MONDAY, Feb. 16, 2009 - D Kwong (Breakfast brand since 1928 / Ex-Spice Girl Halliwell / Funnyman Philips / Portuguese colony until 1999)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: RICE KRISPIES (55A: Breakfast brand since 1928 that hints at the starts of 20-, 33- and 43-Across) - first three theme answers start with SNAP, CRACKLE, and POP, respectively

Word of the Day: CRACKLEWARE - Glazed pottery or glassware bearing a decorative surface network of fine cracks (

I TORE (69A: Ripped) through this puzzle in 3:42 on paper, but in the subsequent seconds, as I checked it over, I noted that I had BOOM where BLAM was supposed to go (10A: "Kapow!"). "KAPOW!" indeed. Under tournament conditions I would likely have been fine, in that I would have used the 18 seconds remaining in my fourth minute (in tournament timing, it's minutes, not seconds, that count) to scan the puzzle for errors - the BOOM/BLAM one turned up pretty quickly. But still - if I'd taken my own advice and not focused on speed, I would never have made the error in the first place. The only way BOOM goes in there is if you don't bother to check the crosses at all. So, again, worry about accuracy, not time. And then, as a prophylactic measure, Check Your Work.

Today's puzzle - I feel as if I've seen this theme before, possibly multiple times, but the database turns up only one example of RICEKRISPIES as an answer, so maybe I'm wrong. I've barely heard of CRACKLEWARE (33A: Some glazed pottery), but it's plenty valid. As for the others: I wrote in SNAP JUDGMENT instead of SNAP DECISION at first (20A: What a person in an emergency might have to make) , and though I caught the error only seconds later, I still clearly lost time up there trying to get everything cleaned up. The clue on POP MUSICIAN (43A: Any of the Jonas Brothers, e.g.) is not the one I would have chosen, but it's accurate enough. They were on SNL this past Saturday, along with Alec Baldwin, who, in one skit, played the "oldest Jonas Brother, Gary." It was pretty funny, and made me dislike the Jonas Brothers slightly less.

Lots of brand names in the puzzle. Today's shopping cart includes:

  • IMAC (6D: Apple computer)
  • COKE (5D: Pepsi alternative)
  • QTIP (59A: Unilever swab)
  • ALPO (29D: Dog food brand)
  • IAMS (44D: Dog food brand)
  • LORNA Doone cookies (2D)

Also a good day for authors ...

  • ROTH (39A: Philip who wrote "Goodbye, Columbus")
  • DANTE (45A: "Divine Comedy" writer)
  • BRONTE (10D: Novelist Emily or Charlotte)
  • ELIOT (62A: Poet T.S. _____)

... funnymen ...

  • EMO (42A: Funnyman Philips)
  • LENO (63A: Funnyman Jay)

... and women whose names rhyme with "scary"

  • PERI (43D: Gilpin of "Frasier")
  • GERI (7D: Ex-Spice Girl Halliwell)

I went looking for TERI Garr, KERI Hilson, and JERI Ryan, but no luck. Lastly, where trends are concerned, there were slightly more partials than I like to see (i.e. more than one). ON EARTH at least has the virtue of sounding somewhat momentous (48A: Lord's Prayer phrase before "as it is in heaven"). IT AS (58D: "Take _____ a sign") and IS ONE (54D: "Saying _____ thing, doing ..."), on the other hand, seem, on the surface, to be the kind of made-up nonsense not warranted by the simplicity of the grid. Those partials are both in basic 4x5 sections of the grid, relatively uncompromised by the pre-existing fill of the theme answer. I have a hard time believing that at least one of those partials couldn't have been done away with.


  • 15A: Zee : English :: _____ : Greek (Omega) - I was reading "Revelation" last night. This word is in there a lot.
  • 19A: Animals that might hear "gee" and "haw" (oxen) - had the "O," so, easy.
  • 23A: Portuguese colony until 1999 (Macao) - seems more of a later-week answer, but I've been thrown by it before, so no problems today.
  • 66A: School where Aldous Huxley taught George Orwell (Eton) - a great clue for a common answer. And hey, look, two more authors to add to the mix.
  • 4D: Pirate costume feature (eye patch) - maybe my favorite answer of the day
  • 36D: Together, to Toscanini (a due) - I kept reading (and typing, just now) "in Toscanini," like he's a place name. In this clue we see, once again, the puzzle's undying love for alliteration.
  • 41D: Rare birth occurrence (octuplet) - APU has OCTUPLETs.
  • 46D: La Brea attraction (tar pit) - lived in southern California for years and never went to the La Brea TAR PITs. They sound cool, like an obstacle in an adventure video game, but I'm guessing the reality is somewhat less exciting.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Hungry Mother 7:41 AM  

No hangups today for me (for a change).

xyz 8:43 AM  


Easiest puzzle in years, no speed bumps, not even a speed limit

JannieB 8:47 AM  

I thought it was just right for a Monday - peppy theme, not too much groan-inducing fill. When I saw 1A I thought we might be in for a more challenging Monday - but no, it was smooth sailing all the way.

hazel 8:53 AM  

This puzzle left me feeling blah, wishing for another one. The words just didn't pop into my head the way they’re supposed to on Mondays. I guess I just wasn't on the same wavelength w/ the constructor. Plus, I don't like dealing with opera or ballet (ever), but particularly on Mondays.

I agree w/ Rex that the theme seemed familiar - could have been in an L.A. Times puzzle at some point in the past few years?

On the upside, I did like the dog food clues, and the shout outs to the authors. Can't have too many authors or baseball players in a puzzle. CRACKLEWARE was cool too.

joho 8:56 AM  

Since my printer's out of black ink I had to solve on the computer. Interesting as I'm much slower filling in the squares electronically ... I so prefer pen on paper. But I liked the puzzle just fine.

Was nice to see the answer as PONTIFF instead of the usual Pope someone as the clue.

OCTUPLET is very timely.

Nice Monday puzzle. It had a lot of SNAP, CRACKLE and POP.

Kurt 8:56 AM  

I agree. This was a pretty straight forward Monday puzzle. Not real exciting but, as the redanman said, no speed bumps either. AUTOBAHN is a good description.

I did notice a missed opportunity, however. I wasn't fond of BLAM or MON in the northeast corner. One seemed contrived. The other a needless abbreviation. By changing BLAM to BRAT, both issues disappear. And then LEX morphs into REX, which could have been clued as "The King of Crosswords, to his loyal followers".

Or maybe not....

mac 9:00 AM  

A fine Monday. Of course I thought there was a shout-out to the King of Crosswords, but Bram is a skater, not a punch. "Fella" caused a little problem because I approached the word from below and it's odd to have a "guy" word end in an A. I like all the authors in the puzzle, and I love crackleware, especially in celadon.

Kurt 9:03 AM  

And I should have added that I'm sure that Rex "Hawkeye" Parker noticed the same thing, but that he was just too modest to point it out.

Doug 9:07 AM  

There is nothing to see -- I repeat, absolutely nothing -- at the La Brea Tar Pits.

fikink 9:12 AM  

Meh experience.
@joho, re: OCTUPLETS, don't get me started :)

Unknown 9:14 AM  

A quibble with the clue for 65A. Heather Mills is the "former Mrs. McCartney". Nancy Shevell may be the "future Mrs. McCartney". Linda Eastman is the "late Mrs. McCartney" as she was married to Paul at the time of her death. And that's how I think the clue should have read.

Chorister 9:36 AM  

@Michael - I didn't like that clue either. I like misdirection fine, but I don't like inaccuracy.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

I'm pretty certain there has been a SNAP-CRACKLE-POP theme in the NYT in the last couple of years, but without RICE KRISPIES in the grid.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

I wasn't thrilled with this puzzle. For one thing, I have no problem with brand names in a puzzle, but this one seemed like a pitch for Kellogg's. Like one of those crosswords you see in Absolut or other similar ads. And BLAM? You don't even get a decent amount of Google hits on it. It's not a real word. Every reference is either as an acronym or a comic-book nonsense sound. (Yes, I know, that's how it was clued, but it's still a nonsense sound, and an obscure one, at that, not at all like Emeril's BAM.) And as previously mentioned, it would have been easy to change. I got CRACKLEWARE because it followed SNAP----, but that was kind of obscure for a Monday.

Courtney Ann 9:57 AM  

I'm a novice crossword solver, just recently purchased my subscription to the daily NY Times crosswords, and today was the first time that I didn't have any problems solving. I got through the entire puzzle in about 7 minutes, which is great timing for me. I liked the author and "brand name" mentions in the puzzle, as they pretty easy to figure out. Rex, as always, I enjoy reading your explanations of the clues and the videos that you always post with them.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

I thought cluing ROMAN as "like Jupiter but not Zeus" was quite lively for a Monday. The thematic connection among 20- 33- and 43-A escaped me until I reached 55A, but I thought CRACKLEWARE was an interesting, original bit of fill, all on its own.

Doug 10:03 AM  

@RP: Hulu limits its videos to American ISPs only so us foreigners just get a message saying they're working on the legal issues. Interesting, it's a Chinese name (葫蘆) that means holder of precious things.

That Jonas Bros. SNL skit with Alec Baldwin was great. He's up to 14 hostings now, 1 shy of Steve Martin's record.

Rex Parker 10:07 AM  


Always thrilled to see "novice solvers" here. New blood! Any time the crossword can attract new solvers, I'm very happy. Hope reading this site (and the comments) helps you improve quickly and appreciate the puzzles more.


dsf 10:08 AM  

Fun Monday puzzle. Rex, thanks for the video so I'd know who the Jonas brothers are! I liked the way they worked in Octuplets given the recent news from the west coast.

Jeffrey 10:13 AM  

Hey CING of Crossword, I matched your 3:42. Also had one “error” as I put RICE CRISPIES. I can’t be blamed for that as that is the Canadian name. Would I lie? (Quiet, Doug.) We don’t even have the letter “K”; it’s not Kanada, you know. I bought this Keyboard in the USA just to be able to type K’s.

We do have some nice CRACCLEWARE and drink COCE, you DORC. And CARAT is just fine.

Off to do the CenCen puzzles.

Glitch 10:17 AM  

At first I was bothered by the use of the singular, but rationalized OCTUPLET as the "... birth occurrence" referring only to the eighth birth, not the whole group.

I feel better now.


Ladel 10:26 AM  


you are correct, I've seen it twice, mabe three times, too easy for a Monday puzzle, forgettable, tho hard to forget. Happy President's Day all.

Orange 10:26 AM  

@steve l: I took a gander at the Cruciverb database. BLAM has only appeared three other times in the indexed crosswords, but I think it's because it's 3/4 consonants, which tends to force the adjacent words to be 3/4 vowels.

This and other comic sound effects make terrific entries, and the top constructors. KAPOW has been used by Manny Nosowsky (twice), Merl Reagle (twice), Bob Klahn, and Mike Shenk. KABOOM is represented by these all-stars known for their skills and kickass fill: Brendan Quigley, Frank Longo, and Patrick Berry. SHAZAM has been used by Karen Tracey, Paula Gamache, and Rich Norris. If comic-book words were remotely unsuitable as crossword fill, these heavy-hitters wouldn't use 'em.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

I tore though the puzzle also, with a bit of unwanted help from my husband, who is home today. (When I ask him if he would like his own copy, he says no.) But it was fun to blast through without all the normal agonizing. Although the puzzle was easy, I don't think plie, macao, emo, or adue are. And to possibly start an uproar, I don't believe in octuplets for humans.

@Acme - I hear you when you say someone else should get some credit for the double O puzzle, but realistically, that's difficult. I seldom look at the constructor (never before I came to this blog), unfair as that may be, and I do puzzles the same way I eat rice krispies. I just don't give it a lot of thought.

ArtLvr 10:51 AM  

Very clever theme for Presdents Day in the Sun... This one was very good for a MON, but I was expecting something about Commanders in Chief and found only a PONTIFF! And my one hitch was trying to think of the Lord's Prayer phrase starting with ONE ___, only after doing the crosses (pun?) did I find ON EARTH.

KrossKan is very funny with his K's. Notice there's a KLEW hidden in CRACKLEWARE...


mac 10:56 AM  

@Artlvr: thank you for the doh moment, I did the Sun puzzle but didn't look for a clue! It's brilliant.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

@Orange--I get your point, and maybe I need to be more into comics to get it, but BLAM seems like a random rendering of the sound of a blow, not a standard word, even for the comics. KAPOW, SHAZAM, and KABOOM are more in-the-language to my ear. SHAZAM, in fact, was the name of a kids' TV show some years back. I can see these three used as a mid-sentence interjection in casual conversation. ("He came up to him and hit him--KAPOW--right between the eyes;" "They set off the dynamite, and KABOOM, the stadium imploded.") I don't see that with BLAM.

Shamik 11:13 AM  

Do NOT get me going on responsibility for octuplet conception/birth/responsibility. I heard recently there's a "nipple rule." Mammals are born with the right amount of nipples to nurse their offspring with the occasional occurrence of more. Note: OCCASIONAL. I got off on the tangent.

Ok...easy-medium puzzle for me. I loved BLAM and especially EYEPATCH. Time came in at 4:10. Is anyone else weary of ESAI? I should probably look him up in 'cause I have no idea what he looks like.


Since I'm cranky with an APE ofa headache, I'll just QUIT. Maybe a double EYEPATCH would help alog with some COKE.

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

Just curious, Rex -- what kind of accent do you have that "scary" rhymes with "Peri" and "Geri"? Don't they rhyme with "merry"?

Jeffrey 11:16 AM  

SHAZAM! isn’t really a sound effect but is the word Billy Batson says to turn into Captain Marvel. It is the name of the old wizard who controls the powers and represents

Solomon – wisdom
Hercules – strength
Atlas – stamina
Zeus – power
Achilles – courage
Mercury – speed

It was used as the name of the TV series and comic booc because DC doesn’t own the copyright to “Captain Marvel”; Marvel does.

Gomer Pyle said it as well; it turned him into an operatic singer.

PuzzleGirl 11:19 AM  

Oh Shamik, Shamik, Shamik. Do yourself a favor and find out what Esai Morales looks like. You won't be sorry. And, no. Not weary of him at all. Ever.

Rex Parker 11:21 AM  

My wife made me this for Christmas. Please see far left and upper center of the picture for examples of "BLAM"


Rex Parker 11:30 AM  

Rhymes with 'scary'

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Is BLAM in the language or not? Let's check out the authoritative source, the Batman TV series visual sound effects. There's a BAM and BLOOP, but no BLAM. OOOOFF!

Googling "blammo" turns up some interesting things, though.

Actually, DC and Marvel both own copyrights on Captain Marvel, while Marvel owns the trademark.

Captain Marvel was originally owned, as in trademarked and copyrighted, by Fawcett, back in the old days before there was a "Marvel" comics brandname. DC sued Fawcett for copyright infringement, claiming the Big Red Cheese was just a Superman ripoff. Winning the case, DC ended up with the Fawcett rights. However, DC just sat on the Fawcett properties. The legal effect was that they kept the copyrights, but lost the trademark. In brief, copyright is inherent, whereas trademark requires active use. So while DC was sitting around, Marvel came up with their own Captain Marvel, and there were no lawsuits, since DC management completely forgot they even had a character named Captain Marvel.

fikink 11:35 AM  

It all brings to mind Roy Lichtenstein's painting, "BLAM"
(I would post a link, but don't have that down yet; btw, thanks for the instructions, Doug.)

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Nice to cross the U-less Q-entries 59A:QTIP and 59D:QED on a Monday. An adequate serving of other "Scrabbly" letters in the grid as well, even if not quite a pangram (even counting the Z in the clue for 15A).

Too bad the CRACKLE word couldn't slant-rhyme with "decision" and "musician"... Solving from the Down clues only, I got those first, which suggested a different kind of theme. Still easy enough to finish without consulting any of the Acrosses (and thus being spared having to actually remember who/what 64A:ESAI is, rather than just recognizing it as a previously seen crossword entry).


Doc John 11:53 AM  

I found it a little harder than the average Monday but I guess I agree with Rex's rating. I was surprised that Rex went with the easy Simpsons reference for OCTUPLET instead of the more timely (and, frankly, scary) one.

I remember an episode of I Love Lucy when Lucy asks Fred to go out and get her some Q-TIPs and he comes back with ends for pool sticks.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

Easy puzzle for me today, although I also thought it was Rice Crispies (having not seen a box of them in MANY years) but "CING" didn't quite make it as a "double-decker checker!"

BTW -- I differ with Doug on the La Brea Tar Pit; the pit itself is no big deal, but the associated museum is fun. My son loves it.

Happy Presidents' Day!

archaeoprof 11:58 AM  

Two references to ancient Roman religion, on Monday no less! 34D and 24A, where the term PONTIFF comes from the ancient Roman priest, pontifex maximus. Be still, my beating professorial heart...

Rex Parker 11:59 AM  

Ugh, the last thing I want to do is encourage a bunch of self-righteous pontificating about the damned octuplets. I Don't Care. If Dr. Phil is drooling about it and fake psychologists are doing fake news stories about it, then you can have it. I'll take Apu any day.


fikink 11:59 AM  


Two Ponies 12:23 PM  

Just the kind of Monday I love. A few later-week clues to keep it lively.
Apu saved the day, I'm with you Rex.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

@Rex--I also see RATTA-RATTA-RATTA, AAAAARGH, WRAMM and UNGH on that table. Does that mean they're also OK to use in a puzzle? Also, what about BONG in a non-drug sense?

Also, just because some website says you can rhyme PERI and GERI with SCARY doesn't make it so in most of the country. You apparently speak in the broad-A accent of the Midwest, which starts somewhere around AL-bany (as in Gore), goes through SEER-acuse, RACH-ster and Ni-AHG-ara (like in nag and slightly nasal) FOLLS before heading into the real Midwest. The rest of the country doesn't rhyme those words.

Leon 12:36 PM  

Thanks Mr. Kwong.

Welcome back RP.

I was expecting a President's Day Theme (see NY Sun puzzle.) So I looked for Presidents in this one.
55a has a mixed PIERCE, in 20a & 23a you have a mixed MADISON, 28a & 33a a mixed CARTER, 19a & 20a a mixed NIXON,and 39a, 42a and 45a a mixed MONROE.

mac 12:38 PM  

@fikink: good catch, and good link!

@PuzzleGirl: I'll never forget that name again. For some reason I thought this actor was more.... elderly?

Foodie-alert: Remember the shad tree in a puzzle some months ago?
Shad roe is in season. Just had some, and it was delicious.

Ulrich 12:40 PM  

OK Monday to me, better write-up.

German 101 response to late post yesterday:

Lied - song
Lieder - songs
Leid - pain, sorrow
Leiden - sorrows
leider (adv.) - unfortunately

Now, that ain't too difficult, or is it?

hazel 12:44 PM  

@steve1 - get over it. step away from the puzzle. please don't turn this into a TIA-GATE harangue.

mac 12:53 PM  

@PuzzleGirl: take a look at the CrosSynergy puzzle!

ArtLvr 12:58 PM  

@ Steve -- Nobody here says Al-bany to rhyme with Al as in Gore. It's AW or ALL as in All Right. I come from Chicago originally and we say the middle vowel sound AW that way too, not rhyming with BAG.

As for Rochester -- in NY the first syllable is stressed and the sound is the same as in Rock, while the second syllable is elided Ch'st. In MN, the stress is more spondaic or evenly divided between the first two syllables, no elision.

jubjub 1:01 PM  

@anonymous 11:14, @steve I, I'm having trouble imagining scary not rhyming with merry. I'm from California. Let me qualify that by admitting that I am completely unaware of the nuances of rhyming, and when I speak, milk rhymes with elk, so I don't know what kind of accent I have.

Not to raise any controversy about the morality of OCTUPLETs, but I think we can all agree that eight babies in one womb makes one's belly bulge. For those (like me) just curious about what this may look like: Suleman's belly.

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

How can you not believe in octuplets for humans? It's been confirmed by many respectable news sources.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:14 PM  

Just back from Europe and jet-lagged (that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it), I had MACAU instead of MACAO for a bit, and (Oh, no!, the final theme answer) RICECRISPIES instead of RICEKRISPIES, like Elaine and Crosscan, and it took a bit of wheeel-spinning before realizing that CING was never going to be meaningful.

evil doug 1:34 PM  

As Kramer, scavenging Seinfeld's pantry for breakfast to feed several Japanese tourists he's befriended, says: "Rice Krispies. East meets West, Jerry."

Snap, crackle, blam: Rice M-80's.


Rex Parker 1:41 PM  

@jubjub and ArtLvr,

Thanks for the sane comments.

For the record, I (like jubjub) was born and raised in CA.


jeff in chicago 1:49 PM  

Easy, breezy. Not much to comment on. And this Ohio guy cannot comprehend Geri and scary not rhyming.

Can it be true? No "Blam" on Batman? Not even a "Ka-Blam" according to elba's site. My world view has been shattered.

fikink 1:58 PM  

Keokuk, Iowa, is a town named after the SAC tribe's Chief Keokuk. Elsewhere in the country, I hear "KEE-oh-kuck" while here, in Iowa, the town is pronounced in one syllable, to wit, "K'yuck" - somewhat like the sound of a cat expelling a hairball. Isn't that what makes this country great?

Blanche 1:59 PM  

Would you quibblers take Webster's word for it? "Scary" and "merry" are pronounced the same way in the dictionary.

chefbea 2:05 PM  

Very easy puzzle. When I put in snap...I knew what the theme was.

I too thought octuplet should have been plural.

@fiknik I know that Lichtenstein well. Knew Lichtenstein and his wife well also.

@mac love shad roe also but Maybe I should make some rice krispie bars first. yummm

RCgator 2:11 PM  

I'm pretty new to the puzzle. Have been following this blog for a little while now, and I love it. The write-ups are always great.

Ok, so, how do Geri and Peri not rhyme with merry? I'm from Florida, and they most definitely do rhyme down here.

Orange 2:11 PM  

The standard accent that news anchors are supposed to use has traditionally been a Midwestern one--the one where Mary, marry, and merry all sound exactly the same.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

What's wrong with partials? I like partials. When the phrases are familiar, they give me traction. They give me hope. Let's hear it for partials. We mere mortals need some help now and then.
Also: "saying is one thing, doing is another" is perfectly familiar to me as a phrase.
Also: Crosscan is a riot. (pron. Rye-ut)

Bill from NJ 2:56 PM  

We all know how to pronounce Yosemite - as in the National Park?

In the town of Yosemite, Kentucky it is pronounced YOZ-mite.

Pronunciation is not definitive, man, it's in the ear of the beholder.

Ulrich 3:24 PM  

@Bill from NJ: Funny--before I emigrated, I pronounced it Yoze-mite (how would I know?), which produced much hilarity among my new friends here. NOW I can tell them I wasn't that much off! BTW I also thought certain Indians were named See-oox.

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

@Bill From NJ
There is a Jewish Tshirt company out here who sell shirts that say Yo-Semite!

I'm with you! I like partials when they are fresh, it was sort of fun to see ONEARTH in a puzzle...altho I can't explain why!

It's ok that you don't pay attention to constructors' names
(be still my heart) but many times we get a puzzle rejected bec it's been done before...
and for some, coming up with an original theme is what it is all about...
Patrick managed to get SEVEN double O's in a Thursday puzzle, not a Sunday...I was just surprised that even Orange had seemed to forget there was just one with identical theme just weeks before (altho given that she solves thousands a year, I guess it really wasn't a surprise...)

But it's like this one...SNAP, CRACKLE, POP HAS been used, but now that four is the new three, it has been done with RICEKRISPIES as the punchline...know what I mean?

I really liked this puzzle and felt it was identical in spirit to one of mine, which I rarely feel!
(In other words, wish I had thought of it! :)
but I've never heard of CRACKLEware and you have to have that phrase AND it has to have as many letters as the POP clue! (Something else you probably have never noticed nor care about, but that's what makes it hard to design but pretty to look at!)

I met someone delightful named KING last night and as I was filling 56D in, I thought "I'll take that as a sign" which was then the next clue!!!!!!!
Which I then had to take THAT as a sign!

I'm exhausted.

Plus I'm freaked out about having two more nipples than I've had children!
Maybe I can rent them out to that crazy lady to restore balance to the world.

chefwen 4:08 PM  

Just being a goof I always pronounce it YOZ A MIGHT.
Easy Monday puzzle, no need for any liquid paper, and NO I will not be getting sick of Esai Morales any time soon; Jonas Brother, yes, Esai, no.

Glitch 4:30 PM  

It never ceases to amaze me just what will "take off" as the topic of the day (especially early in the week).

Steve I said's listing of city names in the 12:24 post doesn't reflect regional accents, they're just wrong.

The "proper" pronounciation is that of the natives --- much as one of my professor's said: "You can't tell someone they're pronouncing their own name wrong."

BTW: Just what DOES "his" scary rhyme with.

As to the list of cartoon sounds --- of course they're fair game.

.../Glitch (doesn't rhyme with sheesh)

PS: My pet peeve is that mid east county EYE-rack.

Anonymous 4:44 PM  

Ooh. There's a thought forming involving the intersection of "ESAI" and "AI-CANDY" but I can't quite make it work as a rebus!

fmcgmccllc 5:05 PM  

Ok, I'm last and I"m pouting. First time in a long can't finish a Monday, that darn 36d. And what was that about Keokuk, been going there and calling them at least 3 times a day for 10 years and it is KEE O KUCK-Every person I know in automotive knows Keokuk, although everyone that works there for over 6 months lives in Missouri.

Anonymous 5:58 PM  

@ArtLvr--OK, maybe the one about Albany was off; I went to school there about 30 years ago and maybe I'm remembering the Western NY'ers' pronunciation of Albany, not the locals' pronunciation. But I stand by those farther west. Maybe I haven't put it down clearly in letters, but their vowels were always one over from everyone else. As for California, I really can't swear to their pronunciation, but as they say, everyone in Calif. came from somewhere else anyway, right, Andrea? But my point is, I still think most of the country hears a difference in the vowels of scary and Peri/Geri. Also, for that matter, Mary, marry and merry. And no one claimed that there ever was a difference in the vowels of Geri/Peri and merry.

@Glitch--It's not that the natives of those cities thought of it as a different pronunciation a la KAY-ro for Cairo in some states; the vowels in those names are pronounced that way in any word; the guy from SEER-acuse would also say SEE-rious rather than SIH-rious.

@Blanche--Yes, I see that Merriam-Webster's online backs you up, but The Free Dictionary online has different vowels for scary and Perry (but to me, the Free Dictionary's sound bit sounds normal, and M-W's sounds weird).

@Orange--I pronounce Mary (wary), merry (Peri) and marry (Harry) all differently. It's sad if newscasters are encouraged to pronounce them all the same, needlessly making homophones out of three words that, in my opinion, are not.

@jubjub--Do you say PIN and PEN the same? I don't. Where I come from, MILK rhymes with ILK, but not ELK.

@hazel--What's wrong with a little lively discussion about something that we might have a difference of opinion over? I don't see a problem in this.

Glitch 6:25 PM  


... and the guy from SEER-accuse would be correct (with both his words).

Anyhow, my 3 and out has been reached --- thank goodness.

.../Glitch (born and raised in Schenectady, right next to Awl-benny)

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

@glitch--Neither Free Online nor M-W online back you up on SERIOUS. Short I, not long E.

Anonymous 6:41 PM  

Steve L: I live in Rochester, NY. Your rendition of RAH-chster is quite good. I hear "SARA cuse" a lot around here, which bothers me. (am not a native) Also bugged by the amount of "melk" the natives drink along with their "Behgels"

chefbea 6:43 PM  

mary, merry and marry - all pronounced the same - imo

Anonymous 6:49 PM  

@Anonymous 6:41--Yeah, I didn't put SARA because that name is pronounced two ways, your way and so that both A's are practically the same, but you're entirely right. And the vowel moves a little higher up for SARATOGA, I think (in Sara-cuse, that is.)

@chefbea--Yeah, I'm aware that in many places, that's true, but having grown up saying all three differently, I don't really understand why people are encouraged to pronounce them all the same, when they cab easily be distinguished from one another.

treedweller 6:52 PM  

When my mother says them, "egg" and "leg" rhyme with Al "Haig". Apropos of nothing.

joho 6:54 PM  

@chefbea -- I'm with you ... all the same.

@steve l: I've lived all over the place and they're all pronounced the same to me. I wasn't encouraged to talk this way, I just do.

mac 7:05 PM  

This issue is a little boring to me, since I probably pronounce most of the words mentioned differently from all of you. What made me laugh was Treedweller's comment; I swear somewhere in the U.S. someone is making egg and legg into two-syllable words!

SethG 7:25 PM  

M-W lists a short-I, not long-E pronunciation for SEER, too. And for beer, peer, queer... Not sure how that makes Glitch wrong.

And karat=carat=carrot, and plie gets a long E.

Wait, why am I talking about this? 25-9, right PG? Next time...

Rex Parker 7:44 PM  

@ steve l

Thankfully, the "natives" of Syracuse and Rochester could give a @#$# what you or Anonymous or anyone thinks about their pronunciation.

You have no basis for saying what "most of the country" does or doesn't hear. You are extrapolating from personal experience. Rookie mistake.

Finally, the number is three and three is the number. It's the comment limit. Learn it. Love it. Live it. It's just good manners (which I pronounce like "flippers," just to @#$# with people).


PS I'm well aware that this is my fourth comment. It's also my blog. :)

Anonymous 7:52 PM  

@SethG--Don't know why M-W lists as first choice short I (TRANSCRIBED 'sir) for SEER (a clairvoyant) when their sound file says See-er. With short I, it would have the same vowel sound as HIT, and I doubt anyone says it that way. Anyway, my "phonetic" transcription 'SEER' in Syracuse was supposed to be like the "ea" in SEAR or APPEAR. My point was that natives of that city pronounce it with a long E for the Y, not a short I, as is listed in M-W and (I think) is the usual pronunciation (this time, with the short I of HIT).

@joho--I didn't say any of the contributors here were encouraged to speak any certain way. Rather, I was responding to Orange's comment that newscasters are encouraged to speak with a Midwestern accent in which Mary, merry and marry are all pronounced alike.

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

@Rex--I'm extrapolating from a background in linguistics.

HudsonHawk 7:59 PM  

I'm with RP's comments at 7:44. Lived in 15 states in all regions, been to 49 states extensively, and steve l is reaching. I've been biting my tongue...this is completely silly...but that's my one and out.

jae 8:04 PM  

Had NERD for DORK, no rhyme there, but it did fit.

treedweller 8:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
treedweller 8:19 PM  

a true Southerner (which category includes East Texans, though some would probably deny it) could get three or four syllables in there. For a little contrast, a friend with West Texas roots manages to say "orange" in only one.

treedweller 8:24 PM  

Upon reflection, even when it's said in West TX with one syllable, there's still nothing that rhymes with orange.

joho 8:28 PM  

@steve l ... I'm a native Californian therefore the midwest pronunciation doesn't really apply. But you have to know, this all has been a pretty silly discussion when you think about it. How about we consult 'enry 'iggins?

Three and out.

Anonymous 8:42 PM  

I live in Iowa and say Keokuk. And I am not alone in this.

I was trying to hard to think of the name of the second wife of Paul McCartney and then realized that this was Monday and wrote in "Linda."

Orange 8:45 PM  

I resent anyone who isn't named Orange passing judgment on whether anything does or does not rhyme with it. Harrumph!

The best way to handle the whole accent/pronunciation thing is for everyone to take this American accent quiz to see if it pegs them correctly—and then go discuss it at your own blog. (Quiz totally nails me.)

I pronounce the city "sigh-ROCK-you-zay" and anyone who doesn't must be some kinda eejit.

My third comment has been brought to you by Kellogg's.

Anonymous 9:18 PM  

Your American accent quiz totally pegged me, as Minnesota by way of New Yawk!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Or is it New York by way of Minnesota? I can never keep that straight).
(Altho growing up, they called me Rhoda bec of the way I said Maaary.)

Wow, sad day. I offer to rent out my nipples and no one bites. Where is dk when you need him?!

joho 9:21 PM  

@Orange: that quiz is amazing ... I came up the West ... which is exactly what I am ... no accent at all. Fascinating. Thanks!

Ulrich 9:53 PM  

@orange, acme, joho: Your faith in the quiz will receive a huge dent when you see my result: "Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island."--yea, sure, those great regions of the Rhineland!

Now, why does any cab driver here in CT asks me as soon as I open my mouth "where you from?"

chefbea 9:58 PM  

@orange I am rated midland which is perfectly true as I am from Missouri...the show me state

fergus 10:24 PM  

Well, I got 'Are you from Chicago?' as my pigeon-holing on Orange's quiz. Quite surprising, since moving from Chicago to California as a teenager, my siblings and I were very conscious of shifting our pronunciation to surfer vowels.

mac 10:33 PM  

@Ulrich: you were pegged just right: you do live in Connecticut. I, however, was placed in Philadelphia, where I actually lived many years ago, and for only about 8 months.
About this "Where are you from", I've been made to feel like a fool when I think I detect an accent, ask where someone was born, and hear New Jersey, or even Brooklyn!

Bill from NJ 10:38 PM  

I just took the accent quiz and they pegged me as "midland" which is how I describe the middle of the puzzle. Funny, that.

Also, as an AIr Force brat, I have been told I have no accent at all which is odd because I tended to take on the accent of whatever area we were transferred to.

JannieB 10:51 PM  

That quiz is scary accurate - It got me dead to rights. Pretty cool Oh yeah, I'm from Wilmington, DE, but haven't lived there in over 50 years.

RodeoToad 11:19 PM  

I took that quiz and it told me I was Ogden Nash. Anybody else get that?

In an intro to liguistics class I took as an undergrad we had to do interviews of people asking them about pronunciation, whether they said "spicket" or "spigot," and so on. The problem with those tests, though, is that often the person unconsciously either chooses the answer he or she thinks is "right" or chooses the answer that he thinks is right for where he or she came from. In short, I don't think any of us really knows how we talk. I've been doing a lot of recording lately, and I sound nothing like I thought I did. Somebody told me one time I sounded like Elvis when I left a message on her answering machine. I've carried that around for 15 years, comforted by the thought that, no matter what, I sound like Elvis on the answering machine. Turns out I really sound more like Paul Lynne from Bewitched. Plus my laugh is really stupid and I always thought it was a very cool laugh. I laugh like Paul Lynne, too.

mac 11:35 PM  

@Wade: nice to see you again. I think I genuinely tried to sound out all the words in the quiz. It put me South of Hudson, which is odd, since I always told my husband that I would never go there. After 17 moves I think I have a little say in the matter. By the way, is Paul Lynne the guy with all the teeth?

edith b 11:41 PM  

When I first saw BLAM, Roy Lichtensein is who I first thought about. That piece was in a traveling exhibit 20 years or so ago because I've never been to the Yale Art Gallery so I recognized BLAM as a word regardless of what others may think.

I also like the QTIP/QED crossing because of the Q minus the U so this puzzle had a little sparkle to it at either end - for a Monday.

RodeoToad 12:04 AM  

Mac, my point is I just don't think we can hear ourselves. There's a really lovely, elegaic song by a guy named Bob McDill called "Good Old Boys Like Me," which is about not being able to get above your raising, and it has the line, "I was smarter than most and I could choose/Learned to talk like the man on the six o'clock news." I thought that was me. So I think I say "pin" and "pen" differently, but I don't. The reason I think I say them differently is because I know they're supposed to sound different.

Paul Lynne was probably better known for being on all the daytime game shows in the 70s and 80s, especially Hollywood Squares--nasally, snarky guy. David Sedaris is a more understated version of his voice. (I don't really sound like him, except for the nasal bit, and the annoying laugh.)

Shanti11 12:29 AM  

I did the pronunciation quiz, and it told me that "outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot".


Catherine From Somewhere in Canada

fergus 1:34 AM  

Wade, isn't it Paul Lynde, the warlock uncle who sat in the middle Hollywood square? He really did have a terrible laugh ...

foodie 1:47 AM  

"You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks pop."

This is the answer I got. I do live in the Great Lakes region, but I am still shocked. I am an Arabic native speaker who learned English via French and it was taught to me by an Irish nun (!). I know I pronounce very explicitly... my deaf friend who lip reads tells me I'm the easiest person in the world to understand. I thought I was going to really fool this test. So, Wade, you're right, I must sound nothing like I think I do. Very distressing!

@Andrea Carla, I cannot believe that the obsession with accents distracted from your extras...

Anonymous 4:07 AM  

that's ok, this whole accent thing gives us all something to think about...Loved that it pegged Ulrich to CT, Mac to the Great Lakes, Catherine K to Canada...

Maybe the quiz site can also detect where your server is located! ;)
Or, maybe, just maybe, Wade does sound like Elvis!

xyz 8:45 AM  

Took the quiz, more midland than NE yielding Inland North.

CT--> FL--> IL--> CA--> CO--> PA

No one can guess where I am from by accent, I'm told I have none, except teh guys from OZ tell me I have a nice "American Accent".

They didn't have "AUNT" in the quiz - very important word to differentiate regionalism (and it is not pronounced ANT).

ARRRRGH it's ONT :-)

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

I was born in MUNtreal Kbec and that's how we pronounce it. On the test, I am from Minn.

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