Late choreographer Cunningham — SUNDAY, Dec. 27 2009 — Swahili honorific / Name of seven Norwegian kings / Biodegradable pipe material

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Toasting the New Year" — all about CHAMPAGNE, the letters to which sit inside a glass (made out of black squares). The CHAMPAGNE gives off BUBBLES (letters in circled squares floating above the glass) — and then several long theme answers relate to CHAMPAGNE ...

Word of the Day: BAST (11D: Rope fiber) — bast (bast)


1. Bot. any type of phloem
2. fiber obtained from phloem, used in making ropes, mats, etc.

Etymology: ME < OE bæst, inner bark of trees; akin to Ger & ON bast [PHLOEM = In vascular plants, phloem is the living tissue that carries organic nutrients (known as photosynthate), particularly sucrose, a sugar, to all parts of the plant where needed. (wikipedia)]


Whoa, it went from Christmas (Friday) to New Year's (today) pretty damned fast. Was not expecting a new holiday puzzle so soon, but it was a welcome surprise. I really like this puzzle — the only real downside (aside from some strained fill) is that it looks JUST like a puzzle Ms. Gorski did last year — the James Bond puzzle that featured a MARTINI glass in the center of the grid (that glass was filled, not surprisingly, with the word MARTINI). In that grid, the glass was delineated by circled squares you had to connect (in your mind or with pen). Today's makes a more bold, clear visual statement with the glass unmistakably in black. Circles are always a tricky proposition — I can love them or hate them, depending on how they're used. I LOVE today's circles, particularly the floating BUBBLES. The quotation in the puzzle is very cool, and the assorted theme-related answers lively and interesting. So I had to deal with the worst abbr. ever (AGN — 61A: Once more: Abbr.), and the crossing of IT with IT (OF IT w/w ACE IT), and three different partials with indefinite articles (A POET, A CRAB, LEAD A). These are acceptable prices to pay for an ambitious, imaginative puzzle like this.

Theme answers:

  • 25A: Purported cry from 100-Across upon discovering this puzzle's subject ("I am drinking the stars")
  • 100A: See 25-Across (Dom Pierre Perignon)
  • 1A: Common toast ("Cheers!")
  • 12A: Sounds accompanying toasts (clinks)
  • 75A: Alternative to 1-Across ("Bottoms up!")
  • 77A: Connoisseur of this puzzle's subject (wine lover)
  • 34D: 100-Across, for one (Benedictine monk)
  • 39D: Cry before "Happy New Year!" ("It's twelve o'clock!") — I have never heard this cry. People count down from 10 to 1. But it's a plausible cry, if, say, party-goers somehow haven't been paying attention closely enough to do the countdown.
Good handful of stuff I've never seen before, including BAST and MERCE (70A: Late choreographer Cunningham). ILIA was also unknown (14D: 1998 Olympic figure skating gold medalist ___ Kulik), and between that and BAST, I had my first and only serious hang-up early on when the quotation read "I AM DRINKING -HEST-RS" — and I thought, "Is CHESTER'S a kind of champagne?" Only other answer I can never remember seeing before is IMARI (115A: Japanese porcelain). Thankfully, the crosses were kind. I was able to pull ANSA (54D: Looped handle, in archaeology) and RACEME from my crossword bag o' tricks (words I know Only from xwords). I've never heard of / don't quite believe in "HULK OUT" (116A: Become enraged, as a comic book figure), but it's really hard for me not to like something that embraces comicbookitude so much.


  • 29A: Vietnamese leader ___ Dinh Diem (Ngo) — another day, another Vietnamese leader. I got this w/o ever seeing the clue. Figured it would be short for Non-Governmental Organization. But no.
  • 62A: Follows the path of 19th-century pioneers (goes west) — love most of the longish non-theme answers in this (remarkably wide open) grid. See also GUNNED FOR, TOOK A CAB, and HORSELIKE.
  • 68A: Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Eagles (aerie) — well ... that makes sense.
  • 114A: Genetic material with no known function (Junk DNA) — Nice. You don't know what something does, so you label it "JUNK." Science!
  • 40D: Discovery of the explorer Louis Juliet (Lake Erie) — lived near ERIE for years. Did not know this.
  • 87D: Biodegradable pipe material (corn cob) — was thinking "pipe" as in PVC pipe, water pipe, etc. Instead: POPEYE!

  • 105D: Arequipa is its second-largest city (Peru) — wow, that's a huge familiarity drop off from largest to second-largest city.

Tweets of the Week will return next week. Been too busy with holidays to collect them this week.

See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


retired_chemist 12:21 AM  

Hand up for HOHOS @27D and ILIE @ 14D, which led me to " I AM DRINKING SHOOTERS" for 25A. Also HARALD and RAGNAR before MAGNUS @ 81A. Only five HARALDs, actually. Slightly less than one RAGNAR.

MERCE Cunningham? Really? With Rex on that and BAST. Thought 65A was WOO, which made 56D tough. RACEME sounded better than RAW?ME, so I lucked out and was error-free.

Nice puzzle. Thanks you, Ms. Gorski.

retired_chemist 12:49 AM  

I was interested in the word RACEME because of its apparent philological relationship to the term, "racemic mixture" used in chemistry.

Turns out that the botanical term derives from the Latin racemus, meaning "bunch of grapes." Tartaric acid was once called racemic acid, surely because it was isolated from wine-making residues (by the Persian (or Arab) alchemist "Jabir_ibn_Hayyan.)

And that's why RACEME sounded right to me without even knowing the connection. Mystery solved.

ArtLvr 1:24 AM  

GOOD ONE! I had a problem in the NE, when I put Clicks together for the glasses in lieu of CLINKS, not knowing a D-back was an NL-er so maybe it was a kind of CB-er, leaving me with an area in Queens called "HolBis"... Nertz.

Very pleased with all the rest, in spite of wanting Gene Tierney for unknown MAURA and Donald Sutherland for ditto KIEFER. I TOOK A CAB most happily, managing to take icky ITT in stride this once.

Loved the SUN TEA, the PHONIES above JUNK DNA, the GNOCCHI dumplings near colorful IMARI plates, and most especially a last hurrah of SALUT at mid-bottom.

Thanks to Liz too for the Oscar Wilde quotation about being able to "survive everything but a misprint" -- I'd definitely drink to that. BOTTOMS UP!


Greene 1:32 AM  

Another lovely puzzle from Ms. Gorski, but doesn't one usually drink champagne from a flute shaped glass? Perhaps so, but that would probably make for a clunky grid with a pileup of 3 or 4-letter words running down the center of the glass. This design was certainly more festive and lots of fun to solve. Bravo, Ms. Gorski and cheers to you!

How nice to see MERCE Cunningham in the grid. He just died in July of this year (at age 90?) and love him or hate him, he was probably the most influential choreographer of the last 50 years. His work with composer John Cage totally shook up the dance world in the 1940s, particularly the notion that while dance and music may occur in the same time and space, they should be created independently of one another. He often chose to choreograph without any music whatsoever and with startling results. He also advocated the use of chance elements in dance and abandoned conventional choreographic compositional techniques such as narrative flow and climax/anticlimax. He was all about dance for dance's sake and dancers using their bodies as a vehicle for self-expression rather than just perfecting standard techniques or following the dictates of a choreographer.

A famous quote from Merce: "You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It is not for unsteady souls."

I know most of you probably don't know Merce Cunningham and will probably forget his name as soon as you're on to the next puzzle, but he was a great artist and a true original in the world of dance; we won't see his like again for some time.

CoolPapaD 1:46 AM  

As per usual with EG's contributions, I found this delightful but difficult. Though I know I've seen it here before, I missed the M in MOHS - I put DOH(s), which is what I repeatedly said as did this. Don't think I've ever seen LIMN, the last letter of which I'm not sure I'd have gotten if not for the circles.

What on God's green earth is ELEM? Got it from the crosses, but ???

Quick additional question: Non-puzzle wife's family bought me two omnibuses (?omnibi) of crosswords for Hanukkah / Christmas. One is from New York Magazine, and though I've never done these, I remember Rex lauding the author / constructor, so it's a keeper. The other is from the Chicago Tribune - I recognize precious few bylines. Does anyone have any experience with these? My scope is limited to NYT, and those linked from Ephraim's/Johnston's sites. I should also note that I'll probably never get through the 1001 NYT puzzles in the compendium I already own.

andrea bubbles michaels 3:02 AM  

Tweets of the week!
Tweets of the week!

Sorry, Rex, just had to register a minor protest as I usually take Sundays off puzzle-wise, but live for your tweets of the week!

And yes, as a matter of fact, I DO have no life! ;)

andarequipa michaels 3:24 AM  

What did the girl say to the Peruvian guy (from the second largest city) she fell in love with?

"You, sir, arequipa!"

(Did I mention I have no life?)

Parshutr 7:49 AM  

@coolpapad...ELEM is an element. On the periodic table...Na=sodium, etc.
@Greene...know Merce C. well. I worked as a dance photographer for many years.

chefbea 8:06 AM  

Loved the puzzle. Just wasn't sure of Dom's middle name.

Knew Merce Cunningham.

Cheers everyone and salut, bottoms up etal.

Mark 8:35 AM  

So, I solve my puzzles using magmic's blackberry app. Did anyone else have a problem with the references? For I AM DRINKING THE STARS, my clue was "purported cry from 100-across..."

Well, 100a is LRON Hubbard, which had me scratching my head as to whether good old LRON issued some BENEDICTION TALK or finished his quote with BIERRE, PERIGNON

Ugh. Cheers anyway!

David 8:49 AM  

I too have no life....

And I was DRINKING THE SEARS for the longest time....

My bubbly house wine is Cava - sorry, Dom! :)

A Capriote 8:57 AM  

Here is a link to a wonderful interview with Merce Cunningham on NPR's fresh Air

A Capriote 9:04 AM  

@andrea bubbles michaels

you can see them all

Bob Kerfuffle 9:09 AM  

I cry Foul! at 81 A! Norwegian kings who are not named Olaf! What is this world coming to? :)

Happy New Year to Liz Gorski, Rex, and all!

@Greene - Although the flute is the proper glass from which to drink champagne, the American icon for as long as I have been around features a martini-style glass in New Year decorations, and I imagine that years ago few Americans thought it wrong.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:16 AM  

Should note only write-over: At 63D, had Big BEN before Big TEN. Seemed more tied in with New Year theme.

retired_chemist 9:45 AM  

@ Greene - thanks for the MERCE Cunningham story. One of the most enjoyable features of this blog is the info like this that many provide here.

3 and out - into lurk mode.

Geezer 10:05 AM  

HAAKON for the seven kings held me up.
Enjoyable and instructive puzzle. Needed your blog Rex to finish.
Thanks all, and CHEERS, SALUT, and BOTTOMS UP!

chefbea 10:07 AM  

@David Had Cava on xmas eve. It was yummy and extremely bubbly

Geezer 10:09 AM  

No comments from you crossword aficionados about the solitary E at the bottom of CHAMPAGNE?

If one drinks too much CHAM PAGNE , the next morning you experience REAL PAIN.

joho 10:13 AM  

After doing this delightful puzzle, I realized that one of the things I want in the new year is more superior work by Elizabeth C. Gorski. Her puzzles always bubble like CHAMPAGNE to me. What she ends up creating is lively, fun, frothy and a bit intoxicating.

I'll drink to that!

Meg 10:15 AM  

I liked OTIC over OCULAR and had a bunch of fun with BENEDICT...before I got 100A. ARNOLD? ION?

Our "special" china is IMARI with peacocks on it.

Not ASPIC, but more DRUGS in crossword puzzles (SNOW)! Hopefully Elizabeth will not be combining clinking and snorting Thursday night.

This was a friendly puzzle with only a few people I'd never heard of. Thanks Liz!

CoolPapaD 10:17 AM  

@Parshutr - Thanks - makes much more sense now than it did late last night!

@ACME - hysterical!

Leon 10:32 AM  

Thank you Ms. Gorski.

We get no kick from Champagne ( or snow.)

But we get a kick out of you.

Leslie 10:37 AM  

You guys are cracking me up today. Is there something in the water? (Champagne, maybe??)

I got MAGNUS wrong. I figured since he was Norwegian, his name was going to be some sort of variation of "Magnus," not the straight word spelled correctly. Combine that with the fact that I cannot, cannot, CANNOT remember MOHS, and I was done for in that area.

My other "can't remember" name is that gosh-darn "Good Earth" wife, OLAN. Honestly, there's an Olan-shaped hole in my head where her name leaks right out, no matter how many times I see it.

Was I the only one who learned for the first time that Dom Perignon is really DOM PIERRE PERIGNON? I didn't know that.

CHEERS to all, as we count down the days toward 2010!

imsdave 10:54 AM  

Wow, can Ms. Gorski draw a grid! Guessed CHAMPAGNE and BUBBLES immediately - went right to 57A to comfirm. Delicious long answers with minimal crap fill for such an ambitious effort. Wonderful stuff.

Been offline for a few days, and just wanted to say how much I appreciated all the nice comments and emails on my blog puzzle. You folks are the best.

Texas Momma 10:56 AM  

46D Describe:LIMN? Really?

Ulrich 11:06 AM  

Thx, @Greene, for the reminder (I remember the recent obituaries) and @BobK for the Martini glass explanation--I was ready to call "foul".

I was also interested in the champagne trivia this puzzle featured, even if they reminded me of the greatest gustatory disappointment in my life: Having, finally, a glass of Dom Perignon and thinking: I'm paying 300% more for this and the improvement in taste is 10%--what a bummer! Talking of the law of diminishing returns! And when I asked an expert, the answer was, "it has smaller bubbles" (not that one could guess from the puzzle!) and me, "70 bucks more per bottle for smaller bubbles? You gotta be kidding!"

Did I mention that the monk said "I'm drinking the stems" for a long time in my version?

Bravo, EG!

Cheech 11:10 AM  

@Ulrich - I've said "I am smoking the stems" many times in my life. Is this similar?

Wiktionary 11:17 AM  

@Texas Momma -


to limn

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to limn (third-person singular simple present limns, present participle limning, simple past and past participle limned)

1. (transitive) To draw or paint; delineate.
2. (transitive) To describe.

bookmark 11:22 AM  

Loved this puzzle, though I had to put it aside twice before finishing.

I began reading Crime and Punishment a few weeks ago for the first time. Raskolnikov is a most interesting ANTIHERO. A great psychological study of guilt.

I make SUNTEA several times a week. Put four green tea bags into two quarts of water in a glass pitcher and let sit for two hours in the sun. A leisurely way to make tea.

SMB 11:27 AM  

Another vote for Merce Cunningham. Happily not as unfamiliar as Greene thought.
I had LahTiDah, which gave me beniti... Stumped me for a while.
Loved JunkDNA and PJS which I am still wearing.
Still don't know what OLA means.

SMB 11:31 AM  

Never Mind OLA. I got it.

Paul Horan 11:35 AM  

How many other people always thought Msr. Perignon's first name was "Dom"??

I got stuck on 40D, misreading the clue as "DiscoverER of the explorer..." so I was looking for someone's last name.
And what on earth is a "Mechanic's Lien"?


Meg 11:38 AM  


I loved your puzzle and kicked myself over "Place where one might dwell". Where are the comments posted?

Mr GoodWrench 11:44 AM  

@Paul Horan - A Mechanic's Lien permits a mechanic to hold onto an auto until the repairs have been paid for by the owner.

OldCarFudd 11:48 AM  

@Rex - We must have been solving in the same order today since I, to, was trying to understand I AM DRINKING CHESTERS.

@Greene - Thank you for the information about Merce Cunningham. Dance isn't something I'm into, so he wasn't on my radar screen, but it sounds as though he was a fascinating man. More great stuff from this blog!

Enjoyed the puzzle.

JC66 12:00 PM  

I wasn't sure but thought (and wikipedia agrees) that
DOM is a title, not PIERRE PERIGNON's first name.

slypett 12:00 PM  

The bubbles tickled my nose.

jeff in chicago 12:08 PM  

Those bubbles are tickling my nose. (Is it too early to be drinking?)

Fun puzzle. Semi-challenging for me. Had more trouble than I should have had in that 4X5 block under the glass. Looking back at it, I cannot understand why that was.

@Greene: Good stuff about MERCE. Love your posts.

@imsdave: Liked your puzzle a lot...except that I wasn't in it. *sigh*

Within the past year I finally read "Crime and Punishment." Hated it. Interesting premise, but SO overwritten. It's a short story that goes on and on and on and on. But perhaps that's just me.

Isabella di Pesto 12:10 PM  

I agree with Rex. I've always heard "...5,4,3,2,1, Happy New Year!" Never "It's twelve o'clock!"

"agn?" I've never seen this in any text.

Didn't like "raceme," "ansa," "bast." Arcane words [like "etui"] that were commonly used in NYTimes puzzles years ago, then were used less and less frequently. Now they're baaaaaaak.

Otherwise a pretty GOOD ONE, full of HAHAS as in "neocON," "ecONo," "lrON," and "PerignON,"--all assembled in the southeast corner--or cONnah, as we say in Bahstin.

Arundel 12:15 PM  

Really nice occasional puzzle. Congrats to Liz Gorski.

I also did not know 'Pierre' or even that Dom Perignon was a person.

Hilarious blog today, largely read out loud in our Holiday Inn room. Free WiFi is now universal. Welcome to the future.

-Pseudonymous Stan

imsdave 12:20 PM  

@meg - I'm a poster, not a blogger - but, Orange's wonderful site, where the puzzle is located, allows for comments - feel free. And poke around the site a bit while you're there - there are some wonderful puzzles that you will see no where else.

@JiC - next year - I promise.

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

Did anyone get "The New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzles 2010 Engagement Calendar" for Christmas as I did? Edited by you-know-who and retailing at $14.99 it has a puzzle for every week of the year...

I did the first one titled "Amateur Poker Party" only to find a goof early on: 34 across clue reads "Title for a 10-across", only there is no 10 across....Boo!

Happy New Year all! Sally

dk 12:39 PM  


Maurice Chevalier commented that anything more than a CHAMPAGNE bowl was excessive when referring to a certain portion of the female anatomy.

I will be thinking of Maurice and DOMPIERRE at ONETO as I sing "Thank Haven for Acme."

... No life, what ACRAB. Andrea, the theme of this puzzle is WINE not whine :):)

Fun Sunday, the fill and theme kept me going. A usual Sunday is half done.

There have been far to many BOTTOMSUP over the last few days, hoping for a BATED evening tonight as I want to be at my ROSIEST for the rest of the year.

Off to shovel snow, again.

@imsdave, hope you enjoyed my former home state of VT.

ps. NEOCON does not pass my breakfast test.

mac 12:41 PM  

Hold on, not so fast, we're celebrating our anniversary today! New Year's is not until Thursday.

The puzzle felt easy coming down, then turned medium toward the middle.

I liked it a lot; nice clues and answers, unusual words and expressions. Good to learn a new meaning of the pretty word "limn". I know Imari since I collect teapots; apparently the Japanese are buying back as much as they can of this made-of-export porcelain.

I have collected a fairly large number of hollow-stemmed champagne coupes over the years (once I snatched a batch just before Martha Stewart said she wanted to buy them!). When you see Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn drinking champagne in an old movie, they usually hold coupes, don't they?

Oddly enough the Norwegian name "Magnus" came up in conversation last night! Son lives in Queens but doesn't know Hollis, and I never heard about it either.

Knew Merce, but thanks for the nice stories about them, @Greene and @A Capriote.

All the snow has disappeared; the sun is shining and I'm taking a nice walk at the beach. Then on with the partying.

P.S. I'm a wine lover, but I don't like champage, Pierre's or otherwise.

atomsforpeace 12:49 PM  

Fun one today. Was upset about the bubbles until I realized what they spelled. And I've been to Arequipa, so I was glad to see it in the puzzle. Happy New Year!

Grinch 1:46 PM  

Any style points deducted for 59D LAN and 73D OLAN? Or has the champagne mellowed everyone out in advance...

chefwen 2:01 PM  

@imsdave - Liked your puzzle but along with Jeff in Chi, feelin a little orphan like, waaa!

Really enjoyed this fun puzzle, worked on it last night whilst sipping a little Champers.

Could have sworn the word of the day would be RACEME, that was a totally new one for me, had to do a little research on it, post puzzle. Didn't know MERCE either, thanks for all the info Greene. ETAL.

CLINKS to all.

Noam D. Elkies 2:02 PM  

Fun end-of-year puzzle. Note the apparently unchecked E at the end of 52D:SAGE, which is actually checked by the circled CHAMPAGNE; happily the double-checked 57A:CHAMP is a real word, unlike the unavoidable 61A:AGN. (FWIW recognizes AGN as an abbreivation for "Active Galactic Nucleus/Nuclei".)

Thanks to retired_chemist for the RACEME/RACEMIC explanation. I knew the latter, but forgot its specific association with tartrate, so it hindered me instead of helping. "Tartrate" is also the source of the longest English palindrome, "detartrated", which looks contrived but is standard in winemaking.

Yes I knew of 70A:MERCE Cunningham, but only from his association with Junk Age, who must be the most overrated non-p*p musician of the millennium. But that's a rant for another year.

Happy end-of-MMIX,
—NDE [visiting NYC till the start of MMX]

Unknown 2:04 PM  

Huh. Brendan and Amy pointed me here, and I had no idea what I'd find. What an interesting/terrifying site you have here, Rex. It's been a long time since I wrote a New York Times puzzle, and with the knowledge of such stringent dissection on the horizon, it might be a while before I do again. :^) But it sure looks like you guys are having a good time tearing these fine puzzles to pieces.

By the way, HULK OUT = definitely legit. I even put rules for hulking out in the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game.

Mike Selinker

treedweller 2:15 PM  

I did not know better champagne had smaller bubbles. If that's the case, I'm guessing Chester's has bubbles large enough to float a small child's parent's into a jail cell.

Like others, I always look forward to a puzzle when I see Ms. Gorski's name at the top, and this one did not disappoint. For what seems like the fourth or fifth time recently, I was sure it was the Morh scale, and ended up with a mistake there. I got distracted by my search for the error and ddion't even notice teh inspired use of circles till now. Thanks, and Happy New Year!

treedweller 2:22 PM  

Mohr, morh, whatever. fat fingers today.

@A Capriote
thanks for the clue-in on the tweets. here's a good one for those who missed them:

mischa76: Why does my mother do crosswords if she has to keep asking how to spell things? Gah.

Raul 2:22 PM  

Hollis is well known to Queens residents. It was named after a town in New Hampshire (unlike Natick, Ma. "place of hills.")

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Too bad Ms. Gorski didn't find a way to make 81A magnuM instead of MAGNUS. 'Twould've fit the bubbly theme so well. I loved this puzzle. It tickled my nose.

PlantieBea 2:50 PM champagne and enjoyed this puzzle. I didn't realize that Dom Perignon was a BENEDICTINE MONK, but it makes sense with all the wines the French monks produced.

Raceme is one of those terms used in the identification and description of wildflowers; a raceme has individual flowers arranged equidistantly down and around a central stalk. Examples include some lupines, poke weed, and the garden variety snapdragon. Thanks, RC, for the racemic mixture prompt. I never thought of the words raceme and racemic together. D'oh.

I liked the toasts in the puzzle. We also like SANTE' or TO YOUR HEALTH. CHEERS, Ms. Gorski! Thanks to Rex for the write-up.

mexgirl 2:56 PM  

LIMN? Geez! Thanks Wiktionary!
Lovely puzzle, otherwise.
Rex, you forgot SALUT in your theme answers...!

Happy end of MMIX and welcome MMX, everybody!

Anonymous 3:38 PM  


JUNKDNA is consiturd OK?

CROPPY clues I saie

It's not a martini glass this is the New York times, it's a Mennorhea for Haunakkah to balance Thursday's CHRISTmas tree

Steve J 3:43 PM  

@Mark: I had the same problem with Magmic's NTY Crossword app on my iPhone; it kept referencing clues to 100a, rather than 101a, which led to a lot of baffling connections to LRON Hubbard.

Which, frankly, ruined the puzzle for me. I hated it, in large part because I could not figure out how in the hell L. Ron Hubbard had any connection whatsoever to champagne. Had the app clued things correctly, I likely would have had a very different impression.

Steve J 3:47 PM  

Btw, forgot to add: While champagne is commonly consumed from flutes, there's a second common champagne glass shape, which looks a lot like the shape in the grid.

joho 4:05 PM  

@Mike Selinker ... you should definitely create another NYT puzzle ... so we can pick it apart! No, actually, I think this crowd wants to see the positives in the puzzles. We know how difficult it is to construct. Welcome! And feel free to HULKOUT anytime.

@Noam D. Elkies & @mexgirl ... your posts were the first time it registered with me that the new year will be MMX. That has a really good ring to it, doesn't it? Here's hoping!

joho 4:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
dom andrea michaels 4:46 PM  

@A Capriote

Thank you!!!!!!!! Got my fix (there are even more if you put in CROSSWOED without the final S.

Now that I see what drivel Rex has to plow/plough? thru to bring us the witty ones, I appreciate him even more, if that's possible!

SO I'll share one too:
kevinabq My daughter discovers that the crossword in the Vietnamese Sunday paper is a real bitch.

Glitch 5:19 PM  

@Steve & @ Mark

Actually, in the dead tree edition, LRon is 99A and all the 100A refrences are correct.

I assume the other "versions" are ok too, or someone would have commented.


chefbea 6:09 PM  

@mike selinker welcome to Rexville. ( Dare I ask him if he likes red tubers?????)

Anonymous 7:35 PM  

@Glitch, I assumed as you, because I too use the dead tree edition. I didn't speak out because I'm not so sure about "aps," so didn't want to show my tech-ignorance. The answer to 100A in the "real" puzzle (as delivered this a.m. to my home) clearly involves 17 letters. I had LRON in 99A way before I got the Dom's full name. Who knew that Pierre was the monk's middle name? Well, now all of us do. That's one of the joys of xwords (and sites like this one) --we can spread the word (and the bubbly joy) on New Year's Eve.

George NYC 7:42 PM  

Aren't bubbles contained within the glass, and in fact within the Champagne itself as opposed to floating above? Just asking...

edith b 7:44 PM  

I always enjoy Ms Gorski's puzzles, especially when she adds a visual dimension to them. I ordinarily don't care for circles and arrows and other sundry things in my puzzle, but in her case, I make exceptions.

Brava, Ms Gorski!

JannieB 7:51 PM  

Really fun puzzle - lots to enjoy about it. "Dom" is not a name - it's a title, like "brother" or "fra" - Pierre would be the monk's first name.

I'm not a real fan of champagne, but love wine. Was recently introduced to an Italian sparkling wine - Prosecco - and have really enjoyed trying the various labels. So much more affordable than champagne but every bit as festive.

Skoal! (of course it's skoal, it's got ice in it!)

Rube 8:16 PM  

We had limnology here a few weeks ago so when LIMN appeared from the crosses I thought at first, "that makes sense". But then looking further into the etymology found that LIMN is from the latin illuminare while limnology is from the greek for lake + "ology".
What a language we have. My head hurts. I'm going for a swim.

Oscar 8:25 PM  

Well, they can't all be gems.

jae 8:27 PM  

Yes, a fun one! I needed my bride for RACEME as I'd never heard of MERCE. My thanks to Greene for the details. Another fine Gorski creation!

ArtLvr 9:38 PM  

Dom or Don? -- Monastic etiquette requires a title of respect, not just the Mafia!

Cistercian–Benedictines in Italy, as well as other Benedictines and Carthusians, are usually addressed as Don. The same title is given to secular priests in Italy. In other countries monks (and some Canons Regular) use the form Dom, but it means the same thing. The title derives from the Latin Domnus, a form of Dominus, and passed into Italian use under Spanish influence. It is perhaps best translated as Messer or as Sir. It expresses respect. In Southern Italy the title is also given to men of some social standing and to those of noble background.... The title Donna, meaning Lady, is still given in Italy to Cistercian and Benedictine nuns; it is also the correct form of address for women of noble background, especially in Southern Italy.

Greg Clinton 10:25 PM  

My familiarity with Spanish usually helps me out. But not this time. I knew the Spanish word racimo, like for a bunch of grapes, so I put RACIME. Obviously I didn't know MERCE.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:58 PM  

@George NYC, 7:42 PM - Yes, of course you are right that the real bubbles stay in the liquid, but again the popular iconography, for example here, shows them floating above the glass like helium balloons.

Unknown 11:38 PM  

@Joho: I might. In fact, I might have just. We'll see if Will likes it.
@Chefbea: Uh, what now?

Unknown 11:48 PM  

Hey, just out of curiosity, did anyone here solve my secret messages* in the September 7th-11th NYT puzzles that we included in Wired's Evan Ratliff hunt? If so, I'd love to hear a critique of that.


andrea hahas michaels 1:52 AM  

@Mike Selinker
I know Ashish did, (as one of the puzzles was our fishing collaboration...hook line and s-el-inker?), he was VERY excited about the whole thing, you might want to talk to him.

Unknown 6:26 AM  

Now that's cool, Andrea. I definitely wondered what you original authors felt about me building something on top of your fine work.

bluebell 2:10 PM  

@Leslie--thank you for saying that Olan is missing from your word file. Every time that definition appears my brain goes blank. Perhaps some of the whizzes on this blog can explain why we have such selective memory loss.

When I was young we had a neighbor named Magnusson. Now I understand why that is a common Norwegian name, not that it helped me with the puzzle. I too tried Haakon.

I don't associate Benedictine Monks with champagne. Can't ever remember reading about it as a part of the way of life. :)

I enjoyed the puzzle, even though I couldn't quite finish it on my own.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

What does "NOLO" mean?

Wikipedia 10:35 AM  

Nolo contendere is a legal term that comes from the Latin for "I do not wish to contend." It is also referred to as a plea of no contest.

In criminal trials, and in some common law jurisdictions, it is a plea where the defendant neither admits nor disputes a charge, serving as an alternative to a pleading of guilty or not guilty.

A no contest plea, while not technically a guilty plea, has the same immediate effect as a guilty plea, and is often offered as a part of a plea bargain.[1] In many jurisdictions a plea of nolo contendere is not a right, and carries various restrictions on its use.

Citizen Mundane 12:24 PM  

"hulk out" is in fact legitimate... it was not so much from the comic books, but from the TV show "The Hulk", starring Bill Bixby... it was part of the lexicon of the day... I remember wrestling with another kid, and I was winning, so his friend told him he better "hulk out" on me... it was also popular (among the kids, not so much the moms) to occasionally, while wearing a dress shirt that was too small, flex in such a manner that either A) The buttons flew off or B) The shirt ripped along the seams...

PIX 12:59 PM  

Late to the party but:

Great Puzzle.

Na, Ne, Ni, or No = elem was a brilliant clue.

Never heard of Hollis Queens in spite of having spent my life in the NYC area; what goes on there?

Vice President Agnew pled "Nolo contendere" when he was found to be taking bribe money while Vice President. That was the first time many Americans outside of the legal profession ever heard the phrase.

Anonymous 9:08 PM  

SMB said "Still don't know what OLA means." [97 A "Pay back?"] Seven minutes thereafter he wrote "Never Mind OLA. I got it."

Afraid I'm not so smart. Even put myself to sleep at night puzzling on it. Can any one else 'splain on me?

Chick in Easton

slypett 11:38 PM  

Anonymous (Chick in Easton):'Pay back' means a suffix for 'pay' ia wanted. PayOLA was the kickback scheme involving record companies and radio DJs in the 50s.

I hope this clears up the problem. If you continue to have trouble with your knowlege-bank, please call our Customer Care line at 1-800-555-1212.
Tell them darkman sent you.

Anonymous 3:22 AM  

Thank you, Darkman, for a plausible explanation. I know of no other. But I remain unsatisfied. Perhaps my problem is with Ms. Gorski.

I well remember the payola scandal. It was in the papers, on radio, and even TV for months.

But I never heard it referred-to as "ola."

And I never saw a crossword clue ending in "back" to refer to a suffix. Normally that would be clued as "ending" or the like.

Or, if "pay back" was intended to mean "payoff," it should have been one word.

Anyway, I will sleep better tonight.

Chick in Easton

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