WEDNESDAY, Oct. 15, 2008 - Kevin Der (Hoops announcer's "Slam dunk!" / Villainous "Star Trek" collective / Sourdough's strike / Tout's offering)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: BABY (53D: Word before the starts of 16-, 36- and 58-Across and 10-, 14- and 33-Down)

This puzzle has 20-something tech-savvy M.I.T. grad written all over it. OK, maybe not the "M.I.T. grad" part (that's just something I know about Kevin), but the puzzle is chock full of cell phoniness and WWWebiness.

  • URL - 18A: WWW address
  • iPHONE - 13A: Macworld 2007 debut
  • WEBCAMS - 26D: Videoconferencing devices
  • TEXT - 30D: Communicate without speaking
  • CHAT - 28A: Online activity
  • RIP - 65A: Copy, as from CD to PC

That's a huge chunk of gadget-related fill. Here's the big "?" about this puzzle: BOOM SHAKA LAKA (14D: Hoops announcer's "Slam dunk!"). Since when did the "Urban Dictionary" become acceptable as the sole source for a phrase's meaning? This is a phrase I can imagine a sports announcer saying, but it's hardly standard or definitive. In fact, it feels weirdly 80s, like ... maybe I heard it back when "dunking" was a less common phenomenon in basketball. The title sequence of "Dumb and Dumber" uses a song called "BOOM SHAKA LAKA" - if I'm hearing it right (the song does not appear to be on the official soundtrack):

I like how the Across answers in the SE corner read like a very short story about a certain crossword constructor who was so depressed that she would do anything for money...

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Self-important sort (GRAND poobah) - "poobah!" (Var.!) - I was just sayin' you only see this word in crosswords ...
  • 36A: Chill (SIT back and relax)
  • 58A: Words to a blowhard (TALK is cheap)
  • 10D: Krill-eating creature (BLUE whale)
  • 14D: Hoops announcer's "Slam dunk!" ("BOOM shaka laka!")
  • 33D: Wastes no time (STEPS on it)

And the rest:

  • 1A: Tout's offering (hot tip) - I submit that, like "poobah" and its variants, "tout" is a word one is likely to see in crosswords (as clued) way more often than anywhere else (except maybe a racetrack). Racing used to be a much more central part of American popular culture, but it's gone the way of boxing - associated with a bygone time of TOUTs and betting and fixes and corruption. It's no surprise that so many early examples of film noir had the track or the ring at their centers - sites of criminal influence, gambling addiction, people looking for the big score, and other kinds of depravity. Now people just play Lotto and watch Ultimate Fighting.
  • 7A: Subject of Mendel's study of genetics (pea) - I think I wrote DNA or RNA in here reflexively.
  • 10A: Media grp. with a royal charter (BBC) - oooh, a Royal Charter, well la-di-da. In other royal news, when did "royal jelly" become the new thing in shampoos? "Jelly" is not an appealing word.
  • 21A: Literally, "great O" (omega) - hmmm ... makes sense, but not my first thought.
  • 35A: In fine fettle (hale) - as in "the TOUT was feeling in fine fettle after his pow-wow with horse-racing POOBAH Carlo Vincenti."
  • 49A: Sourdough's strike (lode) - mmm, sourdough. Wife went with "garlic sourdough" tonight, but I didn't care for it. I love garlic, and I love sourdough, but I do not whole cloves of garlic baked into my sourdough. I love that this clue is "49" Across.
  • 2D: She played Sofia in "The Color Purple" (Oprah) - speaking of POOBAHs ...
  • 57A: Beattie or Blyth (Ann) - no idea who ANN Blyth is. Ah, I see she played Joan Crawford's daughter in "Mildred Pierce."
  • 7D: Trivia contest locales (pubs) - ugh, trivia. I know many of you dig it. My mind retains only what it cares about. It's weak that way.
  • 11D: Villainous "Star Trek" collective, with "the" (Borg) - also the nickname of the dorm I lived in freshman year (shortened form of "Oldenborg").
  • 17D: Utah's "Family City U.S.A." (Orem) - now THAT bit of trivia I remember, mainly because I blogged about it many moons ago. I would like to sell the OREM City Council on a promotional video idea that uses the tag line "There's MORE for you ... in OREM" and the "M" would trace a rainbow-trailed arc from one end of "ORE" to the other (copyright Rex Parker, 2008)
  • 39D: Croupier's tool (rake) - ooh, the casino. Another great film noir locale.
  • 41A: "M*A*S*H" solider (ROK) - Republic of Korea (South). Constructors take note - there is an English singer of marginal fame named RIKROK. He can be heard on the #1 single "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy (2000):

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS NY'ers who support Obama take note - tonight is the benefit at the Hope Lounge in Brooklyn, where crossword artist Emily Cureton's work will be on display. Details here.


Anonymous 5:47 AM  

It's 2:30am PST and I can't resist being first! I was en route to bed and printed out the puzzle only to see you had mysteriously blogged it already. Are you in the future again somehow?

OH yes, puzzle.

Kevin so cool.

Tho I spelled BOOMSHACALAKA with a C in themiddle, bec I orig had DOC instead of ROK. M*A*S*H was all about medics, no?

You are totally right about the SE corner...I thought it was just my self-involvement/paranoia, but young Kevin DID use half my catch phrases (ACME, NAMEIT, TALKISCHEAP) I half expected to see the Einstein quote again!

Plus he even had 2/3 of a theme I had just had rejected by the NYT, the LAT AND the SUN:


I thought it was so cute...
SIS BOOM BAH + Cheerleader...get it?!
(Well, Will, Rich and Peter all got it and no one wanted it) :(

The first two themes of Kevin's that I solved were GRANDPOOBAH and BOOMSHAKALAKA so there was BOOM and BAH and I thought, "Oh No! I've been Derred!"

The only thing that kept this from being perfect was I felt lots of little words/prepositions on the ends of phrases:


(It reminds me of the joke, "Where's the library at, @$$#*%&!")

Altho, really, when you have SITBACKANDRELAX going thru the middle of a puzzle, how can you ABHOR anything about it?

But what WAS up with TONG as a verb?!

sillygoose 8:02 AM  

This was a very enjoyable puzzle on many levels, including the SE corner :-).

Speaking as someone who watches Finding Nemo every day, I was very happy to see Blue Whale as the answer to the clue "Krill-eating creature". (Swim away!)

Now, if every puzzle could have a clue/answer paring that took from children's programs.... Boom Shakalaka!

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

I liked this puzzle. Especially "boom shakalaka" - one of those answers where my mind went to it almost right away, but I had to ask myself "could it really be?!" a few times.

Can anyone explain to me the clue for LODE? Don't quite understand that, and a quick google didn't turn up much.

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

@chris c: During the Gold Rush the 49's (the reason Rex liked this answer being at 49A) struck gold in the mother LODE.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

I meant 49ers ... just like the football team!

ArtLvr 8:47 AM  

For some reason I saw HOTTIP immediately and swam through everything faster than usual! And it was fun to see the Gilbert and Sullivan coinage GRANDPOOBAH right after Philly filled us in!

@ chris c -- sourdough is an old-timey word for prospector in the NW...

Rex's write-up was very amusing -- but why dislike the word jelly? It might make a good puzzle theme -- jellyroll, jellyfish, etc. Thanks to Kevin -- lots of argot, but gettable!


mac 9:25 AM  

Great write-up Rex, you sound bright and chipper this morning! Lode at 49 is great, and I like the Orem - more line. I also noticed Andrea's corner, you could even read something nice into amati! Oh yes, the puzzle was very enjoyable today, too, thanks Kevin der Kluge.

I also never heard of tong as a verb, and, believe me, this shakalaka thing came completely from crosses. Good old Dutch name, Oldenborg or -burg. And this evening Hofstra!

What about royal jelly? I think it is a sort of aspic that has a lot of boiled down wine in it, not something you want to put into your hair.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Boom Shaka Laka was also the cadence Bill Murray's platoon marched to in *Stripes*.

(.. or, *to which they marched* :))


Orange 9:51 AM  

Tong is a verb, a back-formation from the noun. The verb dates back to 1865-70, while the noun (either tong or tongs) dates back to the year 900. So start tonging things without apology or embarrassment.

Another crossword I did in the last week had a similar clue for OMEGA, and that was the first time I'd ever heard that. Compare to OMICRON. That's little O! It's so obvious now, but I was blind to it before. (Epsilon and upsilon mean "plain and simple E" and "plain and simple U," in case you were wondering. I just looked 'em up.)

Orange 9:53 AM  

(Source: Tong info from Random House Webster's Unabridged, 2nd ed. Greek letter info from the Mac widget dictionary based on the New Oxford American Dictionary.)

Joon 9:53 AM  

BOOMSHAKALAKA reminds me only of NBA jam. but that's definitely a good thing.

mac 10:07 AM  

@orange, thanks for the omega/omicron explanation, d'oh! I had some (classic) Greek and should have remembered....

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

I don't watch basketball so I've never heard Boom Shaka Laka used in the context of a slam dunk. However I had certainly heard the phrase and got the entry pretty quickly. How so? It goes back to Sly and the Family Stone in 1969. "I Want to Take You Higher". Remember? Mmmm.... high school dances....mmmmm.


Anonymous 10:42 AM  

I briefly had OMAHA instead of OMEGA. Just channeling my inner Marlon Perkins I guess.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

@orange et al re: TONG. Just because you can find it in a dictionary, it doesn't mean that it's really "in the language." There are some dictionaries that include some very far-out uses of words. My question is: Is there anyone out there in this audience who uses TONG as a verb? I know I don't, and it sounds pretty darn strange to me.

dk 10:52 AM  

When you watch attractive people dancing to Sly singing (see @opus2 post) Boom Shaka Laka Boom Shaka Laka you get to say he/she must be jelly cause jam don't shake like that.

See I can be a gender neutral pig.

I saw ACME in the puzzle and my heart went pitter pat cause I met her.

In sum, fine Wednesday and full of puzzle-rata.

An aside, I am having my house remodeled (in an effort to stimulate the economy). The crew found a news paper from 1937 in the rafters... and it has a x-word puzzle. Tomorrow I will scan it and post it on my blog. One interesting thing is the use of 2 letter answers.

Please note SMITTY was in the funny pages in 1937, the average mortgage was $4300 and a used piano was $35

Unknown 10:59 AM  

BOOMSHAKALAKA reminds me only of NBA jam. but that's definitely a good thing.


And it also reminds of the refrain of "Shamrocks And Shenanigans" from House of Pain's classic "Fine Malt Lyrics" having this answer stir up many fond memories of listening to rap playing super nintendo in the early nineties, probably rocking my starter jacket

I've never been laid off, my rhymin' skill paid off
Cause now I'm makin' records, now I'm makin' tapes
Steady bustin' suckers in bunches like grapes
Makin' all the papes, scoopin' up the loot
Puttin' suckers on the run, pull my gun and then I shoot
I never been a front, I never a fraud
I gotta natural skill, for that I thank the Lord
Cause I feel blessed, I'm casually dressed
I always got my gun, but I never wear a vest
I'm quick on the draw like the horse named McGraw
From the cartoon boom sha lock lock boom


(boom sha lock lock boom)
All right now
(Boom sha lock lock boom)
A little louder
(Boom sha lock lock boom)
(Boom sha lock lock boom)
All right now

Two Ponies 11:06 AM  

Despite all of the techie answers this had some nostalgia for me and had me humming Sly Stone and thinking (perhaps incorrectly) about Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble belonging to a lodge headed by a Grand Poobah. The Road Runner was in there too. Joni Mitchell and the Beatles as well.
A Wed. puzzle in fine fettle.
Alas (sigh) the second B in baby was the last letter to fall because the connective theme just wasn't clicking until the very last second and then the Doh! (Versus the big O)
Thanks again Mr. Der. Well played.

Shamik 11:12 AM  

@opus2: Yup, that's my only context of BOOMSHAKALAKA, too. However, it was JUNIOR high dances!

Context aside, that was great to see in a puzzle. Unexpected, nostalgic, with spicy after notes. Oh, not wine? Puzzles!

As for trivia, all I can say is that's where we first started using Shamik as a name...our trivia team of me and DH.

Only mis-start today was TEA for PEA. Wanted wheat, but it didn't fit.

Shamik 11:14 AM  

@two ponies: You're correct about Grand Poobah and the Flintstones. It was the title of the head of their lodge: Royal Order of the Water Buffaloes.

HudsonHawk 11:32 AM  

I can't say I'm a big fan of BOOM SHAKA LAKA in the grid, even thought I liked it with Sly Stone and Bill Murray in Stripes. It's not something you typically see in print, so the spelling is wide open to interpretation.

miriam b 11:33 AM  

Bee pollen, royal jelly, honey and propolis have long been TOUTed as beneficial to humans when ingested. I won't go into the various claims here. Royal jelly is one of several substances used to feed larvae. A queen bee develops when a larva is fed royal jelly exclusively. Propolis is essentially a building material for hives, compounded of nectar and wax by the bees.

I was a formulator in the personal care industry before my retirement. Many of our products for topical use contained one or more of the above substances, and the price stickers reflected their inclusion.

Personally, I believe that most of the claims made by cosmetic companies are mostly mumbo-jumbo. I felt hypocritical at times while working on those products, but it's the old story - I needed the job and nothing else was around.

I feel a bit better when I consider that the patent that I hold - along with a few colleagues - is for a process and a product that really can be beneficial to the skin. No bees involved.

@rex: You can put garlic-flavored butter or oil ON the sourdough; doesn't have to be IN it. Throw on a little grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, stick it briefly under the broiler, and buono appetito.

Doc John 11:41 AM  

Nice write up today, Rex, with some really funny stuff.
I was also going to mention the Flintstones/POOBAH connection but wasn't fast enough.
I wasn't thrilled about TONG, either, but if it is good enough for Will and Kevin it is good enough for me!
And now to resume the Vegas vacation...

DJG 11:56 AM  

I liked BOOMSHAKALAKA a lot, and think it is perfectly acceptable, if only for the already mentioned NBA Jams connection. After filling it in early, I half-expected HESHEATINGUP to be in the puzzle as well.

Actually, that would be a fun theme for a puzzle. Sayings from old video games. HADOKEN anyone? Well, at least it would be fun for me.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Seeing BLUEWHALE in the grid reminds me of something that has been puzzling me, perhaps one of you bright people can help me out:

Is the whale tail a fluke of nature?

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Speaking of TONG - today's NYT dead-tree edition has a large picture from a new play with Christine Lahti on the facing page from the puzzle.

In the picture, she is about to TONG the private parts of her companion (sorry if this spoils anyone's appetite). According to the review, because the two of them both have amnesia, she is hoping that 'finding something familiar will jog her memory'.


Anonymous 12:20 PM  

What's not to love about BOOM SHAKA LAKA! I considered it and figured it must be wrong - never heard an announcer say it.

I always remember OREM because I believe that's where the Osmond family lives.

An easy Wednesday, very enjoyable though.

Twangster 12:49 PM  

I got this done quickly but then couldn't get it accepted ... 10 minutes later I figured out I had HIE and TIN (both of which kind of fit their clues) instead of HOE and TON.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

After several days of travails through which I could not get a puzzle right on the first try (most recently because I bumped the touchpad on the laptop and changed a correct square by mistake), it was a great relief to submit this one without a slapdown from the applet. Maybe this means I'm back on track. Maybe it means I need to stick to the desktop for x-wording. Maybe I got lucky. Anyway, I'm savoring the moment.

I did find this pretty easy. My time was on the low end of what I expect on Wednesdays. I spent the most time trying to figure out ROK. My indecision left me considering an alternate spelling on BOOMSHAQALAKA (I thought it was wrong, but it was a basketball clue and my answer included Shaq, so I thought it was worth a try). When that didn't help, I finally accepted ROK and only then did I put together what it meant.

dk 1:30 PM  

Was TONG in an earlier puzzle as a secret Chinese American society that occasionally ices resulting in RIP.

I think the initial source of income for a TONG had something to do with a HOE. This perspective when, you consider TALKISCHEAP, OPENTO, NAMEIT, BABY and SATBACKANDRELAX casts a more sinister pall across this puzzle.

I am just sayin......

Orange 1:31 PM  

Miriam, I like to use the garlic-flavored butter or oil to keep my skin supple and fresh.

DK, you're in Minneapolis, right? My friend who lives there had the insulation replaced in part of her house. The old insulation? 1930s newspapers. Apparently this was state-of-the-art in '30s Minneapolis.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

Another puzzle where I couldn’t decide whether I liked it or not. In fact I spent most of the solving time pondering rex’s opinion of the clue/answer. Reminds me of the little insti-graphs on CNN during the Presidential debates. I wonder which influences me more: the candidates answers or the graphs reflecting the opinions of others. CSPAN’s the answer.
Either I have it on the brain or rex has a randy twist of late. Literally “great O” – not my first thought either!

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

Funny, Rex, that you don't like trivia contests. I find that the same part of my brain/memory helps me in both trivia contests and crossword puzzles. That's the part that remembers obscure and seemingly useless tidbits of information, but forgets where I left my car keys.
- Tom in Pittsburgh

chefbea 1:38 PM  

Took me a while to get Baby because I didn't know bmi. Never heard of boom shakalaka. Did see acme in the south east.

Think I'll go tong me some ice to put in my coffee

Making soup today. Smells good and its red!!!

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

I always start a Kevin Der puzzle with great anticipation and was not disappointed today. So many new words and phrases made this lots of fun, not too tough and a perfect Wednesday. At one point I had EMI instead of BMI which gave me BAEY ... a mistake that was quickly fixed. This has been a good week, I look forward to tomorrow.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  


11D: Villainous "Star Trek" collective, with "the" (Borg) - also the nickname of the dorm I lived in freshman year (shortened form of "Oldenborg").

This is true, and you forgot to mention that it is no accident: One of the writers for TNG is a graduate of your alma mater and also lived in that same dorm. This is also the reason that the number 47 appears in some form or another in almost every episode of TNG.

All's I'm sayin' is, chirp chirp.

kristinbear 3:39 PM  

Hmm, I'm a 20s something MIT grad and I got tripped up by "text"... but overall I enjoyed the puzzle.

Does 42A Bikini Event refer to the nuclear testing in the Bikini Atoll?

JoefromMtVernon 4:14 PM  

Just did the puzzle now.

The kids in school used to call me the "Grand Poobah" as a result of a comment about rap's Grand Puba (there's a variation) not being the real grand poobah. I even spelled it that way.

A student once researched the name. Originally from The Mikado, most remember it from The Flintstones.

It also made an appearance as the head of Mr. Cunningham's lodge on Happy Days.

I wish they would come out with some real nice water buffalo hats. Last time at Universal, they weren't that nice looking.


Stephan 4:20 PM  

for 20A: Whizzes i wanted 'PEES'

fergus 4:59 PM  

My only acquaintance with Ann Blythe is through television as the spokesperson for Hostess, around about the time HoHos came out. I wonder whether she was any good in her youth? Reminds me of when I finally saw Vertigo, and was stunned that Miss Ellie was ever young.

Yeah, Kevin Der is an Ace but I wasn't too delighted with 14 Down. The rest was really good, with lots of fine Wednesday Cluing. Halftime crew, for example makes you think a little bit before it becomes obvious.

I don't think of SMUG as being particularly Self-important. To me, that would be well down the list of definitions. Gloating is probably the closest synonym, I would say. I don't think that when you're pleased with yourself that you necessarily feel important, but I'm just quibbling ....

Anonymous 5:43 PM  


Thank you! I never knew about Sourdough ref and I've lived in SF off and on for half my life!
(It took me about ten years to make the connection that the 49ers are called the 49ers bec of the Gold Rush...)


Yes, connection is that during the A-tests on the Bikini Atoll there were end of the world parties and apparently people wore and the term bikini was coined.
(I just learned that on a trivia show I was co-hosting, which I guess Rex wouldn't have tuned in to!)
It has nothing to do with bi=two as in two-piece, tho later mono-kini came into being, but that's a retro-nym or whatever those are called.
(Like when they call something Troopergate, long forgetting that the gate was from Watergate the name of the hotel, not some deal gonebad.)

Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

you got it backwards,'s MY heart that goes patter pit :)

(What's your blog, I want to check out the puzzle from 70 years ago!
You should frame it...altho I guess blogging it is the equivalent of that these days)

I'm not sure what to think of Shaggy's "It wasn't me"!
(Couldn't understand a word of what he was saying, but love his voice)

Anonymous 6:06 PM  

@Steve I (10:51)

Couple of questions:

Quoting you:

YOU: @orange et al re: TONG. Just because you can find it in a dictionary, it doesn't mean that it's really "in the language."

Me: Does that mean it's not fair game? Seems like a lot of the comments here cite one dictionary or another (or even just Google hits) to justify the answer's existance.

YOU: There are some dictionaries that include some very far-out uses of words.

Me: Yup, e.g. See PFUI

You: My question is: Is there anyone out there in this audience who uses TONG as a verb? I know I don't, and it sounds pretty darn strange to me.

Me: You must lead a lonely, sheltered life. (or at least a very ego-centric one).


@acme: Yes I understand, and that scares me!

fergus 6:45 PM  

Earlier today, strolling along the beach, I had a long and fascinating discussion about the metaphysics of money with a very bright guy, who is a layman when it comes to Economics. Smart enough to know what he doesn't know. We pretty much were able to sort out the last quarter century, though I do say this with some irony.

Anyhow, within this rather intellectual context, I am totally in favor of TONG as a verb. So what if it only appears as a noun, in plural, in everyday speech. The meaning is justified since it was readily perceived.

Also, wasn't there some awful C-movie called "The Terror of the Tongs," which I think referred to this remarkably simple and useful tool?

jubjub 7:26 PM  

@joon et al., i got boomshakalaka immediately, most likely from from playing nba jam in my youth. boomshakalaka! the nail in the coffin! he's on fire!

mac 8:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac 8:15 PM  

@fergus: I am with you, I'm always happy to learn a new word, or verb, like: to grok, to sparse and to tong! Don't think I'll have a lot of use for boomshakalaka.
Lucky you, having a stroll along the beach!

fergus 8:31 PM  

I tong
You tong
She tongs

Such an alluring conjugation.

chefbea 8:34 PM  


I tong
you tong
We all tong for Ice........cream

Anonymous 9:56 PM  

It reminds me of this friend Helen with her pet raccoon Madeline who used to climb on top of our heads
(which is how coonskin caps must have originated) and reach into our drinks with her little hands with opposable thumbs and steal our ice cubes!
Maybe that was tong=ing and until now it was mostly used as a verb by semi-feral raccoons!

THere's more to this story involving Bunnies having spontaneous heart attacks, but i'll wait till there is a clearer puzzle connection!

I'm sad and open to naming work for cheap!

Joon 11:04 PM  

mac, if you can't find occasions to use BOOMSHAKALAKA, you're not trying hard enough.

Anonymous 11:06 PM  

@glitch--We have had this discussion before. If something is "in the language," it's fair game because it is something that sounds normal to most solvers. "Tong" as a verb, at least to me, is a stretch, sort of a made-up use of a noun as a verb. Now you certainly can use it in a puzzle, but in my opinion, it lowers the quality of the puzzle. The fact that it's in the puzzle doesn't throw me off; I didn't have any trouble coming up with it. But it sounds like the constructor tried to find a way to make a word that is invariably plural work without the final s--in this case, by making a verb out of it. It is analogous, at least to me, to the ridiculous "recarve" (Cut again, as a turkey) that was in the puzzle a few months ago. Everyone understands it, since it consists of "re-," a common prefix meaning "again," and "carve," a verb that no one is unfamiliar with. Only problem: you can't recarve anything. Once it's carved, you can't carve it again. No reference in reality, not "in the language." And yet there are almost 700 hits for "recarve" on Google, and they don't have anything to do with a turkey.

fergus 11:22 PM  

You name it, but whatever it is is not lost.

Acme, I've got a group set to hang out at a prime nature location, sort of in celebration of my birthday on the 17th, or Irina's, or yours on Saturday.

Jeffrey 11:23 PM  

I'll give the last word on this one:


mac 11:27 PM  

Joon, you are right, and I'm probably breaking the rules, but I'm watching MSNBC and saying BOOMSHAKALAKA!

fergus 11:33 PM  

i.e. maybe you and other city types can find a way to commune with the country folk among us.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

i guess your too young to remember sly and the family stone !


Anonymous 7:58 PM  

Can anyone enlighten me as to how "Head of London" becomes LOO? I know toilets are called loos in the UK, but does head = toilet?

Shanti11 8:06 PM  

I guess this crossword is a good example of how what is a gimme to some is a WTF to others. I had a very hard time with this puzzle. Had no idea what a tout was or is, or a sourdough. I was visualizing a sourdough's strike to be some kind of kneading style. And I had to get Boom Shakalaka almost completely from crosses.

But I slept on it (not literally - the monitor hurts my neck), and completed it today (well, tomorrow - Friday)

I liked that OPRAH is in the grid, along with the clue "great O". She could fit there too! (Also, count me in with everyone else who read "great" as "big" in that clue.

I'm not clear on how "soldier in M*A*S*H" = the Republic of Korea (ROK). How does a soldier = a country?

The guy singing the song at the beginning of the Dumb and Dumber movie is Apache Indian, and the song is called "Boom Shak-A-Lak". (I knew you were all dying to know that.)

@acme: I laughed out loud when I read your story about the raccoon: it sounded like your friend Helen used to climb on top of your heads!

I am definitely using "tong" in a sentence today: "Honey, can you tong some more ice for my rye and Coke?" Yes, rye. I'm a Canadian.

Shanti11 8:09 PM  

@Anonymous 7:58

A bathroom on a sailing vessel is called the head.

Anonymous 4:17 PM  

I ran across your blog when trying to figure out the "RATTIEST/TATTIEST" and "RESTATE/TESTATE" issue in Friday's puzzle. I too thought of Oldenborg as I did this one and am very excited to run across a fellow Sagehen doing the crossword.

Anonymous 10:53 PM  

Few days late but let me just add to the NBA Jam lovefest. I always got a BoomShakaLaka when I broke the backboard. That game was SIIIIIICK.

It was really more of a BOOMShakalakalakalakalakalaka, with the lakas getting progressively softer.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

Must be something about doing the syndicated puzzle. The "phrase?" BOOMSHAKALAKA means absolutely nothing to me and was simply a guess based on crosses. If I had depended on the Beattie part of the Beattie or Blyth clue I certainly would have had to either depend on crosses or go to Google. The Blyth put it in the gimme category.

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For men, the inability to have an erection is indeed a big disappointment not just for them but to both partners.

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