Filmmaker Martin — SUNDAY, Nov. 22 2009 — White-tailed movie star / Sex symbol once married to Vadim

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Constructor: Patrick Merrell

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Career Day Speaker Schedule" — theme answers are jobs that are clued via other jobs that sound identical or at least similar if you take them as puns

Word of the Day: Martin RITT (36A: Filmmaker Martin) Martin Ritt (March 2, 1914 – December 8, 1990) was an American director, actor, and playwright who worked in both film and theater. He was born in New York City. [...] With work hard to find and the Depression in full effect, many WPA theater performers, directors, and writers became heavily influenced by the radical left and Communism, and Ritt was no exception. Years later, Ritt would state that he had never been a member of the Communist Party, although he considered himself a leftist and found common ground with some Marxist principles. [...] Although not directly named by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), Ritt was mentioned in an anti-communist newsletter called Counterattack, published by American Business Consultants, a group formed by three former FBI agents. [...] He was finally blacklisted by the television industry when a Syracuse grocer charged him with donating money to Communist China in 1951. [...] In 1976, Ritt made one of the first dramatic feature films about the blacklist, The Front, starring Woody Allen. [He is probably most famous for directing "Norma Rae" (1979)] (wikipedia)


Some Sundays are exciting, some are simply endurance tests. Today's was definitely the latter. Clue jobs with other jobs. Clue asks us to reimagine the job as a pun. OK, done. But these are worth a slight chuckle at best, and there's a Ton of them, so in essence what I'm doing is filling my grid with job titles, more of which are dull (in sound and look, if not in practice) beyond belief. Meanwhile, the kind of fill I'm having to endure is startlingly subpar. STERS (130A: Dump and road endings)? IES (57A: Suffix with pant or aunt)?! ARCHI (59D: Prefix with -tect)!?! ENARM (76D: Equip with weapons, old-style)? EYERS (89D: Spectators)?! It was like being bludgeoned. I'll accept some bludgeoning if the puzzle has some sweet payoff, but today, there wasn't any. I don't know what to make of the final theme answer? NOVEL WRITER? How does that fit the clue, 119A: Career of the parent who typed up the Career Day schedule? Is it that he or she has written the jobs in new (i.e. NOVEL) ways? Talk about forcing the issue ...

Theme answers:

  • 23A: Career Day Speaker #1: Meter maid? (ticket agent)
  • 28A: #2: Tea server? (social worker)
  • 38A: #3: Golf pro? (driving instructor)
  • 58A: #4: Tree surgeon? (branch manager) — few things less exciting in the world than the phrase "BRANCH MANAGzzzzzzzz..."
  • 70A: #5: Manicurist? (file clerk) — sorry, spoke too soon. FILE CLERK trumps even BRANCH MANAGER.
  • 82A: #6: Justice of the Peace? (union official)
  • 103A: #7: Grocery store owner? (marketing director)
  • 111A: #8: Disc jockey? (record keeper) — seriously, it's as if this is a list of the 9 most boring-sounding jobs on the planet.

.. and then there's NOVEL WRITER. That's your punch line.

I'm guessing that there are several people out there who had an experience like my wife at the CIRÉ / RITT crossing. She'd never heard of either and just stared at the place where the "I" was supposed to be. It's an obscure fabric, and a not-exactly-household-name director (longtime solvers will know it, as it pops up in the grid from time to time, but with a vague clue like [Filmmaker Martin], it's bound to throw some people off). I didn't know the fabric — or, rather, I had that same feeling I always have with fabrics in the grid, i.e. it seems vaguely familiar but any number of letters seem interchangeable or variable. [Glazed fabric] = CIRÉ? SOIE? TOILE? TUILE? etc. I don't understand why this "I" wasn't an "A." You may never have heard of RATT, but they are a completely puzzle-worthy rock band from the 80s. Further, and more importantly, CARE is a word you know and might have a hope of getting from any number of clues. CIRÉ, like RITT, is know-it-or-you-don't. I did. Doesn't mean I liked it.

[Some of Milton Berle's finest work...]


  • 1A: White-tailed movie star (Bambi) — nice gimme right out of the box.
  • 19A: Literary work in which Paris is featured (Iliad) — tricksiness. Paris as in the guy who abducted / ran off with Helen...
  • 30A: Blues musician Baker (Etta) — I think I know ETTA as a Jones, not a Baker. Here's a video/interview with her at age 91.

[look for the "crossword puzzle" analogy at 4:20ff]

  • 63A: Sex symbol once married to Vadim (Bardot) — VADIM is a first name to me, so I got thrown a bit here, but a few crosses let me know the "sex symbol" in question. Brigitte BARDOT was married to Roger Vadim. Wikipedia tells me she has been convicted five times of "inciting racial hatred." Sexy!
  • 74A: Reeve or Reeves role (Kent) — as in Clark KENT, as in Superman!
  • 75A: Gambler's holy grail (system) — hmmm ... SYSTEM is just not a word that pairs well with a high-falutin' phrase like "holy grail."
  • 94A: "Aunt _____ Cope Book" ("Erma's") — as in Bombeck. I only recently learned what the hell this "Cope Book" thing was. If you really need ERMAS in your puzzle, I guess your cluing choices are limited.
  • 96A: Play byplay (aside) — Is "byplay" a word? I see that it is. "Action carried on aside, and commonly in dumb show, while the main action proceeds." News to me.
  • 98A: _____ Chao, only cabinet member to serve through George W. Bush's entire administration (Elaine) — that is a long, not terribly exciting way to go for a common name like ELAINE.
  • 10A: Dillinger's derringer, e.g. (gat) — one of my favorite bits of short fill.
  • 106A: 2007 Steve Carell title role (Evan) — from "EVAN Almighty."
  • 116A: "_____-A-Lympics" (old TV cartoon series) ("Laff") — now we're talking. This was a staple of my childhood. I think I used to actually root for one of the teams. I was geeky enough that I might have kept some kind of score. Any excuse to list, tally, or arrange statistics.

  • 4D: Honeyed pastry (baklava) — maybe my favorite answer in the grid. If nothing else, it's tasty.
  • 7D: Bouillon cube ingredient, usually (MSG) — a. I didn't know this and b. shouldn't the clue cue an abbrev. here.
  • 18D: Club that began as the Colt .45s (Astros) — Change it back! Clearly this name isn't working.
  • 31D: Fountain in front of the Palazzo Poli (Trevi) — one of only Italian fountains I know, lucky me.
  • 77D: Mell Lazarus comic strip ("Momma") — She is Big and you do Not want to go near her House.
  • 85D: Break in a building's facade (ledge) — oh ... that kind of "break." A visual "break." OK.
  • 92D: Beatty and Sparks (Neds) — both actors of note. Not related.
  • 120D: One likely to have pet peeves? (vet) — just too clever for its own good, this clue. VETs will hear about said peeves, but will not "have" them in any but the most attenuated sense of the word.
  • 123D: Human body part with vestigial muscles (ear) — I had no idea.

And now your Tweets of the Week — puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse...

  • @penelopeshaw How ironic, today's crossword clue: Bored with life = world weary - the only one I got...
  • @ffchels926 I don't want to walk to class in the rain when I'm just going to sit there working on a crossword puzzle for 50 minutes. Skipping... again.
  • @Catf1sh The lady driving next to me is doing a crossword puzzle. Yes, that's how slow Atlanta morning rush hour traffic is.
  • @davemunger Do you ever use the term "enote"? I mean, other than in crossword puzzles?
  • @mrcheapskate Fella on the train is just putting random letters in his crossword. Unless he's Polish. Yeah, maybe that's it.
  • @AlexRihm WTF is prexy and why is it in my crossword?

Good day,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Bob Kerfuffle 8:19 AM  

Ah, memories! 21 A, Candy wafer company, NECCO, takes me back to freshman year at MIT when I would walk to the factory outlet of the New England Candy Company (NECCO), and stock up on a month's worth of Necco Wafers. It was a simpler time.

The puzzle? Must agree with Rex, it sets a new record in Blah.

Etta James 8:30 AM  

I'd Rather Go Blind

CoolPapaD 8:43 AM  

I was lost in downtown Natick with Rex's wife - I had RETT and CERE.

I confidently wrote CHET for the bluesy Baker - he is a jazz trumpeter - which caused a delay on the west coast. Etta (James, Jones, but surely not Baker!) finally emerged. Never heard of a SABERSAW, and the A in NACRES was a guess. I knew that the muscles of the middle ear (stapedius and tensor tympani) are somewhat useful, so I Googled after finishing to find out that the outer muscles, that can move our ears, are no longer necessary. Who knew?

LOOKIE - I did like the theme, so the effort was mostly enjoyable for me.

Morgan 8:50 AM  

I too guessed RETT and CERE. That cross was terrible. The rest of the puzzle was, as Rex said, quite boring. But I'm surprised you called this medium! Aside from that one letter, I solved it in about 12 minutes, which is one of my top few Sunday solving times.

foodie 9:07 AM  

Hi everyone, I'm back and wanted to thank you for your amazing support during my absence while taking care of my sick father overseas. I'm incredibly touched and so very grateful!!! Rather than take up too much space here, I posted some thoughts on my so-called blog, under my avatar. But THANK YOU, you guys are the best!

I agree with Rex, this puzzle made me wonder if I'd lost my sense of humor.

Would it help to say that Ciré means "waxed" in French? The problem is that the latin origin is Cere-- so may be no help at all...

Debsanger 9:18 AM  

I agree with Rex about the theme . . . except I read "novel writer" as a deliberate exception to the pattern, i.e., unemployed and has available time to volunteer for PTA. Snarky ...

Growing up in my highly Catholic enclave in North Queens in the 50s-60s, Necco Wafers were featured in "let's play communion" games.

HudsonHawk 9:19 AM  

Welcome back, foodie.

Rex hit the nail on the head, but left out my biggest PET PEEVE. The plural of RBI is...RBI. Runs Batted In. Reminds me of the line in Tropic Thunder when Ben Stiller keeps using the term Viet Congs. "You wouldn't say Chineses".

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

A tad bitchy today, Rex. Bad night's sleep? Hangover?

retired_chemist 9:24 AM  

I got the I in RITT/CIRÉ as my best guess among the vowels. I am with Sandy on not knowing either. SCORSESE, alas, did not fit.

CERÉ might have been the better guess had I thought. Cerumen (ear wax, at least in English) would lave led me to the incorrect E. Doubt that cerumen has anything to do with ear wiggling.

Knew BARDOT - she was HOT in my youth. Bardot, Mastroianni, and I share the same mm/dd (but different yyyy -she was 1934, Marcello's was 1924, I came later).

Given the clue for 98A, ELAINE Chao, I was tempted to try a 6 letter version of OLAF.

Still puzzling over NOVEL WRITER. Rex's non-explanation about sums up my thoughts too. Where is the Ministry of Opaque Clues when you need them?

Overall - medium works, both for difficulty and quality of fill.

Greene 9:29 AM  

@Foodie: So relieved to find that you are home and safe. We've all been worried for you and your father and it was such a pleasure to see the daily strawberry reappear here at Rexville. I read your comments on your blog this morning and my heart goes out to your father. I truly hope he is able to make some kind of recovery from this catastophic illness as I hope you will continue to draw from the well of affection, support, and good will to be found amidst this community of puzzlers.

Leon 9:29 AM  

Thank you Mr. Merrell.

Thanks RP for the Hombre mention. Elmore Leonard lines:

Henry Mendez: Hombre, which name today, which do you want?
John Russell: Anything but bastard will do.

Audra Favor: I can't imagine eating a dog and not thinking anything of it.
John Russell: You even been hungry, lady? Not just ready for supper. Hungry enough so that your belly swells?
Audra Favor: I wouldn't care how hungry I got. I know I wouldn't eat one of those camp dogs.
John Russell: You'd eat it. You'd fight for the bones, too.
Audra Favor: Have you ever eaten a dog, Mr. Russell?
John Russell: Eaten one and lived like one.
Audra Favor: Dear me.

ArtLvr 9:49 AM  

I was okay with Ciré but couldn't see the last letter of RITT -- I reckon I wanted a first name like Rita for the unknown filmmaker Martin! The crossing letter would have been the T in REMATCH, but I gave up rather than run through the alphabet: it might be the name of a monster in comics? Heh.

I'm glad you're back, foodie...


joho 9:57 AM  

CIRE was my WOTD. I knew RITT was right but I looked CIRE up anyway. That I learned a new word is the most positive thing I can say about this puzzle.

One glitch, for the longest time I didn't see the "." after Long. partner so LAT was late in coming.

I did like the clue "Play byplay" and the answer, ASIDE. Yay, I did like something!

I remember when I saw TREVI fountain it was much smaller than I thought it would be.

Welcome back, Foodie!

Fitzy 10:13 AM  

My other beef w/ the HRS>RBIs answers, HudsonHawk, was in the cluing of of 112-Down as "Result of 26-Down, often"... Often??? Shouldn't it be "always"?... even if it is a solo homer, when the batter in question crosses the plate that in & of itself is credited to that batter as an RBI... Right?

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

CIRE/RITT was my WTF/WGAF of the day. Left the I blank last night, came here, and still didn't care when the answer was presented.

Perhaps the hardest I've ever laughed in public was when I saw "The Front". The funeral scene of the character played by Zero Mostel had all the audience silent, perhaps weeping, but for me, as they had found three children to play his sons WHO LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE ZERO! Somehow that was the funniest thing I've ever seen in a movie. People looked at me askance.

balto 10:19 AM  

I was thinking about the same thing as Fitzy -- but since it's RBIs (plural) -- I think that's what the cluing was -- only men on gets you plural.

nanpilla 10:20 AM  

@Joho: cute papillon!

We had shout outs to Treedweller (58a), Ulrich (59d) and dk (9d). Those were the most exciting things about this puzzle.

I had salt before DENT for Lot souvenir. I guess that's a little harsh.

I just watched Cross Creek last night, directed by Martin RITT, so that was a gimme.

Welcome back, Foodie. Your post, as always, touched me on so many levels. You are so right about this community. It is hard to explain to someone else.

CoolPapaD 10:21 AM  

@Fitzy - You are correct. A solo HR counts as an RBI (unless it is the result of an error, which is exceedingly unlikely for a HR, though an inside-the-park HR may be the result of an error).

Welcome back, Foodie!

Phil 10:21 AM  

@Fitzy - not wrong, simply bad. The thing here is that HRs are categories of hits. Each HR results in one or more RBIS. Instances of the category of hits, HRS thus may result in RBIS.

Jamie Doll 10:31 AM  

Hi, this is my first time posting a comment. I'm glad I wasn't the only one bored. The college classes = years clue really threw me, since I haven't heard them referred to that way in, well, years. But I also haven't been to college in, well, years. Is this still a common usage?

I'm always encouraged, Rex, when you say you only know one Italian fountain, and I have something in common with you. Makes me feel like there's hope for me. :)


Anonymous 10:31 AM  

blah blah blah
easy boring why am I bothering to comment?
just bored I guess.

SethG 10:32 AM  

There's always an RBI, often RBIs. Which is what baseball calls them. And Webster. Heavens to Murgatroyd, even!

Surly SMOKE release party next Monday night. The clue for IES redeemed it for me; STERS, not so much. LAFF was absolutely the best thing about this puzzle.

slypett 10:33 AM  

It was like hitting a homerun in your first major league at bat--only to see the ball falling foul in the W-SW. After that, I got a single, stole second, was sacrificed to third and got bunted home.

What do I care? I had a good time.

Welcome home, foodie! The blog was hell without its chemist.

Martin 10:37 AM  

@Jamie Doll,

Well, my kid is USC, Class of 2009, and has no problem with the phrase.

retired_chemist 10:38 AM  

Hey, darkman - she isn't the only chemist....

Welcome back, foodie!

Meg 10:46 AM  

I started out not entering answers because they were too obvious (FISH for "They take the bait"). Then I just gave up on having fun with this puzzle.

SAN ANTONE? Isn't that the short form?

I loved NECCO wafers, except the gray ones.

Foodie: I read your blog. I hardly know you, since I've only been posting here for a few months, but your words meant a lot to me. My 94-year-old mother-in-law is coming for Thanksgiving and despite her very annoying ways, I will be kinder and gentler.

Ulrich 10:49 AM  

Aren't E,R,S,T the four most frequent letters in English? So why don't we see ERST more often in a puzzle? Anyway, @joho, there are worse words one could be remembered by--if only the puzzle had had more oompf. I guess this will be a field day for people who hate xword puzzles...

...@foodie: Great to have you back, but be forewarned: We discovered in your absence that many of the commenters here, if not most, hate, hate xword puzzles:-)

retired_chemist 10:54 AM  

Hand up for also not liking SAN ANTONE (né SAN ANGELO, a real place unlike the correct answer) and the clue for RBIS. I guess, in the end, I have to side with those who noted that a solo HR produces an RBI but does not produce RBIS. But still...

Fitzy 11:06 AM  

Thnks Seth, Phil & Balto in regards to HRs and RBI(s), esp Pednsg... I wonder how many times an inside the parker occured as the result of an error... does it count as a homer for the batter?

Fitzy 11:10 AM  

"I wonder how many times an inside the parker occured as the result of an error"... in MLB anyway... I know in Little League as left fielder I must have given up several in side the park HRs as a result errors...LOL... btw Rex, not only did I keep stats for the Laff-Olympics...but the Wacky Races, too!

HudsonHawk 11:15 AM  

I knew Martin RITT from Norma Rae, but not his past. Interesting.

@foodie, thanks for the lovely post on your blog--I will share it with my family.

@Ulrich, LOL. I have it on good authority from Sandy that Rex is suffering from a hangover, woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and really, really hates crossword puzzles. ;)

@SethG, sorry for the RBIS rant. I realize it is in the language, but I still don't care for redundant plurals. @Fitzy, no, if there's an error, it's not a HR. It might be a triple, with a one-base error, for example.

Ben 11:15 AM  

Please forgive this momentary detour, but since I enjoyed meeting both Rex Parker and Will Shortz at the 2009 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (not to mention PuzzleGirl, Orange, BEQ, Ryan and Brian, Jim Horne, Kevin Der, Barry Silk, Peter Gordon and so many others) and I also regularly comment here, I thought I would pass this along.

Will Shortz kindly used a puzzle I created as the listener challenge on today's NPR Weekend Edition Sunday. Second time this year. You can check it out at - it's the puzzle about the word with "OK" in it.

The puzzle is a good challenge for everyone who reads Rex's blog. A crossword solver can often infer an answer just by knowing a letter or two, and that skill will help in this case.

Sorry for the interruption. I now return you to your previously scheduled conversation about today's NYT crossword.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

The Corgi of Mystery 11:30 AM  

Probably my least favorite Sunday in a while. Got gnarled up in the north for a while when I wanted I KEPT instead of I REST, which gave me KO MATCH (???) and a lot of head scratching. Oh, and I ended with CERE/RETT, which seemed more plausible to me than the real answer.

@Ben: congrats on your puzzle being used!

Elaine 11:30 AM  

If you were named ELAINE, you would realize it is not common....and I am always having to spell it for Sweet Young Things, who then ask for my birth date into the bargain.

Hand up for RITT/CIRE (which I had as RETT/CERE, not knowing either one--and I am pretty well acquainted with fabrics and fiber!) Otherwise, not much of a challenge, but still-- I did finish with an error in place.

I even knew Roger Vadim as well as ASIDE-- when you read plays in print, you see this stage direction quite a lot, so it was a gimme, too.

Okay, but now I'm ready for a new week! Hurry, Thursday! and please be An Occasion of Thanksgiving!

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

I enjoyed it, but I am not as bored and crabby as some of you are.

Nick & Nora 11:40 AM  

Like Nanpilla, we initially thought "Lot souvenir" was salt, which was our favorite answer in this puzzle.

Elaine 11:42 AM  


In Natick with Rex's wife? tsk tsk

I was disappointed to find out that one of my Major Accomplishments (wiggling my ears) is considered vestigial/ephemeral/pointless. But now I can bandy about the names of the unnecessary muscles...while wiggling, of course. thnx

Steve J 11:44 AM  

@pednsg: It's impossible to have a homerun the result of an error. An inside-the-park HR that had an error would be scored as a triple with an error. The batter only get credit for the bases gained without the error.

As for the clue, its use of "often" is just plain wrong. Since the answer it references is HRS. Since it's not a singular HR, RBIs are *always* the result.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

This puzzle was an easy solve but no joy. Why can't the NYT be more like todays LAT by Ken Bessette. The sunday LAT's are almost always more fun, or have an angle. Golfballman

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Rex, 3 days ago I was in front of
the Trevi fountain.
Thought this was pretty dull,
too easy save RITT/CIRE altho Mr
Merrell did mention me.

Glitch 12:32 PM  

I neither love nor hate this puzzle as I don't use either of those words in refrence to puzzles :)

OTOH, noting that RBI's is the most discussed item today pretty much sums up my feeling of today's offering.


Rexville may have more than one chemist, but there's only one *neuroscientist* I know of. Welcome back.


Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Steve, no it's not. "Result" is singular. Parse again.

PlantieBea 12:39 PM  

Count me in with the CERE/RETT group. Rex's write-up was spot for this one. I'm no fan of the partials STERS, IES, and ARCHI and the way they were clued today. My last themed answer was NOVEL WRITER over which I puzzled a bit, deciding it must mean NOVEL ways to write up these not-so-punny job descriptions.

Welcome back Foodie. I've missed your thoughtful comments.

@Nanpilla: If you enjoyed the movie Cross Creek, and you haven't done so already, try the book and the companion cook book. Cross Creek is one of my favorite works of Florida authors.

@darkman: Chemists are plentiful on this list which we know is not a blog about chemistry.

Stan 12:40 PM  

Couldn't do anything with the 'northern CA' section -- even with theme answers TIDAL BASIN and UNION OFFICIAL filled in. Looking at it now though, it seems reasonable enough.

Loved Reeve-Reeves-Kent.

Foodie, welcome back! Will check out your blog...

Unknown 12:45 PM  

re: tweets

don't think @penelopeshaw's situation classifies as ironic.

couldn't find the 'i' or 'e' in cire.

joho 1:04 PM  

@nanpilla ... that's Hannah ... a long-haired Chihuahua! A lot of people thought she was a Papillon because of her big ears (which by the way, she could "wiggle.")

treedweller 1:06 PM  

I was going to rant about HRS/RBIS, but I see that's been covered thoroughly.

I also see @r_c has covered SANANTONE, but I'll add a little. I reluctantly accept it, since it is in the language, but I do not recommend anyone use it while they are visiting San Antonio.

"Tree surgeon" is something I hear now and then, but it isn't really used in the US. I think in Britain it is still a common alternative to "arborist". BRANCHMANAGER would almost certainly elicit more groans at arboricultural seminars than it would elsewhere. We've all seen them (I include "out on a limb", "ground up", and a few others in my list of overdone tree puns).

We had some mediocre BAKLAVA last night and complained to our friends that it tasted like it was made with sugar instead of honey; they asserted that sugar is used fairly often. Whether or not it is true, I am glad to see the puzzle vindicate our belief that it "should" be honey.

Overall, I didn't love this one, but I still don't see that it is as bad as others found it. Taking "boring" jobs and making them seem more exciting is kind of fun, I think. Maybe it's just because I got on a roll and finished quickly; agonizing for ten or twenty extra minutes over what turns out to be pointless/boring/unamusing fill is much worse than glossing over it as I sprint to the finish (well, "sprint" may be overstating it, but this was still among my fastest Sunday times).

deerfencer 1:12 PM  

Agree with Treedweller that this was a quick and easy one. I used to be a tree surgeon/arborist in a former life but still got a chuckle out of BRANCHMANAGER, as corny as it is.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

@Ben - Can you provide more info on finding your puzzle? I couldn't find it through the link you gave. Thanks

retired_chemist 1:21 PM  

@ treedweller - SAN ANTONE and FRISCO (as in Herb Caen's famous plaint, "Please don't call it....") are more or less on a par IMO. Except there really is a FRISCO - it's N of Dallas on the Tollway.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

@treedweller, what are you talking about? San Antone is much used by the natives as well, including me and the late great Doug ("Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone?") Sahm.


jae 1:22 PM  

I'm with Rex on this one, and I too guessed wrong on the CIRE/RITT cross.
Welcome back foodie.

George NYC 1:28 PM  

Rex's writeup and (most of) the comments redeemed this one.
Thanks everyone!

Glitch 1:43 PM  

@Anon 1:21p (miko)

The San Antonio website does not seem to agree with you.

Just sayin'


Anonymous 1:48 PM  

@glitch, make that "a few commenters on the chatboard of a city data website" and you're correct. Read on in that forum and you'll see other natives agreeing this is a non-issue. I don't know squat about "Frisco" or its acceptability, but I know San Antone is widely used and there's no controversy about it.


slypett 1:49 PM  

Right you are r_c! Apologies! Your excellence is well-established!

nanpilla 2:00 PM  

@Joho: I stand corrected, but still enamored of the cutie! Please apologize to Hannah for the mixup. I wouldn't want her parentage to be in question.
Speaking of cuties....more pictures, soon, R_C? And my hand is up as another chemist here (although LONG retired).

miriam b 2:06 PM  

So once upon a time, I gather, we were able to wiggle and maybe even swivel our EARs.

Speaking of above-cited body part: All this discussion of SANANTONE has given me what I can only describe as a partial Ohrwurm. Now I need a vermifuge.

A Glen Campbellesque lyric is now floating through my head: "And I have not been known as the [something] of San Antone..." It seems to fit the melody of Gentle On My Mind, but Google says not so. Whoever supplies the missing word and the source of the lyric will have my sincere thanks.

@darkman: Yet another chemist (retired) checking in.

And on a serious note: Foodie, I'm so glad to see you back. Lately I've been reading/posting here only sporadically; thus, I've just learned of recent events in your life. I went to your blog this morning and was moved to tears when I read the current entry. Please know that you
have my support and esteem and that, like other Rexites, I wish the very best for your beloved father.

miriam b 2:16 PM  

Forgot to mention that the puzzle, which I solved last night, saved me from a possible episode of insomnia.

william e emba 2:20 PM  

I set a personal Sunday best time (24 minutes) but it doesn't count because of RETT/CERE. I went with CERE instead of CIRE simply because cerulean is a shade of blue. (And Joseph RITT is a mathematician whose work I am familiar with, so I just knew they wouldn't put him in.)

The only bright spot was the word FRAY. Simply because I have been a Groo the Wanderer addict since the beginning. And if it's one thing Groo loves more than cheese dip, it's a good fray.

mac 2:25 PM  

Good to have you back, Foodie! We have missed you.

I have to agree with Rex's critique; this was a bit of a slog, although there were some fun moments and clues.

The cire/Ritt cross was almost a Natick for me, until I remembered the wax connection. My sister bought her then 4-year old son a "waxed jacket", something British that was in fashion for a while. One trip to the sandbox and it was not wearable anymore.....

I get the skimask and the honeyed pastry confused sometimes.

@Rex: I think Brigitte Bardot's racial remarks had to do with the fact that she is an animal rights activist and she is against slaughtering goats.

@HudsonHawk: Do you think it follows that Sandy also ended up on the wrong side of the bed?

Ben 2:28 PM  

@Anonymous 1:20 p.m.:

Here's this week's NPR puzzle.

And in case you're interested, here's a story I wrote after Will used my previous puzzle on the radio.

Ben 2:32 PM  

@Rex's Twitter: PREXY is slang for "president." It's seen most often in the jargon-intensive movie biz rag Daily Variety, where they might say, "Joe Mogul, prexy of indie Platinum Pictures, is believed to have Brad Pitt and Renee Zellweger circling the romcom."

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Steve - An "inside the Park HR" that scored on an error could also be a single or double with one or more errors. You are correct that it is not a home run.

chefwen 3:08 PM  

Welcome back foodie, we missed you. Like miriam b, I too was moved to tears reading your blog. It's good to see your beautiful strawberry again.

Finished the puzzle very quickly, so it must have been boring, I'm not that good. Last fill was the I in RITT, had to check my movie book to make sure I guessed right. No googles, no consult with non puzzle husband, just plowed right through it.

If Rex woke up on the wrong side of the bed, where was Sandy, on the floor? Doesn't seem right!

Two Ponies 3:47 PM  

I don't get the Sunday NYTs but drop by the blog sometimes just to see what's happening. Today I'm glad I did because I did not miss foodie's return.
@ foodie, You were missed and I'm glad you are back.

Steve J 3:55 PM  

@Anonymous 12.32 p.m.: "result" being singular doesn't change the fact that HRs was plural. And, as stated before, RBIs always result from HRs.

@Anonymous 2.32 p.m.: Right you are. Since I was typing on my phone, I didn't want to go through every possible iteration.

As for SAN ANTONE, that one bugged me as well, in large part because I thought the clue should have indicated the answer was slang, colloquial, something. And then I looked at the clue, and I guess the use of "Lone Star State" (the nickname) rather than "Texas" did tip it off. That doesn't make me like it any more, but I guess at least it's not technically flawed.

Bill from NJ 4:05 PM  

Welcome back, foodie. I read your post about Rexville and I have first-hand knowledge about the goodness of people on this blog. When my illness forced me to stop posting on a regular basis a year or so ago, I heard from so many people wishing me well.

And, foodie, you were at the top of the list of the gracious people who reached out to me and it is only fitting that your are the beneficiary of this outpouring of what can only be called love toward whom a lot of people refer to as the conscience to this group.

Again, welcome home.

joho 4:42 PM  

@nanpilla ... no apologies necessary. Hannah is no longer among us, I'm sorry to say. I was just missing her and posted her painting as a little tribute. She was a great tiny dog.

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Anonymous 4:46 PM  

@Steve - of all types of hits, home runs are the only ones guaranteed to result in an RBI.

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

I sew so cire no problem but ritt, insitu, necco and rematch gave me some thought as did san antone - for ages I had san angelo! CIRE by the way I believe is french so would have an accent on the e and is pronounced "seeray"

retired_chemist 4:53 PM  

@ nanpilla - new puppy photos are on my computer and should be up soon.

andrea cirela michaels 5:02 PM  

Just checked in for the tweets...
yes, of course, welcome back!
Eli's had a baby and life goes on...
We haven't solved global warming yet, and I am no closer to knowing whether or not "rooves" is a plural, but I do know you were much missed.

Tetu 5:50 PM  

The saint of San Antone, I think

nanpilla 5:56 PM  

@joho : I didn't even realize that was a painting - did you do it? Sorry to hear the little darling is no longer with us.

@R_C : Looking forward to them!

joho 6:11 PM  

@nanpilla ... yes, I did. She was a great companion for thirteen years and I'm happy to have that painting. I love the fact that you are such an animal lover!

miriam b 6:29 PM  

@Tetu (BTW, are you really stubborn?): Thanks, it's "And I have not been known as the saint of [somewhere, not San Antone]" Now I have the music in my head, and it's not the Glen Campbell kind.

Now that I realize that it wasn't San Antone, I'm beginning to recall that the place name in question rhymes with a word that ends in EEN. I hope to solve this while I sleep. Does anyone else here dream in music? Or am I probably certifiable? I once dreamt an entire composition - Zigeunerweisen - without any accompanying images. It was great.

Three and out - and probably a good move. No, I have not been drinking, unless you count V8.

Glitch 6:44 PM  

@mariam b

Reg Lindsay "July, You're a Woman" Lyrics:
I can't hold it on the road,
When you're sitting right beside me
And I'm drunk out of my mind,
Merely from the fact that you are here

And I have not been known as the Saint of San Joaquin
And I'd just as soon right now
Pull on over to the side of the road
And show you what I mean ....

July You're a Woman


PS: miko - your correction accepted.

Two Ponies 6:46 PM  

@ miriam b, I don't dream in music but I do other "earthly" things in my sleep. I play solitaire, do crosswords, and do drug dosage calculations (from my days of being a paramedic and later a cardio-vascular physician extender/RN). Between those tasks and the jukebox in my head I wonder how I manage to function as well as I do.
I sometimes try to read in my dreams but the words always look like Russian or something. Chalk me up as certifiable as well I guess.

treedweller 6:47 PM  

I guess I may be wrong about SAN ANTONE. I live about 45 minutes away, but honestly I've only visited a few times. My impression from up the highway is that SAN ANTONE is how native San Antonians know you are not from San Antonio, which isn't really as sinister as I may have made it sound. But you didn't think I was going to get a topic like SAN ANTONE and not have an opinion, did you?

Elaine 7:47 PM  

Quoting: " If Rex woke up on the wrong side of the bed, where was Sandy, on the floor? Doesn't seem right!" per chefwen

OH, Chefwen.....Sandy was with Pednsg, apparently. Just read the blog (cough cough)...

Or, in pedestrian, probable fact.. Rec blogs alone, his wife is faithful, and Pednsg was asleep anyway. It was more interesting when we created all that fake intrigue, eh?

The comments again were more fun than the puzzle, but what the hey.

retired_chemist 7:58 PM  

@ Nanpilla et al.: here the new puppy photos are.

Anonymous 8:18 PM  

Bardot was charged with her "crimes" because she dared to say bad things about the illegal immigrants in her country - when they were burning the outskirts of Paris.

PlantieBea 8:35 PM  

@r_c: The puppies are so cute! And poor Ziggy the pug...well, this too shall pass.

foodie 8:38 PM  

Does the strawberry seem redder to you all? You make me blush!

@ HudsonHawk, ArtLvr, Joho, pdnsg, PlantieBea, Stan, Jae, mac, Two Ponies, Andrea, MiriamB, Nanpilla, Chefwen, Glitch, and anyone else I might have missed: Thanks to each of you for your words of welcome and support! It truly feels like coming home!

@Greene, your kind and thoughtful note reminded me to say that even though my dad's physician did not feel he could abide with his living will, he was extremely kind and clearly saddened by the outcome. You guys have such a tough job!

@ Bill from NJ, Thank you! I remember your writing and saying that the goodness of people on this blog helped you when your medical problem got very serious. Now I really know what you mean!

@Darkman and RetiredChemist: thank you as well and a note that my knowledge of chemistry is incidental to my interest in brain juices. Of course, I bow to RC's true expertise : )

@ Meg, I'm glad that my dad's illness may help you better tolerate your mother-in-law during Thanksgiving! I've been collecting little stories to send back so they can read them to my father (in case it helps). I will tell him about his unexpected little gift to your 94 year old mother-in-law : )

@Ulrich, you made me laugh! Out loud. I didn't expect to!

edith b 8:46 PM  

I read Victor Navasky's Naming Names about McCarthyism and Martin Ritt had made the movie The Front in relation to McCarthyism just prior to publication so RITT was a neon and allowed me to sidestep a trap - the only one in the whole puzzle, as it turned out.

All the things Rex pointed out in his write-up are the things that make the Sunday puzzle such a chore to do these days.

Sam Donaldson 8:46 PM  

LAFF-A-Lympics was a welcome morsel of nostaligia for me, too. I remember rooting for the Yogi Yahooies, as I was always more into Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and other cartoon figures of the 60s than Scooby Doo and others from the 70s. Oddly, however, my Scooby impersonation is better than my Yogi Bear. Judge for yourself:

YOGI: Hey-ay, Scoob. Have you seen my pic-a-nic basket?
SCOOBY: Ruh? Rhut rasket?
YOGI: The one I took from those campers last night. It had foodstuffs and stuff. Oh no, don't tell me Ranger Smith took it!
SCOOBY: Roinks!
YOGI: No problem, Scoob. We'll just sneak up behind him and steal it back, Jack. After all, we're smarter than the average bears. Or dogs. Or whatever we are.

treedweller 9:14 PM  

I forgot to mention my favorite thing about San Antonio. A few years ago, Austin semi-officially adopted the slogan "Keep Austin Weird". Not long after, I started seeing the occasional bumper sticker that said "Keep San Antonio Lame". Oh, and the Alamo. Can't forget that.

xyz 9:27 PM  

Had to be on the easy side, finished (a chore) no googles ...

michael 10:32 PM  

I was all set to write an eloquent objection to both hr-rbi and San Antone, but was not surprised to find others felt the same way. But I still wanted to register my agreement with them on this.

ArtLvr 11:53 PM  

Much too late -- but y'all should google "rose of san antone" and lo, the lyrics of the cowboy song in my head will appear, videos too.

slypett 12:45 AM  

Two Ponies and miriam b.: I also dream that I'm reading (and sometimes it even makes sense), doing crosswords, composing poems. These dreams are really enjoyable. I guess the dream is not a discrete entity, and that our very memory of it is, itself, an interpretation. Yet, it seems that when I am dreaming, I'm sometimes aware of the experience of dreaming. Still open is the question of what the material is on which we base our construction. Foodie, any thoughts?

slypett 12:53 AM  

Well, r_c, your pups are copacetic and will make wonderful pets.

miriam b 8:44 AM  

@Two Ponies and dakman: I have done Sudoku in dreams, much to the detriment of my night's sleep, but have never done any reading. I'm ofen aware that I'm dreaming.

I read about some interesting work being done on treating people who are plagued with nightmares. It's imagery rehearsal which is supposed to enable them to direct or edit their dreams. This article appeared in yesterday's NYT magazine.

Disco 5:43 PM  

Nice RATT reference, Rex! By the way, Uncle Miltie's nephew was RATT's manager -- thus the otherwise inexplicable nature of his appearace in the video.

PIX 9:38 AM  

Must be something wrong with me...i enjoyed the puzzle.

Louie the Looper 8:24 AM  

Bland, as in "blah, blah, blah". NOVEL WRITER was a bust of a finisher. Like most, never heard of Martin Ritt or the fabric, cire.BAMBI and SMOKE were nice gimmes. Agree that SYSTEM falls a tad short of Holy Grail status. thank God Sandberg spells his first name with a "Y".

tim 4:28 PM  

Regarding the theme, I was hoping that one of you would reveal that these were all characters in Grisham novels -- or some such NOVEL WRITER I've never read.

On the peeve about whether it's RBI or RBIS, see Steven Pinker's "Words and Rules" (1999), who suggests that RBIS is the more palatable term for all but the most finicky purists. (And adds that "ribbies" must really get to them!)

BassManPDX 5:04 PM  

I, too, got Naticked on RITT/CIRE, but once I saw what the theme was going to be, I got most of the theme answers with very few crosses -- got DRIVING INSTRUCTOR with only the V and G crosses!

NECCO is one of those love/hate things. Sometimes I get a real jones for those pastel starch disks, and eat them until I can't stand them anymore. The valentine hearts with the semi-legible sayings on them are made of the same stuff, BTW.

I am so disappointed that this grid has used one of my (I thought) original jokes. In discussing previous jobs, I usually use one of three lines:

"I had a job at a tree farm for a while - I was a BRANCH MANAGER."

The others are:

"I used to work as a SPOKESMAN for a bicycle factory."


"I used to have a job as a HIGHWAY DESIGNER. Actually, we were just tearing down billboards."


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