MONDAY, Dec. 29 - Kevin Donovan (Commercial prefix with -max or -cam / Military aircraft engine maker _____ & Whitney)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hi! Andrea Carla Michaels here, while PuzzleGirl and Rex cavort in VA. I'm not saying anything is going on and all ... alls I know is I volunteered to sub-blog to take some of the load off PuzzleGirl while she did double duty with Amy and Rex both on vacation. Rex was coming to Carmel so I was gonna get to have dinner with him and his lovely bride Sandy and darling daughter and had been pleading for days for them to consider staying over at least one night (empty bedroom on account of the MIA Israeli and all…).

PuzzleGirl and I exchanged numbers to work out the logistics of doing Monday's puzzle together (as I remain astonishingly clueless about embedding videos and the like). We speak on the phone for the very first time, compare Midwest accents, and she "casually" mentions she is jealous that I am going to see Rex on his vacation. Next thing I know, he is "stranded" at the DC airport and is calling for her number! (n.b. NOT at 45D: Chicago air hub, O'HARE, which I would have believed!)

Now, they are all living together on some sort of puzzle commune! While they make snow angels, practice tag-team wrestling moves with their respective spouses, pose for paintings wearing nothing but a necklace, compare beet recipes, and godknowswhatelse, I sit here in SF, strapped to my desk wondering what the hell just happened!

Oh! Was there a puzzle? OK. Puzzle.

This puzzle will literally give you the runs. Before everyone screams, "Breakfast test!" (which I'm telling you, Will has assured me in the past that that does not exist), let me explain that is the theme: RUN (54D: Something 18-,26-, 42-, or 51-Across might have).

  • 18A: It might include a 10, jack, queen and king of hearts (rummy hand)
  • 26A: Yankees/Red Sox matchup, e.g. (baseball game)
  • 42A: Candidate for a Tony (Broadway play)
  • 51A: L'eggs product (pantyhose)
Kevin Donovan has offered something for everyone … card players, baseball fans, theatergoers and the ladies! (In that order, I might add, which seems to be a microcosm about the crosswords themselves, nowadays.)

Although this kind of definitional theme can border on boring, I think it's great to think of one word with all its multiple meanings. That's what it's all about!

I was tempted to rate this "Super-challenging" since Rex is gone and that way everybody could feel good about him/herself, but it was pretty super straightforward.

My only trip up was 38A: Want badly, with "for." I put in pine instead of ACHE. I guess you could ache for something, but I'll bet pine for is 387 times more common. Plus there must be loads of ways to define ache without an unnecessary mislead.

And I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know that 3D: U.N. agcy. awarded the 1969 Nobel Peace Prize, ILO stands for International Labour Organization. I see ILO and I think ILM (Industrial Light and Magic).

I needed all the crosses to get 11D: Military aircraft engine maker _____ & Whitney (Pratt). Definitely not a Monday word, but it beats the PRAT-with-one-T of last week.

Speaking of two-t's: Something fun — 44D: Pupil (tutee) and 22A: _____-frutti (tutti).

I needed to get most of the crossings for 5D: "Absolutely" ("no doubt") as well.

If you were only doing the acrosses, which apparently is the way to go for a Monday, you would have missed the explanation to the theme, as well as my only it's-all-about-me shout-out from the puzzlemaker: fellow Andrea, who goes by ANDIE (13D: Actress MacDowell).

(I'd put in that clip in the rain of her and Hugh Grant from "Four Weddings and a Funeral" but I thought she was embarrassingly bad in it, especially having to hold her own against such wonderful British actors. She does do well, however, when she is simply called upon to play pretty but slightly confused, as in "Sex, Lies and Videotape," "Groundhog Day," etc. But apparently she was so bad in that French Tarzan film, rumor has it they had to redub her lines and she was speaking in English!)

In lieu of a clip of her acting, I will ask PuzzleGirl to include a picture of her acting "pretty but slightly confused." I guess that was the only shout-out to me, unless you count the anagram of Carla: 6D: Barton who founded the Red Cross (Clara). Always good to see a woman identified by substance and not just for wearing pantyhose.

Speaking of women of substance, props to the actress Nichelle Nichols who played 48A: "Star trek" lieutenant" UHURA, a role model on the small screen as a strong black woman waaaay before Oprah. And she pulled it off with ironed hair and what appears to be a push-up bra! (Mini trivia: Uhura comes from the Swahili "Uhuru" which means "freedom.")

One last thing, and then I'll let you all have at it ... I also would not have known 16A: Harry Potter's best friend (Ron) had it not been for reading Rex just yesterday and having the answer come from 9-year-old PuzzleSon himself! I don't know if RON in the films is the boy who is now the lead in that virgin Vampire "Twilight" film ... but I have been supplying my 14-year-old cousin Rachel with pictures of Robert Pattison for her to plaster her walls with. She calls me every time literally in tears from excitement over him. I am not totally for fueling unrealistic expectations and crushes on unobtainable actors who look moments from being arrested and shattering all childhood dreams (you just knew I'd insert a reference to Woody, didn't you?), but I am for making my adorable cousin happy. (Oh, I just looked it up. RP, who shares his initials with the man I have plastered all over MY walls, actually plays Cedric. I'm not gonna delete the last paragraph tho, as it's the only way I could get in a Woody Allen reference.)

Rex back tomorrow (or not)! ☺


Jeffrey 10:19 PM  

As the PuzzleWorld Turns...

Record fast solve for me today. Didn't see the theme or most of the downs. Didn't matter. Ok for Monday.

RON, meet ROM and RUN. HUGE, meet BIG TOE. ALPHAS, meet BETA. ARMS, meet NOSY and BIG TOE. Hmmm.

Doug 10:26 PM  

Swell write up, well done. You wrote almost as much as your daily blog contribution (tongue firmly in cheek!)

I watched Groundhog Day this afternoon (one of my fav films) and Andie MacDowell does a great job. I also liked her in Hudson Hawk, and think she was well cast in 4W&AF. Her hair looks fabulous in all the L'Oreal ads, which is all I've seen her in recently.

I liked the fill very much, as it was completely free of the USUAL. Okay, EEL was in there, but so what. My BIGTOE is killing me, so the festive season clearly gave me the gift of gout. Odd to see RON twice in a row and clued exactly the same. How about "Da Doo __ __" or a local SF favorite "Rice-A-___i?"

PuzzleGirl 10:27 PM  


You liked this puzzle better than I did. PANTYHOSE and BROADWAY plays can have runs (those are great answers), but a BASEBALL GAME doesn't "have" a run ... the phrasing just doesn't work. Of course people score runs in baseball, but ... bleh.

The BUTLER never, ever does it. That's some kind of cliche. The idea that he does it "often" is absurd.

[Hightail it, old-style] is HIE. Hightail in clue for HIE = icky to me, despite etymological unrelatedness.


MOPEDS are not "speedy"

Lastly, no one has ever said "GLUMMEST" (though in confirming this, I just learned that Hungary is the "third GLUMMEST" country in Europe).

The end.


PuzzleGirl 10:28 PM  

Dang, That last comment was from REX, not PG.


PuzzleGirl 10:28 PM  

And that one too. And this one.


Greene 10:54 PM  

OK so this was not the best Monday we've ever seen, but any puzzle that has BROADWAY PLAY as a theme answer is going to fit me TO A T and is bound to get me all HYPED UP.

Apology in advance for being off topic: For those interested in the Benjamen Button movie, try to read the story before seeing the film. It's published in Fitzgerald's Tales of the Jazz Age and while it starts out as a humorous and whimsical take on the story conceipt (which I trust we all know now), it becomes increasingly ironic and filled with pathos. The final twenty years of Benjamen's life make youth sound like a humiliating disease to be avoided at all costs. In fact the whole story just takes that old saw about "youth being wasted on the young" and turns it quite upsidedown. No spoilers here, but do give it a read if you can.

jae 11:00 PM  

I thought this one was OK. Unlike acme I had YEANS but also did not know ILO (on seeing it spelled out it seems vaguely familiar).

Moldova is the first GLUMMEST country in Europe.

Nice write up, very cute Woody pic!

elitza 1:04 AM  


The scene in the rain grom Four Weddings almost completely spoils that movie for me. Almost.

Oh, and hi! I'm a relative newbie to the NYT (still on paper and all!) but I'm starting, thanks to this blog and a couple of others, to pay attention to themes, authors, and the like--so thank you!

Yay for first comment.


Shanti11 1:32 AM  

Wow. Leggs pantyhose and Harry Potter's friend Ron two days in a row. Does WS do that on purpose? Like the "oatcakes"/"bannock" clues in the same week? (Not that I'm complaining about the oatcakes/bannocks; I'll never forget the word bannock now.)

Wish the same were true for all the @%$* sports-related (especially baseball) clues. Man, I hate those clues as much as one or two of you dislike pop culture references. Speaking of which, thanks @acme for the No Doubt vid. Gwen's abs rule.

Add me to the camp that believes Andie McDowell is, um, well, really good in those hair color commercials. Although I agree she was cute in Groundhog Day. I watched a bit of that one today also.

For 38A I had LONG for at first.

My goal for the week is to casually and believably use "tutee" in a sentence.

PuzzleGirl 8:15 AM  

It's Rex again,

I think it's a bit much to expect that an answer won't repeat itself within the span of one week (or even two days). Will has enough on his plate editing the puzzles to exact day/difficulty-level specifications to worry about whether RON (or any other small word) was in the puzzle two days in a row.

The BANNOCK/OATCAKE thing was just a freaky coincidence. I'm more grateful than annoyed, as I'd never heard of BANNOCK and now won't be able to forget it.

I like that BANNOCK sounds like a tough-guy detective from the 70s who plays by his own rules. If I ever create a fictional detective, his name will be Frank BANNOCK. (BANNOCK = MANNIX + BANACEK)

And hi to "Elitza" - come back and comment any time. This blog can always use new voices.


Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Excellent write-up, acme -- and no, I didn't read all the Down clues, and thus did not see how the PANTYHOSE linked into the seeming "pastimes" theme (cards, sports, theater, ?)... at least in the USUAL acceptable breakfast-taste parameters.

I never heard of 6D Steve of "The Office", so DUMMYHAND and CADELL looked plausible. Ah, well -- maybe he can be the butler. GLUMMEST is what you might get with any TOE stubbed often!

Funny coincidence department: last night nearly everyone here but me watched the looong movie mentioned above by Greene, and all said it was overly HYPEDUP...


Glitch 9:09 AM  


Welcome fellow paper solver.

I've been solving the NYT puzzle on paper (also known here as the *dead tree version*) for over 40 years.

Guess you might call me *paper trained* ;-)

Dispite what some others here might feel, paper is not just for newbies.

(Tho I do use that *electronical* version when traveling or when the delivery guy is late)


PS: to those *some others* --- as I don't want to reopen the dead tree / electronic debate today, please disregard this post ;-)

Glitch 9:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Rex, there's something odd about your comments being channeled through PuzzleGirl ... I see PANTYHOSE.

I liked this puzzle ... it has some fresh words: FEIGN, BIG TOE, RUMMY HAND, HYPED UP and UHURA.

And it's always nice to have an AHA moment in a puzzle.

Acme, I also liked your write up. Very entertaining!

Is Kevin Donovan a new constructor? I don't think I've seen his name before.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Joho - no he's not a new constructor, check out the tag at the bottom of Acme's post and if you click on it you'll find several others.

Great comedy stylings, Acme! And FWIW, the niftiest thing to me about today was, in fact, the PRATT, as my late father worked at Pratt & Whitney as an aeronautical engineer when I was born.

Chorister 10:43 AM  

Whew, I thought PuzzleGirl had an alternate personality before I realized it was Rex. Now my world is no longer atilt.


Two Ponies 10:46 AM  

Very cool that the community spirit of this blog has helped save Rex's vacation. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
Good solid Monday puzzle. It seems that lately the Mondays have been a bit more difficult and I welcome the change. Fill was above average for an early week puzzle so I say Thumbs Up.

Chorister 10:50 AM  

Wait, wait, I wasn't finished!

@elitza - I loved the dead tree version for not as many years as Glitch and only switched to electronic when local newspaper issues made it impossible to continue. I didn't use pen. A freshly sharpened, No.2 Ticongeroga (dead tree pencil) and the print version of the NYT is still one of the great simple pleasures in life.

As to the puzzle itself, it was okay for Monday. After all the game theme answers, I thought pantyhose was silly.

Ron two days in a row was annoying. One of the strengths of the NYT is that things like that seldom happen, thank goodness.

Margaret 10:51 AM  

Puzzle felt fresh and Acme's write up was entertaining as always. I can agree with Rex on the duplication of small words like RON or EEL, but I'd be surprised if Will didn't see the LEGGS / PANTYHOSE combo on consecutive days.

As for Ms. McDowell, I remember when Greystoke (the Tarzan movie) came out. Evidently, her natural southern accent bled through her attempted British accent and they redubbed all her lines, unbeknownst to her. And I think they got Glenn Close (pre-Fatal Attraction) to dub them!

Good luck getting to the other coast, Rex!

chefbea 11:04 AM  

@acme great write up. Wonder what new recipes they will come up with in D.C.

@Elitza welcome!! Shall we ask her the usual question?? I have always done the puzzle on paper - either the dead tree version or printed from the computer. And I've bee a xword puzzler for about 30 years

Liked the puzzle. Very easy.

Two Ponies 11:11 AM  

My favorite Andie MacDowell movie was Michael with John Travolta and William Hurt. She used her nice Southern accent to sing a song about pie.

Orange 11:15 AM  

@chorister, you have a typo. It's the Dixon Ticonderoga pencil, which kicks butt. My kid is rough on pencils, and store-brand pencils fall apart on him. He swears by his "Tie-ron-day-oga" pencils. (His school recently got some defibrillators, and you should hear how an 8-year-old pronounces that word.)

@acme, I don't know why you think PANTYHOSE are for the women. I never wear 'em. The average drag queen wrangles pantyhose far more often than my female friends and I do.

I can't help suspecting that Will does toss in those oddball pairs on purpose. He could probably reclue the second appearance so that we didn't think of the first appearance, but instead the second go-round reinforces the memory so that we'll know that morsel forevermore.

Orange 11:15 AM  

Wait, I forgot the obligatory "I'm back!"

Ulrich 11:26 AM  

@margaret: I second you for sticking up for McDowell in Greystroke--I've never seen her look lovelier than in those dark curls--why Tarzan leaves her to go back into the jungle is beyond my comprehension--it can't have been the accent b/c his wasn't great shakes either--which is my way of saying that this was, for me, a perfectly fine Monday puzzle, complemented by a vintage acme write-up (our disagreement about the model-turned-actress may be due to the fact that only one of us has seen the movie:-)

fikink 11:29 AM  

@acme, I enjoyed your words more than I did the puzzle. Very funny Rex-PG soap!
@chefbea, I see you were true to your word about updating your avatar - good work!
RP, your words are positively scary next to PG's lovely flower.

Josh 11:32 AM  

@acme--This is a great, fun write up. I also had PINE rather than ACHE and made a similar assumption that "pine for" was a much more common phrase.

But Google proves us wrong--Googling "ache for" yields over 6 million results, while Googling "pine for" yields a scant 700,000.

@elitza--I find doing the puzzle on paper is much more fun, so I always print it out (and by "always," I mean every day for the last two weeks since I started doing the puzzle), which I guess puts me in the "dead tree" category.

And this is my first comment on this blog as well.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Perfectly fine Monday puzzle with a cute theme.

Now, I know I am going to put myself up for scorn and this is probably heresy in the "puzzle community", but is anyone else getting really tired of continual Simpsons references? It seems that hardly a day goes by without BART (42D) or MOE being referenced to The Simpsons. I mean, it was an okay show years ago, but can't anyone find other ways of cluing? It reminds me of the Aly McBeal overkill.

jae 12:02 PM  

I've got to agree with Orange on the probable deliberateness of the proximity of odd ball pairs. Its seems like a subtle learning experience. Thanks to Will (and Rex's PI) BANNOCK is forever etched in memory. EMO is another word that cropped up multiple times recently. I think I even saw it in a Henry Hook BG Sun. puzzle within a few days of seeing it in the NYT.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

@"Steve in Ca". I totally agree with you and your "heresy." There are way too many references to The Simpsons. This is The New York Times, not TV Guide. There must be other ways the puzzle makers can incorporate contemporary cultural references without referencing the same cartoon show over and over.

Doc John 12:25 PM  

Let's not forget Jonny Quest's friend, Race BANNOCK! (OK, it's really Bannon.)

A fun, quick puzzle today. Not much else to say than what's already been said. Lots of fun, interesting fill.

OK, one thing- TO A T and A ONE in the same puzzle.

OK, one more thing- will SAMUEL L. Jackson ever escape this? WARNING- SEVERE LANGUAGE!!! (Sorry, I couldn't find a clean version.)

OK, one last thing- BART = [S.F. Transit]
That said, I'd like to see Bort in a puzzle!

jeff in chicago 12:28 PM  

Easy Monday. No complaints. Pretty much worked it from top to bottom (using both acrosses and downs) and could not see the theme until I got to RUN. Was wondering what HAND, GAME, PLAY and HOSE had in common. Nothing, it seems!

Had FORSURE for a moment instead of NODOUBT, working off the O of CELLO. Agree that calling MOPEDS "speedy" is a bit of a stretch.

Someday I want to see SLY clued as "Leader of the Stone family." Cru database shows 259 uses and zero music references. C'mon!

I've never read a word of Harry Potter nor seen a minute of the films, but somehow I know the trio is Harry, Ron and Hermione. And there's a Valdemort (sp?). And they all suffer from Hog Worts. Am I close?

Jeffrey 12:34 PM  

Surely the Simpsons is at the pop culture level of Harry Potter or Superman, unlike a hot-for-a-second-then-gone show like Ally McBeal. It is one of the longest running TV shows ever. I'm ok with the references.

Now if REN could get a new clue...

edith b 12:56 PM  

I share your pain, Steve in CA, but you have to bear in mind that REX PARKER, the man behind this blog, positively loves The Simpsons and your post is not going to get very much love at this site.

You mentioned Ally McBeal? Have you seen many references to that show lately? Perhaps if we wait long enough, The Simpsons will go the way of all flesh.

To the puzzle at hand, I liked that the theme entries ran the gamut of categories, as Andrea said, something for everyone and also a lot of fresh fill, absent the USUAL crosswordese so prevelant in an early-week puzzle.

Two Ponies 1:00 PM  

Re: Emo A friend with a 17 yr. old son told me that high school kids place themselves into 4 distinct cultural groups and Emos was one of them. This got a big "huh?" from me. If that's true and it remains current for a while perhaps we will see it as an alternative to the comic. Anyone ever hear of this?

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

I've only ever heard of EMO as a genre of music - I'm guessing emo as an abbreviation of emotional. Usually singer/songwriter stuff.

PlantieBea 1:21 PM  

The puzzle seemed like a typical Monday offering. I messed up ACHE for (too quickley penciled in PINE) and the neighboring Cape ANN (wrote COD). Otherwise easy fill today.

Re Emo: Yes, my teens can classify EMO music, EMO attire, EMO cultural groups. From what they have taught me, when I think of EMO I see sad or EMOtional dark haired people attired in tiny black tee-shirts and pencil thin black jeans cinched with sparkly big black belts--singing sad songs.

imsdave 1:41 PM  

Excellent write up Andrea, and a fine Monday puzzle. PRATT, is a gimme for those living in central CT.

The moped avatar is from Block Island, and I'd like to recommend that those going there on a wine cruise stay away from them.

No accidents, but an interesting moment or two - it took a week for my wife to start having civil conversation with me after the "Boy, we really got close to that cliff" moment.

edith b 2:43 PM  

Maybe I am wrong about The SImpsons going the way of all flesh: After all, It's been on TV for one hell of a long time and is certainly a part of our national consciousness, whether I watch it or not is not the point.

Even people who don't watch are familiar with Bart and Homer Simpson. Unless they live in a cave.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

I agree about the Simpsons' longevity. But it seems to have led to tired and lazy cluing. I'm sure there are lots of other famous people named Moe, Lisa, Bart, etc.

Like Saturday Night Live, it's just one of those shows that plods on and on with only occasional sparks of freshness. I hate to see the Times crossword doing the same thing.

chefbea 2:58 PM  

@jwerth welcome to you also

Love the simpsons!!

fergus 3:01 PM  

I have little doubt that the recently repeated references are intentional on the part of the editor. In fact this topic has arisen enough to give the phenomenon a name, which unfortunately I can't recall. If I were the editor I don't think I could resist this sort of 'enjambement' as a sort of wink to the daily solvers.

Found this an excellent Monday puzzle, with an appealing array of letters. The weakness of the theme doesn't matter much to me, since even though themes are an integral operational convention for many puzzles, they seldom matter much to me. Not that I would like to dispense with themes, it just seems that often they're no more or less satisfying as the concept of symmetry.

I also started with DUMMY instead of RUMMY. The sorting made the latter the more obvious, though the honors did cause me to write in a D. Either hand would appear to be partial, since bridge starts with 13 cards, of course, and I've always played gin rummy having 10. Are there other forms of RUMMY that only have seven cards to the hand?

Brenden 3:43 PM  

For 58A: Duck that'll get you down? I wanted ELDER, from the lore of the Old Man who asks the Elder Duck to dive under the water and bring back back earth. The duck returns with a ball of mud, in which the Old Man plants the first tree. I liked that because the Old Man's trouble is that he suspects there will be earth under the water, but can't dive himself, so is dependent on the Elder Duck to "get down." I knew EIDER and I'm sure it must be common to the grid, but I was thoroughly disappointed when I saw that HIE makes more sense than anything I could imagine being abbreviated HLE. Boooo.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  


Yes, 500 rummy has 7 cards. The hand given in the clue would be a 500 rummy hand. There may be other rummy games of 7 cards too. Gin always has 10, as you said.


Anonymous 3:56 PM  


You had an obviously wrong answer that was confirmed by a cross (HIE).

I think if you want to make any headway in the crossworld, you are just going to have to get over it

Orange 3:58 PM  

@Steve in CA, can you list a few famous-enough alternatives named Moe, Lisa, and Bart? There's Moe the Stooge, Moe the bully from the late "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip, and...that's all I've got. There are assorted Lisas, but they don't tend to have the broad familiarity of Lisa Simpson. Lisa Loeb, Lisa Leslie, boring fill-in-the-blank Mona ___, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam—are these more suitable for the NYT crossword?'s old Bart Starr, maybe some fictional TV cowboy, the Bay Area trains...that's about all that comes to mind. Using '80s or '90s pop music names or athletes whose heyday has passed would irk even more NYT solvers than using a Simpsons character, I bet.

@Jwerth, "pining for" out-Googles "aching for" about 2 to 1, so there's also Google evidence that our preference for PINE is shared by many.

chefbea 4:03 PM  

@orange who is another famous Apu???

Anonymous 4:24 PM  

Nice job, Andrea! My comments to the commenters:

Re: Andie McDowell - I love "Groundhog Day" too and am not particularly averse to a Southern accent (in spite of being a painfully parochial New Yorker) -but I do have a problem with the was she says TALK: she kind of pronounces the "L"?!

As for The Simpsons? I do like the show, but I have to confess I get inordinate pleasure from seeing the Simpsons puzzle references illustrated in these blogs. Recently someone had put a picture of APU with his octuplets(?)in the write-up and I was giggling all day.

Being the above-mentioned New Yorker, I can say I've seen Andie McDowell and Woody Allen on the street - the former on the Upper West Side about 20 years ago, walking a massive dog and looking good enough that I'd have missed the L's in TALK if she'd come over to say hello; the latter on Madison Avenue with Soon Yi - that was a bit off-putting! He looks a lot better sitting next to you!

Tony O.

Unknown 4:25 PM  

The only other Apu I can think of was a movie from 1959 called The World of Apu. Very well received at the time, but probably too obscure for anyone under 65. Still I have to put up with all the Simpson references and I've never seen it. Maybe it's time some of us old geezers had a shot at it.

What about Lisa Bonet?


Anonymous 4:30 PM  

You are right about there being few alternatives to Simpsons' names. But must we even see these same words over and over? I find most constructors extremely creative. I am certain a clever one could somehow find interesting ways around using these same answers over and over. Basically, I would contend that the cartoon lost its originality years ago and these clues reflect that.

Anonymous 4:39 PM  

My question re the two recent RON answers...does Will have to turn in the Sunday crossword differently from the weekly crossword? I vaguely remember that the Sunday supplemental sections are done earlier than the 'breaking news' sections (or is that just the comic pages?) If so, he might not have noticed the proximity. Certainly the syndicated solvers won't have that problem.

miguel 5:07 PM  

Lisas I have known from the NYT:
Alaska senator Murkowski
Precursor of the Apple Macintosh
"Mona ___"
"I'm Not ___," 1975 #1 country hit by Jessi Colter
"The Simpsons" brainiac "
Phoebe's player on "Friends" Elvis's daughter ___ Marie
Soprano Saffer
Heroine of Tchaikovsky's "Pique Dame"
"Stay" singer ___ Loeb
Singer with the 1997 hit "I Do"
1990's pop singer Stansfield
Actress Bonet
Oliver's wife on "Green Acres"
Soprano ___ Della Casa
"Yanks" star Eichhorn
"The Official Preppy Handbook" author Birnbach
Pop singer Stansfield
Broadway's Kirk
Film "David and _____"

miguel 5:11 PM  

Barts I have known in the NYT:
Driving alternative in S.F.
Starr of the N.F.L.
"Oliver!" composer Lionel ___
TV cartoon boy
Stagecoach robber Black ___
One of the Maverick brothers
Bret Maverick's brother
Lone Ranger foe Black ____

miguel 5:14 PM  
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miguel 5:16 PM  

SO far, only two other ways to clue APU:

Satyajit Ray hero
The ___ Trilogy

Glitch 6:04 PM  

I find it amusing that many of those objecting to *repeated* clues / answers (like Ron & oatcakes) have no objections to Rex's beloved Simpsons frequent appearances (he calls them a gimme).

I agree with Steve in CA and others as to the Simpsons refs being a lazy way out.

@Orange -- if there haven't been enough other examples of non-Simpson cluing of Moe/Lisa/Bart for you, try googling them, hits are in the 10's of millions, granted most obscure or not puzzle fodder, but if 1 in a million is, there's 50 - 80 of each as a possibility.

Rex once responded to me that the Simps were fair game as they have had a looong TV run, but if that were a valid criteria there would be a lot more refrences to Meet the Press, Today, and others that I bet you've heard of.

@chefbea: I bet a fair number of posters could come up APU as Auxillary Power Unit. If not, I'll see your APU and raise you an ASOK.

Anyway, given the over use of the Simpsons this year, I'll nominate MOE, LISA, and BART for THE PANTHEON 2008.


mac 6:21 PM  

I found this a very solid Monday with a couple of unusual words (feign, rephrase, panty hose, and the nice long Broadway play). Everything was gettable through crosses, which is how an early week puzzle should be.

I'm with Fergus and Orange, I'm convinced that Will has some fun with us, repeating clues and answers within a week. Once or twice something has shown up in a puzzle when we have discussed it in the comments.

Great write-up, Andrea, and you pulled a nice Andrea! Good to see you with Woodie again. Is he holding his glass with a napkin? What is that disorder called again?

When I read Puzzle Girl's first comment, I figured she was just grumpy and tired because of all the house guests..... Was the visit one big puzzle fest?

I do the NYT puzzle every day in the newspaper, with a Pantel Twist-Erase 07 or 09 when I can find it. All other puzzles I have time for I do online. I prefer the former. This afternoon I had to go to three shops to find a NYT, that'll teach me to get it first thing!

jeff in chicago 8:53 PM  

@Karen: Will could change a Tuesday puzzle on Monday, the day before. The Sunday Magazine surely has at least a month lead time, possibly even six weeks. (At least that's the way it was in Cleveland, which, when I was there, had it's own Sunday magazine.) So yes, Will has finished any given Sunday puzzle way before the daily puzzles of the same week.

Anonymous 9:32 PM  

I for one think that there are way too many Simpsons clues. I don't care how long the show has run. When you keep falling back on the same cast of characters, it's boring. Just rework the puzzle to fit something else in: MART, CART, HART, BERT, BEAT, BARN, or eighty-skillion other one-letter changes could replace BART. I know some people think the Simpsons is the greatest show ever, but I'm not one of those. It's cute, but for me, missable. How come we don't see as many references to LUCY, RICKY, FRED and ETHEL? How about MATT DILLON and MISS KITTY? How about ALEX TREBEK or PAT SAJAK and VANNA WHITE? All these shows were or have been on the air a long time. I think it's someone's little prejudice at the NYT, and we're stuck with it. Regards from Cancun--80 degrees and sunny today!

Leon 10:06 PM  

Great puzzle Mr. Donovan. terrific write-up ACME.

"18A: It might include a 10, jack, queen and king of hearts" is the across lite clue.

The print version has this:
"It might consist of 9♠ 9♦ 9♣ and 10♥ J♥ Q♥ K♥"

Aviatrix 11:28 PM  

I have a Pratt & Whitney hat, many happy hours logged between P&W engines, Nichelle Nichols' autobiography on my bookshelf, and I approve this crossword.

Rex Parker 2:42 AM  

I for one can't believe you people and your "Simpsons" aversion. It's kind of hilarious. The show is historic for a litany of reasons, and it's Never going away (from your puzzle), so get over it. Yeesh. LISA, MOE, BART - they're all three letters. Big deal. If you watched the show regularly, or at all, you'd have some inkling of how many regular, reappearing characters there are. "Meet the Press"??? Does that have 80+ recurring characters? Besides, many folks who have been on "MTP" are in the puzzle all the time already. ORRIN and GORE and NUNN and NOONAN and on and on.

"The Simpsons" is practically its own mythology. I think you can tolerate a 3- or 4-letter answer here or there. Only someone with complete pop culture aversion would link the show to "Ally McBeal" or any other dispensable bit of fluff.

Also, keep in mind that your perception of how often "The Simpsons" appears is likely skewed by my adoration of the show, which causes me to refer to it and post pictures from it *even when it's not mentioned in the puzzle.*


PS The APU Trilogy, directed by Satyajit Ray, is pretty famous

Anonymous 5:35 AM  

The comments in today's blogfest are a lot more interesting than was the puzzle, in addition to Andrea's write-up.

Am quite impressed with the list of Lisa's and Bart's.

There's also Moe; the one of the Three Stooges comes to mind first.

Kathy D.

imsdave 2:28 PM  

@steve I from Monday - my weak answer to your request on Monday is now at Orange's wonderful site:


embien 6:19 PM  

I'm not sure what these coincidences are called, but it's worth noting that the syndicated puzzle today (Feb 2, Groundhog Day) is this one with 13d: Actress MacDowell ANDIE in it.

Will is a true genius for coordinating these syndication confluences. (grin)

Looking forward to Wednesday's New Years Eve puzzle...

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