TUESDAY, Mar. 31, 2009 - AE Parrish (Young Indian Brave in 1960 Johnny Preston #1 hit / Peace Nobelist Root / Word after ppd on sports page)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: BRAE anagrams - four theme answers, all of which either begin or end with an anagram of BRAE

Word of the Day: BRAE - n. Scots.

A hillside; a slope.

Supremely easy and, as NYT themed puzzles go, not terribly imaginative. Simple anagrams are all that are holding this puzzle together. Low theme density, anagrams neither all at beginning nor all at end of their respective phrases ... not a lot to love here, except maybe "RUNNING BEAR," which at least had the virtue of being completely new to me. Here's what I liked: PENCHANT (4D: Strong liking) and SAROYAN (5D: "The Human Comedy" novelist). SAROYAN is my homeboy (Fresno). I would have liked STABLER if had been clued via the 1970s Raiders quarterback Kenny STABLER. I have a certain respect for RIGATONI (39D: Tubular pasta), if only because when I got to that clue, I could see the pasta in question but couldn't remember how to spell it and ended up initially with RIGOTINI. So RIGATONI gave me a brief moment of amusement, which is something. All in all, though: BOREDOM (41D: Yawn inducer). But it was over quickly, so no real harm done.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Bitter-tasting vegetable (broccoli RABE) - we eat this quite a lot. It's good in soups.
  • 32A: "Young Indian brave" in a 1960 Johnny Preston #1 hit ("Running BEAR")
  • 41A: Least acceptable amount (BARE minimum)
  • 54A: Country singer with a hit sitcom (REBA McEntire)

Don't know how fast I did this - solved on paper while lying in bed - but as I near the end I was regretting not having timed myself, as I was sure this was the fastest I'd ever completed a Tuesday. Simply no resistance anywhere. I was going so fast that I had to do a few rewrites: had NEEDS for SEEKS (53D: Is in the market for) and IMPULSE for the much better IMPETUS (43D: Driving force). When I was done I noted that LIRA sits nicely stretch across both words in the phrase BROCCOLI RABE, and so I fantasized about a bygone currency theme. I got as far as OMAR KHAYYAM and gave up.


  • 17A: Word after "ppd." on a sports page (rain) - best clue in the puzzle. Especially apt given that Opening Day is just around the corner. I was wondering briefly why an abbrev. for "pre-paid" would be on the sports page
  • 18A: Like a 1943 copper penny (rare) - here's info about why.
  • 24A: Common commemorative items (plates) - having seen many ridiculous commercials for horrid plates featuring Obama, this one came easily

  • 29A: Garfield's foil (Odie) - "foil" always makes me laff when used to refer to ODIE. It's like they're characters in a 19th-century novel.
  • 62A: Baja buddy (amigo) - this clue sounds like some horrible product they sell on TV ... you know, something that's supposed to be convenient but is really useless and stupid-looking, like ... a belt that holds your beers or something like that. "Get drunker with ... the Baja Buddy!"
  • 3D: The Dixie Chicks and the Dixie Cups (trios) - "Dixie Chicks" almost always = TRIO, but they do not not not have a "The" in their name. Also "Watchmen" is "Watchmen," not "The Watchmen." I have no idea what the Dixie Cups are. Oh, "Chapel of Love." Cool. Here's something else:


  • 7D: Actress Loughlin of "90210" (Lori) - she was just in the puzzle, in a different ("Full House") guise
  • 10D: Jazzman Chick (Corea) - the non-K Korea
  • 26D: Peace Nobelist Root (Elihu) - there was a day when the name ELIHU looked insane to me. Seen it so many times now it's beginning to look ordinary.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Today's LAT was the better puzzle - See Puzzle Girl's write-up here.


foodie 7:51 AM  

Good day, all!

Medium for me, may be because I never think of it as BROCCOLI RABE but as Rapini. Also, the intersection of TORRE and COREA took a bit of time.

Don't love the theme but at least no groaners. I always enjoy seeing OPIATES, my first love, scientifically speaking.

I think PENCHANT has a stronger meaning in English than in French, where it indicates a tendency or a weakness but not necessarily as compelling as the English implies.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

Some nice pairings: ODIE, OBIE and OBOES; EOE, ECO; ALP, IMP.

Easy is nice on occasion.

mexgirl 7:59 AM  

I couldn't agree more with Rex. It felt a little bit "bleh"....and I normally love early week puzzles!

Megan P 8:01 AM  

The ridiculous but catchy "Running Bear" was insanely popular when I was in high school. It was sort of great to be reminded of RB's love for "Little White Dove" in a Tuesday puzzle 49 years later.

Never did get the theme, but I liked BROCCOLIRABE (a favorite vegetable in our house, too) and the citation of the Dixie Cups in a clue. Thanks for the YouTube link!

Nan 8:01 AM  

Glad to hear what exactly the theme was, I had no idea! Easy puzzle, I only had to google Loughlin, didn't realize it was the same person as Full House, I usually have to google TV shows.

Parshutr 8:02 AM  

Favorite Wm. SAROYAN story: He went into the bathroom one day and shaved off his [famous at the time] handlebar mustache. His son looked at him and said "what did you do to your mustache?" to which Saroyan replied, "I shaved it off." "Well, shave it back on!"
And here's his entire essay entitled
"How to Eat a Peach":
As if you really enjoyed it.

Doug 8:05 AM  

Easiest Times puzzle in years; finished in record time. Never did get the theme. Now I will be singing Running Bear in my brain all day. Words of the day: PENCHANT and IMPETUS.

ileen 8:07 AM  

I had a horrible time due to not knowing how to spell Reba McEntire's name, and misspelling both IMPETUS and TIBER. I got there in the end, but I was over 20 minutes.

Hungry Mother 8:15 AM  

"Fre" had me going for a moment. I usually concentrate on the downs on Monday and Tuesday.

Jeffrey 8:24 AM  

Slow for me as I was spending a long time on BROCCOLI____ until I noticed the theme. D'oh!

Also stalled on ppd as prepaid, as in Prepaid insurance (fellow accountants will understand).

Not much else here.

dk 8:31 AM  

Rex, did you get UTICA said Sam snark-a-lee.

I remember the song of RUNNINGBEAR and Little White Dove... must clear out memory... perhaps I will try Secure Empty trash.

I misspelled SCUFF and had ode to a hen all of which looked good to me except for trying to fill TORRE and FRA. That error slowed me down for a few seconds. The rest went down without a SPASM.

EOE is our new best friend. Must be because of the 10% unemployment rate.

@mexgirl, thanks to you and others bleh is now part of my vocab. I disliked bleh because in the comic Kathy (which I loathe) she uses it all the time.

@Acme, OPIATES trump TRANKs.

The inclusion of barenaked might have added some spice to this stew, but Andrea is a tough act to follow.

Thank you AE.

Kurt 8:37 AM  

I agree with Commander Rex. Very easy puzzle. Nothing particularly exciting. But nothing horrible either.

Is it just me or is EOE (Abbr. in a help wanted ad) starting to appear in about every other Monday & Tuesday puzzle?

joho 8:39 AM  

How do you know the theme is an anagram of BRAE? I mean it definitely is, but I thought it was just that the four theme answers consisted of the same four letters, not necessariy BRAE.

I liked that the clue for "Make out" for 64A didn't have the usual answer of EKE, but instead was NECK.

This was an OK Tuesday, better than some others before.

Sandy 8:49 AM  

@Joho: I think he just made it up. Rex loves the Scots.

Despite Rex's comment, I still don't understand ppd. I don't read the sportspages much.

Sandy 8:50 AM  

Oh, and Foodie, our supermarket has the vegetable labeled with both names.

Parshutr 8:50 AM  

@Sandy...ppd=postponed (because of RAIN).

edith b 9:05 AM  

I was 13 when Running Bear was released and I considered it an earworm even then. Syrupy, sappy. excessively sentimental and, at bottom, meretricious. I like the definition "making a false show of being attractive."

Those were the days.

retired_chemist 9:15 AM  

Meh. I agree. Most puzzle fun was learning it was not REBA MCINTYRE. Next most was wondering if APIA has a lot of apiaries. LIke I said, meh.

PIX 9:18 AM  

I thought the puzzle was average-not unusually easy-for a tuesday.

The theme was very very disappointing.

xyz 9:31 AM  
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HudsonHawk 9:33 AM  

Ulrich leaves the country, and we get RUHR, FRAU and NEIN in a Tueday grid.

Like Rex, I immediately thought of Kenny STABLER, aka the Snake. My favorite QB from the 70's (and one of the few lefties to play the position), he was the coolest in the two-minute drill before anyone had heard of Joe Montana. Legend has it that he would frequently party all night before games.

HudsonHawk 9:36 AM  


Bob Kerfuffle 9:45 AM  

Note to constructors: The next time someone uses this theme, and you know you will, don't forget Max Baer and Max Baer, Jr.

joho 9:53 AM  

@Sandy: thanks for clearing that up! I was thinking I missed some hidden clue or something.

fikink 9:57 AM  

@foodie, I more often think of PENCHANT as describing a strong inclination rather than, as it was clued, a "strong liking,"

@dk, such a coincidence(!) - Cathy, is the only comic I can apply the word, "loathe," to. Prior to your giving voice to it, I thought I was alone in feeling so strongly about it. Thank you, what do I owe you?

I haven't thought about "making out" in terms of NECKing in years! It brought a smile.

PuzzleGirl 10:01 AM  

Not great. Not terrible. The thing I don't like about the theme is the homophones BEAR and BARE. When I got those two, I wondered if I had hosed up the broccoli answer somehow. Very proud of myself that I knew how to spell Reba's last name. And how often can you say that?! Never heard of Kenny Stabler but still would have preferred that clue because existing clue = ugh.

Did I like anything? Oh sure, LAS Cruces always makes me smile (and yearn). And Tatum's Oscar was for "Paper Moon" which is classic. ("I want my two Hundred DOLLARS!") Her character was, of course, Addie Loggins, whose namesake should be commenting here any minute I would think....

chefbea 10:14 AM  

Very easy puzzle and I never got the theme til I came here

Love broccoli rabe. Its good sauted in olive oil with some garlic as a sauce to put on your rigatoni.

Just made some yummy artichoke squares to take to a party this evening.

william e emba 10:15 AM  

I found this medium challenging, since I have never heard of BROCCOLI RABE, let alone tasted it, and I only completed it thanks to the anagram.

I found it an impossible challenge to psyche out what ppd RAI? must be on the sports page. To make things worse, I unfortunately wrote SASSAYS instead of SASHAYS, so I was hopelessly looking to fill in PE-CSANT forever.

I eventually got it, in way too much time, although afterwards I had to use Google to figure out what ppd RAIN actually means.

Rex--I think you were trying to link to an explanation about the extreme rarity of the 1943 copper cent. For those not in the know, that was the year we had steel pennies. I grew up into amateur coin collecting (not that I would buy anything) and while I did once get a 1909VDB and numerous 1943 steel cents in my change, I always had my eye open for the 1943 copper cent. No luck, though.

Anne 10:16 AM  

Too easy and I will say nothing to encourage the sound of Running Bear in my brain.

But I will make my last comment about the book I just finished reading because when I saw Elihu Root I knew that he had been in the book as well ... and I will not mention the book because you will think I am trying to sell it.

Elihu Root said the 1893 World Fair led "our people out of the wilderness of architectural beauty and mobility." Pretty cool, I thought.

Okay, not another word about the world fair. I have begun a new book about coffee.

Anne 10:21 AM  

And of course, I left out a line. I will try again.

The fair led "our people out of the wilderness of the commonplace to new ideas of architectural beauty and nobility."

I must start proofreading before I hit send.

mac 10:39 AM  

Not great but not bad at all. Just a typical Tuesday for me. I liked penchant, Saroyan and neck.
I've got to find that earworm "Running Bear", don't think I know it. Thank you, Edith, for that term!

@dk: LOL over your Ode to a Hen!

I'm coming along in this puzzle business: I put down EOE without a second thought.

mac 10:39 AM  

P.S. Chefbea, please bring me a sample of the artichoke squares!

JannieB 10:49 AM  

A rare sub-5 minute Tuesday for me. Wish it had been accomplished with a more interesting puzzle.

elitza 10:56 AM  

UTERI yesterday, SPERM today...

oh, dear.

Two Ponies 11:01 AM  

After the fun of yesterday's puzzle Tuesday had some big shoes to fill.
Like HudsonHawk the German mini-theme made me think of Ulrich.
I think I'll play the Dixie Cups clip to drive that horrid Indian song out of my head.

retired_chemist 11:03 AM  

Some extracurricular fun in trying to create a plot for each triad of five. Dixie had ERICA a tourist in Rome who SEEKS the TIBER.

@ elitza: The Mid-Atlantic had TATUM carrying ELIHU's love child. Others were more strained....

jimmy d 11:16 AM  

Only had two corrections...I always put in LOS Cruces and Desi ARNEZ first, no matter how many times I come across them...

Luckily, my OMIGO and my FRE set me straight!

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

"Those were the Days"! another song to get stuck in your head. Stop the Insanity!!

John 11:17 AM  

"Those were the Days"! another song to get stuck in your head. Stop the Insanity!!

mac 11:19 AM  

If you go to the LAT Confidential site, you will soon have a new song stuck in your brain.....

Bob Kerfuffle 11:22 AM  

@ Mac - OK, here's Running Bear but be warned, it's even worse than I had remembered!

dk 11:29 AM  

@anne, do not forget the 40 hour work week as well, which would be important if one has a job.

@Bob K with sincere and deep apologies to @evil doug you should be @evil bob k.

Of course we could all sing "It's a Small World After All"

mac 11:37 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: thanks a lot. It does sound familiar. It's bad, but I think it's a toss-up with what's on offer on the other coast......

@DK: did you have to do that to us?

Jeffrey 11:45 AM  

It's a world of ERIE,
A world of ERE.
It's a world of ELI,
And a world of ERR.
There's so much that we share,
That it's time we're aware,
It's a Crossworld after all.

SethG 12:06 PM  

Rex, I think you were gone when Wade and I discussed Running Bear on this here very blog--Wade was a big fan of Sonny James' version growing up. I used to listen to the Preston, but now it just reminds me of Hooked on a Feeling.

My biggest problem was remembering how to spell broccoli.

Hobbyist 12:07 PM  

I was twelve when "Running Bear" came out. I have my very own 45 of this unintentionally hilarious song, even to a twelve year old. Ditto for "Tell Laura I love her" and "Teen Angel." Let's hear it for doomed love.

fikink 12:14 PM  

@SethG - yes. UNGASHAHKA!
Listening to Evil Bob's post of Running Bear led me to Hooked on a Feeling led me to that funny Internet meme of Hasselhoff (sp?:)

Campesite 12:35 PM  

Growing up in Oakland in the 70's, my favorite player of any sport of all time was Kenny Stabler. He was one of the coolest QB's under pressure. Surely he'd be run out of the league if he were playing today--just one or two dozen cameraphone pics in a hot tub would probably do it.

PlantieBea 12:37 PM  

Oh, Evil Bob is an appropriate name after providing a link to that song which I have never heard before, and Earworm--perfect for that tune that will not leave. We have entered the twighlight zone...

Adding an extra BEAR letter clue to tie the puzzle together would have been a plus.

I had more fun solving this puzzle alongside my husband who decided to print his own copy in celebration of his happy birthday. He shouted out FAKE when he got the the penny clue (he's a coin collector), quickly penned in MINIMUM WAGE for bare minimum, had no trouble with NECK which I fully expected to hear a question about, was convinced (except for knowing AHAB cross) that OHM was spelled Olm. But, since it was an easy Tuesday, even for him, he will probably come back for more.

Greene 12:41 PM  

My daughter just wrapped her school production of Bye Bye Birdie so I can't see FEZ without thinking of The Shriner Ballet. Chita Rivera is amazing.

nanpilla 12:59 PM  

@puzzlegirl The homophones bothered me, too. It led me to try to come up with a different sounding fourth spelling:

clue: fossil location(with la)

That was so bad, that I decided the puzzle wasn't so bad after all!

xyz 1:18 PM  
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xyz 1:22 PM  
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Bob Kerfuffle 1:24 PM  

How about a more contemporary cluing for STABLER - "Detective Elliot ______ of Law & Order SVU?

(BTW, I did post the link to Running Bear with an explicit warning that it is bad! I may be evil in real life, but my on-line persona is sweet and loving.)

PIX 2:42 PM  

@ Bob Kerfuffle: but you didnt tell us Running Bear was that bad!! isnt there some rule about if its not acceptable at the breakfast table, it shouldnt be allowed...

jae 2:58 PM  

I pretty much agree with the consensus. A new season of "Rescue Me" starts next week and, assuming Tatum O'Neal is still on the show, its worth watching for her character alone.

@Andrea -- Very nice puzzle yesterday!

Doug 3:49 PM  

RABE is a new word for me, although after googling I found that it's what I ate regularly for 8 years in Hong Kong: 菜心. Oh well, I could have asked for "choi sum" or "broccoli rabe" and I know which one would have produced the right result!

I feel like some RABE on top of Obama's face smiling up at me from his plate. I guess a lot of people buy these things or they wouldn't be advertised so much.

edith b 5:39 PM  


I though I was the only one who hated the comic strip "Cathy" with a passion until I found this website.

I was so adament on the subject that I think my granddaughter sees the strip as a guily pleasure!

addie loggins 5:54 PM  

addie here, basking in yet another NYT shout-out. Apparently, I picked my screen name and city (Reno) well -- if only I had chosen the oboe in high school rather than the saxaphone, ...

This was my fastest Tuesday ever, and thus I broke records two days in a row, so I'm feelin' pretty good.

The main character in Law & Order: SVU (played by Christopher Meloni) is Det. Eliot Stabler, which also would have been better than the chosen clue. Meh. And also bleh.

All in all, though, a solid puzzle. The theme was so-so, but it had good solid fill with a minimum of crosswordese.

@PuzzleGirl: Orange pointed out that Reba's last name ends with the word "entire" -- I don't think I'll forget that next time.

@edith b, fikink, and db: if y'all decide to form a "we loathe Cathy" club, I'm in.

joho 6:18 PM  

I think if RUNNINGBEAR had been running bare it would have been a more interesting song.

Orange 8:55 PM  

Is it going too far to say that every decent, intelligent being loathes "Cathy"?

mac 9:34 PM  

My goodness, I'm so glad I never saw this Cathy, and I can't even find her on Google!

dk 10:24 PM  

@orange it is accurate and true that every decent intelligent being (and evil bob) loathes Cathy. I just want to shoot an arrow through that little heart on her clothes,

@mac, stop now do not look further or in other words "warning Will Robinson, danger, danger!"

+wordphan 1:45 AM  

Torre and Stabler all huddled in the NE corner; easy Tuesday. Still don't get the "ppd.", didn't have time to read ALL comments yet. Rex 'splained the connection, but what exactly does 'ppd.' mean? Possible precipitation delay?
; )

+wordphan 1:57 AM  

@Sandy: Ask Rex! He's a guy, he knows what ppd
is. Come on, you got connections! @Chefbea, recipe?
I love artichoke-anything.

liquid el lay 2:13 AM  

I like the puzzle for
AHAB and SPERM whale, ELIHU, and OCEAN.

Also the multiple Ms and N of MINIMUM..




I think of PENCHANT as a peculiar inclination. Something unusual and irrefutable but with out a great deal of compulsion.

chefbea 6:57 AM  

@peninhandinga e-mail me and I'll send you the recipe

xyz 12:14 PM  
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Anonymous 10:02 PM  

I'm new here, but how did you all know that the theme was "brae"? I thought the anagram might be based on "bear", as in the current bear (financial) markets...?

Bob Kerfuffle 8:07 AM  

@Anonymous 10:02 PM - "We all" might not have noticed that the theme answers were anagrams of "Brae". It was Rex who made that observation from the start, which is why he is King of Crossworld and we poor schlubs just make our lame comments.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

What is the abbr. EOE stand for? (38A)

PuzzleGirl 10:33 AM  

EOE = Equal Opportunity Employer

You might see it in want ads.

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