TUESDAY, Jul. 14 2009 — Oyster eater in Lewis Carroll verse / 109 famously / La Brea goo / Gomer Pyle and platoonmantes by rank

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Constructor: Donna S. Levin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Happy Bastille Day — theme answers are all related in some way to the French Revolution

Word of the Day: The TROP (49D: Classic Vegas hotel, with "the") — The Tropicana Resort & Casino Las Vegas is located on the Las Vegas Strip, in the township of Paradise, Nevada. It is owned by Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel and Resort Inc. and operated by Armenco Holdings. It offers 1,871 rooms and is attached to a 61,000 sq ft (5,700 m2) casino. The Tropicana also has 110,000 sq ft (10,000 m2) of convention and exhibit space. (wikipedia)

I guess there was just too much Frenchness in this puzzle already to give TROP its more predictable French clue (TROP in Fr. = excessively, too).
Hey, I got my Bastille Day puzzle after all. Huzzah. A nice, oversized Bastille Day puzzle (16x15) to accommodate two 16-letter theme answers. I like that the theme answers are so disparate, yet all tie in to the final theme answer (which acts as a kind of exclamation point): FRENCH REVOLUTION. Here's something I didn't know about Bastille Day:

Besides holding a large cache of ammunition and gunpowder, the Bastille had been known for holding political prisoners whose writings had displeased the royal government, and was thus a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy. As it happened, at the time of the siege in July 1789 there were only seven inmates, none of great political significance. (wik)

On a technical level, the puzzle is cleanly filled, with a number of interesting or unusual answers. My favorite is CHIRAC (10D: Sarkozy's presidential predecessor), both because it's a great string of letters that I rarely see in the puzzle, and also because of its tangential relationship to the theme. I'm also enjoying LAGOON (45D: Middle of an atoll) for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe because it's an ALGAL LAGOON. The Creature From the ALGAL LAGOON would be very scary. Or very silly. At any rate, the proximity of LAGOON makes ALGAL (42D: Like some pond life) almost tolerable, and that's a good thing.

Lively grid for a Tuesday, with a Q and a Z and a couple K's. I blew through this puzzle almost without stopping, handily beating my time from yesterday (despite the oversized grid). I don't really think it's "Easy-Medium," but since times were probably somewhat longer than usual on this one, I gave the difficulty rating a slight nudge up. I think the SW was probably the place most likely to give people a tiny bit of trouble. Three abbreviations are crammed down there — PT BOAT (48A: 109, famously), PFCS (48D: Gomer Pyle and platoonmates, by rank: Abbr.), and the TROP (which I'd never seen clued as a casino before). The SSE might have proved vexing. ALGAL isn't exactly common, and "STAR DUST" was totally unknown to me (39D: Hoagy Carmichael classic), so there's a decent possibility of floundering around down there. [sidenote: STARDUST is a famous Vegas resort and casino — could've made a nice tie-in with the TROP] Or maybe some people hiccuped in the west, where lots of proper nouns are giving a group hug to the WALRUS (33A: Oyster eater in a Lewis Carroll verse). WALRUS runs right through STREAM (24D: Dam site), and now I have "WALRUS in the STREAM" (sung to the tune of "Islands in the Stream") stuck in my head. Great. Nothing's going to get *that* out.

Theme answers:

  • 18A: Dickens novel with the 56-Across as its backdrop ("A Tale of Two Cities")
  • 27A: Declaration attributed to Marie Antoinette just before the 56-Across ("Let them eat cake")
  • 43A: Song of the 56-Across ("La Marseillaise")
  • 56A: Even that began in 1789 (French Revolution)

  • 15A: Dwelling section whose name comes from the Arabic for "forbidden place" (harem) — trivia! I did not know this, but "place" and "forbidden" and "dwelling section" and "Arabic" ... basically, the clue ... gave it to me. Funny how that works.
  • 23A: Features of the Sierras (aretes) — ah, Sierras has its "S" back. I'm happy.
  • 35A: Stale Italian bread? (lire) — cuteness.
  • 38A: Catch sight of (espy) — I was ruminating on this word just yesterday, for reasons I can't remember. I was thinking about how one might clue it as a sports award and wondering if you couldn't work Samuel L. Jackson into the clue (he's hosting the ESPY Awards this year and has hosted twice before).
  • 39A: Miserly Marner (Silas) — it's a good day for 19c. novels. Speaking of, I just checked Trollope's "The Way We Live Now" out of the library yesterday. We'll see how that goes.
  • 61A: "Milk's favorite cookie," in commercials (Oreo) — wow, I missed whatever era this slogan is from. Recent? Ancient?
  • 58D: "Able was I _____ I saw Elba" ("ere") — unwelcome Frenchness. One of my least favorite clues for "ERE" (or "IERE," or "EREI"). Tiredness.
  • 59D: La Brea goo (tar) — sounds like a SoCal punk band.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


JannieB 8:42 AM  

Looks like Will is addressing his feminist side this week - and gratefully, it's been with two strong entries. I thought this was a very intelligent puzzle - tight theme, good fill. Pitch-perfect for Tuesday.

Viva la difference!

chefbea 8:43 AM  

Happy Flag Day to all. Thanks Donna for a great puzzle

Wonder what kind of cake they ate back then

Eric 8:44 AM  

Nice write up Rex. Loved this puzzle. It's one of the very few (except Sundays) that I bothered to figure out the theme and it would have been faster for me if I could have remembered how to spell La Marseillaise correctly but it was still easy from crosses.
Loved the fact that this puzzle was not loaded with multiple proper names for fill which almost always create Natick moments for me when they cross and I have no idea who they are.
Thoroughly enjoyed this Donna Levin beautiful Tuesday

DanaJ 8:48 AM  

Seemed a very easy Tuesday for me. Breezed through, only encountering a snag at 54D, where I wanted "ROAM" instead of "ROVE" for the clue "wander". A very odd coincidence that today's puzzle had ONES for 55D in the SE; the same answer was in the same position in yesterday's puzzle.

PlantieBea 8:59 AM  

Bon jour. A very nice Tuesday puzzle for Bastille Day. Thanks Donna Leven.

I got hung up in the SW with PT BOAT and TROP, but my husband came to the rescue. Clever idea, Rex, and not too much to have clued today's TROP as the French "too", in my opinion. I will have "I Am the Walrus" as my earworm for the day thanks to this puzzle. Just listened to Bing Crosby's Stardust on youtube to muffle the Walrus.

joho 9:14 AM  

Lovely Tuesday puzzle ... thank you Donna S. Levin.

The theme was meaty (I keep reading it LET THE MEAT CAKE), fresh and well done.


The only thing I didn't like was TROP ... I just don't hear people saying, "Let's got to the Trop."

joho 9:15 AM  

That's "go to" the Trop.

Victor in Rochester 9:32 AM  

@Rex: Hard to believe you've never known Stardust. This tune has been recorded by alomost every jazz singer wo ever recorded a note. It's been done as a ballad, up tempo, romantic, dancy, and is a true classic. YouTube has dozens of versions including Carmichael himself. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em3xyZz_mow

Brendan Emmett Quigley 9:38 AM  

Why not just {Bowie alter ego} for 39D?

joho 9:42 AM  

@BEQ ... you make me want to see ZIGGY in a puzzle. Have you ever done that?

Ulrich 9:43 AM  

Fastest Tuesday in my memory--got all theme answers, except for the first, w/o crosses, which gave me footholds everywhere. And we have another member of the crosschix--welcome to the club!

I take issue with the clue for the Marseillaise. True, it was written during the Revolution, but it's not really the song OF the Revolution--it's militaristic to the core and not concerned with class warfare. What the sans-culottes sang when they stormed the Bastille (Rex is right about the tawdriness of the event) was probably the Ça ira. The staccato rhythm of the "Ça ira, ça ira, ça ira, ça ira" is really jarring and reminds me of the guillotine, even if the text deals more with stringing aristocrats up lamp-posts.

retired_chemist 9:45 AM  

Not unexpected – a Bastille Day theme. Very well executed to boot. Imagery I will not immediately shake: the WALRUS, the ELKS, SILAS Marner, and REZA Pahlevi in the middle of the FRENCH REVOLUTION. Enjoyed the Napoleonic palindrome @ 58D. Parsed 27A as LET THE MEAT CAKE in my recheck – momentary WTF.

Only writeover was LIRE (née LIRA). Knew all the theme answers cold, except for needing some crosses to get the correct spelling of LA MARSEILLAISE. And it still took me over 6 minutes. ☹

HudsonHawk 9:47 AM  

One of the most enjoyable Tuesday puzzles in a long time. So much interesting fill in addition to the theme answers. EMERITUS, HAREM, DELPHI, KILOS.

Incidentally, there's also a Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City on the Boardwalk. Everyone I know just calls it the TROP.

Dough 9:49 AM  

Terrific Tuesday homage to Bastille Day. @Rex, I guess non-pop and music that predates your childhood isn't your thing. You're missing great stuff! I'm glad the "Star Dust" clue gave props to Hoagy rather than to ziggy or woody or rod stewart. Nice write-up today for a very enjoyable puzzle.

retired_chemist 9:52 AM  

@ Dough, joho, et al. - Loralar's ZIGGY STARDUST is the name of the pug in my avatar. He thanks you for the shout-out.

slypett 9:57 AM  

@Rex: Heard "Milk's favorite cookie" in a commercial last night.

Easy, pleasant puzzle, even spelled "LAMARSEILLAISE" right off the bat.

hazel 10:06 AM  

Just got back last night from 2 weeks canoeing in France - this one was a total cake walk!!

Also the fact that I'm watching the Tour now where mention of Bastille Day is not infrequent didn't hurt - a couple of French riders have broken away from the peloton - trying to win the stage on Bastille Day.

Thought this was an awesome puzzle - loved the theme answers as well as the fresh fill elsewhere. Hate OAKY chardonnays, though I love the clue.

The Trollope Foundation 10:14 AM  

@Rex - Which library had "The Way We Live Now"? - We've scoured the country retitling all copies to "The Way We Lived a Long, Long Time Ago" back in the '80s. We must have missed one.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Great right up, Rex!

Jeffrey 10:31 AM  

Baby, when I met you with my whiskers grown
I set out to get me a fine tooth comb
I was blubber inside, there was tuskin’ going on...
Walrus in the Stream…

[BEGIN GLOATING]16x15? Big deal. Fastest Tuesday ever.[END GLOATING]

ileen 10:35 AM  

This may have been my fastest Tuesday ever as well. I certainly bested my Monday time yesterday by over four minutes. Vive La France!

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Just my imagination, or the grid looks like la guillotine?
TD in OP

Susan 10:42 AM  

Ulrich, you got me going! I must emphatically disagree with you about La Marseillaise. You say it's not the song OF the Revolution because it's not about class warfare, but it IS most certainly about tyranny and the struggle against enemies of freedom, foreign and domestic. These were core revolutionary values, even if they were not root causes of the revolution. It was written in 1792, once things were really moving; it represented what the revolutionaries wanted to say about their movement at that time and it still represents what the revolution means to many people today. Militaristic, sure. Fierce and bloody, don't mind if I do. But certainly intimately tied to that most important period of French history.

Gainsbourg notwithstanding:

Glitch 10:51 AM  

1) Appears the slogan was changed from *America's Favorite Cookie" to "Milk's Favorite Cookie* about 2 years ago. The latter is now on the package too.

2) Went to several conventions in Las Vegas, heard / used *The Trop* many times, especially when I stayed there.

3) At least we got a *holiday* theme on the correct day. (Missed a few recently). Clever it was Bastille Day and not Flag Day as that would have been too close to home ;-)


Two Ponies 11:01 AM  

Great puzzle and write-up.
Agree that a tie-in of Trop and Stardust would have been a nice touch. Sadly, the Stardust was recently imploded.
I can't hear/read "let them eat cake" without thinking of Barbara Bush's post-Katrina comments.
I've seen Abies Irish Rose in puzzles before but I always want My Wild Irish Rose.
Side notes: Walrus made me think of the upcoming movie Alice by Tim Burton. I can't wait!
Rerun of Family Guy last night had them searching for a Twinkie factory in .... Natick!
Funny that we are having more crosschix right on the heels of a recent discussion here.

PuzzleGirl 11:04 AM  

Don't really have anything to add to what's already been said. Just want to add my voice to the "Excellent puzzle" chorus.

Denise 11:09 AM  

Am I the first to thank you for "The Blue Lagoon"? I never saw that movie, but the trailer is intriguing. What ever happened to the male lead?

Happy Bastille Day! I marched through the theme answers, and had little trouble with the crosses.

Elaine 11:10 AM  

Theme made this one easy -- my only hiccup was also "ROAM" for "ROVE," quickly fixed.

Don't quite get some of the blog references to Flag Day today -- Flag Day is JUNE 14 (not July).

Bastille Day gets July 14 all to itself. Vive la révolution!

Ulrich 11:11 AM  

@Susan: Thx--you forced me to dig a little deeper. Here's a correction: Since the Bastille was stormed (not really, but that's another discussion) in 1789, and "Ça ira" was first heard in 1790 (acc. to wiki), the sans-culottes cannot have sung it during that event.

Now to your larger point: I do not want to go into a Clinton-type discussion of what "of" means and so, want to refrain from discussing what it means to be the song "of" something. What I was referring to was that in all accounts of the Revolution I've read (Simon Shama's is the last), the people sang "Ça ira, ça ira, ça ira, ça ira" on the streets of Paris, not the Marseillaise.

I'm also aware of the symbolic significance the Revolution has achieved over the years and I am very much in favor of it.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

@TwoPonies I stayed at the Stardust as a kid. Its implosion isn't all that sad ...

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

Yes, Stardust is one of the most famous standards in the Great American Songbook. If you dont know it, search on YouTube for it, I am sure you will recognize it.

I know the "Let them eat cake" quote... but does anyone have an explanation of what she actually meant by it?

Happy Bastille Day

Jim H 11:20 AM  

now I have "WALRUS in the STREAM" (sung to the tune of "Islands in the Stream") stuck in my head. Great. Nothing's going to get *that* out.

I'm sure that's correct. (sigh)

Happy Bastille Day anyway.


Susan 11:24 AM  

OK, OK, Ulrich. You raised my revolutionary ire there for a sec., but I've calmed down.

Mary Elise Dedicke (aka "Mel") 11:25 AM  

Loved the French theme, didn't know "Abie's" Irish Rose. My husband is an Elk, at least the clue didn't call it a "club" instead of a "Lodge" but it's not "fraternal" anymore either! Our last Exalted Ruler was a woman and women are very active members now.

JannieB 11:45 AM  

Not sure if it's true, but I think Marie uttered "Let them eat cake" after being told the peasants had no more bread.

jeff in chicago 11:47 AM  

All the good stuff has been said. And this one was good!

My cure for getting a song out of your head is a couple of quick repetitions of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Baby"

edith b 11:50 AM  

I liked the way the theme displayed a certain je ne sais quoi. The way the disparate elements of the theme cohered around CHIRAC ERE HAREM ELIZA REZA LIRE TROP SILAS AGRA - the sheer sort of foreignness of this puzzle, despite its simplicity.

I really enjoyed this one, Ms Levin, the latest entry in the Crosschix sweepstakes IMHO.

Stan 12:06 PM  

Great, more CrossChix! Thanks, Will.

dk 12:16 PM  

@chefbea, when the peasants complained of the increased stone and other detritus in the flour used to make bread, and the bread sold at a price aforementioned peasants could afford: LETTHEMEATCAKE was the reply.

Some say bread gave rise (tee hee) to the french Revolution.

Principle cake of the day - spice cakes

TROP and ALGAL were new to me.

Another CrossChixlette; woo woo

HudsonHawk 12:21 PM  

@jeff in chicago, now I've got an Iron Butterfly guitar lick stuck in my head. OK, could be a lot worse. Thanks.

SethG 12:23 PM  

LET THE MEAT CAKE? Let it what? LAMAR'S EIL LAISE? His eye rested? A TALE is French Revolutionary? STARDUST is a classic? ALGAL is a word? Who knew?

Hey, what's the opposite of wheelhouse?

Jeffrey 12:28 PM  

It's a Small World After All...

Have a nice day, HudsonHawk.

John 12:34 PM  

I believe(even)Willie Nelson recorded STARDUST.

mac 12:41 PM  

Beautiful Tuesday puzzle, with just a roam instead of a rove, and some hard staring at the SW PT Boat and Pfcs., but the theme answers were gimmes. I knew the name "Stardust" but have to go listen to it to see if I know the melody.

Go XChix!

mac 12:42 PM  

@Crosscan: look what you have done now!

ArtLvr 12:49 PM  

@ Seth -- you've got the CHAFF, rather than the edible part of the wheat harvest... as did the French peasants. I think there was a dire drought too, leading up to the French Revolution.

Great puzzle!


HudsonHawk 1:03 PM  

Curse you CrossCan! Just for that, I'll throw a Canuck your way:

Dan Hill, "Sometimes When We Touch".

You're welcome.

Jeffrey 1:09 PM  

Hey, Macarena!

Bob Kerfuffle 1:20 PM  

Fun puzzle, very easy once I realized ATALEOFTWOKITTIES wouldn't fit. :)

One small nit re 22A: Of course the standard simile is "As scarce as hen's teeth", but does that make it OK to substitute RARE, that is, do hen's teeth ever exist at all in reality? One even smaller nit: Perhaps 1 A should be, "Partner of punishment, titularly", since unfortunately they do not always go together.

PlantieBea 1:24 PM  



SethG 1:35 PM  

CHAFF I know--I learned it in math class. And my Chili's baby back ribs let the dogs out of the YMCA so they could break off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar.

JannieB 2:01 PM  

So in honor(?) of the French Revolution we're having a battle of the ear worms? Where's my free credit report dot com?

Clark 2:06 PM  

@chefbea, @Anon (11:19) --

What Marie Antoinette is supposed to have said is "qu’ils mangent de la brioche" (let them eat brioche).

There was some discussion here some weeks ago about brioche. Is it cake? Is it bread? It is a yeast dough that includes eggs and butter - lots of butter.

But there seems to be agreement among those who study these things that she didn’t actually say it. Google the phrase and read around if you have the time.

chefbea 2:26 PM  

@clark etal Am in the process of making a Kahlua cake. They should have eaten that. Yummm with lots of whipped cream

Daniel Myers 2:32 PM  

It's just a tad ironic for you to be celebrating Bastille Day, REX, with "A bas le ROI!" and what not!

For Bastille Day, whilst Rimbaud is REQ, Trollope is an admirable elective.

Charles Bogle 2:34 PM  

Ditto, huzzahs, agree...wonderful Tuesday puzzle, great theme, great write-up RP

To add some new personal faves here: EVEN for "Tie up"; EMERITUS; ESPY; FESS

Thank you!

Lime D. Zeze 3:53 PM  

Ulrich, excellent choice for your "Ça ira" link! Edith Piaf gives a rousing rendition!
This puzzle went down pretty quick for me although I hit a little snag in the East. Quickly recovered though.

ArtLvr 3:58 PM  

@ Seth -- You asked what could be the opposite of " in your wheelhouse", so I was thinking of your being winnowed out with the CHAFF, blowing in the wind, or something? Not sure how you got that in a math class, but if you say so... no problem!

Anne 4:39 PM  

When my husband and I were in Paris, we had a short time before our bus tour to Versailles began, so we jumped on the Metro and went to the Bastille site for a few minutes. As I remember, there was only a plaza with a statue, but I know we didn't do it justice. Maybe next time.

I thought the theme phrases were fresh and not what you would expect. I liked it very much.

archaeoprof 4:51 PM  

@Chefbea: Kahlua! Every Sunday morning I solve the puzzle with coffee and kahlua.

When I retire, I'll do that every day.

Anne 4:57 PM  

Re the hillbilly comment yesterday, thanks for the responses. Several weeks ago, something came up and my son asked me if such humor bothered me because people usually feel very free to engage in it without thinking of the effect (which is the case for most stereotypes) and when I saw that clue in the puzzle, I decided to say something. But that's enough of that, this is a puzzle blog, for heaven's sake (which is what you are probably thinking).

treedweller 5:04 PM  

My world history prof told us the CAKE in question referred to a common term for the buildup of flour on the sidewalks behind bakeries, where the residue rinsed from bread bowls was tthrown. But I can easily believe the quote is apocryphal. If so (or if not, for that matter), I don't know where the prof came up with the explanation.

Like others, I sped through this with scarcely a hiccup and beat my time from yesterday handily. I also needed crosses to correctly spell LAMARSEILLAISE.

Daniel Myers 5:18 PM  

I wonder what exactly the French - of that era - would be for "Let them eat cake." One never hears it said in French.

"laissez-les manger du gâteau." or something like that?

joho 5:28 PM  

@Anne ... I'm glad you said something yesterday and I think you should take offense at senseless, untrue comments directed in your, or anybody elses, direction!

PIX 6:09 PM  

storming the Bastille was a symbolic act...the only really important prisoner there at the time was the Marquis de Sade... according to Wikipedia however, he had been transfered out a few days before, but did help incite the crowds...i've seen other accounts where he was still there when they stormed it...however exciting, hardly seems worth having a revolution for.

Glitch 6:13 PM  


As one who alluded to *Flag Day*, in the last couple of months, the NYT *red letter day* themed puzzles haven't always fallen on the correct day, (if at all). I was just following their lead ;-)

Also see @Daniel Myers 2:32pm


Discussing the *corectness* of clues / answers is indeed part of this blog.

If my reply yesterday appeared to be a critical of your post, I apologize.

My only intent was to expand on the (valid) point you raised and see what would develop.


ArtLvr 8:30 PM  

Putting in a plug for The Jonesin' I got today, "I'm getting dizzy", at


The grid is a wonderful coil -- as into the heart of a maze. Great theme phrases with various venues leading to vertigo! Don't miss this one....

I don't know why it wasn't the same Jonesin' puzzle discussed in Orange's blog.


Glitch 8:54 PM  

odd night

been updating my computers and didn't see any posts here since my 6:13.

Where did everybody go?

ArtLvr at 8:30 leaves me to believe it's not me (on 3 computers).

Anybody out there? Or is today duller than I thought.


mac 9:17 PM  

@Glitch: it's a beautiful evening in the NE; let's hope people are outside, barbecueing and drinking beer and wine....

Glitch 9:49 PM  


Seems to be just you and I here --- eerie.

My work is done, and being in the NE myself, heading outside, corkscrew in hand.

Hopefully all the rest of the Rexites ar doing the same

Still *eerie* tho


JannieB 10:07 PM  

Just seems like the better the puzzle the less chatter is generated.

retired_chemist 10:08 PM  

Corkscrew's job finished before dinner here, doing nothing crosswordish. Lurking....

Anonymous 10:36 PM  

glitch... all star game dude. Crossword puzzles are not a day long activity.... most days anyhow :)

Clark 10:46 PM  

@Daniel Meyers --

Dude, you've gotta keep up. "Qu’ils mangent de la brioche."

Two Ponies 11:22 PM  

To all of you night owls, I can't explain the lull in chatter either. Dog days of summer? I'm heading for the patio with my glass of wine for the last light of a Vegas sunset. G'night.

HudsonHawk 11:43 PM  

I wonder if the lull can be explained by the fact that the NY Philharmonic was playing tonight in Central Park. Seriously, it seemed like every Noo Yawker was in the Park tonight. Huge, huge turnout. Lots of corkscrews getting a big workout.

Daniel Myers 11:46 PM  

@clark-Mea culpa, sorry about that. What a total punter I was in forgetting your posting. I was trying to answer treedweller's posting about what his history teacher supposedly taught him. Whatever brioche may mean, "dough on sidewalks" seems totally daft.

andrea trop michaels 1:57 AM  

@Donna S. Levin
Loved the puzzle. Join Xchix!

THanks for pointing out the inevitable Bleed over: ONES...and in the SAME position no less! It gets weirder!

@ Hazel
Welcome back...wondered where you went off to!

@daniel meyers
I had a French ami who once explained that "Let them eat cake" was a bad translation of a word that was like gateau (gate with an accent?) but did indeed mean the caky substance left in the ovens after the bread was removed...and when told the peasants were starving, she said let them eat (this caky leftoverstuff) which was more like the scrapings you give to dogs/the poor etc. than our concept of a cake.
Closer to the concept of things that get caked up on the insides of things...which makes more sense non?

@mein ulrich

ich bin ein brioche

and if TROP had been defined the French way, pauvre sethg would have imploded and it all would have been de trop.

you so funny!
The opposite of "wheelhouse"? I'd like to come up with one!
("Wheelhouse" is a word I inexplicably hate and it makes my back hair stand up...is it from trivial pursuit and that little wheel thing?
WHenever someone uses it, it reminds me of those phrases like "At the end of the day" or "make sure we're on the same page"...there's something icky/corporatespeak about it, like "skillset" but I really can't identify what it is that makes me want to punch someone when I hear it!)


Kindred spirit, I too looked at the LET THE MEAT CAKE for a while too, trying to think if you could get some weird puzzle idea out of it, clued "Leave the Hamburger patty" or "Rent the patty-o" or something!

I don't know if anyone answered you and I'm starting to fall asleep so can't reread thru 80 responses and I'm sure no one is up or reading this anymore, but the guy from the Blue Lagoon, Christopher something was just on that VH1 show where they try and help hasbeens restart their career and he was the only one that was still good looking, not that messed up and could act...
the others were Adrian Zmed and some guy who played the fat kid on something, and some horrible MTV guy who had been on the first real world and it was hosted by the untalented brother from "Wonder Years"...hot MESSES all!

@Hudson Hawk
Too late for the park...but I've just landed in NY...and I'm so happy it's gorgeous out and warm and hadn't even left JFK when I got to hear my first "howyadoin'?" from a cute guy!
(And when I accidentally ended up on an Express train to Harlem at midnight, a Denzel Washington-lookalike got me pointed back in the right direction.) Yay, New Yawk!

Singer 1:34 PM  

I find posting from left coast syndication land is somewhat pointless because it is so late in everyone elses world, but for what it's worth, I enjoyed the puzzle. I wasn't sure how to spell Marseillaise or Alicia, so crosses were important there. I am surprised at the number of you, including Rex, who didn't know Hoagy Carmichael and Stardust. It's his best tune, and has been done by a gazillion people, both vocally and instrumentally. I thought it was a great clue, and got it immediately (unlike Alicia, whose name I knew (thought it was spelled Alisha), but otherwise who is unfamiliar to me. I grew up in 50's and 60's rock and roll era listening to classical music and 40's swing and jazz. I have never learned to appreciate rock and pop music much, so a Ziggy Stardust clue would have gone over my head, although a reference to the Stardust in Las Vegas would have worked - just think it would have been too obvious given the clue for the Tropicana.

Singer 7:13 PM  

BTW, I got A Tale of Two Cities off of the first two letters, and that completely opened all of the theme questions. It was Tuesday, after all, and should be easy, but that is about as quick as I have ever gotten the long (in this case 16 and 14 letter) answers. Truly an elegant puzzle.

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