THURSDAY, Oct. 9, 2008 - Doug Peterson (Constellation with a music-related name / Nieuwpoort's river / Rock band triple-platinum album "High Voltage")

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: LITTLE DEVILS (52A: Mischief-makers (you'll find seven of them in the answer grid)) - a rebus puzzle where "IMP" appears in seven squares throughout the grid

A great crossword word turned into a rebus - I love when that happens. It happened with "ERG" a couple years back. It took me longer than it should have to tumble to the theme, but after I figured it out, the puzzle was not hard at all. A delightful romp, with lots of IMPiness, including a spectacular mid-puzzle collision between 15-letter "MISSION IMP OSSIBLE" and WRITING IMP LEMENTS. The "IMP"s aren't symmetrical, but when there are so many of them, who cares? There was precisely one word I didn't know - BUNIN (56A: Russian Literature Nobelist Ivan) - one word I almost didn't know - LYRA (18A: Constellation with a music-related name) - and only a few of those exotic-sounding words that late-week, high-end crosswords tend to throw around from time to time (today, KRAIT - 23D: Banded snake - and CEYLONESE - 4D: Like some black tea). Otherwise, simple, but still entertaining.

Theme answers (all 14!)

  • 16A: Broken out, in a way (pIMPly)
  • 2D: Curious George, for one (chIMP)
  • 19A: Effects seen down the road (long term IMPact)
  • 15D: Sights at many football games (blIMPs)
  • 22A: Be stingy with (skIMP on)
  • 24D: Deadlock (IMPasse)
  • 37A: TV series that's now a film franchise ("Mission IMPossible")
  • 7D: Quills, sometimes (writing IMPlements)
  • 45A: Call into question (IMPeach)
  • 45D: Drive forward (IMPel)
  • 55A: Spear (IMPale)
  • 46D: See for a second (glIMPse)
  • 66A: Spontaneous skits (IMProv)
  • 33D: Seafood cocktail ingredient (tiger shrIMP)
Here's a little mini-theme (was that redundant?) for you - Arthurian Literature! Tennyson wrote "IDYLLs of the King" (38D: Tennyson work), which is, in part, about the quest for the Holy GRAIL (46A: Sought-after object), and I'm pretty sure that the knights ride around on what you could call STEEDS (40A: Chargers). Did I mention that those answers are all interlocking? Awesome.

Clean-up on aisle 4:
  • 1A: Rock band with the triple-platinum album "High Voltage" (AC/DC) - the only album I own by them is "Back in Black." What's on "High Voltage?" Aha ... their first of at least two songs about balls:

    Here's the other:

    God, I love the album cover on that second one. I owned that album (vinyl!) when I was 11.
  • 5A: Direct sales giant (Amway) - not clear to me what they "do," but I know the name.
  • 13A: Something sold in half sizes (shoe) - two problems here. First, nobody buys/sells a single shoe. Second, in my printed-out puzzle, "half sizes" is right over "Restraints" (14A), and my eye kept reading the clue as [Something sold in half pints].
  • 15A: Orange Free State settler (Sulu, I mean Boer, [wink!])
  • 26A: Hollywood's Davis (Ossie) - did he really belong to "Hollywood"?
  • 6D: Legume used to produce sprouts (mung bean) - possibly my favorite answer in the grid, despite the fact that MUNG is a super duper ugly word, rhyming as it does with DUNG and BUNG. Yuck.
  • 9D: Nieuwpoort's river (Yser) - only the Dutch can make "U," "W" and "P" behave long enough to form a word in sequence together.
  • 10D: Big East basketball powerhouse (Hoyas) - answer wants to be GEORGETOWN. Is there any cluing rule that would allow a solver to differentiate between school and mascot / team name?
  • 29D: Petro-Canada competitor (Esso) - an old standard, though it feels like I haven't seen it for a while.
  • 36D: Green and Rogen of comedies (Seths) - I vote for SETH #2.
  • 47D: Muscat money (rials) - word "Muscat" makes me think of only one thing:

Or, if you are more into masochism, there's this version:

  • 53D: Web site with PowerSellers (eBay) - I want "Web site" to be one word. Is there someone I can lobby for that to become true?
  • 51A: Popular Art Deco prints (Ert├ęs) - eeks. That name's bad enough in the singular.
  • 60D: Verb on valentine candy (luv) - undeniable. Sweet.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS if you have not done it yet, please enjoy Rex Parker Free Crossword #1: a VP debate-themed puzzle entitled "Don't Blink" - MERCI (11D: Polite Parisian's reply)


SethG 9:00 AM  

Rex, one cannot, must not, choose among SETHS. One must accept, nay, treasure all SETHS.


ESSO SOSO sounds like a Finnish something-or-other, or maybe it's Samoan. BUNIN sounds like a foot ailment. What is the sound of an AC/DC YODEL?

Shamik 9:07 AM  

It is much too early for the Captain and Tennille.

Agreed this is a medium.

Mis-starts for today:

SEARS for AMWAY (just don't want to think about Amway)
MISSIONPOSSIBLE for MISSIONimpOSSIBLE because I hadn't gotten the rebus yet

Lots of great stuff you never see:
KRAIT (new word for me)

Good puzzle! Flying off to the northeast tomorrow for 3 week visit.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Fun puzzle. And Rex, to continue the Little Mini-theme, those knights on their steeds might IMPALE a foe.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Watching the Captain and Tennille clip I was mesmerized by it's awfulness ... on so many levels. This is the song they performed at the White for the Fords and Queen Elizabeth II where I'm sure keeping a stiff upper lip had to come into play.

I loved this puzzle. So much fun after the first IMP was discovered. Wonderful words: CEYLONESE, MUNGBEAN, PIMPLY, IMPROV, TIGERSHRIMP, KRAIT, WRITINGIMPLEMENTS.

Congratulations, Doug Peterson!

ArtLvr 9:43 AM  

Love love LUV this puzzle! I worked around many areas with some head-scratching, but the [seafood cocktail ingredient] with TIGERSHRIMP and then MISSIONIMPOSSIBLE gave it away fairly quickly, followed by GLIMPSE and BLIMPS. Great fun....

I didn't mind PIMPLY or IMPALE, though I smiled as I pictured some solvers saying Eeew. The only names I would not have been sure of without crosses were BUNIN and HOYAS... ONE small quibble with the clue at 38D in that the famous "IDYLLs of the King" Tennyson work has the plural of IDYLL, but the meaning is clear enough.

Other classical answers were enjoyable too -- ATLAS at Rockefeller Center, LYRA the musical constellation, and the GOAT-legs of the Faun. 57A HEEL might have been linked with Achilles too, but [Darned spot, often] offered more room for missteps... Foodies rejoiced at the rarely appearing MUNGBEAN and CEYLONESE tea, I'm sure! Quite impressive, all in all. MERCI, Doug!


RodeoToad 9:43 AM  

"Muskrat Love," ur-cheese that it is, actually has a high-cool-cred pedigree. It was written by Willis Alan Ramsey and appeared on his 1972 album (his only album); some critics trace the whole Americana craze or whatever you want to call it back to that album or at least through it. The song's better when he does it, at least in the context of the album, but it's still pretty stupid.

I've said before, probably here, that AC/DC wrote the greatest album title of all time: "For Those About to Rock, We Salute You." It always brings a lump to my chest, AC/DC's simple, heartfelt tribute to all those about to rock.

But I gotta say I did not like this puzzle. I don't like these kind of puzzles generally because hunting for the hidden words gets too distracting, and I usually misjudge what's going on. Here, for example, I originally saw the puzzle's them as being "dropped IMs" rather than "crowded imps." I didn't finish the mid-Pacific bit and still don't understand why STEMS have anything in particular to do with sap. I never heard of that snake, I don't think. That part of the puzzle was hopeless for me.

Unknown 9:45 AM  

Mischief Makers was a great N64 game. Though it had nothing to do with imps...or mischief for that matter.

There was also an art deco mini-mini-theme in here with the Erte and the Atlas in Rockefeller Center.

Great associations. This puzzle made me happy.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Rex, what are or is a poetry slam ?? (61 Across)

Twangster 10:11 AM  

I got all the imps but stumbled around CEYLONESE.

Thought some of you might get a kick out of this prayer excerpt that's read during Yom Kippur services ... it might make a good crossword puzzle theme sometime (although the K,Y and Z are a bit suspect):

"We all have committed offenses; together we confess these human shortcomings: The offenses of arrogance, bigotry, and cynicism; of deceit and egotism, flattery and greed, injustice and jealousy. Some of us kept grudges, were lustful, malicious, or narrow-minded. Others were obstinate or possessive, quarrelsome, rancorous, or selfish. There was violence, weakness of will, xenophobia. We yielded to temptation, and showed zeal for bad causes."

evil doug 10:16 AM  

long term impact

Hmmmm. Are we still having yesterday's great rape debate? If so:

Rape is always evil.

Falsely crying rape is equally wrong, destroying reputations, trivializing victims of the true crime and making it nearly impossible to distinguish the truth in what is (normally) an inherently he said/she said scenario.

So I told my son and daughter: Don't put yourself in a position to be a perp nor a victim---of either equally horrible situation.


PhillySolver 10:17 AM  

Poetry Slams are a competitive past time. My experience is you need to have about 30 stanzas on a subject memorized to do well. It is far removed from Political Slams.

archaeoprof 10:29 AM  

Curious George is both an IMP and a CHIMP.

RodeoToad 10:31 AM  

If Curious George was so curious why didn't he ever find out the name of the man in the yellow hat?

Ulrich 10:36 AM  

I like rebuses when they are done well b/c of the extra step of aha! involved when one figures it out, and this was done well IMHO. But I discovered a mistake when I came here: I had spelled skimp with a c, and since I had never heard of a krait, crait looked perfectly fine (goes to show that you should google to verify in the end if youe solve with pencil and paper, as I do).

Two Ponies 10:49 AM  

Really luv'd this one.
I'm a rebus fan and thought this one was very well done. I think the lack of symmetry adds to the fun. All right you little devils, where are you hiding? Lots of "aha moments".

fikink 11:06 AM  

Fun puzzle, except I have a clue gripe: I think "immodesty" is a lousy clue for EGO and I think dk might back me up on this.
Loved "peak performance" for YODEL, and nice to see OBLIVION in a puzzle.
Rex, interesting write-up, but your America clip reminded the Janis Joplin in me that I have to go to the grocery store today.
I'm off!

Anonymous 11:18 AM  


I strugged in the NW, finishing that part last. And at one point decided that the answer for "Curious George" as IMP, which would have made a delightful non-rebus 7th use on IMP. Then I had my "Chimp" moment. Oh well.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

I adored this puzzle. Only question is Hoyas/Georgetown. Had never heard of Bunin, so was glad the crosses gave me the answer. I wish they all could be this much fun.

Ulrich 11:54 AM  

@rex: You outed yourself with the VP debate bonus puzzle as a far-right Femi-Nazi (a feat quite in itself!): There is no mention of the democratic candidate, hardly any mention of anybody else who could be considered male (well, Dior may count, but WADE doesn't!), but of countless other females who are not running on anybody's ticket: Tina, Olin, elle, Reese, Frau, Leni. You actually crossed the last one with Palin--shame, shame, shame!

Ulrich 11:55 AM  

...wink, wink. wink:-)

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

I thought that Trig was male?

Great puzzle today. I'll take Seth #1. Loved the MUNG BEANS and the KRAIT, which I've seen somewhere before.

miriam b 12:27 PM  

@artLvr: pIMPly? Eeew. IMPale? So what? I loved the puzzle too. I was too rushed to try to draw mini-micro imps. I wonder whether tomorrow's DEADTREE NYT will show just IMPs, or actual little images of fiends.

Today's banner headline, U.S. May Take Ownership Stake in Banks, is scary. I needed this fun puzzle as an antidote.

Mike the Wino 1:05 PM  

Rex, I must IMPlore more C&T! I just about puked all over my keyboard! ( I gotta admit, however, you did warn us!) ;>{

archaeoprof 1:23 PM  

@anonymous 1118: I stalled in the NW too. Left it blank for a long time, then figured out the rebus and came back. CHIMP was my last answer!

dk 1:26 PM  

@wade, no one said George was smart. (wink, snicker, wink)

@sethg, Ertes is restaurant in our town

Typing in the 3 letters using the Mac feature I just figured out was fun and I like the rebus puzzles.

My only PIMPLY quibble is the improper use of IMPACT it should be effect, unless future smoting is involved.

Re: the election, check this out:

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Regarding 34D That while a number of destroyers were sunk by German U boats during WWIi, it was generlly the detroyer that was the "hunter" and the u boad the "hunted". U boats did not go looking for detroyers; it was the other way around.

dk 1:39 PM  

@joho, don't you think Ms. Tennille has really impressive teeth.

mac 1:50 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot, although I thought it was a -IM one, and the middle-of-the-word answers were a surprise. After chimp it was clear, and it was fun looking for the little devils. I thought the knee would be the darn spot, personally I toss socks with holes in the heels. Remember many patches on my son's knees!

@wade: I found the West below the Mission the toughest, had never seen Krait and a poetry "slam", nor Bunin, and don't know about stem for sap sites. I know someone by name but I always refer to him as the man in the yellow sweater!

Looking at Ragu reminds of the bag of fresh tomatillos a friend just gave me: I'm cooking lomo de cerdo en chile verde.

Doug 2:20 PM  

Along with the rest of the crowd, two thumbs up for this puzzle. Got AMWAY and WRITING, but I ran short of letters on IMPLEMENTS and figured some nasty fill was on the way. Then the rebus materialized and I was off.

Is there a subtheme in the center-right, let's call it... Washington DC? SETUPS, MISSIONIMPOSSIBLE, LBO, IMPEACH, ESSO, OBLIVION, LONGERTERMPACT???

Seth Rogen is a hometown Vancouver, BC boy. YET ANOTHER Canadian that walks silently amongst the Americans! I was looking for a website to help me identify the various weeds in my lawn, and of course the google search on "BC weeds" turned up nothing but sites on how great the pot (AKA "BC bud") is in our fine province. That's great, but I really want to find out what that purple thing is in the front....

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

@dk, oh yes, indeed, very impressive.

Doug 2:28 PM  

Expanding my knowledge with direction from the NYT, I looked at the Wiki entry for Captain and Tennille. About Toni:

"...performing backup on no fewer than three Elton John albums including "Caribou", "Blue Moves", and "21 at 33" (some vocally arranged by Dragon) and most notably (and prominently) on the powerful rock song "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". She also appeared as a backup vocalist on tracks by Art Garfunkel and The Beach Boys, as well as Pink Floyd for whom she performed backing tracks on "The Wall" album.

In the liner notes of the Captain & Tennille anthology Ultimate Collection: The Complete Greatest Hits, Tennille explains how her work on Pink Floyd's album gained her at least one new fan:

I went to see the [Pink Floyd] concert at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles. There was a 15-year-old boy sitting in front of me who recognized me. He turned around and snottily said, "What are YOU doing here?" So I told him I sang on the album. He ran off to find a friend who had brought the LP to the show, and looked at the back to see if my name was really on there. A few minutes later, he came back and apologetically said, "Can I have your autograph?"

imsdave 2:41 PM  

What a good puzzle. Did anyone take the time to figure out who this BUNIN guy is? I rated it an easy, but that's only because of the following sob story.

I've been working on an IMP puzzle on and off for the past couple of months. I have many of the same words, with the structural differences only being that I had LITTLE in the NW corner and DEVILS in the SE, and that my answers were all two words, with 22A, with 18 D etc. SHRIMP SCAMPI, SKIMPY SKIRT, SCARLET PIMPERNEL, et al.
Trying to slavishly make the theme answers symmetrical was my downfall, and as with most of the crap I try and do, I ended up with the almost inevitable (to me) unresolvable section of the puzzle.

Answer to 'And what made the comedian great?'


Thanks for letting me sigh out loud.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Rebuses (Rebui?) are little like heroin: They never provide that same ecstatic aaahh I received when I solved that very first one and yet I crave them every Thursday.
I dirtied up my grid by prematurely inking in JumboSHRIMP for TIGER: the anal retention just seethes with the overwriting. I had trouble with 64A – wanted an answer in the singular since Doug clued it that way. Not much time wasted there.

When I threw my first make out on my first girlfriend I remember clearly AC/DC Highway to Hell playing in the back ground. What a romantic

ArtLvr 2:46 PM  

@ miriamb -- Thinking of Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia called "Vlad the IMPALEr" and otherwise known as Dracula, along with the IMPS -- maybe because Halloween ads are upon us already. Eeew.

foodie 2:49 PM  

Speaking of LONGTERMIMPACT, I need to quote here a potential future VP of the USA and subject of a brilliant recent puzzle by Rex & PG:

“With the impacts of climate change, what we can do about that, as governor, I was the first governor to form a climate change subcabinet to start dealing with the impacts.”

AND, in response to Katie Couric: “You know, there are man’s activities that can be contributed to the issues that we’re dealing with now, with these impacts.” You can find these and more in a recent article by Maureen Dawd
what the devil?

Loved the puzzle. I had the Nobel Prize on my mind, as I know one of the winners of the Chemistry Prize just announced. So, for a while, for "Peak Performance" I had NOBEL for YODEL...

@ Ulrich and artlvr, the colorful proteins that led to the Nobel Prize have given rise to some beautiful real images of the brain that look like modern art. Just google "Brainbow" and look under images...

Anonymous 3:24 PM  

Was Curious George a chimp? I thought he was a "curious little monkey." But maybe that was just the PBS theme song:

"Curious George, the curious little monkey!
Let's see what he's up to today!"


chefbea 3:30 PM  

fun puzzle today. When I got luv I knew 66 across had to be improv and then it all came together. It did take a while to figure out where all the imps went.

@Rex Amway used to be a company that sold cleaning products. I think they now sell other items as well.

Having pot roast tonight and will make chinese chicken salad with left over chicken - thanks Ina Garten

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

@imsdave etal,

Bu·nin (b?nin, -nyin), Ivan Alekseevich

Russian writer best known for his short stories, such as “The Gentleman from San Francisco” (1916). He lived in exile in Paris after 1919 and won the 1933 Nobel Prize for literature.


Two Ponies 4:53 PM  

Everyone, you must check out dk's link. It is too funny.
@ dk, thank you, I have put it to good use (hope it works for me).

miriam b 4:55 PM  

@mac: My tomatillos got an early start in the garden, but are just developing now! I have a long-range plan for the pork chops in my freezer, subject to change in the event an early frost annihilates the tomatillos.

green mantis 5:00 PM  

Snappy puzzle.

Now that that's out of the way, may I direct your attention to a website dedicated to someone who is apparently running for national office.

chefbea 5:06 PM  

@dk that was great.

fikink 5:17 PM  

Thanks, mantis. Our Tshirts are already on order.
(And, until Tuesday, I always thought that T.O. was a badass football player!)

Anonymous 7:29 PM  

Stupid rebus! Why can't I finish this puzzle? I know the answers they just won't fit! OH! Right...
It's Thursday and rebusses (rebi? McEntire?) always fall on a Thursday... nerts!
Actually, this was not a bad rebus puzzle at all. Having started with MISSON...and WRITING... it was (semi)smooth sailing the rest of the way.


sillygoose 8:20 PM  

Loved the puzzle. Would have had trouble if I didn't know there were going to be 7 of them. Had to seriously hunt down the last 3 IMPs.

mac 8:40 PM  

Hi Rex, I met your best friend in the LA Times crossword puzzle.

Anonymous 11:22 PM  

I LUVed this rebus puzzle though I will admit it took me too long to get the rebus theme even though I had initially guessed MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and TIGER SHRIMP but gave up when they did not fit. When I finially realized it I almost IMPALED myself with my pencil as I was hitting myself in the forehead. I almost repeated the act when I listened to the Captain and Tennile clip.

Speaking of politics I would like to see more IMPROV and less canned speeches in the debates. Will anyone actually answer the questions? None of the canditates (I'm only speaking of the ones who can actually string a coherent sentence together without reading from notes) want to speak about the LONG TERM IMPACT of our cuurent financial crisis.

foodie 11:39 PM  

@physsciteacher, do you think anyone has any real clue about the LONG TERM IMPACT of this fiasco?

Mimi 12:10 AM  

@Steve,3:24pm -- Perhaps too late for me to nitpick, but I agree that the clue for 2D was (though IMPishly playful) weak if not inaccurate. Curious George was indeed a monkey, and not a chimp if I read my sources correctly. Monkeys are specifically long-tailed primates, whereas chimps are tailless primates like their brethren in the ape group such as gorillas, gibbons, etc.
Nevertheless, this puzzle was wonderful fun.

Anonymous 2:38 AM  

Yeths to all Seths...

IMPressive! ha!

Thank you! I will count that as now having gone to services!
But along with your skepticism about K,Y and Z, what happened to H, T and U???!!!
(Funny, "twangster" doesn't sound Jewish! U nu?)

Anonymous 3:16 AM  

Add me to the pile of folks who loved this puzzle. Working on the puzzle on the train after visiting the family for Yom Kippur, I decided, for some unknown reason, to start off on the bottom today. Got 52A (LITTLE DEVILS) pretty early on, so I already had IMPs on the brain when I ran across GLIMPSE/IMPALE, and TIGER SHRIMP/IMPROV. The MISSION IMPOSSIBLE/WRITING IMPLEMENT cross then came very easily to me, and the rest was cake.

With one exception; the only blank space in my puzzle was the last letter of 41A. Since I know virtually nothing about the financial markets, can someone explain to me what an LBO is? Not knowing what ESSO is either, the "O" was my only unfilled box.

Ronathan :-)

green mantis 5:43 AM  



green mantis 5:43 AM  


Anonymous 5:54 AM  

LBO = Leveraged buyout.
ESSO = EXXON in Canada. Used to be caled ESSO in parts of the US but they unified under the name EXXON in the 70s.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

@andrea carl michaels nee eisenberg
You couldn't IMProve it!

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