SUNDAY, Mar. 15, 2009 - P Berry (Literary award shaped like rocket / Worshipers at Amritsar's Golden Temple / Depression-era photojournalist Dorothea)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Prioresses" - theme answers are familiar two-word phrases where S's have been added to the beginning of each word, creating wacky new two-word phrases, which are then clued, "?"-style

Word of the Day: DESIDERATUM

n. pl. de·sid·er·a·ta (-t)

Something considered necessary or highly desirable: "The point is not that the artist has 'penetrated the character' of his sitter, that commonplace desideratum of portraiture" Robert Hughes. - [Latin dsdertum, from neuter past participle of dsderre]

This was one of the less interesting Patrick Berry puzzles I've solved, which is to say that it's a very solid effort, pitch perfect (difficulty-wise) for a Sunday, with a theme that is cute if slightly underwhelming. Title pretty much gives theme away, which makes it easy to fill in at least the initial square in every theme answer. The lightness of the theme was adequately made up for in the thorniness of several corners of the puzzle. For me, the far NE and the far W were the trouble spots, chock full o' answers I didn't know or clues I couldn't quite get my hands on. Nothing brutal, but enough of a challenge to draw out my solving time to a solid (and pretty average) 14+ minutes. All in all, a puzzle for S CATS (37A: Does some improvisations) who like answers with S TRAITs (66A: Nautical passage) but don't want to fall into an S TRAP (51D: Standing subway passenger's aid) - folks who are just looking for some S MATTER (48A: Modest knowledge) so they can S IT IN (62D: Audit, with "on"). Whether they sit in S PEWS (38D: Ejects), I have no idea. [/cutesy word play]

Theme answers (each one rated on a scale of 1-10):

23A: Ridiculed someone as loudly as possible? (screamed scorn) - 8
28A: Piece of hay? (stable stalk) - 3
30A: Comedic bits by guys sitting at a bar? (stool skits) - 1 ... too scatological-sounding
39A: Astronaut's old wound? (space scar) - 6
53A: Worked at an herb shop, maybe? (sold sage) - 5
57A: Change devices that divert trains to different tracks? (switch shunts) - 5
81A: Ore refinery? (smelting spot) - 7
84A: Large field of dirt? (soil span) - 6
99A: Reaction upon being hit with a chair in WrestleMania? (sham shock) - 8
108A: What an angry robot might do? (spit screws) - 10 ... tight, clear clue in perfect harmony with vibrant, vivid answer. I am in the middle of reading Naoki Urasawa's "Pluto," a 21st-century scifi manga written specifically as an update of Osamu Tezuka's iconic "Astro Boy" stories; there are (seemingly) angry robots involved.
111A: What Buffy might be doing at the end of a long, hard night? (slaying slow) - 7 ... cute, but gross (rare combo)
119A: Increase in perfect basketball shots? (swishing swell) - 9

Twelve theme answers! Man, that's a lot. Very impressive. Added considerably to the general density of "?"-style clues, which almost inevitably cause some solving slow down, however minor. As for those pesky NE and W sections ... there are apparently no end of epochs, not all of which have yet appeared in puzzles I have done. I learned EOCENE from puzzles, but have never heard of MIOCENE (21A: Geological epoch when mastodons appeared). Flying right underneath it was AVIANCA (25A: Colombian carrier), an airline I feel as if I've seen before, but not one that came readily to me at all. Managed to piece together the AVIAN part just from assumptions about etymology, then had to wait on the -CA. Over in the west ... well, I never remember IDA (63A: Gilbert and Sullivan princess), mainly because she could just as well be ADA or ANA or INA as far as I'm concerned. IDA IDA IDA. I have heard of Dorothea LANGE (55D: Depression-era photojournalist Dorothea), but completely forgot her name today - needed many crosses to make it work. Guessed SIKHS (53D: Worshipers at Amritsar's Golden Temple) very early on, but then took it out for some reason ... oh, because I couldn't think of a literary award in four letters that started with "H" - later I would exclaim "D'oh" and slap my forehead. The HUGO is quite familiar to me (74A: Literary award shaped like a rocket).

Other sources of momentary consternation included:

  • Blanking on UNIATE (18A: Eastern Catholic who recognizes the pope's authority)
  • Not knowing how to spell GOLLUM (69D: "The Lord of the Rings" ring bearer)
  • Writing FLUNG instead of SLUNG (128A: Tossed)
  • Forgetting an answer that I should have remembered because a previous crossword bludgeoned me with it once: PETRA (77A: World Heritage Site in Jordan)
  • Not knowing the Atlas Mountains are in ALGERIA (118A: Atlas Mountains locale)
  • Thinking ISIS was the goddess of the rainbow - it's IRIS (113D: Rainbow goddess)
  • Completely forgetting KELSO, which, like PETRA, I learned from crosswords (100D: Only five-time U.S. Horse of the Year)
  • Never having heard the fantastically ugly term PLUGOLA (90A: Kickback for good publicity)

All very gettable / fixable. What else?


  • 12A: Org. founded by Samuel Gompers (AFL) - total blank. Kept thinking NRA.
  • 27A: Oscar winner Kedrova (Lila) - nope, didn't know her either. Man, I didn't know a lot today. I'm surprised I got through as fast as I did, and without errors.
  • 50A: Holders of jacks (modems) - tough. I was thinking "trunks" or "boots" or "little girl's hands"
  • 67A: The Pacific's "Valley Isle" (Maui) - again, never heard it. Patrick and Will did a good job today of offsetting the easiness of the theme with with some late-week-style clues.
  • 72A: Icon on Guinness Bottles (harp) - I kept picturing a parrot ... some talking bird. Why? Oh, here's why:
  • 95A: Pythian Games site (Delphi) - there's an oracle there, too, in case you're interested.
  • 117A: Hierarchy chart's top box (CEO) - I had to look at this clue for many seconds to convince myself I was in fact reading English. Read like gibberish when I first looked at it.
  • 24D: Group with an Exalted Ruler (Elks) - Brotherhoods with secret handshakes and funny hats and Exalted Rulers freak me out a bit. We have an enormous, abandoned Masonic Temple in town ... a guy I know broke in and took pictures. Unbelievably creepy. I would tell you more, but I don't want to get the guy arrested.
  • 75D: Maker of Caplio cameras (Ricoh) - "Caplio" has got to be the worst named-product I've heard in a long time. CRAPLIO! That is what I would call it, and will call it from now on.
  • 109D: Arithmetic series symbol (sigma) - figured it was a Greek letter; just waited on crosses to see which one.
  • 114D: Ingenue in Chekhov's "The Seagull" (Nina) - helped give the SW some toughness, as it is next to IRIS (which I botched) and crossing ALGERIA (which I botched).

  • 120D: Old bronze coin (sou) - had to play the old ECU / SOU waiting game

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Jeffrey 9:20 AM  

i thought this was a perfect Sunday. Nice theme, lots of theme answers, not too hard, not too soft. A Goldilocks.

HudsonHawk 9:32 AM  

This one went pretty smoothly, but I also finished in Northern California. I've played a lot of chess, but the clue for 68A--"It might be checked", (KING) just wasn't clicking.

I initially had PLAYOLA for 90A, thinking it was a variant of the old payola scandals (a PLAY on words). Never heard of PLUGOLA, and wasn't helped by the 82D clue, "Actions on shirtsleeves". What kind of action have my shirts been getting? Eventually it hit me.

Seemed to be a Nascar shout out today with sPACE sCARS and sPIT sCREWS...

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

I liked this puzzle. I really fell for the "IV" clue (probably not for the first time) ... looked at it for a long time before figuring out the connection.

Unknown 9:38 AM  

Philadelphia continues to get its due in the puzzles. I know one William Dean Howells novel (The Rise of Silas Lapham)and wonder if our resident English teacher knows more.
The breakout of the Neogene Period:

And the Ages are:
Quaternary (disputed term as some Geologist include this in the Neogene)
Conclusion, in the long history of the planet, the Miocene is fairly recent being only a score million years ago.

Parshutr 9:53 AM  

@Crosscan...I'm with you. Just right (I had some weird guesses, like KLAN instead of ELKS, but abandoned them quickly enough.)
I've flown on AVIANCA, had IVs in my arms, and SWISHED a few shots, and there were several other familiar, if idiosyncratic, moments.

miriam b 9:59 AM  

One of our cats is named IRIS on account of her unique rainbowlike markings: alternating gray and orange stripes.

I'm with you too, Crosscan. Comfy puzzle. Of the theme clues, I especially liked SMELTINGSPOT.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

Stuck with Isis and ended up with a country (I thought maybe it was a region?) called ALGESIA. Since Payola didn't fit, I thought maybe it was PLUGOLA (for "plugging" a product?) and ended up with GOLLUM (looked fine to me!) Other than that - very doable and fun.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

The summation symbol 109D:SIGMA is always a capital Σ, as in Σum (or rather ∑um -- the symbol and the Greek letter are not quite identical). The integral sign ∫ is likewise based on an initial letter for "sum", or rather for the German "Summe", having been introduced by Leibniz (this last tidbit I get from Wikipedia).

C(r)APLIO (75D clue) is hardly the worst product name out there, either intentionally (there's actually a TP brand called $#!+begone --- without the typographical euphemism) or not (can a resident of a Spanish-speaking country confirm that Colgate products do not sell well because Cólgate means "go hang yourself"?).

--NDE [at the Arizona Winter School, and resisting the temptation to preface words like "and", "not", "can", and "having" with a spurious S]

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

I didn't like the return to pop culture clues after two day of really invigorating mental workouts. Yesterday and Friday are the type that suit my brain much better.

evil doug 11:16 AM  

I won't waste my money on the Sunday Times. So is that really how they spelled Colombia? Maybe Avianca is based at the university in New York now....

My favorite Kelso is Wild Bill in "1941".

Also: Re your judgment that "stool skits" is too scatalogical, while ha ha "craplio" is somehow clever. You're wrong on both counts.


dfan 11:33 AM  

No, that is not really how they spelled Colombia.

edith b 11:35 AM  

SCREAMEDSCORN, I love it. If this were only 15x15, I'd love it more. A little too much of a good thing, perhaps, but that is the all I have against this one. This is as close to a masterwork as one can get

I liked the fact that even though I had the theme, I still had to think the answers through to understand them fully. This allowed me to forgive the overabundance of three and four letter words, most of which bordered on crosswordese. The whole NW quadrent bordered on genius. It reminded me of the Governor of California in his younger days or a beautiful woman with perhaps a little too much eye shadow.

A touch of ambivalence here but, boy, did I enjoy it!


William Dean Howells was arguably the greatest Realist novelist of the late 19th Century. A most radical Bougeois writer - how else to describe a writer of a great novel of the paint business (Silas Latham). He write of the old-fashioned not ideal "grasshopper."

Kurisu 11:45 AM  

Rex, have you read Monster (by Naoki Urasawa)? Highly recommended.

edith b 11:51 AM  

oops, that is Silas Lapham. Sorry, English majors!

miriam b 12:03 PM  

Apology and correction noted and accepted (by a chem major long enamored of the English language).

I really look forward to your posts.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

It's a bit of a stretch to say GOLLUM is a "ring bearer in the the Lord of the Rings," because he only holds the ring for a few seconds in LOTR itself. I guess you could say he qualifies because he's in LOTR and carried the ring for centuries before the action. [Nerd swith off.]

Ulrich 12:07 PM  

Rex's write up reminded me--again--of the difference between our respective solving skills: I had difficulties in the exact same regions, which lengthened my solving time to more than an hour, while it added only minutes to his (plus Algeria was a gimmie for me). Well, I won't colgate myself over this.

I liked the theme and would rate each of the theme answers at least one point, if not two, over Rex's--when I think of a stool, our friend Aalto comes to my mind, not that other thing.

...and the clue for EIS was one of the better clues for a German word over the last few months.

jeff in chicago 12:08 PM  

I agree with edith b that while the title did allow us to plop in that initial "s," sussing out the rest of the theme answers took some thought. At least for me. And the very first one (SCREAMEDSCORN) made me laugh, so that was a plus. I thought SHAMSHOCK and SPITSCREWS were pretty clever as well.

As for the non-theme words, AMALGAM, CANST and YEGODS popped for me today.

About that creamed corn. It seems that this is another maligned vegetable. I don't get that. It's corn! Just a little pre-mushed. Probably more popular than the puzzle's official root vegetable, but I'm standing up to give some love to creamed corn.

retired_chemist 12:12 PM  

A nice, middling puzzle. Fun theme, no serious problems, but no answers that enlivened my day.

Had KLAN for ELKS (24D) too, and it left after a while. Fixing SCREAM OF SCORN (which did not parse properly anyway) accomplished that.

Is one of the PHILLIES a PHILLIE? Really? Is there a SCAD of PHILLIES?

72A HARP was first LION on a blind guess for a while but that got fixed easily.

Never heard of PLUGOLA (90A) but it makes sense.

UNIATE - never heard of it, a momentary blank that has now lasted many decades for me.

Linda Ball 12:14 PM  

The Guinness guys make another brew: Harp. That was the beer drinker's gimme. Unfortunately, much trouble elsewhere due to lack of sport and Bible knowledge. Must have drunk beer through the World Series. Even after I got 'king' I was still nonplussed about the clue. But I do know chess and even posted of people playing a game with giant pieces in a park on my photo blog today.

JannieB 12:26 PM  

I liked it a lot. The theme was clever but not a dead giveaway to the often amusing answers. With so many theme answers, I think this was a really well done tour de force.

May the Ides be uneventful for all of you.

treedweller 12:26 PM  

I got PETRA off an educated guess, based on the fact that my sister listened to the band by that name during her "Christian Rock" phase. I think this is the closest I've ever come to being grateful for their existence.

A ring-bearer is one of a chosen few who are selected to possess a magic ring for some period of time. Once a ring-bearer, always a ring-bearer.

travis 12:26 PM  

@retired_chemist: I had the same problem with Phillie. So used to seeing Philly[an abbrev. for the city name] I couldn't wrap my head around Phillie being the singular. But it is indeed[look up Phillie Phanatic as easiest verification]. It got to the point where I convinced myself they were looking for the World Series of Poker winner or something and could be almost any collection of letters. The SW really bit me.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

SOops -- all the Unicode etc. came out right, but I made three separate errors in the AWS link... Just in case somebody wants to follow it up, the correct URL is --NDE

treedweller 12:30 PM  

@Linda Ball
You may have been on the constructor's wavelength more than I, but I thought the checked king referred to betting (or not) in poker. I never considered Chess, but had to rule out Checkers (and world rulers) before coming to this explanation.

chefbea 12:31 PM  

When I saw the word prioresses - I really thought we were going to have Ste. in every theme answer or maybe even The names of Saints. But when I finally got slaying slow I realized what it was all about.

Never have liked creamed corn. Harvard beets are sort of creamy

joho 12:36 PM  

I SMATTERED through today. Lots I didn't know but managed to get.

An enjoyable Sunday, like others before me have said, just right.

Having been a copywriter for many years, though, while PLUGOLA may make sense, it's downright awkward and my pick for ugliest word of the day.

STOOLSKITS are diapers are they not?

allan 12:37 PM  

I liked this one a lot. Agree with all who said that knowing the theme didn't make their answers gimmes.

I've read LOTR several times, but not for a long time. But if memory serves me correctly (just checked wiki, and it does) Gollum was the one "bearing" the ring at the time of its destruction (and his). Sorry to spoil the ending for those who have not yet read this masterpiece.

BTW, what's with that video? May have been one of the creepiest things I've ever seen, what with the wolverine hair and all. Had to stop about 1:15 in.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

@25A: A gimme for me: about 10 years ago an Avianca airplane crashed in Nassau County when it ran out of gas. Many died and we spent all night treating the survivors.

111A: Am i the only one happy to see a Buffy the Vampire Reference? In spite of its title it was an outstanding show that did not do well commercially. Much of it was silly but many parts were brilliant. Highly recommended if you've never seen it.

jae 1:12 PM  

I liked this one also. Cute theme that required some effort but helped with the solving process. I too would rate the theme answers higher than Rex did. For me this was just about right for a Sun. My only problem was the singular PHILLIE and the plural LASAGNE (which was clued as dish not dishes). I didn't link D to shoe size so I wasn't quite sure how to fill those two squares in the SW. BTW if you type LASAGNE into google it asks you if you meant LASAGNA.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

obviously i meant Buffy the Vampire Slayer

PanamaRed 1:15 PM  

I think sometimes I'm either in sync or out of sync with the writer of the puzzle. Today I was in sync, and breezed through quickly for me. Enjoyed the theme answers, especially slaying slow.

Didn't know uniate or plugola, but got them with crosses.

Also have trouble with singular Phillie since all MLB teams but Sox end with letter s.

retired_chemist 1:27 PM  

@jae - LASAGNE? I had no trouble with it, even think I have seen it on a menu, but the translation widget in Dashboard says the Italian for LASAGNA is LASAGNA. So I am with you, until another blogger chimes in with something definitive to the contrary.

(Dashboard is a MAC OS 10.4 or higher utility for those of you who operate with other computers.)

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Gollum dies?

Leon 1:31 PM  

Thanks Mr. Berry.

In the Sixties, many a dorm room had the following poem hanging on the wall: Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.

Reading it again, too many years later, Polonius comes to mind.

retired_chemist 1:34 PM  

Well, several online dictionaries say LASAGNA and LASAGNE are alternate spellings. Learn something every day...

SethG 1:46 PM  

I went to a Purim party last night. The host told the story of the book of ESTHER while dressed as Mugatu, whose hair was maybe a combination of Flock of Seagulls with a perm or something. Same updos on the sides, no sweep.

By a fair stretch my fastest Sunday ever, even if you count the minute+ it took me to find my typo.

I don't like creamed corn.

foodie 1:47 PM  

Ah, PETRA, what a gorgeous place that is! A combination of a beautiful natural setting with a canyon carved in rosy rock that reminds you of Sedona, with absolutely amazing architecture and many many well preserved ruins.

Another very impressive place in Jordan, not seen in recent puzzles in my memory, is Jerash, a fantastically well preserved Roman city.

@Phillysolver, did you know that Amman, Jordan used to be called Philadelphia at one point?

Oh, the rest of the puzzle, I really liked and agree that it's Goldilockian. My only objection is the neighborhood crowded with people, ESTHER, ELY, IDA, ANITA, VING, HUGO, RYAN and LANGE, all piled on top of each other! I managed them, knowing some and having a strong feeling about others. But VING I could not recall. It looked so wrong, and I wasn't sure until I go here.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

@Leon:Yes, Desiderata hung in many a dorm room...but so did National Lampoon's goof on it: "Deteriorata". (I am too stupid to set up a direct web link but it is easily found through Google.) Very offensive and very very funny.

chefbea 2:07 PM  

I went straight to my daughter who lives in Rome...

You have one lasagna noodle. But the whole lasagna dish is made up of many lasagne noodles. Lasagne is the plural of lasagna. Or. if you make 2 pans you have 2 lasagne capeesh!!!

Unknown 2:09 PM  

I did know Ptolemy II named his conquered city after himself and that his name was later given to the son of Marc Antony and Cleopatra. The story of why he was nicknamed Philadelphus is not one often told, nor should it be.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

@nde--If the story about the Chevy Nova not selling in Latin America is aprocryphal (someone pointed out that it's like an English speaker seeing the word "notable" and thinking "no table"), than your Colgate idea is beyond apocryphal. COLGAR is a stem-changing verb in Spanish, so the imperative to hang yourself would be ¡Cúelgate!

@PIX--I'm glad to see Buffy in the puzzle if I don't have to see one more Simpsons clue. Although when I think of Buffy on TV, first I think of the little girl from the Sebastian Cabot show Family Affair from the sixties. Then Sarah Michelle.

@retired_chemist--LASAGNA is a singular form; LASAGNE is plural.

mac 2:24 PM  

@PhillySolver: you are making me very curious!

I liked this puzzle for a Sunday. Plugola really is the ugliest word, I agree with Joho.
Only because I guessed "Lange" did I finish with that little area. "Spitting Screws" was my favorite theme answer, but there several other very cute ones.

I've been called Toots, but can anyone tell me where the term comes from?

fikink 2:25 PM  

@pix, I have been monitoring the blog just to see if someone would mention "Deteriorata" today. A Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin smiles.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  


chefbea 2:33 PM  


n. Slang
Babe; sweetie.
[Perhaps short for tootsie.]

ArtLvr 2:45 PM  

Super puzzle, though dense with theme material... I had a lot of the same sticking spots others have noted already. Not sure why V is a FILE in Latin? Is there a military connection, or what?

One can wait for crosses to get the right small coin SOU/ecu choice -- However, if it's defined as being made of bronze then think SOU as the most common and most recent variety in France. An écu was élite in comparison, made of gold or silver.


joho 2:51 PM  

@anon 2:20 ... thank you, that is hilarious!

chefbea 2:51 PM  

@artlvr V = five

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Yesterday I was undone. But after some sleep and this puzzle, I am once again undaunted.

It was fun to do (by which I mean doable) and the theme answers were funny. There were lots of things I didn't know but which came easily with fill.

I made one careless error - I wrote in playola and did not go back to check my work. I was thinking about Ryan/Blagojevich
/pay to play/payola. Actually playola is a pretty good word, certainly as good as plugola.

And thanks to @Phillysolver for writing down the names of all those time periods. I could see why it's so hard for me to remember one specific time period.

JannieB 2:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 2:58 PM  


I get it. Like the plural of barbabietola is barbabietole.

jeff in chicago 3:02 PM  

@PIX: Deteriorata = "very offensive"??? To me it's a lot more real than the pablum of the original. But that's just me.

ArtLvr 3:05 PM  

@ chefbea -- Thanks! I thought the airline was Alianca, not AVIANCA, thus "file" from the cross. I might have caught the error if I'd questioned it 4 or 5 times more!


davidb 3:12 PM  

I rarely do the Sunday puzzle in its intended sequential position (i.e. after doing Fri then Sat), but today I did. Perhaps slogging through the past couple puzzles made this one feel like a hot knife through butter (which, by my Sunday standards, is under half an hour or so). As an example, I’d say WILL SMITH is a tad bit easier than LILA LEE.

The only hang-up and the final letter I entered was at the PLUGOLA/TUGS cross. I went through the alphabet at least twice and thought the G was the only plausible choice, but plugola just seemed like nonsense. I was so confident with everything else in the puzzle and so wanted to finish completely error-free that I spent way too much time considering every other possibility and re-checking and then re-re-checking every other answer in the neighborhood before I warily entered that G. Was quite pleased to find out that it was right.

Ulrich 3:34 PM  

@foodie: Yes, Petra is gorgeous. I visited it in 1963 with a friend in his VW beetle, when we had the place all to ourselves for 3 days--the only other people we met was a bedouin and his young son who sold us hot tea every morning out of the very first temple you see when you enter through the famous gorge. And we visited Jerash, too.

Glitch 3:42 PM  

@steve I Said (and others):

Yes, Lasagne is the plural of Lasagna, BUT its also a "dish", thus fits the clue.

Per the "cooking" dictionary:


1. Wide, flat Italian pasta sheets with ruffled or smooth edges. 2. An Italian dish made with boiled lasagna layered with cheese (usually ricotta ...

see also: Lasagne al forno; Lasagne verdi


HudsonHawk 3:44 PM  

PHILLIE is Phine. Oriole and Yankee appear frequently in the grid as references to a single member of the team.

George NYC 3:45 PM  

How about BIMBO bread? Though it's in Mexico...

PlantieBea 5:43 PM  

I'm with Crosscan and all who have commented. This was a just right Sunday--especially after the Friday, Saturday series. SPIT SCREWS was my favorite themed answer. I never heard PLUGOLA--had PLUM JOB for a while. NEw words for me were Desideratum and UNIATE.

Creamed corn out of the can--blech. It's one of the few food aversions left from childhood.

Anonymous 5:43 PM  

PETRA was one of the location sites in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." I envy all of you who have been
there. Maybe one day!

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

@evil doug 11:16

You wrote:
"... wrong on both counts."

I couldn't agree more!


chefbea 5:57 PM  

@ retired chemist - you taught me something new in the world of red tubers!! Never heard of barbabietola. Had to google it. Learn something new everyday.

retired_chemist 6:01 PM  

@ chefbea - ☺ I thought you would enjoy that!

fergus 6:09 PM  

Mostly concur with Rex's scoring of the Theme entries. Favorite answer was SWISHING WELL, though its Clue was the least smooth. Laying low still strikes me as shabbily vulgate.


"Grecian Urn" Clue reminded me that that Ode could stand a bit of modernization. Great poem, of course, but difficult to read to current students, while the concept is ideal for poetic appreciation.

Malapop on CEO since that was who I thought was being fed by the Yes-men.

alanrichard 6:20 PM  

Well after finishing this puzzle I feel like going to the Orthopedist's bakers and having a Spine Scone.

Anonymous 6:21 PM  

"Where's the love for creamed corn?" He screamed with scorn.

Fresh Corn
Parmesan Cheese
Cayenne Pepper

What's not to love? Don't overcook cuz it makes the corn mushy . . .
Very tasty!


foodie 6:27 PM  

@Phillysolver, like mac, now I really want to know...

@ulrich, it sounds heavenly to have PETRA all to yourself! There were plenty of camels around the last time I went, and I have a wonderful picture of my daughter on top of one, laughing and looking "petrified" all at once.

@chefbea, check out "Pizza alla Barbabietola Arrostito"... looks wonderful!

Stan 6:31 PM  

Agree on the Goldilocks level of cleverness and difficulty for a Sunday.

@PIX -- I am a huge BtVS fan and laughed out loud at the perfectly clued SLAYING SLOW.

SMELTING SPOT and SCREAMED SCORN were equally impressive...

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

OK, Am I picking nits that GOLLUM never touched the ring in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy? He last had his hands on it during "The Hobbit" no?

retired_chemist 7:15 PM  

@ foodie & chefbea - Pizza alla Barbabietola Arrostito sounds WONDERFUL! If one or both of you will make a sufficient quantity to hawk at ACPT 2010 I will be glad to participate in the selling and distribution of proceeds to our (collectively decided) favorite charity.

retired_chemist 7:21 PM  

@ fergus - it was SWISHING SWELL. one could envision other clues to that...

foodie 7:29 PM  

@NDE, I looked up the Arizona Winter School and found your recent lectures on line (was that today?). I started to listen to them, just to see how much I can follow. It's always remarkable to me how much math is a language... anyhow, we'll see how quickly I will be utterly lost... Ten minutes into it, I'm OK, but I stopped because I'm procrastinating, as I need to prepare lectures of my own...

@retired-chemist, or may be I should go practice making that pizza!

archaeoprof 7:36 PM  

I agree with Foodie and Ulrich about Petra. Like no place else on earth. When you come out of the siq it feels as if you've either traveled back in time, or flown through space to another planet.

@foodie: yes, Jerash is impressive, too. Isn't Jordan a great country?

Anonymous 7:41 PM  

LANGE/HUGO/GOLLUM/PLUGOLA (especially plugola) was a rough area for me in an otherwise perfect puzzle.

I wanted playola for plugola, huck for hugo, lance for lange, and LOTR is one of those things I'm just not able to get into but I know the names are strange so I wasn't sure how to deduce that one. G.K.LIAM sounded good, I kept taking LUC out, then putting it back in.

I loved the theme and the puzzle really did feel especially even throughout, except for the aforementioned area.

I am talking to Dad who just tumbled to the theme, and he gives it a thumbs up. "Very clever indeed".

chefbea 7:43 PM  

@ friend in canada... do not ask for a beet pizza blog

retired_chemist 7:48 PM  

@ foodie - go for it!

Anonymous 8:01 PM  

@chefbea--And maybe we can direct some of our cohorts to a Petra blog.

@retired_chemist--Shouldn't it be Pizza alla Barbabietola Arrostita, not Arrostito?

Jeffrey 9:05 PM  

Too late now, chefbea.

retired_chemist 9:17 PM  

@ Steve I - I copied what was quoted. You may be right.

It was H. L. Mencken who answered ALL letters of opprobrium with:

Dear Sir or Madam:

You may be right.

Yours sincerely,


mac 9:32 PM  

All you guys (all y'all) are so funny...... I'm going to look up this Pizza, although I still have to meet one I really like. My problem is that I don't like melted cheese; when our son makes a midnight snack of pizza, he saves a little piece for me to eat cold at breakfast.

dfan 10:48 PM  

Anonymous @ 7:08: Gollum indeed touches the ring. Read the whole book.

Anonymous 11:47 PM  

@Ulrich: The "temple" you see when you come out of the canyon at Petra is actually the Treasury. Gorgeous!

Dorothea Lange took one of the iconic photos of the depression titled "Migrant Mother." It can be seen at her listing on Wikipedia. It's haunting.

Perfect Sunday puzzle; love my new adjective "Goldlockian."

allan 11:53 PM  

@ dfan: Anon 7:08 should just read all the posts, something I learned a while back.

Ulrich 12:20 AM  

@Victor: Give the old man a break:-) It's been 45 years, and what stayed with me is the image (helped, no doubt, by my photographs), not what my guide book said (which was written in French anyway)

Amelie 1:37 PM  

Since DOWNS and WILL were adjacent and DOWNS was clued in a crossword-themed manner, wouldn't it have been cute to clue WILL in a crossword-themed manner also?

nurturing 4:05 AM  

uhhh...that's not Dorothea Lange in your pic. It's comic actress Nancy Walker.

Orange 8:23 AM  

nurturing, Nancy Walker played IDA Morgenstern on Rhoda. Rex likes to use photos for pop culture allusions to answers clued other ways.

Stan 8:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl 5:03 PM  

Actually, this was a pretty easy puzzle for me. I was done by 2:30 p.m. and didn't have to resort to the internet. Screamed scorn...what a hoot!

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

Hi- I'm new to the blog - I do the puzzles in syndication. Why do the posting times of the comments not include the date? And thank you, Patrick, for a most entertaining puzzle.

Rex Parker 1:08 PM  

@Anon 1:03

I don't know. You can pretty much tell when they're from, as there is an unbroken stream of same-day comments til about 8:28 am, and then a huge jump. That huge jump means (probably) that the commenter did the puzzle in syndication (one week later on Sundays, five on M-Sat).

Thanks for reading,

Anonymous 10:19 PM  

Maybe I missed the comment from the 92 above, but my NYT puzzle is in the Denver Post. For this puzzle, the final 8 clues, going down, were omitted. Now the damn thing, while fun, is hard enough WITH all the clues! So, not intended? but a newspapaer screwup?


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