff

fergus 2:04 PM  

I guess I learned something in Sunday school as a child ... , and pleased to learn that the Jewish scriptures have a different ordering.

Poor Groucho missed out in the obituary department, being upstaged by Elvis. A friend had Groucho as a godparent. How about that as a model for character development? My goddaughter recently spurned my offer of spiritual guidance, but I can't really blame her.

Always pleased to find punctuation, or diacritical pointers.

The previous QUALITY TIME was part of a longer answer about a Family man, wasn't it?

chefbea 2:05 PM  

four EZ puzzles in a row!! What will tomorrow bring?

Rex - I will be happy to make you some pfeffernusse. But the fact that they are cookies the plural must be pfeffernusses. I will add some extra anise because I love the taste.

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

@dameron 1:59 writes "Thelonious Monk could get away with a Cminor chord without the 3rd (E flat)."

There's plenty of examples of thirdless triads (a.k.a. open fifths) in classical music, too, often in minor-mode contexts; perhaps the most striking is at the end of the Kyrie of Mozart's Requiem, which happens to be in D minor.

Forgot to mention re 33A:AHOLE -- also reminiscent of HAOLE, a word I don't think I ever heard or saw before running across it in the list of objectionable words expurgated from the non-tournament Scrabble(TM) dictionary...


janie 2:49 PM  

am not sure that anyone responded to scott's query: Did Groucho change the spelling of heal/heel? or did today's constructor?

you may have figured this out on your own already, but there's a pun on the word "heal" involved. as philly pointed out, the original adage is:

"time heals all wounds."

the quip today is:

"time wounds all heels" which is kind of another way of sayin' "what goes around comes around"...



imsdave 2:54 PM  

First time in a long time the theme actually helped me finish the puzzle. I had a few words that just wouldn't come to me WILE, VEIL, SLAV and they were all revealed when I put the final L in ALL. Very easy for a Thursday and, I too, am nervous about tomorrow being a beast.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

@Andrea - I too was vexed at SPIKE vs SPIKED HEELS. So much so that I Googled the terms, and SPIKE out hits SPIKED by approximately 2:1. Why to things that vex me usually turn out to be the correct instance? Huh?

Doc John 3:32 PM  

@ jubjub: Thanks, that makes more sense. I'll remove my call for shenanigans!

Matt 3:35 PM  

Speaking of naughty: the answer to 33 across, "ahole", fortunately clued with "Like ________ in the head."

It was disappointing there didn't seem to be a way to link up, via pun, the spiked heels answer with 29A's answer, "eflats".

poc 3:39 PM  

@Joon: I don't want to get into a pedantry war here, but as I pointed out earlier the ñ is not an n with a tilde on it, it's a distinct letter (look at a Spanish keyboard and note that á for example is *not* a distinct letter). The difference is that the i in naïve is simply an i with a diacritical mark but the ñ is not. I know perfectly well that this is crossword convention, I just don't have to like it!

grouchonyy 3:53 PM  

Needless to say, I was pleased to see Groucho appear in the puzzle today. Brother, Chico graced the puzzle in the same geographic location only a few weeks ago. Harpo made an appearance also (first name only)

Watch out for Zeppo.

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

For those keeping score at home, the EZPass equivalent in N. Cal is FASTRAK. I think it's great when the puzzle exposes regional variations--they are increasingly uncommon and should be hailed.

Also, given the origin of the phrase "love conquers all" (which I was so pleased to learn), I am appreciating its juxtaposition with "Spike Heels"

Anonymous 4:10 PM  

I don't know how to say this without seeming condescending, but here's my best try.

This is probably the first instance in human history where Erik Satie got confused with SOUSA

Anonymous 4:43 PM  

I can confirm Trout's assertion that we have EZPASS in Texas. We also have BestBuy/GeekSquad. Now that I think of it, we also have enough Spanish speakers that some of us probably live in BARRIOs, and AUDIE Murphy was a Texan--as are one or two AHOLEs. I declare a Lone-Star mini-theme!

John Hoffman 4:46 PM  

For instrument played while sitting on the floor, I could only think of a group of kids, each with a KAZOO.

Anonymous 5:01 PM  

@ anon/Sage Trout -- thanks for asking about me today! Am VASTly IRATE at having had to spend most of the day getting kaput service for phone and computer back! If they come in on the same cable as your TV and the latter is working, do you call your "provider" or check to see if various plugs and cords are in order? Ha, it was Time-Warner's fault all along... It's especially bad if you just bought a cell phone but didn't activate it yet, and can't do so without phone or computer! Yeesh.

So I got here late, and I've enjoyed all the comments. Doris's decisive definition of the non-umlaut diaeresis is delicious. I don't have much scope for internal linkings that you all haven't mentioned, except that RISERS are essentially STEPS without railings, hence no NEWEL posts. Also, if you want to extend the dominatrix string, you can imagine a E on the end of the SLAVE crossing LOVE and get a love-slave... One might pair "GUT feeling" with "in a RUT" at this point?

What else -- I wanted spats instead of LACES before I got the SPIKE HEELS, and thought of yeomen until YE OLDE turned up. I'd agree with the poor cluing already mentioned, and would add the clue for LSAT -- I used to write sections of that exam series and never knew the scoring max! And I still don't know what a SIM is..

Well, it still was a beautiful day, despite the trials etc. (including loss of Orange and Blue, it seems).


Anonymous 5:05 PM  

Rex, the incredible depth of your knowledge of cool stuff has caused you to conflate "Uri" and "Ulm." Uri is a famous Swiss canton. Ulm was the birthplace of Einstein. Switzerland was where Einstein was living during his "miracle year" when he came up with his Theory of Relativity. He was working at the patent office at the time, and was bored, so he had to do something. This was in Bern, not Uri, but definitely Switzerland, and close enough.

Love your blog. What pleasure!

ArtLvr 5:15 PM  

I thinK I'm back -- (BTW for pun lovers, that was RUT in the sense of a rutting season, not a ditch.)


mac 5:24 PM  

Hello from Toscana. Even though we drove all the way to Arezzo this afternoon I couldn't find a Herald Tribune! Sorry to have missed the puzzle, it sounds like fun.
Orange, what happened to your slice, and who is the cute little person?
About these sometimes anise-spiced cookies, the plural is Pfeffernuesse. Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are much more important in them. We make a version of it in Holland that I much prefer, it's tiny so you can eat a whole lot, and it is much more tender than the German one, like a ginger snap button. Zwarte Piet throws them around in December for the children to hunt for.
Back to Florence tomorrow where I know where to get the newspaper.
The weather is pretty bad here, and were are overdosing on soccer. Austria-Poland was particularly bad. Hope the Dutch do well again tomorrow, this time against France.

chefbea 6:10 PM  

@mac glad you are enjoying Italy and thanks for the plural of pfeffernusse

alanrichard 6:52 PM  

I wrote Toper for drunkard and raise for lift because I had anise and HQS but I correctted them pretty quickly. I got Groucho last but the puzzle took me about 15 or 20 minutes - nothing really hard here. I didn't like that Spike Heels answer - I thought they were SPIKED heels - oh well. I didn't check the JIMH blog yet but I'm guessing there is a Marx Brothers clip there. Lydia or the crowed cabin scene would be cool to see!!!

David 6:53 PM  

I liked the Supermen clue---clever way to clue it. And it's not unusual for me to hear it pluralized, either in terms of more than one Superman, or something like "a race of supermen" regarding genetic engineering. And since Rex knew Renee Montoya as The Question last week, he's probably seen at least a couple Supermen at once---Crisis!

Anyway, the Virgil quote, which I didn't know was from Virgil, also always makes me think of the Prioress from Canterbury Tales. Fun puzzle overall.

Arby 6:56 PM  

ahole reminds me of a story I believe Will Shortz told on Lettermen: seems he got a lot of mail when the clue was "The _____ mightier than the sword." Folks objected to the "Pen Is" partial staring at them from the grid.

I was going to get all geeky about C minor chords, music theory being one of the few things that I know some stuff about, but y'all beat me to it.

Chip Ahoy 7:20 PM  

Ha ha ha. Alex said "a hole."

Anonymous 7:28 PM  

Have sung in many choirs...
Never saw a newel post on the end of a riser.

A "Gummo" puzzle might rate a Sunday slot....

Leon 7:44 PM  

Time wounds all heels, as mentioned earlier, was a line in "Go West."

Groucho's character was named S. Quentin Quale.

Underaged girls have sometimes been referred to as "San Quentin Quail", on the assumption that violators of California's minor protection laws could end up there.

21 results of ZOUNDS in Shakespeare Search.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona Act I, scene III
O, how this spring of love resembleth The uncertain glory of an April day, Which now shows all the beauty of the sun, And by and by a cloud takes all away!

Anonymous 8:04 PM  

Catholic Bibles include some books that Protestant Bibles do not.

Two of these books are First and Second Maccabees - which are between Esther and Job.

Others are - Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)and Baruch. I think that's all of them.

fergus 8:12 PM  

Thanks to Leon for finding the APRIL. I thought it came from a sonnet.

Unknown 10:00 PM  

ok, artlvr made it back, dave is posting again, seth is hit and miss, but now puzzlegirl and bill from nj are gone. The intrigue is mystifying and I think Wade is hiding inside of a trout.

Time for Friday's stumper....see you tomorrow.

Orange 10:33 PM  

Mac, the halved fruit picture disappeared from its home on the web, whence I had filched it. The kid with the sour face is my son Ben, sampling a fresh cranberry. As for Zwarte Piet, that's a Dutch tradition I find appalling! Blackface doesn't really fly in America.

Joon 11:20 PM  

anon in TX, that's a really good point. we should get constructors and editors to stop using these clues that reference the order of books in the old testament. (the new testament order is pretty canonical.) would it be so bad to clue the book based on what's in it?

foodie 12:00 AM  

Wade is a sage stuffed with trout...

ArtLvr 1:13 AM  

Past the witching hour now, but nowhere near breakfast for most of us -- for word-nerds: Doris' comment on the non-umlaut diacritical mark called 'diaeresis" (pl. diaereses) led me to check the pronunciation -- die-AIR-e-sis. The then I saw second meaning, and adjectival form thusly:
...mark used to indicate 1. that the vowels are pronounced in separate syllables rather than as a diphthong. 2. the break in a verse caused by the coincidence of the end of a foot with the end of a word.
- di·ae·ret·ic /"dI-&-'re-tik/ adjective
(not to be confused with homophonic adjectival form of DIARRHEA, di·ar·rhet·ic /-'re-tik/ adjective)

I am trying to think of a way to use the adjective -- maybe tell a writer he seems fond of a diaeretic style? hmmm


Spencer 11:15 AM  

And, of course, I am inevitably reminded of Head Like A Hole by Nine Inch Nails.

On the "what is a letter" issue, consider also the Norwegian alphabet with its 3 extra vowels: å, æ, and ø. These are properly transliterated to the English alphabet as aa, ae, and oe, and would never be written as a, a, and o. (Yes, I am aware that Swedish and Danish also have these vowels, but write them differently.)

Anonymous 5:03 PM  

Came to me in the night -

Deuterocanonical - the name of the books included in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Bible.

Would love to see that in a puzzle.

Other Protestant versions often include them in a section called Apocrypha.

Another good word.

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