Sunday, August 17, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Fade-Outs" - familiar movies have their titles' final letters knocked off to create wacky new phrase, which are clued as hypothetical movies

Simple concept, nice results. Top half involved a lot of fumbling around, but the middle and bottom were hot knife + butter, and I finished somewhere in the 12's, a very good Sunday time for me.

Theme answers:

  • 24A: Movie about a "Sopranos"-like actress from the Mediterranean? ("The Maltese Falco" - Edie Falco being one of the stars of "Sopranos")
  • 30A: Movie adaptation of "L.A. Law"? ("California Suit")
  • 39A: Movie about a time-share? ("Three Days of the Condo")
  • 59A: Movie about the coming of difficult times? ("A Hard Day's Nigh")
  • 71A: Movie about one of Dumbo's parents? ("The Elephant Ma")
  • 88A: Movie about a narco's worst dream? ("Night of the Living D.E.A.") - I thought a "narco" WAS the D.E.A. - is it a user? add an "o" to NARC to get NARC's opposite!?
  • 102A: Movie about a bus. on Rodeo Drive? ("Beverly Hills Co.")
  • 113A: Movie about the zoo's most punctual simian? ("A Clockwork Orang") - good one

Some complaints: Plurals like EDNAS (40D: Writer Buchanan and others) are inevitable, but the already-pushing-it IZODS (83A: Polo alternatives) followed immediately by the much worse AA'S (85A: Recovery grps.) was a little more than I wanted to take today. And what is up with 1A: Edges at the track (tips) - I would have stuck with NIPS without ever thinking about it had I not been rapper-savvy enough to know that NUPAC is not a rapper (though he damn well should be). TUPAC has been in the puzzle before with almost an identical clue (1D: Rapper with the 1996 nine-time platinum album "All Eyez on Me"). I don't think the "nine-time platinum" part was in the clue last time - I like to imagine that Will got lots of angry mail from rap-hating, pop-culture-hating, 21st-century-resenting solvers about the last TUPAC appearance, and so he put in the "nine-time platinum" bit as an emphatic "he's legitimate, you @#$#ing @#$@#$#s" gesture. But I like to imagine a lot of things.

Some observations:

  • 49D: "Dumb, dumb, dumb!" (D'oh!) - I love the answer (It's Homer Simpson, what's not to love?), but not the clue, mainly because I couldn't figure out who was speaking to whom, and it never dawned on me that the voice was speaking to itself. I had DUH.
  • 11A: Mother and wife of Uranus: Var. (Gaia) - huh. I thought GAEA was the variant. Interesting.
  • 15A: Suffix with electron (-ics) - something about the "s" seems weird, but this is true enough.
  • 19A: Sugar in tea, e.g. (solute) - half the reason the top part of the puzzle was slow for me. Had the S and TE and couldn't get it. COHAN (6D: George who was nicknamed "the man who owned Broadway") and ELENI (7D: 1985 Peter Yates-directed movie) didn't help.
  • 78A: Meat Loaf's "Rocky Horror Picture Show" role (Eddie) - nooooooo idea. Don't think I've ever seen the movie beginning to end. It was first a phenomenon when I was way too young to go see it. Meat Loaf is good in "Fight Club."

  • 71D: Nickname on "The Addams Family" (Tish) - couldn't get past ITT, which isn't even a nickname.
  • 79D: Potty (daft) - it's 3 a.m. and I am writing this after waking up to let the puppy out for her nighttime potty. Silly word, yes, but when I repeat it in a soft, encouraging, high-pitched voice to her, man, it works. It's some kind of power when you can make another living being go on command. As for DAFT ... if you say so.
  • 105D: Old TV's "_____ Derringer" ("Yancy") - Pop culture, yay. "Old," uh oh. AH ME (38D: Words of woe).
  • 117D: Vessel for Thor Heyerdahl (Ra I) - a parsing mystery if you don't know the vessel in question - learned it from xwords.
  • 20A: Pointer on a poster (Uncle Sam) - this was easy for some reason. First thought: arrow. Second thought: pointer is a dog. Third thought: UNCLE SAM.
  • 26A: Many a Turk (Anatolian) - a word that percolated out of a smattering of crosses.
  • 34A: The original Jefferson Airplane, e.g. (sextet) - dear baby boomers, here is your clue for the day.
  • 50A: 2000 title role for Richard Gere (Dr. T) - I always want "MR. T." But who doesn't?
  • 52D: Popular movie house name (Odeon) - define "popular"; I like this word and its plural, ODEA.
  • 53A: Middle of many German names (von) - helped me change DUH to D'OH
  • 67A: Former Voice of America org. (USIA) - the one answer in this puzzle (besides YANCY) that I truly didn't know. United States Information Agency.
  • 81A: Highest score achievable by a single dart in darts (sixty) - weirdly, I knew this. It's a good clue for SIXTY. There are two moments in my life, game-wise, where I honest-to-god felt like the Force was with me. One was when I lost the first set of a match in a tennis tournament, 6-7, and I started telling myself, over an over in my head, "play like you know you can." It was magical. I couldn't be stopped. Won 8 straight games ... then promptly lost 6 straight to lose the match in three sets. Still, for those 8 games, I was in a mantra-induced zone, and it was awesome. The second such moment: playing darts in a bar in Ann Arbor with a fellow grad student who, I believe, was named Thuen or Tuen. Anyway, I'm sure we were not playing standard rules, but I know that I was so far down (maybe 90) that my last two darts were going to have to be bull's eyes or SIXTYs. And again, I just told myself, "the dart is going in the center" - I visualized it - bam. Bull's eye. Second shot, same mantra ... bam, bull's eye. I hadn't hit a bull's eye or anything with any accuracy all night, AND I was surely half drunk. Again, magical.
  • 82A: Der Blaue Reiter artist (Arp) - whoa, really? He's Blue Rider? Marc I knew, and Kandinsky, but ARP. He's DADA to me.
  • 87A: Advertiser's "magic word" (free) - well I had MRI where MRE (75D: Soldier's food, for short) was supposed to go, so I had awful trouble here: ERIE? BRIE?
  • 112A: Canonized Norwegian king (Saint Olaf) - also a Minnesota college
  • 118A: _____-jazz (music style) (avant) - worst naming job ever
  • 11D: "Saturday Night Live" has a new one every week (guest star) - Well I had GUEST HOST. They often have multiple "GUEST STARs" (you know, people who make cameos and what not)
  • 12D: Handle, in archaeology (ansa) - oh, man, that hurts. That's some high-end crossword fill right there. For future reference, ANSE is a character in Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying."
  • 115D: The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conf. (KSU) - Kansas State. They have been in the puzzle before. I keep forgetting them, despite the fact that I can visualize their football helmet.
  • 69D: "Casablanca" extra (Nazi) - one of the more agreeable ways to clue it, I guess.
  • 111D: "Star Wars" critter (Ewok) - the critter you Really need to look out for: NAZI EWOK.
  • 84D: Lost Persian, e.g. (stray cat) - ... [only my wife knows why I'm including this clue today]
  • 100D: Author who wrote "Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?" (Milne) - did Pooh say this? Robin? I got this off the "M" and I don't know why.
  • 67D: "Oil!" author Sinclair (Upton) - not Lewis! Gotta love a book title with an exclamation mark in it.
  • 93D: Expression for the Joker (grin) - Still haven't seen "Dark Knight"; for Joker-related material, please read F. Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" and/or Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's "The Killing Joke."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Unknown 3:47 AM  

Well it looks like I'm the first one on the comment board today. Puzzle very easy, very doable. No complaints.

Barry G. 7:14 AM  

Ayup, easy puzzle for me as well. Took me a fair amount of time due to the size of the grid and a number of false starts (especially in the SE corner where I initially had EARN for REIN and SAINT OLAV for SAINT OLAF), no real hangups.

Some new/unknown words for me, including AVANT-jazz, USIA and YANCY, but they were all gettable via the crosses. Speaking of YANCY, there was a potential Natik violation as it crossed UNISYS, except that (a) I had actually heard of UNISYS and (b) once I had YANC_ there wasn't much else that was gonna go there except for the Y. I suppose it could have been YANCE, but UNISES just looks wrong.

Of course, this puzzle could have been harder for me, except that I finally remembered SHMEAR and ELENI from previous puzzles, remembered how to spell Mercedes RUEHL, and was able to realize that ANATOLIAN meant something, even though I had no idea exactly what it meant.

So, overall, a nice puzzle with a clever, well-executed, theme and some interesting fills. Not particularly challenging, but enjoyable. For me, at least. Your mileage may vary.

I assume, btw, that we are forbidden from discussing 56A?

And in other news, there's a three-comment rule? Ooops. I guess I'll have to stop answering questions and responding to other people's posts so much. Sorry about that.

Barry G. 7:19 AM  

And yes, I know how to spell my hometown of Natick.... ^_^

[Only one post left. Better save it for something important!]

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

Hello hello.

A week of madness here, couldn't get to the crossword, but freer today and could finish it, despite there being millions of things I'd never heard of (SHMEAR, YANCY, blimming Wildcats of the Big whatever it is). I liked it too - the theme tickled me.

DISHY means gossiper? In the UK it means good-looking.

Off to London for three weeks on Wednesday, no way I'll be able to get to the crossword so better make these days count...

Ulrich 8:54 AM  

This took me a while, not b/c of the difficulty level, but the size of the grid, as Barry said before. Most theme answers worked for me, and so, I had fun.

Loved ANATOLIAN--got it easily b/c I've been there, a long, long time ago, traipsing through ruins left by the Hittites (have they ever appeared in a xword puzzle?) on my way to Mt Ararat.

Compliments to the constructors for the cluing of DREI, almost as good as the cluing for NIE ("when German pigs fly") we had some weeks ago (still my all-time favotite clue for a German word).

But I have one issue: I am not aware that Arp was ever a member of the Blaue Reiter group, which had such prominent members as Kandinsky, Marc, Macke, Feininger and Klee, but no Arp as fas as I know--his abstract art wouldn't fit that of the group, who remained more or less figurative (Kandinsky being the bog exception).

miriam b 8:59 AM  

I almost always do the Sunday puzzles on Saturdays after having solved the acrostic or whatever else appears below in the magazine.

So it came to pass that my neighbor, seeing me on my front porch in mid-solve, invited me to join her on her porch and chat over a glass of wine. We had a long chat and a few glasses, after which I returned home, on foot, of course. I would not have passed a breathalyzer test, so it's fortunate that I was next door. Still, I breezed through the rest of the puzzle in short order. I'm not sure what any of ths signifies.

I thought the puzzle was fun and easy both pre- and post-libation. I did have a tough time recalling YANCY, though I'm certainly old enough to remember Derringer on TV. I don't think I ever watched it, though.

TISH was news to me.

The theme answers were wonderful.

Unknown 9:07 AM  

Well, it certainly was better than Saturday for me, but I wasn't so sure when the top wouldn't come together for me. GAIA ANATOLIAN UVEA ELENI ANSA are in my head, but in the recesses. Add euas for EAUX (sestet almost sounded ok, but isn't) and I had to finish the rest and come back and concentrate. Nice interview with Caleb at JimH's site.

Congratulations to Michael Phelps, a nice local guy.

Jeffrey 9:18 AM  

Another in a string of easy but cute Sundays. Ditto to everything Rex said, so I won't repeat.

The applet wouldn't take my answer, and I see now that I had EAUS/SESTET for EAUX/SEXTET. No excuse for getting a french plural wrong for this ex-Montrealer.

NAZI EWOKS - sounds like the next Mel Brooks feature; a sequel of The Producers and Space Balls.

kjones 9:46 AM  

Rex, FYI: Binghamton has a local "Rocky Horror" group. (It's somewhere in Endicott, actually.) My ex-roomate played EDDIE.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I'm with you Rex! I like to imagine...

Dogs that don't pee in the house.

Babies that change their own diapers.

Students that are self-motivated.

Self-cleaning houses.

10 extra hours in a day (just for me.)

aaahhhh.... I feel Better now.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

I, like crosscan, had the same pitfalls as Rex .. the worst being GUESTHOST ... but once I got 56A (LOL) it was obviously STAR. Very easy puzzle good for a nice, nonstressful Sunday morning.

@phillysolver: Big congratulations to Michael Phelps ... an amazing athlete.

ArtLvr 10:28 AM  

Wow -- very enjoyable, and the second day in a row I was able to finish without help!

I did have to go back at the end and fix the STRAY CAT, as I had "schmeer" for SCHMEAR... It turns out that either is a correct spelling, except of course in this puzzle!

Saw Mercedes RUEHL in the 1995 Broadway revival of "The Rose Tattoo" by Tennessee Williams, directed by my son-in-law Robert Falls. Super actress! The goat led onstage in the opening scene didn't steal the show, just some flowers from the garden...


janie 11:04 AM  

philly -- are you a baw'mer boy? i live in nyc but was born 'n' bred in b'more. am pretty sure michael phelps is from towson, county seat of baltimore county and not far at all from the city line, but i suspect "the baltimore bullet" resonates with a lot more meaning than "the towson torpedo"! ;-)

and thank you, for the heads-up about the caleb madison interview on jim h.'s blog. posted the link on the nyt forum.

one sweet puzzle by that guy. took particular enjoyment in nightofthelivingdea. made my day!



JannieB 11:04 AM  

What a lovely Sunday puzzle - gettable, fun, solid work. Nearly all the theme answers made me smile. Can't ask for more than that!

Thanks, Philly for recommending the interview at JimH's site - what a remarkable young (15!) man. One would never guess his age from this puzzle - Most impressive.

Bill from NJ 11:18 AM  

Made a mess of the Midwest, having ANN for AMY, HOST for the SNL clue, ALAS for AHME and blanked on 43D: Angle and all this prevented me from getting the last theme answer THREEDAYS . . . and the clue for the Vegetable That Must Not Be Named.

Everything else was pretty straightforward but I spent about an hour on this one. Rex, I am in awe of your 12 minute time and it makes me rethink my desire to go to the ACPT for fear of being embarrassed.

Random notes

Aren't Pable Escobar-types referred to as Narco Trafficers? I had no problem with the clue. On the other hand GAIA and SHMEAR should have var. attached to them.

I used to watch Yancy Derringer back in the 50s but the only thing I remember about the show is who the actor was that played him: Jock Mahoney.

I had EAUS/SESTET crossing and did not notice that it was wrong although I eventually figured out all the other problems, starting with the change of GUESTHOST to GUESTSTAR and spending about 15 minutes fixing the other problems.

Didn't care much for this one. Almost all the theme answers were self evident so a big part of this puzzle was just fill-in-the-blanks

Laura 11:18 AM  

Edges at the track = tips when you're at the horseraces and you get the inside goods (and when does that actually happen in real life.

I had nips too at first.

I had inlet instead of islet, and was wondering to myself, what the heck is an unclenam?

jae 11:19 AM  

A fine Sun. More easy-medium for me because of hang ups in the North. I started off with WINS for 1a which made the NW corner tough to fill. I also had GUESTHOST until you know what fixed it. It took a while to recall ANSA and ELENI and, I needed my bride to sort out EAUX vs. EAUS. In all cute and enjoyable!

JannieB 11:30 AM  

Forgot a trivia note: Jock Mahoney, the actor who played Yancy Derringer, is/was(C) Sally Field's step father.

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

great darts anecdote except your prowess to hit the bullseye twice would yield FIFTY points for each dart.

the treble 20 is worth SIXTY.

Rex Parker 11:37 AM  

I know exactly how much a bull's eye is worth. I was aiming there because it seemed easier than trying to hit triple 20 (the only other score that would have helped me).


hazel 12:11 PM  

Arp was apparently friends with Kandinsky and exhibited at the 2nd Blaue Reiter exhibition. Certainly doesn't make him synonomous with the movement, but it was really the only thing that would fit anyway.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Annoyed, as I thought I aced it: slipped up with eaus/sestet and yance/unises. Even though eaux is the correct french plural often foreign plurals use "s" when speaking of them in English.


Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Annoyed, as I thought I aced it: slipped up with eaus/sestet and yance/unises. Even though eaux is the correct french plural often foreign plurals use "s" when speaking of them in English.


fiddleneck 12:35 PM  

Wasn't the movie Night of the Living Dead, instead of D. E. A? Or was I just taken in, thinking Rex could make a mistake?

fiddleneck 12:37 PM  

Yes, I see I was.

Pythia 12:50 PM  

Cute puzzle, though I tend to agree with @bill from nj that, after gimmick discovery, it was kind of a straightforward solve. Some theme answers were cuter than others. Lots of three-letters words (40ish) and black chunks (four Utahs).


Pet peeve = always hate when NAZI appears in a puzzle, regardless of how it's clued. There just has to be another way to fill in the blanks.

ARP clue appears to be suspect in the true fact-checking department. More googling required. Maybe later.


foodie 12:52 PM  

I seem to have had the opposite solving experience of Rex and others. I sailed through the top half and got slowed down on the bottom half. The theme became evident early on and was extremely helpful in opening up entire areas that had eluded me. I had one issue with this puzzle- it seemed to me to have a huge number of very short fill (3 letters especially) and a lot of it came as abbreviations. I'm not sure if the ratio is actually higher than usual, but I found it detracted a bit from the otherwise clever theme and execution.

@Philly, great about Phelps! Here in Ann Arbor, we also feel some sense of ownership as he went to U. of Michigan.

@Rex et al from last night: Lively discussion re what "fairness" means in a puzzle. Rex, I was making almost a theoretical argument, which I realize was an extreme position, and I certainly accept your views of the real considerations (and thoughtfulness) involved in ensuring puzzle fairness, not to mention enjoyability.

fikink 1:13 PM  

@dk when you arrive:
My fav clue was 32Down which I know Mr. Madison put in the upper Midwest just for us!

jeff in chicago 1:32 PM  

Enjoyed this theme. All were quite clever. ACLOCKWORKORANG was my favorite. Got most of the theme fills quickly which really helped me finish in a good time.

I always want it to be SCHMEAR.

Didn't like the 8D/51A cluing combo.

@artlvr: your son-in-law is Robert Falls? I'm a Chicago actor...can you get me a meeting?!? HA! Falls does fantastic work. I did just audition at the Goodman recently, but sadly had one of my worst auditions ever. ugh.

The Caleb interview was great. Talented youngster.

Ulrich 1:33 PM  

@todfaktor: "the only thing that would fit anyway" is no excuse for a bad clue, in my book. I cannot imagine anybody associating Arp with the Blaue Reiter--so if the clue doesn't matter, why clue at all?

It has been acme's complaint forever that clues concerning anything foreign are often "off", and I do believe that it's legitimate to bitch about it, i.e. hold the NYT to higher standards.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

I enjoy puns and groaners but I did not like this puzzle - maybe the lone voice.

Some reasons: 1) DAYS repeated in two theme entries, 2) IN THE, IS IN, IN E, ON IT, IT A = too much bad fill, 3) ICS, IOR, ESE = too many endings, 4) GAIA crossing ANSA = wow, no complaints?, 5) NIA, LIEV, TISH, YANCY = too many obscure players. Most annoying was that this bad fill was at the expense of an unusually high 86 black squares.

What I liked: 1) DEA and CO used in themes, 2) the long STRAYCAT, DATEBOOKS, GUESTSTAR, ALFRESCO.

Overall, more negatives than positives.


chefbea 1:52 PM  

a fun easy puzzle. Got the bottom portion very easily with Beverly Hills co. Had eaus/sestet as did others. Also guest host. There is a restaurant in Greenwich named Gaia. Never knew what it meant til today

@foodie could you e-mail me? I have a question for you

And lastly....56 across

fikink 2:05 PM  

Arp showed his work with the Blaue Reiter group in Munich in 1912. Maybe that is the connection.

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Could someone please explain the ODEAN answer to "popular movie house name" I agree that most of the puzzle was fairly easy but I had trouble with the ODEAN section of the puzzle including DREI and for some reason IN MOST for "nearest the heart."

I have a complaint about the DISHY answer to "Gossiping." Shouldn't the clue have been "Gossipy?" Could one of you English majors let me know what you think?

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Could someone please explain the ODEAN answer to "popular movie house name" I agree that most of the puzzle was fairly easy but I had trouble with the ODEAN section of the puzzle including DREI and for some reason IN MOST for "nearest the heart."

I have a complaint about the DISHY answer to "Gossiping." Shouldn't the clue have been "Gossipy?" Could one of you English majors let me know what you think?

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Could someone please explain the ODEAN answer to "popular movie house name" I agree that most of the puzzle was fairly easy but I had trouble with the ODEAN section of the puzzle including DREI and for some reason IN MOST for "nearest the heart."

I have a complaint about the DISHY answer to "Gossiping." Shouldn't the clue have been "Gossipy?" Could one of you English majors let me know what you think?

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

Could someone please explain the ODEAN answer to "popular movie house name" I agree that most of the puzzle was fairly easy but I had trouble with the ODEAN section of the puzzle including DREI and for some reason IN MOST for "nearest the heart."

I have a complaint about the DISHY answer to "Gossiping." Shouldn't the clue have been "Gossipy?" Could one of you English majors let me know what you think?

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

@male chicken: you can get NYT crosswords from International Herald Tribune and Sunday x-word will be in Saturday's edition.

Arp was never a member of Der Blau

Otherwise quite an enjoyable puzzle

fikink 3:28 PM  

@russalka, you are correct. A more accurate clue would have been "Showed with Der Blau Reiter," but to Ulrich's point, many people can associate the beginnings of Dada with Hugo Ball and Jean Arp and then by "six degrees of separation" be led to Der Blau Reiter.

ArtLvr 3:44 PM  

@ physsciteacher -- it was ODEON... and you can take out duplicate comments by clicking on the trash can at the bottom left of the repetition.

@ jeff in chicago -- I'm sorry your audition didn't go as well as you'd hoped... Wishing you better luck, and do keep trying out!


Anonymous 4:10 PM  

I'm sorry, but the SNL guest is always called the Guest HOST, always. Just a bad clue/answer combo, and easily avoidable since there are probably 100 other ways to clue gueststar. Sloppy.

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

Man Rex, thought you'd be all over this one. Co. in a theme answer, Days in two theme answers -- those are usually no-nos in a Sunday Times puzzle. 86 black squares and the fill is terrible: RUEHL, ICS, IOR, YANCY, EAUX/SEXTET, GAIA/ANSA crossing, EOE, AAS, DISHY, the list goes on. Are we really supposed to accept a smattering of abbreviations and horrible fill just so a youngster can have his puzzle in the paper? I remember a talk a while back about pushing kid puzzles up the pipeline just because they're kids, and this seems like a definite occurrence of that phenomenon. I flat out didn't enjoy doing this puzzle, despite its easiness and occasional good spots (the bottom left is really good). I know I'm being harsh, I guess I just want my Sunday puzzle to be perfect every time. All in all though, I don't see why this puzzle was accepted other than the fact that the author is a record-breaker.

-Mike G.

Rex Parker 4:34 PM  

The theme is super-tight, RUEHL is famous enough by far, DISHY is a great weird word, -IOR and EOE appear all the time, and Sundays always have little bits of gross fill like that. GAIA is supereasy if you do puzzles (though ANSA, yikes). YANCY was easily gettable from crosses (though I guess that final "Y" from UNISYS might throw you). Acceptance of this puzzle has nothing to do with constructor's youth, believe me. The kid already broke the record. It's not the greatest Sunday ever, but I've seen So Much Worse.

EAUX / SEXTET was, in retrospect, harsh.


Anonymous 6:02 PM  

the upper right corner was hard. i got the RUEHL / SMOLT crossing wrong, put an O there, as well as the EAUX / SEXTET. liked most of the theme entries, but DAYS is repeated across to two entries and the modified NIGH appears in another entry as NIGHT.

Anonymous 6:03 PM  

regarding the snl clue, they may have meant the performing artist for GUEST STAR rather than the actual host.

PuzzleGirl 6:35 PM  

I like the theme a lot but the cluing was just off enough, just enough of the time for me to not love this puzzle. As many have already stated, Saturday Night Live does not have GUEST STARS. It has GUEST HOSTS. And the musical guests are, wait for it ... musical guests. They're not guest stars either. Also, there is only one Alcoholics Anonymous. And certainly more than one way to clue AAs (batteries, anyone?).

@Barry: As always, I only filled in SAINTOLA- and waited to see if that last letter would be an F or a V. It's been a good strategy for me.

Now I'm off to rent "Three Days of the Condor" -- haven't seen it in many years but remember that I liked it a lot.

chefbea 6:51 PM  

And speaking of three days of the condor - I almost forgot... when I lived in manhattan in the good old days.. I watched one scene being filmed on east 76th st where Robert Redford rode his bicycle up to a brownstone and knocked at the door. I was suppes to be raining (and of course it wasnt) so they had hoses hooked up to all the buildings on the street. I stayed there all day watching all the takes.

Anonymous 7:30 PM  

@russalka thank you. Hoping to have at least some chance to puzzle but most aware that three weeks with family and friends plus baby daughter aint gonna give me much time, especially as still working too!

Joon 9:04 PM  

getting around to the puzzles late today. this one was ... okay. i like the theme, actually, but once i figured it out, all of the theme answers were rather easy. the other thing i didn't love about the theme was three movies i had absolutely positively never heard of. THREEDAYSOFTHECONDO? THEELEPHANTMA? CALIFORNIASUIT? whatever.

i agree that the fill wasn't much to write home about, despite a very large black square count. whole lot of mystery celebs today: RUEHL, LIEV, DRT, TISH. plus unfamiliar-to-me SMOLT and SHMEAR. plus ANSA, whoa--only reason i had ever heard of that was that orange warned us about it a while back when we saw ANTA. in retrospect, i was pretty lucky to get the RUEHL/SMOLT crossing--i tried the fishy SMELT, and then noticed i needed to change the E to an O for ...FALCO.

Anonymous 10:02 PM  

Three Days of the Condor, The Elephant Man and California Suite are relatively well known movies.

Joon 10:40 PM  

if you say so. i'm just saying i've never heard of them. i looked them up, and they all have big-name stars, so i guess i'm just ... not old enough? i dunno. actually, all these movies are pretty old (beverly hills cop seems to be the most recent, and it was made in 1984), but the other ones are super-famous.

dk 11:30 PM  

That was ASRED as a what,,,,

My french failed me as I had eaus, not EAUX and I thought he highest dart score was fifty.

The Sunday puzzle always seems like "The Glassbead Game to Me." A little to much neo-romanticism.

However, I like this blog so much, puzzle I did.

Sorry Caleb this one was a little drawn out for my taste.

Good night from Dr. Cranky Pants.

Anonymous 1:31 AM  

To the poster who wondered why "gossiping" was the clue for "dishy", instead of "gossipy":

I wondered at first, too, until I realized that "gossiping" in this instance is an adjective, as in "gossiping teenagers". So, both words are adjectives and nothing's amiss.

Anonymous 1:31 AM  

To the poster who wondered why "gossiping" was the clue for "dishy", instead of "gossipy":

I wondered at first, too, until I realized that "gossiping" in this instance is an adjective, as in "gossiping teenagers". So, both words are adjectives and nothing's amiss.

Anonymous 1:40 AM  

Also, to the same poster:
You wondered about "odeon" as well (spelling it as "odean").

"Odeon" is right up there with the "Roxy", "Rivoli", "Rialto", "Strand" and "Bijou" as a traditional name for a movie theater since the beginning of movie theaters.

fotos4fun 9:16 AM  

Wonder if anyone can help me on this one.

I use Across Lite to print my favorite Sunday crosswords each week. I prefer to do this so I can work on them at my leisure. They used to print great with a nice large grid and the clues all on one page. Somehow I changed something in the program so now when I print, I get a tiny unusable grid in the upper left and the clues on the rest of the page. I can't figure out how to change it back .... Can anyone help me? Thanks .. ALAN

kas 8:28 AM  

fun puzzle

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

Odéon is a Paris Métro stop near Université Paris V et VI, named for the historic theater there, and presumably these American theaters are named eponymously.

You wondered about "odeon" as well (spelling it as "odean").

"Odeon" is right up there with the "Roxy", "Rivoli", "Rialto", "Strand" and "Bijou" as a traditional name for a movie theater since the beginning of movie theaters.

Mike the Wino 2:38 PM  

A week behind here, so can someone point me to the previous discussion regarding the off-limits 56A?

Thanks, Mike the Wino

embien 3:44 PM  

1wklater from syndicationland:

50a 2000 title role for Richard Gere (DR T) Say what? I guess I'm supposed to know this, but I certainly don't.

Anonymous 7:09 PM  

'potty' is a synonym of 'daft' in British English.

Anonymous 7:09 PM  

'potty' is a synonym of 'daft' in British English.

Travel Bum 12:19 AM  

@Mike the Wino, I think this refers to the extended discussion of beet preparation methods from last month (actually, last week in syndicationland).

Travel Bum 12:22 AM  

@embien, "Dr. T and the Women" was a Robert Altman movie starring Richard Gere and a host of female stars, that I found fairly forgettable.

Anonymous 4:30 PM  

Um.....if something has more than one form, aren't they all variants?

Amelie 9:45 AM  

Trivia: According to IMDB, the decaying Southern mansion in "YANCY Derringer" is the old TARA set.

Anonymous 6:26 PM  

Hi Rex-
a little late, but.....
Easy puzzle, yeah, but any puzzle that has D'OH is OK by me.
Also, I was surprised that nobody has mentioned the positions of a few clues in the NorthEast quadrant and their relative positions that amused me (Is it just me?)...
As I filled in lower and lower I was hoping for more bad puns like that, ,but I guess that there can only be one Merl Reagle.

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