MONDAY, Jul. 13 2009 — Comfily ready to sleep / What a serf led / Hillbilly's belt / Hotelier Helmsley / Tidbit for aardvark

Monday, July 13, 2009

Constructor: C.W. Stewart

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: ALL TUCKED IN (59A: Comfily ready to sleep ... or a hint to 17-, 24-, 37- and 47-Across) — letter string "ALL" is "TUCKED IN" to the theme answers, spanning four familiar two-word phrases

Word of the Day: ADLER Planetarium (1A: Chicago's _____ Planetarium) — The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago, Illinois was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and is the oldest in existence today.[2] The Adler was founded and built in 1930 by the philanthropist Max Adler, with the assistance of the first director of the planetarium, Philip Fox. Located on Northerly Island, it is a part of Chicago's Museum Campus along with the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. (wikipedia)

Weird coincidence — I've been watching Season One of "Family Ties" on DVD (yes, really), and yesterday, only a few hours before doing the puzzle, I watched an episode in which Alex quits his job at ADLER's Grocery to work at a big, 24-hr supermarket where he makes more money and has more opportunities for advancement but hates his overly narrow job (he works in Cat Toys and only Cat Toys) and the fact that no one there talks to each other. So ultimately Alex returns to work at the small, independent ADLER's because Mr. ADLER, the avuncular owner, is so kind, even if he is stuck in a kind of pitiful 50's time warp. Anyway, I'm looking at Alex's apron, which reads ADLER's Grocery, and thinking "ADLER ... that's a good crossword word ... I'm sure I've seen it ... how would I clue it? Is there a Malcolm ADLER? [No, but there's a Mortimer] ... etc." And then I did this puzzle. And got completely stumped by 1A.

People often freak out in disagreement when the world "Challenging" comes anywhere near the difficulty rating for a Monday puzzle ("... but you called Saturday's 'Medium' and that was way harder..."). All I mean in this instance is that for whatever reason, this puzzle took me almost a minute longer than my typical Monday — about the time it takes me to do an easyish Wednesday. Very doable, but I kept tripping everywhere I meant — nothing diastrous, just little missteps, rewrites, etc. Started with a bad NW, where I didn't know the planetarium at all, and then considered PEAK for ACME (1D: Pinnacle), nothing for DRAG (2D: Wet blanket), and VITA for LUNG (3D: Aqua-_____). Not only couldn't I get REAMED right off the bat, I didn't get it until the very, very end, as I kept seeing the "RE-" as a prefix (5D: Cleaned out, as with a pipe cleaner). This sputtering alone was enough to put me off my average Monday time, but other (much smaller) sputterings followed, down to the near-final answer, where ALL TUCKED IN wasn't computing well. My brain still wants ALL TUCKERED OUT. And how am I almost 40 years old and don't know how to spell Joe LOUIS (52D: 1930s-'40s heavyweight champ Joe)?

The theme is interesting, if very familiar. I wish the theme answers sparkled more. Kind of dull.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Ditch digging, e.g. (manu ALL abor)
  • 24A: Money borrowed from a friend, e.g. (person ALL oan) — banks make "PERSONAL LOANs" too.
  • 37A: The Dalai Lama, e.g. (spiritu ALL eader) — especially dull since (bad luck) this was a theme answer in yesterday's puzzle.
  • 47A: Slash symbol, e.g. (diagon ALL ine)


  • 21A: City name before Heat or Vice (Miami) — I like how "heat" is used in this clue. It's monosyllabic and has good crime cred (police are the "heat," a gun can be a "heater"), so goes nicely with VICE, even though Heat here refers (non-criminally) to the basketball team.
  • 45A: Acid blocker sold over the counter (Zantac) — fell into a brand name vortex here. Don't know my ZANTEC from my Zyrtec from my Xanax.
  • 54A: Hotelier Helmsley (Leona) — she was like the Bernie Madoff of her day in terms of loathedness. People Loooved to hate her. A true celbrevillain.
  • 65A: Tidbit for an aardvark (ant) — in my mind, there is a New Yorker cartoon half-written. An aardvark is sitting at a table in a fancy restaurant with a napkin tucked into its collar...
  • 8D: Harbinger of spring (robin) — another answer that took me several passes. I was looking for a flower.
  • 40D: First name of Henry VIII's second (Anne) — only just now noticed that this is paired with 24D: Last name of Henry VIII's last (Parr). Interesting.
  • 27D: Hillbilly's belt (rope) — LOL every time I see this clue. Makes me think of Cletus, the Slack-Jawed Yokel.
  • 45D: Next-to-last element alphabetically (Zinc) — again, didn't come instantly. Started by looking earlier than "Z" in the alphabet.
  • 60D: Thai neighbor (Lao) — LAO is an ethnic group. There are hundreds of thousands of LAO in Thailand. FYI. A native or inhabitant of Laos is a "Laotian."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Crosscan 8:02 AM  

Pretty good Monday. Tune in tomorrow as SPIRITUAL LEADER week continues.

HudsonHawk 8:12 AM  

Great picture of LEONA. She truly looks like the Queen of Mean.

Yesterday, some friends and I were laughing about the old SNL promo for Bad Idea Jeans. I really wanted BAD IDEA for the "Money borrowed from a friend, e.g." clue.

chefbea 8:22 AM  

I found this puzzle extremely easy. Realized that there were double L's in all the answers. Didn't get the theme til I got all tucked in.

Shout out to Andrea at 1down.

Greene 8:24 AM  

And while we're cluing ADLER, let's not forget Irene ADLER of Sherlock Holmes fame (i.e. A Scandal in Bohemia). Not to be confused with IRENE Ryan of 64A fame. I guess it might be too difficult for a Monday to link these two clues, but it would have been cool.

I was reading IRENE Ryan's Wiki entry today and it indicates she replaced the originally cast Bea Benaderet as Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies. I swear Bea Benaderet was in another puzzle recently. LAT perhaps?

Anyway...easy breezy Monday for me. Love the homage to Andrea at 1D. Oh, Chef are too fast for me.

PIX 8:34 AM  

Agree with Rex that for a Monday this puzzle was harder than usual (but nothing wrong with that).

@3D: can't believe that Rex did not have a link to Jethro Tull doing Aqua-Lung! ("Sitting on a park bench, eyeing...") A classic to those of us in a certain age group.

@45A: to be really (overly) picky: Zantac is not exactly an "acid blocker". It works by decreasing the output of stomach acid; it's decreasing acid production, not "blocking" acid. (As opposed to a "beta blocker" which is a drug that actually blocks the beta receptors). Like I said, overly picky on my part.

Fun puzzle.

Charles Bogle 8:39 AM  

Like @chefbea, I too didn't get the theme until close to the end, but no matter, this was fun; nice Monday exercise/test.

Hmmm, DANTE and LEONA in the same puzzle...

My stumbles were diagonally down from Rex's--in the lower I know what APO is and that ants abide in NESTS not hills.

Thank you constructor and RP!

Aleman 8:40 AM  

Aardvark toon #1

Aardvark toon # 2

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

piece of pie, easy as cake.

JannieB 9:14 AM  

I think this was my fastest Monday ever at just over 4 minutes. It would have been even faster with a real keyboard.

Thought the theme was well-executed, the fill above-average for a Monday, definitely lacking a lot of spoor (ENE notwithstanding).

Definitely a solid Monday puzzle in my book.

PlantieBea 9:25 AM  

Like Chef Bea, I saw the double L combo but didn't pick up the A until 59A filled in. The only rewrite was NAOMI where I started to cram in ASHLEY, a no-go.

Meredith Baxter Birney played Leona Helmsley, Queen of Mean in a TV movie; she was not the Family Ties mom in that role. I was also guessing we'd see some Jethro Tull this morning. Watching hockey at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit is a blast.

joho 9:34 AM  

The only thing I didn't like about this puzzle was SPIRITUAL LEADER appearing again today. I know that's not the constructor's fault, but isn't the editor able to control things like this?

I thought it was a fine Monday puzzle. It was nice seeing ACME as an answer, but now I'm looking forward to another ACME puzzle.

Happy Belated (one day late)Birthday, DK!

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

My time was one second shorter than the world record!

Jim Weed 9:48 AM  

love the pic of LEONA. she was great in batman!

zanTAC, innit?

retired_chemist 9:55 AM  

OK and on target for a Monday. Nothing sneaky, nothing obscure. Answers that might not be in most solver’s wheelhouses were crossed straightforwardly. Would have preferred to see 1D clued as “Acronym for an outstanding Monday constructor,” like all of us would.

Another “ADLER:” Grace of Will & Grace.

Had MAALOX for 45A to start. 45D clue using alphabetical placement of ZINC nixed that and pretty much nailed ZANTAC. Amusing conflation @ 64A which started as BUDDY (Ryan) – of course it was Buddy Ebsen in Beverly Hillbillies. Buddy Ryan was a football coach.

ENE @ 44A – the cluing as “reverse of WSW” is. not. worthy. of the NYT puzzle. 62A MAS clued by “Moms” isn’t either. Nor is 32D PAS clued by “Dads.” People Mag level…..

imsdave 10:02 AM  

Fine, fun, fast Monday. Suprised that Greene didn't go with "Damn Yankees" composer/lyricist Richard for his 1A clue.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

I, too, found the repetition of Spiritual Leader back to back in the Sunday and Monday puzzles -- well, puzzling.

XMAN 10:22 AM  

I'll bet WS doesn't select and schedule puzzles in day-order, and especially doesn't refer backward and forward to check on duplications, etc.

Contrary to RP's rating, I found today's puzzle masy. Every time I thought I was stumped there was an easy cross to bail me out.

dk 10:24 AM  

I did not know ANTS lived in NESTS, so my fill was hill. That error added about 30 seconds to one of my faster Mondays.

And it goes without saying that any puzzle with ACME, my SPIRITUALLEADER, queen of Monday (not mean like LEONA), etc. is fine with me.

I know we should not speak ill of the dead, but you would thought with all her money LEONA could have done something with her turkey waddle (meeeeooooww)

Lots of new and interesting fill today, thank you C.W.

jeff in chicago 10:38 AM  

ARGH! Almost had my first time that started with a 3! 4:03 instead. So close!

This was smooth as glass. Was just at the ADLER recently. I love having so many great museums here in Chicago.

That aardvark on the ARK must have been hungry what with only two ANTs on board.

@Greene: From yesterday...I did get SOLTI right away. (Was that on a different blog?) And while Chicago's orchestra is indeed great, I also had the good luck of living in Cleveland during the glory years of Lorin Maazel and Christoph von Dohnanyi.

jeff in chicago 10:43 AM  

Oh...and the former newspaperman in me wants to point out that the puzzle in the Sunday magazine is slotted way earlier than the daily. Perhaps months earlier. Most Sunday magazines have huge lead times. Thus the occasional repeat.

ArtLvr 10:43 AM  

ADLER was a nice opening surprise for me too, since I came from Chicago originally. Then I got the feeling I must have done this puzzle before... Nah.

Crosscan always delights with the perfect pithy recap. Will someone also come up with the last item in the periodic table, alphabetically? I'm in much too lazy a mood, and wondering doesn't really WIG me out. Decent Monday puzzle!

p.s. @ dk -- I don't know if LEONA waddled while walking, but the sagging turkey neck is a wattle... and an unworthy observation here even of a cat, given the advanced age of many of us. Not funny.


Crosscan 10:48 AM  


Perfectly Pithy Crosscan

ArtLvr 10:52 AM  

Thanks, Crosscan -- I should have checked Orange's comments first: she had zirconium too!


Two Ponies 10:53 AM  

Nice Monday puzzle.
I saw the double L's but didn't get the true theme until the end.
All tucked in is such a cozy pleasant phrase.
Mini-hillbilly theme with Ma's, Pa's, and Granny with ropes for belts. Oh, there's also Naomi Judd.
Lots of standard crossword fill including eer and een but forgivable on a Monday IMO.
What an ugly mug on Leona in that picture!

Kelly 10:55 AM  

@ retired_chemist : I'm glad somebody brought up how idiotic ENE, MAS and PAs were, even for a Monday, and especially all in the same puzzle. A little insulting, I thought!

Two Ponies 10:55 AM  

I meant eer and ere.

Orange 10:56 AM  

I spelled Joe LOUIS's last name YOUNG.

Chicago has a Lao restaurant, Sabai-Dee. The owner's family were Chinese immigrants in Laos, and their Lao food is "similar to northern Thai Issan cuisine" but spicier. I haven't tried it, but I like driving past and seeing the crosswordy word LAO on the awning. It's like that time I saw NENEs at a zoo.

Stan 11:11 AM  

Agree with Two Ponies on mini-hillbilly theme. There's also (bubblin') CRUDE and GARTH Brooks

If only ALL had something to do with it. Y'ALL would have been too much to ask for.

Two Ponies 11:23 AM  

@ Stan, Y'all is plum right!

Ulrich 11:26 AM  

Adler (Dankmar!) and Sullivan (Louis), the Chicago firm that practically invented he modern skyscraper--and where F. L. Wright got started. I wonder if Max was a relation, but then again, Adler is a common German surname.

Stan 11:31 AM  

@Two Ponies: AWE shucks!

des 11:58 AM  

@PIX, yes you are being picky. After all, Zantac is one of the "H1 Blockers" (as opposed to Prilosec, for instance, that is an H2 Blocker).

@Rex, I was sure you were going to make a comment about zirconium, if only so you could include a picture (much better than a picture of zinc).

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

I thought having the "Ma" and "Pa" clues together in the same puzzle was cute. Alone, they would have been stupid.

coyote 12:18 PM  

Hi from Chicago. This is CW Stewart and thanks for all the nice comments so far...and also the not so nice ones. It is always good to feedback from fellow constructors and solvers.

mac 12:18 PM  

I thought this was an above average Monday puzzle. For once I looked for the theme and found it after only two answers (17A and 24A), then got "all tucked in" without crosses. It helped in the rest of the answers.

The name Adler always first makes me think of Sherlock Holmes. I've been to a party at the Adler Planetarium, but needed a few crosses to remember the name. That whole part of Chicago is beautiful.

archaeoprof 12:20 PM  

A good start with 1D, a tribute to the "pinnacle" of Monday constructors, and then it was smooth sailing.

Well, except for 26A, where I quickly wrote in "speedy" and got slowed down.

@Rex: that picture of Leona Helmsley makes me think that if she and Michael Jackson had lived longer, they would have ended up looking just like each other.

Greene 12:42 PM  

@DES: Actually Zantac is an H2-blocker and Prilosec is a proton pump inhibitor, but your point is well taken, they block the chemical production of acid. The clue for 45A didn't bother my doctor sensibilities at all.

@IMSDave: I have totally blocked Richard Adler's name from my memory after I got into a huge fight with him over orchestrations to same Damn Yankees you mention. I'll share that one with you over dinner someday.

@archaeoprof: You totally read my mind about Jackson and Helmsley. Hope you weren't too appalled by anything else you might have read in there. :)

Susan 12:43 PM  

I got the answer but didn't "get" the theme until Rex explained it. Sigh.

Karen from the Cape 12:48 PM  

I had a similar experience as Rex with the stickiness in the NE, but I misspelled Anne PARR's name. I keep trying to complicate her name into PAAR. I wonder if she hosted any late night talks.

mac 12:54 PM  

@Karen from the Cape: that's Anne Boleyn and Catherine Parr. Are you pulling my leg? After Rex's write-up I'm not sure about anything anymore....

Bob Kerfuffle 1:18 PM  

I thought I had detected the theme (without looking at 59 A), with MAN, PERSON, SPIRIT, . . . before crashing into the DIAGONAL -- or is that the name of God in some religion?

Orange 1:47 PM  

@coyote: Hey, I didn't know there were NYT constructors lurking about in the Windy City! It's a low-key puzzle town. City or suburbs? I'm on the North Side.

One of my friends reports via Facebook that her husband has taken the laptop into the bath with him. He's been in there for an hour. (Tub, not can. But laptop in bathroom for sure.)

Daniel Myers 1:58 PM  

Easy, Fun Puzzle---Still, one has to have something about which to nitpick on a breezy Monday: to wit, wouldn't 49D more properly be called an HTEST, or is this all very much a moot - no offence intended to those MOOT purists out there, regarding the origin of the word - point since, presumably, an HTEST can be regarded as a type or subset, as it were, of an ATEST?

Not that I take this at all very seriously, mind you, it's just that it was the only thing that puzzled me in the least about the puzzle.

Retired_Chemist 2:12 PM  

Re Henry's wives:

Discussed in song and verse in "With her Head Tucked Underneath her Arm." A quote:

"One night she caught King Henry
He was in the canteen bar
Said he, "Are you Jane Seymore,
Anne Boleyn or Catherine Parr?"
"How the sweet san fairy ann,
Do I know who you are?"
With your head tucked underneath your arm! "

PIX 2:21 PM  

@des. You are confused. Zantac is an H-2 blocker, where H stands for histamine. The Zantac blocks the histamine (it is not blocking any acid) which normally would stimulate the stomach cell to produce acid. (Benadryl and other similar anti-histamines are H-1 blockers and Prilosec is a proton pump inhibitor and not a H blocker at all.)

chefwen 2:27 PM  

thought the puzzle was super easy, even for a Monday. Noticed the two ll's and mentioned it to husband when I was finished, he said "wouldn't that be ALL in the all the long answers?" DOH!!

Only write over was LOUIS over lewis.

coyote 2:28 PM  

Hi Orange, I live on a historical block on the near West Side of downtown Chicago. We should get together and lurk around. Carolyn Stewart

retired_chemist 2:30 PM  

@ Daniel Myers - no, A TESTs and H TESTs are not the same. Atomic bombs are those produced by nuclear fission of enriched uranium (or plutonium) and hydrogen bombs involve nuclear fusion of hydrogen isotopes.

By the time the US got to testing H-bombs (1954?) the dangers of testing to the populace (radiation, fallout, etc.) were understood, so the US never AFAIK tested an H-bomb in North America.

The A-bomb was initially tested at the Alamogordo Test Range in New Mexico. I doubt one could see any test at Bikini atoll, where the H-bomb tests were conducted, from Las Vegas.

chefbea 2:35 PM  

I see we have another feminine constructor or did everyone else know that except me?

Daniel Myers 2:40 PM  

@retired_chemist--Two points: Isn't a H-Bomb "triggered", so to speak, by atomic fission to create the required heat before atomic fusion can occur? Isn't they how they work?

And as to your doubts about the clued test "in the '50s" dont let that adverbial phrase "AS FAR AWAY AS" escape you!

Daniel Myers 2:42 PM  

Opps!- trying to do two things at one--"that" for the first "they" above

tekchic 2:47 PM  

The NW was just a mess for me. Tried APEX instead of ACME and FINA instead of LUNG, haha. The rest of the puzzle went down easily but I got myself all up in a bind in that NW corner.

I liked it, although I think Monday puzzles are always done too soon. Now I have to wait until bedtime to rip through Tuesday. :)

retired_chemist 3:35 PM  

@ Daniel Myers - correct re fission being needed to trigger H-bomb fusion. Not crosswordly relevant. I remain convinced that A tests in Alamogordo could be seen in Las Vegas but H tests at Bikini Atoll, not. Hence only A tests fit the answer. qed.

As an exercise, compute the height above Bikini a test would have to illuminate to present light above the horizon in Las Vegas.

3 or so and out.

ACME! 3:35 PM  

I held my breath for 1D, about to write APEX and felt a small thrill when the second letter was C!!!!

(and everyone else, thanks for the sweet shout outs, this morning, I could use it, dealing with a toilet without water this morning and the evil Mr Fong while trying to pack to head to NY!)

Thank you CW, and yay another woman constructor! Hey, why don't we start a group and call ourselves CROSSCHICKS (or better yet CROSSCHIX to get the X in there...)
and it even works bec when you are writing/solving a puzzle you have to do CROSS CH(E)CKS with the acrosses and downs...and when editors don't publish us, we are Cross Chicks
(not to mention mad as wet hens!)

What do you say? Orange? CW? Lynn? Karen? Bonnie? Paula? Liz???

At first I thought the puzzle was hard-ish for a Monday, but only bec I didn't know ADLER. And notice there are FIVE themes, quite long, 11, 12, 15, 12, mean feat!

See!!!! Bleed over: SPIRTUALLEADER that is a HUGE one. I know not intentional, but incredible none the less that there is always one!

Lovin' the hidden mini-themes folks are finding and that the scientists can go to battle on stuff that I can't begin to understand...while y'all see aicd blocker, etc. I see a nice Z cross!

As long as we are finding mini-themes, how about a shout out for mothers?
MAnuallabor, MAs, arMAda, draMA...
(and for the dyslexics among us: miAMi, which even sounds like Mammy)

(OK, she has some dads in there too: PAs, DAnte, DAt, armaDA...)

If the constructor writes into the blog, is that called a CW post?

Daniel Myers 3:54 PM  

@retired_chemist---Not "crosswordly relevant"?!? Indeed? I should say that if a fission bomb is needed to produce a fusion bomb then there is a dashed good case to make that an H-Test is at least dependent on an A-test and can be considered as a type of an A test. Also, you're leaving out the tests conducted at the NEVADA TEST SITE throughout the 50s (q.v. wikipedia).

Q.E.D. is a tad arch, methinks.

Any retired nuclear physicists punting around the blog to resolve this question?

Two Ponies 4:27 PM  

I have been to the observation spot on Mt. Charleston NW of Vegas overlooking the test site. It seems surprisingly close to civilization. At the time of the testing there was much less man-made light than today so while the actual mushroom cloud would have been too distant to be seen from the city, not to mention the small mountain range between Vegas and the test sight, I believe that the flash might have been visible.

Anonymous 4:35 PM  

@ Daniel Meyers, Has a puzzle ever been written that you could just solve and leave it at that?
@ Acme, Crosschix! Fantastic.
Squeek the anonymouse

mac 4:45 PM  

Hi Squeek, welcome!

Today I had a case of confusing the LAT Confidential write-up with the NYT one. Sorry, @Karen on the Cape!

Daniel Myers 4:52 PM  

@Two Ponies--Many thanks indeed for your eyewitness testimony. It adds a huch needed human element to this rather dry toing and froing.:)

It's still unclear to me from the wikipedia article exactly what sort of tests they conducted there (i.e., H-tests, A-tests). Many of them, though not all, were underground, it seems.

But I'm willing to let it lie. As far as I'm concerned, an H-test can be regarded as a type of A-test, though, of course, not everyone is going to regard that conclusion
as tickety-boo. And that's OK.

@anonymous - Heavens no!

Alex 5:06 PM  

Didn't notice that ALL was in each word, just that LL was in each word. So I parsed ALL TUCKED IN as A LL TUCKED IN and muttered to myself that LL should be preceded by AN not A.

Still, no issues with this one. Did it in average time while on a conference call.

67A might have tripped me up if it had been 1A but by the time I got to it I had enough crosses that HILLS wasn't even considered.

edith b 5:12 PM  

The only bone of contention I might have had was at IA ADLER and my husband and I visited there while in Chicago to indulge his interest in things stellar. As a result, this was a simple Monday with not much for me to say although I did find something now, didn't I?.

Nice to see a shout-out to Andrea, though.

Glitch 5:16 PM  

@Daniel Myers

As the saying (lyrics) go:

*You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em...*


coyote 5:23 PM  

ACME Sure, that's a clever idea to call the female constructors the CROSSCHIX (like the X)'s so crosswordworthy)and I would rather be a Cross Chick when a puzzle is rejected than a Mad Wet Hen.

Anne 5:40 PM  

I grew up in the Appalachian area of Virginia with Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia a short distance away. So, geographically, I am eligible to be called a hillbilly. I always find it interesting that people feel free to make comments about us where they would never make comments about any other group. And just for the record, in the nearly 20 years that I lived there, I never once saw anyone use a belt for a rope. However, I am used to this so I don't take offense. And other than that, I thought it was a fine Monday puzzle with a cute theme.

retired_chemist 6:07 PM  

@ Anne - as a West Virginian born and bred, I never found many hillbilly putdowns wherever I went in the world. I think there is always a we-they thing, like Texas A&M Aggies and The University of Texas etc. Hopefully it is meant in good fun in most cases.

Off to a second anniversary dinner with my wife....

PuzzleGirl 6:12 PM  

Did this one in exactly my average Monday time, so no challenging for me. Liked it a lot. Thanks, C.W.!

Glitch 6:22 PM  

Hi @Anne,

Unfortunately, the stereotype is "The Beverly Hillbillies*, Jethro's rope belt and all.

But *Hillbillies" are hardly the only group.

Think Archie & Edith Bunker, Homer Simpson et al, SNL skits, ethnic jokes, visiting professors, and in today's blog, Leona Helmsley.

And these are only the good natured ones! ;)

.../Glitch (Member of several oft lampooned groups)

mac 6:33 PM  

@Anne, I have also never seen anyone use a belt for a rope.;-)

Leon 6:38 PM  

Thanks Ms. Stewart.

♫ ♫ ♫

An Aardvark’s favorite :

♫ ♪ To the tune of “The Pink Panther Theme”-- Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead AAAAAnt ! ♫ ♪

archaeoprof 6:50 PM  

@Anne, retired_chemist, et al: as the son and grandson of WVa hillbillies (Logan County), I too never saw a rope belt. But I grew up on hillbilly humor. Dad always loved those "hillbilly dictionaries" with entries like: "flare" = plant that grows in a flare garden; "kutchie" = what a sharp knife will do; and so on.

The key, I suspect, is that the one making the joke should belong to the group in question. That way the humor can be affectionate and self-effacing.

Two Ponies 7:24 PM  

I think archaeoprof hit the nail on the head. Just ask Jeff Foxworthy as he laughs all the way to the bank. I have enough "briar blood" myself to both tell and laugh at hillbilly humor.
On an entirely different note, if it's late enough in the day to go off-topic ... around Father's Day Rex was making some xword gift suggestions. I took one of those suggestions as a gift to myself and today I came home to find Patrick Berry's Puzzle Masterpieces in my mailbox. A quick scan of the puzzles after reading the introduction has me anxious to dive in. It is a lovely hardback book that I do not have the heart to write in. I am going to use tracing paper just in case I meet someone in my extra-blogging life who might appreciate it. Not a single puzzle is a square grid and some look very daunting.
Wish me luck!

dk 7:53 PM  

@Acme, CW etc. Some of the women I ski with started a ski team called Chicks on Sticks. I will not lower my self to repeat the many ways I errr others, had a field day (at the 14 year old level) with their t-shirts.

Just sayin watch what you call yourselves.

@ArtLvr, I stand corrected. I did mean wattle, I do stand by the surgery suggestion in her case. She is almost as creepy as Sara Palin (my effort to focus the rage responses to conservatives with extra skin).

CW, again great puzzle.

treedweller 10:27 PM  

I am not a hillbilly (rube, perhaps, or bumpkin, or yokel, or hayseed, or hick, but not hillbilly), but, as an arborist, I have used a rope as a belt. I've also used a carabiner to pull two belt loops together in roughly the same type of impromptu sartorial ad lib. For what it's worth, I have not used these methods outside of work, and neither is a common choice for me. Just think of me as the MacGyver of the trees.

mac 10:31 PM  

@treedweller: the question is: have you ever used a belt for a rope?

mac 10:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill from NJ 10:34 PM  

I worked for a company out of Louisville KY that financed mobile homes out of Eastern Kentucky, an area that contained more hillbillies than you could shake a stick at.

They were referred to, uncharitably, as "Mountain hoojies." I stayed clear of that situation.

treedweller 10:41 PM  

To be honest, I probably have, but not professionally.

mac 10:48 PM  

@treedweller: someone mis-wrote sometime this afternoon, and I've been trying to visualize using a belt instead of a rope... LOL!

Stan 11:21 PM  

@Anne -- Thanks for that post. Good, nuanced responses too.

Me, I'm not too crazy about 'dumb Swede' jokes, unless they're told by other dumb Swedes such as myself, and then I find them hilarious.

But an excellent point is that the 'socially acceptable' prejudice of any given era is the one most to look out for.

acme acme acme 4:29 AM  

As someone who has had to live with "dumb blonde" jokes, (but only the last ten years, thank god) may I share my favorite Swedish joke (don't forget, I'm from Minnesota donchaknow)? Luckily it ain't a "dumb" one...

Did you hear about the Swede who loved his wife SO much he almost told her?

Frances SC 7:58 AM  

FYI - Suzanne Pleshette played the part of Leona Helmsley in the TV movie appropriately subtitled The Queen of Mean (1990), complete with a wicked set of false teeth to give her an amazing look-alike.

Stan 8:04 AM  

Good one, @Pinnacle. CrossChix rule!

Nullifidian 3:29 PM  

I did this one in yesterday's San Diego Union-Tribune.

I didn't find it quite as challenging as you did, until I got to the bottom of the puzzle and found that there were no clues in the paper for 60- and 61-Down (LAO and ERE)! That slowed me down for a while, but I was able to complete the puzzle without them.

ZANTAC tripped me up, because I initially put CONTAC, a cold and allergy medication. I have no idea why marketers think it's a good idea to have completely indistinguishable brand names for drugs. My bête noir is Zyprexa and Celexa, two psychotropic drugs. The former is used to treat schizophrenia and the latter is prescribed for major depressive disorder.

Nevertheless, I had four out of the six letters correct, and as soon as I saw ZINC and ANAKIN it solved itself.

I agree with you that the theme was relatively uninspired, but at least it played fair. I still dislike the "PR Men" theme for which one of the answers was "Pierre Renoir".

P.S. Another relatively famous Adler (perhaps for a Thursday or later puzzle) would be Alfred Adler, the founder of individual psychology.

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