Tommie of the Amazins — SUNDAY, Nov. 1 2009 — Leader against Aztecs / 1946 John Hersey book / Indian government 1858-1947 / Pompom holder

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Constructors: Matt Ginsberg and Pete Muller

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Compound Fractures" — theme answers are fanciful words made by fusing words together than overlap by five letters, e.g. RETROSPECT + SPECTACLES = RETROSPECTACLES

Word of the Day: WADI (40A: Desert stream)also n., pl., -dis, also -dies.
    1. A valley, gully, or streambed in northern Africa and southwest Asia that remains dry except during the rainy season.
    2. A stream that flows through such a channel.
  1. An oasis.

[Arabic wādi.]


I don't understand how the word "FRACTURES" applies here, but I also don't care much: this puzzle was really entertaining. Incredibly dense with would-be portmanteau words, and very light on the "O, That's Terrible, My Eyes!"-type bad fill. Theme is remarkably consistent, and contains some words that really, really should be words. My favorites are ELEPHANTOM (he will get revenge on the poachers!), CATHARTICHOKE ("Wow, eating that purged me of strong emotional feelings!"), and PERHAPSODY!

Choppy grids are hard to blaze through, and this one was no exception. Felt normal in terms of difficulty, but skewed difficult in terms of how long it took me to do. Cluing was probably slightly tougher than usual as well. Lots of names in this one as well, though they were all names I knew. Well, OK, all except SVEN (who himself intersects two other names) (
90A: Man's name meaning "young man"). That "V" in his name was one of the last letters to fall, since I did not remember the name of the poker player (82D: Poker star Phil) and for no good reason Alfred E. NEUMAN took some effort as well (61D: Mad man?). First thought for [Mad man?] was EDITOR (knew "Mad" would be magazine given the "?" clue). Did not know Bill NYE was anything but a Science Guy, but apparently he has a History of the United States (118A: "Bill _____ History of the United States" => NYE'S). Double dose of Japanese place names in the SW — HIROSHIMA over OSAKA (104A: 1946 John Hersey book + 107A: Japanese financial center). N'SYNC in the Forest of ARDEN (117A: "This I Promise You" group, 2000 + 114A: "As You Like It" setting). ROSE RED getting it on with CORTES (13D: Fairy tale sister + 35A: Leader against the Aztecs). All 3- and 4- letter fill is solid, passable, inoffensive. That's what you want. You want it to stay out of the way so the longer stuff can shine. Nice job, guys.

Theme answers:

  • 22A: Eyewear providing hindsight? (retrospectacles)
  • 29A: Peanut-loving ghost? (elephantom)
  • 32A: Intermittent revolutionary? (sporadical) — least favorite by a mile, since "sporadical" is just a longer form of the adjective "sporadic." New words should be NEW WORDS, not longer forms of one of the words involved in the fusion.
  • 43A: Rare mushroom? (psychedelicacy) — Go Ask Alice.
  • 56A: Give up smuggled goods? (contrabandon) — doesn't trip off the tongue. This clue should have a tried figuring "abandon" as a noun meaning "complete surrender of inhibitions"
  • 71A: High-school athletic star at a casino? (rouletterman)
  • 81A: Noble Les Paul? (guitaristocrat)
  • 99A: Maybe music? (perhapsody)
  • 101A: Dreams that don't die? (foreveries)
  • 108A: Bug that never takes a ride? (centipedestrian)
  • 21D: Like online medical advice for kids? (Wikipediatric)
  • 44D: Vegetable that gives you an emotional release? (cathartichoke)


  • 5A: Quilt filler (batt) — I had DOWN! ugh.
  • 26A: Game in which a player may be schneidered (skat) — that does NOT sound pleasant. I'll pass.
  • 34A: "_____ Can Cook" (onetime PBS show)

  • 69A: 1989 Madonna hit ("Oh Father") — whoa, back catalogue!

  • 75D: Indian government of 1858-1947 (Raj) — some day my brain will just instinctively know the difference between RAJ and HADJ.
  • 5D: What "two" meant, historically (by sea) — holy crap this gave me fits. The "BY-" part had me thinking Latin root, like BI- ("two").
  • 23D: Pompom holder (tam) — the idea of cheerleading Scotsmen amuses me.
  • 31D: Swimmer Diana (Nyad) — that name is too good to be true for a swimmer.
  • 46D: "Lux et Veritas" collegian (Yalie) — YALE is by far the most crossworded University of them all (ELI, ELIHU, BOOLA, etc.). Suck it, Harvard. CANTAB just isn't terribly grid-friendly.
  • 58D: Source of a "giant sucking sound," according to Ross Perot (NAFTA) — CLINTON didn't fit [rim shot!] (substitute BUSH in that last joke if you wish).
  • 80D: "Happy Days" role (Ralph) — man did I run through the cast ... MRS C., RICHIE, JOANIE, ARNOLD, POTSY ... the single most important TV show in my life when I was 7.
  • 86D: Tommie of the Amazins (Agee) — NOT on my radar! But I somehow remembered his name from some previous crossword. O man, thought "Tommy and the Amazins" must be a band, but no. The "Amazins" are the "Amazin' Mets" of 1969. Never seen "Amazins" standing alone like that.
  • 93D: Hunt's "Mad About You" co-star (Reiser) — Binghamton University alumnus.
  • 105D: 97.5% of a penny (zinc) — me: "what kind of @#$!d up monetary unit is that!?"

And now, in honor of 20A: Post a modern status update (tweet) — your Tweets of the Week: puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:

  • Fuzzmuppet I would like a crossword puzzle and a cigarette.
  • MikieBuzz crossword puzzles make me horny
  • CantBeatAirman @rexparker they have the LA Times puzzle in the school paper, picked it up today, consecutive acrosses "ATEAM" and "AONE," put it down
  • DrBananiDani @misterharrod: Hey Mr. Harrod I was wondering when our crossword was due, I wasn't here when we turned it in. Can I turn it in on Monday?
  • natalial Just got to write exeunt in a crossword. Probably my third favorite word
  • courtside Some of us do the NYT crossword at night, Keith Olbermann!! You asshole. In general, not just for spoiling my crossword.
  • matthewcavazos The NY Times crossword is an "at" sign! How clever.
  • BoobsRadley I was drunk & half nude in public around 2pm. I'm sober & doing the crossword at 2am. I'm the Benjamin Button of alcoholism.

That's all...

Oh yeah, and if you haven't done it yet, Fall Back (where applicable)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Jeffrey 8:42 AM  

Loved, loved, loved it. A puzzle where you can't wait for the next theme answer and none disappointed. PERHAPSODY I will starting using these in regular conversation on a SPORADICAL basis with CONTRABANDON.

Just a wonderful FOREVERIE.

JannieB 8:54 AM  

Easily my favorite Sunday puzzle of the year - I didn't want to finish it! The theme answers were amazing - not a one I didn't like. Only solving stumbles were Newman and Down for Batt (which I always thought of as batting - didn't know it had another form).

Start engraving that Oryx now! Bravo.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:57 AM  

Amen. Enjoyed the good, old-fashioned word play!

Did hesitate at IVEY/SVEN, but V did seem to be the only reasonable possibility.

slypett 9:05 AM  

Where have all the comments gone?

69D, ADRAG, could have been clued as "Community newspaper". But Will, the guardian of politesse, would never allow that!

Fun puzzle, completed in probably record time for me. Was gratified to see it rated Medium.

Meg 9:06 AM  

INTRADAY was a new one for me. Apparently there is no INTERDAY.

Lots of easy clues (i.e. LANG and EKE) and then BAM! something wonderful like BYSEA. Fortunately I did not enter DOWN for "quilt filler".
I grew up with "YES I CAN" on the coffee table. Did you know Sammy Davis had a glass eye?

p.s. Rex: You have a typo with "retrospecatacles" in your theme bullets and technically the parts of CENTIPEDESTRIAN overlap by 4 letters, but I swear I am not neurotic.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Diana Nyad adopted that surname. Too good to be true.

Geometricus 9:09 AM  

Loved FLEWAKITE, not sure why, maybe because Benjamin Franklin and I have the same birthday.

Just noticed OSAKA and HIROSHIMA together in the SW.

The clue for APOCRYPHA annoyed me, but then I'm a biblical studies nerd.
Oh well, its off the SOLEMN mass with me. All Saints, ORA pro nobis. (Or would it be ORATE?)

Leon 9:21 AM  

Thank you Mr. Ginsberg and Mr. Muller.

Phil IVEY is on the cover of ESPN Magazine's latest issue. He sits at the final table of the World Series of Poker this Nov. 7.

Ulrich 9:27 AM  

The retrospectacles of a sporadical elephantom made me contrabandon cathartichokes as a psychdelicacy, while the centripedestrian perhapsody performed by the guitaristocrat and the rouletterman resulted in foreveries---see, it works!

Wonderful Sunday puzzle!

CoolPapaD 9:56 AM  

Overall, I enjoyed this one. I think I will be an old, old man when I finally realize that there are two ways to spell (not spill) the beans, COCOA and CACAO, hence WODI for me today! I guess Ms. Taylor and Ms. Chanel would agree with me on this...

Karen from the Cape 9:58 AM  

If you ask a quilter about their BATT, be prepared for a blank look; I've always seen it as batting.

I kept looking unsuccessfully for a portmanteau in FLEWAKITE.

Good puzzle.

treedweller 10:00 AM  

I liked the theme answers overall, but I stuttered at PERHAPSODY, since the H is silent in one word but not the other. I decided to like it, anyway. For some reason, I could not see REVERIES and that one took me the longest ("Are dreams everies? Veries? WTF?"). Came to me instantly this morning when I saw the write-up. Go figure.

I also had PSYCHEDELICAte for a long time, wondering what that meant. I talked myself into it because mushrooms bruise easily.

Then I finished with a mistake. ERRATA started as "errors", then I got as far as ERRATs and decided that must be French or something and left it. I don't remember what the clue was for ORA, but I did not know it. Looking for my mistake, I googled WADI (probably not the first time) and was surprised to find I had it right.

All worth it in the end. Sundays are still too big, but this was one of the closest to making me not notice.

joho 10:00 AM  

@Meg, INTRADAY was my word, too. I thought Rex would pick it also.

Wonderful puzzle! Most fun Sunday in a long time. Thank you Matt Ginsbery and Pete Muller!

I loved saying all of the theme answers out loud.

My favorite was FOREVERIES.

retired_chemist 10:26 AM  

BoobsRadley rules! Ulrich cracked me up too!

Loved the puzzle and Rex's writeup. Took me longer than it should have because it took me a while to figure out how to implement the theme. ROULETTERMAN should nave been clued as "Gambler caught with his pants down."

The guys who put in insulation (not the spray kind) call their rolls BATTS. Also my dashboard dictionary specifically mentions quilts in its def. of BATT.

Got caught on 55A MISOS. Wanted a fish - UNAGI was my first fill, with ANAGO, IKURA, and OTORO (yum!) in the background. The plural is no prob - Japanese nouns normally get their number from context anyway.

Ought to have time for puppy pix today... eyes open, toddling has started.

Count von Count 10:34 AM  

@Meg - Sharp eyes there! It seems the constructors and Will might have intended the answer to be parsed as centiPEDES and PEDEStrian, but then the clue would have to have been something like "Group of bugs that never take rides."

Noam D. Elkies 10:43 AM  

Yeah, quite the fun puzzle (at least once I got out of the 5A:BATTy region near the top: 26A:SKAT, 31D:NYAD, 34A:YAN, what?). One bug: the 108A clue should have plural "bugs" so that the overlap is 5 letters long, CENTIPEDESTRIAN, as with all the other theme answers. I was going to comment on the symmetrical placement of the overlaps, but that's not quite true: 71A:ROULETTERMAN is one letter off from 56A:CONTRABASSOON.

@Treedweller: there are some other pronunciation changes, e.g. the second E's of LETTERMAN and PEDESTRIAN are silent in ROULETTE and CENTIPEDES, and the CH of ARTICHOKE becomes a plain hard C in CATHARTIC. I actually liked these, even if it makes the result less convincing when spoken.

Besides 32A:SPORADICAL, the theme entry 22A:RETROSPECTACLE is weaker technically (though still sufficiently smile-inducing), because the two SPECTs have visibly the same meaning. There are plenty of alternatives, any of which would also have removed the BATT/SKAT/YAN/NYAD the cluster (though who knows what might have appeared instead), such as ORCHESTRASBOURG (large Alsatian ensembles?), HOUSEPAINTEREST (contractor's finance charge?), SPERMACETICACID, etc.

53A:RAJ is related with reign/regal, which should make it easy to remember the distinction vs. "haj". 113A:TÊTES — cute, but shouldn't the clue have had "une" instead of "one"? 40D:WILDER — who needs a 25-year-old movie to clue this word? Boo, and I don't mean that in a Halloween way. 61D:NEUMAN — weak to use "man" in the clue. 101D:FOP — didn't know this meaning of "popinjay".

108A suggests an extension to CENTIPEDESTRIANGULAR (shape of "yield to street-crossing bugs" sign?). A few other such triples: Blues for a doctor in a North African old folks' home = ALGERIATRISTESSE; Republican who'd walk a mile for a camel in either direction = SARAHPALINDROMEDARY.


HudsonHawk 10:45 AM  

Loved it. Got caught a bit in the Dakotas with YOU can cook before YAN (I was channeling Ratatouille, I guess) and was thinking SCAT before SKAT.

Hosting my annual NYC Marathon Party (mimosas and bloodies for everyone!) and guests are arriving, so one and out for today...

Van55 10:48 AM  

Good, solid, enjoyable puzzle.

Norm 10:51 AM  

Hilarious, fun, fun, puzzle. And props to Ulrich @ 9:27. Puzzle made made me laugh out loud; so did you.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Loved everything about this puzzle except the title. OVERLAPS would have been a more apt title.
Nice wordplay Matt and Pete!

Elaine 10:55 AM  

@Karen and others
Ahem. I, a long-time quilter, use the word BATT quite often, and I would never give anyone a blank look for knowing the term. I would give a "tsk-tsk" look to anyone thinking DOWN goes in a quilt. I use batts made of cotton, 80/20 cotton/poly, wool, and silk; the newest batting material is bamboo fiber, but users are already warning others away from it.

Now, the puzzle:
I had a good time and very much enjoyed it, PLUS the words are really a lot of fun! I had JUST SWELL, followed by JUST DUCKY (since PEACHY would not fit) and had to rewrite that a lot. And for some silly reason, I thought "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," so I was trying to shoehorn OISEau or something into that space. Finally got my TETE on straight thanks to the crosses.

Thanks, Matt and Pete!

chefbea 10:59 AM  

What a great puzzle. Loved all the theme answers especially cathartichokes!!!

Didn't we just have hearing aids recently?

Couldn't parse adrag till I got here... thought it was ad rag

Jon 11:01 AM  

Definitely: Great puzzle.

Only complaint: NYAD/YAN crossing was really Natick-y for me. Absolutely no idea. "Ian Can Cook" seemed like the best of all possible solutions, so, alas, went with that.

But otherwise: Fun fun fun.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

A lot of the theme answers reminded me of the clever word puns found in the work of Stanislaw Lem, the great Polish science fiction writer, as translated by Michael Kandel. "Psychedelicatessen", for example, from "The Futurological Congress".

Meg 11:10 AM  

@Elaine: Does down as a quilt filler get a "tsk-tsk" because I guess you have to kill the duck to get it, or is there another reason? And what's bad about bamboo? My daughter's favorite pants are made of it and she loves them! As a non-quilter, I'm very interested.

Martin 11:27 AM  


Besides its being the warmest, a good reason to splurge for the eider down: no birds are harmed. It's collected from the abandoned nests at eider rookeries after the birds leave. It would go to waste if not collected so eider down is guilt-free, though costly.

On the other hand, the construction of a down comforter or featherbed is quite different than a quilt's, which could also be Elaine's point.

Greene 11:30 AM  

Add me to the chorus of praise for this delightful puzzle. Not only are the theme answers delicious, but the construction is amazing with two vertical theme answers (WIKIPEDIATRIC and CATHARTICHOKE) each intersecting three (!) horizontal theme answers. That's not to mention a total of 12 theme answers, and they're all terrific. How the heck did they pull this off?

I was thrown off by the "Mad man" clue. I neglected to observe the lower case "m" in man and kept trying to find an answer which would tie in with the TV show Mad Men (which I absolutely love). Nice little Aha when Neuman showed up.

I liked the BY SEA clue as well. I'm sure @Jeff in Chicago will be along soon to remind us of the Groucho gag in Duck Soup in which there are three lamps in the steeple. Sayeth Groucho: "They double crossed me, they're coming by land AND by sea!"

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Answering JUSTDUCKY instead of JUSTDANDY managed to artichoke me up for a while. Great puzzle.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Most Sundays I wonder how you people have the patience to complete these things, but the past two weeks have been a joy.

I believe cocoa is ground CACAO, and the two aren't really equivalent. This actually came to mind yesterday when in a bakery I saw a slice of chocolate cake which boasted of being made of 100% cocoa. I couln't decide among correcting them as their intent was clearly 100% CACAO, or buying it and sending it to Rex. I left. That's my default decision.

mccoll 12:08 PM  

What a tour de force! I got it by myself, but it took nearly an hour. I have little to do on the Sunday following All Hallow's Eve in any case. The great comments are topped by Ulrich. That's pretty funny. Thanks all, especially Matt and Pete.

Matt Ginsberg 12:10 PM  

Whew! Rex seemed to have been a bit grumpy recently. I'm very glad his mood has improved! :)

A few comments: Pete gets credit for the theme. I got involved only because Pete didn't have the patience to generate all the fake portmanteaux and he knew I'd be able to knock out a computer program to do it in almost no time.

Any blame for the title lies with me. I meant "fractured" as "broken" in the sense that the theme entries were compound words that had gotten messed up.

But as Rex so kindly says, no matter! I'm glad that people enjoyed the puzzle as much as they seem to have.

Idly Curious 12:13 PM  

@ Anonymous, 9:08 AM - You say, "Diana Nyad adopted that surname. Too good to be true." But if the name came upon her when she was very young, rather than her taking it on later in life, that would still be rather astonishing. However, all I could find on Google was the following. Can you tell us more?

Sports Illustrated

December 06, 1971

She Takes A Long Swim Off A Short Pier

Marathon swimming may not be the most painless way to gain renown but, as Diana Nyad found, it beats parachuting from the fourth floor

by Dan Levin

". . . . born Diana Sneed. "Mr. Sneed," she calls her father, a man she never knew. Her parents were divorced when she was three, and soon afterward her mother married a wealthy Greek land developer named Aristotle Zason Nyad, but that marriage ended, too, about the time Jack Nelson came along. . . . "

Or was this whole passage just dreamt up by the writer?

Anonymous 12:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stan 12:36 PM  

Echoing everyone: This was really, really fun. Took me forever tumbling to the theme but even that process was enjoyable.

Thanks to Matt & Pete for an outstanding puzzle.

PIX 12:46 PM  

For the record: A compound fracture is a fracture where, in addition to the fracture,there is a break in the skin around the broken bone. This creates a (relative) emergency situation because of the high risk of infection.
This puzzle is like one of those books where the title is misleading and unhelpful, but the book itself is a treasure.

mac 12:59 PM  

What a great time I had with this puzzle! I love wordplay, and this piece was just full of AHA, IAGA and LOL moments.

When the Nyad showed up I figured this was some mythological Diana.

Batt was a new term for me, but knowing "batting" made it more easily acceptable. I suspect quilters use batt(ing) instead of down because it comes in large sheets that you can cut to size to fit the quilt and its backing.

I have to admit to a nasty little mistake: for 91A Coward with a pen I started out with "Anon"..... My apologies.

@Ulrich: very funny!

PlantieBea 1:00 PM  

Fun! Thanks Matt and Pete.

I got hung up for a while in the lower section where I thought PERHAPSODY might be HIPHOPING! I also ended with an error of Gadi/Gilder; glad WADI is the word of the day. My favorite theme answer is definitely CATHARTICHOKE!

chefbea 1:17 PM  

With all the talk of batt, batting, down etc, I'm going to BATTEN DOWN the hatches.

Orly Taitz 1:17 PM  

The puzzle has an error at 79-Across, "Barack Obama, for one". The correct answer should be KENYAN. Please issue a correction and apology immediately.

Elaine 1:25 PM  

Quilting 101:

Down would not be a good quilt batting for a number of reasons, but of course down comforters are warm and wonderful, as are blankets...A quilt, then, is another variety of covering. There are three parts: the TOP(which might be one piece of fabric--whole cloth; pieced--as in patchwork; appliqued; or more than one technique might be used;) the BATT, which is the center layer; and the BACKING. A quilt is a sandwich, and the layers are held together by the quilting--the stitching done by hand or machine, which itself often adds a decorative and textural element. The best batts are easy to "needle" (every pursuit has its own vocabulary, eh?)...but down and feathers would present difficulties, not least the problem of keeping it evenly distributed. (During quilting, the basted sandwich is often folded, rolled, bunched up, etc., and most hand quilters use a hoop, which is moved as needed.)

Anyone tempted by quilting may go to my friend's website:; some of my blocks are under the dropdown menu Calico Gardeners: ElaineW

I have some bamboo-fiber clothes, which seem fine, but the new batting seems to have misbehaved in some way (possibly bearding.) Any time you have spent 18 months making a quilt top, you want to use tried and true materials. We are talking FOREVERIES, here! No bamboo batts for me til they've proven themselves over time.

Clark 1:39 PM  

Great puzzle. Great write-up. Most hilarious comment award goes to @Noam D. Elkies for SARAHPALINDROMEDARY.

Took me forever to see BY SEA -- even though I memorized the Longfellow peom in junior high school and still remember this bit:

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

@Elaine: That is beautiful work.

jae 2:04 PM  

Yes, delightful and funny. Thanks guys. Had the same personal Naticky problem as Jon. Knowing neither the swimmer nor the PBS show I went with IAN/NIAD.

edith b 2:53 PM  

As is my wont on Sundays, I was all over the grid and cherrypicked pieces of the theme but it wasn't until I saw both ELEPHANT and PHANTOM about halfway in that I put it whole thing together.

The fill was relatively straightforward so I was able to work this out in short order once I saw how the theme worked.

Shamik 3:32 PM  

Bravo on the puzzle!

@Ulrich: Funny, but it gave me a headache!

chefwen 3:36 PM  

Well, I must say that was a hell of a lot more fun than the brain bashing I suffered with the Saturday puzzle. Favorite of the day was RETROSPECTACLES and my most head scratching moment was with APOCRYPHA, had never seen, said, or pronounced that word before. Had to look it up after all was said and done.

What a fun workout, thank you Matt and Pete.

DBurk 4:11 PM  

Great puzzle! It took a while to get it moving, but after catching on to the theme it fell quite smoothly. I did have WIKIPEDIACARE at 21D for a while and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how 68A - CAME equated to Not exciting ;-)

Thanx Matt, Pete and Will!

And also BoobsRadley and Ulrich for making me laugh!

Anonymous 4:54 PM  

Loved the puzzle overall, but hated the NYAD/YAN crossing: totally unfair.

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retired_chemist 6:04 PM  

Put Anon 5:11 into Google translate. Pretty funny. Starts:

"At the wedding, the bride, but the Secretary of paper to play an important role in insulating the oh ~ because the bride's duty is to the Secretary of the bride Travel splendidly dressed, let the wedding day of a bride in the food super-beauty Superstar."

Martin 6:32 PM  

Matt, I have no idea why the title is such a lightning rod.

It made perfect sense and helped me grok the theme immediately. Elephant-om or ele-phantom. Two ways of fracturing each entry to make wacky portmanteau words. "Compound" can mean "multiple" or can be a description of "portmanteau." The fact that a "multiple fracture" and a "compound fracture" are different things in medicine is pretty irrelevant.

George NYC 6:56 PM  

Got to this late but agree with all that it was a lot of fun all around.
@Rex: like the new typeface.

jeff in chicago 9:19 PM  

Also loved it. Did it late as I got up later then normal and had to jet off to my matinee. This was a fantastic puzzle. My fave was WIKIPEDIATRIC.

And Greene stole my bit!!!! (Thus, the short comment.)

Jim in Chicago 9:49 PM  

Absolicious. Nothing more to say. The best puzzle in many a month. Made me chuckle repeatedly. Clever. Fun. Original. Five stars plus! May I have more, please?

Anonymous 11:19 PM  

A brief note (too late for anyone to read, no doubt):

My "aha" moment came on my last entry. 82D: I_EY would have been a complete guess. But my alphabet scan (all the way to "V," sigh...) on 90A: Man's name meaning "young man" S_EN woke me up to the English cognate "swain." Until then I thought the "young man" part was an Olaf (how appropriate for a Scandinavian name :-). It turns out that that clue was right on: wiki swain: "Swain is an English surname derived from the Old Norse personal name Sveinn (Sven, Sweyn), meaning a youth or young man."

Anyhow: The puzzle was fun, and Cal squeaked out a 23-21 last-seconds victory described by their own announcer as "horrendous." But a win is a win for all that.

Larry, the grinning Bear

retired_chemist 11:26 PM  

good job in finding out the truth about Sven, Larry. Very interesting.

fergus 12:31 AM  

Very clever new concepts, epitomized by PSYCHEDELICACY. Not often really flat out impressed, but today I was.

retired_chemist 2:11 AM  

New puppy photos.

Citizen Mundane 11:08 PM  

perhapsody... brilliant! what a great clue/answer... bravo on this puzzle... took a little longer than usual, but well worth it..'

Citizen Mundane 11:08 PM  

perhapsody... brilliant! what a great clue/answer... bravo on this puzzle... took a little longer than usual, but well worth it..'

Chris Cannon 12:15 AM  

I'm surprised there has been no comment about 2 down, "Form of the Egyptian God Thoth" -- APE. Thoth usually took the form of an ibis. He did occasionally show as a dog-faced baboon, but a baboon is a monkey, not an ape. Is this an error, or am i missing something?

slypett 12:45 AM  

You're probably dead on and shame on us.

Grandpa Doodle 1:13 PM  
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Andromeda 2:57 PM  

Esther precedes Job in the bible.
My "aha" was BYSEA, but I now go to the dictionary to see how BATE means restrain.

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

Grandpa Doodle,
Job is a book of the Bible and in a non-Catholic translation of the Bible, would be preceded by the Book of Esther (Esth. abbr.). This stumped me for a few seconds too as I first read Job as in career/work - then it dawned on me. Being a Scripture teacher in a Catholic school, I always have to reroute my Bible clues through the more commonly used non-Catholic Bible canon. Much fun nonetheless.

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

Since when does piano mean softly??(19A)

BullDogChief 12:40 PM  

Piano threw me doesn't mean "softly", it means "slowly". Enjoyed the puzzle immensely and now I feel a lot better for having "down" for "batt"! 68A "Not exciting" threw me...I initially had "dull"...took me hours to figure out "tame", I am so! I did love the theme, keep up the good work NYT!

gafromca 5:53 AM  

Music Lesson:
Terms used in musical notation come from Italian. The basic dynamic indications are:

* p = piano = soft or quiet
* f = forte =loud or strong

* mp = mezzo-piano = medium soft
* mf = mezzo-forte = medium loud
* pp = pianissimo = very soft
* ff = fortissimo = very loud

The harpsichord, in which strings are plucked, has no dynamic variation. The name of our modern piano comes from the "pianoforte", meaning "soft and loud", a new invention (around 1700) in which the strings were struck with hammers allowing variation in volume.

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