SUNDAY, Nov. 23, 2008 - David J. Kahn (What Ramona wore in a 1966 Chuck Berry song / Onetime political columnist Joseph / Revolutionary 1930s bomber)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Picture This" - all about Matisse's "Le Bateau" and the fact that it once hung upside-down at a MOMA exhibition for forty-seven days before anyone noticed; circled squares kinda sorta form the outlines of the fluke-like "bateau + reflection" featured in the painting; further, and most impressively, the circled squares spell out SAILBOAT and REFLECTION (so you know which side is up!)

I really liked this puzzle despite the fact that the visual effect is hard to appreciate. Also, partial. There are other elements to the painting (though not many)

I am a big fan of art in general from about the Impressionists to the middle 20th century, but this painting managed to get by me completely. Thought it might be familiar when I looked it up, but no. Another thing that managed to get by me: the term WATER MEDIA (46D: Styles of 25-Across and the like). Will assures me it's a real term, and I believe him, but yikes. Not exactly in common parlance. The rest of the puzzle was a welcome challenge, and a real good time. Impressed by the number and length of the theme answers, and despite some clunker fill here and there, the puzzle is remarkably tight, smooth, and legit overall.

Theme answers:

  • 23A: Leader of the Fauvist movement (Henri Matisse)
  • 25A: Title of a work by 23-Across ("Le Bateau")
  • 120A: 25-Across, e.g. (painting)
  • 122A: 23-Across, e.g. (French artist)
  • 6D: N.Y.C. cultural event (MOMA exhibition)
  • 46D: Styles of 25-Across and the like (water media)
  • 41D: How 25-Across appeared at a 6-Down in 1961 (upside-down)
  • 55D: How long 25-Across was 41-Down before being noticed and fixed (forty-seven days)

47 is also the atomic number for Ag (silver). Saw a silver ring in "Wired" yesterday that was like a class ring, sort of, only it had the "Ag" periodic table square carved into it. It was cool in a very nerdy way. Nerd bling. SCIENCES bling (47A: Academic area). OK, that "47" was a total coincidence. I'm starting to freak myself out now.

There were two particularly rough patches of this puzzle for me. The first was due North. Here's what I wrote in my initial feedback on the puzzle:
Criminy, this was HARD in places. The North in particular, where I stared at four blanks until guessing on ALSOP (10D: Onetime political columnist Joseph) and NEALE (21A: Football Hall-of-Fame coach Greasy _____) (a brutal crossing) and ANTARES (7D: Brightest star in Scorpius) and EARLAP (33A: Winter protection). Those are all Highly unusual, and their intersecting, I'm telling you, is going to make people cry. I somehow pulled ALSOP out of my brain, probably because he'd been in the puzzle. EARLAP still looks like it's missing a letter (namely, "F")
I also wrote:

You have "user" in 94A: Cushion user? (bank shot) which I really didn't like and then realized I might persuade you to change by pointing out that "USER" is already an answer (in the plural, 60D: Web browsers => USERS).

That is what we call a "dupe," and sadly, my comments got to him too late (or vice versa) for anything to be done about it. Sometimes, all the king's horses and all the king's men still miss stuff. It happens. Which is why most of the "I can't believe Shortz blah blah blah" indignation sounds so self-righteous and hollow to me. People err. Smart people err. ERR, I say! (it's a perfectly cromulent word)

OK, the other rough patch, and my Last Stand, was the NE (sadly, the place where the name of the damned painting resides). Something about the cluing on WEARABLE just puzzled me (12A: Not useless, as clothing), and I think my brain would not allow me to accept the fact of WALLOPER's existence (12D: Cleanup hitter, e.g.) - the puzzle had already used up its one free Odd Job with THRIVERS (90D: Prospering ones). Actually, there is a short story called "Dock WALLOPER" by Benjamin Appel in an excellent hard-boiled fiction anthology I own (called, I believe, "Hard-Boiled"). Late 90s, Oxford UP. Good stuff. I remember liking the story a lot. Wow ... turns out, it's also the name of a newish comic. How'd I miss that? Must've blinked.

But back to the puzzle. EDUC is short for "education," that I know. But WTF is "H.E.W." (19D: Part of H.E.W.: Abbr.)? O crap, this has been in the puzzle before - Health, Education and Welfare was a Cabinet post, a post now called Health & Human Services. Hasn't been H.E.W. since I was 10. BTEN (17D: Revolutionary 1930s bomber) eluded me even after I got all the letters - "man, that dude's got a really really weird name. How do you even pronounce that?" D'oh! LEAR (18D: Duke of Cornwall's father-in-law, in Shakespeare) was a gimme (thank god), everything else up there felt like it took some effort.


  • 1A: Dr. Seuss character with a red hat (Sam I Am) - me: "Cat in the ... no, that's got 'hat' in it ..."
  • 27A: Fictional spread (Tara) - wanted (kinda) OLEO
  • 36A: Vegetable with yellow pods (wax bean) - looks pretty cool in the grid. Does someone name these things so they will sound as untasty as possible? We had Adzuki bean soup tonight (delicious). Different kind of "bean," I realize.
  • 44A: Somewhat reduced (lowish) - well I don't like that.
  • 54A: Flying grp. since 1918 (RAF) - British fliers
  • 58A: On&On singer Erykah _____ (Badu) - she has such a cool, crossword-sexy name.

  • 67A: First name in spydom (Mata) - "spydom" is a great word
  • 70A: Suppliers of greetings (card stores) - I should hate this, but do not. Not at all. It's creative.
  • 73A: What Ramona wore in a 1966 Chuck Berry song (tight dress) - don't know the song, but I sure want to now. Dang, can't find a single youtube performance. Here's "Maybelline" instead:

  • 86A: Stone in a 2008 Olympic medal (jade) - interesting. My Tai Chi instructor (sifu) spent a chunk of the lesson today talking about the opening ceremonies and how her teacher was one of the masters who planned and designed the Tai Chi portion (I missed the ceremonies completely, so have no idea what she was talking about, but maybe some of you saw it).
  • 107A: Musical for which Ben Vereen won a Tony ("Pippin") - I know squat about musicals, and yet I knew this. Why? Never saw it. It's just ... in my mind. A bit of trivia. Strange.
  • 116A: Big D player (Mav) - nice clue for this common abbreviation of the Dallas basketball team's name
  • 117A: Visiting the U.S. capital (in D.C.) - again, creative. I may be IN D.C. in January. Or I may be scared off by the masses.
  • 119A: Sportage maker (Kia) - one of my least favorite car names ("Sportage," I mean)
  • 129A: Fiber-yielding plant (sisal) - I think I've seen SISAL rugs in various catalogs that white people like.
  • 1D: Old term of respect (sahib) - Something about this term just sounds racist. Not sure why.
  • 8D: Tiki bar offering (lei) - I had POI
  • 13D: Like the earliest Olympic festivals (Elean) - whoa, whoa, whoa ... what? Come on, ELEAN? Sounds like some kind of virtual meat product. Or that Cuban kid. It seems ELIS is a place ... and ELEAN is its adjective. News to me.
  • 42D: Kipling short story, with "The" ("Maltese Cat") - Hey, did you hear the one about the Maltese Cat? No, you didn't. The Maltese Falcon ate the Maltese Cat. Avian revenge. This is a roundabout way of saying, "...?"
  • 78D: Brad and 86-Down, e.g. (exes) - 86D: See 78-Down (Jen) - this look-here-look-there pair bugged me. Mainly because I could give a @#$#! about tabloid couples (though I do think the "Jen" in question is cute, Way cuter than that other one). I did not, however, have a problem with the here-there pair of VANCE (106D: With 112-Across, Okla. military area) and AFB. Thought that was pretty cool.
  • 110D: Bridal path (aisle) - goes nicely with ALTAR (7A: Train stop?)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


HappyDad 10:32 PM  

Still can't connect "NOD" with "make a slip."

Also can not get "stinko" from "well-oiled".

Otherwise was easier for me than most sundays.

I liked the multiple layers.

Anonymous 10:34 PM  

Who are the couple in the photo?

PuzzleGirl 10:58 PM  

I'm still pretty beat up from Saturday's puzzle so I don't have much to say. Really just this: STINKO? Seriously?

Anonymous 11:15 PM  

Neat puzzle, and thanks to Rex for reproducing the painting that inspired it. Are you sure you have it the right way up? ;-)

Yes, I was almost 17D:BTEN by the NE corner. ("BTEN!" "Bingo!") Zeno of paradox fame was 13D:ELEAN; I had no idea that ancient Olympics were too. To me ELEAN looks like internet spin, as in "you must take into account the rightwards e-lean of the Drudge Report..."

I knew zip of both Kipling's 42D:MALTESECAT and Berry's 73A:TIGHTDRESS. One difference between Rex and me is that it's the 60's song he now "sure want[s] to" know. And he's the literature professor. Go figure. While I'm at it, I'll resist the temptation to go on&on about 58A:BADU, which looks like where you'll go to college if you get D's in high school for 83A:SIX years -- and about the terrible clue for the perfectly good number 6.

I did know the Ramon Crater from my time in 4D:ISRael. It's not actually a meteoric impact crater but what Wikipedia describes as ``the world's largest erosion cirque or makhtesh.''. Surprised to see that the Hebrew word merits its own Wikipedia entry, but I'll let the curious pursue it further themselves.

Yes, the 106D/112A pairing is cool, but I thought "celebrity" = NAME, and could get nowhere with the VANCE AN? / ?IBI crossing. :-(

@HappyDad: 95D:NOD as in "even Homer nods", or as puts it, "to make a slip or error in a moment of abstraction". Yes, I wanted "err" too. The adjacent 72D:STINKO and its clue "well-oiled" are presumably the 47th and 79th (or thereabouts) colloquial expressions for "drunk", or bound for the 102A:LOO.

As am I, now, though I'm sober. Ta-ta.

Orange 11:27 PM  

Wikipedia told me that Elean is the adjective for Elis, site of the first Olympic games, not for Elea. What were the people of Elea called? No idea.

@Noam: Vance A.F.B. and Bibi.

@Anon: That's JENnifer Aniston with Paul Rudd in that movie I saw, I forget the name, where he's gay and they're best friends and she falls in love with him and it doesn't go quite as terribly as you might expect.

Anonymous 12:45 AM  

@Orange: Yes, now I know it's AFB and Bibi, but with an N instead of the F (because of my name/fame error) I was stuck. Funny too about Elis: the natural guess for "a person for Elis" would be "Elian", bringing us back to "that Cuban kid" whose name Rex was reminded of.


miguel 12:50 AM  

References to Zeno of Elia refer to a place in present day Italy, but the natives called it Velia (as did ancient maps) and they were known as Velians. ELea is a transliteration of Ἐλεάτης with little to recommend it. Perhaps, you have many ODIUMS about the whole subject.

Unknown 2:19 AM  

In reference to 17d-Bten it is the name of an early air force bomber plane,like the subsequent B17, B29, or B52.

Alex S. 3:11 AM  

NE killed me. Oddly, I got all of the Le Bateau related clues easily enough. But while I've heard of the painting hung upside down, I had no idea what it was called, or what it looked like.

So, not having that at all (and it being a foreign language title I couldn't even begin to guess). My brain refusing to see WALLOPER as a real word. Misrembering AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) where NRC went. Never having heard of ELEAN. And tentatively putting in SET ASIDE (for) where ALLOTTED (for) should go guaranteed I would never untangle that corner.

Oh well, the theme was completely wasted on me so while it is fantastic construction I am only appreciating it on a technical level.

edith b 4:15 AM  

I vaguely remember the MOMA hanging a painting upsidedown but I had no idea who the artist was or the paintings name.

As a liberal arts major in college, I did know a little bit about art and was able to build this puzzle pretty much one word at a time.

Like Alex, I had some trouble in the NE, but, one word at a time, I built this corner last.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

A whole puzzle built around the fact that MOMA hung a Matisse (that is mostly symmetrical anyway) upside down for 47 days? Eh. Double eh.

poc 8:36 AM  

@Happy Dad: NOD as in the old saying "even Homer nods", i.e. makes mistakes (no, not Homer Simpson, the other one). Even Will nods, but not here :-)

STINKO is one of the huge number of slang words for drunk, another of which is "well-oiled".

I liked this one a lot, though I don't think I've ever heard ARISTO used in Britain, except in reference to the French Revolution.

JannieB 8:37 AM  

I liked this puzzle - a good challenge for a Sunday but ultimately doable. Took me a while to get traction, finally got some in the SE. I'd have been okay in the NW sooner had I not immediately put in Mr. Ed as the "show horse".

And finally, a day without the Simpsons. Life can now return to normal.

Greene 9:18 AM  

I struggled mightily with this puzzle. There's not a thing wrong with it, in fact it's quite good -- clever cluing, tight fill, wonderful construction. I was just totally frustrated as I made error after error after error.

I got HENRI MATISSE right away, but since the only painting of his I know right off the top of my head is THE DANCE, I wrote that in for 25A. Of course it fit, so I left it in and it just created a mess in the NE. I knew there had been a painting hung upside-down at MOMA, but I didn't know which one. That helped me get 6D and 41D, but then isn't THE DANCE hanging in The Hermitage? And who would hang THE DANCE upside down? apparently, since I left it in. Oh yes, then I tried SET ASIDE for 22A and created an even bigger mess in the NE. Finally just pulled everything out and started over. Eventually everything fell in place through the reliable Edith B method of solving -- one clue at a time.

I have one quibble with 77A -- I hardly consider ERTE (aka Romain de Tirtoff) a summoning name for "Ziegfeld Follies designer." Yes, he designed costumes for the 1923 edition of the Follies, but he was much more closely affiliated with Ziegfeld's rival George White and the annual Scandals revue. When I think Ziegfeld Follies and design I think Joseph Urban (who designed sets for all the editions from 1915 through 1931) and Lady Duff Gordon, aka Lucille, who did costumes from 1915 through 1921. I'm carping, of course, because I had DUFF for 77A. Got hung up there for a while too.

I think what I learned from today's puzzle is "if something's not working, just throw it out." Oh, and I learned that even Rex has heard of "Pippin." That's good to know.

foodie 10:21 AM  

Love this puzzle, totally and completely. What a thing of beauty! What a story it tells, and then illustrates! This is as creative as I've seen in puzzledom.

Of course I struggled in several of the places mentioned by Rex and others. But the theme actually helped me to untangle the norteast. I got the shaded letters for REFLECTION and the circled one for S---BOAT, and I had -----EAU, so I figured out LEBATEAU and SAILBOAT, which really opened up that whole part of the puzzle. I love it when it takes a while to figure out the theme but it actually helps untangle part of the puzzle.

AMBIENCE is such a lovely, evocative word in French, and it really is too bad to think of it only in terms of restaurants and their ratings.

Rex, I'm so happy I've finally found an area where what you love overlaps with what I love-- not sports, not comics, but early to mid century art! Oh, and Baklava (I think).

janie 10:32 AM  

if yer in baltimore and love matisse (and other "moderns"), check out the cone collection at the baltimore museum of art. it's the kind of collection that makes ya say, "that's *here*?!"

and if ya happen to be a sports fan and are there during baseball season, a visit to camden yards makes for a fine complement to the bma. can't vouch for the quality of play, but the AMBIENCE is great...


Anonymous 10:37 AM  

Chalk up another high "huh?" reaction to STINKO, BANKSHOT and NOD

I tried them all before deciding "Nahhhhh"

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

I really enjoyed the puzzle and the concept even though I don't know much about Matisse or the sailboat being upside down - but it was a good piece of trivia. Who says solving crosswords doesn't add to our knowledge base?

One really annoying feature - the cross-references in the theme clues were acceptable and amusing, but did we really need Brad and Jen and the exes cross-referenced via clues? Like I said, this was annoying.


JoefromMtVernon 11:32 AM  

As you all know my ignorance of anything French, and that I can't keep any French Artists straight, when I got my first long answer "french artist", I knew I was in for a long day. I had heard about this happening, but it was filed under Trivail Pursuit knowledge.

But, I didn't google, and no errors. Just about 45 min, about 50% slower than usual.

And, of course, "sciences" stumped me. Go figure.

Worked from bottom to top, and math quadrant (upper right) took a while. Didn't know the painting, but the le was all I was missing. Despised "wallopers." Say that at a ballgame without getting abused. Had stop it rather than snap at, even though I knew 67A was Mata.

Couldn't read the circles. Thanks, Rex.

Enjoy the day.


archaeoprof 11:34 AM  

Great puzzle. What a Sat-Sun combination this week!

@Noam: was going to post on the Ramon crater, but you beat me to it. Spectacular place, isn't it.
Fascinating geology, and breathtaking views. There are some good pictures on Google images.

@Rex: thanks for your comments on errors. The more I read this blog, the more I appreciate the gifts of the people who make these puzzles.

Ulrich 11:49 AM  

I also admired the puzzle, and inspite of my getting the whole story in due time and connecting the dots, I had horrible problems completing isolated pockets. Having never heard of "nod" in the "err" sense and of "bank shot" in connection with a cushion, I selected a "c" instead of an "n" at the intersection, convincing myself that (1) one fills out a slip when collecting on delivery and (2) that one could use a cushion during the other thing (the meaning of which I learned through googling). But I knew this was too racy for the NYT--still, I learned something...

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

I guess "well-oiled" as in Stinko means drunk. Alas, the last time anyone anywhere said "well-oiled" was in a Barney Google comic strip in 1928.

ArtLvr 12:07 PM  

I thought the "Picture This" puzzle was a work of Art in itself, gettable with great caution. At the end I had the drunk as either stewed or stoned, never saw STINKO.

As to the hilarious UPSIDEDOWN syndrome, our Orange had this link to the BATEAU boo-boo at MOMA plus several other noted examples:

Great write-up, Rex... Least fave answer: ODIUMS!


Doug 12:13 PM  

Yikes, some already well-blogged clunkers in there, but overall well done, and it was nice to have an art-themed puzzle. Wish I had heard of LEBATEAU before.... One small complaint is that the theme is either really hard or impossible to get until the fill is almost done. But it was ultimately educational so that's always nice for a Sunday.

We're enjoying a blue sky weekend here in Vancouver, and I spotted snow on Cypress mountain around the corner from me, home of the 2010 Olympic snowboard and aerial events.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

One usage of "nod" in the sense of "mistake" is the old saying that "even Zeus nods," meaning that even the best screw up once in a while.

I loved the puzzle, even thought I too hadn't heard of the painting or the hanging mistake (or nod). It's cool anecdote.

jae 1:06 PM  

Very interesting puzzle. I vaguely remembered the upside down painting but had no idea what the title was or who painted it, so I too slogged through this one clue at a time. I actually needed the circled letters to finish. I had STEEP for 62d and was getting nowhere, so I wrote out the circled letters according to the notepad and came up with STIFF and finished. Thanks to all for the NOD explanation, I hadn't heard that expression.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

I thought it was PAPERMEDIA which would make more sense - especially because "workout target" could be LAPS. Are you sure LOWISH is right?

Unknown 1:42 PM  

my son was stationed at VANCE AFB when he was training to be a pilot.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

And whoever the base is named for is no relation (as far as I know) but nice serendipity to have my name in the puzzle on my birthday. Great puzzle. I was blown away by the symmetry of the "sailboat reflection" circles.

fikink 2:05 PM  

Didn't much care for LOWISH and thought EXES should be ITEM for a long, long time. A happier marriage of clue and fill, I think, given the subject of Brad and Jen. Alas.
Overall, a fine Sunday puzzle, with the sun shining and the Bears winning in the background.
Maybe we'll grill today!

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

When I started this puzzle I thought at first it was intended to be punishment/revenge for the easy/fun puzzle of last week. I really thought I was not going to finish.

But once I got Matisse, I just plugged away a square at a time. I got 47 Days, Upside Down and MOMA Exhibition purely from crossings, which was pretty exciting, as I had never heard of the situation before.

My biggest problems was Bank Shot and Stinko, which I now recognize as great clues.

I also had "Paper Media" and wondered what the heck "Lopish" meant. "Lowish" is a pretty weak word.

All in all, a great morning challenge, very creative, and well constructed.

I also give this one major points for its mix of high and low culture, ranging from Fauvist art to Brad and Jen and the NFL.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

NE had me flummoxed. I was convinced that it was the DOE that cared about reactor safety, so even after I had everything but the name of the painting, I was still up a tree. But I was surprised at how quickly the rest of it came together after an initial go through and an almost blank grid. Got traction ever ever so slowly...

@rex -- I was surprised to see you mention all those 47s and not mention its connection to our alma mater. I mean, you must know about the connection, right? Ask Andrew...

mac 2:28 PM  

Happy birthday, Norm Vance.

Another great Sunday! I had been grumbling for weeks about the lackluster Sunday puzzles, but the last two weeks have been great.

I didn't need to google, just needed to do a little erasing here and there. I Also had poi instead of lei, for 102A I had "tin" instead of loo, though "Egean" (var. on the sea) might fit, definitely think earlap needs an f, question water media, like Ulrich thought you make a slip for a COD delilvery (haven't looked up backshot yet), but a la Foodie I was helped by the "Sailboat" theme to come up with Le Bateau.

I actually see this Aristo used in the British press every once in a while.
Waxbeans are disgusting looking, make me think of "Bunnicula" (@Orange, your son would love to hear this story on a long drive, told by Derek Jacobi).
@Orange, I'm not sure what the name of the film is, never saw it, but the book is lovely and called "The Object Of My Affection".

@Noam: IWGA by your e-lean!

@Greene: Moma and the Hermitage both have versions of The Dance. Some years ago they were together in one room in NY.

Leon 2:36 PM  

Great Puzzle Mr. Kahn.

The NYT Magazine has Jen on the cover and the Book Review includes a review of Zeigfeld's Bio.

The print version has the upper section of the sailboat with circled letters and the lower section in shade (Better reflection?) - " Note: When this puzzle is done, read the circled letters in the top half of the puzzle clockwise starting with the last letter of 66-Across; and read the shaded letters in the bottom half of the puzzle clockwise starting with the second letter of 77-Across."

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Very creative puzzle, Matisse would be proud.

Never having heard of the Moma upside-down fiasco, I found this not only entertaining but enlightening.

My only mistake was "I" in ELEAN. So I thought we were talking about a painting titled "LIBATEAU". Don't know French, so could be a French word, non?

I had sailboat figured out in the circled letters but had to come here to see the REFLECTION.

Most definitely an above average puzzle ... great job David J. Kahn!

Rex Parker 2:39 PM  

@John in nc,

Way to trample all over the inside joke... :)


jae 2:49 PM  

re the tough cluster in the North: Just when I've got Zora NEALE Hurston down pat they throw in a NEALE completely unknown (to me). Kinda like Costco rearranging its AISLEs.

jeff in chicago 2:51 PM  

Tough, but fun. My favorite kind of puzzle. Congrats, Mr. Kahn.

I, too, was one of those who had a vague memory of some upsidedown painting. As Orange's link shows, even that memory only narrows down the choices.

EARLAP, while cleary correct, just feels wrong. I'm a FLAPper, not a LAPper. Liked Cupid=REINDEER. Also liked TIGHTDRESS, BANKSHOT and ONARAMPAGE as fill.

Not a fan of Roman numerals as letters, so MMIII and PARTI? meh.

I almost never pay much attention to the grid, except when there is a distinct lack of blocks, but somethine about this one seemed ... ugly. Maybe it's just me.

chefbea 3:50 PM  

Great puzzle although I didn't finnish it. Had to stop and bake cookies with my grandchildren and they just left (cookie dough and sprinkles all over the house)

I have always liked Matisse and do remember hearing about the upside down boat painting at the MOMA.

@mac - I like wax beans even tho they aren't red.

Chip Hilton 6:33 PM  

I share your pleasure at a Simpson-less day.

Fun puzzle, but I found myself struggling with individual letters. The WATERMEDIA style was new to me and I share the STINKO reservations.

Al Kaline is from way back. I barely remembered his uni number (SIX was Stan the Man's, too, I think.), but do remember he was one smooth rightfielder.

mac 7:07 PM  

@Chip Hilton: I think Homer may have been a shout-out to the Simpsons. I'm watching the first DVD of the 3rd season this evening.

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

The silver gold and/or platinum rings can be obtained from a vendor with a name that must someday be worked into a puzzle: itsnoname(.com)

fergus 7:51 PM  

Missed the reflection since my Xerox copy from the magazine lost the shaded squares. This was one of those peck-around puzzles for me, rarely filling in adjacent or connecting entries consecutively. The result was a surprise in seeing that all the squares were filled. Almost all the Clues seemed rather safe and orderly. Then sort of grudgingly, I carefully read the instructions at the top. This is clever, but a gimmick of this sort doesn't add much for me. Maybe I'm a curmudgeon?

Chip Hilton 8:20 PM  

Okay, I'll bite. To which Homer do you refer? I don't see him anywhere in today's puzzle.

Anonymous 8:58 PM  

@Chip Hilton ... it's the answer NOD at 95D ... evidently even Homer would nod, or err. So that's how Homer and also in some way "The Simpsons" got into the puzzle today.

mac 10:30 PM  

@Chip Hilton: joho explained it. I've watched 4 Simpsons episodes this evening, and heard a fake Michael Jackson sing "Ben", found out who Ned Flanders is and heard that Milhouse's last name is van Houten, a great chocolate brand in the Netherlands. I'm going through 4 seasons of this show, and I know it's going to help me solve xword puzzles!

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Oh wow. As a kid, I devoured the Guinness Book of World Records, and distinctly remembered that there was a world record for the longest time a painting was hung upside down. But it's only now, thanks to the Internet, that I get to see what actually happened.

A related phenomenon shows up when printing artwork. A surprisingly large number of paintings are reproduced as a left-right reflection. If there is no writing, and no army of left-handers, you really can't tell.

blackathena 12:13 PM  

What a delightful page. I, too, am a speed demon with the NYTimes Sunday puzzle, but I'm a huge fan of The Nation's puzzle, as well. Thank you for the cool video of E. Badu. She's a princess!

Anonymous 11:32 PM  

Sorry, get my sunday puzzle on wednesday... nice way to break up the week, actually... great puzzle, even though I did not know the painting, the medium, and for quite a while, the artist... set it down to watch Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving, came back and smoked it... one question... did anyone else get "LOCKIN" for "COMMIT"? that caused quite a bit of trouble for me, but i eventually got it...

i have heard "water media" before, and stinko is a bit archaic, but those kind of clues force you to become a renaissance man

kas 2:57 PM  

fun puzzle --- only had to google a few things.

Unknown 8:13 PM  

i enjoyed this puzzle a lot, except for a few of the groaners Rex & others mentioned already. I only had to Google Greasy Neale.

Our paper mis-printed the clue for 8D as "Taki bar". Glad to know I hadn't missed some pub-crawl option somehow!

kas 10:01 PM  

every time I try to post a blog, I have to reenter my password, do you always?

Anonymous 10:33 PM  

It's hard to believe that people who are smart enough to do these puzzles are also stupid enough to watch the stupid Simpletons (Simpsons).

Anonymous 11:45 PM  

Hey, my syndicated puzzle had a typo - s8D: Tiki bar offering (lei) - my puzzle said "Taki" bar -glad to know I'm not dumb for not knowing what a Taki bar is - however, I still did get "lei" - which would still be appropriate if the typo was "Tacky" bar, don't you think? kim

Anonymous 1:11 AM  

First puzzle I've done in ages - found this site when I messed up and had libateau - missed the two words and i should have recognized bateau as I'm from La.
Anyhow, here is one link to the Chuck Berry Ramona Says Yes, there are others:


Anonymous 7:35 AM  

Hated it. :)

Did okay on parts, but if you don't know what a Fauvist is, or you don't get the Matisse connection, you're up the Seine without a paint brush.

I've been a guitar-playing Chuck Berry freak for decades -- I've even photographed him in live concert -- and I've NEVER heard of "Ramona Say Yes." I had to look it up online. It's a poor clone of Johnny B. Goode, which is no doubt why it's obscure. Really, Will -- this is the best you can do for the Father of Rock and Roll?

Wallopers? Stinko? Elean? Ugh City! Bring back Marisa Ptomaine! Now THAT was a puzzle that had me LMAO.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

I think you all need to get a life!

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