MONDAY, Jul. 21, 2008 - Gilbert H. Ludwig (FURBYS OR YO-YOS, ONCE / 1975 TITLE ROLE FOR LYNN REDGRAVE)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Women in Good Moods - three film titles following the pattern [THE + synonym for "jolly" + kind of woman]

Managed this one in under four on a very touchy and temperamental laptop here in my in-laws' place in Lake Hawea. A simple, elegant Monday puzzle, that also manages to be funny. THE HAPPY HOOKER makes a great punch line to this theme. Which of these theme answers is not like the others? By a longshot, THE HAPPY HOOKER. The other 2 answers are black&white 1934 musical comedies about - I assume - reasonably respectable women. Not that a hooker / madam can't be "respectable," by some definition of the word. My favorite factoid about "THE HAPPY HOOKER" - it co-starred Tom Poston.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: 1934 title role for Ginger Rogers ("THE GAY DIVORCEE")
  • 35A: 1934 title role for Jeanette MacDonald ("THE MERRY WIDOW")
  • 51A: 1975 title role for Lynn Redgrave ("THE HAPPY HOOKER")

I have a minor admiration for the non-horrible 3x6 areas in the NW and SE. RUSTLE (1D: What leaves do in the wind) has a certain autumnal quality, though it's winter here and we have certain heard much rustling in the various bushes and shrubs that we pass on our (many) walks. The rustling is usually some exotic bird, which is to say, a perfectly ordinary bird to everyone around here. I am currently sitting in the library where I can see through the living room out onto the deck and across the lake to the mountains. Which means that I'm currently enjoying a spectacular LAKE VIEW (12D: Placid vacation vista).

Many little birds are currently fighting each other on the deck for the apples and suet that my in-laws leave out for them. I'm told they are insect-feeding birds called "white eyes" or "silver eyes." They just look like a slightly more colorful (greenish?) version of the Little Brown Birds I see all over the place in NY.

We took a walk into town this morning, to the local BODEGA (3D: Barrio grocery), which appears to be the only store in town. Literally. The Only One. Gotta go to Wanaka (15 min. down the road) to do a proper shop, I guess. Lake Hawea (which wants to be in a puzzle someday) is apparently where old people who like mountain life live. Wanaka and Queenstown are given over to yuppies and x-treme sports types, respectively.

I wonder if anyone would pay to see a movie called "The BANAL CABAL" (18A: Like "Have a nice day") + (4D: Plotters' plot).

Today's puzzle did a nice job of staying out of the crap fill rut, with only ADELA (15A: Journalist _____ Rogers St. Johns), ALAI (7D: Jai _____), and YMA (38D: Singer Sumac) even vaguely mucking things up.

EVA MARIE Saint (25A: With 56-Across, Saint of Hollywood) is hot, and also features prominently in one of my favorite songs of the 80s: "Rattlesnakes" by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions.

I wish this puzzle had MINARETS, because it's got a wonderful near-east theme going, what with all the TURKS (19A: Denizens of 45-Down) in ANKARA (45D: Capital ESE of Istanbul) practicing ISLAM (42A: Imam's faith).


  • 4A: Unconscious states (comas) - strangely, the only one of the first six Across answers that I didn't get right off the bat. I say "strangely" because I feel like I've been in and out of a COMA as I try to get adjusted to life down under. Yesterday was the first day where I really felt like I'd kicked whatever sickly pall had been hanging over me since landing here. Coincidentally, the sun is shining brightly and it's 50+ degrees, even though we're in the mountains in the dead of winter. I don't get this place at all. You can see palm trees and snow-capped mountains in the same vista, and some of the trees here are flowering ... eerie.
  • 16A: Whodunit award (Edgar) - not just for "whodunits"
  • 17A: Rev. _____ (Bible ver.) (std.) - omg that clue / answer makes my head hurt. Too many abbrevs. Plus, REV and VER ... well, you can see - palindromic. Again, eerie.
  • 31A: Bank acct. guarantor (FDIC) - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; I remember various ads, probably for banks, that would end with a quickly uttered "Member FDIC"; had no idea what the hell that meant until I was much older. Same thing happened with MSRP.
  • 32A: "That's one small step for _____ ..." ("a man") - I honestly had no idea about the indefinite article, although clearly it's necessary to draw the distinction between the individual man and all humanity.
  • 41A: "Darn," more formally ("Alas") - er ... I'm not sure I can accept this clue. "Darn, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio." "ALAS" is not the exclamation that "Darn" is. To my ear.
  • 48A: Nonvegetarian sandwich, for short (BLT) - read the clue too quickly and it'll knock you over - "Nonvegetarian" looks like an adjective applying to resident of some Nordic region.
  • 2D: Purim heroine (Esther) - learned it from xwords. I believe HAMAN is involved in there, somehow.
  • 5D: Jazzy Anita (O'Day) - I get her confused with Keely Smith.

  • 8D: Series of shots, as from warships (salvos) - I just started reading "Great Expectations," and there are SALVOS of a sort at the beginning of the novel, warning of the escape of an inmate from a prison ship. Why am I reading "Great Expectations?" OK, so there's this NZ novel called "Mr. Pip," which my brother-in-law gave me to read, and I started reading it and was Loving it - until it became clear that the plot of "Great Expectations" was going to figure prominently. My mother-in-law was only too happy to loan me her copy of Dickens. "Won't it be lovely for you to read it again?" I said, "If by 'again' you mean 'for the first time,' then yes, it will." (English Ph.D., U. Mich., 1999, and ... virtually no Dickens under my belt). I'm only about 8 chapters in. I'll let you know how it turns out.
  • 22D: Defeat by a stroke? (outswim) - clever, though it had me thinking, morbidly, about defeating someone by causing him/her to have a stroke.
  • 29D: Part of a cigarette rating (tar) - makes me realize how seldom cigarettes feature in the puzzle (anymore?). Cigars, sometimes. Cigarettes, hardly at all. Or else I'm forgetting something obvious because I'm in an NZ-induced COMA.
  • 31D: Furbys or yo-yos, once (fad) - the very word "Furby" makes me cringe in horror at the entire decade that was the 90s.
  • 35D: Sailor's yarn (tall tale) - this answer is much better vertical than it would be horizontal.
  • 36D: Charles de Gaulle : Paris :: _____ : London (Heathrow) - most of the time I have spent in England has been spent at Heathrow. I think I've spent all of 24 hours total in England; compare to weeks in Wales and months in Scotland (which is like the NZ of the Northern Hemisphere).
  • 43D: Drain furtively, maybe (siphon) - nice clue / word combo
  • 54D: Gym locale, for short (YMCA) - "Gime? ... Oh, Gime!"

Off for another long walk. We picked out the site of our future home yesterday. Sadly, we later found out that the scraggly plot of land - sans house - had already received an offer of $1 million. Granted, that's $1 million NZD (thus somewhat less in USD), but still, a tad out of our current price range. So we're still looking.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS - to my earlier point about NZ being like a Bizarro AMERICA (28D: Song that begins "My country, 'tis of thee"): we rented a car at the Queenstown airport. It's a Nissan (OK, that's familiar) ... which appears to have two model names (??): "Sunny"

and, more perplexingly / hilariously, "Ex-Saloon"

as in "That hooker sure looks happy. What kind of hooker is she?" "Oh, that's Velda. She's EX-SALOON"


Anonymous 12:15 AM  

Greetings from Up Over, and welcome back.

The grid seems quite open for a Monday puzzle, does it not? Two pairs of touching 8-letter Downs, even.

Yes, Haman is "in there" (the book of 2D:ESTHER); indeed he's the chief villain, so each mention of his name in the Purim reading of Esther is exuberantly drowned out by "groggers" (noisemakers -- has the word GROGGER ever appeared in a NYTimes puzzle?).

There's good reason you might not remember the indefinite article in 32A:AMAN -- while Armstrong intended to say it, the "a" is famously missing from the recording. (Nor did he say "one small stop", but that's just a typo.)

Have fun in the land of beet root, roo bars, and barbies,


Rex Parker 12:21 AM  

I had beet root for dinner last night, in fact. It tasted ... surprisingly not like dirt (the taste I normally associate most strongly with beets).

Thanks for the heads-up on the typo, NDE.


dk 1:07 AM  

beet soda, chefbea1 take note.

So stange to see the write up so early. Cannot, must not read it as I am printing off the puzzle for the holiday drive.

Happy to note a biblical clue. It will no doubt stump my alleged bible college grad wife. I can hear the old test. excuse as I type.

Off to finish loading up the Desoto.

Luke 1:56 AM  

A nice challenge for me for a Monday. Normally I can get through these with minimal googling but alas, I had to do it quite a bit.

Couple of clues I don't get:

C.S.A solider is REB? (CSA is Canadian Space Agency in my mind)

Sounds of bells or laughter is PEALS. I've heard it with bells but not laughter.

I may be new to this whole crossword thing, but this theme seemed rather, weird to me.

Anonymous 3:24 AM  

@Omnie--Confederate States of America. Refers to that regrettable little nastiness of the 1860's, the Civil War. REB means rebel, and the soldiers were often referred to individually as Johnny Reb (cf Johnny Cash song of same name.)

BTW, down south, some of them don't realize that the Civil War is over.

jae 4:28 AM  

Very nice Mon., lite on the crosswordese! My problem was CAPER for CABAL which messed up my time. NZ sounds like a great place to visit or live, good luck on your house search!

JannieB 6:41 AM  

Okay Monday outing - No real problems or stumbles anywhere. Worked from NW to SE with nary a blip. Only quibble with anything was the cluing at 17A - which really makes no sense to me and has way too many abbreviations.

Luke 6:45 AM  

@steve l

Much thanks! I figured REB was rebel just based off the acronym but wasn't sure at all.

Hungry Mother 7:01 AM  

Nice to see that people don't write upside down down under.

Bill from NJ 7:24 AM  


The United States Civil War is still referred to, down south, as The Recent Unpleasantness Between the States by some. And it's been over for more than 140 years!

Cute puzzle with no real sharp edges. The theme was a snap as I was familiar with all the movies, curiously more so with the 1940s ones and I had a big crush on Eva Marie Saint when I was a kid. Remember North by Northwest?

Barry G. 7:42 AM  

Morning, folks!

Easy-breezy Monday morning puzzle for me. A nice start to the week and it makes me feel so smart! ^_^

The only two answers I didn't know right off the bat were ODAY (5D) and STD (17A), but I got those easily from the crosses.

And yes, I thought it was a bit odd that the NYT puzzle would misquote Armstrong like that, even if the misquoted version does actually make more sense than the actual quote...

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Seeing as I hate Mondays I was HAPPY to be feeling MERRY and GAY after finishing this puzzle. A great Monday grid all the way around.

jubjub 9:21 AM  

I found this puzzle incredibly hard -- had to do much googling. I didn't know a whole lot of stuff! Enough stuff that I won't list any of it! Seemed harder than Saturday for me!

Whenever I don't know something, I assume it is because it is old-timey information (that makes me feel better about my ignorance :)). So, I got a kind of ancient vibe from this puzzle. I haven't verified, but I assume I haven't heard of any of the movies or actresses because they are rather old? This made the women-defined-by-their-sexual-relationships-and-happy-about-it theme seem a bit misogynistic (tho I did like HOOKER thrown in with DIVORCEE and WIDOW). After going through the puzzle once, I only had THE at the start of each of the theme answers, and was thinking it would be awesome if the theme was movies whose titles begin with THE and star actresses you've never heard of.

I was proud of the one piece of old pop culture I knew, I know who Eva Marie Saint is, as (a) I have seen a movie she was in! and (b) I always want her name to be Eva Saint Marie.

My first response to "Song that begins 'My country tis of thee'": why, that's "My Country tis of Thee". Didn't know it had another name :).

jubjub 9:29 AM  

PS Rex -- if you want to skip all that unnecessary reading, there is an episode of South Park that parodies "Great Expectations": (Pip is a regular character on South Park). Not one of the funnier episodes, but very educational :).

mac 9:30 AM  

Very nice Monday. Actually quite a few answers I didn't know off the bat but everything was gettable through crosses. I Like cabal, banal and peals.
I start every puzzle in the far NW, but this one had me move away for a little while! In the end my total time was normal for the day.

@rex: Loved "Mr. Pip" as well, your cover is cuter than mine, though.

What do we know about the constructor? It seems this puzzle could have been made a long time ago.

David 9:33 AM  

I believe that Neil Armstrong claims to have included the "a" when he uttered that famous phrase. Indeed, the phrase is redundant without the "a."

Bill D 9:45 AM  

Tried doing this one "Downs Only" and needed a few acrosses to finish, despite having worked out all the theme answers. Cute theme, a cut above the 4th-grade level treatment of women we've seen recently. (@Omnie - I guess you are new. This is actually a rather tight theme - wait 'til you see the ones where they slip two letters into a "common" phrase to make a cutesy/lame answer!) Some nice cluing and interesting fill for a Monday, too - a good one to start the week. I especially liked that A TEST was not given the usual nuclear treatment.

"AMERICA / My Country 'Tis of Thee" is, of course, "God Save the Queen[King]" rewritten in haste by a REB of that era.

A few months ago NASA announced that they had re-analyzed the transmissions from Apollo 11 and they now claim that Armstrong actually did say "One small step for A man, one giant leap for mankind", but the "a" was lost/garbled in transmission. I wonder what the CSA makes of that.

chefbea 10:02 AM  

A good easy Monday puzzle. Missed the theme - thought it was movies about women. Never got the connection of gay, merry and happy.

I can remember a cold morning in the 90's in December when I was standing in line at a toy store at 5:00 a.m to buy two furbys for my grand children. I might add that every one in line was a grand mother.

@dk gotta go check out that beet soda

Unknown 10:18 AM  

Its Monday and I digress again. This is a quotation from a NYT article on food trends that discusses unusual new drinks in the city.

"At Fressen in the meatpacking district, Martin Peikoff, the pastry chef, one-ups Mr. Mason with a candied beet float, containing goat cheese ice cream and toasted walnut brittle. Coincidentally, Michel Nischan at Heartbeat also serves a beet soda float with vanilla goat milk gelato. Borscht float, anyone?"

I thought the puzzle was unusually challenging for a Monday even though that didn't make it a hard puzzle. I am not surprised that some people struggled with it. The ODAY ADELA cross can not be considered normal Monday fare can it?

Speaking of Armstrong. Do you know the 'Good Luck Mr. Gorsky' story? Now that sentence spoken on the same lunar walk is funny.

Scott 10:32 AM  

Are we certain that this puzzle wasn't created in 1979 and lost somewhere in Crossword Headquarters for 30 years?

I am happy to have some old-timey stuff in the puzzle such that I learn new things but this puzzle takes that to an extreme. Every name in the puzzle was famous before I was born. If you are going to have a theme that references movies made 33 and 74 yrs ago, respectively, spice up the fill cluing a bit! I think when the most modern thing in the puzzle is Furbies, there is a problem.

Sorry. Rant over.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

I actually got the puzzle --no FOUR minutes ... more like fifteen.. but who is counting :)

Who is the man singing with Anita? He upstages her, don't you think.

O! P.Solver-- I LOVE that story! Can't you please please tell it again? It is the BEST. I think this crowd can take it.

Everyone did a great job but it is nice having Rex back. I don't like the idea that they are looking for property. What's up with that? Don't move away!

Speaking of the Happy Hooker, did you see the pan today in the Times of the upcoming Heidi Fliess documentary? Nice synchronicity with the puzzle .. hookers in the Times! Gotta love it -- well, I do.

mac 10:39 AM  

@phillysolver: amazing, all the same ingredients as chefbea's recipe, just liquefied and/or frozen!

I think Ulrich might have something to say about the name of that restaurant..... Rude!

jeff in chicago 11:05 AM  

Very nice Monday. I knew all the movies, but previous comments seem to indicate that only means I'm old. Now will you whippersnappers get off my lawn!!!

As for the Mr. Gorsky story...let's not go too far. It's an urban legend. Check out

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

A fun little Monday puzzle and a nice way to begin the week.

I had a bit of a hiccup when I threw in theBLACKwidow for the 2nd theme clue.

From the order of the three theme answers, are we to believe to certain women get divorced, then widowed and ultimately winding up as hookers? I'd have thought the order of events might be a bit different!

SethG 11:26 AM  

NDE mentions the noisemaking whenever Haman's name is mentioned. The good guy in the story is Mordechai, for whom one cheers during the Purim reading of the book of ESTHER.

NDE doesn't mention the other fun part of Purim, which is that one is commanded to get blitzed. Er, " drink on Purim until he does not know the difference between 'cursed be Haman' and 'blessed be Mordechai'".

I think they have beet root potato chips in New Zealand. They have every other flavor.

Ulrich 11:29 AM  

I did not even come close to the need to google, which is another way of saying that I'm over 65. Solved this one w/o breakig a sweat. I'm surprised that nobody commented on the implication of the theme: Women who are happy tend to be unmarried!

Eve-Marie Saint: For someone of my generation, she's Marlon Brando's love interset in On the Waterfront.

@phillysolver and mac: There is no English equivalent for German "fressen" (and "saufen" for that matter). In English, both people and animals eat, in German, people "essen", animals "fressen". Similarly, people and animals drink in English. In German, people "trinken", animals "saufen". Needless to say, "fressen" and "saufen" are also used in a very derogatory sense to characterize people doing these things in excess--"Er säuft" means "He drinks too much."

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

I can't help thinking that a better clue for 17A ("STD") would be: "What 51-across might give you." Can I say that?

Nice Monday puzzle. Gave me a few hiccups here and there but nothing that didn't go away relatively quickly.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

@ulrich--So how come "Essen" is always clued as "Industrial city in Ruhr valley"?

Re: Armstrong quote--No matter what he did say, today is the anniversary of when he said it. I thought that was going to lead to this being the theme of the puzzle, and was surprised that, in spite of this coincidence, it was not.

Joon 11:38 AM  

liked this puzzle. lots of long fill for a monday, and i enjoyed the third theme entry. but there were definitely a few tougher fill words in there. i know ADELA ginger rogers st. john's wort gave me trouble the first time i saw her in the grid, on a sunday not too long ago. same with anita ODAY, although she comes up a lot more, it seems.

YMA/YMCA is a fun pairing. maybe tomorrow we'll have UTA and UTICA, or UMA and USMA.

chefbea 11:42 AM  

Hey Rex - can you bring back some of the crisps that were in the video that sethg mentioned. I think I can speak for all us Rexites...sound yummy

miriam b 12:10 PM  

Easy Monday walk in the park. It made my day to note that when the first two films came out, I wasn't old enough to go to the movies. As for THE HAPPY HOOKER, I don't happen to have seen it.

Continue to have a wonderful time, Rex. I wish you could beam me down there for a little while. It's hot and icky here, even though I'm only a short block from the Great South Bay (Long Island, for those of you outside the NY Metropolitan area).

Bill from NJ 12:17 PM  


Have you read H H Munro (Saki)?

He is sometimes known as "P G Wodehouse with teeth."

"Never be a pioneer. It's the early Christian that gets the fattest lion."

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

How many votes for Armstrong's Moon Landing as the theme for next year's 7/20, appearing on a Monday, and the 40th anniversary?

mac 12:43 PM  

@ulrich: we have the same differences in Dutch. Also, we have separate words for the head and legs of animals, with the exception of the horse.

alanrichard 1:02 PM  

What are the guidelines and criteria for submitting puzzles to the Times?????

Ulrich 1:07 PM  

@steve I: I've asked that question myself in a long rant a few months ago.

@mac: interestingly enough, German makes the distinction only w.r. to the mouth ("Mund", "Maul").

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

@ulrich--Yeah, a more interesting clue for Essen would be "to dine, in Dusseldorf."

Any why is a city named Eat, anyway?

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

@ulrich--Yeah, a more interesting clue for Essen would be "to dine, in Dusseldorf."

Any why is a city named Eat, anyway?

imsdave1 1:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pythia 1:44 PM  

@ ulrich said "I'm surprised that nobody commented on the implication of the theme: Women who are happy tend to be unmarried!"

Reminds me of a recent New Yorker cartoon. Woman in a black dress standing in front of a flower-covered casket speaking to another person: "I need to wait until the euphoria wears off before I start dating again."

Tight theme, interesting combination of nostalgia (in the story lines of the works named) about women and their roles in society. DIVORCEE, WIDOW, HOOKER. Hmm. Nice/elegant that the titles are parallel in their structure and each has five syllables.

Didn't care for the way the grid has large isolated sections in the NW and SE corners. SEWER is the conduit, not the "stinky stream" (4th grade boy description). Otherwise, a smooth solve and pretty clean fill.


Anonymous 1:53 PM  

@ marnie: Actually, the clip is of Keely Smith, whom Rex referred to above, singing with Louis Prima. I was confused, too.

I searched YouTube for the link, because I too wanted to know who the male was. I was only able to find it by using the title of the first song.

By the way, I did come upon a lot of great clips of Anita O'Day, so it was worth all the confusion.


alanrichard 2:07 PM  

Yes Madame, Barrio Grocery & No___; Sometimes I wonder if crosswords in foreign languages have a splattering of English phrases and terms??? Meanwhile shouldn't there be a video of Roberto Duran saying "No Mas" to Ray Leonard. In fact, I believe Duran is still boxing, (at 56+), and probably as a HEAVYWEIGHT!
Gay Divocee, Merry Widow and Happy Hooker - at least they all seem pleased with their position in life!!!
And again - what is the criteria and guidelines for submitting puzzles to the Times???

Pythia 2:13 PM  

@ alanrichard

Go to

In the left column under "Resources," click on "Specification Sheets" to find the scoop on criteria/guidelines for crossword submissions to the NYT and other publications.


alanrichard 2:13 PM  

Actually what Neil Armstrong said was "Buzz, we're not in Kansas anymore" but the transmission was garbled and came out as that "one small step.....

alanrichard 2:14 PM  

Actually what Neil Armstrong said was "Buzz, we're not in Kansas anymore" but the transmission was garbled and came out as that "one small step.....

Unknown 2:14 PM  


Here is the answer to your NYT request

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

With all of the speculation concerning the VP choices for the upcoming election I was led to pondering possible VP choices for CANDIDATE LISTS. That started me thinking about he word VETTING or VETTS(?). Does anyone know why we use this word and where it comes from?

Otherwise, I had to laugh about all the happily unmarried women and enjpyed this Monday puzzle immensely, especially after losing my struggle with yesterday's puzzle. I agree with the comment about the influence of Eugene Maleska.

Joon 2:26 PM  

since i'm often one of the folks complaining about bad clues for biblical books, i should probably mention that today's ESTHER clue was a fine one. much better than [Book after (whatever book it sometimes comes after, depending on which bible you look at)]. let's have more like this one in the future, please.

RodeoToad 2:27 PM  

"Moon landing." Right. You people are so naive.

I thought this was a pretty tough Monday. I did like it but would have figured more for a Tuesday.

Sethg presents more evidence that the one area where the US falls farthest behind other nations is potato chip choices. I noticed it first in Britain. Prawn-flavored potato chips! But of course our particular genius is in taking the cuisine of other cultures and putting it on a stick.

Doc John 2:30 PM  

A harder than usual Monday but still had a decent time.

Not much more to add other than I always thought it was a "greggor", not a "grogger" (although I've never seen the word spelled out). BTW, hamantashan, those triangular treats eaten typically on Purim (but now thankfully available the rest of the year), are based on Haman's famously tricornered hat.

As for the ODAY/ADELE crossing, I think it's OK for a Monday in that the D is really the only letter that works for that square.

Interesting to see GAY and YMCA in the same puzzle!

The other day we had yarn, today it's TALL TALE.

Finally, with LENTO comes another plug for my band's concert this coming Saturday at 7PM in the Mississippi Room of the Lafayette Hotel on El Cajon Blvd. We're playing lots of cool (not BANAL) stuff so I hope you San Diegans can make it (whatever happened to Rikki?). I'll be the trombonist whose slide movements don't seem to be agreeing with those of the others!

alanrichard 2:40 PM  

Getting back to Vetts and Vetting: Vetts are what non-native English speaking people refer to as getting caught in the rain -English speaking people generally refer to them as sporty Chevrolets driven by 50+ guys who are trying to regain their youth. Vetting is what non-English speaking people refer to as what a baby does when it need to be changed and conversely Vetting is what a 50+ year old calls it when he (or she - but usually he), is driving the car he always thought was real cool when he was in his teens. I hope I clarified the difference!!!

SethG 2:50 PM  


What are you talking about?

You should come up for our state fair scavenger hunt.

Anonymous 4:12 PM  

@alanrichard: Your clarification of the difference between Vetts & Vetting is hilarious!

Rex Parker 4:23 PM  

OK, I'm now taking exotic crisps orders. Let me know what you want and I'll see what I can do.

It's raining here and no one is awake but me and it's after 8am!!! The sun only just came out.

I am currently wearing a knit cap with ear flaps that says "TUI" on it (it's a bird, and it's a beer). I bought a fabulous old beat-up Modern Maori dictionary in a tiny, tiny bookshop in Wanaka called "What the Dickens." By "tiny" I mean that it was a single, closet-sized room off of a souvenir/winter-outfitting shop. Anyway, the dictionary is, as you can imagine, chock full of words that would make crossword constructors drool, if only, you know, they were viable answers for an American audience.


fergus 4:32 PM  

Even with the soldier I was thinking along about Community Supported Agriculture, for which I sort of a secondary evangelist. I assume most people know by now how a CSA works, so maybe the soldier was the delivery guy?

Speaking of the potato chip, I was searching in the local convenience store, and couldn't find an unflavored chip. Not that there was much variety, however -- just a bunch of combinations of cheesiness and ranch (what is ranch???); the temperature range went from icy cool to flaming hot, with nothing in between.

Thought Orly would have made a better parallel with HEATHROW, since CDG is too recent an addition, though I really don't know about the contemporary comparative importance of the Parisian airports.

chefbea 4:35 PM  

@sethg scotch eggs yummm

@doc john hamantashen yumm

@rex cant wait for the crisps

Jeffrey 4:45 PM  

@doc john: "BTW, hamantashan, those triangular treats eaten typically on Purim (but now thankfully available the rest of the year), are based on Haman's famously tricornered hat."

Not available the rest of the year on Vancouver Island. Please ship some out. Prune, not poppy seed.

Oh no, now I'm talking about food on this site! You got me. Sigh.

Was there a puzzle today? Oh yeah; something about happily unmarried women. I will hide it from my wife.

Ulrich 4:47 PM  

@joho: I dont zink vat alan said iss so hilarious--its ze truz. Ant if you dont belief me, ve heff vays to persvade you.

RodeoToad 5:02 PM  

A few years ago my wife and I decided to make cold cucumber soup. It's hot here, we like cucumbers, we like soup, it sounded like just what the doctor ordered, so we made about five gallons of the stuff. You know what it turned out to be? A great big vat of ranch dressing. That's what cucumber soup is. Ranch dressing.

Is Crowded House from New Zealand? That was a good band. Neil Finn wrote a beautiful song with Richard Thompson called "Persuasion" that's one of my all-time favorite songs.

chefbea 5:31 PM  

@wade I beg to differ about ranch dressing being cucumber soup. I just made cucumber soup last week. yummm. Ranch dressing has nary a cucumber in it. It is mainly buttermilk, mayo, sourcream and seasonings.

what would be good is to use some ranch dressing as a dip for all the crisps that Rex is going to bring back from NZ

Anonymous 5:33 PM  

@ulrich: Well, guess what? You're hilarious, too. I took German in Hochschule: Ich mochte etwas zu essen und trinken!

Bill D 5:45 PM  

Lots of gut geschmacken goin' on here.

@Seth G - My kind of food. I couldn't find a Scotch Egg in Scotland; didn't look for ostrich-on-a-stick in Africa; where's that Uffda stand?

Never been to Ao Tea Roa - hope Rex is enjoying his stay.

Rex Parker 6:04 PM  


Yes, Crowded House is Kiwi. Neil Finn is a Fantastic songwriter. Split Enz was a mainstay of early early MTV. I learned my first Maori words from Neil and Tim Finn songs. Every day during my first semester in college, after my last morning class (Calc II), I would come home and put on Crowded House (self-titled album) and blast the first song: "Mean to Me," the lyrics to which begin:

"She came all the way from America / She had a blind date with destiny / And the sound of Te Awamutu / Had a truly sacred ring / Now her parents are divorced / And her friend's committing suicide ..."

The lyrics may seem cryptic, but the song is Amazing. I saw Crowded House at the Pantages in Hollywood in 1989. T-shirt from that concert is currently the only concert T-shirt I own besides a Lucinda Williams shirt from three summers ago.

I swear this all has something to do with xwords.


Rex Parker 6:13 PM  

From "Six Months in a Leaky Boat," by Split Enz:

"Aotearoa / Rugged individual / Glisten like a pearl / At the bottom of the world"

OK, that does it. Tomorrow's write-up will feature some Finn Brothers music.

Off to second breakfast.


The Asian Badger 6:31 PM  

Glad you're having fun down under. It's a great place. If you have time, do a little trout fishing...great fun on a fly.

CAPER/CABAL (like Jae, above) gave me a little trouble but I remembered two of the movie titles for some reason and it all fell in.

BTW, when I was a kid, I had a big crush on EVA MARIE Saint. Sigh.

Best of luck with the house/lot hunting. I don't envy your flight back though...ugh. Drink heavily.

Pythia 7:22 PM  

CAESAR, it seems, was not an emperor. He was dictator for life of the Roman Republic. His successor, Augustus, was the first emperor of the Roman Empire.

fergus 7:34 PM  

... and CAESAR is also a salad with another sort of dressing, the creaminess of which ought to come from a raw egg, I believe. Developed in Tijuana, not Rome, apparently.

Unknown 7:47 PM  

Those model names on your Nissan are the original Japanese names. The car probably spent the first few years of its life in Japan and then shipped out to the used car markets overseas (as is done w/ most cars in Japan). Silly use of English is rampant in Japan, much of it hilarious!

chefbea 8:01 PM  

@fergus your are right. when the waiter makes the caesar salad at your table, he beats an egg to put on the salad along with the anchovies, oil, vinegar etc

Ulrich 8:23 PM  

@steve I: It took a while to research your question as to why a city would be called "eat". I did this not only to answer your question, but also to respond to a question half of America must be asking since Essen, if we trust xword puzzles, is the most famous city in Germany.

So here goes: The general impression in Germany is that the name refers to the fact that Essen does not only mean "to eat", but is also the plural of Esse--"chimney". Given Essen's significance as the "Pittsburgh of Germany", that isn't so far-fetched. But this convenient legend is not true. Through two millenia, the name underwent the following changes: Astnidum, Astanidum, Asbidi, Asnid, Assinde, Asnida, Assindia, Essendia, Esnede, Essende, Essend, Essen. Another interesting thing: Nobody seems to know what the word initially meant! This gives you an idea of what the American cities miss by not being that old!

alanrichard 8:45 PM  

I never took German, and am completely illiterate in foreign languages - other than what I've learned from xword puzzles. (I did take French & Spanish in school but I retained very little). But I do know that when I speak my version of German to my standard poodle, Willie, (who was namewd after my favorite baseball player), he listens & obeys. Ex: Sittenze Downenze Dogenze or Givenze Pawenze, or Rollenze Overenze. No fooling it works - try it with your dog! He also sits by my side when I do the puzzle at home, waiting to offer me help if I need it. On a Thursday puzzle the clue might be "Its over your head" and then he would have an opportunity to contribute!!!

mac 8:45 PM  

You are right, in Dutch a animal mouth is a bek, a human one mond, again with the exception of the horse.

Also, this hamantashen is probably related to a Maultaschen, don't you think?

I think the nicest explanation of the name Essen has Ash trees as its origin.

miriam b 10:28 PM  

@mac: As I understand it, Maultaschen are a kind of dumpling, akin to ravioli, pierogi, won ton, kreplach, etc. Hamantashen, on the other hand, are baked pastries. The dough is leavened either with yeast or with baking powder. Maybe the "taschen" part of the names refers to the pocket-like form.

Anonymous 11:50 PM  

I usually don't post this late on the East Coast, but since Rex is on NZ time, I figured I could still add my two cents (or, the 2-cent coin that they used to have in NZ; do they even have 1-cent coins anymore?).

For Rex:
Well, yes, "The Gay Divorcee" might be respectable, but the broadway musical on which it was based was "The Gay Divorce" and, as per, the censors were having none of that and made them change it.

For Ulrich and others:
As a reminder, it is a well-known statistical fact that single women (whether never married, widowed, or divorced) live longer than married women as compared to men, who do better if they are married. Now, I wonder why that is? :)

Daryl 2:50 AM  

Great puzzle, or perhaps I'm just chuffed to have finished this in a few minutes... was quite surprised to see the word HOOKER in the crossword though!

I also liked that the middle reads "A MAN SLATES THE MERRY WIDOW", whatever that means!

Anonymous 3:57 AM  

it's like that old Jewish joke...
WHy do men die before their wives?
Bec they want to.

(Hmmm, maybe something got lost in the Yiddish translation...Ulrich?)

Anonymous 4:00 AM  

ps Re: puzzle
Loved the construction and theme, wish I had thought of it, (tho with movies at least of this century!)

it did have sort of a musty factor to it's finally ok to have "hooker" in a puzzle, 30 years later and be considered cutting edge ofr it!

Anonymous 10:55 PM  

Only problem with TALL TALE is that it should be TELL TALE. That's got to be a (rare) Will Shortz error. A tall tale is a lie; a tell-tale is a piece of yarn or fabric on the sail that indicates proper sail trim:

Unless there is some other sailing application to TALL TALE that I'm unaware of.

embien 10:37 PM  

TALL TALE in this case probably refers to a sailor's "yarn" in the sense of story and not literally a piece of yarn. A whopper, in other words.

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