1960s sitcom set at camp — THURSDAY, Dec. 31 2009 — Parris Isl outfit / Hoops coach Kruger / Pachacuti's people / DC diamond squad

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Constructor: Frank Longo

Relative difficulty: Medium (leaning toward Medium-Challenging)

THEME: THREE LITTLE PIGS (60A: Storybook group) — rebus in which three pig types (BOAR, SOW, HOG) are each made "little" and squeezed into a single square

Word of the Day: UGSOME (15A: Dreadful, old-style) — adj.

Disgusting; loathsome.

[Middle English : uggen, to fear (from Old Norse ugga , from uggr, fear) + -some, characterized by; see -some.]


As rebuses go, this one felt awfully straightforward. Just three squares involved, and then a theme-revealer that (assuming you've cracked the rebus) is instantly gettable. That's what was weirdest about my solving experience — I sailed with relative ease through the north but was getting destroyed by the south when I realized, after much floundering, that I hadn't even bothered to look at that last theme answer (the revealer). THREE LITTLE PIGS went right in and then, magically, the south went down just as easily as the north had. Because there was some serious stuck time sandwiched in the middle of the easiness, and because rebuses generally take people longer than straight puzzles, I thought this merited at least a "Medium" difficulty rating.

UGSOME is not a word you really want in your puzzle (15A: Dreadful, old-style). Especially in the top-center. Too easy for critics to use it as a descriptor for the puzzle as a whole.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Person making firm decisions (Chairman of the [BOAR]d)
  • 12D: Detroit venue for sporting evengts and concerts (Co [BOAR] ena) — this is where I first realized something was up, rebus-wise. "This should be COBO ... or JOE LOUIS ... why won't they fit?"
  • 22A: "Different strokes for different folks" ("To each hi [SOW] n")
  • 25D: "Big deal" ("[SOW] hat?")
  • 55A: 1960s sitcom set at a camp ("[HOG] an's Heroes")
  • 37D: Thick-shelled seafood selection (qua [HOG]) — real trouble with that (I thought) 4-letter "Q" word...

Again I had name problems today. Though the pirate was RENÉ (it was JEAN, 47A: Pirate Lafitte); don't know the Marilyn MONROE movie in question (67A: "Niagara" star, 1953); never heard of SARA Ramirez (38D: Tony-winning "Spamalot" actress Ramirez); never heard of this LEN person (44D: "Live Free or Die Hard" director Wiseman). Weirdly, I knew LON without knowing how/why (61D: Hoops coach Kruger), and I knew SASHA Vujacic despite his not being even among the top four names on the Lakers roster (29A: Vujacic of the Los Angeles Lakers, who's nicknamed "The Machine"). ASHTON was a gimme (51D: "Punk'd" host Kutcher). I learned his name via "That 70's Show." Now he's famous for being famous.


  • 5A: Vice president after Breckinridge (Hamlin) — more name trouble. Couldn't remember good ol' Hannibal here. Meanwhile, "Breckinridge" makes the clues for the second day in a row.
  • 35A: Salute in stanzas (ode) — I'm trying imagine Keats saluting the urn. Not really working.
  • 54A: Parris Isl. outfit (USMC) — no idea what "Parris Isl." is. I assume it's an island. Like Paradise Island or Fantasy Island. Only with Marines.
  • 70A: Pachacuti's people (Incans) — hmm, what's the difference between an INCAN and an INCA? Or INCANS and INCA, for that matter? Looking at prior clues, the answer appears to be "nothing."
  • 4D: Green crops cultivated for fodder (soilage) — I thought this was SILAGE. Answers.com tells me that SILAGE means "Fodder prepared by storing and fermenting green forage plants in a silo." One letter off and both relate to "fodder?" Come on, farmers. I call "Unnecessary wordage" on you.
  • 5D: Snorts of disdain (humphs) — often heard in response to things UGSOME.
  • 26D: D.C. diamond squad (Nats) — this team is a boon to the world of crosswords, if not to the sport of baseball.
Wishing you a delightful and safe New Year's Eve,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


SethG 12:56 AM  

With either soilage or silage one must try to avoid spoilage. I'm not kidding.

Oh, Sasha _"The Machine"_ Vujacic. Knew Parris Island probably from Full Metal Jacket, QUAHOG from Family Guy, and COBO, SARA, LEN, SHALES, and ESTE from the crosses.

I can't decide whether I like the cutesy clue tie-ins (MSN/ISP, BRAS/CONES, REC/HOBBY) or not.

Happy and healthy, all--see you in the Tweens!

CoolPapaD 1:20 AM  

So much to enjoy about this puzzle - love me my rebuses! I only know QUAHOG from the Family Guy (thanks for the great clip)- never heard of the poor creature until my sister-in law hooked me by giving me Season One on DVD a few years ago. That show is hysterical, and so so wrong.

Speaking of politically incorrect TV, OTTO (53A) Klemperer's son, Werner, was Colonel Klink on HOGAN'S HEROES (could anyone imagine this show being made these days?). Great tie-in.

Lon Kruger was the Gator's coach when I was living in Gainesville, and then we both left for greener pastures.

Favorite clue: Bath bathroom!

Happy and safe New Year to Rex and all of you, who give me so much to look forward to each day!

George NYC 1:45 AM  

Mostly enjoyed this one. My only quibbles were (as RP noted) INCANS and the antiquated AOL/JUNO clues. No one uses either of these "providers" anymore, and for that matter, the term ISP is history too. I have never heard AGOG to mean intensely interested. I thought it meant bewildered or surprised. Too tired too google, sorry. I did like that the rebuses were all different, which made it interesting to find them.

Elaine 6:08 AM  

There was a time when folks said, "He's at Parris Island" as shorthand for "He just joined the Marines and is in Basic Training." That was even before MSN.

"Niagara" is a well-done suspense flick--black and white, worth seeing. A gimme, as was JEAN Lafitte. You gotta know your pirates in this life!

QUAHOG is a CLAM, a big one--what's this TV show bull???

I got HOGan's HEROES first, about the same time as THREE LITTLE PIGS (also a good suspense story) but kept looking for PIG instead of BOAR, which went in last.

UGSOME SOILAGE.... and I have to agree with Medium here. Had quite a few misleading spots for me.

A shame about Dan Naddor; worse shame about Anonymous 1:30. Tacky, PLUS a run-on sentence. Tsk.

David 6:39 AM  

Anonymous @ 1:30 - you shame the name of Dan Naddor by that drive-by "flame."

fikink 6:46 AM  

Even this lady farmer wanted silage. Rejected SOILAGE for a long time.

Lotsa nifty fill in this one - PUTONICE, ESCHEW, FLEXOR, CADRES.

Loved the Uggs photo, Rex. Mine are getting a workout this year as they are OFUSE when these blizzards blow across the ACREs.

Be safe, everyone, as you ring in the new year!

(I am saddened to see Anonymous's 1:30 AM post. Perhaps it is good he/she remains anonymous. ..easier to leave behind in 2009.)

kevin der 7:26 AM  

really liked this rebus, especially the tightness of the theme. often times the "bonus" entry is a stretch, but in this case it fits perfectly and literally.

a lot of fresh, difficult clues from frank, no surprise there. hard crossing in the NE at COBO / FCC imo. i thought it was FDC for some reason.

JannieB 7:51 AM  

I had major hang-ups in the northern hemisphere. Didn't get any traction until I moved east and south. I knew 55A had to be Hogan's Heroes, but didn't yet know what the rebus theme was. Then I got "Three Little Pigs" and figured it out.

Lots of fresh fill, but I wanted "harumph". "Humph" just doesn't sound right to my ear. Maybe if it were "hoomph"??? Bumpy at best.

Nice puzzle and a good way to end the year. Wishing everyone a very happy 2010.

imsdave 7:57 AM  

Not a good day for anonymice.

I'm with JannieB on HUMPH, but other than that, a perfectly fine puzzle.

Happy New Year!

Jeffrey 8:14 AM  

A nice, if non-kosher puzzle to end the year. Happy New Year to Rex and everyone else here. It's been a great year in CrossWorld.

David 8:15 AM  

So I shared Rex's Aha moment, when I had the CO beginning for Detroit venue. Once the BOAR appeared, things began filling themselves.

But I kept looking for RUNT and PIGLET and thereby slowed down. Even a PURSE might have enhanced the effort. :)

Have a Happy New Year's Eve everyone - and good health and good solving in 2010!

Tokyo Joe 8:26 AM  

Parriss Island is where marine recruits east of the Mississippi go (west, you get 'lucky' and head to San Diego). The basic training scenes in "Full Metal Jacket" were depicting Parriss Island.

Agreed that soilage, humphs, and agog were not the best clues.

Spencer 8:41 AM  

I had COAENA from crosses (assuming, at that point, that 17A ended in HEAD). At that point, it was obvious I needed a rebus, and BOAR dropped right in, leading to an easy CHAIRMANOFTHEBOARD. Pretty smooth sailing from there, although I was on the alert for more than just 3 rebus squares, until I got to 60A, which was, as you say, obvious. Pretty much a fun solve.

OldCarFudd 8:44 AM  

I enjoyed this, even though I screwed up Hamlin (which I ought to have known) and ugsome (which is a great-sounding word I never would have known, but am glad I know now).

Parris Island got a lot of bad press some years back when Marine recruits were so abused in basic training that some of them died.

Like CoolPapaD, I like the bath bathroom. Like Elaine, I know quahog as a clam. And I still use AOHell, although I'm increasingly wondering why.

Was anyone bothered by eschew as an answer crossing chew out for a clue?

bookmark 8:52 AM  

Getting HOGAN'S HEROES led me to the rebus. I also liked that each of the rebuses were all different.

Hannibal HAMLIN, Lincoln's first VP, is my daughter-in-law's great-great grandfather.

Parris Island is in Beaufort, SC. Husband and I are in Jacksonville, NC (home of another Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune) for a family funeral today.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

I loved 'ugsome', the constructor deserves brownie points for having the courage to use it.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

If SOILAGE is a legitimate term for generic plant life growing in soil, does that make each of us AIRAGE?

joho 9:24 AM  

I was AGOG doing this puzzle.

I knew it was a rebus but didn't start filling in the three different answers (brilliant that they weren't the same) after writing in THREE LITTLE PIGS.

I really loved this rebus with a twist.

I picked the word of the day and don't see a problem with it. It's old yet new to me and sounds like just what it means. I will use it to one day to describe a puzzle I don't like.

Thank you Frank Longo for a great send off to 2009, here's to more puzzles like this in the new year!

Happy 2010 everybody!

RPS 9:33 AM  

Did anyone else spend about five minutes trying to turn CO_E_A into Comerica (Park) instead of Cobo Arena?

Rex Parker 9:47 AM  

After multiple complaints from readers, I deleted an anonymous email from earlier in the day. You can say all kinds of things here, but malicious use of profanity and general indecency just won't fly, it seems.

Carry on.


Van55 9:48 AM  

I liked the rebus theme, but some of this puzzle made me HUMPH. The obscure Niagara clue was just UGSOME.

Dan Naddor RIP.

retired_chemist 9:53 AM  

What Joho said.

I was looking for the rebus and having my usual lack of success. I knew 12D as COBO HALL because that's where the dog shows are - too long, so I knew there was a rebus in there, but what? Similar problem for 55A HOGAN'S HEROES.

Eventually I saw 60A, which by then was about half filled in. I completed it, and the theme was then clear. Back to COBO,which by then was CO?ENA,and the BOAR appeared. The HOG appeared in similar fashion. Knew from 60A to look for only one more rebus square, and it would be PIG, SOW, or (less likely) SHOAT. And, soon, it appeared.

My slowest days (relative to other solvers) are rebus days,so I have to rate this as medium-challenging. However, it was more fun and less frustration by far than rebuses usually are for me.

Also slowed down by having STAGE ONE @ 3D, PUT ASIDE @ 40D, and ASTI @ 41D at various times. And by doubting UGSOME was a word - that led me to debate between LOO and LAV @ 8D, a problem not alleviated by LOBS @ 10D.

Thanks, Mr. Longo. You never disappoint.

Unknown 9:55 AM  

Happy New Year to all. I hope I see you in Brooklyn in 2010.

I enjoy rebus puzzles and was on the lookout for this one. I got it off of COBO ARENA, also. I adetermined that BOAR was not going to be repeated, so I searched for other animals and wasted a bit of time checking possibilities places they didn't exist. A very fun conclusion to 2009. For all, including the trolls, let's
"tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!"

retired_chemist 10:01 AM  

No problem agreeing that Niagara (57A) was obscure, but the crosses were mostly easy enough that one should have had 3 or 4 of the letters in MONROE as gimmes. Then what other star can you remember from 1953 that would fit? Not UGSOME to me. It added to the fun.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:11 AM  

Loved the puzzle.

For a few milliseconds I entertained the thought that the "pig" in THREELITTLEPIGS would be rebus-ized -- but then, of course, there would have been four little pigs!

Happy New Year to all!

chefbea 10:15 AM  

Hard fun puzzle today.

Have been to Parris Island twice. To see two grandsons graduate and become marines. They have both been to Iraq and are back safely.

Semper Fi and Happy new year to all

Wade 10:30 AM  

I'm bad with SOILAGE, too. It's just kind of disgusting. And what is Juno? I'm familiar with AOL--my granny has an AOL account for forwarding me things about cats and Jesus--but never heard of Juno.

Greg Clinton 10:34 AM  

Only missed the LOA/COBOARENA crossing. I always panic with these Hawaiian names. Is it LOA? LEA? In the end I opted for LUA. Need to brush up on my sports venues.

nebraska doug 10:38 AM  

Can anyone explain "WERE" for "Be in a certain mood"? What am I missing? I found this one to be pretty easy, thought it was easier than the Wednesday puzzle.

JC66 10:40 AM  

A healthy & happy New Year to everyone.

HudsonHawk 10:42 AM  

I was fairly sure there were going to be rebuses in the grid, but couldn't sniff them out for awhile with the first two theme answers.

I toyed with MAN/HE/HIS as rebuses, but they just wouldn't do. Like retired_chemist, I wanted COBO HALL. HOGan's Heroes pushed me in the right direction.

Fun finish to 2009, Mr. Longo.

JC66 10:42 AM  

@ nebraska doug

Think of WERE as the past (something) tense of be.

nebraska doug 10:51 AM  

Thanks for the explanation, I was stumped. I'm not sure I like the clue/answer, but I "comprende" it now.

The Lurking Grammarian 11:02 AM  

@JC66 and nebraska doug: If I were to offer an opinion, it would be that WERE is the subjunctive mood.

SethG 11:02 AM  

Wade, Juno is also an internet company. They merged with NetZero, and together they're now the 10th largest ISP and own a flower company.

pauer 11:03 AM  

Another super puzzle, Frank. Is there anything you can't do?

And UGSOME is a perfectly cromulent word.

slypett 11:07 AM  

JC66: The clue reads "mood", that means we are dealing with the subjunctive. One helluva a clever piece of fill in a delightful puzzle. Maybe a bit breezy for a Thursday, but, goshdarn, it's New Year's Eve.

And to everyone, a happy, healthy, and, above all, safe New Year and many more to come!

Hope to see you next year!

Dough 11:08 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle. Great rebus entries. I saw "Niagara" years ago; Neat little film with a very seductive Marilyn. Loved ugsome (can't imagine every using it,though)! Bravo Mr. Longo.

xyz 11:16 AM  

Well, I am certainly learning more about the acceptable forms of Rebii this month. Silly me, at first, I thought they were symmetrical in the grid with the same combo or word (not last Th) and not even a lot of them or the same one (today).

Knew HOGANSHEROES (couldn't make it fit and didn't get the rebus yet) cold and QUAHOG but figured QUAE or QUAO was another more crosswordese-y oyster; didn't get it until I peeked on here for help as CHAIRMANOFBOARD, although awkward fit and made 90+% sense, putting a whole BOAR in there made sense. GRRRR, but that's how we learn.

I'm not sure that entiende (var)? would be better than comprende? for proper use ... (Been using an interpreter service a lot lately)

Words such as UGSOME in an already off-beat rebus is just pathetic to me, but I'm pretty green and I'll learn, I suppose. INCANS when I wanted INCA*BOTTLES instead ... lalalala


Very challenging for me, but a lot of knowledge gained today

xyz 11:18 AM  

errr, Clam

ArtLvr 11:22 AM  

Does one store SOILAGE in a soil-lo? My tired brain wasn't happy with that -- So glad to see @fikink hadn't heard of it...

Then I got THREE LITTLE PIGS and CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, and thought this wouldn't be so bad, but I was wrong. Couldn't see HOGAN'S HEROES because I'd put Esti replacing Asti, rather than ESTE. And I knew QUAHOG was wanted, but on Cape Cod they say "quohog" and I worried that there was an alternative spelling after all...

Oh well, it was an excellent puzzle. Loved UGSOME! -- My addled head will doubtless improve in the New Year. Cheers to all.


Stan 11:24 AM  

Not that easy for me (don't know my sports arenas unless they're in Boston) -- but a solid, fun solve in retrospect.

Happy 2010 to all and thanks to Rex for a year of great write-ups!

ArtLvr 11:25 AM  

p.s. Did anyone balk at the INC 500? I got it, but Fortune 500 is much more familiar!


Jim in Chicago 11:28 AM  

Wow - a little late to the party and I miss all the fun over anon1:30, must have been a doozie.

The only place I had real trouble was in the far north where I was too clever by half when I decided that in Bath people used to bathe in the SPA, and then when I needed an "L" in the first spot I changed it to LAV, and then finally LOO.

I like how FLEXOR crosses with BONE.

I first had bobby "SOCKS" but soon sorting things out there.

My one quibble is over the clue for BRA. I know that bras include cups in their construction, but always thought they held - um - can you say boobs on this blog?

PIX 11:37 AM  

A fun rebus puzzle...liked that you had to find three different ones.

Jean Lafitte "helped General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans against the British in 1815"{Wiki}, so he's somewhat important in history. There's a very corny, great old movie about this whose name escapes me.

Except for a sillly mistake in the Maine area I completed the puzzle and enjoyed it thoroughly. I started following this blog a little over a year ago when I could barely do a Monday puzzle.Obviously, I have learned a lot. I just wanted to say thank you to Rex and all of you for teaching me so much (and making it so much fun.)

Call a cab and have a safe night.

Two Ponies 11:37 AM  

Very fun rebus.
I liked that one of the rebus answers had four letters and the others were three.
Misread "fiRm decisions" as fiLm so between that and the ugsome/humphs cross I had a slow-down but still lots of fun.
Got the clam from Family Guy as well. Only show that can make me laugh out loud. New kitten is named Stewie.

Soilage sounds like a fancy way to say dirt.

I came in late so I missed the deleted anonymous post that got deleted.

Fantastic pyrotechnics over the Strip tonight but I doubt I will be awake.

Rare blue moon tonight (oxymoron?)

See you all next year!

Mike Lewis 11:38 AM  

This was my first NYT puzzle done in Across Lite, rather than on the iPhone. Should there have been a happy pencil when I finished? My grid certainly appears to match Rex's, but I got no message saying I had solved, only that the grid was completely filled.

@Jim in Chicago:
Boobs. Boobs. Boobs.
I'm gonna say yes.

Squeek 11:51 AM  

@ Jim in Chicago, You must have missed the cup holder discussion the last time this clue appeared. One of those things we just accept and move on.
@ PIX, Did that movie have Errol Flynn in it?
Can't fill bobby-soxer without thinking of Pat Boone. Ugsome.
The theme is very timely at my house as pork is the traditional New Year's Day meal in my family.
Darn, I missed the early excitement. Who's up and posting at 1:30 in the morning?

xyz 12:11 PM  

@Two Ponies

Is not Rare Blue Moon redundant? (certainly not the ubiquitously misused ironic) haha

Interestingly (or not) ladies cycles are generally lunar months, not calendar i.e. 28d and there are often 13 in most years, yet blue moons (as I understand them) are not as common

13x28 = 364
1 yr = ~365.25

But ... NOTE: those on q 14d paycheck may get 53 in 2010 and your employer may decrease your check accordingly - hmmm, do blue moons portend this one? Coincidence or science?

mccoll 12:12 PM  

I liked this one a lot. I wanted chief executive....something for 17A for awhile. It didn't work so I went south and west. I got JUSTSO ESCHEW and AMORAL and THREELITTLEPIGS fell into place. I made a list of sow, hog, boar and even shoat, and looked for the rebus.
Think of this. AOL and Juno are history! They are so "last week" in Valspeak. To be sure, no one uses them now but we are talking five years or so. Who'd a thunk it?
@Dave it has to be a silk purse. The Great Gildersleeve used to say Harumph! That makes it official.
UGSOME - eeuw!
I found this blog a couple of years ago and it is tremendous fun. I appreciate Rex's work and dedication and all the comments which are sent in. Kudos to everyone. You are quite a bunch of raggle taggle gypsies. Best wishes. See you next year,

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

do the bras hold up the cups that hold up the boobs?


jeff in chicago 12:19 PM  

Had to get UGSOME with the crosses, and when I first saw it, I wrinkled my nose. But it grew on me. Didn't like the e.g. in the BONE clue.

I like that SO WHAT also breaks to SOW HAT, like this one.

@Squeek: Yes. Pork is my family's New Years tradition as well. Sausage and sauerkraut. Yummy!

Happy New Year everyone. Be safe tonight!

PIX 12:25 PM  

@Sqeek...no Errol Flynn...movie was "Buccaneer [VHS] (1958)
Starring: Yul Brynner, Claire Bloom Director: Anthony Quinn"...great fun (turn brain off, have a beer or two, just enjoy)

babslesley 12:27 PM  

Green crops cultivated for fodder -- Soylent Green* immediately came to mind. Took me a long time to decide that wasn't right. Then the rest of the puzzle fell into place.
*Futuristic movie with Charlton Heston. "It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They're making our food out of people."

obertb 12:44 PM  

Never heard the word UGSOME and was convinced that [5D Snorts of disdain] had to be HARUMPHS, so had a ARU rebus at sq. 15, which made ARUGSOME. None of this made any sense, so I just gave up and came here. Still don't like HUMPHS, though.

Happy New Year all you puzzleheads!

JC66 12:58 PM  

@The Lurking Grammarian and @Darkman.
Thanks for the clarification on WERE:be.

As for the film about Jean Laffite and the Battle of New Orleans, "The Buccaneer" was made in 1938 starring Frederic March and remade in 1958 starring Yul Brenner.

There was also a song called Battle of New Orleans by Johnny Horton released in 1959.

william e emba 1:16 PM  

I knew the CO?ENA had to be a rebus, but I didn't know its name. Then I knew HOGANSHEROES had to be a rebus, but couldn't figure out which three letters to squeeze. Finally got the rebus off of (SOW)HAT.

More precise grammar lesson: "Subjunctive" and "Indicative" are both moods, the former denoting intentions or wishes, the latter denoting facts. WERE in the present tense is subjuntive, and in the past tense it is indicative.

Someday I am going to crack down and just memorize the US vice-presidents. This learning them once every six months from the crosswords is not efficient.

edith b 1:17 PM  

I had a hard time figuring this one out as I assumed that the rebus HOG would berepeated three times. That was wrong. When SOW revealed itself, I went looking for the third little pig.

I knew WHERE it was but I thought it was COHO Arena in Detroit and I had a second mistake at 3D which I thought was STAGEONE. I was in a half hour before I finally got that mess straightened out.

I was proud of myself that I knew who LON Krueger was because it helped confirm the Niagra star Joseph COTTEN, another movie star from 1953, retired chemist.

What a mess for a Wednssday

treedweller 1:22 PM  

I had to allow the script to see what the video was @QUAHOG. I wasn't surprised to see Stewie there, but was hoping for So What.

Like @ArtLvr, I got the city wrong (I tried ESTa) and so couldn't see HEROES. Two non-weekend fails in a row--UGSOME!!

@Wade too funny--I think we may be related.

George NYC 1:32 PM  

Guilty as charged :)

Was surprised to hear snow plows this morning...Or as they are termed in New York, "sanitation vehicles."

Happy New Year everyone.

lit.doc 1:47 PM  

This one was way challenging for me. Started well enough, getting enough crosses in N to see CHAIRMAN OF THE [BOAR]D, so went looking for the clue clue, found 60A. Worked crosses, got it. Then went into super slo-mo. Still, I like rebuses, and liked this one. Once I got it done.

@nebraska doug, JC66, the lurking grammarian, and darkman - the only thing I can add re subjunctive mood is a chagrin. I'm an English geek, and yet WE_E was the last square I filled (Grrr!!! to the cluing for GRR). I tell my students to think of the Cowardly Lion's "If I were the King of the forest".

Only thing I didn't see comments on above is the crossing of UGSOME and HUMPHS. Obscure word crossing obscure spelling of HARUMPHS? 6-10Ds were quick and easy, so H seemed likely, 17A CHAIRMAN verified M, and _GSOME required a vowel, so technically getable, I guess. But still. Burned lots of daylight thinking "Could one of the rebus squares be hiding here, waiting to make sense of 5D?"

edith b 1:47 PM  

What a mess for a THURSDAY, is what I meant, not Wednesday. I live in New Jersey and those Sanitation Vehicles that George NYC alluded to were in front of my house this morning, too

Greg Clinton 1:51 PM  


The subjunctive movie example I like is "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof.

Parshutr 1:55 PM  

Ugsome...great word to add to my vocab...for those of us who go to sporting events in Detroit, it's THEJOE, which I put in as my first entry...but then I remembered that if it's Thursday it's probably a Rebus (after putting in SOXER, which invalidated THE JOE.
Three little pigs indeed...
Happy New Year, and goodbye to the Decade of 0s!

archaeoprof 1:59 PM  

Medium-challenging for me. QUAHOG was a discovery.

45A OFUSE made me think of "The Cider House Rules."

BTW, saw a really good movie last night called "Goodbye Solo."

Thanks, Frank Longo. And thanks, Rex!

Glitch 2:01 PM  

@George NYC @mccoll

I just returned from the mountains of upstate NY, an area without DSL or Cable (or cell service for that matter). My Brother in Law uses Juno and my Aunt AOL, via dialup.

Both AOL and Juno advertise as Internet Service Providers.

And Satellite may not be affordable to many.

I'm sure there are many other areas in the country in the same situation.


George NYC 2:06 PM  

@lit.doc et al.
I was taught that the subjunctive was reserved for situations that were impossible or extremely unlikely. So "If I were on the moon" would qualify but "If a was at the store" would not, as the latter example could easily occur. "If I were a rich man" I guess depends on the speaker. So Donald Trump would say "If I was richer" rather than "If I were richer."

George NYC 2:11 PM  

@ Glitch
Point taken.

mac 2:23 PM  

Well, for a fairy tale rebus puzzle this one was quite grown-up. Medium-challenging for me.
Enjoyed it a lot though, and "ugsome" is growing on me the more I see it.

The S in Sasha was a guess, I just never seem to remember these computer related letter combinations. Lon came through the crosses, which was a good thing because that meant 44D could only be Len. I think in Cape Cod Quahog is pronounced as one syllable. I've tried it, but it's not my favorite food.

@Bob Kerfuffle: good reasoning re. 4th pig. I was going that route, too. Piglets?

I know that Johnny Horton song! My father and his brothers had a period where they played lots of American Country and Western music and this must have been one of them.

We just got plowed out so our guests can get up the driveway. The house is full of good food and drink, and I am not moving!

Thank you Rex and all you commenters for a year of new facts, ideas, fun and jokes and discussions. I look forward to meeting up with you every day.

Guy Who's Got that Subjunctive Stuff Down Cold 2:45 PM  

The subjunctive is used to express situations that are not in fact the case. You'd use "if I was at the store" if there were some doubt about whether you were at the store but not if you knew you were not at the store. E.g., "I can't remember whether I was at the store when I got her phone call. If I was at the store, I'm sure I would have mentioned it." Compare to, "If I were at the store, honey, I would buy you some flowers. As I am not in fact at the store but am at the bawdy house, I cannot possibly buy you flowers."

Guy Who Etc. 2:49 PM  

And Donald Trump is still subject to the rules of grammar. If he's talking about a situation in which he may have been richer in the past, he can say "If I was richer." If he's talking about a situation in which he knows he doesn't have as much money (as the hypothetical money in question), he's stuck with "If I were richer."

chefwen 3:18 PM  

Got the theme from only the I in place from PUT ON ICE, and was off and running looking for all the ham and bacon.
Found the BOAR and the HOG pretty quickly but it took me a while to find the SOW.

The area that slowed me down the most was HAMLIN/HUMPHS/UGSOME, pretty sure that UGSOME will become part of my vocab from now on.

Happy and safe New Year to all.

chefbea 3:20 PM  

Anyone do the newsday puzzle?????

lit.doc 3:27 PM  

@Guy Who Etc., thanks for saving me the trouble. Good explanation.

lit.doc 3:30 PM  

@chefbea, not yet but I'm about to go there, as usual. Is there a Newsday blog?

Steve J 3:35 PM  

@CoolPapaD: I really liked the OTTO Klemperer and HOGANSHEROES proximity as well (it would have been even better of they'd crossed). In fact, as I was doing my first sweep through the accrosses (and before I realized I was dealing with a rebus puzzle), I was all excited about Hogan's Heroes, only to have my enthusiasm dashed when I didn't fit.

Had the same reaction at first when COBOARENA nor Joe Louis Arena didn't fit. Even tried the Palace (Auburn Hills), but that neither fit nor is in Detroit proper.

Ended up doing this one faster than I normally do rebus puzzles, since I'm usually really slow to pick up on the rebus. Fortunately I sussed this one out pretty quickly.

Clark 3:40 PM  

Semi-puzzle partner (who lived for eight years in Coburg, see recent puzzle reference to the Saxen-Coburg line) tells me that there is a German New Year's tradition involving Glücksschweine, lucky pigs. @Ulrich, do you think the puzzle is making a gesture in that direction?

George NYC 3:43 PM  

@Guy Who
Thanks for clarifying.

Doc John 3:44 PM  

Happy New Year, everyone!
Had a tough time with the puzzle but then got THREE LITTLE PIGS and ran with it from there.
The TV series set in a camp had to be HOGAN'S HEROES but it didn't fit and neither did Gomer Pyle, USMC. Finally, the rebus reveal and it all came together.
BTW, Hogan's Heroes was not un-PC. Apart from having Nazis in it, they were always made to look like idiots. In fact, Werner Klemperer said that the only way he'd take the part is if Col. Klink would never, ever come out on top. He won 2 Emmys for that, as well.

A previous commenter said "boobs" so... I love you, Dolly Parton! (No reason, just felt like saying it.)

SueRohr 3:54 PM  

For some reason I got 60 across almost immediately, so had a pretty good idea what I was looking for and got through rather quickly. I loved the puzzle in spite of having some of the same quibbles you all did. Thought it was sper clever.
I am one of the old geezers who still uses AOL. Would like to change, but don't want to go to all the trouble of informing my hundreds of contacts (half of whom I don't even remember).
I thought 14 across was great as well as the much discussed 71 across. Spent a lot of time looking for a plot piece (68 across) like climax or denouement. No one mentioned that radius has reared its ugly head once again!
Happy 2010 to all!

foodie 3:57 PM  

Haven't had a chance to finish the puzzle yet, so I'm not reading the blog or the comments until I'm done (which may be tomorrow). But I wanted to wish Rex and everyone in Rexville a great new year! May it puzzle you and challenge you but never defeat you...


chefbea 4:03 PM  

@lit.doc don't think there is a blog for newsday. If you find one let me know

lit.doc 4:14 PM  

@chefbea, couldn't find a Newsday blog. But having done the puzz, and seeing your embedded pic, think I understand your curiosity. The theme answers, yes? TEEN, REED, MEET, and, yes, BEET.

BTW can anyone direct me to a how-to source re those embedded avatars, icons, logos, or whatever you call them, like chefbea's beet? Same re embedding video clips?

treedweller 4:36 PM  

to have an avatar photo, you have to join blogger. You can upload a picture there, then it appears automatically with your posts if you use the blogger ID to comment.

For embedding links, using bold or italics, etc., view the basics here. You can find lots of other pages to teach you about this by searching "html tags".

jae 4:37 PM  

Medium for me. Yes to balking at HUMPHS and not knowing SASHA, LEN, or LON. Thought QUAHOG was spelled with an O at first. Longo seldom disappoints and this was no exception. His New Years Eve puzzle from last Sun. was a real gem!

Happy New Year all!

Newsday subscriber 4:50 PM  

Newsday's Saturday Stumper is blogged by Orange.

The Newsday site is now subsciption only. If you have Optimum Online or subscribe to Newsday or pay a fee you can get the puzzle under Entertainment. They also allow .pdf print-outs of puzzles and solutions.

Jeffrey 5:06 PM  

Newsday puzzle is available free here

Orange does normally blog the Saturday Stumper, but yours truly will be filling in this weekend, assuming I can actually solve it.

lit.doc 5:34 PM  

@treedweller, thanks for the info. Looks like just what I needed.

retired_chemist 5:41 PM  

@ EdithB - COTTEN would only survive the one cross you mentioned. My comment was that MONROE would be the only option once you had about 3.

Raul 6:06 PM  

Thank you Mr. Parker.

This Broadband Decade was a Renaissance for information distribution. Blogs rule.


Meg 6:52 PM  

Happy New Year to all!

Personally, I do not think of boars, sows or hogs as "little". A boar can easily kill you.

"He asked me if I was sleeping". OK "If" is used to indicate a yes/no question.

"If I was sleeping, I wouldn't be talking to you". Wrong, but will probably become correct in the future, just like "If I would have" or "Who did you call?" Language evolves.

Thank you, Rex, for creating this space.

michael 7:13 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot, especially the three different types of pigs (in particular quahog).

If I wanted to do, I might say something about the subjunctive...

slypett 7:24 PM  

chefbea: I did. Now ask me what I remember about it....

chefwen 7:28 PM  

Checking to see if my avatar addition works, if so, thanks treedweller!

chefwen 7:29 PM  

Damn, it didn't, will have to try again.

slypett 7:37 PM  

Newsday subscriber: I've been getting the N'day puzzle without fee, subscription, etc. I couldn't be a special case, hnnn?

Stan 7:56 PM  

Re: quahogs: I grew up saying "quo-hogs." But my wife, who lived many years on Cape Ann (and spends more time around the docks), says "ko-hogs" -- so that's what I'd go with.

In any case, I [heart] American Regional English no matter where it's from.

PlantieBea 8:15 PM  

A happy and safe New Year's Eve to all; many thanks to Rex for the year of excellent write-ups.

I finally sat down to finish this puzzle (making pasta today) and I'm glad I did. I ended up with a problem in the bottom center, but really enjoyed the thing as a whole. Seems timely as ham is a typical New Year's dish; we'll have black eyed peas with ham hocks tomorrow. Happy New Year!

slypett 9:20 PM  

Stan: Notwithstanding the excellence of your wife, I spent about 35 years on Cape Ann, working the docks some of those years, and pronounce the word kwo-hogs. Now, this might a difference between the guinea and the portagee ways of speech, I dunno. I might even have picked up my pronunciation from the yankees. I dunno. Hope this has left matters in total dissaray. Yours truly.

Glitch 9:58 PM  

Just wanted to wish all a Happy New Year and tip the blog comment count to triple digits.


Robin 10:02 PM  

Happy New Year to all! I didn't actually do the puzzle today since printer is on the blink and I suck at Across-Lite. But I still needed to check in here and see what was going on.

Merry Puzzling in 2010.

sanfranman59 10:14 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:40, 6:55, 0.96, 46%, Medium
Tue 8:51, 8:45, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Wed 11:30, 11:57, 0.96, 46%, Medium
Thu 18:46, 18:56, 0.99, 51%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:39, 3:41, 0.99, 52%, Medium
Tue 4:34, 4:29, 1.02, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:53, 5:52, 1.00, 57%, Medium
Thu 9:20, 9:08, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging

It seems to be Medium week to wrap up the decade. Happy new year to all.

Stan 10:41 PM  

@darkman: Interesting... yes, total disarray seems to be what we have, which in linguistic terms is just fine. Probably needs more research.

(I'm actually glad that my own pronunciation isn't something I just made up.)

chefwen 10:48 PM  

Food Lover's Companion says KWAH-hog.
That's the second time I used it today, checked with it over at the LAT puzzle for information.

retired_chemist 12:01 AM  

Happy New Year to all!

slypett 1:14 AM  

chefwen: That pronunciation of quahog is not 'of the people'. Dictionaries and other reference books are fine, as far as they go, but sometimes you gotta put the rubber on the road.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  


Anonymous 1:01 PM  


Charles Bogle 8:42 PM  

A day late and a dollar short. Picked up this one thinking it was Friday's puzzle; got the rebus concept, got the theme; alas, couldn't noodle out the rebus three boxes...felt good thinking I'd done 90 percent of a Friday puzzle and knew the omissions were rebus-related---then found out I had Thursday's puzzle...on the whole, am very glad for the exercise!

Singer 1:24 PM  

Syndication weighs in:

I liked ugsome. Never heard the word before, but it is quite evocative - maybe it can make a comeback.

I thought this was a pretty fresh theme for a rebus. I got boar from chairman of the _d plus reasoning that the Detroit venue had to be an arena of some sort. Put in the rebus, and then thought there should be one in each quadrant plus the center. I was pretty much stuck in the middle of the puzzle until I got to the revealer. Then Hogan's Heroes popped out, along with quahog, which I knew as a clam (I always pronounce it KWAhog). The last to fall was TO EACH HIS OWN. I had the sow in SO WHAT, but had placed sens in for the Washington baseball team. The Senators weren't any better than the Nationals, and both are forgettable to a west coaster. I ha forgotten that the Senators moved on and the new team was called the Nationals. That made the cliche phrase hard to parse, particularly when I couldn't figure out HUMPHS. I don't have the same dislike of HUMPHS as most - it is a spelling of a sound one would make, and I don't think there is any standard way to spell those kinds of things, although harumph seems to be more memorable.

All in all, a fresh and interesting take on the rebus puzzle concept. I give it a thumbs up.

Anonymous 7:10 PM  

A good challenge, except "Be in a certain mood" (were?) - a really lousy clue.

Glenna 7:43 PM  

Two down has me confused. Isn't ich translated "I" and isn't I a noun not a pronoun.

Anonymous 10:51 PM  

@GLENNA - No, I along with YOU, WE, THEY, etc. are indeed pronouns.

O GOD! All AGOG over CONES and BRAS appearing with MONROE (and DEMI).

Robert 12:08 AM  

Very clever puzzle. Challenging but fun. I remembered after solving the south that Thursdays are gimmick puzzles. I did not look up answers today but on the days I do I have a specific technique for getting right to Rex's writeup for the correct day. I google the clue and then add Rex to my search terms. Proposed name for such searching: Rexing.
Bye from syndication land. Long time lurker. First time poster.

MikeinSTL 9:14 AM  

@SethG -- I can't believe no one pointed this out, but as for the cutesy tie-ins, you missed ASHTON and DEMI!

My only real snag was figuring out where the rebuses (rebi?) were going to fit in the big crosses (not ever having heard of COBO ARENA or parsing SO WHAT held me back)

Also, I got to OGOD crossing AGOG and thought to myself "okay, the blog peeps are going to complain about that..." but I guess I was wrong!

slypett 11:52 PM  

MikeinSTL: "Blog peeps", huh? I like that!

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