SUNDAY, Jan. 25, 2009 - M Torch (Fox News opinionator / Monkey, pony or alligator / Style expert Klensch and others)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Fiddle Dee Dee" - double T is changed to double D in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued

Word of the Day: REVET - To retain (an embankment, for example) with a layer of stone, concrete, or other supporting material [French revêtir, from Old French revestir, to clothe again, from Latin revestīre : re-, re- + vestīre, to clothe (from vestis, garment).] (

Easy solve with few problems except for somewhere in the NEVada section of the grid (58A: Home of the Excelsior Mts.), where things got a little rocky and I had to double back and come back up from the south. Had -AI-E for 47D: Relinquish (waive) and, for some reason, that did not compute. My first guesses for the crosses would have turned the word into HAIBE, which I was pretty sure was wrong. I know, NEB. doesn't really have "mountains," but I didn't know NEV. had any either, except the Sierra NEVadas. Why I thought labyrinths had HALLS, I don't rightly know (47A: Labyrinth parts -> WALLS). DANCE took some thought as well (51A: Monkey, pony or alligator). As I say, this little struggle was only a hiccup. The few tough words in this puzzle were easily conquerable via crosses.

The theme - meh. The first answer I got was UDDER NONSENSE, and that is such a painful, tired groaner that I didn't have much hope for the rest of the puzzle. Thankfully, the rest of the DD-changes were not as bad. I was kind of hoping this would be a bra-themed puzzle. Too much to hope for, I guess. Is FADDY a word? FADDISH I've heard of - FADDY, not so much. I'm sure it's legal, i.e. in a dictionary somewhere, but I don't know that I've ever heard it uddered. (see, it's horrible, right?). Last question about the theme - "DEE" is in the title ... and "DEE" is in the puzzle (76A: "Zip-_____-Doo-Dah"). Not that I needed the title to get that one, but still - titles should not contain words that are in the grid. Further, should partials cross? ADEE and HADA (62D: "We _____ ball!")? I can't remember the last time I saw crossing partials like that. Perhaps there was no other fix. With two theme answers running through there, options were likely very limited.

Theme answers:

  • 22A: Dairy frivolity? (udder nonsense)
  • 40A: Creamy dessert atop a cracker, informally? (puddin' on the Ritz)
  • 56A: Advice for golfers? (caddy remarks)

  • 61A: Measure of reaction to horror? (shudder speed)
  • 80A: Guardians of a house painters' celebration? (ladder day saints) - ?
  • 102A: Linens purchased through a Web site? (online bedding)
  • 2D: Why the eBay user was laid up? (bidder cold) - had BITTER PILL at first :(
  • 69D: Trendy lab hazards? (faddy acids)

Surprised to see ELI in the puzzle clued as some clockmaker I've never heard of (100D: Clockmaker Terry). Also surprised to see ELI because ELIHU (48A: Root of government) is already in the puzzle. Two ELI-related clues and not a single mention of Yale. That is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Never heard of RYE, NY (59A: New York town with Playland amusement park) or SLIGO county (35D: County next to Mayo) or RONZONI (9D: Pasta brand) pasta. OK, maybe I've heard of them, but I didn't remember them last night while solving. ALLELE(S) is back in the puzzle today (82D: Genotype determinants) - it's a word I now have affection for, since it can no longer do me any harm (I learned it, the hard way, from crosswords a while back). Never heard the term RENT ROLL (20A: Landlord's schedule) - maybe it's a big apt. building (i.e. a New York) thing. Thought SPEE was SNEE, and then SMEE (94A: Losing admiral in the Battle of the Falkland Islands, 1914). Other than that, all was smooth.


  • 26A: "Scrubs" actor Braff (Zach) - I always feel a little guilty when pop culture gimmes like this are the first things I put in the grid. I think ZACH and D'ANGELO were one and two today (105A: Actress Beverly who played Patsy Cline in "Coal Miner's Daughter")
  • 10D: Style expert Klensch and others (Elsas) - Had an ILSA/ELSA moment here. Not sure why I know this lady. She's not on "Project Runway," so the origins of my familiarity with her are uncertain.
  • 74A: With 78-Across, stated desire of many a Miss America (World / Peace) - very nicely done
  • 75A: Home to Ohio Northern University (Ada) - news to me. Not what Nabokov's novel "ADA" was about.
  • 92A: "_____-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra!" ("Too-Ra") - OK on its own, as a Hail Mary-type answer, but with "A-DEE" already in the puzzle, it just feels silly.
  • 93A: Support, as an embankment (revet) - learned it, recently, from crosswords.
  • 3D: Clarified, in England (spelt out) - also a declaration from a trend-conscious grain merchant
  • 27D: Fox News opinionator (Hannity) - I was surprised yesterday at the vicious and derisive comments that Palin's name provoked from several readers. Well, not surprised. It's an unfortunate habit of certain liberals to sneer at and malign any well known Republican whose name happens to come up. These are the people who talk about everyone loving each other and then wear T-shirts that say "I Hated Bush Before It Was Cool." So I know you all think HANNITY's an idiot. I can't say I disagree. But I don't need a bunch of comments about his mother or his penis size, or suggestions that his daughter is a "ho," a la yesterday. There are political blogs where such blow-hard pontificating is the comment style of choice. They aren't hard to find.
  • 56D: Anglers' baskets (creels) - I have a completely inexplicable love of the word CREEL
  • 96D: Rock group whose members wear red flowerpots on their heads (Devo) - always? I think they did at one period, the "Whip It" period... Mmm, sixth grade:

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


joho 9:27 AM  

@rex: you touched on exactly the words and places in the puzzle where I had the same problems. But, as you said, nothing too difficult to fix. Something you didn't have was slink at SNEAK for a moment.

I, too, shuddered at UDDERNONSENSE. And while I got all the puns which weren't as cringe-making, I think I won't be looking forward to the next punny puzzle.

That's what I learned today besides the new word REVET.

Jeffrey 9:33 AM  

Never heard of ZACH or HANNITY, so their crossing was a NATICK/OSHGOSH/KALAMAZOO/RYE or whatever location we call that stuff. But I'm not BIDDER.

Puzzle was a yawn.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

oops, I emailed you when I should have blogged. You didn't comment on the answer to 109A being "tosspots".
Having never seen this word before, I have looked it up online and don't get anything saying it means a sponge - rather it says a tosspot is a drunk or someone who masturbates alot. Any explanation for how tosspots is the correct answer?

Karin 9:37 AM  

I, too, thought this puzzle was sort of a yawn. The last area completed for me was northwest corner because I wanted 10a to be "blow" instead of "slip." Once I fixed that the rest just "slipped" in. What's up with the last three days?

Karin 9:39 AM  

@Andrew210 - Tosspots means drunkard and one who can drink a lot is often referred to as a sponge?

Gnarbles 9:45 AM  

Too many mind numbing CNN ads make it difficult to not remember Elsa Klensch.

@Puzzlegirl - I meant to comment earlier in the week. When you do your Dan Gable puzzle, don't forget to put in Larry Owings somewhere. I would position him above Dan, as he did beat him (at least once). Go Huskies!

HudsonHawk 9:51 AM  

The easy streak continues through Sunday. Those of us who venture to/through Westchester County know RYE all too well, as well as Playland. What I can't understand is why so many people adorn their cars with Playland bumper stickers. Is there a door prize I don't know about for having one displayed?

I had the same objections as Rex, especially since the first clue that caught my eye was Zip-ADEE-Doo-Dah. I was also struck by the high number of D's, E's and R's in the grid, even outside of the theme answers. Made for fairly blah fill...

HudsonHawk 9:51 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich 9:59 AM  

After the cringe-inducing "udder nonsense" (flagged already by Rex), I didn't have high hopes, and they stayed that way generally, except when I reached "ladder day saints", which is goofy enough to lift my spirits. BTW "udder nonsense" is, in my book, the equal of "purrfect" when it is used in connection with cats: I take to my heels immediately.

imsdave 10:04 AM  

I had trouble with the clue for TOSSPOTS as well. I had the C in LCDS and immediately wrote in RCAS - (do they actually still have any market share?). Seems like the usual TV answer. No gripes with the puzzle though. Entertaining in a small way with some excellent fill.

@Gnarbles - funny you should mention Huskies today ending a winning streak, as my beloved UConn basketball team ended Notre Dame's home court streak last night.

@Rex - thanks for the political insert - as an abandonded conservative, I appreciated it. As one of the 1% (maybe) of conservatives on this blog, I couldn't agree with you more about HANNITY - an embarassment to the philosophy. The Palin choice totally torpedoed the McCain campaign, and I'm glad. I have high hopes for the new president.

Megan P 10:05 AM  

I think most Sunday puzzles are a bit boring - a gimmicky theme combined with the length of the puzzle creates ennui, and routine fill becomes extra irritating.

Always love to get "tosspot," though.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Yippie! In the 15 years since I've been trying to solve NY Times Sunday puzzles this is the very first time I've ever completed the whole thing on my own! Got the Sunday Times @ 10pm last night(my Sat night ritual) & have been working on the puzzle on & off since then w/ a catnap here & there... I usually can get thru about half the puzzle on my own(or 75% on a really good week)before I turn to wikipedia and Rex's excellent blog... anyway, I know this puzzle was rated easy-medium... but I'm about ready to burst here! Btw...the"walls/halls" thing w/ the "Labyrinth parts" clue threw me off for the longest time too...

Hydromann 10:08 AM  

Yes, indeed, the trend does continue--perhaps the easiest Friday-Saturday-Sunday sequence of all time!

I agree the DD puns were mostly a-groan-izing. I sortta liked the cluing to the "ladder day saints," though. Conceiving of a painter holiday as "ladder day" was clever.

"World Peace" was a gimme for any fan of Sandra Bullocks "Miss Congeniality."

Parshutr 10:10 AM  

I've seen the noun "revetment", so learning the verb REVET was cool.
This was a very comfortable puzzle to a golfer and photographer, and there was a lingering Obama theme (ANOINTED) according to HANNITY.
Never disappointed to see DANGELO, or referencing Astaire (PUDDINONTHERITZ).

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Can someone help me with 88D? Relap isn't in any dictionary. I get lap as the thing you get when you sit, ingesting liquid, or phase or distance in a race. Can't see how you can pass any of these. Gotta be a sports term [football, maybe?], which would explain why it's a mystery to me.

Parshutr 10:18 AM a race, when you pass someone again, you've relapped him.

JoefromMtVernon 10:20 AM  


Haven't been on the computer much, except to read e-mails.

Nice puzzle with a few bumps.

Shouldn't the Devo clue be phrased "wore" vs "wear"? Are they still touring, and wearing the same costumes as 30 years ago?

I always felt that Caddy Shack scene was the funniest in the movie. A perfect song for the moment.

Rye Playland is an aging park, and is know for its original Dragon Coaster, Carousel, and Derby Racer. I took my son when he was 14 months or so to their kiddie park. He talked about that day vividly until he was 5. The color of the boat he rode, riding the carousel, and being told he'd have to wait until he was 10 to ride the derby racer. Has had negative press the last few years with two deaths on their rides.

I agree with your remarks last week regarding 3 Obama themes within 10 days, and agree with you on Palin commments today. If now is the "time of change," let's dump the name-calling on both sides. Also, I personally don't think Hannity is an idiot... but if you do, hey, that's your's your blog. My daughter was once interviewed in his "Man on the Street segment." She was one of the few ever to have answers for him. If this revelation draws ire, I'll just consider myself Al Czverik (Dangerfield) to all the Judge Smails (Ted Knight) out there.


Anonymous 10:21 AM  

Jewel, I took "relap" to mean to "pass" the starting point again...i.e. starting another lap...not sure it is a "real" word

Unknown 10:48 AM  

There seemed to be a lot of "Englishiness" in the puzzle. There were 3 specifically clued that way, 3d, 45d, and 71d, and TOSSPOTS and RENTROLL also strike me as English terms without coming right out and saying so.

I'm usually a bit of a sucker for the punny stuff, but not when it's so BANAL. I expect more cleverness from the NYT puzzle than 'udder nonsense'.
I agree with Ulrich that it is at the level of 'purrfect', a joke you might see on a child's birthday card. A very young child.

chefbea 10:51 AM  

An easy sunday puzzle. Needed just a little help. Had evicted for 81D. Didnt know revet although I think we had that word recently

Have passed the exit to playland numerous times but have never been there.

I bought the goat cheese and the red things that are now in the crisper so I can make the recipe from Wed food section.

evil doug 10:54 AM  

I don't do the Sunday puzzle, but I always check out the commentary. I appreciate Rex's thoughts on politics, hatred and prejudice.

I have been particularly surprised to see some of the most gratuitously toxic comments come from people who have indicated their own history of being discriminated against.

One of the best lessons I ever learned: If you're going to praise someone, do it by name; if an attack is to be made, take it against the action, not the individual.


retired_chemist 11:02 AM  

Well, I'll give Mr. Torch FADDY ACIDS @ 69D - kind of the crossword analogy to poetic license. Brings back memories of being on the Chem dept bowling team, the Fatty Acids, in grad school.

20A RENT ROLL is the bur under my saddle today. Like Rex, I never heard of it before. Would have liked "separated Parker House" as the clue about as well. Which is to say, not very much. But it would expand the culinary aspect to the puzzle. Either that is indeed prominent or I need to get breakfast.

The culinary aspect in the Tennessee region (74D: WENDY, 67D, GOATS re chèvre cheese) could have (sort of) been expanded by a more challenging clue to 78D PICA, which is an eating disorder involving ingestion of non-food items as well as 12 point type. Or would that have been disrespectful to Wendy?

Belvoir 11:15 AM  

TREED is a new one for me.

I'm still trying to figure IPS for "Tape player spec".
Inch Per Second? No idea.

Otherwise, it has been an easy 3 day run.

Margaret 11:18 AM  

@ Jewel, a little more explanation... When you're running on a track and someone get a full lap ahead of you and passes you, they have "lapped" you. When they do it a second time, they have "relapped" you.

Same [yawn] feeling as the rest of the crowd. Got the theme on [groan] FADDY ACIDS. This puzzle reminds me of an interview I once heard with Daniel Radcliff (HP himself) who used a term that has now become a favorite: "cringe-worthy."

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Surely you remember Rye, New York.

As in, "Good old boys drinking whiskey in Rye, singing this will be the day that I die."

Or, at least, that's how I confirmed my answer in my head.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

It is bidder cold in Michigan this morning (8 deg) - meh, indeed. I like the Sunday puzzle to have more pizzazz than this one, something that puts up a bit more of a struggle, but this one rolled right over and gave up. I thought that might happen when I saw the what-I-call stair structure where one answer leads to another. I must admit that I didn't exactly finish it without help. I put the puzzle down for a minute and when I came back my husband was working on the last section (SE). Since it is our anniversay, I didn't make any caddy remarks. Okay, I know that's enough!

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Wow! I thought everybody in the world knows that the official/formal name of the Mormon Church is "The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints". (Yes, JC is all caps in the copyrighted title, which proves that they are a Christian church,right?)
At least, here in Utah they would have you believe that they are a global religion, and not just a goody sect that runs our state as a near Taliban-like theocracy.
I suppose I could move, but Utah is my home too, dammit!

Thanks, I feel better, now.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

...That was supposed to say "goofy sect" but my iPhone thinks it knows better than I.

jeff in chicago 11:56 AM  

28 comments in and all my issues have been discussed. Well...except one. All of the theme fills have the DD in the first word except for one. Not a major point, and it wouldn't have added the spark this puzzle seemed to need, IMO.

My favorite line from Caddy Shack is from Al Czervik (Dangerfield): "Oh, this is the worst-looking hat I ever saw. What, when you buy a hat like this I bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh?" (He looks at Judge Smails, who is wearing an identical hat, and continues) "Oh, it looks good on you though."

retired_chemist 11:57 AM  


"Surely you remember Rye, New York.

As in, "Good old boys drinking whiskey in Rye, singing this will be the day that I die."

Or, at least, that's how I confirmed my answer in my head."

Whiskey AND rye, right? Buddy Holly was from Lubbock TX, nowhere near Rye NY. The quote is from Don McLean's American Pie, which we old timers ALL remember I am sure.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

@retired_chemist--But Don McLean is from Westchester County, NY. I always remembered the lyric as "whiskey AND rye," so I looked it up on 3 lyrics websites. They confirmed my remembrance, but still, it's plausible.

retired_chemist 12:16 PM  

@ Steve I -

Thanks, I didn't know that. btw the Buddy Holly Museum is now open in Lubbock.

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

No one has yet to give me a good answer why the "sponges" clue (109A) has "tosspots" as the answer. Is this a word that anyone else has heard of? In many years (over 20) of doing the puzzle, I have rarely seen an answer that I couldn't make any sense of. (Rex, help me out here.)

hazel 12:22 PM  

at least the thin man pooch, the hammett canine, the fictional wirehair - didn't appear. that's something.

aaron bergman 12:29 PM  

Both tosspots and sponges are names for drunkards.

chefbea 12:38 PM  

@jeff in chicago I forget what IMO stands for. also MEH

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

7. Informal. a drunkard.

ArtLvr 12:48 PM  

Not much else to say, except I liked the clue for DANCE -- Monkey, pony or alligator (had heard of monkey, maybe).

My favorite of today's puzzles was in the LA Times, with wacky theme answers I found more amusing....


Anonymous 12:52 PM  

I too had evicted on 81D altho
I thought 84A should be the correct
word meets.

Easy easy puzzle otherwise. Loved
Puddinontheritz clue.

Maybe I am a Lady of a Certain Age
'cause I immed put in Tosspots
when I knew leeches wouldn't work.

jeff in chicago 12:58 PM  

@chefbea: In My Opinion

Leon 1:02 PM  

Thanks Mr. Torch.

Great videos RP.

Re : Rye Playland
It is the only government owned-and-operated amusement
park in the United States.Ye Old Mill is still there but not the Magic Carpet Fun House.The fun house was destroyed in a fire in 1966.

edith b 1:17 PM  

As indicated, a sponge is a drunkard and tosspot is an old expression for a drunk. I remember my grandmother used that term all the time to describe people who drink too much, I am past 60 so you know how far that expression goes back. It my be an Eastern regional thing, though.

My husband used to manage a 75 tenant apartment complex for a client and a RENTROLL was the list of tenants and when their leases expired.

Not much to say about this puzzle. I started in the Tennessee region and moved in a generally southwesterly direction, uncovered the theme at LADDERDAYSAINTS, moved across the Deep South and did a reverse Sherman's March into the NW to a solve.

Knew REVET and all the pop colture stuff and everything else was gettable by way of crosses so no real problems.

edith b 1:19 PM  

Oh, I may be in the minority here, but the more cringe-worthy the pun, the better it is. I think that is a pun's nature.

PlantieBea 1:27 PM  

I guess I feel the same way about this as most of you, and I learned the same new words. I'm glad Rex posted REVET as the WOTD. I never watch FOX so I don't know HANNITY from ZACH. Now, my one big mistake when I got the theme was quickly putting in SHARP SHUDDER for SHUDDER SPEED. I thought it was a stretch to turn cheddar into shudder, but you never know. Anyway, extra sharp cheddar is one of my favorite cheeses.

@chefBea: That salad does sound good.

janie 1:27 PM  

>Surprised to see ELI in the puzzle clued as some clockmaker I've never heard of (100D: Clockmaker Terry).

puzzle #152 in will's little black and white book... is a patrick merrell. did this puzzle just the other night. 46a: "clockmaker terry." that was my very first encounter with 'im. who'da thunk? (this one dates back to 1/16/03, btw -- and has a terrific little gimmick to it.)

i really enjoyed this one a lot. PUDDINONTHERITZ made my day -- and didn't find the rest of the theme fill too shabby neither.


jae 1:30 PM  

What most of you already said.

I got to use my new atlas to check out SLIGO after I discovered it was in Ireland and not Minn.

Meh = not interesting, bland, given a choice I'll pass, so-so, ho-hum...
Derived from a Simpson's episode I believe but it may go back further?

Ulrich 1:30 PM  

The sponge/tosspot question was answered by Karin in the fifth comment today, for Pete's sake!!! I guess we have to give up on our hope that people will read what has been written before.

janie 1:31 PM  

p.s. RYE playland shows up towards the end of the movie big...


kreiz1 1:32 PM  

As a political moderate, I appreciate your Hannity comment, Rex- well said. Funny- on that clue, OREILLY fit too.

Greene 1:35 PM  

@EdithB: I'm sure 5D was a neon for you! :)
I thought of you immediately as I wrote that in.

I enjoyed the ridiculous puns in this puzzle, and I'm further amused that I've done the last 3 days in record time without any assistance whatsoever. I know I'm not that good, so I just look at this weekend as the natural ebb and flow of puzzle difficulty.

We do love to complain about our puzzles here. "Too easy, too hard" we cry. It all reminds me of my days in the operating room as a lowly medical student. In addition to having the great honor of holding a clamp for 6 hours, we students also had the privilege of cutting the attending surgeon's individual sutures, one at a time, as they were sewn in place (in the elegant days before staple guns). Each painstaking snip of the catgut would be followed by the inevitable complaint from the attending surgeon about the length of the resulting suture strands, "Too long" or "Too short." they'd scold, no matter what the length. There's just no pleasing some people.

chefbea 1:37 PM  

Who would have known. Eli terry was born in connecticut and I have that same clock!!!

Kurisu 1:40 PM  

Easy puzzle overall, but I had an unusual number of incorrect fills that stymied me for a while. EVICTED instead of EMITTED, REDO for UNDO, ARS for PGS, HALLS for WALLS, TOILETRY for DIXIECUP which crossed with BRIEFS instead of BOXERS, PRIMER for READER, and probably others.

My least favorite clue was EELER. I get what it means, but does that appear in any dictionary?

I was also considering SMEE for the admiral but I didn't put that in since that's the Peter Pan character or the duck.

fikink 1:41 PM  

@retired chemist, I like your "rent roll" and would have liked to see PICA clued as the eating disorder.

retired_chemist 2:04 PM  

@ Edith B - thanks re rentroll - I usually learn something every puzzle blog. Two things so far this time! @fikink, thanks for the comment.

Doug 2:16 PM  

I'm in the editb b camp: You can't be half-pregnant with a pun. Take a sip of your cocktail, adjust your glasses and jump in.

Should stated desire of Miss America be ATLAS? I thought it was the lack of maps that caused many Americans to not understand its place in the world?

Can you still buy DIXIE CUPs? I have an awesome MULCH pile in the back that eats an amazing amount of waste. I want to go back to the PRADO in Madrid. IPS was used to measure tape speed and is now used to measure a computer mouse speed.

Michael Leddy 2:18 PM  

This puzzle seemed remarkably easy (as did Saturday's). The themed clues seemed so transparent.

You mentioned RONZONI: that's a brand that'd be familiar to any NY-area person of a certain age. "Ronzoni sono buoni; Ronzoni is so good." The only pasta I knew as a kid.

Chip Hilton 2:25 PM  

OREILLY was my first fill of the day, but crossing PEETE cleared that up.

TOSSPOTS and ALLELES a tough cross, I thought. Only went with the crossing S because of the plural clue in 82-down.

My enduring RYE memory is of the high speed carousel. A worker would stand on the platform at what seemed like a 45 degree angle as it spun. Hey, I was ten, so maybe that's a bit of a stretch.

Only pun as tired as UDDERLY.. whatever might be 'Thanks for the mammaries'.

Parshutr 2:25 PM  

@belvoir, yes ips = inches/second. My old Tandberg had three setting, 7.5, 3.75, and 1.88. The slower the speed, the lower the sound quality. This was all for 1/4" wide tapes. When tape discs came into vogue, they were 1/8" wide and crawled along at 1 7/8 ips. OK for the car.

fikink 2:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
fikink 2:45 PM  

correction: "would like to have seen..." (YIPES, I'm going back to bed!)

@Doug - Compost happens! (groan)

Shamik 2:45 PM  

Oh! Did I miss the Palin bashing? Rye Playland isn't exactly the amusement park mecca it was when I was growing up in Stamford, but it was still fun to ride the Steeplechase a couple of years ago with my little nephew...when HE was little.

@Leon: Oooohhhh!!!! I LOVED the Magic Carpet Ride. It seemed such an accomplishment when i was 8 to walk through the turning tunnel and the moving bridge without falling down. And then the magic carpet ride at the end. Could have done that all day long. Oh. Guess i showed my age again.

Oh yeah... the puzzle...very easy. Easy or hard opinions don't necessarily invalidate the enjoyment of the puzzle, though.

Got bogged down in the TOSSPOTS area...not because it didn't fit with sponge, but I kept thinking of sponge as someone who mooches off of another.

janie 2:50 PM  

chip's "thanks for the mammaries" reminded me of the wordplay applied to a line miss prism delivers in the importance of being ernest:

Memory, my dear Cecily, is the diary we all carry about with us.

now, with apologies in advance to oscar...:

mammary, my dear cecily, is the dairy we all carry about with us...


miguel 2:54 PM  

I like puns and loved the puzzle and have enjoyed a weekend of puzzles that are making the new can-do spirit in America a reality. I hope no one complains that the easy puzzles are part of a pro-Obama conspiracy though. Congratulations to FITZY.

@VinnyD...there must be a place to go to share all of the crazy (and wrong) things an iphone has "corrected". I have been embarrassed a few times, for sure.

@chefbea...did the salad for a dinner party last night and used Boucheron for the fromage de cheve and served Muscadet. You might do a savignon blanc though if you serve the salad after the main course in the French tradition. It was very well received and glad it was made relevant by the NYT crossword puzzle.

I want to join Rex in putting an end to the rumors that HANNITY is a TOSSPOT.

imsdave 3:00 PM  

@janie - you slay me - too funny

chefbea 3:23 PM  

@miguel I made that salad for lunch today. Used goat cheese. was sooo good. I will make the dressing for other salads as well.

chefwen 3:38 PM  

Finished most of the puzzle last night but had a minor setback with the northwest. When I filled in
74D I interrupted husband watching a guy flick and said "look, I made the NYT puzzle", he looked at me and his expression was, as if to say, "is this really newsworthy?"
Well, I thought it was pretty cool.
Favorite of the day was tosspots.

janie 4:05 PM  

imsdave -- thx. we try!


Anonymous 4:54 PM  

Surprised to see no comments on the blotch, I mean, the block that starts off the grid.

In this age of computerized puzzle making, can we start 1Across at square one, please? Those two corner squares look so .. ungainly?

Add this to the humdrum theme and the a-dee repeat, and I have to wonder what's going on in Shortz country.

Sorry, pet peeve.


George NYC 5:02 PM  

I think Rex deserves special props for his inspired inserts today. The cow/map is awesome! As someone has already mentioned, a great clip from "Caddyshack" and the Hannity book cover (as opposed to a simple screen shot) is hilarious. Thanks, Rex!

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

Rex- I completely agree that two comments were out of bounds and insulting to Palin and her daughter. I wholeheartedly support your efforts to keep all personal insults out of your blog. You do an excellent job of monitoring the comments and I appreciate that you have kept this place civil and respectful. But your commentary on yesterday's comments was a bit of an overreation in my opinion. The liberals here do not seem to be the type that "sneer at and malign any well known Republican whose name happens to come up." Many well known Republican (Ari Fleisher, Todd Palin, McCain, the Bushes, etc.) names have appeared in the puzzle lately and have not been sneered at or maligned. And I really haven't noticed any political blow-hard pontificating going on in the comments-probably because of your efforts at tamping down on that crap. I only participate in this blog and Orange's because the posters are beyond respectful 99.9 % of the time.

Yes, I said S.Palin kinda scares me. I don't think that's vicious or derisive. S.Palin invokes such a strong reaction, in part, because of her negative campaigning (death threats to Obama spiked while she was out there pumping up her crowds). So I am sorry I mentioned that she scares me and I may be overreacting myself by writing this comment. But hey, I felt the need to say something. Keep up the good work -- and Hannity is not an idiot.

Oh- my only real trouble was with TOSSPOTS. Those drinking terms always fool me.

fergus 5:23 PM  

A bit of bungling in the Alabama region: having DRONE instead of DROID and BRIEFS for BOXERS, I had ___NE CUP for the disposable bathroom item. Could the NYT Crossword actually include URINE CUP? Didn't really think so, yet it remained plausible until the full extent of the theme caused a regional rewrite.

I took the shady route on my way to visit some friends yesterday and had to STEP OVER some TOSSPOTS asleep by the railroad bridge. ON A SPREE well before 3pm.

Glitch 6:18 PM  


You wrote:

"And I really haven't noticed any political blow-hard pontificating going on in the comments ..."

I suggest you're not reading all the comment (and there were more than two refrences to politics in yesterday's entries). Also not all the pontificating is political.

Probably like myself, you only skim the recipe, op-ed, music, TV and sports sections of the blog on the way to the puzzle articles.

But I do admit, there are some worthy educational pieces that can be culled out most days.


Anonymous 7:16 PM  

Hi y'all kids. I have been sneaking/slinking around this blog for months now. Found it last summer while googling for answers, of course, and have been back every day since.

Am pleased and proud to report that, like Fitzy, I was able to get my first Sunday solve without outside assistance! Grumbled to husband as soon as I finished that I just knew that Rex would rate this as easy. So thank you for that "easy-medium."

"Too-la-roo-la-roo-la" is what mams sing to their wee babies in County Sligo. Probably same origin as "clan."


Anonymous 7:27 PM  

I usually hesitate to be too harsh about puzzles because I've never tried construction myself. I'm sure it's hard. But I did find this one ho-hum. I didn't have too much trouble except for getting stuck for a while in Louisiana with tosspots being the very last thing filled in.

I have strong political opinions (almost certainly similar to most who post here), but that's not why I come to this blog and am glad this is mostly a politics-free space. I'm also not crazy about lengthy food discussions, but these are harmless, while political comments can be rancorous.

retired_chemist 7:32 PM  

@ Anonymous/Robin:

Welcome to this select group. Do we infer from your comment that you are Irish? Please give us a more unique name than "Anonymous!"

George NYC 7:46 PM  

Creel is a great word. Maybe because it contains reel.

Pythia 8:40 PM  

Disappointing puzzle, even for a lover of cheesy puns. So many short words didn't help. Puns seemed kind of tired.

RYE Playland is owned and operated by Westchester County, not RYE. The roller coaster scene in "Fatal Attraction" was shot there, I think.


Anonymous 8:41 PM  

@ .../Glitch:

Agree that all pontificating is not political. I was just saying that I don't really see arrogant, pompous "political" commentary here- for which I am grateful!

I do try to read all of the comments b/c I agree many are informative and I really enjoy what people contribute. It is possible, though, that I did skim over some political pontificating especially if it was in close proximity to food/recipe talk. :)

allan 9:01 PM  

Good morning everyone. I, too, don't usually do the Sunday puzzles. I just don't have the patience for most. But because this was such an easy week, I finally sat down this evening and did it.

I agree with most that it ended the week (or is it started?) on a blah note. There was nothing really memorable. My only stumbles were with Biddercold which I originally had as Bidderwars, and Alleles crossing with Spee.

@Belvois ( if you are still looking for an answer re: ips - inch per second which is a tape speed.

@acm: And where were you at 4:16 am?

See ya manana.

dsf 9:50 PM  

OKay, so there are a lot of bloggers today within a certain locus of Rye. Y'all should get together.

Liked Podcast -- was that a debut?

Merge and relap both near Meets. For you new yawkers, relap is a familiar term in nascar-land

mac 11:19 PM  

I agree with lots of things said above. The puzzle was fine for a Sunday, a little too easy and a little too big. The theme answer I liked the best was "online bedding", that one really worked.

I have no idea what this TOO RA is all about, and with Devo I kept thinking of the Brit judge of American Idol who seems to be promoting these pretty boys singing classical pop, but I couldn't imagine them with flower pots on their heads.

I don't think we should be surprised about "a lot of bloggers withing a certain locus of Rye". This is the NY TIMES crossword puzzle.

Anonymous 11:20 PM  

@ Miguel... thanks for the congrats!

& @ Robin... congrats to you as well for working through a whole puzzle on your own for the 1st time! (I too was happy to see it rated "Easy-Medium"& not just "Easy")

I once heard that "The Levee" (in the line "drove my Chevy to the Levee") was a reference to a bar in New Rochelle near Iona College where McClean was an undergrad...anyone else ever hear that?

I have very fond memories of Rye Playland & can't wait to take my daughter there next summer...

retired_chemist 11:36 PM  

@ Fitzy - see:

It seems that you are spot on! Wow, do I learn on this blog.

allan 11:50 PM  

@mac: It's the refrain (or is it chorus) from "An Irish Lullaby"

Over in Killarney
Many years ago,
Me Mither sang a song to me
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good ould Irish way,
And l'd give the world if she could sing
That song to me this day.

"Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don't you cry!
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that's an Irish lullaby." etc.

Lots of examples on youtube, thought this was the best. You'll probably see the young on AI soon.


retired_chemist 12:17 AM  

Full circle @patdugg -

"Google Maps" tells this non-NYer that Rye and New Rochelle are both on I-95 and only about 10 mi apart. But you knew that.....

allan 12:41 AM  

Here is a direct to the above mentioned. Nighty night all,

An Irish Lullaby

Anonymous 3:52 AM  

Went to Rye Playland years ago when a child.

Also, Irish side of my family was mostly from County Sligo, and have been waiting for that to be a crossword answer for years.

I think it's fair to criticize Palin and Hannity politically but not take personal shots at them; that is, if political comments are made on this blog. It's one thing if it's totally verboten but if it's okay, then people should be honest. They're both dangerous, in my opinion, and try to whip up a lot of hostility and bigotry.


mac 8:46 AM  

Thank you very much, Allan! I enjoyed the girl's voice, and the song, a lot.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

After my second fastest Friday and my second fastest Saturday, this was just a mostly quick Sunday, with a few slow spots. My NYT karma was balanced out by that acrostic, though.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

I realize I am two days too late but while reading Shakespear's Twelfth Night I came across this line: (Act 5,scene 1,line 426)
"With tosspots still had drunken heads." Shakespear uses tosspots to mean drunkards (although even the editors-Folger-aren't sure what the rest of the stanza means.

Suzanne 6:39 PM  

Isn't anyone going to comment upon the 78D clue "12 point type?" The answer in the puzzle is "pica" but that's wrong...pica is 10 point type. It's "elite" that is 12 point type.

Daryl 5:03 AM  

Late to the party, since Chinese New Year over here meant I didn't get my crossword till today. Most of the blahness of the puzzle has been rehashed. But I was (still am) a layout/type geek, so I'll respond to Suzanne - the clue is correct, and possibly my favourite clue in the whole pizzle. Pica is 10 characters per inch, which is 12 points in a Courier-like typeface, and elite is 12cpi, which is 10 points.

Mimi 2:03 PM  

I'm always "late to the party" because our paper publishes the puzzle one week in arrears. This was an easy one--which I define as one hour or less and fewer than ten googles. Four googles for me today: Scrubbs actor Braff, QB Rodney, actress Beverly in Coal Miner's Daughter (I'm very poor on sports, TV and movies) and "alleles", my new word for today! My "google rule" is that I have to read beyond just finding the answer--so that hopefully I'll gradually increase my sports/movie/TV knowledge and eventually won't have to look up anything at all! Love the Blog, read it every week after I finish.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

Not watching TV ads for pasta, Fox News, "Scrubs" or football made RONZONI, ZACH, HANNITY and PEETE a gnarly interlocking Natick. First time for months I had to resort to assistance from Mr Google.

Sue O 7:45 PM  

Okay, no one will probably ever read this comment, because I found this puzzle on the bottom of my "to do" pile of Sunday crosswords. But anyway. Just wondering if there's a rule that says Conservatives don't do crosswords? I don't happen to think Hannity is an idiot and I also solve crossword puzzles. Just sayin'.

Unknown 11:17 PM  

Raze is how the word is used on England. The author is wrong. I've seen this clue on nu.erous NYT puzzles it is ALWAYS RAZED.

Unknown 11:18 PM  

Even when you Google it it comes up RAZE!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

« Bitter cold » refers to the weather and not a health condition. BTW: found this nyt magazine in a pile and got a midweek treat in 2019, almost exactly 10 years later.

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