SUNDAY, Jul. 19 2009 — Quality is our recipe franchise / Snake with lightning bolts on its back / Greek moralizer / Pets with dewlaps

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

— letter pairing "UR" is added to familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: MURINEadj.

  1. Of or relating to a rodent of the family Muridae or subfamily Murinae, including rats and mice.
  2. Caused, transmitted, or affected by such a rodent: a murine plague.
A murine rodent.

[Latin mūrīnus, of mice, from mūs, mūr-, mouse.]

[also a brand of eyecare — and earcare! — products I've never heard of]

A strangely tough puzzle. Not tough in terms of content — I made it through without getting terribly stuck — but tough in terms of my ability to move through the grid with ease. Everything was gettable, but I just never picked up speed. Nowhere. I think I should be grateful, as some recent Sundays have been overly easy and kind of dull. This one required that I work, while having very few cheap "I'm Gonna Make You Work, You Bastard" clues. I may also be slightly burnt out, puzzle-wise. Not motivated sufficiently motivated for speed solving. I spent a Ridiculous amount of time yesterday solving the Harper's Puzzle for Aug. 2009. It was cryptic and involved cryptics and anagrams and quotations and concentric circles and oh man if std U.S. crosswords aren't sufficiently thorny for you, you might wanna give the Harper's puzzle a go. I can't say I loved it. But I definitely #$@!ing earned it. Anyhow, I don't think I had much solving gas left in the tank when I got to this one. Overall, it seems a really well constructed puzzle, even if the theme is not terribly inspiring.

With these add-a-letter (or two) themes, as I've said before, the only thing that matters is the quality of the resulting answers. If they pop, success, if they just sit there, failure. These mostly pop. I've got one quibble, though. It's actually a double quibble. Regarding CANARY IN THE MURINE. First, I don't think we have MURINE products where I live. If we do, I've never seen them / used them. Maybe I've just never had dry eyes. Anyway, not fond of commercial products of marginal notoriety. Bigger problem for me here, though, was that I know the phrase as CANARY IN THE (or A) COAL MINE. In fact, without that alliteration to make it really come alive as a phrase (often used as a metaphor for an early indicator of disaster), the phrase just wilts. Of course, all my feelings about this phrase come from exactly one place:

Theme answers:

  • 24A: Corrupt financier's command? (bURy all accounts)
  • 30A: Mama Bear at the stove? (fURry cook)
  • 54A: Alpo or Purina One? (cUR rations) — real trouble in here. Too me ForEver to catch on to the theme, partly because this was the first answer I pieced together and I didn't understand what CRATIONS were. Then CURRIED WOLF came Down in the intersecting answer, and I thought that the matching CURR- beginnings were somehow related ... very confused. URSINE WAVE finally convinced me that the only thing going on was the addition of "UR," and once my brain mentally added the hyphen in "C-RATIONS," I understood why things were the way they were, and I could move on in peace.
  • 72A: Greeting from Smokey the Bear? (URsine wave)
  • 92A: Pumpkin grower's cry of surprise? ("Oh my GoURd!") — total WIN. Best answer of the lot.
  • 101A: Scheduled activity at a Vegas chapel? (hoURly matrimony) — also great, a close second.
  • 3D: Songbird at an eye drops factory? (canary in the mURine)
  • 40D: Triumphant spicy meal for the Three Little Pigs? (cURried wolf) — morbid / awesome.
  • 34D: Sodom or Gomorrah? (town without pURity)

Face-falling today was minimal, though there were a good half dozen answers I didn't know. We'll start with KNORR, which my wife didn't know either (4D: Popular brand of bouillon). I know I've seen it, but like MURINE ... let's just say that Lynn Lempel and I have very different-looking shopping lists. TREE BOA sounds like a made-up snake (35D: Snake with "lightning bolts" on its back). Sounds like what someone pretending to know about snakes might call it. "Oh yeah ... that's the ... TREE BOA ... they live in trees." I would like to find out more about BOAs, but sadly my google search for BOA turns up only Bank of America-related sites and a contemporary Korean singer whose career is actually kind of fascinating. I could try harder, but I'm hungry / jonesing for coffee, so you're on your own, BOA-wise. Embarrassingly, had no idea who the first president of Ireland was. Douglas HYDE? Good to know. And forget, almost certainly. UNIVAC sounds like a vacuum; like a dust buster or some other cheap contraption you'd buy from an infomercial. I know ENIAC, but UNIVAC is ... well, honestly it sounds vaguely familiar, but I needed crosses (68D: First commercially successful computer). DIPOLE was another sciencey term that didn't come easily (79A: Pair of opposite electric charges), and it intersects UNIVAC. Unsurprisingly, that section was thorny for me.


  • 5A: _____-approved (USDA) — this clue seemed cheap.
  • 20A: Versatile body builders (stem cells) — mmm, controversial. Can't recall ever seeing these in the puzzle. Nice clue, btw.
  • 37A: Starfish feature (ray) — I had LEG. Then I had ARM.
  • 38A: "Catch-22" bomber pilot (Orr) — I knew he had a sports guy's name. I considered YAZ.
  • 47A: Pets with dewlaps (iguanas) — turns out some rabbit have them too.
  • 51A: Word with pizza or beauty (parlor) — usually hate these "word with" clues, but these two words are such a jarring, unexpected pair that I actually enjoyed this clue.
  • 58A: Percussion instrument in Off Broadway's "Stomp" (pot) — had PAN at first bec. I had FALL OUT where COLLIDE was supposed to go (54D: Disagree strongly).
  • 81A: Singer John with the album "Bruised Orange" (Prine) — knew this, but couldn't remember if it was spelled with "I" or "Y"

[OK, this song is great. LOVE Iris Dement]

  • 84A: "The Bald Soprano" dramatist (Ionesco) — Nothing like foreign names to vowel up your puzzle. If we had his full name, we'd get four more vowels.
  • 88A: Cursor attachment? (pre-) — wanted to "attach" the answer to the back of the word. Much confusion ensued.
  • 108A: Greek moralizer (Aesop) — makes him sound like a humorless jackass as opposed to a fable writer.
  • 109A: What drives you to get better? (ambulance) — yeah, that works.
  • 112A: Exam with 125 questions: Abbr. (PSAT) — went with LSAT. Seems to be the month for PSAT / LSAT confusion.
  • 7D: _____ Walcott, 1992 Literature Nobelist (Derek) — was happy to see this, as I was desperate for a gimme at that point.
  • 14D: From Polynesia and evirons (South Sea) — hmm, adjective, eh? OK.
  • 31D: Some have a silver lining (ores) — had ORBS.
  • 47D: "_____ a Spell on You" (classic 1956 Screamin' Jay Hawkins song) ("I Put")

[... wow ...]

  • 48D: King Minos' daughter who aided Theseus (Ariadne) — gave him the thread to help him find his way back out of the labyrinth. For her troubles ... abandoned on the isle of NAXOS. Thanks, Theseus!
  • 55D: Pioneer automaker (Olds) — "Pioneer" is a descriptor, not a make or model, I'm assuming.
  • 74D: "Quality Is Our Recipe" franchise (Wendy's) — Never heard it. Also, hate it. It's got that vague, boring, businessspeaky quality to it, but it's not even catchy. Well and truly a horrible slogan. Maybe that's why they don't use it in their ads. Instead, they have gone with "It's waaay better than fast food ... it's Wendy's." Which also sucks. As all self-contradictory statements suck.
  • 85D: School inits. in Harlem since 1907 (CCNY) — The City College of New York.
  • 92D: Radiation reducer (ozone) — I thought it blocked, not reduced. I guess it "reduces" the amt of radiation that gets through from the sun to the atmosphere.
  • 93D: Kishkes (guts) — Yiddish? KISHKES sound like something you'd eat, but if they're guts ... I'm not hungry. Looks like it's most commonly used colloquially to refer to the general stomach / intestine region of the body.

Time for your Puzzle Tweets of the Week, brought to you by ... me. From Twitter.

  • eliselzer NY Times crossword note to self- Jack Paar and Catherine Parr spell their names differently.
  • smcallaghan I have Tourettes but only when I do crossword puzzles.
  • annabananafish At airport. Crossword puzzle central here
  • alliooop Sunday edition NYT crossword and the inferiority complex that follows.
  • amydezellar They're apparently playing the entire Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The guy a few stools down is doing the crossword and chair-dancing.
  • mattiasdahl Late breakfast + crossword puzzle. I'm like a very old man and I love it!
  • JLTaffy4 Listening to my neighbors have sex while I do a crossword puzzle
  • 1capplegate It is sunday and just finished the nyt crossword from friday. My god was that hard. It hurt my little brain.
  • kevin_nealon @1capplegate - I can't even do the NYT Sunday crossword. I can't even find it!!! It's all too hard.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Hobbyist 8:37 AM  

To me this was very easy but I am far from being a speed solver as are so many of you.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

Ah, youth! The eye drops product "Murine" was heavily advertised on TV. in the 60's and 70's. Smiled when I got that one...wasted on you whippersnappers.

Fitzy 9:01 AM  

Cronkite hosted "You Are There"...
they can't have planned that...Cool!


John 9:36 AM  

I had ATOSSUP for ATISSUE, ORPS indeed!

I wonder how late they CAN change puzzles, they've had several days.

Crosscan 9:57 AM  

Yuck. Slow, not enjoyable.


Just did not have fun on this one. Bring on Monday.

HudsonHawk 10:08 AM  

Similar solving experience for me, and Rex hit most of the highs and lows. Not super tough, but it definitely felt slower than the typical Sunday for me.

I had to dig through the memory bank to remember MURINE as the other brand (besides Visine), but it eventually came to me.

My last entry was URSINE WAVE, primarily because I had URSA for the longest time.

Loved PRINE and ACME, of course!

Gertrude Stein 10:14 AM  

The UR thing I got. But there is no there there.

Blue Stater 10:16 AM  

Rex hit it right on the nose. I felt the puzzle was somehow designed in at least four non-complementary parts, such that the crucial connections between the parts were always blocking my transition into the next quadrant. I hate when that happens.

Um, ESTRUS? Wha...? Got it from the crosses, but jeez. And, like Crosscan, I came a cropper on PRINE. Had to Google; the crosses there were No Help At All.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 10:25 AM  

I was surprised to see this had the usual amount 140 words. Appeared more wide-open than that.

CANARY IN A (COAL) MINE seemed off to me too. Cannot stand the Police, and Sting's solo career pretty much killed any chances of me liking them too. However, that phrase reminded me of this boss video:

bigredanalyst 10:35 AM  

I thought this was one of the more interesting and challenging Sundays in a while.

"Tree boas" are very real. They are native to the Amazon, are nocturnal and hang coiled from tree limbs waiting to pounce on prey. I volunteered at the American Museum of Natural History's "Snakes and Lizards" exhibit that had a pair of tree boas on display.

"Univac" was the name Sperry Rand used for their early mainframe computers (circa 1955-1970). They eventually were overwhelmed by IBM.

"Kishkes" is both "guts" in Yiddish and another name for a Jewish sometimes called "stuffed derma." It is beef intestine stuffed with flavored ground meat, cut into slices and fried. Sounds awful but tastes delicious.

My grandfather (a Jewish immigrant from Russia in 1920) used to make them.

They fall into the same food group as "chitlins" or "haggis."

pednsg 10:35 AM  

Fitzy totally beat me to the punch. "You Are There" was a staple of history class in elementary school, and having Cronkite as host was simply amazing - such vivid memories..... Wonder what he would have said about the mindless and embarrassing coverage of the Gloved One's passing a few weeks ago. RIP, Walter.

Agree with Rex on the difficulty level. Got stuck in the Southeast, where I put WHENCE for 87D, leading to some (ultimately) incorrect guessing about Hughes's given name.

Pulled ESTRUS from the back of my mind, flashing back to biology class more than 25 years ago - don't recall seeing that in a puzzle before. Also loved the clue for NANA - my kids are too little for Peter Pan, so that stretched back at least 35 years!

Most of the theme answers were clever, and the theme helped me a lot today. I liked the murine-based answer - made me think of Ben Stein doing his deadpan eye-care product commercials (though that was for a different brand). OH MY GOURD was by far the best!

Never heard of dewlaps before. Wikipedia says that males use these to attract females during mating season. For some odd reason, mine hasn't been working too effectively in that regard!

Great day, everyone!

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

How about the connection between 70 Down and 74 Down? Nana was Wendys pet.

Ulrich 11:05 AM  

CURRIED WOLF is my favorite (I have a morbid streak), CANARY IN THE MURINE my least favorite theme answer--not only b/c I've never heard of Murine (in spite of advanced geezerdom): It's groan-inducing even if you know those drops. Overall, the puzzle didn't have, for me, that Lempel luster I'm used to--those add-a-letter themes appear to be extremely hard to pull off consistently and with panache across multiple theme answers.

GEEK 11:08 AM  

Pleased (and a bit surprised) to see the rating, because this one was easier for me today than the LAT puzzle. As a long-time resident of Columbus OH I have to take issue with the denigration of WENDYS. Major employer here in town, so not politic to slam the Company that Dave Built. OHMYGOURD and AMBULANCE were my two favorite clue/answer pairings of the day. I just want to shout out OH MY GOURD at work tomorrow! Do you think Bernie Madoff still has some buried accounts somewhere? I bet he does. THANKS Rex for a great write-up, appreciate it as always. I'll try not to write such an ESSAY next time!

Jim H 11:09 AM  

KISHKES and "something to eat" makes me think "knish". Mmmmm, fried potato! Maybe with an egg cream. (well, maybe have the egg cream later in the day.)

joho 11:11 AM  

I found this to be harder than usual for a Sunday and appreciate that fact. Sometimes on Sundays it just feels like I'm filling in the blanks without much brain power required, but not today.

Thank you, Lynn Lempel, for a most enjoyable Sunday morning!

chefbea 11:25 AM  

Fun puzzle but a little bit harder than most Sunday's

I knew murine and of course Knorr. Loved furry cook and I like anything curried

Can someone explain heat=estrus?

Karen 11:28 AM  

I had a much slower time than usual for a Sunday too. And I left an error in, where IONESCO crosses some NY school.
I just heard an ad on the radio for PMURINE earwash. They're still out there.

Ulrich 11:40 AM  

@chefbea: "Estrus" is a fancier term for the "heat" your cat may be in.

BTW How about a good recipe for curried wolf?

archaeoprof 11:46 AM  

One more vote here for "this was harder than usual for Sunday."


treedweller 12:00 PM  

Did anyone else get a vague shiver due to the potential fetishistic meaning of FURRYCOOK?

Overall, I agree this was a nice mix of not too dull and not too easy for a Sunday. And, to confirm @Ulrich, I knew MURINE right away and still found the phrase unamusing (maybe it was the struggle to get "coal" in there that soured me).

George NYC 12:01 PM  

Fun puzzle.
One puzzlement: Why the word "factory" in the "canary in a mURine clue?

ArtLvr 12:04 PM  

This was a very meaty puzzle! And doggie wih the ARFS and CURRATIONS and WOLF... but I pursued it doggedly and won out in the end. The theme was timely, as noted, and some of the fill was exceptional too, like coming into ESTRUS for the period when female mammals will be sexuallly receptive. I seem to recall that this is much more the norm in the animal kingdom than the peculiarly human lack thereof.

I was thinking Couple before DIPOLE for the Pair of opposite electric charges, especially crossing COLLIDE, and found it ironic for those to be sitting near poet TED Hughes, husband of poet Sylvia Plath before her suicide.

I also liked LIMPID which goes well with MURINE for clear eyes, and it's a lovely echo of Lempel...


Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Just the right amount of challenge for me. I finished it with satisfaction and without google or other help.

Nice puzzle, and the theme clues/answers were clever enough.

ArtLvr 12:41 PM  

@ Ulrich -- Because of your concern the other day for the "literary" form of JESU, I just wanted to confirm its early use with Italian spelling, notably:

Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarnieri, del Gesù (21 August 1698 – 17 October 1744) was an Italian luthier from the Guarneri house of Cremona. He is the only luthier to rival Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) with regard to the respect and reverence accorded his instruments, and he has been called the finest violin maker of the Amati line. Instruments made by Guarneri are often referred to as Joseph's or del Gesù's.
Giuseppe is known as del Gesù because his labels incorporated the nomina sacra, I.H.S. (iota-eta-sigma) and a Roman Cross.

Stan 12:51 PM  

Maybe I'm on a different wavelength, but I loved this puzzle. Great, awful puns, clever clues, math/science that was not too difficult, and lots of food. The ACME of the week.

PS stuffed derma is indeed delicious. The proportion of actual 'derma' is very low. I miss the Second Avenue Deli...

still_learnin 12:57 PM  

I can't believe I knew KNORR -- I have no idea where that came from. I also knew MURINE. It surprises me that so many haven't heard of it. In my experience, KNORR is much rarer.

Overall, kind of a blah puzzle. Nothing really grabbed me.

Denise 1:00 PM  

Growing up in small town America, we danced to "Town Without Pity" over and over. It was "our song"! Love it.

It took me a while to even get that which I was pretty sure of because of the challenging crosses.

I laughed out loud at CURRIED WOLF and FURRY COOK. Nursery rhymes are fertile territory.

I remember loads of MURINE ads from forty or so years ago, but nothing lately.

jae 1:17 PM  

Very nice puzzle and my experience matches Rex's difficulty rating. Getting the theme early on really helped the solving process. I got hung up in the mid west when I tried to squeeze VISCOUNT into 61d (it works if you omit the S or C), had CCNY for a while, and went with CONTEST for COLLIDE at first.

I too am old enough to remember MURINE.

Good Sun. workout!

Shamik 1:22 PM  

Bah! A correct solve that occurred in too many Only section to fall in words swiftly was the furthest SW. So time ended up being in the challenging column at 33:50.

Couldn't sit through "Canary in a Coalmine." Sheesh. Loved "In Spite of Ourselves" and wondered what promoter decided the get-up and scenery for "I Put a Spell on You." Listening to that, the video would NEVER be my image.

Sad to say I got the MURINE before the CANARYINTHE. An age thing. Just didn't enjoy this one.

Lili 1:45 PM  

I had to chip away at this via the non-theme clues: Ionesco, Ariadne, Deneuve, and Aesop were all easy, as was Andrea "del" Sarto (piece of cake for an art historian who specializes in 16th and 17th-century Italian art), but I was having a tough time with the theme clues until I simply guessed at "Oh my gourd."

I initally thought of "Visine" instead of "Murine," since the first product line was a little more familiar to me, but the cross clues set me straight. I loved "curried wolf" and for some reason "cur" at the start of "cur rations" quickly occurred to me.

I had "shine" for 97 across ("sere" would have worked for the down clue), but "ozone" became obvious and thus so did "booze." I still think "shine," as in "moonshine," works better with the word "night" in the clue.

And as usual, I had to confirm the sports clue answer with my husband: "Is there a Pedro Martinez?" "Yeah, he's just signed with the Phillies."

All in all, not that easy, but the last Sunday puzzle was such a breeze that I appreciated one that required some real thought.

foodie 1:46 PM  

I felt as @Crosscan & Shamik did... May be I was not in a great mood when I was doing it, but it left me somewhat annoyed...

Speaking of KEEPER, thank you Rex, chefbea, hudsonhawk, mac, twoponies, Stan and Andrea for your comments on my fish story last night. @Hudsonhawk had asked about how the guy got the fish. I never thought to ask!

@Andrea and mac-- I loved hearing about your collaborative solving experience. I had a sister-in-law who was much younger than my husband, who used to be my perfect complement... she knew pop culture, I knew French and we had great fun doing the puzzles together. Sadly, she passed away prematurely and that put me off doing the puzzle for years. Doing it alone has been a whole new phase, and in the back of my mind, I dedicate the successful ones to her memory...

May you both live long and solve in pairs!

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

@Rex Parker said...

112A: Exam with 125 questions: Abbr. (PSAT) — went with LSAT. Seems to be the month for PSAT / LSAT confusion.


Rex, with all due respect, this seems to be an important issue with regard to your (and others'?) speed-solving technique.

If the answer could equally well be PSAT or LSAT, why not just put in _SAT and wait for the cross to disambiguate? (These *are* called CROSSwords, after all.) Can it really be better (faster?) to put in a guess -- which might even muck up your thinking about the cross -- and have to change it half the time, than just wait and see?

Here there be tygers...

Lurking Larry

Shamik 1:53 PM  

@foodie: Sorry to hear about the premature loss of your SIL. I'm generally a very sharing person...except with my crossword puzzles. So I don't know how sharing works.

Woe be to the person who looks over my shoulder and cuts in with an answer! And I have to be at last gasp before asking for help...and don't google before the puzzle is solved. Would rather put in wrong answers. Now to get out of the house and up north a couple of hours to some cooler air for the rest of the day.

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Regarding the tree boa, you might enjoy this website:

The emerald tree boa is beautiful!

XMAN 2:29 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orange 2:48 PM  

@Lurking Larry: Well, if you go by what letter is more common—i.e., more likely to appear in the crossing answer, statistically speaking—you'd pick the L over the P. The Cruciverb database bears this out—over the years, 151 LSAT entries to 109 PSAT entries. I waver between leaving that first letter blank until the crossing reveals it and going with the one that sounds like it goes with the clue—but I keep being wrong when I guess LSAT or PSAT. There are other answer pairs that generally need to be completed via crossings. BAR or BAN, RIATA or REATA? Only the crossing knows.

mac 2:56 PM  

It was a slog for me, but I had several Aha and LOL moments, which made up for a lot. I got completely stuck in the SW, between
61A and 81A. Had merits and icu, but never heard of Murine and Prine. I wanted a Bee to create the flight pattern... Limp and limpid together seemed unlikely (plus I always thought limpid meant a little more than clear, more bedroomy).

Love the curried wolf/furry cook combination! I had to choose between Maggi and Knorr in the NW, so that needed some crosses and time. At 87D I thought: too bad hence doesn't fit, and for the Latin above I started out with super.

Re: XW-tweets: loved the Tourette one, and we'll take anything to get Christina onto the blog!

@Foodie: It really is fun, and especially with someone so experienced as Andrea, who uses strategies and logic, not just the meaning of the word, to fill squares. I actually learned a lot.

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

Boy it took me forever to 'get' the ur even w/correct answers.
Thanks Ulrich for estrus def.

Knorr (folks here make much of their 'genuine' spinach dip using Knorr)& murine came immed to mind which helped but Cur rations was
a bear.
Have to agre it was nice to have
tougher Sundah puzzle.

Clark 3:18 PM  

Nice to have a puzzle that put up some resistance. The FURRY COOK area was the last to fall. DEREK Walcott? DEREL looked possible to me, because -- Isn't mama bear the one whose stuff is always too cold? I thought it had to be __RR_COOL. Took me a while to see that that L didn't belong there.

@Mac -- I have started reading Vonder's Lucifer. I am going to go at it slowly and see if I can get into it. (I once expressed amusement at Mac's missing a reference to Macbeth. Then I asked myself how I dared to laugh when I couldn't recognize even the name of a single Dutch playwright, let alone recognize a quote. So as penance, I am going to read some Dutch literature.)

joho 3:38 PM  

@Ulrich ... Easy recipe for curried wolf:

Use curry brush on wolf.


ArtLvr 3:45 PM  

@ foodie -- I went back to yesterday's comments and found your great account of the water rescue of an ailing man, family and fish. So glad to hear of all of you who stopped to help, and that the outcome was a good one! A keeper of a tale... and thanks for sharing.


mac 4:03 PM  

@Clark: good luck! Isn't it interesting that John Milton apparently was inspired by "Lucifer" to write "Paradise Lost"? I don't have the Dutch text here, but I will look for it when I'm in Holland in two weeks.

Not only was there a shout-out to Acme, but also to Orange!

PlantieBea 4:09 PM  

Nice puzzle with a slow and go kind of solve summed up nicely by Rex's write-up. It took me until URSINE WAVe to finally get the UR theme at which point I had about 3/4 of the themed answers I just didn't get. Alas, I ended with an error with WHENCE, WAD, and DIAM.

@foodie: I too enjoyed your fish tale of yesterday. Thank goodness you stopped to check on the people.

chefwen 4:12 PM  

Woo Hoo, shout out to me at 74 down. First and second to last time I went into a Wendy's I said, laughingly, "do I get a discount because my name is Wendy?" they said, unsmiling, "no". Allrighty then, never mind.

My experience with this puzzle was pretty much the same as most have commented on here. Thought I had it conquered it and found out after coming here that I had totally mucked up the LIMP, LIMPED, VICEROY, section. Sigh!!
Oh well the rest of it was right.

On to the LA Times.

chefbea 4:23 PM  

@Joho and Ulrich

why didn't I think of that???

Clark 4:25 PM  

@Ulrich et al -- Correction from two days ago. In the discussion of Jesus/Jesu, I got the name of the German Chorale wrong. I said it was "Jesu, bleibet meine Freude," but it is in fact "Jesus bleibet meine Freude." That is, the name 'Jesus' is in the nominative case here rather than the vocative. I notice that the false name appears in many places -- a back formation from "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," I guess. (This doesn't really weigh one way or the other in the matter we were discussing. Just wanted to set the record straight.)

Jesus bleibet meine Freude,
Meines Herzens Trost und Saft,
Jesus wehret allem Leide,
Er ist meines Lebens Kraft,
Meiner Augen Lust und Sonne,
Meiner Seele Schatz und Wonne;
Darum lass ich Jesum nicht
Aus dem Herzen und Gesicht.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

Re: Murine. Just because you've never heard of it doesn't make it so obscure as to be quibble-worthy. If there's a drugstore in Binghampton, they sell Murine in your neck of the woods. There are some things even a narcissist like you has never heard of.

pednsg 5:39 PM  

Couple of things-

@Anonymous - pointless personal attack on our host. There is simply no need to be rude. Period.

The clip of Screaming Jay Hawkins brought back a 25 year-old memory (or thereabout) of the Jim Jarmusch movie, Stranger than Paradise. The female lead, a young Hungarian women, is obsessed with the singer, blasting his music, and saying repeatedly something to the effect of, "Screaming Jay Hawkins - he's my man." Funny, weird film.

Tetu 6:22 PM  

Got "Deck" right away, leading to "Knorr" right away but took a while to divorce myself from "OSHA" instead of "USDA". Also needed to get rid of "cast" instead of "I put"--just plain old forgot the beginning of that song. Caught onto the UR stuff with "Bury all accounts" but took until the end to get "currations" becaust of the above bad cross. Seems like this wasn't as hard for me (did the whole thing without Google) but I think I'm old enough to be Rex's mother or more and Murine was our eyedrop of choice to hide drink and smoke afflicted eyes in the old days of the 50's!

Ulrich 6:26 PM  

@Clark: Thx, yes, I found this out, too, but hesitated to get back to a point only two of us seemed to be interested in. And yes, it sheds no light on the central mystery, the LITERARY connection between Jesu and pieta (individually, they need no explanation). I think we have to chalk this off to the mysteries of the universe that will never get explained...

PS to those who are interested in the finer points of language: Note in line 7 exactly the accusative (Jesum) I mentioned in one of my posts. For the longest time, the name was declinated in the Latin way even in German texts (I still remember bible translations of old that did this)--and that included using the vocative even if it doesn't exist in German either.

fergus 6:43 PM  

I think Visine was the preferred eyedrop among a certain crowd at my high school, and that's what I, too, almost dropped in since the theme hadn't yet made itself clear. Medium Challenging for me as well, but with no Harper's brain fatigue to claim. Quite a few Clues were well down the check-off list today. Simple example was BRUT, after ARID and SERE more commonly. Maybe a dozen others that took a while to tease out. Not complaining, however.

A bit rusty on the storyline, but I wrote in PHAEDRE where ARIADNE belonged. Oops

Bryan 7:30 PM  

Not a fan of this one, the clues, the theme, anything. Except it's Sunday and I like Sundays. But I disagree that this one required a large amount of "thought," as has been said -- MURINE and CRATIONS aren't in my vocabulary and I'm not sorry for it. There's a difference between digging in the memory bank and doing real thinking. I think this fell on the wrong side.

Glitch 8:34 PM  


Personally, I find "digging in the memory bank and doing real thinking" two parts of the same process, just depends where you start.

Only when that fails do I admit defeat for the day and turn to outside refrence sources (e.g. Google), adding to my "vocabulary / memory banks" for next time.


Anonymous 9:07 PM  

nice puzzle. somehow knew Murine, though I am not sure how. Also had LAUDED instead of VALUED for awhile. And the LIMP and LIMPID cross reminded me of the word block puzzle from last week

sillygoose 9:32 PM  

Oh my gourd, the puns! Ick.

But I liked the puzzle. It was surprisingly blank on first pass but in the end I only had trouble in the GIBE/GELS/STEMCELLS/AMYL area. C-(ur)RATIONS was my first theme answer and I have heard of Murine, but I don't know how I have heard of it. It's always nice when that happens.

Susan 9:48 PM  

I have never used I products so Murine meant nothing to me. For the longest time I just had "urine." It kinda threw me off. Knorr, however, was a gimme.

Lili 10:13 PM  

Those of us who speak Italian and have also lived in Italy know "Gesu" as both the Italian name for Jesus and as the name of Rome's important 16th-century Jesuit church (SS. Nome di Gesu or simply "Il Gesu") quite well.

But it's worth noting that the letter "j" does appear in some Italian regional alphabets, as in the name of the great late Baroque architect and theatrical designer, Filippo Juvarra. His name is sometimes spelled "Iuvarra," since the "j" in these instances does not stand for the Italian soft "g" followed by "e" or "i".

ACME 12:59 AM  

this is the first I've heard of that I use strategies and logic!!! But I guess that's true! I was just surprised that I had so much fun solving with you and then Maria bec I am closed in spirit to Shamik that I just want to do my own thing...always!

So that's why I had to rethink it bec f the joy you guys brought to the process... But I still think that would be more related to later week non-theme puzzles, bec I think Mon-Th would be a solitary outing for me...
(Yet my happiest memories are doing Sundays as a little girl with my dad...and then later, my most romantic with my live-in beau Sundays in bed...
but shortly after that, all significant others were folks who spoke no English, so that put an end to that! So it's been, like, 20 years since I've solved with others and I forgot what a joy that could be.

But my fave part of this blog is when Rex refers to what Sandy did (tho they appear to solve separately and compare notes) and the little comments by PuzzleGirl's husband :)

Thanks to the ACPT and this blog I'm now collaborating with others on construction and that too has brought enormous pleasure (and some pain). So it's all part of the whatever!

@Hudson Hawk
Now that I hear ACME was in the puzzle, I suppose I'll have to solve it!

I imagine UR THERE was timed for the space landing anniversary to begin with...but that Walter Cronkite's death was the poignant coincidence...not that this was rushed to print bec of it...

Didn't have time for the puzzle today...but I was at the Natural History Museum with my niece and nephew and saw in the African animal section OKAPIS and ELANDS and even a LORIS!!!!
So I count that! (No Oryx tho :( but I didn't see every exhibit)

"pulled estrus from the back of my mind" ... I do hope nowhere else! Funny image...

andrea kishkes michaels 1:11 AM  

the puzzle tweets I think have become my favorite part of the week!

Funny about Wendy's! Last time I was in NY I went with PatrickB to Eisenberg's deli and asked the same thing, if I got a discount bec my name used to be Eisenberg...
also got a big "no", but the owner at least came over and chatted and invited us to join his poker game!
Maybe if "Dave" had been lurking behind the counter you would have gotten fries with that...or something! SHame on them!
But until now, i had assumed you were Chinese...not that chef wen was for Wendy!!!!
i was laughing with Mac this week how wrong I've been about EVERY single person I had imagined and then subsequently met from this blog...EVERY one!
Starting with Rex whom I had felt SO in sync with those first few months, I assumed he was a male @50, Jewish and from Minnesota!

My dad always used to chant "Ishke pishke kick 'em in the kishkes, gooooo team!"... Did your grandpa?

andrea '80 michaels 1:34 AM  

PS I'm a little surprised no one has brought up the whole scandal with 9D DEREK Walcott, considering he has been so much in the news these past few months...having just lost out on the prestigious Oxford Poet position when he withdrew after they brought up all his sexual harrassment scandals from Harvard in the early 80s and again later in the 90s when he threatened to have a student's play blocked if she didn't sleep with him (I think it was settled out of court but he lost the Harvard case for sure when he gave a gal who wouldn't sleep with him a C...)
This kind of behavior used to go on all the time when I was an undergrad :( and I'm sad to see he was still at it 10+ years later...
Interesting that it caught up to him in this century tho...and he still doesn't lose his stature of getting to be a NY Times clue...and a Rex gimme at that!
Plus he could have been given the boy-clue Jeter!

(Where is that british boy who didn't play well with others on this blog when we need him?!!)

John 9:11 AM  

I loved loved loved this puzzle. Thought it was very fun and an extremely clever construction.

I also had SHINE for 97a and think that was a much better answer given the clue.

nurturing 3:52 AM  

I went through bottles and bottles of Murine in my college years!

This puzzle was the first in a long, long time that I just couldn't get going. I finally had to google to get to flow. So I looked up Ireland's first president and South Vietnam's first president. After that, it opened up a bit.

I didn't get the theme for the longest time. When it dawned on me, I had fun with it and it helped me continue.

I can't say I enjoyed the stop-starts at all. I do best with a puzzle somewhere between last Sunday's and this Sunday's.

Amelie 5:44 PM  

Anybody remember the jingle, "Murine adds nothing but relief..."?

TimeTraveller 12:25 PM  

1 week later . . .
I liked 84A IONESCO crossing 78D INESCROW and the WENDY/NANA pair and the ACME/ORANGE participation. Little chuckles to go with the puns.

Ionesco was a gimmie to us in syndicationland because "yesterday" we had 2D "The Bald Soprano" playwright, 1950 in Brad Wilber's June 20 puzzle. What we have not had is all the chat from your recent blogs (which are still a month away from us.)

Lynn Lempel made this puzzle? News to the Vancouver Sun, which gave credit to Alan Arbesfeld!

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