THURSDAY, Jan.8, 2009 - J. DiPietro ("Porgy" novelist Heyward / Pupil of Miss Crump, on TV / Curly whacker / Chinese dynasty lasting eight centuries)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: ING-less - familiar phrases have the suffix "ING" removed from one of the words, creating wacky phrases, which are "?"-clued

Word of the Day: CHOU (also ZHOU) - the imperial dynasty of China from 1122 to 221 BC; notable for the rise of Confucianism and Taoism

Not a lot to say about this theme. Maybe there's some level of artistry I can't see. The "ING" is gone. Only ... in two instances it's been replaced by an "E." So it's a sound change puzzle more than a letter removal one. All the phrases are two-word phrases where both words begin with "S." This makes me feel like I'm missing some key attribute of this puzzle that, if I could see it, would make me say "wow." I assume it doesn't involve the SS. Wait, there's not some buried "Hogan's Heroes" theme here, is there? Because Gomer PYLE (46A: Nabors role) and OPIE (66A: Pupil of Miss Crump, on TV) are in here, so it already smells a little like 60's TV. Well, if Hogan and his heroes are here, I can't find them. Maybe they're hiding down in their extensive tunnel system. Schultz!

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Supermodels? (shoot stars)
  • 24A: One who fattens up cattle? (stock stuffer) - best of the bunch. Got slightly held up here when I entered STEER in the first part of the answer ... but the only phrase I could think of that would work thematically was STEER COMMITTEE, and that wouldn't fit.
  • 37A: Bit of advice from a tennis coach? (serve suggestion)
  • 47A: 45s from Count Basie and Benny Goodman? (swing singles)
  • 59A: From gentle to steep for some playground equipment? (slide scale)

Today provides a good example of how one can tear through a puzzle even when an initial, cursory glance at the puzzle yields little but befuddlement. The first clues I noticed were all ones I just didn't know, all of them people:

  • 12D: N.F.L. Hall of Famer Matson (Ollie) - never heard of him
  • 22D: "Porgy" novelist _____ Heyward (Dubose) - nEver heard of him
  • 4D: Nancy's aunt in Nancy Drew mysteries (Eloise) - uh uh. Nope.
  • 47D: Sci-fi novelist _____ S. Tepper (Sheri) - OK, I've heard of her, but at the outset, couldn't retrieve her name to save my life

Confronted with so much "???" I ignored it all and went straight to 1A and 1D. Actually 1D: Come clean, with "up" (fess) came first, and that "F" gave me 1A: Weakens (fades) and the NW was done quickly. At some point, I'm pretty sure I rebooted in a part of the puzzle that featured a person I did know - SISQO (49D: R&B singer with the hit "Thong Song"). The "Thong Song," if you've ever heard it, is pretty indelible. I have found myself saying "THONG th- thong thong THONG!" (in the car, occasionally in class) just because it feels good, not because of any personal love of the garment (can you call a thong a "garment?"). Anyway, I was grateful for SISQO, as he helped me quickly figure out the devious non-S plural QUID (63A: Pounds, informally). I've featured the "Thong Song" on this blog before, so rather than rehash it, today I give you the one, the only ... Jim NABORS!

["Help Jim Nabors Make It Through the Night"]

Today's missteps included writing in STEER at 24A (noted above), starting to write SLUGGISH for 18D: Not too quick (slowish), and, worst of all, putting in WORT FAMILY (!?) for MINT FAMILY at 11D: Sage and thyme are in it. This led easily to another wrong answer, TRUE, at 19A: Just (only).

The Rest:

  • 10A: Book after Joel (Amos) - some day I will memorize all the books and their order. Ditto Chinese dynasties (25D: Chinese dynasty lasting eight centuries => CHOU).
  • 35A: Duke's quarters? (dorms) - love this clue. Had me baffled at first. And second.
  • 41A: Bridge supports (teeth) - like QUID, an S-less plural. I want to call them "False Plurals," because that phrase sounds so good to me, but they are actually plurals, so the phrase makes no sense.
  • 45A: Monet's "Done!" ("fini!") - wondered "Why Monet?," and then saw 52A: Monet work (oil). Not sure Monet was really necessary to either clue. As far as paired clues go, I did enjoy OPIE / PYLE and MOE (58D: Curly whacker) / MARX (54D: Last name in comedy).
  • 62A: Move, in Realtor-speak (relo) - for "relocation." Why is "Realtor" capitalized?
  • 26D: Cartel leader (kingpin) - I was looking for something a bit less slangy, a bit more dignified - but I like this better.
  • 35D: Coupe _____ (De Ville) - classic car featured in the Beastie Boys' song "Hey Ladies"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS an ex-student of mine sent me two pictures of a giant crossword on the side of a building in, of all places, LVOV. In the daylight, the grid looks empty:

But at night, the answers come out



evil doug 8:55 AM  


Back in 7th or 8th grade when I got confirmed in the Methodist church I had to memorize all the Bible books, but most of that is long gone. Speaking of plurali, always remember that Revelation is not Revelations...

Welcome back, Moe. What's it been, two or three whole days?


Greene 9:08 AM  

Ho-hum. Not much to recommend this puzzle. The theme did little for me, but the "add a letter" and "drop a letter" puzzles are just not that exciting. I realize there are only so many themes for crossword puzzles, but this just seems a little tired.

I'm always fascinated by how people's knowledge bases differ. Today's example: DUBOSE Heyward = gimmie for me; but had to google SISQO. This is a fun looking name in the grid, but entirely outside my cultural lexicon. I would have never gotten that answer, even with the crosses. Unfortunately, I'll just have to google it again next time; not much chance I'll ever remember that name.

Unknown 9:14 AM  

Realtor is capitalized because it is the registered trademark of the National Association of Realtors.

treedweller 9:18 AM  

I know this for an obscure reason I won't go into: Realtor is a trademarked category of real estate agents. To become a Realtor, a real estate agent must promise to be really fair and honest, or something like that.

I enjoyed this overall, went through really quickly, then wondered what I missed, like Rex. It wasn't so much looking for more in my case; I was just wondering why two answers replaced the 'ING' with an 'E' while the others did not.

I knew none of the names here, including SISQO. I didn't find it difficult to work things out anyway. Easy for a Thursday. Not really difficult for a MOn or Tu.

JannieB 9:25 AM  

I second your resolve to memorize books of the bible. Had Acts at 10A for way too long and it cost me many minutes. Otherwise, this puzzle was just okay - I'm w/Greene - the theme/wordplay seems tired. Maybe if Will would add a third themeless day we might enjoy it more.

SethG 9:26 AM  

More hits than Sadaharu Oh. Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Gotta say I prefer the books to the dynasties. Because I may have no idea about the order of the books, but at least I've heard of them...the dynasty clues might as well be "enter some random letters here". No trouble with Duke, though.

My favorite part was the South--III was a gimme, I initially assumed HSE to give me a plural for QUID but SISQO cleared it up. ECOLE was my first answer.

santafefran 9:31 AM  

This was a slog for me. Knew none of the names and had a lot of wrong fill at first which made everything a lot more difficult.

over THROE
over SEXED

janie 9:32 AM  

piggy-backing on pete's and treedwellers's Realtor responses, here's tmi... ;-)

started this puzzle swiftly enuf for a thursday, but the gimmick eluded me for a verrrrrry long time. so this one was nowhere near "easy" on the "relative difficulty" scale.

diff'rent strokes....


janie 9:33 AM  

p.s. quel building pix!!!


Unknown 9:58 AM  

Good to see Sheri Tepper in the puzzle. Wasn't Ursula K. LeGuin in last week? Maybe we'll have a run on female science fiction writers.

I totally and utterly missed quid as I was insisting on its ending with an s.


Anonymous 10:01 AM  

I still do not get Duke's quarters = dorms.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

This theme felt like a Wall Street Journal puzzle theme. I do those every Friday and loathe myself for it. Not a fan of that whole "word modification" thing.

bookmark 10:03 AM  

Like Greene, Dubose Heyward was a gimme for me because of his Charleston, SC, connection, but never heard of SISQO.

Loved the crossword building, but where is LVOV?

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Retired_Chemist: Duke, as in a university. Quarters, as in dwelling spaces. Dwelling spaces at a university = dorms.

Jeffrey 10:20 AM  

The hidden theme is "Ron Howard's Fantasy". We start with supermodels and end with IDLE OPIE SEXED.

Why Rex is the greatest blogger in the universe, part XVII: Hogan's Heroes and Jim Nabors. Who expected that?

PuzzleGirl 10:20 AM  

Possibly my fastest Thursday ever.

@SethG: You're lying!!!

@Greene: The only reason I remembered SISQO is because I spelled him wrong last time he was in the puzzle. I'm gonna bet that just from this discussion, you will remember him next time.

Coup DEVILLE is trying really really hard to put a song in my head, but I can't quite get it....

Alex S. 10:21 AM  

Got FESS off the bat but that F hurt in that I went with FAILS instead of FADES ("her health fails") and that was enough overlap (FA--S) that it was hard to get out of there. Eventually got ECOLE and the lack of potential aunt names starting with LL (LLAMAS?) got me to reconsider.

In other personal lameness had SWING SINGLES and SLIDE SCALE completely in the grid without figuring out the technical mechanics of the theme ("meaningless two word phrases starting with SS?").

My other misstep was guessing MINESTRONE off teh initial three letters in place of MINT FAMILY. I've never actually had minestrone (I'm not fond of soup or hot liquids in general) so I don't actually know what's in it. Fortunately that didn't live too long.

Jeffrey 10:22 AM  

But there ain't no coupe-de-ville, hiding at the bottom of a crackerjack box. MeatLoaf, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

Doug 10:28 AM  

Started fast and then was tagged out pretty quick. Had the starts to all the themes, but many vertical crosses were just unknown. Then once I figured out one of the ING answers the rest of the puzzle fell in short order. I really liked the theme and thought it was consistent, and the change in verb conjugation (the two "E"s) made it that much more interesting.

Really like DORMS and TEETH.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

I thought this was easy for Thursday. Lots of fun stuff though. Something for young and old alike as Sisquo and Opie intersected. Ado was in the same spot as yesterday (remember abas). Dill intersected mint family. Teeth intersected vein. There were two jots. And Marx intersected with sexed. I know Groucho would have loved that.

joho 10:42 AM  

Until I came here it would never have bothered me that two of the theme answers had that added "E." That ruined the theme for me.

I liked "Duke's quarters?" after I dismissed all dog house and dog leg answers.

My least favorite puzzle this week.

foodie 10:55 AM  

This was like swimming through molasses for me. I got across, but felt sticky all over.

Oh, I believe that in France, ECOLE, is used more narrowly than in English to denote school but not university, unless it is specified as "grande ecole" or superieure, as in Ecole Normale Superieure. See for example the French WikiÉcole

ArtLvr 10:55 AM  

Ugh -- I should have started this in the daylight, not the wee hours! I had it mostly done, couldn't put it aside for later finishing... but SISQO was never going to come to me except with crosses, and I was sure I'd seen "Ice Bowl" in another puzzle lately, not III ?? Had to google the Thong Song thang to see QUID at last.

An earlier blank in my mind was Nape as Dracula's target, rather than VEIN, "Tbars" to cross it where TEETH finally cleared up that area. Again, Ugh! But very clever, to use the Bridge (in the Mouth) clue.

Thought PSYCHE was good -- since [The id is in it] might have been a word play using "Libido". Even the [Duke's quarters] was fresh to me, but easy as I guessed MINTFAMILY crossing DILL, which gave me the M for DORMS.

CHOU for eight centuries? I wanted "Chin" as the dynasty from which China came. I'll remember this one with a roundabout mnemonic Flower of the East, opposite to French "choufleur" or "mon chou" or something. (Maybe.) Haha. SISQO? no, unless it's clued with Thorn again, the Status Quo in life.


Two Ponies 10:58 AM  

Yesterday I was worried that the lion clue for animalia was going to be a Narnia clue and I see I was one day early.
Loved the clue Curly whacker. My first mental image was someone being beaten with a Slinky!
Other than that I really disliked this puzzle. I can't stand bible and Chinese dynasty clues. Even worse are rap music clues.
Briefly had Foxx for Marx off of the X.
I hope tomorrow is more fun and maybe I'll be in a better mood as well. I am still smiling at yesterday's comment to SethG about French being English with a nicely tied scarf.

ArtLvr 10:59 AM  

p.s. I meant to thank Evil Doug yesterday, who noted "A slut nixes sex in Tulsa. -- One of my fave palindromes." Wow.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

This was not so easy for me. Got "dorms" for Duke's quarters, but couldn't figure out the ? in the clue since there was no ING missing in the answer. "Standard 28-Down purchase" threw me off because I had the double L and put in "gallon" rather than "fillup." That precluded me from completing the lower middle section. Even if I had finished this puzzle, I would not have liked it - not exciting at all. No big smile elicited as when one cracks the theme of a really good puzzle.

Parshutr 11:09 AM  

Easy? Mebbe so, but as interesting as watching Reality TV.
Or any TV, now that the election is over and golf hasn't started up yet.
This one lost me at SETAT. Who would use those words to mean Go After? Really! (capitalized because it's a one-word stand alone sentence.

dk 11:17 AM  

@puzzlegirl. here is your song:

This one was a slog for me.

Ah well: One Man's Meat

Doc John 11:27 AM  

A pretty fast Thursday for me. I was actually hoping it would be harder as I was doing it in the middle of the night, hoping it would combat my "Vegas insomnia". Unfortunately, I was still up until way after 2AM. :( Maybe I should do all puzzles in the middle of the night- I got QUID with no crosses!

Strange theme, I do agree that the whole word modification thing is getting a little tired. Maybe if the cluing were better. For example, there HAS to be something better for 17A than [Supermodels?]. There were some fun fills, though- KINGPIN, PSYCHE and even SISQO (for whom Mr. DiPietro thanked his lucky stars).

thebubbreport 11:35 AM  

I could not get the "G" in GIBE. Otherwise, a very easy puzzle today; much easier than yesterday (the NE corner really stumped me yesterday!).

Rex, what is LVOV? I'd love to blog that crossword building and link back to you on one of my blogs, probably

Has anyone ever received one of those giant crosswords (wall sized) as a gift? I finally threw mine away because it was so hard to work on, but I was thinking it would be fun to have on a wall for months for people to work on when they came over. Of course,


chefbea 11:41 AM  

Fairly easy thursday puzzle. Had to google thong song - never heard of Sisqo.

Had forgotten that Jim Nabors sang - what a great voice.

Thought maybe Rex would have had a video of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.

Loved 48D waxed

And I would like to know where LVOV is also

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

The Hey Ladies is EXACTLY what went into my mind when I saw this clue. We must be of the same demographic...

SethG 11:50 AM  

PG, you're maybe thinking of C.C. DeVille, this was 9 minutes, 58 seconds slower than my fastest Thursday, and I own a Jim Nabors cassette tape.

And, having said all that, I still have not lied yet today.

Margaret 11:57 AM  

I lived in three different DORMS at Duke and I still didn't get the clue until it was explained!! That hurts.

Some nice fill but ultimately curiously unsatisfying. Like most, I didn't get much punch from the theme answer. Did have to Google Sisqo. That's one I'm likely to remember.

Love the crossword buiding!

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

I was in the soup for too long with minestrone and I thought the theme would ring a bell: ting, ping, ding, bing - but it didn't!

fikink 12:39 PM  

Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle; I thought it was clever.
My last entry was QUID, and one of the reasons I liked the puzzle: Had the UID, didn't know SISQO and figuring it out turned my head around on "pounds."
I love when that happens!
I also had to learn the books of the Bible in parochial school and we turned them into a tongue-twister with contests to see how fast we could rattle them off. The "names" were what was important. Sound familiar?

Abu Owlfish 12:49 PM  

Memorizing the Chinese dynasties once doesn't help as much as you might hope. I knew that 25D was -hou, but the first letter could be either c (Wade-Giles) or z (Pinyin). There are only a couple of dynasties, such as Han and Ming, that are the same in both systems. (These of course are things that Everyone Should Know.)

mac 12:59 PM  

I found the puzzle pretty easy, and the theme was discovered quickly. I also put in Minestrone after just min.. Just had one. I do like hot liquid food, I guess. The names in this puzzle meant nothing to me, or at least very little, but somehow the crosses made it all possible. Thank goodness I figured out quid, or that area would have been blank. Fill up? Fill it up, please, maybe, or Fill it. Also had Foxx for a minute. I actually like the 17A clue and answer, shoot stars.

I've got to say that all the connections people are making (Anne, Hazel) make this puzzle a lot more fun. And who would have thought, Seth is learning a new language through cross words!

jae 1:08 PM  

Pretty easy and pretty meh. Had GALLON briefly, played around spelling DUBOSE (DUBOIS?), and tried SERIES (TV) for SERIAL but no real problems. I too was looking for something to zest up the theme but no. For a great Coupe De Ville song try Chuck Berry's Maybelline, I'd post a link but I'm running late for a tee time (course slot).

Bob Kerfuffle 1:19 PM  

Notes from a sinking ship:

I was going to suggest that if puzzles had names, and if it weren't too nautical, this one could be called "Casting Off." [Oh, how clever I am!] Then I read Rex's write-up and had it brought to my attention that in two cases, the "ing" was not only cast off but also replaced by an "e".

Blub, blub.

ArtLvr 1:22 PM  

@ thebubbreport, who asked "Has anyone ever received one of those giant crosswords (wall sized) as a gift? I finally threw mine away because it was so hard to work on, but I was thinking it would be fun to have on a wall for months for people to work on when they came over."

Yes, I gave one to my mother, way back when she was caring for Dad through a lengthy illness, and meant it mostly for fun... She hung it on a hall door where she could take a stab now and then in passing, and I was amazed to find she'd about finished it some months later! I think we shared a persistence gene (e..g. stubbornness), except hers was stronger!


PlantieBea 1:23 PM  

I did this puzzle after some big dental work this morning. I fell asleep...The top was pretty easy, but I had to google "Thong Song". I liked WAXED but originally entered BARED for floors and legs. Also thought PSYCHE was a good answer. The G in GIBE was my last letter; I wanted a J but needed the FILLUP to get the correct G.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Surprising, yet interesting feedback.

I also don't bother much with add/take away letters in my puzzles, but I thought this theme was super elegant because both words started with S, and there ain't many SS phrases that you can drop an ING on. But that's more interesting to me than to you, I can see.

I clued it as a Wednesday, and it showed up today. You're probably gonna get a killer tomorrow.

Now the cane can pull me off the stage...

-- Constructor

dk 1:34 PM  

@artlvr & @bubbreport: my sister put hers on the back of her bathroom door facing the white flushy thing. It got done.

allan 1:35 PM  

Got the theme immediately, but needed help with sisqo. The midwest was the hardest for me as I spelled 28a with a "j". Loved 58d Curly whacker.

Rex, I was disappointed that you didn't put in a stooges vid. So here's one:

@puzzlegirl, here's the real song you were looking for:

Chip Hilton 1:59 PM  

Add me to the 'Where the heck is LVOV?' group. Tell me, Rex, as repayment for the following on OLLIE Matson.

Matson was an All American running back at the University of San Francisco. He then played for the Chicago Cardinals and three other NFL teams over a 14 year period. I remember him as big, shifty, and fast. Nice combination. What I didn't know before today was that he was a medalist in track at the 1952 Olympics.

I needed OLLIE to break through in the northeast, my last holdout. The theme came quickly as did most of the puzzle.

fiddleneck 2:01 PM  

Rex, what is LVOV?

Ditto for me. I want to go there. Why are the letters backwards? or cyrillic?

PuzzleGirl 2:05 PM  

Lvov is in the Ukraine. Have you guys met my friend Mr. Google?

Orange 2:07 PM  

A few weeks back, I came across this hilarious site where you could input a search term and generate an animated demonstration of how to Google something. I wanted to post a link demonstrating how to Google Lvov, but wouldn't you know it? I can't find the site no matter how hard I Google for it. (Quelle irony!)

Anyway, Lvov (also spelled Lviv) is a Ukrainian city.

Everyone explaining why Realtor is capitalized is lying to you. Actually, the capital R is granted when a real estate agent becomes a "made man" (or woman). It's very Sopranos, very Goodfellas, I'm telling you. Never cross a Realtor.

Also, thank you for not pronouncing it "re-luh-ter." That kills me every time.

SethG 2:18 PM  

Amy Reynaldo, try this.

And here's Lvov.

Jeffrey 2:18 PM  

Rex, where's LVOV?

Orange, I can't find Google on my maps. Where is it?

PuzzleGirl, so which song was it on your mind?

I know nothing! Nooooothing!

Chip Hilton 2:22 PM  

Maybe it's an aversion to Googling on the daily puzzle that led so many of us to question Lvov rather than taking the easy way out. I've since checked it out, though, and it appears that Lvov is a truly beautiful city.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

mon petit! Je suis so proud de toi! (May I tu-toyez Vous?)
I laughed when I saw PuzzleGirl's comment! It never occurred to moi that you might be kidding!

Now I'm wildly encouaged and will give you another mini-lecon (with a thingie under the c):
That initial E with an accent, can usually be replaced by an S, esp before T or C or P...

(I can speak French, but I can't speak computer enough to add the accent mark to show you properly)

It's bec in Latin it was ES+ originally, the Spanish keep the ES, the French keep the E, the Italian keep the S...

SO, take the word Strange:
French: Etrange
Italian: Strano
Spanish: Estranjo

(That may be a bad example, bec I don't speak Spanish, so I'm guessing there, but you get the point...
here's another
English: Student
French: Etudiant
Italian: studente

That said, I put in SISCO and spent forever till the C became a Q!
(Rap is just like English with a backwards cap, I guess!) ;)

(I know I know, I get one compliment and I start milking it!)

@Joe di P
GOod to hear from you!
I always chime in later in the day, the comments get more positive as people see more connections than they might have missed at first! ;)
eg reading @Anne's made me appreciate the puzzle even more!

I thought the double SS of the phrases did bump the whole thing up a notch...AND I didn't even make the SS = nazi connection for once!
You see, SethG can learn French and I can relax!!!!!

(sort of)

On the other hand, I too was a tiny thrown that you had to minus the -ING and sometimes add an E, sometimes not, but at least it was balanced with two each.

(I also confused ING with AIG and thought it was something about the financial collapse!)

Fantastic connections! I love the TEETH/VEIN! Any puzzle is rife for making fun connections!

@Becky/Bubbeleh, artlvr
I have two of those giant Wall puzzles people are prone to give me and feel too guilty to throw them out...I got rid of one at a bat mitzvah where they think I'm "crazy puzzle lady" anyway...and I've been waiting to properly "regift" the other!!!

(I tried with my sometimes writing partner/buddy Michael Blake and he saw thru me immediately! Damn!)

re: Realtor
Bec of the capital R, we couldn't use it in Scrabble forever...but I think it just became legal in the latest dictionary update, so maybe they don't have to be honest any more!

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

I've read lots of Sheri Tepper, so I was excited to see her in the puzzle. She tends to write provocatively feminist books. Her most famous is arguably 'The Gate to Women's Country' where the men mostly live outside the city and fight other men, and the women are inside the city with control over technology and breeding. She tends to be stridently memorable.

Sliding scale is used frequently in the diabetic population to adjust the insulin to the current blood sugar reading.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Is the constructor still gone? I always feel bad when I pan a puzzle then hear from the constructor afterward. Okay I think he's gone - Boring! This would have made a cool rebus puzzle ala the bell like someone noted above - too strung out to go back and check who. Then to make it a real constructors puzzle the blanked out spaces could look like a bell. Someone get on that right away. I think tomorrow's will be an ass whipping!

fergus 3:07 PM  

Orange -- how do you feel about Jewelry pronounced jew-luh-ree?

First time in quite a while that the theme offered considerable help in the solution. SLIDE SCALE was preposterous enough to give it away. A bit SLOWISH despite the relative ease of this puzzle.

I also sat down to a bowl of MINESTRONE but after Gomer PYLE appeared, it took every single crossing before getting to the right answer. Just goes to show how confident assertions, even when shown to be in error, can linger obstinately.

SERIAL was a third choice after SEQUEL and SERIES. It matters not one WHIT, as the spoon salesman was wont to say in Fawlty Towers.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:25 PM  

@ SethG (2:18) - Thank you so much for "Let Me Google That For You"! What a hoot!

Somewhat tangentially, though, it brings to mind Ashish Vengsarkar's 6/6/08 puzzle with the clue, Mean crossword clue writer's challenge to solvers? with the answer TRYGOOGLINGTHIS. That so beautifully puts solving back into imaginative realms, far above the dry facts of the internet. (That was also before I became a Rex Parker regular, so if that got discussed to death previously, my apologies.)

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Oh, you meant Lviv! No wonder I didn't get it. You know, the Soviet Union fell a little while ago.

mac 3:32 PM  

@Oange: bet you don't like "nucular" either! My pet peeve is "exetera" for et cetera.

hazel 3:52 PM  

Sorry @ constructor, but I'm siding with the masses here. I got the theme at swingsingle (so not immediately), but i guess i never did catch the point of the theme. The SS, dropping the ING just seems random.

My life is random enough, I like to look for a unifying order in my puzzles!

This doesn't take away from the fact that there are definitely some cool clues and crossings. So, the trees were OK for me, just not the forest. And I have no doubt that it was very hard to put together.

PuzzleGirl 3:57 PM  

I know the suspense has probably been killing you. Well, I finally figured out the song. It's Joe Diffie's Pickup Man.

"You could set my truck on fire
And roll it down a hill
And I still wouldn't trade it
For a Coupe De Ville."

Now that's a song there!

Blanche 4:01 PM  

I like STOCKING making a right turn and bumping into the next theme answer. Wish they had all done something clever like that.

Doug 4:05 PM  

The "E" criticism doesn't make sense to me. The constructor took a consistently conjugated verb (e.g. SLIDING), then changed the verb to its noun form (e.g. SLIDE.) Yes, some of the noun forms have "E"s but the consistency is with the verb-->noun and not with the -ING and (sometimes +E.) It's perfect, in my opinion.


Doug 4:07 PM  

Okay, and the "verb" I referred to is used as an adjective, so I think that's a gerund or something, but you get my point I hope. I don't want a flame from any GrammarGirl wannabees.

archaeoprof 4:18 PM  

Tommorrow I leave for Rome with a group of students for three weeks. During a break in class today I invited them to help me solve the puzzle. They all knew SISQO. Several of the women knew ELOISE. All of the guys knew III for 60D. But none of them knew PYLE or OPIE.

PurpleGuy 4:57 PM  

Thought this was an easy, fun puzzle.
Like Doc John,I did it late at night. I guess my
brain cells work better then.

My only hang-up was Duboise for 22D.

@fikink- went to a catholic seminary for 2 yrs.
I stillkhave trouble with names of books and their order.
My advice to Rex and all- don't sweat it.

Still can't get an avatar. I asked for help a couple days ago. Any suggestions?
I have an eMac, with 0X10.3

Ulrich 5:08 PM  

@sethg: Why in the world do you want to learn another language in the first place--as the man said: "If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me".

@Purple Guy: If you enable e-mail on your profile, I'll send you instructions.

chefbea 5:09 PM  

@archaeprof Have a great time in Rome. My daughter and family live there - right near the coloseum. We love it there.

liquid el lay 5:17 PM  

difficult until I stumbled on the key, then it went fast but there was little joy in it.

had many many wrong directions.

Had "swingsingles", but it offered no themeic clue. The bizarreness of "slidescale" revealed the key, then "shhotstars", "stockstuffer", "servesuggestion".

Not a pretty puzzle.

Missed Moe, altogether. Curley did too, quite often, then got two more himself.

Had "writ" for "whit".

Liked the "sisqo" x "quid"

PurpleGuy 5:21 PM  

@Ulrich- you rock. I will enable my email as i write this.
Thank you so much !

Thank you, again, to all for really making an older guy like me feel welcome.

chefwen 6:09 PM  

Started this last night after home made pasta and wine so the brain was a little slowish. Got the shootstars right away but then filled in a bunch of wrong answers like neck for vein and iota for whit. Finally had to put it aside so the brain could recharge and finished it up today. I know a lot of you did not care for this puzzle but I thought it was great.

edith b 6:20 PM  

This one seemed like more of a Tuesday puzzle than a Thursday. I had the same stumble as many others on 11D with MINESTRONE. Strangely enough, I had more of a good time straightening out the problem than doing the puzzle itself as the only problem I can see is the answers lacked any kind of punch.

I steamed through the NW which included the first theme answer and I was able to see what the theme was from this entry.

I found this puzzle unobjectionable and, unfortunately, that is the only nice thing I can say about it, not wanting to say anything bad about the constructor.

joho 6:23 PM  

@Purple Guy: Ulrich will definitely get you set up. He emailed about HTML and I totally got it! Great teacher.

fikink 6:28 PM  

@purpleguy, at least if you followed through with the seminary gig, you use your books of the Bible more often than I do; I only use their titles to complete crossword puzzles. I used to be able to recite them faster than I could recite:

"Betty Bodder bought some butter, but, said she, this butter's bitter. If I put it in the batter, it will make the batter bitter. So she bought a bit of butter, better than the bitter butter, put it in the batter - Made the bitter batter better!"
(chefbea, chefwen, that's for you.)
@ulrich, IWGA with your message to Seth.
@archaeoprof, I hear you - I think I posted here about the time some of my students dressed as Hippies and arrived carrying "peace signs" which was really the Mercedes Benz logo.
@liquid el lay, I, too, first had WRIT, thought it was just me.

edith b 6:36 PM  

Oh, VEINS crossing TEETH reminded me of Arlo Guthrie yelling Kill Kill on the Group W bench in Alice's Restaurant.

One of my best memories that came out of the 60s.

chefbea 6:37 PM  

@fikink loved your butter thingy. remember hearing that a long time ago. lol

PurpleGuy 6:41 PM  

@fikink- I wish I had done the whole seminary gig.
Alas,after 2yrs,I was asked to leave !
Being a VietNam vet, and having had a job in the "real"world, I guess I didn't fit their mold !
Lucky for me. Taught 1st and 2nd grade for 22 years instead.

I thought the the could be called miss"ing."
Anyone else ?

liquid el lay 6:54 PM  

there apparently was a german ship called the ss lessing, how about that?

Anonymous 7:05 PM  

@ anonymous:

All I can say re not getting Duke's quarters = dorms is, in the immortal words of Homer (Simpson), "D'oh!"

In my defense it is my first week of real time, having been stuck (until 1/5/09) in syndication for a couple of years. Did the puzzle @ 6 AM and am apparently not as sharp then as I thought I was.

Enjoying getting up early to do the current puzzle, ex the dogs, then getting about the day. Time in the afternoon to do the syndicated one. Four more weeks until I will have already done the syndicated ....

PlantieBea 7:05 PM  

@edithb--Arlo still performs an excellent version of "Alice's Restaurant"!

Two Ponies 7:24 PM  

Sorry to "clog the blog" but I need to see if my avatar works.
o add to the pronunciation pet peeves never "axe me for an expresso" or I might go postal.

Anonymous 8:16 PM  

Strange, strange world...I held back earlier telling people Lvov was actually in Poland and used to be the center for Jewish life (pre-WWII).
Then folks rang in about Google/Ukraine.
Before I could chime in, I had to leave for the funeral of my dear friend Mitzi Wilner, a survivor, 92 years old, this totally inspirational person...and the first thing the rabbi says is that she was born in LVOV!

I wanted to jump up and wave the puzzle and say something!

(She was also married to a Jewish man named Adolf...go figure)

One Mitzi story...
when we met about ten years ago, she asked if I was single; she immediately wanted to set me up with one of the rabbis at her temple. She cautioned me that he was older, she wasn't sure if he actually liked girls, but he had a sense of humor, so it was a start!

OK, off to sit shiva.
Shiva is the Hebrew word for see? It's just English backwards!

PurpleGuy 8:21 PM  

@Two Ponies- your avatar is great. I'm still trying to get one up for me. Looking forward to working to working with Ulrich.

@Finkink- your Betty Botter rhyme made me falloff my chair, and almost p** my pants!
Sorry, but I'm sure we're past the breakfast test now.

joho 8:25 PM  

@Two Ponies: beautiful dog!

chefwen 8:42 PM  

@fikink When I was young and foolish we used to play a game called Passout, it included all the tongue twisters and Betty was my favorite. If you goofed up one of the twisters you had to take a gulp of your beer. I was the queen of Betty Bodder. Now, alas,
I'm old but still slightly foolish.

@Two Ponies How about where's it at?

jeff in chicago 8:56 PM  

Wow. Got to the puzzle late. I agree/disagree with all that's already said. Favorite fill? MARX!---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

One question: I do not understand "Supermodels" as the clue for SHOOTSTARS. Can someone explain?

mac 9:14 PM  

@jeff in chicago: Supermodels are the stars at a photo shoot.

Pythia 9:47 PM  

Hmm, seems that this puzzle wasn't too popular. I'll have to admit that I enjoyed it lots, but then I like this kind of word play and the possibilities presented, once the theme is discovered, to guess the next theme answer.

Very elegant to have five long theme answers, all S/S phrases, and nice longer nontheme entries as well. Great cluing possibilities, mostly taken (ex. WAXED legs, which makes me wonder if the bikini-wax-loving fourth grade boys are back on the case).

Joe D., you are my favorite Puzzle Joe. MWAH.


edith b 9:56 PM  

Could someone explain to me how to produce an umlaut for the letter o and where I can find a table of all diacritical marks.

Contact me offline at

Thank you

jeff in chicago 10:08 PM  

@mac: ugh...

foodie 10:45 PM  

So, is it in Ukraine as PG, Orange and others indicated, or is it in Poland as Andrea said? Apparently both! Lvov (Lviv also named Lempert) used to be in Poland but is now in Ukraine (I could not remember my geography, but they border each other). It was the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia (which sounds like a SciFi name). At one point around the start of World War II, 1/3 of the population was Jewish. Here's a useful link...

foodie 10:47 PM  

Correction: Sorry, the German name is Lemberg. Lviv is the Ukranian name and Lvov is the polish name

foodie 10:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orange 12:26 AM  

You can hear an excerpt of my favorite "Betty Botter" rendition at Amazon. Ralph's World is a band for kids whose grownups like good music. This song's got jazzy scatting.

fikink 1:52 AM  

@Orange, you have warmed the cockels of my heart!

Anonymous 3:14 AM  

Coincidentally, I also had dental surgery today but the crossword puzzle was what I focused on throughout the procedure. At every break, I worked on it.

Luckily, it was difficult enough so that it provided a good distraction.

A Monday or Tuesday puzzle wouldn't have helped.

The anecdote from Andrea about her 92-year-old friend about the rabbi was priceless.

Found the puzzle in parts was easy, but it asked for some specifics that I didn't know and had to google when I got home.

Have to google "The Thong Song."


Anonymous 1:50 PM  

I have to get something off my chest here. Does Rex enjoy calling a puzzle "Easy" when he has to know that for most of us mortal fools it isn't going to be "Easy" Maybe it makes him feel superior to us all ??

fiddleneck 1:58 PM  

Not at all. I think Rex considers carefully his ratings, and is the least "superior"-acting of people.

Deborah Boschert 10:23 PM  

First time I've ever completed a Thursday! Hooray. I plodded along all day and googled several of the names, but I'm still pleased. Reading Rex's blog and really improved my skill, but I'm out until Monday.

Sharon 2:02 PM  

I agree with Dave re the "e". I liked the puzzle,thought the theme answers were fun, hadn't thought about them allstarting with "S" but agree that makes them more impressive.
I liked the title suggestion "Casting Off"
And from what i've seen of Sunday titles the misleading nauticalness would not be held against it.
I hope Will does not give us more themelwss, because they are my favorites. I like the wordplay.
I agree with the rating because I thought it was relatively easy for a Thursday. Relative being the operative here.
Well, I'm probably talking only to myself, being 5 weeks and 4 hours behind.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP