Broadway columnist Wilson — SUNDAY, Sep. 20 2009 — End of a ballade / Retailer beginning 1867 / Deadly 1966 hurricane / Beat poet Cassady

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Constructor: Michael Ashley

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "CLOSING BELL" — theme answers are familiar phrases with "DING" tacked onto the end. Wacky phrases, "?"-cluing.

Word of the Day: OTRANTO (93D: Town on the SE tip of Italy that's the title setting for a Horace Walpole novel) Otranto is a town and commune in the province of Lecce (Apulia, Italy), in a fertile region once famous for its breed of horses.

It is located on the east coast of the Salento peninsula. The Strait of Otranto, to which the city gives its name, connects the Adriatic Sea with the Ionian Sea and Italy with Albania. The harbour is small and has little trade.

The Castle of Otranto is a 1764 novel by Horace Walpole. It is generally regarded as the first gothic novel, and it was indeed the first novel to describe itself by that term. Castle is thus generally credited with initiating the Gothic literary genre, one that would become extremely popular in the later 18th century and early 19th century. Thus, Walpole is arguably the forerunner of such authors as Matthew Gregory Lewis, Charles Robert Maturin, Ann Radcliffe, Bram Stoker, and Daphne du Maurier. (wikipedia)

Basically, you will never see OTRANTO in a puzzle unless it is clued via the Horace Walpole novel "The Castle of OTRANTO," a work (as I've said before) many of my grad school friends had to read. My best friend was a Restoration/18th Century scholar, so I am familiar with scores of names and titles from this period. Whether I've read them or not ... OK, I probably haven't read them.

If Italy were grinding you under her heel, OTRANTO would be doing most of the dirty work.

Seven DINGs and and ODIN (doesn't quite ring, but I wouldn't tell him that — 16D: Ruler of th Aesir). Oh, and NYSE, which originates in a DING and is a cute tie-in (43D: Closing bell place). A bit too much of the same thing. Once I copped the theme, and saw that the same word would be added over and over, I meandered through the puzzle, dutifully filling in squares, but not very hopeful of any great surprises. The damn bell just keeps ringing. Couldn't you do different tones? Like BING, DONG, TING. I guess it would be hard to tack DONG (ha ha, DONG) onto the end of a preexisting word and get anything that makes much sense. Still, Sundays should, if anything, have a higher standard than other days for the freshness of its themes. 21x21's a lot of ground to cover. Give me something to look forward to besides a repetitive noise.

Wanna see something weird? Google [Broadway columnist Wilson]. There are a battery of sites with that exact title, in all caps. The whole first page of search results when I checked. DON'T CLICK on any, though; I tried to go the first hit and it tried to show me a "free movie" (same thing's happening with [Ruler of the Aesir] searches). It appears that someone has a bot that can generate page titles that match highly searched terms over a given stretch of time. Can that really be good for business if you are not a. a crossword site or b. a NEAL Wilson / Broadway site? I think about all the porn and self-help bots that spam my Twitter account, or the Chinese bots lately that have been spamming my comments sections with adverts for, among other things, mail-order brides (if the person who helpfully translated that one comment is correct in his translation). You may often wonder, as I do, "Who in this day and age is actually clicking through, let alone responding?" Harper's Index this month offers this stat: Number of spam emails sent for every one that receives a response: 12,414,000. I have to believe at least Some of that 1-in-12 million group is mentally impaired and/or not particularly solvent, with their "responses" yielding nothing for the spammer. Who are these people ordering women and seeking penile enhancement? If you're industrious (and shameless) enough to contact a spammer to ask for assistance, surely you have what it takes to meet a female human on your own.

Theme answers:

  • 23A: Goal of Sun-Maid's marketing department? (Raisin Bran DING)
  • 39A: Salad bar activity? (greens fee DING) — I was going to complain about not knowing what the hell GREEN'S FEED was ("a horse feed company!? Really?"). Then I put the "D" back on the "DING," where it belongs.
  • 52A: Book on how to repair rodent damage? (Of Mice and Men DING)
  • 69A: Reason that nothing's growing on the farm? (long time no see DING)
  • 88A: Question from a campaign committee? (Ain't We Got Fun DING?)
  • 98A: Exercise for beginning yoga students (Gentle Ben DING) — too spot-on. That is, the resulting phrase is a very plausible, real phrase, so the zing of the DING is lost.
  • 120A: Tardy illustrator's assurance? (drawing pen DING)

Nothing much to hold me up today. I failed to spell OTRANTO correctly (no surprise — I tend to spell it like TORONTO, not MONSANTO). FELDSPAR is utterly unknown to me (91D: Mineral that crystallizes from magma). Sounds like the world's worst production company name. "Look Who's Talking VII ... a FELDSPAR Production." If Marty Feldman and Caspar Weinberger started a production company, that's what it would be called. Got a little worried at the INEZ (42D: Deadly 1966 hurricane) / AMORTIZES (61A: Pays down incrementally) crossing, first because the word AMORTIZES just scares me. Like MULCT or AMERCE, it epitomizes the ugliness of business-speak. Bigger problem was brief suspicion that the "Z" was an "S." But reasoned that I'm not British, so no, zed, I mean "Z." Wondered briefly what EDDERS was until I realized that 105A: Push too hard, maybe wasn't RIDE but RILE, and thus the EDDERS were merely ELDERS (99D: Council members). Proper name mash-up at NEAL (50A: Beat poet Cassady) and RENE (33D: Haitian president Préval) required common sense inference from me, as I don't know either of those guys. FERLINGHETTI, yes, NEAL Cassady, no (though those two knew each other, apparently, and FERLINGHETTI wasn't technically a "beat" poet). Had a student who once wrote to FERLINGHETTI once (part of a class assignment) and he wrote her back: a lovely City Lights postcard telling her he couldn't possibly answer all of her questions. Awesome.

I enjoyed the ARNE / BRITANNIA and the ALI G (25D: Alter ego of Borat and Brüno) / SACHA Baron Cohen tie-ins. And that is all I have to say before ... Bullets:

  • 19A: Gasteyer of stage and screen (Ana) — haven't seen her since SNL. Always liked her.
  • 32A: Willow twigs (osiers) — I always think of OSIERS as the enemy of RAFFIA. Like they're street gangs. I am an OSIER, for sure.
  • 59A: Dwellers on the Strait of Hormuz (Iranis) — first, they're IRANIANS, and second ... I just imagine them all, standing there on the shore ... do they really dwell Right On the Strait? Waving at oil ships to pass the time?
  • 68A: "Drat!" ("Darn!") — wanted "Dang!"
  • 92A: Old Apple laptop (iBook) — I'm about to buy a new Apple laptop (tho' I've been saying that for months ...)
  • 96A: Company founded in 1940 as Standard Games (Sega) — no idea the Hedgehog was that old.
  • 112A: Porous kitchen utensils (colanders) – staring at COLON-DERS made me realize I'd spelled OTRANTO wrong.
  • 118A: Eight-time Canadian skating champion (Orser) — Brian. Right there is most of my knowledge of men's figure skating.
  • 125A: Up time (at bat) — didn't enjoy this.
  • 131A: Lead character in "Pushing Daisies" (Ned) — o come on.
  • 12D: Science fiction author A. E. van _____ (Vogt) — Old skool! I own many of his books — part of my vintage paperback collection. My favorite cover is the one for "SLAN!"
  • 24D: Retailer beginning in 1867 (Saks) — Like SEGA, older than I'd imagined.
  • 49D: End of a ballade (envoi) — a very handy terminal "I" word. Frenchness gets you the "I" instead of the "Y"
  • 54D: Something often thought of as impending (doom) — probably don't want "impending" in your clue and PENDING in your grid.
  • 72D: Sport of a rikishi (sumo) — I've been doing this long enough that some of these once-exotic sounding terms ("rikishi") are starting to feel familiar. Although if the answer here had turned out to be JUDO, I doubt I would have blinked.
  • 74D: San Francisco mayor Newsom (Gavin) — Youngish, handsome, pro gay marriage, somewhat scandal-ridden.
  • 93D: Pulitzer playwright of 1953 (Inge) — also All-Star Tigers' third-baseman Brandon. That's a clue I want to start promoting.
  • 102D: Meaning of the emoticon :-D (grin) — I wrote GASP. Why not just have the emoticon itself as the clue?
  • 109D: Broad style of cuisine (Asian) — dang broads and their Asian cuisine. I just want a hamburger and fries, woman!

Puzzle Tweets of the Week! (xword chatter from the Twitterverse)

  • LeslieLeonard Happiness is: doing the crossword puzzle with my sister in Chicago via text message. :)
  • corblimey Crossword that I attempted to do while inebriated at 5am last night makes for interesting reading. It's absolute nonsense.
  • 29accaciaroad according to the crossword in the work lunchroom, another word for clairvoyant is "phyicits" ...haha
  • rebcon1102 crossword puzzles + a blankie + the goonies = best day ever.
  • michelehumes Today's crossword is a bad joke: 'A horse walks into a bar, and the bartender says, "Go to hell, Will Shortz."'
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. all the women up for Best Actress in a Comedy Series at tonight's Emmy Awards are genuinely funny and worthy, but if (crossword enthusiast and all-around sweetheart) Christina Applegate doesn't win there will be much yelling at the screen this evening. It will pain me to boo Tina Fey, but I'll do it.


Anonymous 9:22 AM  

The answer did turn out to be SUMO!

Greene 9:25 AM  

Ah, Rex. "If I Were a Bell" makes for a nice tie in. Jean Simmons is delicious. Marlon Brando...not so much.

You had me going with the Judo/Sumo business (rushed back to check the grid). I'm sure you'll get lots of e-mail about that.

Technical question: How much of a repetitive ending are constructors actually allowed to add on to a word or phrase? (Just asking, not criticizing.) As did Rex, once I figured out this theme, I dutifully filled in all the DINGS which gave me far more help than a good theme should. In fact, this may have been the easiest Sunday puzzle I can ever remember solving.

JC66 9:50 AM  

9:50 and only 2 comments. Where is everyone Or is this a reflection on the puzzle!!!

retired_chemist 9:55 AM  

Back to normal. Agree with JC66 - where are y'all?

An easy, albeit unexciting, Sunday. Noted that all the theme answers ended in ING – got ALL the D’s from the downs as it happened, and only at the end caught on to the –DING enDING. Cute.

Minor mess in the NE, where I put START OVER instead of START ANEW for 29A. Soon fixed. Couldn’t remember how to spell COLANDERS (E or A for the 4th letter?) @ 112A but somehow knew the cross OTRANTO. So, A. With a couple of crosses, ARNE and ORSER appeared easily. Even FELDSPAR for this chemist took a few crosses. DARN!

Was looking for an early musical style for Michael Jackson @ 46D – AFRO was unexpected but obviously correct.

Note to self: if OSIERS is a gimme (it was) you are doing too many crosswords.

matt 9:56 AM  

This was okay, but didn't it seem to have a lot more 4-letter words than normal? It felt like a bad game of scrabble.

My only mistake was enjoi/joa instead of envoi/voa.

Karen from the Cape 9:57 AM  

My fastest ever Sunday crossword record has been broken, one week after it was last set.

Rex, maybe you were thinking of the Colon-dar? It features people who have survived colon cancer at young ages. Some of the stories are heart-rending.

We read Van Vogt's 'Worlds of Null-A' in our book club. His characters use pure logic in making decisions, and I could have used a philosophy major to help me understand some of his points. Anyone know much about general semantics?

I also waffled on IDIO/IDEO. I think the one means eccentric, the other means self :?

Meinhardt Raabe 10:01 AM  

Thanks for the Guys and Dolls clip rather than Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead (at the 2:07 mark.)

Rex Parker 10:05 AM  

As for where everyone is: I got the post up a bit late today, so there's that, but in general, traffic has been Way down since Labor Day weekend. It was way up, at its highest levels ever, in the last week of August, and then the bottom just fell out. Well, not "out." Traffic is still quite good. Just noticeably down since Labor Day weekend. People are Back to work / back to school / back to bed with illness ... or maybe it's the puzzles. Or maybe it's me. You never know. I expect it's a temporary, seasonal fluctuation. Or, as you suggest, today's puzzle may simply not be that comment-worthy.


Rex Parker 10:06 AM  

I really wanted the Blossom Dearie version of "If I Were a Bell," 'cause that's what's been in my head All Morning (pleasantly so ... I love that woman).


Bob Kerfuffle 10:10 AM  

Only bit of messiness in my solve due to totally inexplicable brain freeze/brain scramble: At 88 A, fully aware of the theme and structure, I somehow started putting in ARE WE HAVING FUNDING YET? instead of AIN'T WE GOT FUNDING!

(P.S. - @Orange - I figured out the MGWCC!)

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Chuckled almost every time I got one of the theme clues.

Meg 10:12 AM  

Not much to say about this puzzle. I went awry with START OVER, which gave me EN GORDE!

Enjoyed the teeny bit of misdirection with "Was gaping", which I took as
Was hanging open"........

Too easy, so not much fun.

Meinhardt Raabe 10:14 AM  

Audio version of Blossom's Bell
It is excellent, Thanks RP.

Jeffrey 10:18 AM  

Should I post a comment even if I have nothing to say today?

slypett 10:38 AM  

What Crosscan said, except I had one teeny-tiny error, too small to even talk about.

chefbea 10:45 AM  

Thought the puzzle was a lot of fun. And I too chuckled at most of the answers.

I have lots of colanders so I can drain pasta when its done.

loved Ain't we got fun-ding

imsdave 10:51 AM  

It's not you Rex. See Crosscans (insert your apostrophe wherever you'd like) comment.

Thursdays puzle(see note above) made the whole week for me.

Meg 10:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich 11:09 AM  

@Crosscan: There's always FELDSPAR to comment on--it is derived from the German Feld, field, and Spat, a rock that does not contain ore--so, Rex, there you have it! And thanks, but no thanks to the constructor, b/c, of course, I put in FELDSPAT and wondered why things didn't work out.

Actually, I liked a couple of the theme answers and chuckled: LONG TIME NO SEEDING, OF MICE AND MENDING. But it was kind of a slog, getting through the grid with all the DINGs in place. Das Ding an sich would have been more interesting, but let's not do Kant on a Sunday morning...

fikink 11:20 AM  

Ceramists are very familiar with FELDSPAR, a common ingredient in glaze formulation; this is the closest some artists get to chemistry.

Thought the puzzle was routine.

Noam D. Elkies 11:38 AM  

Felt a bit harder than a usual Sunday, but I'll blame that on solving just before bedtime (or on generational whiplash after Veterans Week). Easy or not, I liked it, and didn't mind the DING DING DING, especially in connection with 43D:NYSE whose closing bell doesn't go "ding dong ting bong goo" or whatever. (Apropos Rex's "ha ha", I never noticed DONGiovanni before...)

125A:ATBAT must be a first: a baseball clue that I liked better than Rex. Looks to me like a clever clue for a common phrase, rather than the usual annoying trivia involving some random player's (or worse, manager's or umpire's or whatever's) name with only a useful letter combination to recommend it.

I was aware of 93D:OTRANTO only because W.V.Quine mentioned it in Quiddities as an example of unpredictable Italian stress. He wrote that the stress comes on the initial O. Can an Italian reader confirm or refute this? puts the stress on the A as one naïvely expects, and the Wikipage is (literally) silent on the matter.

If 48A:ARNE were to show up this week, I'd expect it in one of the veterans' weekday puzzles. Nice to see 80A:BRITANNIA together with that olde crosswordese ARNE; the other 9-letter acrosses (29:STARTANEW, 61A:AMORTIZES, 112A:COL&ERS) are good too.

If you're going to see a 72D:SUMO tournament you'll probably fly through 101D:NARITA airport — which also brings us back to the Anitra's dance clue from yesterday's Puns & Anagrams. I doubt there's a direct flight to NARITA from TIRANA...


still_learnin 11:40 AM  


I'm a math teacher -- I know, that's almost a cliche on this blog. During the summer I comment nearly daily, but once the school year starts I'm lucky to finish today's puzzle before tomorrow's comes out. I wonder how many others have the same problem.

As for today's puzzle... there's not much to say. I "dinged" all the theme clues as soon as I got the theme. That made the rest of the puzzle decidedly non-challenging.

edith b 11:41 AM  

Because of its size, the easier the puzzle, the better. I liked the -DING endings. Not much more to say about this one. Open and shut case.

This is one of those "Commenters with nothing to say but comments anyway" comments.

CoolPapaD 11:49 AM  

Aftear the beating I took this past Thursday (and skipping Fri and Sat for work-related reasons), this was a pleasure. The DINGS made be smile, especially GENTLE BENDING. Doubt I would have known HUEVOS RANCHEROS had I not ended up living (accidentally) in Phoenix.

NEAL Cassady = amazing Grateful Dead song!

Michael Leddy 12:05 PM  

Is it really reasonable to call NEAL Cassady a "Beat poet"? He was a collaborator on the poem "Pull My Daisy" (with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac), but he's known, really, as a writer of prose. Or are there other poems? I think a correction might be needed here.

I loved seeing FELDSPAR, which takes me to a little childhood collection of mineral samples from the American Museum of Natural History.

jae 12:09 PM  

What XMAN said about what crosscan said. Plus, I think I made the same tiny error.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  


retired_chemist 12:59 PM  

Anon 12;35, acc. to Google translate, said:

The new Color Plastic Surgery Clinic
Plastic, plastic surgery, breast enlargement, endoscopic breast enlargement, breast enhancement, jelly silicone, double-fold, double-fold eyelids, eyelid suture, eyes open head, bags under the eyes, nose, Korean nose job, liposuction, Xiao Gu, body odor, "" "Reference Websites

retired_chemist 1:05 PM  

@ fikink - I never gave the development of a course on "The Chemistry of Art" enough priority to actually get it done, but I thought about it several times. It would be fascinating to teach to art students. All the inorganic stuff involved in pottery glazes, organic in oil painting and dyestuffs, the subtleties involved in restoration, field trip opportunities, and MORE!

treedweller 1:11 PM  

I spelled SACHA with an 'S' which made "ass" look right for the epitome of simplicity. Otherwise, this was a breeze.

I wasn't familiar with this usage of ENVOI, but crosses were solid.

I'm with Edith B--the oversized puzzles are just fine when they are easy, since it's a rare exception for one to be both challenging and able to sustain my interest long enough to get through it.

N.C., secret hero 1:21 PM  

@Michael Leddy, I do not think a correction is needed. Cassady didn't leave much Poetry in written form but he lived in the NOW.

Cassady Prose Rap with the Dead circa 1967.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

I liked the puzzle. It had a good mix of words, i.e., OSIER (an AGEOLD puzzle piece)and DORAG (not so old, and keeps those sweat BEADS off the forehead). I got hung up in SW corner -- had inserted "Sorento" for OTRANTO, thought "colender" looked fine, but puzzled over the Yoga exercise of "genolebending." But then, not knowing much about Yoga shrugged that off. The real hangup was "I-Bosk" which I decided MUST be "I-Bosc" (maybe Apple used pears, too, I reasoned? -- but, then, I was SO positive it was Corporal KLINGER (not, surely, Clinger?) Hugh Walpole finally hit me on the head. I read all of his books when I was a teen. I adored The Castle of Otranto. The statues bled! The damsels fled down dark, damp stony steps! Wonderful Gothic stuff. Suddenly all fell into place. One quibble: isn't :-D more laugh than GRIN??

AV 1:36 PM  

Entered STARTOVER for 29A, and got stuck in the NE, until I saw OVER again in the SW. Once the change was made to STARTANEW, no hurdles.

LONG TIME NO SEE and RAISIN BRAN were the stars of the show; brought a smile to my face. Two thumbs up for: OF MICE AND MEN, GENTLE BEN and AINT WE GOT FUN!

Not so much for DRAWING PEN, probably the only awkward theme fill.

Overall, very easy, very simple theme, made fun by a couple of cool entries.

Stan 1:37 PM  

Theme worked fine for me, and the rest kept things interesting enough (with inter-related clues and the like). Loved "Units of sweat." which I've never seen before.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

after yesterday's fiasco (hate puns
etc) this went too fast for me.

Every time I see venerable I know the answer is ageold.


MikeM 2:17 PM  

OK, not to be a wet blanket... but where is AINT WE GOT FUN from? Was itching for Aint Misbehavin, Aint that shame, Aint no mountain high enough etc etc.

@Treedweller, had the same problem with SASHA/SACHA... who knew.

ATBAT took me WAY too long to get.

Any puzzle that includes the beloved Corp Klinger is fne in my book.

Lili 2:41 PM  

A little TOO easy. I prefer more of a challenge.

But I loved the inclusion of "Otranto."

Anonymous 3:01 PM  

The NYSE bell only goes ding, approximately seven times, and then by dang its business as usual, e.g., dung! However, there's no dong!

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

Hugh Walpole may have hit me over the head, but Horace should have. Good grief. Hugh knew?

Michael Leddy 3:19 PM  

@N.C., secret hero of these comments:

Thanks for that link. I still think that "Beat hero," "Beat legend," or just "Beat writer" would be a better clue.

joho 3:27 PM  


On the DING scale I'd give this puzzle a 7.

@Ulrich ... FELDSPLAT!

Greene 3:29 PM  

@MikeM: "Ain't We Got Fun?" is a cheer-up ditty from the revue Satires of 1920. It became wildly popular and came to serve as a metaphor for the devil-may-care roaring 20s. I always think of Eddie Cantor or Al Jolson when this song comes up. Here's Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton (both theatre stalwarts) doing the number to a montage of images from All in the Family. That imagery somehow seems appropriate.

Twangster 3:51 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glitch 4:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glitch 4:20 PM  

Nice gentle course correction after last week's departure from what a lot of us believe is the "standard" --- avoided the jarring effect a "challenging" puzzle might have caused those of us sufffering from withdrawal.

Found this a standard, "wacky phrase", sub catagory "easy" (all had the same thing tacked on at the end) puzzle.

"A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer in your pants" experience.


Leslie 4:21 PM  

Liked it okay.

Did anyone else wonder about the pushiness? 95A, "push" for GOAD; 105A, RILE's clue is "push too hard, maybe;" 107D, "pushed, with 'on,' " for EGGED; 111D, "pushed" for URGED.

Maybe all those DINGs came from doorbells we were pushing.

BEE for "one using a comb" tickled me.

Clark 4:24 PM  

Blogspot ate my comment. First time that has happened. Maybe that is appropriate since what I tried to publish was a comment about the Unding. And (@Ulrich) if we're not going to talk about Kant maybe we shouldn't talk about Wittgenstein either.

fikink 4:36 PM  

@Clark, not to mention Fichte.

@Retired Chemist, I would take your course. What a blast!

@Greene, lotsa of varying lyrics to Aint We Got Fun, including, "The Rich get rich and the poor get children." Don't think that would fly today.
(Don't have a tomato for an avatar for nuthin'!)

MikeM 4:43 PM  

@ Greene - thanks!

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

As I'm sure many of you know, along with the Grateful Dead connection Neal Cassady is known for being the real-life model for Dean Moriarty in Kerouac's On the Road.

PlantieBea 6:47 PM  

Ding, ding...I liked it, especially gentle bending which I did while planting a fall garden today. Ended up with one error with PEREZ instead of PERES. Just sloppy on my part. My comments...what Crosscan said.

Jeffrey 7:03 PM  

Glad to see I finally said something quotable.

Ulrich 7:09 PM  

@Clark and fikink: What show-offs you are, throwing authors at me whom I have never read...

fikink 7:30 PM  

@Ulrich, I don't know if it was true of Clark, but my comment was a riff on an old Nichols and May routine where they mention in casual conversation, mind you, (something like) " dear friend, my very good friend, Bertrand Russell..."

This blog brings out the worst in me! :)

Stan 7:40 PM  

Thanks, @twangster, for your comment on Neal Cassady

Clark 8:05 PM  

@fikingk - I refuse to believe that you don't know that Fichte called Kant's Ding an Sich an Unding.

@Ulrich - Wittgenstein is one of the most readable of all philosopher. Dig into the Philosophische Untersuchungen and you will be glad you did.

fergus 9:14 PM  

Wittgenstien most readable? News to me, though I did glean something about the meaning of a private language from the Tractacus.

All the enDINGS were quite amusing, which was ample reward for for a so-so theme. One little error for the emoticon was GLAD, since was I was tripped up, maybe in the fashion of the philosopher, with meaning versus straight representation. Rex was right that the Clue should simply have been 102 :-D

Clark 9:38 PM  

@fergus -- Had I been more careful I would have excluded the tractatus from the readable (in the sense I was using the word) Wittgenstein. The Philosophical Investigations and much of the other posthumously published stuff is eminently readable.

"I am sitting with a philosopher in the garden; he says repeatedly, 'I know, that that is a tree,' whereby he points to a tree that is near us. A third person comes along and hears this, and I say to him: 'This man is not cray: We are just doing philosophy.' " (On Certainty 467)

mac 9:59 PM  

Pretty fun puzzle. I got the theme early, after first filling in
"raisin for being" for 23A. After fixing that I filled in all the dings.

Lots of little words, but some nice clue-ing (Greene?). A real Sunday to me.

fergus 10:31 PM  

Clark -- my 13 year-old son's favorite subject has become Philosophy. My restrained guidance in specific academic matters is to deal with Plato and Descartes as cornerstones. I cannot help but plug those two as most readable since they're probably the most accessible to inquiring young minds. During a couple of home-school years especially, we explored so many concepts without any attribution -- just ideas pure and simple. Poetry, visual art and natural science comprised the other parts of our curriculum. Looking back, it seems even more EDENIC than passages from Rousseau's "Emile" or any other tract on education. Elements of algebra inscribed by a driftwood stick on the firm sand of a receding tide ...

Mike Lewis 10:45 PM  

I shared treedweller's SASHA/ASS error and it took me a long time to track down where I went wrong. Otherwise, smooth sailing.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:35 AM  

@Anonymous 2:02 -- Sometimes the answer to Venerable _____ is BEDE. No sweat.

Henry Henckler 9:45 AM  

I was waiting for clue... Tennis star steffi goes too fast. Grafspeeding

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

I got feldspar from one of my fave movies, What's Up, Doc?

"I mean, I can take your igneous rocks or leave 'em. I relate primarily to micas, quartz, feldspar."

Whitney 3:34 PM  

Neal Cassady is in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. It's pretty much an amazing book. And I just found out that Gus Van Sant is slated to direct a movie version of the book to come out in 2010. Groovy.

I was stuck at the SASHA/ASS crossing as well. Other than that, it was a relatively quick Sunday for me - but I like to think that's because I'm getting better.

embien 7:34 PM  


I think it is a darn shame that there evidently is no possible Simpson's cluing for NED. Pushing Daisies? Is that animated?

Anonymous 7:13 PM  


Unknown 8:24 PM  

I'll take some undeserved pride in being the last comment or at least having the last word. Here in Maine I'd rather do the Luddite version of the puzzle, even if it means waiting for the second Thursday after it runs. You're all effectively two puzzles ahead of me, but that's okay. I enjoy Rex's post and your comments nonetheless. It does pose the question - If a post to a blog is unread, does it get a response?

Zenjamin Koan 8:27 PM  

If you want to have the last word, don't end your comment with a question!

Unknown 7:20 PM  

Fair enough, Zen. Fair enough.

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