Janis, star of Broadway's "Puzzles of 1925" — SUNDAY, Sep. 13 2009 — Muscular Charles / German mercenary / Paris couturier Pierre / Hollywood crosser

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Constructor: Todd Gross

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Let's Play Bingo" — theme answers are Bingo calls. There is Bingo card at center of grid (or at least there was for people who do the puzzle on paper — not for the rest of us, who had to get ours separately). I guess you play Bingo. I seem to have won, so I'm guessing that means everyone won, so ... good for us.

Word of the Day: DAVOS (42D: World Economic Forum host city)

Davos (Romansh: Tavau, Italian: Tavate) is a municipality in the district of Prättigau/Davos in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.

It is located on the Landwasser River, in the Swiss Alps, between the Plessur and Albula Range. At 1,560 metres it is the highest city in Europe.

Davos has a dual claim to fame as the host to the World Economic Forum (WEF), an annual meeting of global political and business elites (often referred to simply as Davos), and the home of the largest ski resort in Switzerland, serving as the site of the annual Spengler Cup ice hockey tournament, hosted by the HC Davos local hockey team.

This is really very clever but I couldn't care less. Is there a point? What am I missing? I filled out my Bingo card. Bottom row was a winner. Is somebody bringing me a check? Because otherwise ... what's the payoff? Crossword Bingo: All the tedium and none of the excitement of actual Bingo! It's like regular Bingo, but with no possibility of winning anything! Again I feel like I'm supposed to ooh and aah at a grid. And it *is* clever and it *is* original. But in real Bingo, don't they call numbers that Aren't on your grid? In this one, since all calls Are on the grid, the grid was Supremely easy to fill out. So once I figured out the conceit, I just filled out the grid in a dutiful, bored manner, circling what was for me a big black Frankenstein head at the grid's center (see grid). I don't even remember how I solved it, in what order, where the trouble spots were, etc. Completely forgettable solving experience. I'm sure this puzzle was the result of a really bitchin' IDEA MAP (41A: Diagram used for brainstorming), but after the initial "Whoa" factor, there's little there there.

Theme answers are all just Bingo calls, so no need to write them Down. I won with



  • 19A: 1960s-'70s Ford muscle car (Torino) — still haven't seen the Eastwood movie "Gran Torino." Really gotta add that to the queue. I spelled this TURINO at first, as in "The Shroud of the Gran Turino."
  • 21A: Companion of Artemis whom Zeus changed into a spring (Aura) — AURA is a spring? That seems like some kind of elemental mix-up.
  • 31A: Emperor who married his stepsister (Nero) — anytime you have [Emperor who did some depraved or semi-depraved !@#@], it's probably NERO.
  • 32A: Child of the '70s, in brief (X'er) — interesting this term still has legs. I'll always know it, 'cause I Am It, but I wonder if the term means anything to anyone born after 1990.
  • 34A: Like any channel between 30 and 300 MHz (VHF) — knew it was one of the HFs, but picked wrong first time around.
  • 37A: Endangered Everglades mammal (manatee) — big and slow. Saw some in Mexico once.
  • 44A: Manfred _____, 1967 Chemistry Nobelist (Eigen) — my big "WTF???" of the day.
  • 50A: Hulu, e.g. (net TV) — interesting clue; not sure how common the phrase "NET TV" is to describe online video sites, though.
  • 79A: What "prn" on a prescription means (as needed) — I'm going to make "PRN" the new "PWN." Also, AS NEEDED and NEEDLED (99A: Prodded) in the grid near each other ... doesn't look great.
  • 80A: Muscular Charles (Atlas) — I get him confused with Jack Lalane.

  • 89A: The "it" in the 1990s slogan "Gotta have it" (Pepsi) — the '90s are my Lost Decade. I don't or can't or won't (willingly) remember it. Them. Whichever. Lewinski!
  • Buttafuoco! Vanilli!
  • 108A: Vaughn's co-star in "The Break-Up," 2006 (Aniston) — I confess that I find her Adorable. See "Office Space," or that one where Paul Rudd (even More adorable) is gay.
  • 115A: Paris couturier Pierre (Cardin) — I remember him vaguely from the 70s/80s but haven't heard his name much since. This morning the song "Smiling Faces" by The Undisputed Truth is stuck in my head, and I don't know why. All I know is that when I reread this clue just now, I had the urge to sing it to rhyme with the song's admonition: "Beware!"

["Can you dig it?" — this song rules]

  • 117A: Occasional 1960s protest (lie-in) — *very* occasional.
  • 119A: What an aurilave cleans (ear) — not too hard to infer from its parts.
  • 7D: Jay who once hosted "Last Comic Standing" (Mohr) – also once starred in a very short-lived sitcom called "Action" co-starring Ileana Douglas. The very very very end of the 90s. That part of the 90s, I can recall semi-happily.
  • 26D: Second-most common Vietnamese family name, after Nguyen (Tran) — weird how fast I knew this. Not sure what to attribute that to.
  • 34D: Hollywood crosser (Vine) — looks like it's going for TRANsvestite, but no.
  • 56D: Banned insecticide (DDT) — first thing in the grid, I think.
  • 62D: Number of wonders of el mundo antiguo (siete) — really? Verdad? That's your clue?
  • 88D: German mercenary (Hessian) — one of the longer words I learned from crosswords.
  • 91D: Sailor's vision obstructor (sea mist) — briefly thought it was some kind of MAST and that I'd misspelled CARDIN's name (CARDAN!?). "Beware!"
  • 94D: Popular 1940s radio show "_____ Alley" (Allen's) — up there with EIGEN on the "WTF???" scale.
  • 100D: _____ Janis, star of Broadway's "Puzzles of 1925" (Elsie) — red meat for the crossword elite (not me — I tend not to like the cutesy self-referential stuff).
And now your Puzzle Tweets of the Week — Xword chatter from the Twitterverse:

  • pdbennett8 @rexparker I wanted "Steeple contents" to be "Peeple" (childhood hand game/childish spelling), and I almost got it... on the other side.
  • jothornely Come on brain. I gave you coffee and a cryptic crossword - now it's time for you to give ME something. Brain. Please.
  • k_bot I am too drunk to fall asleep, but also too drunk to do a crossword. What now?
  • greekdude I saw an old man wearing spy clothes, sitting inside a car and solving a crossword.
  • fccmaryville Thank you God Today for - crossword puzzles, popcorn, naps, memories of childhood, pizza delivered to your house, jeeps, and fresh bicuits.
  • bhawkesRN Dear hubby: Completing the online crossword puzzle w tennis shoes on is NOT *crosstraining*. Now please put pants on.
  • doctorshaw Best #crossword-related birthday present ever? (No complaining about the numbering, crossnerds!) http://twitpic.com/h7zoh
I leave you with a picture that's been hanging in our downstairs bathroom for a while now. Makes me laff every time I look at it. Daughter drew it sometime in the last year. Tweeted it yesterday, but it deserves wider viewing (click to enlarge, I think).

["I could eat a horse ... and check it for a hernia at the same time!"]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


chefbea 8:51 AM  

What a fun puzzle!!! and as Rex said..What do I win?

I think this was my best time for a sunday (and I don't time my self) and with NO googling. I did have to look up Davos cuz I never heard of it.

Thanks Fergus for the great write up of yesterday's events in California which I read this morning on yesterday's blog. What fun

Bob Kerfuffle 9:01 AM  

I really wanted to like this puzzle, because the concept seemed entirely new and clever. (Maybe not completely new?) But as I worked my way from North to South, the fill seemed more and more tired and pedestrian. Perhaps it had to be, since the theme answers were necessarily devoid of word play or trivia value.

The one thing new to me was Deuce = TIE, but a quick Google shows that is the very first definition given. I had considered DIE, as the singular of dice, but that fell to the crossing.

Hobbyist 9:04 AM  

Oh me etc. So worried about Vermont being tarnished as it was there that I attended my first and last adult bingo game. Even won about $10.
A silly but fun puzzle.

Betsy the midwife 9:09 AM  

Sunday is Monday! I did like the puzzle. It is nice to have a puzzle once in a while that even #64/74 at lollapuzoola can do in under 20 minutes without using any google clues.
Puzzle was cute.
Betsy the midwife

Karen from the Cape 9:10 AM  

I do time myself obsessively and this is my new fastest Sunday time, by ten seconds. I wonder if this one would have been more fun to do leisurely, circling the bingo numbers as you go (as most non-obsessed solvers will probably do). There was some tension in the answers, there were several spots only one away from a bingo. I do miss the longer Sunday answers today, it seemed mostly short easy words, with just a few eight-letters and stacks of sevens.

VaBeach puzzler 9:13 AM  

OMOM (83A) -- I could have lived without this porqueria!

A Capriote 9:24 AM  


Jeffrey 9:25 AM  

I printed out the version with the Bingo card in the middle. I played bingo as I went along. I had fun. That's ok.

This puzzle is the type that can draw new solvers. That's ok, too.

No doubt we'll get two distinct camps today. That's also ok.

A dull Sunday puzzle can be a slog to finish. This was great for a Sunday.


Alex S. 9:26 AM  

I'm not sure what my real time was since I quite literally got bored halfway through the solve and wandered off for a while.

Having the list of possible Bingo calls meant that it was generally possible to figure out what it must be simply by the length of the answer. Any ambiguity was generally removed by a single cross which were extremely easy to get.

Never "filled out" my bingo card. Just took it on faith that I had won since if I hadn't the theme really would have no reason to exist.

Doing it without the card would have made it more difficult but that's probably always true when you have a dozen random answers that can not possibly be divined from the clue.

The most interesting thing abuot the puzzle for me is trying to figure out what it is that creates, for me at least, an optical illusion that the bingo card in the middle is not centered but instead one square left of center.

JaneB 9:34 AM  

Yes, I agree with the camp that found this puzzle very blah. Very easy to fill in the theme answers just with one cross.
And the Paul Rudd movie you are thinking of, Rex, is Object of My Affection - a very cute movie.

Unknown 9:40 AM  

Sometimes, the Sunday makes me feel like I might dry up and blow away. But today's made me feel stronger (and more awake) in no time! It's the puzzle that MADE A MAN OUT OF 'MAC' -- and me. ("Here's something I owe you, Will Shortz!")

Nonetheless, can we put "Number of wonders of el mundo antiguo" (62D, SIETE) in the running for worst clue of 2009? ¡Apropos of nada!

Alton 10:04 AM  

Didn't care for the puzzle-not challenging at all. No meat on the bone with this one. After certain clues I was thinking "really? This is a Sunday puzzle?" Got every clue immediately after I filled in the card since that too was a no brainer to fill in. Blah.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

A childish gimmicky Games-type puzzle ill-suited for the NY Times.

dk 10:15 AM  

@karen if you were obsessive you would have taken your fine point pen (eg. rapidograph) and filled in the entire bingo cell :): Amateur neurotic!

@rex, if that is your daughter tell her riding the bike down the slide backwards is the way to go. I will send an IDEAMAP under separate cover.

Generally, I do not like, finish or do Sunday puzzles for no real reason. This one was fun.

Minor gripe: IDEAMAP is more often referred to as a Mind Map but who cares one gets the point.

We played Bingo as kids and my aunt (Eve not ENA) had one of the old fashion cages you would turn and then pull out the lettered/numbered ball.

Skiing Davos is the real fun.

Norm 10:18 AM  

Tedious. Did not like.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Interesting concept. It is great to have variety in the puzzles!

Susan 10:24 AM  

So, I'm a moron. In the on-line version, there's just a big black square in the middle and by the title line there are instructions of how to find a bingo card. I didn't even look up there. Ignored the title completely. Result: I was totally lost, had no idea what the theme was until I had a bunch of crosses. Duh. Better luck next Sunday.

Loved the picture!

slypett 10:31 AM  

I'm squarely in both camps! The puzzle was fun to do, but Zora NEALE Hurston needs her rest, and the most interesting answer was VERMONT. Yet, it's nothing to SNEERAT.

Rex, your daughter is a treasure and a wonder. May you always have joy of her!

foodie 10:40 AM  

First a confession: never played Bingo, and only have the faintest idea what it entails. So, I did not take "mark your card" literally. I was on line, with a black rectangle in the middle, and while I saw the link, I thought that it was something we're supposed to look at after the fact. So, I solved it without and it was still too easy-- except for the A1 spot which is impossible to deduce from crosses. So, I thought the trick was to count the number of Bs, Is, Ns, Gs and Os and deduce that first one-- Which I did. So, in a way, I created a tougher puzzle for myself. Still it was quite easy, and unlike other Sunday, did not feel like a slog.

Anyhow, I feel like this puzzle could have been kicked up a notch by making the cluing significantly tougher.

@fergus and Andrea: Wonderful write ups last night about the tourney. And it does sound like a wonderful cause.

@Rex, that drawing is hilarious. It should be on one of those funny cards-- you could give it along with a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant : )

Denise 10:45 AM  

Since I am visiting the Connecticut daughter, the NYT magazine arrived on Saturday. I glanced at the puzzle, and saw the Bingo card. Then I did it online in the evening with the black rectangle in the middle. At one point, I thought, "I will never get #1 across/down," but then I realized that the letters, of course -- DUH -- spelled BINGO!

Using crosses, the whole thing was kind of interesting and easy.

Loved the child's drawing!!

chefbea 10:58 AM  

@Rex that drawing is great. I agree with foodie - should go along with a gift card to a restaurant.

It is beautiful here in Connecticut. Going to an out-door craft show later.

@Denise where in Connecticut are you?

PIX 11:16 AM  

Silly puzzle…personal best time for a Sunday: my wife is still sleeping and I am finished.

#17A: Can’t believe Rex did not provide a link to “Walk Away Renee” by the Left Banke; one of the greatest 3 minute pop songs ever. It’s on youtube; check it out.

@79A: PRN=as needed= pro re nata (Latin).

@44A: I am one of the few solvers that would like to see more science in the puzzles, but for the life of me I cannot explain why anyone outside the field should know or care about Manfred Eigen. Any ideas, Retired Chemist?

ArtLvr 11:25 AM  

HULU? Who knew? Like many, I didn't search out the card but solved it easily except for that impossible square 1. Numbers were intrinscally boring, IMHO, leaving little room for witty words and clever clues.

I could make up a Latin tag for PRN., but expect somebody will give us the real deal later today... ANYONE? The EAR clue was amusing, as was that for MELANIN, but did we like having both DNA and RNA here?

Yes, Rex's daughter's illustration of the ROAN was delightful...


ArtLvr 11:27 AM  

p.s. Thanks to Pix for the PRN phrase!


jeff in chicago 11:32 AM  

It was just all right. Theme fill ultimately boring. I have lines to learn, so buh-bye....

Glitch 11:39 AM  


"86" the card in the middle, work in BINGO [Halls] clued as "where you might hear the theme answers", resolve the 1A/D "Natick", and change "Mark your card" to "Theme answer ..." and you would have a NYT quality puzzle.

And I bet the rating would come in easy/moderate.

Best part of this puzzle is I'll out enjoying one of the last nice days of summer earlier.


Tony from Charm City 11:42 AM  

Not much to say, but a note to Rex and anyone else who hasn't seen "Gran Torino," just a warning if you are put off by Asian slurs. Eastwood's character uses virtually every one in the book to refer to them. It was almost as if he had a checklist and made sure he wanted he got them all in. Other than that, I enjoyed the movie.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

I look forward to the Sunday puzzle and when I saw today's, my heart fell as it was, to me, another gimmicky one like connecting dots etc. It was pretty easy but I, too, didn't really care. Alice in SF

archaeoprof 12:09 PM  

@Crosscan: right you are! And new puzzlers are always welcome.

Let's please not get too stuffy around here. I live in SC with people like Rep Joe Wilson, so I need all the fun I can get. This puzzle was clever, accessible, and it's Sunday! Yesterday was Saturday. Today is Sunday!

And that's no lie.

jerry 12:22 PM  

Agree w/Alice in SF. The clue writing felt sedentary...felt like a transcription exercise-the answers are printed in the grid!! Maybe the constructor is a bingo-playing senior, and this kicks off Senior Citizen's Puzzle Week.

I'm a senior;never played bingo, never will. Just give us exciting puzzles and forget the senior citizen schtick..please?

Stan 12:39 PM  

Not really my cup of Starbuck's, but I appreciate the willingness to try something new.

Great picture from Rex! Interesting the way kids seem to love that trope of literalizing a metaphor.

Jet City Gambler 12:47 PM  

1A/1D is definitely not a "Natnick," even without the Bingo card it's easily inferred unless you have no idea how Bingo works. The B column consists of the numbers 1-15, I is always 16-30, etc. up to O which is 60-75. There's no other letter besides B that makes sense in square 1.

I likes the Ferris Bueller clue: "Anyone? Anyone?"

Greene 1:25 PM  

At least there was no "add-a-letter, drop-a-letter" theme. I give Mr. Shortz credit for trying something new.

I was intrigued by 100D with the clue referencing Broadway's "Puzzles of 1925." I'm quite familiar with ELSIE Janice, but I had never heard of this particular show. A little digging reveals it was a musical revue built around the then-current crossword puzzle craze.

Apparently, crossword puzzles turned into something of a mania during the '20s. According to newspaper accounts of the period, one woman in Cleveland was granted a divorce because her husband would do nothing but work crosswords from morning to night. Another man was arrested for disturbing the peace because he would not leave his restaurant seat until he finished his puzzle. A New York telephone company worker shot and wounded his wife because she would not help him with the crossword. The man then killed himself!

This sounds like fair game for a satiric Broadway revue to lampoon and there was indeed a scene set in a Crossword Puzzler's Sanitarium for people driven insane by their obsession with puzzles. I'm not saying there's anybody on this blog who belongs in such a place, but hey, if the shoe fits... :)

I'm having difficulty finding production credits for the show which opened at the Fulton Theatre on 2/2/25 and ran for about 3 months. I haven't a clue who wrote the music, but most revues of the period had a hodgepodge of composers contributing material. Some sources cite Ms. Janis as the lyricist for the show. All sites agree that she wrote the book, directed, and starred in the production as well. Cyril Ritchard and Walter Pidgeon made their Broadway debuts and Helen Broderick was also featured.

There was but one hit tune,"Titina", heard here minus the lyrics in a dance band arrangement. The sheet music is available on E-bay.

ELSIE Janice was active in both theatre and film, not only as an actor, but also as a writer, composer, lyricist, and director. She wrote the song "Oh, Give Me Time For Tenderness" which was used in the Bette Davis weepy Dark Victory back in 1939 (song appears at about the 1:19 mark). She's got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame too.

obertb 1:43 PM  

I confess that I often find little sympathy for those who complain about how puzzles are just not fun to solve. But this puzzle I didn't like at all. I don't want to play bingo and solve a xword at the same time. I don't want to play bingo, period, but that's another story. I never went in search of the bingo card, just slogged through the puzzle inferring the theme answers from a few crosses. (It ends in ...EEN. Gee, what could that be?) Finished it in AcrossLite in record time, too, while watching the US Open in another window. Nadal, BTW, is getting whacked by Del Potro in a baseline smack-a-thon match which is almost as boring as this puzzle.

capesunset105 1:52 PM  

I T.

tedious, not fun, too easy for a Sunday. I wanted to throw it across the room when done. I don't want to solve a Sunday puzzle quickly. I want to struggle.

i had real Bingo fun when i won $7,500 playing high stakes Bingo, splitting a $15,000 game with another player at Foxwoods. and that was a low pay-out game--we played one game for $250,000. my heart was beating so fast at the thought i could barely "MARK MY CARD!"

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Awful, awful puzzle. The theme was incredibly stupid and had the easiest imaginable clues (I didn't even look at the bingo card- filling in numbers was not difficult without it), and even the non-theme clues were simple. I have, quite literally, never finished the puzzle so quickly in my entire life.

fikink 2:18 PM  

@Rex, Norm, capesunset 105, I had one word written down before I read the blog and comments today:


I guess we agree.

@Greene, Your post saved the puzzle experience for me this morning. Thanks.

Jack Kerouac & Allen Ginsberg 2:25 PM  

Blah puzzle today, folks? Why not take some advice from the Beet Generation?

Unknown 2:27 PM  

I was not B-10 by this one. I did it riding down I-20 N-30 minutes but, G I may not want to do another for O-70 years.

I did enjoy it and thought it was clever and a fun piece of construction. I'm off to enjoy the Fall weather in Philly.

Raul 2:31 PM  

Summer Songs of 1966 - Final Billboard Rank:

Walk away Renee(40)
Strangers in the Night(15)
Hanky Panky(19)
Summer in the City(11)
Wild Thing(24)

UltraViolet 2:43 PM  

I loved this concept! On the downside, the clues were less than stellar, but tracking the BINGO numbers was really fun! A different, fresh way to do a crossword, and once you had a few of the theme answers, you could deduce others to help move you along. I was surprised to hear a relatively non-positive response here, but to each our own....

mac 2:58 PM  

This was a certainly a different Sunday puzzle. What did we have agains lose a letter/add a letter, again?

I started out with a big mistake: 1A Eleven, and somehow that sat there for a long, long time. I liked Oh me, oh my, Mineral deposits, learning about "prn" and Rex's daughter's picture.

I stopped in the middle and did Merle Reagle's Philly puzzle, very nice. Now let's try the LATimes....

PlantieBea 3:25 PM  

Oh me oh my. This was not my favorite Sunday. My puzzle had the big black blob in the middle and I didn't look up the Bingo card until after I'd finished. Like others, I assumed I had won--did not want to fill in the card. This was one puzzle where knowing the theme made it easy to complete.

I did like WHALER, MANITEE (started with PANTHER--an extremely endangered Florida mammal), ROAN, but found the many short word answers a little blah.

Anonymous 3:46 PM  

As a student of classics, I found the AURA clue appalling. Not only had I never heard of Aura as a companion of Artemis or as a changeling of Zeus, but the classical literature mentioning this rando-nymph is so insignificant that none of my research to find the answer to this clue led me it.

The clue should have taken a different definition of aura.

foodie 4:11 PM  

@Jet City Gambler, I had no idea. Live and learn (even if it's about BINGO : )

I tried to get the 1A/1D by counting the theme answers, assuming equal distribution under B- I- N- G- O. BUT... only 12 out of the 24 numbers are clued (6 Across and 6 Downs) and they are very unevenly distributed in the BINGO array. Don't know if it matters.

re MELANIN, which is definitely more interesting to me than BINGO... there's a whole intricate biology to it and its part of our body's ability to cope with the environment. In frogs for example, it changes across the year and in response to stress, and the process is quite intricate... As Kermit says, It aint easy being green (or brown or spotted).

chefbea 4:25 PM  

@jack Kerouac etc - thanks for the beet blurb. The next Rexite to have a birthday - I promise a chocolate cake. Might even use red icing!!!

Glitch 4:26 PM  
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Glitch 4:28 PM  
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Glitch 4:29 PM  

@JetCityGambler said:

"1A/1D is definitely not a "Natnick," even without the Bingo card it's easily inferred unless you have no idea how Bingo works."

Absoultely Correct.


Jim in Chicago 4:35 PM  

The tediousness of this puzzle combined with OHMEOHMY, reminded me of an old joke.

Q. What do you call the 12 step program for people who drone on too long?

A. On and on Anon!

chefwen 4:38 PM  

Any time I can finish a Sunday puzzle without cheating is fine by me. Also, after shelling out another $6.00 for the paper (I need to get home) I was bound and determined to like it, and I did.

Cute horsey picture Rex!

Frances SC 5:32 PM  

This puzzle matched my day... blah and disjointed. Didn't bother to play the BINGO part, although I do like to play on family game night, but then anything is great with a grandson.

(dk...Bingo cages are still available at any store that sells games.)

My mother used to listen to Allen's Alley on the radio (Fred Allen from decades ago).

Archaeoprof... I, too live in SC... thank God for the NYT!!!

Puzzle done, guess I'll move on to more nuttiness at the USOPEN.

Bill from NJ 5:52 PM  


When my daughter was young, she loved drawing dinosaurs and I still use one of her pieces as my desktop image. I cherish her work.

Picasso once observed that when he was younger he could draw like Rapheal but it took him a lifetime to learn to draw like a child.

Thank you for posting her horse. It is beautiful.

fergus 6:06 PM  

Fairly confident that this puzzle would not please Rex, and he didn't fail to deliver. This one took only the first quarter of the 49er game. Also started with ELEVEN. I wish that there were a Doughnut clue somewhere because it felt like there was a big hole in the middle.

Retired_ManfredEigen_Chemist 6:08 PM  

Late today - dog show.

Well, this was different. Truly easy if you read the card, I suspect, but I didn’t. Can you guess what my last square was? The überNatick 1A/1D cross, ?SEVEN/?TWELVE. I think that is impossible to get without recourse to the cheat sheet, unless there is some code to the numbers in Bingo that tags those to B. Actually, looking at the card, it may be that 1-15 is B, 16-30 is I, etc. Had I looked at the card from the get-go, I think it would have saved me several minutes. Eventually DID print out the card and found the BINGO. Is the huge black space in the center of the puzzle grid supposed to represent the free square in the card?

Some nice fill – primus inter pares Manfred Eigen, one of the founding fathers of fast kinetics (my own research area). R. G. W. Norrish and Sir George Porter shared the Nobel Prize with him. My own work related much more to theirs than his, but he stands as a giant in the field. And just above him – VENTI, some weeks a daily acquisition for me. OH ME OH MY was cute. DEERE – nicely clued. IDEA MAP - interesting, obvious answer, never heard of it.

Gimmes: WHALER, NEALE, ISLET, UAW, FSU, MELANIN, SIETE, NERO (are there any other 4 letter Emperors?).


Montpelier VT the smallest state capital? Who knew? Who knew WYOming was the Equality State? Not I….

NET TV/DAVOS was pretty Naticky for me. I suppose not obscure to others, however….

All in all, much fun. Thanks, Mr. Gross.

fikink 6:16 PM  

@Bill from NJ, terrific reference to Picasso. Indeed, Rex's daughter's drawing shares much with Picasso's Guernica mural.

Yes, thanks for sharing, Rex.

Anne 6:25 PM  

I'm saying this without reading the comments so that I am not influenced. (I swear I will go read the other comments immediately.) The best thing about this puzzle was the horse drawn by Rex's daughter. Or, in a word, Ididn'tlikeit.

Greene 6:31 PM  

@Bill from NJ: Thanks for sharing that little tidbit about Picasso. Wish I could still draw like a child.

Anne 6:38 PM  

Okay, I read the comments and feel somewhat vindicated. I did not look at the card and got everything but 1A/1D as I know nothing about bingo. Then I assumed that it had to do with a missing letter so I worked at that for a time. Then I said to myself, it's probably a B and wrote it in and came here. Argh!

Puffin 7:02 PM  
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Puffin 7:03 PM  

Imagine if you were doing this puzzle in a race against someone sitting in the same room. It would be fun to see who got to yell out "bingo!" first. Maybe the constructor had something like that in mind, a new dimension to competitive solving.

nanpilla 7:52 PM  

@Rex, the horse is wonderful! I love the chartreuse mane and tail.

Wish I liked the puzzle half as much.

PurpleGuy 8:07 PM  

I'm definitely in the "tedious" and "hated it" camp.
Don't put other games in my crossword.
Shoot me in the foot, this was extremely painful and a real slog.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Definitely save that picture, Rex.
My mom saved some of mine, and I appreciate them more now.

Jeffrey 8:12 PM  

I was wrong about two distinct camps. There is a third - those who did a version of the puzzle without the bingo card in the middle.

Message to the future: Those in syndication, who by definition will have the print version, what did you think?

edith b 9:19 PM  

I did the Across Lite version and saw only the blank at the center and went ahead and solved it that way. The presence of obscure answers provided the only drama this one presented. I assumed from the title that the MARK YOUR CARD answers would take the form of the five letters of BINGO plus a number running from lowest to highest attached to the letters in some kind of random order. Figuring out what number to attach to which letter provided no real problem but very little payoff either, just like the puzzle itself.

I guess the construction was ingenious but not much fun to solve.

PuzzleGirl 9:20 PM  

Wow. I really enjoyed this one. I thought it was very clever and I actually smiled through most of it. If I find out what my secret formula is, I'll let you know so you can try it too. :-)

Glitch 9:45 PM  


IMO, "Camp 3", without the help of the card, had the best possible time (pun intended).

Imagine what a constructor could create, overall, using another 30 - 35 squares in the middle.

Monday, Monday....


MikeM 9:50 PM  

Was easy,but not a reason not to like it. Thought it was inventive and different. I had the hard copy so did not experience any of the onlne glitches. Only overwrites were ORBITED for AMBITED and TEST for DEMO. Finished it in the waiting room of the Dentists office Saturday morning... arent crossword puzzles wonderful for letting us forget about life for awhile? PS For a real easy puzzle, I spotted New York Magazine while still in the dentists office and went straight through at warp speed,hardly taking the pen off the paper... Cheers MikeM

Unknown 10:13 PM  

never finished a puzzle on sunday before. did this in 1 hour flat. sheepishly have to admit to being in davos a couple of times.

Suzanne 10:40 PM  

I like more of a challenge. I finished in less than half an hour. The horse, however, is sublime.

ArtLvr 11:26 PM  

Thanks to Greene and R_ME_C for fun notes above and congrats to Jeff in Chi on more lines to learn! Where and when will be the presentation? I have a visit to the Windy City coming up son....


william e emba 11:46 AM  

I'm surprised the BINGO theme wasn't in some tournament first. The goal, instead of finishing the puzzle first, is to get BINGO first. In fact, I wrote down three times: start, bingo, and finish.

I played Bingo once and once only, about 30 years ago. I had one card, and next to me was some little old lady who had about twenty cards spread out. The call would be made, N-44, and by the time I found out whether or not my card had it and I was grabbing a chip for placement, my neighbor had already laid out four chips on her relevant cards. Yikes! And so I learned an important lesson: Bingo is actually a game of skill.

I'm a mathematician, and I got chemist Nobelist Manfred EIGEN instantly. His name, of course, is too too perfect for any mathematician to ever forget.

Regarding the crossword puzzle mania of the 1920s: two fellows, Simon and Schuster, went into business in 1924 simply to publish crossword books, which until then had merely been a newspaper extra. S&S promoted crosswords as the next big fad, and their first book even came with an attached pencil.

Contests were held, libraries were vandalized, but so far as I know, no one was murdered (unlike the infamous contract bridge mania murder).

The Retreat From Moscow is a more recent play that includes crossword mania as grounds for a divorce.

Van55 1:13 PM  

Nero -- meh.

Third year in his reign -- blechhh

NETTV/DAVOS crossing -- Natick

Theme -- way too easy and totally without amusement

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

Charles Atlas is the Best! I found him on this website www.charlesatlas.com
Can't wait to order his program so I can get strong and ripped! Thanks Charles!

Anonymous 11:09 PM  

good article about charles atlas in last month's smithsonian:

nurturing 2:02 AM  

Last week people hated the Sunday because it was too hard, this week because it was too easy!

Rex, I was a young adult in the sixties and I'd say that lie-ins were quite popular. I guess you hadda have been there.

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

@Crosscan: Just did the syndicated version of the BINGO puzzle in the Vancouver Sun (Saturday, mind you) and rather enjoyed it. Is it only a coincidence that those who didn't bother to play along with the bingo card hated it the most? It actually made it more interesting for me, since it allowed you to try to infer certain numbers by looking at the card. In fact, I incorrectly wrote OSEVENTYONE for 53D and didn't notice the mistake until Jennifer became AnistEn a few minutes later. My husband, who thinks Xwords are a waste of daylight, was impressed by the creativity and actually hung around for a few minutes watching over my shoulder. Maybe, as another poster mentioned earlier, this one might draw in some new solvers.
- Jane. In the Future!

Unknown 12:00 PM  

As my kids would say: Easy, peasy lemon squeezy.

I had Orbit for Ambit, but corrected it when I couldn't make out the crosses. I also figured Will Shortz wouldn't cotton putting "orbited" and "orbit" in the same puzzle.

As for the "manatee" clue, every time I hear that word, I am reminded of this John Cleese poem: http://poem-of-the-week.blogspot.com/2008/10/ode-to-sean-hannity-by-john-cleese.html

Finally, thanks for posting your daughter's drawing. Made me chuckle.

Jan C 12:40 PM  

Posting from syndicated future, I enjoyed the puzzle. It was a good change of pace from the usual. Nice to try something different even if all the fill wasn't stellar.

Love the horse picture, Rex. Thanks for posting it and kudos to the artist.

Whitney 2:50 PM  

Also from syndication (duh.)...It was fun (I am easily amused) - but super easy. I would have liked to have been a little more challenged on a Sunday (I like to take my time and do it over several hours whilst at work - but finished today before I even left the house). When I opened the paper and saw the BINGO card in the middle I was scared. I thought it was going to be some rebus-y puzzle thing that I don't know how to do. But after I got "OSEVENTYTWO" I was good to go and the rest of the puzzle fell into place quickly.

I had "Walk Away Renee" stuck in my head the whole time. Good old oldie. Made mistakes that were easily fixed SHORT for AWORD, VHS for VHF, ORBIT for AMBIT (glad to see that was a fairly common mistake), ERA for HRS, and SITIN for LIEIN.

Now I'm looking forward to Frank Longo's puzzle (in the Homes and Rentals section of the Oregonian). It's always easy, but I'm guessing it'll take me LONGO-er today than the NYT.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Have the puzzle via syndication.
Loved the puzzle, completing a Sunday for the first time without assistance.
Made a couple of mistakes- did not know Davos and messed up Torino.
Liked solving the Bingo calls by process of elimination.

Matt 3:33 PM  


Once I got one theme clue, the puzzle became trivially easy. Other than that I have no real thoughts about this puzzle.

embien 4:51 PM  

Syndicated (shouting back through time at Crosscan)

I actually enjoyed the BINGO theme, finding it cute and clever. So what if it made a lot of the fill pretty easy? I still had a lot of fun filling out my bingo card. Those who didn't fill out their card (AcrossLite solvers for the most part, I'm guessing), didn't get the total puzzle experience.

Plus, I won!

Jeffrey 7:03 PM  

Thanks, future people.

George Glass 9:05 PM  


I am at a loss in trying to understand 7A: Items in an ed.'s in-box. Educator's? Editor's? The answer of MSS doesn't help.

I feel stupid! Can anyone help?

Stan 11:29 PM  

@George Glass: MS is an abbreviation for (among other things) manuscript, and MSS is the plural. So an "ed." would be an editor, whose in-box might contain manuscripts submitted for publication. Don't feel stupid -- abbreviations are pretty arbitrary and only make sense once you already know them.

Mike in STL 9:18 AM  

I'm in general agreement -- cute, but really easy... One point of contention though: "Allen's Alley" was the name of a segment on "The Fred Allen Show" and not the name of the show itself. More trivia: it's where Foghorn Leghorn came from; he's a take-off of Senetor Claghorn, a character in Allen's Alley who always said things like "that's a joke, son!" ...

mrbinkey04 12:14 AM  

I'm obviously in the syndicated crowd, and I therefore had the bingo grid in the center. I agree that it was far too easy, and the whole theme was pointless. Why am I filling out a Bingo card? I actually didn't fill it out until i finished. After reading all the posts from those who didn't have the grid, I'm now wondering where this online version comes from... do you have to pay for it? Anyway, I thought it was common knowledge that the numbers for B are 1-15, I is 16-30, etc. Apparently I was wrong, but I do play Bingo once a week, so I guess that may be why I knew that. I, too, found it odd that every number called was on my grid. If only I had that kind of luck on Tuesday nights! In this puzzle, though, it made it far too easy to solve. My only problem area was around VINE. I substituted EIGER for EIGEN and had ?IRE for Hollywood crosser. That same blank gave me ?HF for what should have been VHF, but I've never heard of VHF. Overall, it was an interesting idea, but the poor execution made the puzzle far too easy.

Anonymous 4:01 PM  

Although the puzzle may have been "too easy" in syndication with the bingo card appearing in the center, I found a few things interesting about the construction:

12 theme answers, all crossing in pairs.
One pair crossing at the first letter, and another at the last. (1A-1D, 124A-92D)
One pair crossing at the second letter, and another at the second to last. (60A-53D, 73A-29D)
Finally, two pairs where the third letter crosses the third to last. (25A-16D, 111A-75D)

Theme answers were also in symmetrical pairs with lengths of 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 letters. (6 letters crossing 7, 8 letters crossing 11, 10 letters crossing 9.)

The average Down theme answer had more letters than the average Across theme answer, which I believe is quite rare. (The average is 9.00 Down vs. 8.00 Across.)

Also, if you "mark your card" in the order that the answers appear in the grid from top to bottom, just before you mark 124A (N Forty) on the card, you will have four places where you have 4 of 5 needed for a bingo (and three more where you have 3 of 5). So, there was at least an attempt to provide a little suspense for those who marked their card as they progressed through the puzzle from top to bottom.

JaJaJoe 8:07 PM  

Mr Parker, while comments to blogs after their use-by date are like blowing-in-the-wind, at least you might see this.
Since you shared your daughter's art I have too; and I didn't see where any of your other 89 commentors wondered whether she was appealing for more food.-)

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