WEDNESDAY, Dec.24, 2008 - Warren Biro (Copenhagen wad / Mariner's datum / Images representing Internet users / 1956-57 crisis site)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: PLUGS (40A: Power connectors, or a way to describe 17-, 22-, 55- and 61-Across)

Happy Christmas Eve - we finally have a day when we have Absolutely Nothing To Do (except write this damned blog, of course). Going to laze around, watch movies, drink cocoa ... if the roads aren't too icy we'll go spend the Barnes & Noble gift certificates my mom just sent us (thanks, Mom). Otherwise, I plan to be on the couch with a stack of comics and stacks of NY Sun crosswords I should have been doing but haven't.

Which reminds me - Amy (Orange) and I didn't get around to doing a Crossword Holiday Buying Guide this year. You can find the guide for last year under "Important Posts" in the sidebar. Off the top of my head, I would add Brendan Emmett Quigley's "Red Sox" (or ... ugh ... his "Yankees") -themed crossword books, out this year from Cider Mill Press. They would make great gifts for fans of either team, or baseball fans in general, or crossword fans in general, frankly. Get them from your local bookstore, or buy them from his online bookstore here. You know lots of you need to bone up on your baseball knowledge. Anyway, get them. I did. I would also Highly recommend a subscription to the Sun puzzle, ed. Peter Gordon. The best puzzles around that aren't in the NYT, by all the best constructors. Really inventive stuff. Get a subscription for yourself and / or someone you love.

Today's puzzle: very conventional stuff, but pleasantly so. Felt very easy for a Wednesday - or maybe I've just entered some weird time warp where all days of the week just feel off. I *did* watch Disney's "The Black Hole" yesterday, starring Robert Forster, Ernest Borgnine, and Anthony Perkins (who gets gutted by a robot with some kind of blender blade attachment ... Disney?). I think the phrase TOBACCO CHEW is pushing the limits of viability - isn't the common phrase CHEWING TOBACCO? At any rate. There's the theme, no mysteries. Just fine. Nothing to write home about. I did enjoy seeing the other half of the alphabet today, released from lock-up and allowed to gambol about the yard like free and happy letters. From the "Z" in the NW (1A: Newswoman Paula => ZAHN) to the "K" in the SE (65D: "'Tis a pity" => TSK), welcome back, guys.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Show interrupter (TV advertisement)
  • 22A: Copenhagen wad (tobacco chew) - "Copenhagen" is a brand of chewing tobacco, in case you were wondering what was particularly Danish about chew...
  • 55A: Old-fashioned tub feature (bath stopper) - this feels a little weird too. It's a phrase, but the inclusion of "bath" feels odd / extraneous.
  • 61A: Expensive alternative to a toupee (hair replacement)

My favorite answers in the puzzle, from 5th to 1st:

Fifth place: APEMEN (51D: "2001" extras) - liked the movie, love the "Simpsons" parodies of said movie, and Love that I got faked out by the possibility of ALIENS - are there ALIENS? At the end? I forget? It's like a drug-induced haze, that ending. ALIENS was kept in place because the "S" (the ending of most good plurals) made sense as the first letter in what turned out to be N. DAK. (71A: State whose tallest bldg. has only 19 floors, though my friend Shaun is now going to explain to me that how could I think that, why in Rapid City alone there's this one building that blah blah blah... HA ha, that's not how she talks at all. Merry Christmas, Shaun.

Fourth place: "I GUESS SO" (21A: "Sure, why not") - multiple-word, colloquial, and scores major points for the hissing triple-letter string.

Third place: AVATARS (27A: Images representing Internet users) - everyone should have one; those ghostly gray generic silhouettes are truly horrible - check out the "Parker House Roll Call" in the sidebar to see what I'm talking about.

Second place: YABBA (34A: Start of a Fred Flintstone cry) - It's hard not to love every part of YABBA DABBA DO(O). I dare some one to use this same clue for the answer "WIL-"

First place: HEAD BANDS (3D: Tennis accessories) - my hero growing up:

He could be ferocious and petulant and occasionally unsportsmanlike, but the guy was an Artist. I remember an early 80s final against Lendl (maybe US Open, maybe Wimbledon) where the guy made just two (2) unforced errors in the whole match. TWO! That is my memory, at any rate, so please don't disabuse me of it.


  • 38A: Mariner's datum (tide) - "Bos'n! Where's my datum!?" Nope, can't hear it. Does "datum" mean "laundry detergent"? (just kidding, I know what "datum" means)
  • 42A: Tuesday in Hollywood (Weld) - o man I love her. There's this very funny retro pop culture blog I follow called "A Touch of Tuesday Weld" - the title comes from a line in Donald Fagan's "New Frontier"

  • 47A: _____-blamed (dad) - what ... year is it? Am I still in that time warp? Deeper?
  • 70A: Car company that originated as an airplane manufacturer (Saab) - "Born From Jets"
  • 4D: Signals, as to an auctioneer (nods at) - wrote in the NODS and then waited on the preposition ... thought it could be "TO"
  • 11D: Historic 1940s event, for short (A-Test) - letter-TESTS are among my least favorite fill. ESTOP is not far behind (13D: Prevent, legally)
  • 19D: 1956-57 crisis (Suez) - wrote in CUBA and then thought "Nope, too early"
  • 33D: "_____ of God," Jane Fonda film ("Agnes") - I have this very strong memory that my sister performed a dramatic recitation from this film (play?) during her days as a competitive, trophy-accumulating member of the high school forensics team. Is that true, Amy (my Amy, my sister Amy, not any of the other umpteen Amys I seem to know now)?
  • 39D: Unagi, at a Japanese restuaurant (eel) - Yes, at a Japanese restaurant. I don't know *what* "unagi" is at a Polish restaurant. I doubt you want to find out.
  • 46D: Feature of many a 1970s rock concert (smoke) - hell yeah.

  • 52D: Sap sucker (aphis) - new to me
  • 54D: "Perry Mason" climax (trial) - clue = me saying "gross"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS please go to BEQ's site and do his Christmas puzzle (dated today). It's fantastic. I know I'm plugging (!) his site so much it might seem like he's paying me, but I assure you, he's not. I just can't deny puzzle greatness.


joho 9:06 AM  

After yesterday's animated, passionate discussion, I imagine today's comments will be bland in comparison.

I agree with Rex, it's a nice Wednesday, nothing earthshattering, no tricks or aha moments.

I wish I didn't want all that in every puzzle. Especially a Wednesday puzzle ... it's the middle of the week solve that sometimes has a real twist.

I learned something today: I always thought it was DAG-Blamed!

I also learned that I start every puzzle with high expectations, always hoping for the best. And on the rare occasions when that happens it's a real gift.

Greene 9:06 AM  

Glad to see everything is back to normal at the NYT and on the blog.

@Rex: Sounds like you know "Multitudes of Amys." If your sister did a dramatic recitation from Agnes of God, I'll wager it's from the play, which is chock full of dramatic monologues. The movie is quite good too, but lost quite a bit of dialogue and I think all the monologues which made the play so powerful. It also substituted a happy ending which I could probably do without. As far as plays featuring nuns with dead babies, Agnes of God is about as good as they come.

Merry Christmas to all.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

I put ALIENS in for 2001 extras. They show up near the end, and look just like the humans.

I also put in NODS TO (not being smart like Rex and waiting for the preposition. Looking at the clue, since it says 'as to an auctioneer', that probably should have ruled out the 'to'.

Thanks for the Spinal Tap link, Rex. What a hilarious movie.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Can someone explain the APHIS answer - I know about APHIDs - but that would make the DALAD a very interesting alternative to soup.


edith b 10:05 AM  

Not much Christmas spirit from me today as the awkwardness of this theme fails the test for me.

I don't think I've seen two entries quite like TOBACCO PLUG and HAIR PLUG anchoring a Times puzzle before. TV PLUG is only marginally better.

For every PERSONAE there is a DAD and alot of stale abbreviations and tired crosswordese like ERNES AGRO IDEO and the unclassifiable YABBA.

All in all, a decidedly insipid experience for this solver.

Jeffrey 10:07 AM  

Ah, Rex! This was an awesome puzzle....wait that was yesterday's post. I don't want to start anything. Just a random stream of consciousness today.

Very fast Wednesday for me. Nothing LABORED, nothing requiring MENSA membership.

SON LOOFA YABBA. Sounds like a prehistoric rap artist.

This was a fine puzzle, in my opinion, but "There's no accounting for TASTE". Many people have no taste for accounting, but I do.

KER is an all purpose sound effect that is not a sound by itself. KER-plunk. KER-plop. KER-plink.

I'll ESTOP now.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:09 AM  

@ des - My one write-over in this puzzle was APHID for APHIS. I have my Webster's Third New International Dictionary open, and as far as I can tell, Aphis = Aphid in many respects. I'd have to leave it to a real expert to illuminate the difference.

Merry Christmas to All, etc.

Shamik 10:11 AM  

@joho: agree with thinking it was DAG blamed.

@joho: agree on APHIS/APHID and there being no DALAD.

@Karen: Made the same mistake of not waiting for the direction of our NOD in 4D.

I remember dating a guy and he was so odd about me not wanting to touch his hair. Found out he had PLUGS. Looked just like a doll I had in the 1950's. Since then, PLUGS just can't pass the breakfast test.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

It's not Saab, it's SAAB -- Svenska Aeroplan AktieBolaget.
And McEnroe was an obnoxious punk, so awful that I, true-blue Amurrican, found myself rooting against him in Davis Cup.

merlinsmom 10:38 AM  

I am okay with TOBACCO PLUG, being a good Southern girl, a plug of tobacco is a familiar term. That being said, I would have preferred the puzzle answer to be TOBACCO CHAW, (not chew) for maximum authenticity, Dad-blame it!

edith b 10:42 AM  

I forgot to say so in my original post - Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all!!

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

According to a University of Florida web site, aphid (with a D) is the common name for an insect whose scientific name is "Aphis(with an S) gossypii Glover" which are insects that cause considerable damage to food crops by eating them. I'll take their word for it.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

I also had chaw at first.

Found this puzzle pretty easy (rare for me). Had Hilda for Helga for 3 seconds, and didn't see personae at first.

On another topic, I'm late to the party, but as for favorite detective? It has to be Morse and his Jag-u-ar; (and that poor sod, Lewis). I really miss him: Oxford man, ladies man, curmudgeon -- and he did crosswords! I rest my case.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

According to a University of Florida web site, aphid (with a D) is the common name for an insect whose scientific name is "Aphis(with an S) gossypii Glover" which are insects that cause considerable damage to food crops by eating them. I'll take their word for it.

10:55 AM

Ulrich 10:56 AM  

Since I have nothing to say about the puzzle that hasn't been said yet, let me join Rex in his shout-out of Tuesday Weld. I first saw her in Dog Soldiers, along a young Nick Nolte--the movie was based on the very good thriller (IMHO) by Robert Stone--and I've been a fan of hers ever since. One of the women who get lovelier with age as the too-pretty features get a bit worn.

Best wishes to everbody--in whatever form they prefer them.

Rex Parker 10:57 AM  

Anonymous McEnroe-hater above is wrong about Saab. May have started as an acronym, but Saab's own website has "Saab," not "SAAB."

Look things up before you go shaking your finger, Commie.


Hungry Bird 11:07 AM  

Now I'm going to have the hollerings of Fred Flintstone in my head all day. Yabba dabba not! We use an electronic chart at our VA clinic. We created a golem we named Fred Flintstone whom we employ to test drive its new features.

Does anyone remember "The Great Kazoo?" Was he also in The Jetsons or is that a Cocoa Puffs-induced false memory?

Esther beat me to the Southern usage of chew. I can verify that chaw would have been an acceptable and proferred alternative.

Rex, the "New Frontier" video is a thing of beauty.

Put me in the dag camp, dagnabbit!

(insert adjective) (insert holiday) to all!

evil doug 11:11 AM  

Meanwhile, over at Quigley, you've got clues like "busty woman, in slang". I daresay that one's never appeared in the Times....


(spelled backward is "live"; if he'd have used that yesterday I might not have slept through the puzzle....)

Merry Christmas

Two Ponies 11:24 AM  

I suppose this means we have to wait yntil tomorrow for our holiday theme puzzle. Although considering how saturated the programming is this week with Plugs maybe it is a theme.
Aphis was new to me but Dalad made no sense so I accepted it.
Favorite TV detective? Emma Peel!
McEnroe brought some much-needed excitement to tennis. Between him and Nastase you always knew something would happen to shake things up.

JoefromMtVernon 11:29 AM  

Not sure on the great Kazoo; perhaps you saw one of the "Flintstones meets Jetsons" cartoons. Sorry, didn't study French or word derivations as a kid, but saw a lot of Hanna Barbera. My brother's favorite was Quick Draw McGraw (with Baba Louey and his dog Snuffles...loved the dog buscuit stuff...obviously the precursor to Scooby Snacks). Sorry for the's the time of year, I guess. Maybe a quick story if I get time to add to my (seriously lacking) blog.

Perhaps the publication of yesterday's and today's puzzle were switched?

Happy to cook...


Chorister 11:38 AM  

So did 2001 have, or have no, Apemen? I don't remember any but possibly I misremember the movie. I need to know because if there were none, then I am officially IRATE about this clue/answer. I despise clues that have wrong answers.

Got in an argument about aphis/aphid once. I was seven. Good argument for nerds being born, not made.

Tobacco chew seems awfully refined for tabakky chaw. Neither passes the breakfast test.

Quibbles aside, the puzzle was fun enough for a lazy morning.

I will go out on a limb here and wish everyone a Merry Christmas because that is what I'm celebrating. You don't have to have one of course.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:42 AM  

@ Chorister - Off the top of my head, the APEMEN in 2001 appear at the very beginning, jumping around the Monolith in ape fashion, until one of them throws up a bone which metamorphoses into a space station.

I'm sure someone more competent than I will post the appropriate clip.

jae 11:45 AM  

Pretty easy for a Wed. but nothing to complain about. I too waited for the end of NODS and for the vowel in CH_W. My PLUG is that its my birthday and I'm off to buy lobsters for whats become an annual dinner. So far the early 60s have been kind. I still walk the course and carry the bag and there's always the senior discounts.

Merry Christmas all.

edith b 11:47 AM  


The Great Kazoo showed up in the last season of the Flintstones so there weren't many episodes featuring him. I don't recall him showing up anywhere else but, after 40+ years, I could be wrong.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

@anonymous McEnroe hater and misspeller of Saab.

Glad, for some reason, to know what SAAB is an acronym for. And McEnroe WAS an obnoxious brat, but also the most awesome serve-and-volley player that I, for one, ever saw. I loved his style of play, and his matches against his rivals Lendl and Conners were classics of the fox vrs. the hedgehog genre. Aside from the young Boris Becker, Mac was the most exciting tennis player I've ever seen. An Artist? Yeah, I'd give him that.

Not so much to say about the puzzle. Took me just over 10 minutes, no googling (what was there to google? Paula Zahn?). Good for me for a Wednesday.

Happy Holidays, all.

fikink 12:13 PM  

@Karen, are you sure you are not thinking of Close Encounters of the Third Kind? The only thing I remember at the end of 2001 was the unborn baby.
(There were apes at the beginning of the film - thus, the actors were APEMEN.)
@greene, A Multitude of Amys is how we met on this blog - Happy Anniversary, Dear.

There is a car rental company for whom a graying McEnroe - playing on his reputation - taped a violent ad which involved beaning someone in the parking lot by whipping a tennis ball at the man's temple and knocking him to the ground. It "didn't play in Peoria" and has been taken off the air, it seems. Is it still playing on the East Coast?
(McEnroe has been replaced by the much more palatable Joe Buck.)

If nothing else, this puzzle was evocative.

Seasons Glee, Everyone.

DJG 12:23 PM  

I don't get how PAW and FUR join to make a phrase meaning "hand covered". Can somebody explain this to me, please?

PS -- Orange, if you read this, my pick for my family's "secret Santa" had your book on her list. It made my choice of what to get her very easy.

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

A mention-by-name in Rex's blog -- The Greatest Gift of All!

In truth, after years in flyover land you become resigned to the total interchangeability of the Midwestern states. Maybe something like the vast, vague wilderness of "Upstate New York."

Also, I'm not sure there's a building over 12 stories in Rapid City, so I have no opportunity to stand up for South Dakota in that regard.

Unknown 12:45 PM  

A very good debut puzzle by Warren Biro today. Nice to have everyone together here so I can wish those who celebrate it, a Merry Christmas.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

Evil Doug: I gotta check out those Quigley puzzles! Busty woman in slang? Sounds refreshing. The clue, that is. Well, actually the answer probably is too! Ha!

Merry Christmas!

Bob Kerfuffle 1:10 PM  

@ Z.J. Mugildny - 29A Hand covered with 32-Down is a PAW, although I have known a few humans whose hands were rather FURry. (That is, if a hand is covered with FUR, it is most likely a PAW -- as on those APEMEN.)

Three and out. Time for a movie and dinner!

Vega 1:10 PM  

I agree: a pleasant, easy puzzle for a lazy Wednesday -- yet *another* surprise day off for me here in Seattle winter wonderland.

I have the same top 5 favorite answers as Rex. Though I have to say, having been raised Hindu, it's always jarring to me to see Avatar reduced from a mystical experience that connects us to the Grand Illusion of our earthly existence and defines the purpose of our lives to...a cartoon caricature.

Oh, definitely Inspector Morse. Almost as high on my list as Columbo.

Happy holidays!

chefbea 1:12 PM  

@Z.J.Mugildny a hand coverd with fur=paw. Although I tend to disagree - a cave man who is covered with fur does not refer to his hands as paws.

Some sort of bug going around here has had,has or will have. I was up all night. Just having tea and toast today. Hopefully I can et the roast beef and yorkshire pudding tomorrow

Happy holidays to all

fergus 1:23 PM  

To the strains of "Thus Spake Zarathustra" did the APEMEN pound with bones. I had no idea how or why they tied in when I first saw 2001 as a child. The monolith meant nothing to me.

Tobacco chewers usually DIP, or so I've heard from Texans living in California.

Sorry if I offend anyone but I think that joining MENSA would be an embarrassment.

Ulrich 1:24 PM  

@fikink: I think I saw the commercial in question only last night on "Countdown"--which, I'm sure, is saying something about how we Easterners are perceived by people on Madison Avenue, or whereever these decisions are made. Speaking for myself, I find Joe Buck insipid, but I also find this kind of McEnroe joke tired by now--the upshot, I guess: We are hard to please (we're elitists, after all!)

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

Happy birthday to you and Christ!
(and to the rest of us, a tepid Third Night of Chanukah, happy vague holiday greeting! At least they overlap this year!)

I looked it up, the difference between APHID and APHIS is one has an S and one has a D.

I had NOD_AT and since I misread the clue for the verb tense, I actually thought it was NODBAT, like that was the name for the little paddle you hold up!

Also did the CHAW/CHEW thing.
(hmmmm CHAW, CHEW, CHOW...CHIW, CHUW??? damn!)

Surprised Rex did not mention the inelegance of having two phrases end with -MENT (TVADVERTISEMENT and HAIRREPLACEMENT) so along with the borderline BATHSTOPPER and the aforementioned CHEW/CHAW, I was not crazy about this puzzle, but I may be bitter as Will has rejected my last ten!

The thing about the puzzles that have the same word (Myles and I tried it with KISS) is that the long theme answers come out a bit boring, and just definitions.

Maybe I just need a vacation from all of this!

But before I go, I promised a couple of folks one of my name-droppy stories for the holidays...

In the summer of 1979 I was working in London (as Peter Sellers' lawyer's gopher, but that's a different story) I ended up at Wimbledon and free tickets to center court.
(I knew ZERO about tennis and this lonely American tennis pro whose boyfriend had dumped her, picked me up for company)

Anyway, I was sitting center court watching MacEnroe play doubles with Peter Fleming. He hit the ball and it touched the top of the net and fell back on to his side of the court.

He went up to the net and took his racket and pretended to measure the height of the net.

(THinking it had indeed been strung incorrectly) I turned to my new friend and gasped "It IS lower in the middle!"

Unfortunately, it was one of those pindrop quiet moments, so my voice carried across the entire court.
Everyone laughed and I was mortified...

Later that night, we coincidentally ran into MacEnroe at the Hard Rock Cafe, but that has nothing to do with anything.
(Oh my god, Was MacEnroe even in the puzzle today? OK, the connection is SAAB: Bjorn Borg)

Doc John 1:30 PM  

Back to the regular grind (puzzle-wise) today.

@ jae- Happy Birthday!

I'm with Edith, et al about chaw instead of chew.

@ Rex- here's a way to maybe make ESTOP a bit more palatable for you. In amusement park lingo the big red button the ride operator hits to instantly shut a ride down is the emergency stop, or E-STOP button. It is also said that one may "do an E STOP". Let's use it in a sentence, shall we? "They had to do an E STOP because of the idiot who climbed the fence to get his hat."

re: APEMEN and 2001: My partner, the film buff, says that the makeup on the apemen was so good that everyone thought they were real apes and so 2001 did not get nominated for an Oscar in that category.

DJG 1:40 PM  

Re: Hand covered, FUR, PAW

I see now, of course. I was inserting a comma in my head reading it "Hand covered, with 32-Down".

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

The entire south looks like my pen exploded over it.

Without counting, I wrote in HAIR TRANSPLANT, which was too short, and then wrote in HAIR EXTENSION - which was ALSO too short. Sigh.

Other than that, just one little quibble about using "December 25" as a clue for DATE.

I'll settle in with the - hopefully - Holiday puzzle tomorrow and then we're off to PARIS in the afternoon. Wheeee!

chefwen 1:57 PM  

Liked Monday, loved Tuesday, today was O.K. but not the usual romp I look for on a Wednesday.
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and even those who don't.
Chefbea, I'm making roast beef amd Yorkshire Puds tomorrow also, hope mine is a good as yours.

fikink 2:04 PM  

@Ulrich, insipid works better out here when one is trying to sell something - much easier to ignore. There is something about going from news of Mr. Cheney's latest atrocity to a violent huckster. As earlier noted, someone at an online brokerage service (ETrade? I can't even be forced to remember the principal in these ads!) was going "to beat his friend Steve like a rented mule." Excuse me?
I am afraid that Madison Avenue and other hucksters see you Easterners much more inured to everything violent. I mean how else could Ann Coulter dis the victims of 911?
Whew - Ann Coulter and Dick Cheney in the same post? What must I be thinking?
Okay, she goes, she goes...Let us all think of the new year ahead with this great nightmare behind us.
This New Year's Eve will be a special one!
Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men.

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

@jae: Happy Birthday!

Everybody: Merry Christmas!! Happy Hanukkah!!

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Over the years, the cluing of MENSA as some group of intelligent people has always grated. They're a bunch of Tweens. ("Tween" here is the term from Mark Clifton in his 1952 story "Star, Bright", referring to people halfway between average and intelligent.)

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

@jim in Chicago. Don't forget Kevin

Doug 2:36 PM  

@edith: Great "G"azoo, but close enough! Harvey Korman did the voice of him on the Flintstones, how about that?

@RP: I can believe McEnroe was your idol as you're also the "bad boy" of crosswords. I can picture you doing the puzzle with a headband on, yelling "Shortz, you idiot! Moses = PARTER?"

I really enjoyed this puzzle, and it's about as perfect as it gets. And it's appropriate timing to say "thank God" that it was APEMEN, not APERS. The movie was a classic, but as you can expect the book explains what was really going on. I think it was in The Right Stuff where the astronauts see the sun come over Earth and it's so much like 2001 that someone wants to call Stanley Kubrick to compliment him.

Chip Hilton 2:56 PM  

Nice, easy Wednesday pre-Christmas gift.
Happy holidays to all, with thanks to Rex and the Responders (sounds a bit like a glam rock band) for enriching the experience.

Bill from NJ 3:18 PM  

Good afternoon all and Merry Christmas and Hanukkah Greetings to Seth G and Andrea and any others who share my Faith.

I did this puzzle this morning - some parts I liked and other parts - meh. (Hi Orange).

chefbea 3:25 PM  

@Bill from N.J. Happy hanukkah to you and Barbara and a happier new year. Great to hear from you

mac 3:25 PM  

Easy Wednesday, even easier than yesterday's. Zit passed the breakfast test?

I have never heard of dad-blamed or dag-blamed, don't understand what it means either, but don't mind me, I used to think a dob-kit was a dog-kit....

@easylob: of course, how could I forget Morse... But then I was trying to figure out who Rex would like best, and I thought he would prefer Mariska/Olivia.

@Jae: Happy Birthday and bon appetit!

That's a funny story. I had one of those "speaking when no one else is" moments, but that one is really, really way beyong the breakfast test.

@Fikink: I suspect that that McEnroe and rental car ad was pulled before 10 p.m. I thought it was a bit rough, but the replacement is indeed insipid.
I heared the best news about Ann Coulter: she had to have her teeth wired shut!!! At last.

Linda Ball 3:26 PM  

I am not anonymous. I didn't always love McEnroe, but some of his matches with Borg were the absolute best ever, ever and with wooden rackets and really short shorts. And I love him as a commentator. He has become a great one, I think. I'm as much a tennis fan as a crossword one. More probably. Anyway, I think it's great that we are talking about him but he didn't even get in the puzzle (does he ever?). Ashe was a gentlemen, but I sign whenever his name appears in a puzzle.

mac 3:28 PM  

@Acme: I meant the net story was funny, your @... disappeared...

I hope I can wish you all many good things tomorrow, if my newspaper man got my message that I cut my trip short!

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

@fikink, I'm still thinking of 2001. (The aliens in Close Encounters that showed up at the end were the classic Grey type aliens, skinny with big eyes.) In 2001 *Spoiler alert* after falling through the monolith, Dave gets sucked through a black hole into the center of the galaxy and gets aged and un-aged and the aliens tell him the purpose of the monoliths. I may be conflating the book with the movie here.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

Thanks! Feel free to write to me off-line with your story! Hey! I just realized your name is the same as his! (and an anagram of mine)

Ah! Gazoo! Thanks for that, great question for something!
It's weird about APEMAN. I didn't know which movie they were talking about and thought it was maybe "Planet of the Apes" even tho the date was way never considered aliens and just got it anyway...
Between that and NODBAT, I may have to go back to learning 101 on how to read clues!

@Billfrom NJ
special thanks as always...and to you too! I usually don't celebrate (in protest), but today I actually bought Chanukah candles that came 45 to the box...I was trying to do the math about how many one needs
2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9=44, so what is the extra one for? One to grow on?

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

@acme--The extra candle is so you have one extra left over, and after 10 years or so, you have 10 different boxes sitting in your cabinet with one candle in each.

Bill from NJ 5:07 PM  

@Andrea re Candles

My mother was a fatalist and she said "One always came broke."

@chefbea -

Barbara says to tell you she loves beets.


A special Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Ulrich 5:12 PM  

@acme: Having been to quite a few tennis matches myself, I can appreciate your story--I wish I had been there. You took advantage, of course, of the fact that you were in London--in New York, there wouldn't have been a quiet moment.

If I may add a remark off-puzzle, if on-tennis. Martin Ames once described the differences between tennis crowds in Paris, London and New York by their respective attitudes toward aces: The French hate them b/c they take away the finesse and elegance of the game; the Brits accept them grudgingly b/c aces are within the rules, after all; New Yorkers love them--they wouldn't mind a match consisting of nothing but aces.

Do I have to add where Johnny Mac came from? (He wasn't big on aces, though)

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

I wonder if the Yabba-Dabba-Doo/Tuesday Weld comparison was intentional. On the Flintstones, one of the fake celebrities was Tuesday Wednesday.

Great site!

dk 5:28 PM  

My post yesterday with Broderick Crawford and Clint Eastwood in Highway Patrol got lost in space. Maybe it was for the best? Nahhh here it is again:

My MENSA story: In grad school the class dork came in (this just after MENSA started up) stating he had passed the "test" and was a MENSA. Well we (5 of us) took the tests, passed and named our volleyball team MENSA. The joke of a sort was we were the worst volleyball team ever and we would announce in our Stat class to the aforementioned dork, damn those MENSAs are such losers. You know it was funny to a bunch of Psych majors.

Oh the puzzle was fine.

Happy Holidays!

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

@Stevel, Bill
Well, it's down to us...writing on Rex's blog on Xmas Eve is probably akin to going to the movies and eating Chinese...only more pathetic! ;)
three and out, as they say!

Anonymous 5:48 PM  

Rex, I liked the hair replacement clue, especially since I can't tell a plug from a rug. My boyfriend can spot one from a distance; guys have that radar. I had to ask him about Blago's hair which, well . . anyway, it's too late to join in yesterday's fun except to say it was a good idea, but I couldn't respect the strange fill, even though the puzzlemaker and I share the same initials. Great recipe, but inedible result. (Don't hate me Joe, I like my puzzles just so . . maybe next time) Rex, thanks for the Rex Therapy you offer year-round. Merry Everything to Everybody!

Jeffrey 5:52 PM  

I'm here too, acme. Why there's a cross in my name, I'll never know. Oy, what would my mother have said?

Pass me an egg roll.


mac 6:02 PM  

@bill, Andrea, Seth, steve l, Mr. Can and all others who celebrate, a very joyful Chanukah.

Vega 6:06 PM  

Also still here! The Hindu joins the Jews.

As long as those egg rolls aren't beef, I'll have one, too.

Ho ho ho,

PlantieBea 6:24 PM  

Okay puzzle. Wanted APHID, but couldn't make sense of DALAD. I liked cross of the Opal Heirloom in the attic, or the word Date with Vivian Leigh. I didn't know lightning said "Zap." I detest the clue "lead in to plunk."

Another Grey Ghost, signing off. Happy Holidays to all!

Anonymous 6:35 PM  

@acme--It's kinda funny, over the years I have tended toward ignoring Christmas altogether. I have no animosity toward it, and I wish all those who celebrate it the best, but I was never one of those Jews who felt left out on Dec. 25. And I think my kids feel the same way. I think it has to do with Jewish identity. I no more feel the need to celebrate Christmas (for myself, that is; in a group, I can be merry) than I feel compelled to celebrate Ramadan or Diwali. I think that we probably will go out for Chinese and a movie tomorrow, but we are also going to a children's hospital to spread Dec. 25 cheer. And maybe do some caroling. And then, go home and who knows, do some laundry. A happy Hanukkah to you and the others on the short list; a very Merry Christmas to all those who partake. And a happy New Year to all.

Unknown 6:38 PM  

The Spirit of the Season is truly here. The BEET comment was allowed. Joy to the world.

jeff in chicago 6:39 PM  

Many people are unaware that Arthur C. Clarke did not care for the movie version of 2001. Here is part of what James Randi wrote in a tribute to Mr. Clarke:

"I was an invited guest in New York City at the premiere of the Kubrick film 2001, and I saw Arthur in tears when he began to realize just how Kubrick had ignored the subtleties of the original story; we were both dismayed by the erroneous interpretations members of the audience offered as explanations of the “psychedelic” sequences in the film. I suggest that readers examine his short story “The Sentinel” —upon which that film was based—and The Lost Worlds of 2001, then see the film again for a better understanding of what it should have shown."

This from a collection of Clarke tributes that can be seen here.

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

Copenhagan is chew. Red Man is chaw. One who "dips" goes for Cop or Skoal; one who "chews" goes for Red Man or Beechnut. Wanted "tobacco quid", as it's how the dictionarydefines it. But as one who "dips" it's understandable. Not proud, but get the point. Dips are obtainable with a pinch of the fingers. Chaws require the whole hand.
You know what... forget it. Nobody cares! Merry Christmas to all and to all a Happy Boxing Day to follow!

jae 7:23 PM  

Thanks Rex for recommending the BEQ puzzle, I just hope tomorrow's NYT is close to as good.

And thanks folks for the birthday wishes, I'm off to my daughter's to partake of lobster. Merry Christmas!

Doc John 7:49 PM  

I meant to mention this in my earlier post- APHIS reminds me of the fingerprint database they're always checking on CSI. I know it's AFIS (F for fingerprint) but it just comes across as APHIS in my head. Maybe it's the aphids swirling around in there...

Off to light the candles...
(A Jewish doctor! Who'd'a thunk? *wink* )

Laurence Hunt 3:07 AM  

Obviously it didn't fit, but BMW started out as an airplane maker also (SAAB).

The familiar BMW logo is meant to represent a rotating propeller.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:57 AM  

May I be forgiven a fourth post? Especially at this late hour? If this works correctly, you can paste this address to see the clip I had in mind from 2001. And someday I will learn how to post a direct link!

mac 8:58 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: enjoyed this little bit of the film. I saw "2001" a few years ago in a small theatre in Fairfield, CT, and Keir Dullea and a film critic were present to talk about it afterward. Very nice evenining.

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