Samoan staple - WEDNESDAY, Mar. 18, 2009 - R. Doll (Sitcom with the catchphrase "Kiss My Grits" / Bates's business, in film / Everglades denizen)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: GOUT! - initial "G" is removed from six familiar two-word phrase, creating wacky phrases, which are clued, "?"-style

Word of the Day: ARETE - An arête is a thin, almost knife-like, ridge of rock which is typically formed when two glaciers erode parallel U-shaped valleys. (wikipedia)

Did this in a shade over five minutes, which I think is pretty average, but when I reviewed the puzzle just now, it seemed decidedly untough, so "Easy-Medium" it is. On early-week puzzles, there is rarely any difficulty to speak of. There are simply patches that make speed-solving tough, either because the cluing is a bit tricky, or because my brain just gives out in places and I end up jumping around the grid and solving in an inefficient manner. I probably lost a good chunk of time at the end because as I was closing in on the SW corner, the wheels just came off. I will almost never look at a clue I have no letters for yet (except at the very beginning, obviously), but I drew a big blank when I got south of IPANA (46A: Bucky Beaver's toothpaste) and west of ORCS (56D: Tolkien beasts). Figured I'd nail the 3-letter word starting with "P" at 47D: Inflate, in a way (pad), but it wouldn't come. Nor would the reasonably common 49A: Soprano Gluck (Alma). Remembered she ended in "A," but that was all I remembered. So I had to leap down into those three-letter Acrosses at the bottom and hope that they would reveal themselves reasonably quickly. And they did. Started with 65A: Time of anticipation (eve) and worked back up from there. In retrospect, I'm surprised I didn't nail MEADOW off the final "OW" (55A: Place for a lark). I kept thinking "SPARROW?" (a. doesn't fit, b. makes no sense). And I was parsing the theme answer, RAVEN IMAGES, incorrectly. Instead of RAVEN, I thought the first word was RAVE. The above confusion resolved itself pretty quickly in real time, but when you're solving in five minutes, 10-20 seconds feels like an eternity.

The theme was cute. Simple and effective. Picked it up after getting the better part of REEK WEEK and then fleshing out the slightly holey RIDDLE CAKES. Theme helped me out at ROWING PAINS and RUNT WORK, and yet I stalled out badly at RAIN ALCOHOL and RAVEN IMAGES. Not sure why.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Mystery desserts? (riddle cakes)
  • 8D: Period of seven days without bathing? (reek week)
  • 10D: What the sky might do in an inebriate's dream? (rain alcohol) - that is a good dream. "Inebriate" is also a good word. So many vowels. Too bad it's so long, or maybe we'd see it in the grid more. It's probably jealous of SOT and TOSSPOT and LIT and other drunk-related terminology that populates the grid with some frequency.
  • 24D: Illustrations for a Poe poem? (raven images)

  • 40D: Employment in Munchkinland? (runt work)
  • 60A: Sculler's affliction? (rowing pains)

Missteps: Had ADOPT for COOPT (70A: Take as one's own) and GRASP for GLEAN (31D: Pick up bit by bit). Completely blanked on the definition of "high-hat," and so had SNORTS where SNOOTS was supposed to go (48A: High-hats). SNORTS would have been a sweet crossing for ALCOHOL ... except for the part where it would have turned ALCOHOL into ALCOHRL (what you do after drinking too much alcohol? PS Happy Day after St. Patrick's Day).


  • 1A: Parroting sorts (apers) - you know you do too many puzzles when the "parrot" to "ape" leap is completely instinctive.
  • 15A: Basis for some discrimination (age) - This made me laff out loud. See yesterday's comments section.
  • 27A: Musical with the song "Mr. Mistoffelees" ("Cats") - just looking at that title hurts my ears
  • 33A: Bates's business, in film (motel) - as in "Psycho"

  • 41: _____-Ida (Tater Tots maker) (Ore) - I forget that OREIDA is a dash-containing word. This is a nice cluing spin for the ultra common ORE.
  • 43A: Miming dances (hulas) - had a slow-down in this part of the puzzle too. While parrots lead me straight to apes, mimes do not yet lead to hula dancers in my mind. For more South Pacific goodness, see POI (2D: Samoan staple). Slow-down at HULAS was compounded a bit by my staring at the MO- at 33D: Place for a crown (molar) for a bit too long. TIARAS and MITRES danced through my head.
  • 59A: Diamond corner (bag) - wanted BASE
  • 3D: Byrnes of TV's "77 Sunset Strip" (Edd) - another example of crossword brain disorder - this was a gimme. And yet I cannot visualize either the actor or the show.
  • 7D: Calligrapher's buy (ink) - Chinese calligraphy is beautiful, but when applied to the English language, calligraphy rubs my aesthetic nerve the wrong way. Seems arty and crafty in the most pretentious and faux-olde-fashionede kinde of waye.
  • 11D: Everglades denizen (egret) - looking for GATOR.
  • 22D: "Impression, Sunrise" painter (Monet) - "Impression" pretty much gives it away.

  • 52D: Sitcom with the catchphrase "Kiss my grits!" ("Alice") - "catchphrase" has six consecutive consonants. Wow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 8:29 AM  

wow I'm first! golfballman

foodie 8:34 AM  

I had exactly the same rough spots, but took twice as long as Rex.

Liked the intersection of IPANA and MOLAR.

Liked the literary references that all happen to be animal related, CATS, Lark/MEADOW, RAVEN

Least favorite theme answer (not wacky enough): ROWING PAINS, favorite one: RAIN ALCOHOL

On to work...

janie 9:05 AM  

>15A: Basis for some discrimination (age) - This made me laff out loud.

oh, ditto! how does this post-topic/xword entry synchronicity happen? so often? love it.

only really noticed in your post that the word "soprano" is used in the clue to describe ms. gluck -- and also appears as the fill at 45d. editorial oversight or new trend?

really enjoyed this puzzle -- and the concept especially of RIDDLECAKES. breakfast choice for puzzlers, perhaps?


PlantieBea 9:11 AM  

I finished this in the SE corner since I also wrote in ADOPT for COOPT at first. I guess I'll never be a speed solver since I tend to jump all over the puzzle filling in blanks.

I thought the theme was cute--my favorite themed entry was RAIN ALCOHOL. Liked HULAS, MEADOW, SNOOTS, COOPT.

Where does the phrase "Take a Powder" come from? I thought it meant "chill" as in, take a powder to relax.

Sandy 9:14 AM  

Last letter for me was the crossing of ARETE and SNOOTS. Didn't know the first (Rex tells me it is crosswordese, so I'll remember it from now on), and SNOOTS?? That's just an ugly word I can't imagine anyone actually using. Snooty, yes. Snobs, yes, but snoots no. I'm sure one of you out there uses it everyday, and that is the beauty of crosswords.

joho 9:16 AM  

I was surprised to see ARETE as the word of the day as it's crosswordese that's as old as the hills. My word is CRACK because I don't often see it used in this context.

I my first thought for High-hats was snares as in drums ... love SNOOTS. Loved the puzzle ... seems just right for a Wednesday.

Is Robert A. Doll a new constructor? His name reminds me of a time I heard Michael J. Fox tell how he changed his real middle "A" to J. for the obvious reasons.

Xavier 9:17 AM  

I had SNORT in the grid too, but it was for 50D: Take a powder. It felt a bit...explicit, which is obviously why it turned out to be wrong.

IPANA is vaguely familiar to me as something I am suppose to know for crosswords, but it never came to me. I had a I-ANA and -AD when I finally guessed G. I don't know why. I even went through the alphabet and PAD didn't stand out.

I liked the theme. Lively answers, especially RIDDLECAKES and RAINALCOHOL.


toothdoc 9:28 AM  

Good "dental fill" today (pardon the pun. Molars, Ipana Toothpaste and teeth have Rete ridges. Only complaint is I couldn't fit Reynaldo as an answer to Orange.

George NYC 9:30 AM  

I liked this one. Took a while to get the theme. And I got whacked around in the Lower Left. Didn’t know Soprano ALMA Gluck; figured Diamond Corner was a baseball ref, but took me forever to see BAG. Wanted Time of Anticipation to be Ere. Take a Powder had me thinking of prize fights, not simply LEAVE, which of course is A-OK. First Rate = CRACK was tough but brilliant. The PC Police will no doubt come down big time on RUNT WORK. Maybe something about “smallest of the litter” would have been better.

Glitch 9:39 AM  


Women used the phrase when in public to indicate their desire to 'powder their noses', or go to the ladies' room to freshen their make-up or use the facilities. 'Take a powder' was uttered in many 1920's era films to women accompanying successful men to restaurants and clubs. The most common usage was in the when the tough-guy didn't want any women around to hear the ensuing conversation. []

I had a Bucky Beaver plush toy as a kid, also was forced to use Ipana toothpaste.


Deborah 9:44 AM  

Haven't read Tolkien, never saw the movies, and refuse to do either just to satisfy Will's evil penchant to include all things Rings. Down with Middle Earth!

PlantieBea 9:50 AM  

@Glitch: Thanks for the powder explanation. I'm with my mother right now who knew what "take a powder" meant, but didn't know why. We were speculating about gun powder and sleeping powder but had not considered the more innocent nose powder :-)

janie 9:58 AM  

and... using "the powder room" is a long-time euphemism for going to use "the bathroom"...


Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Nice mid week puzzle. Once I had runt work, the rest fell into place. Like Rex, I had adopt instead of coopt.

Dona Schaitkin 10:03 AM  

Loved the puzzle except I cringed a bit about "runt work" Probably a bit offensive to little people. I am so old that Ipana came to me instantly.

mac 10:07 AM  

I liked this one a lot, and also had to laugh when "age" showed up!
I got the theme almost immediately with riddlecakes, but there were a few tricky spots where I had to turn to another are. Still got the whole thing, no mistakes and in good time. I had a lot of fun with it, thanks Mr. A. Doll.

I've had a couple of good CWP lately.
Karen advised me to do downs first when doing a puzzle online, and with the early week ones. It's really improved my time.

This morning I did go through the alphabet and "pad" resulted.

Rex just mentioned to only look at clues for which you already have letters. I bet that will make a difference as well.

@Sandy: what is CrossCan doing in your parlor?

edith b 10:13 AM  

Bucky Beaver and Ipana Toothpaste takes me back when I was a little girl watching television. Not so much the commercial itself but the innocence of the times. Speaking of yesterday's discussion of age.

If this one skewed anything it skewed Monday. Nice tight little puzzle with a minimum of crosswordese which is how I judge early week puzzles these days.

Ulrich 10:20 AM  

I always like a theme that helps you solving the rest of the puzzle after you found it. Doesn't happen often in early week puzzles b/c you don't need extra help, but today, the theme came in handy to help with the lower half (I got it off of riddle cakes) and made for generally smooth sailing. My only hiccup came when the initial MO for the place of a bridge made me write in MOUTH, which took some time to get rid of.

ArtLvr 10:32 AM  

Thanks for the MONET, Rex!

I think "take a powder" means Scram! i..e. LEAVE in a hurry, which isn't quite the same as visiting the powder room voluntarily -- but I see the connection in gang-speak.

My favorite was REEK WEEK, which gave me the theme and reminded me of last week's gimmick "Cleanliness next to Godliness"... RIDDLE CAKES might have been a mystery dessert on its own, since I enjoy making up gooey concoctions on my own at times!


HudsonHawk 10:32 AM  

@janie, I got to the clue for 49A "Soprano Gluck" and said to myself, "hey, I just put SOPRANO in the grid". It has be an editorial oversight rather than a trend.

Fun puzzle. REEK WEEK and RAIN ALCOHOL were my faves, and I didn't even pledge a fraternity.

Two Ponies 10:39 AM  

I don't remember much about 77 Sunset Strip but I can hear part of the theme music along with the snapping fingers sound and Edd Byrnes combing his ducktail. Was his character named Cookie?
Loved the theme today. Reek Week made me grin.
Lots of singing with Alma, altos, and soprano.
Powder rooms were originally places to powder your wigs.
@ Deborah, I think you are missing out by avoiding Middle Earth.

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Hmmm. Everyone sounds so upbeat today. I am not in sync as I thought this was rather blah. It was straight forward and the things I didn't know came with fill. I did not like reek week - it or the clue - or snoots. And I didn't get the theme until I was nearly finished.

But I did love the Monet. Thanks.

Jeffrey 11:00 AM  

Ood puzzle. Ot no problems with it. Except I thought of ULMA Gluck (Luck?), Alma's twin sister. It could be true. Somebody should oogle it and check.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

Beautiful sunset...
Thanks, Rex!

Now, can someone explain how REP means good name?

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Arete: "An arête is a thin, almost knife-like, ridge of rock which is typically formed when two glaciers erode parallel U-shaped valleys". In addition to crossword puzzles this word shows up a lot in 8th grade Earth Science courses, at least in NY State. But in addition, "... in ancient Greek culture [arete] was courage and strength in the face of adversity and it was what all people aspired to". Not just a puzzle word.

Maybe it was yesterday's Guiness but I found this difficult (but fun) for a Wed.

Unknown 11:14 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle and although new to the NYT, I see Mr. Doll has published puzzles in other publications. The Monet painting is housed in the Musée Marmottan in Paris (the works were donated by the Monet family and included paintings friends had given Claude) and is one of my favorite small mueseums. When I first visited in the late 1980's their was a print showing what the painting looked like since it had been stolen. Five years later it was recovered. The title gives the Impressionist movement its name and it depicts sunrise near La Harve, a port city in France.

My three missteps were legit, adopt and Eyd (confused with ice cream, I guess).

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

@Mexgirl: I took Rep to be short for reputation....As in: I've got to do well in the puzzle contest, i have a rep to maintain."

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

There is some useful advice here from Rex and commenters about tactics for solving a puzzle quickly - such as doing downs first, or only doing words where you already have a letter. Is there a post somewhere that puts those suggested tactics in one place? If not, would it be useful to have such a post?

slypett 11:44 AM  

I had a hard time with entire lower third.

GRAINALCOHOL was my favorite.

I thought RIDDLECAKES are breakfast food, not a dessert. Did this bother anyone else?

SNOOTS just strikes me as bad.

Orange 11:45 AM  

@Anonymous 11:18, there are some speed tips compiled here.

I've blogged about 20 Robert Doll crosswords, mostly in the L.A. Times, I think.

@toothdoc: Thanks for the shout-out amid your dental stylings. Did you know I used to be a dental editor? I worked on three Mosby publications and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry's journal. (Today's L.A. Times puzzle also has [Tooth tissue], 7 letters.)

jeff in chicago 11:55 AM  

Fun puzzle. I got RIDDLECAKES right away but didn't see the theme because I thought there might be an actual thing called a RIDDLECAKE! In my jump-around-the-puzzle manner of solving, I got ROWINGPAINS next and all was clear.

My older brother was into the Hobbit/LOTR books. I tried reading "The Hobbit," but it just didn't interest me. I saw "LOTR II" in the theatre and fell asleep about 20 minutes in. Nothing wrong with them; just not my cup o' tea.

On the other hand, a friend just recently turned me on to Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series. I just read "Guards! Guards!" and really liked it. It's like The Hobbit meets Monty Python. Funny stuff.

retired_chemist 12:02 PM  

Nice puzzle. Smaller than usual number of misfills - PEN for INK @ 7D is all I remember. Liked the theme for the same reason Ulrich pointed out - it really helped to know it, once you got it.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

@Rex: Too bad GOUT didn't appear in the puzzle, would have made it a little stronger. Nice enough puzzle though. Took me 10 min. in AcrossLite; maybe would have been a little faster on paper. I'm not a speed solver, as my finish in the ACPT so clearly demonstrated.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

This puzzle was fine, no complaints at all. It's just that every once in a while I'll be doing a puzzle and it will suddenly occur to me that I've wasted my life. It happened today when I was about three quarters of the way through the puzzle, on the EPIC answer, I think. Does that ever happen to anybody else? Anybody else ever thrust into the depths of despair while doing a crossword puzzle? No. Just me, I guess.

I had a wrong letter--UMBER/ULMA instead of AMBER/ALMA. Wasn't there a crayon in the 64-pack called "burnt umber"?

allan 12:17 PM  

I'm am recovering from a case of gout as I type, and believe me, it's no fun.

I thought this puzzle was though. I loved rain alcohol and runt work. Raven images was my first theme answer. I guess Rex was having an off day parsing a Poe clue as rave ___.

The Simpson's clip didn't cut it today. I think it lacks a lot out of context.

For you youngsters out there, I give you the buckster

@ two ponies: Maybe this will help with the 77 Sunset Strip memories.

And watch out for all the egrets lurking in the Everglades. I'm ASHEN just thinking about them.

miriam b 12:17 PM  

Oooold radio commercial; "Ipana for the smile of beauty, Sal Hepatica for the smile of health." Oddly, I can still summon up the flavor of Ipana, but fortunately was never exposed to Sal Hepatica, which I gather was a laxative.

miriam b 12:20 PM  

Did anyone else notice that the consonant following the dropped G was R in each case? Pretty neat.

allan 12:22 PM  

BTW, I was really surprised that there has been so few complaints about soprano being both a clue and an answer.

@ miriam b: Sal Hepatica was my stage name back in '65.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

@jeff in chicago...yea for Terry Pratchett! The second best-selling novelist in the UK (behind J.K. Rowling), he doesn't get enough love in the US. I really enjoyed his Going Postal from a few years ago.

I wish I were better at wordplay, the theme didn't come clear to me until about five entries in.

chefbea 12:23 PM  

Was a fun puzzle especially riddlecakes.

Just bought tater-tots for this weekend - grand daughters coming for a sleep over. They like hot dogs and tater tots at Grammy's house. Perhaps we'll have griddle cakes for breakfast.

Why is an art film an indie??

Sandy 12:29 PM  

Pointless to complain about the "soprano" repeat. It's clearly a mistake that got by the test-solvers. It happens. The end.


Rex Parker 12:33 PM  

Sorry, I was signed in as my wife there. She warned me that would happen ...

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

@Nutcracker - You need puzzles?

xyz 12:45 PM  

NO complaints, I was just dense. I really liked this puzzle - once I finished it. I struggled so much it was like pulling MOLARs. Clues just wouldn't fall, but I got the theme right away though. :-)
As for the theme: (not gout, I'm an Ortho guy and nothing reminded me of gout, which I can diagnose across a crowded room ...)

Having lived in Colorado there were a lot of "elide sports" (huntin', campin', fishin, spelunkin' ... - I did none of them)
so dropping a G (after the in..) is to elide so I thought since this was a starting G that this must be called edile

oh never mind :-((((

@mexgirl: REP is REPUTATION or good name! Took me a sec but it came to me solving, but Bates Motel was a real struggle.
chacun a son ...

Two Ponies 12:47 PM  

@ allan, Thanks. I see it was Kookie not Cookie.
@ chefbea, I think Indie here means Independent film maker.

miriam b 12:48 PM  

@allan/Sal: I needed a good belly-laugh today. Keep 'em coming.

Three & out

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

And Janie @9:58--let's also note that "using the bathroom" is itself a euphemism for what you're really doing in there (not to be indelicate). I'm just sayin.'

mac 1:05 PM  

@Two Ponies: that explanation makes a lot of sense to me. I have always thought "taking a powder" meant something much more drastic, like poison.

janie 1:12 PM  

ruth -- lol. and just because this is another variation of the synchronicity thang, take a look at nancy salomon's puzzle in crossynergy today. 44d: took a powder.


toothdoc 1:24 PM  

Orange - just knowing you read my post makes my day. You and Rex are my crossword heroes. btw, I forgot the other connection to today's puzzle, being a KC guy it was nice to get some directional love.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:28 PM  

Reasonably fun puzzle today, but I do have one irrational complaint. APER and APERS are among my least-liked crosswordese. I can see that they are nice collections of common letters, and often appear at the end of a puzzle to tie up loose ends. But having APERS as 1 A was so distasteful that I was looking for ECHOS or MIMES (I know, doesn't make sense) or anything else to avoid that dreadful word. (And why is the far NW less of an "end" than the far SE? It isn't, but I did say my complaint was irrational.)

xyz 1:29 PM  

Take a powder can mean relax, chill, etc. not necessarily leaving. (where is when you erally, really need it)

1930's or so, Aspirin (and other headache remedies of the day) was/were in powder form, not a pill. Take a (laxative) powder and that might really "MOVE" you.

So .... a modern equivalent is "Take a pill" literally.

jae 1:48 PM  

I'm with Bob Kerfuffle on APERS and Anne on her opinion of the puzzle. Seemed more like a Tues. to me and a tad bland compared to last week's PEDXING e.g.

@Rex -- I think the reason it's hard for you to come up with an image for 77 Sunset Strip is that it went off the air at least 4 or 5 years before you were born and I don't remember seeing it in reruns on any cable channels (of course I could be wrong).

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Really enjoyed the puzzle, but couldn't stop thinking after I was done:
Death on the Basketball Court: RIM REAPER
Fly Reel details: ROSS ANATOMY
Overdone Jamaican Ethanol: IN RUMMY
Long ago song: OLD STANDARD

Can't stop.

Orange 2:17 PM  

@toothdoc: I think Rex and I need to get t-shirts that say CROSSWORD HERO on them, and make some for a few notable constructors too. Although people might misinterpret and think it referred to AENEAS, AJAX, ARI, or EL CID...

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

I needed to look up a couple today (Alma & Ipana) and it took me about 30 minutes to solve. Not impressive I know, but I hope to improve by reading this blog for clues and inspiration by the crossword elite.
Shout out to Dan Feyer, my online neighbor (we seem to post at the same disparate sites)!

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

Can't stop:

Rotund porker: ROUND HOG
Sexually abused flower: RAPE HYACINTH
Permits laughter: ALLOWS HUMOR
Swallowed the Guard: ATE KEEPER
Nauseated Opening: ILL SLIT
Fallen-down Barrier: OLDEN GATE
Beer Grain Cover: OAT SKIN

And, finally, I can't define it: LASS BLOWER

slypett 2:26 PM  

Where's the quibble? One mention was in a clue the other in an answer.

Parshutr 2:28 PM  

Sorry, can't concur with the ladies' room explanation of the derivation of take a powder. Probably comes from the use of laxative powders...they make you move quickly.
And yes, this was another geezer's [self-attribution] delight.

Parshutr 2:30 PM  

Dead horse flog here...

chefwen 2:32 PM  

Brusha, brusha, brusha, with Ipana toothpaste it's goo ood for your tee eeth. That aught to date me.
Really liked this puzzle, my only problems were ents for ORCS (get your beasts straight) and adopt for COOPT.

As a throw back to yesterday, got an email from a friend with a utube video by Dawn Wells, aka Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. She is demonstrating on how to peel an Oregon potato, while she is waiting for the potato to get done she picks up her copy of Gilligan's Island Cookbook. You might want to check it out Chefbea. Anyway the vidio was very interesting and I wish someone would have shown me that method 30 years ago.

evil doug 2:36 PM  

Private eyes in starched white shirts and thin ties, Thunderbird convertibles, beautiful women clients, glam cocktail lounges smoking cigarettes and sipping whisky, warm nights at the SoCal beaches, movie stars....

I thought 77 Sunset Strip was the coolest thing going. I remember going to a museum of TV in Manhattan, and you could pull up old shows like this on their computers. I just went to YouTube and you can find clips of Kookie and the others there. Here's one to cut and paste:


chefbea 2:46 PM  

@victor in Rochester

Scottish lady bugler/ Lass blower

chefbea 2:52 PM  

@chefwen can you e-mail me the site for the cookbook. Can't seem to find it on utube

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

One more:

Stinky Atoll: REEK ISLAND

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

@Dona -- I agree about "runt work" -- not nice.

Agree that today was pretty easy, I had (for me!) a really good time.

Rex: sorry you don't like "Cats" or English language calligraphy. "Cats" is a matter of taste (everyone likes the music they like), but I'm going to push back on the calligraphy. There's plenty of beautiful English calligraphy in the world not related in any way to the "ye olde tea shoppe" or anything like it. Beauty is always worth the effort.

(Besides, where do you think the inspiration for pretty computer fonts originates?)

Doug 4:07 PM  

APERS is my all time, most disliked answer, but I threw it in there like the SNOOT I am.

Excellent theme and it got me out of some rough spots, like half of the puzzle...

I'm with the "pro-calligraphy" group, but I fear another 100 comments on the same quality level as "What's wrong with beets?" and "Who are you to call me (very) old?" So I'll leave my provocative comments unwritten!

Glitch 5:26 PM  


ahh, umm, you said you can't buy the Lady's Room explanation , yet the first paragraph in the link you cited sez:

“Take a powder!” used to be a more popular saying. It was a gruff demand that the targeted person leave...

Matches what I posted up top.

Not that I mind a bit of controversy, but one should not (generally) cite the source that proves him wrong :-)


foodie 5:47 PM  

@Victor in Rochester... lol. We have drugs for what ails you.

I see that Crosscan has a milder version of the disease.

Jeffrey 6:30 PM  

My diseases usually last 24 hours.

Sandy 6:33 PM  

@mac much earlier in the day
Well, I finally got a blogger profile, and needed a picture. What better image than a prize-winning citizen of the British Commonwealth. I just hope he doesn't sue me.

@ Nutcracker Buck
Sometimes (usually around 3pm on a Sunday) I realize I've spend far too much time on the puzzle and not enough with child/dogs/garden/laundry/novel. Not quite the existential angst you describe, perhaps.

Jeffrey 6:49 PM  

I'll get over it.

Orange 6:54 PM  

Crosscan, you look pretty today. New glasses?

Sandy 6:57 PM  


Rex Parker 7:05 PM  

Nobody wants to know why a plum cake is like the ocean?

Stan 7:05 PM  

Liked "Bates Motel" by the Hitmen -- new to me. Wife and I have been listening to Rhino's "New Wave Hits of the '80s" in the car. Great driving music, and the Hitmen would fit right in.

MEADOW could have been clued "______ Soprano"

Stan 7:07 PM  

@Rex -- Why is a plum cake like the ocean???

Rex Parker 7:12 PM  

To get to the other side.

SethG 7:20 PM  

No, because of all the sand witches there.

My gmail avatar is a passionfruit, and I've used Ipana toothpaste.

Anonymous 7:30 PM  

You're both right. And I am one hundred years old and know these things.

mac 7:34 PM  

@SethG: you clean up really well!

@Sandy: keep the kiwi for an avatar, it's great.

@rex: you have to go, and go, and go. Actually love Italian plum tarts, not too sweet.

edith b 7:38 PM  


I don't think any one has addressed your question about why an art film is an indie. In the movie business an indie is a film made independant of a major studio and therefore tends to be a small production. Since art films are produced for limited audiences they tend to be small.

chefbea 7:48 PM  

@edith b thank you but someone did answer earlier

@rex I googled the question about the plum cake and couldnt find the answer. And I still don't understand. But I can sure make a good plum cake!!!

Orange 8:10 PM  

Dried plums are prunes, which spur the movement of the intestinal oceans.

allan 8:23 PM  

@ sethg: The new avatar doesn't compare with the one of a few weeks ago.

@ mac: I don't think he cleans up so nicely. He kinda look like an evil son to me.

allan 8:28 PM  

@ janie (if you are still around today): Judging from your post last night, you may find this of interest. Let me know.

Anonymous 8:39 PM  

Click on image two for answer.

fergus 8:53 PM  

AMBER stumped for a bit. If the Clue were Honey hue, rather than Honey-hued, I would have got it right away.

This puzzle was marred by two crappy answers from the 1 square. Very off-putting way to start what turned out to be an entertaining solve.

MEADOW should have been Clued as a Soprano. (She's Tony's daughter, just in case you didn't know.)

Jeffrey 9:15 PM  

And you can never have enough Soprano clues. Especially Bart and Lisa Soprano.

@orange - Same old specs. Why?

dk 9:43 PM  

This one seemed like a Monday to me. SOLI was my only stumper, but even I can spell TIMOR.

Recipe for Whoppie Pies in todays NYT. A Maine treat made by my sainted mother and grandmother. I think I will whip up a batch for the stepsons. I made them Black and Whites and they now want to go to NYC. Perhaps whoppie pies will get them to Maine.

I had a set of towels from the Bates Motel but I lost them in a divorce.

Great posts (outside of Rex's joke) today, thank you all. Speaking of jokes:

Do you know why Barbie never gets pregnant?

email me for the answer... if you dare

janie 9:59 PM  

allan -- here i be -- and many thx for that link. when i was in grad school at the u. of minnesota, i lived on university avenue -- which runs parallel to and one block away from (positively) 4th street.



foodie 10:26 PM  

@sandy, now we're talking! a slice of orange, a strawberry and a kiwi! A fruity bunch to go with the ocean-going plum cake.

fergus 11:10 PM  

I had always thought that "Impression: Sunrise" was painted over the Thames, from Monet's time in England. He was one of the top ten I had to name in some St. Patrick's Day drunken challenge. The others:

Van Ruisdael
Courbet (curiously)
Hobbema (love those Dutch guys)
Giorgione (on a whim)

Love the Irish flair for a good aesthetic argument. Without the Jameson, I may have made different choices, but I liked being forced into a snap judgment.

mac 11:19 PM  

@fergus: and how do you pronounce this "Jameson"? (we have many Irish drinking buddies.....).

allan 11:30 PM  

@mac: I'm not Irish, but if your talking about what I think your talking about, it's jay mi son. I have a lot of Irish drinking buddies myself, and we drink a lot of it.

@janie: Glad you enjoyed. A good friend of mine writes it. But back east we take credit for 4th Street (in Greenwich Village). From what I've read, it's an ongoing debate.

mac 11:35 PM  

@Allan: sorry, but the reason why I brought this up was that in Ireland, or at least in Dublin, everybody pronounces it as "Jemson". I'm not sure if I ever tasted it myself, but I remember lots of stops at pubs on the way to the rugby game.....

fergus 11:36 PM  

The Simpsons' echo/parody/homage/whatever of the Sopranos was pretty disappointing. An almost unimaginable thought would be to have these the other way around.

On the other hand, I completely loved Homer contemplating the bust of Pallas by the chamber door. The sad unfurling of the silken purple curtain still leads me to poetic disarray.

fergus 11:44 PM  

... and for the pronunciation, I would go for JAM (long a, as in play) eh sun, with the second and third syllables virtually equally subordinate to the first. I would hope that the 'eh' is understood as a brief schwaish pause, rather than the emphatic Canadian question.

mac 11:47 PM  

@fergus: sorry to disagree, but unless an Irishman corrects me, I believe it is "Jemson". Goodnight, it's late....

Unknown 11:49 PM  

Your award for reading this late is the answer to Rex's quiz found in the write-up for today's puzzle. Why is a plum cake like the ocean? They are both full of currants/currents>

fergus 12:01 AM  

I've heard Jemson in full slur, which is perhaps the most fitting way to say it. When the cap is still unscrewed, I stand by my earlier elocution.

liquid el lay 12:05 AM  

Nutcracker Buck- I hear you, man! It happened to me at NAVEL.

A lack of pretty words contribute to the INNER x SNARL.

Lots of unpleasant associations. Bad words, man!

liquid el lay 12:17 AM  

Tell me the images:


No wonder Nutcracker feels the strain. I'm glad he spoke out.

(Has APER ever been clewed as Roddy McDowell?)

fergus 12:21 AM  

... the sort of clever comment that made this blog good in the first place.

Anonymous 1:07 AM  

Nevermind plumcake, Rex pointing out that catchphrase has 6 consecutive consonants is the kind of observation I live for!

I am not a fan of dropped letters, "wacky" puns...
and RUNTWORK was rude no matter how you clue it.
But the fact they were all dropped G's followed by R's as Miriam pointed out (note to Victor in Rochester!) was its saving grace.
(Saving Race?)

fergus 1:52 AM  

The dropping of a G at the start, I'm thinkin', was a fine thematic twist. A little slow, but I didn't previously grasp the inversion.

+wordphan 2:01 AM  

Hey! I'm probably the last! Happy Thor's Day!
I stumbled on "sausage"; I had "link" but the k wouldn't fit: elite? upper?
I danced around the SW corner until "crack"cracked.
Also did not like the "runt work, but someone's gotta do it (puzzle it, I mean). This was fun, even with the flu!

allan 2:09 AM  

@fergus: Your pronunciation (as well as your taste) is impeccable.

+wordphan 2:22 AM  

@Chefbea: back in the day small European and American films were shown in small venues called "art houses". These film were not distributed nationally and a few were x-rated, Italian and Swedish, for example. Today they would hardly rate PG13. They were often low budget and black and white. I saw my first sub-titled film at the Fine Arts Theatre in Macon, Ga; the film was about a gym teacher at a girls' school. Might have been Sweden, I forget.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

the lunatics are taking over the asylum.

Rex Parker 8:34 AM  

Todd - you are right. Some very nice people tend to show up here, mainly after hours, and treat the comments section like a private chatroom. I wish they wouldn't, but since it's all going on outside of primetime, I tend to leave it alone. Sorry.


patsoder 3:00 PM  

Co opt threw me for a loop because I was sure it was adopt.....arrrgh

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

Syndicated solver am I. Soprano in the clue made it harder for me to solve the puzzle; it penalized experienced players. The fewer rules, the harder the puzzle. I think that what once was a rule is now a guideline.

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