Soft-rock singer Vannelli — THURSDAY, Dec. 10 2009 — Rich couple on Titanic / Jughead's topper / Becoming slower in music

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Constructor: Trip Payne

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: END NOTES (68A: What some scholarly texts (and the 10-Downs to all the starred clues) have) — seven successive theme answers end with DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, and TI, respectively

Word of the Day: Gail DEVERS (2D: Three-time Olympic gold medalist Gail)Yolanda Gail Devers (born November 19, 1966 in Seattle, Washington, USA) is a three-time Olympic 100 m champion in athletics for the US Olympic Team. Devers grew up near National City, CA and graduated from Sweetwater High School in 1984. National City, CA. Sweetwater's football and track stadium is named Gail Devers Stadium. [...] On February 2, 2007 [at age 40!], Devers edged 2004 Olympic champion Joanna Hayes to win the 60-meter hurdles event at the Millrose Games in 7.86 seconds - the best time in the world this season and just 0.12 off the record she set in 2003. // She is most easily identified by her long nails.


[Last teaching day of the semester ... do a little dance ... OK, puzzle write-up]

I didn't get what this puzzle was trying to do until I was done, but then ... Wow. I've seen the notes of the scale used every which way in crosswords before, but never in such an elaborate and elegant way. Eight theme answers (nine if you count 10D ANSWER, which had to be a happy accident ... right?), including short STACKS in the NW and SE. Didn't know LENTANDO (Lentan ... D'oh!) but I knew the LENT- part and the -ANDO was inferrable *and* gettable from crosses. All the other theme answers are solid, interesting words, and nothing in the non-theme fill feels obscure or forced. I'm really impressed with this one. Just lovely.

Theme answers:

  • 14A: *Becoming slower, in music (lentan DO)
  • 17A: *First track on many a Broadway album (overtu RE) — this is the one glitch: that the "RE" in OVERTURE is not pronounced like the "RE" in the scale. (It's not, right?) I'm not sure I care that much.
  • 32A: *Deli choice (pastra MI)
  • 37A: *Role played by child star Carl Switzer (Alfal FA) — I would like to thank today's puzzle for making me conscious of something I've never really thought about before, to wit, I believe ALFALFA and Jughead to be biologically related somehow (8A: Jughead's topper => BEANIE)
  • 41A: *Shade provider (para SOL)
  • 47A: *Long smoke (panate LA) — learned it from xwords. Today may be the first time where I actually *remembered* it
  • 65A: *Book reviewers, for example (litera TI) — well, that's debatable

... which brings us back to A DO! (1A: Flap). Kind of!

The puzzle felt pretty easy to me overall, though I was never quite able to break it open and speed through the grid. Never got stopped, but never picked up incredible speed, either. It was actually a pretty ideal solving sensation — winning, but having to work a little for it. ADO seemed obvious as the answer for 1A: Flap, and then DEVERS swam out of the back of my mind. Didn't trust ALOHA at first because it seemed too obvious (1D: Hawai'i _____" (island song)). Struggled a bit with the back end of LENTANDO, as I said, but then generally made good, deliberate, unbroken progress on the rest of the grid. The one hold-up was "ALLEGRO" (42D: 1947 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical). Shocking, right? I'm such a musical aficionado. I thought it was "ALL ... something!" "ALL Aboard!" "ALL For One!" Thankfully, the sweet musical stylings of GINO Vannelli (a mainstay of the pop charts when I first started listening to FM radio) came to the rescue.

["When I think about those nights in Montreal..."]


  • 4A: Best-selling author Tami (Hoag) — great, great, dual-purpose name this woman has (you will see her as TAMI or HOAG for years to come)
  • 23A: Sheik's home (Araby) — "Araby" is a term from a kind of fiction that romanticizes the Middle East (see Joyce's story of the same name). Not a real place (well, there's this place).
  • 25A: Its punch is spiked (mace) — awesome. It's a pretty fearsome weapon that I remember well from being 10 and playing D&D.
  • 57A: Backer's word (aye) — I like this clue.
  • 67A: Rich couple on the Titanic (Astors) — people I learned about from xwords. It's been quite a (superficial) education, when I think about it...
  • 13D: Self-appointed group, for short? (eds.) — I'm hip to this trick, seen it a million times, and *still* got fooled today. The "-appointed" part is a nice touch. Hard to see "Self" as a magazine title that way.
  • 15D: Setting for an annual New York film festival (Tribeca) — not sure how I know this (and know that it's Robert DeNiro's baby), but I do.
  • 28D: Bandoleer contents (ammo) — "Bandoleer" is the belt for carrying bullets worn over the shoulder. Popular with Chewbacca, Pancho Villa, and cartoon apes.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

PS Please enjoy the newest Rex Parker Free Puzzle, "And They're Off..." — available here (or just scroll down to the following post...)


ArtLvr 8:19 AM  

Congrats to Rex on the end of term... and to Trip for a terrific Aha puzzle! And I hope everyone is tuned in to Pres. Obama's excellent speech in Oslo

More later, ∑;)

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Had my best thursday time ever I believe. Nosegays 2nd answer in the grid. Good week so far puzzles by Trip and Tyler. @ Orange thanks for the tip last sunday. Golfballman

Leslie 8:41 AM  

Just a great, great puzzle. I loved that Trip Payne put ANYHOO in there!

I was (nicely) fooled for a bit by "Duke's home," and--like Rex--was astonished at myself for pulling DEVERS from some dim brain recess.

Today's the last day of teaching for me, too. It's 16 degrees out there, with a forecast of high winds and snow later, so I'm just hoping and praying my students can all make it in for the final exam!! (Because I really have no contingency plan if they don't. Make-ups in the Testing Center, I guess.)

Dough 8:42 AM  

Nice puzzle! I believe that the ARABY clue is referring to the popular tune "Sheik of Araby." Here it is performed by Harry Connick, Jr. CLICK TO LISTEN

treedweller 8:48 AM  

Two Thursdays in a row I got beat. On this one I came a lot closer, but couldn't break into the SW, didn't know GINO, thought the musical might be "ALL Ears", and tried "dips" for DIMS so couldn't get SAMPLER, which hid the theme revealer from me. I kept trying to find the commonality to the starred clues and never saw it till the cheating was done.

I hate ANYHOO anytime, anywhere, any way it comes up, though I accept it as a valid entry here.

I almost had the same experience as Rex, in that I was slow to get going anywhere but finally had the satisfaction of figuring things out. I just didn't quite figure them all out. If I didn't have a busy day today (or if I'd tried this last night) I might have finished, but this morning I phailed.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

Thought this puzzle was as interesting as the music of GINO Vannelli (who I'd never heard before...thanks mate).
What is SELAH? Did the NYT have the awful clue for 22A that we got in the IHT?

Van55 9:03 AM  

Mid second century year -- pah!

Greene 9:12 AM  

Loved this puzzle. Just when you thought that all the variants on solfeggio had been exhausted in crosswords, along comes Trip with this little gem. I really laughed over seeing ANYHOO in the grid, but must confess to never seeing the word LENTANDO before (and I'm a musician). I'm sure it's valid, just completely outside my musical lexicon. I think most of us would just say RITARDANDO in real life...not that it would help with this particular grid.

I'm pleased that Trip (or Will) chose to clue ALLEGRO as a reference to the all but forgotten Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of the same title. This was a failure from the team with the golden touch back in 1947, notable for its use of allegory and staging techniques that ancient Greeks would find familiar. Earlier this year I wrote a lengthy essay in the form of a record review about Allegro which dissects the show in detail and celebrates its virtues and shortcomings. It's still posted on my blog. Interested readers may go here to read all about it.

Stan 9:23 AM  

Wonderful, gradual theme revelation. (I was thinking "END VOWELS? No that doesn't seem right.."

The bottom corners were rough for me, esp. SE where I must have gone through the alphabet six times. Well worth it!

Elaine 9:26 AM  

I moved along so smoothly in the northern part of the puzzle that when I came to a halt in the southern half, I was quite taken aback.

I do object to the cluing for ANYHOO- in fairness, a little hint that it would be slang, eh?

But it is a clever, interesting puzzle with sly clues. Anyone else try Tight as a TICK, CLAM, and other possibles before DRUM came to mind?

Thanks, Trip and REX. Happy Academic Break!

Elaine 9:33 AM  

@Anon 8:51
SELAH is often seen in Psalms-- kind of a break at the end of a thought unit. It is not translated, perhaps because it could mean something like, "AMEN, brother," or "So be it," or "Harken ye!" or other possibilities....

Bob Kerfuffle 9:35 AM  

Great puzzle (but what else from Trip Payne?) Kept me guessing until the end what the theme was.

When I was in high school, 16 A, Dover Beach, was my favorite poem. Can't say my mood has brightened much since then.


By Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!

Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Agean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Mike Lewis 10:14 AM  

Flew through this one, heading for record times until I got to the W and SW. Put ANYWAY for ANYHOO, had L??P for ___ second and thought "LEAP second? That's not a thing, is it?"

Had DOVERS/LONTANDO originally. When I went looking for mistakes, tried the other vowels here until I hit it.

Agree on OVERTURE being the weak link of the theme entries, but I can't think of any words that end in RE where the last syllable is -ray.

Fun puzzle overall

CoolPapaD 10:26 AM  

Wow – I really didn’t think I was going to be able to finish, after two runs through and very few filled squares. The theme was hard to decipher, because the fill surrounding 10D and 68A was tough (though in retrospect, 10D was a gimmee). Once ENDNOTES was gotten, the DO, RE, etc was pretty obvious, and since the notes were in order, it did help in filling some remaining blanks. This was a terrific slog, very satisfying, and I learned some great new words (SELAH, LENTANDO, PANATELA), and there was little if any boring / crap fill.

It’s always been “tight as a tick” where I live – I’ve heard the drum before, but no one I know marches to it.

And Jughead Jones always wears a CROWN! Is there another jughead??

Go Blue Devils!

william e emba 10:26 AM  

I started off reasonably quickly in the north and middle, but was slow in the S and SE and extremely slow in the SW, so badly that I rate this Challenging.

I thought I knew how to spell the cigar, and I did, but I had no confidence. (We had it recently, I think.) When I went through the G-8 members, somehow USA did not come to mind. Sheesh.

Eventually I figured out Duke meant North Carolina, and then I had to somehow dredge up the city other than Raleigh. At which point the "Bachelor's area, perhaps" was FINE-R--, and I had an aha moment, FIRETRAP! I actually put that in. Rationality eventually won out. Speaking of bachelor's area firetraps, that reminds me, I've just got to get ready for Hannukah.

I am highly aware of the TRIBECA film festival, if only because I have been doing the NYT puzzle directly out of the Arts section for ten years now.

I got ALLIE because I was aware of Rex's spirited anti-"Allie McBeal" declaration a few years back, still there all on the homepage. EGAD, it's Ally McBeal? And I'm in the wrong decade? All those years of not knowing TV paid off, SELAH! (Selah, by the way, has no real translation. It's apparently just a verbal explanation point.)

I have to second the high approval of Matthew ARNOLD's "Dover Beach".

Jughead wears a BEANIE??? I thought it was a crown. Wikipedia calls it a porkpie hat and later a beanie. The official Archie comics website calls it a beanie.

For a terminal "re" sounded like ray, go to French. Off the top of my head, I know coup-fourre, the fencing move that those of us who played Mille Bornes as kids fondly remember from the game.

HudsonHawk 10:42 AM  

I'm not sure what the heck is going on in the beginning of that GINO Vannelli video.

Fun puzzle, it felt a touch slower than a typical Thursday. I briefly had ALICE before ALLIE and went from ANYWAY, to ANYWHO to ANYHOO, making the SW the toughest corner.

joho 10:44 AM  

What Rex said. Just loved this one. I was looking for DO after TI and saw it enDnOtes, but back up to the top at aDO is much better.

Just a wonderful Thursday, thank you Trip Payne!

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

ALLEGRO was a gimme for me. It was our senior play in high school; I played the Mother, and had to die on stage!!

62A should have been a big-time gimme, since I spent many years teaching at Duke, but I was wedded to EBB for "goes against the flow." Everything fell into place when I erected the DAM instead.

Loved the theme and the inventiveness with which Trip played it out.

JC66 10:54 AM  

Did anyone else feel that the theme execution was marred slightly by the fact that if one starts at 1 across, you get:

HE(MI) - no * in the clue for 19A

imsdave 10:54 AM  

Brilliant, just brilliant. I have to agree with Greene about LENTANDO, however (I'm also a musician of sorts) - I've never, ever heard that word before. RITARDANDO just wouldn't fit.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

I thought this was challenging for a Thursday. Had to google a bunch at the end and still had some wrong letters.

ArtLvr 11:02 AM  

re terminal "ray" -- Outré is another we use, borrowing from the French...

I not only thought Tight as TICK, but wanted a WIG for the Baldness "cure" and a HUG for the frequent greeting accompaniment, since LEI doesn't really fit "often" if one never visits Hawaii. I also thought DIPS as in stock market pull-backs, but DIMS gave me the SAMPLER and all came out well from there.

I very much enjoyed the whole romp, and thanks to Greene too for the recap of ALLEGRO!


PlantieBea 11:06 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle and and its theme, but found it to be quite a challenge for a Thursday. I had a mental block at the Grand Lodge clue thanks to the other day's mention of POO BAS. FINE ARTS saved the day. I ended with an error though, of ALDO/DANATELA; pet food never crossed my mind when I read the food clue. SELAH and ALLEGRO (the musical) are new for me. I knew ARABY from Joyce's excellent short story collection "Dubliners".

Thanks Trip for the fine Thursday workout.

slypett 11:24 AM  

Nothing in thw NW, the W, then the entire E coast lit up and I had most of the area E of the diagonal squared away. At this point, I loved the puzzle. Then reality set in and I had to fight for the rest, sometimes in the spirit of hatred. But I got it all.

Thanks, Bob Kerfuffle, for the visit to "Dover Beach", one of my favorite poems.

Ellen 11:40 AM  

The Tribeca Film Festival began in 2002 as a way to revitalize lower Manhattan after 9/11. In subsequent years, films were shown in other locations besides the WTC area. One of those films was "Wordplay," which had its New York premiere in 2006 at the festival.

dk 11:46 AM  

What @w.e. emba said, except I got BEANIE right away.

Struggled with ARABY and SELAH and chuckled at ALLIE.

Lovely wife is in the midst of grading and preparing for her final classes, thus we are still thinking the light at the end of the tunnel is the train. I think her grades are due xmas day.

Did not get the theme until I got here, as usual.

Rex, thank you for sharing your constructions.

*** (3 Stars)

Two Ponies 11:47 AM  

I can't say this one excited me as much as most of you. Besides the two repeat (accidental?) theme answers pointed out by JC66 there is also the LI of 34A. Seems sloppy to me.
I still don't know what TV show Allie is from. Like Mr. Emba the only Allie I know is Ally McBeal. What did I miss?

mac 11:48 AM  

Wonderful Thursday puzzle, and thank you Rex, for giving me the theme.... I had to go around and around a little, but no googling required. I first thought it had to do with differing "end" words after I got "over"ture and "past"rami. At the end I was too impatient to look aroud and came here right away. I've got to go Christmas shopping.

I also wanted wig or rug for 4D, but fortunately I remembered Hoag. I laughed at Alpo! Lots of clever clues, a pleasure to solve.

mac 11:50 AM  

@Two Ponies: I think it's Kate and Allie.

Spike Jones 11:51 AM  

Do you say Sheek or Shake of Araby?

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

@william e emba - not Ally McBeal but Kate and Allie was the sitcom I believe.

Did not know anyhoo at all for a change of subject and am not that familiar with the phrase - would have thought it was some Scottish expression.

Thought Bachelors frequented Fine Bars but eventually realised it was Fine Arts.

Loved "suss for figure out. Overall, an excellent and very enjoyable puzzle I started while waiting for an oil change.

Clueless in NJ 12:13 PM  

Can someone please explain 10D ANSWERS for me? Is it simply that Scholarly texts have ANSWERS? Or that the endnotes provide the ANSWERS. Made NFS to me.

treedweller 12:25 PM  

Texts have endnotes (and the ANSWERs to the starred clues do, as well).

retired_chemist 12:30 PM  

Enjoyed it, and had the same feeling as Rex that it was slower going than its intrinsic difficulty would have predicted. BEANIE was a gimme.

49A was SAITH, then SEETH, before SELAH, which I didn't know and had to get entirely from crosses. Thought it would be WOTD.

62A Duke's home was a mystery - tried to fit EARLDOM or DUKEDOM in somehow via a rebus, but (for good reason) I couldn't.

SUSS was fun - a word I only know from this blog.

Nice job, Mr. Payne.

Clueless 12:39 PM  

@Treedweller - Thanks, I guess. That has to be the clunkiest clue I've ever seen in the NYTs. The couldn't even have made it (and the 10-Down to each of the starred clues)? I've been stumped by a lot of clues in my day, but this is the first time I've wanted to smack Will upside the head rather than myself.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Rex, your write up captured this well. This one took me a while, but really enjoyed working on it. Until I solved 68A and 10D, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what lentando and pastrami had in common.

My only gribe- and a minor one at that- is the same as @william_e_emba and the clue for 8A. Jughead wears a crown-- I've never thought of it as a beanie. Aren't beanies smaller, skullcap kind of things, like a mini-beret?

Two Ponies 12:45 PM  

@ mac, Thanks but I've still never heard of it. Off of my radar I guess. Have fun doing your bit for the economy.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

@Spike Jones - I've always sung Sheek of Araby but pronounced Sheikh when talking of the Sheikh who owns racehorses or whatever

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Why would a backer say "aye" - don't get it.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Rex, Nice picture of Gail Devers. Never knew I could be attracted so much to a woman's arm...

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

@Anon 12:47 in a AYE / NAE vote, the AYEs are the ones who back the proposal.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:11 PM  

@tptsteve -

Here is the whole story, the whole nine yards, the complete lowdown, more than anyone could possibly want to know, about Jughead's Hat.

Doc John 1:20 PM  

Slogged through this one, making all sorts of wrong turns including Alice for ALLIE. Had no idea to what END NOTES referred until I came here- that's what Rex is for!
I did not like ANYHOO at all and was really ready to trash it royally but Rex's and everyone's comments have made me rethink that.
Another note about Gail Devers- she almost had her leg amputated due to an undiagnosed thyroid condition (Grave's Disease, I believe). Pretty amazing that something like that was undetected; lots of docs don't think of thyroid when things like this come up, though. Moral of the story- if you've got symptoms like this and your doc is putting you off, make sure he or she checks your thyoid. (This has been a message from the American Thyroid Society. *wink* )

Joseph Brick 1:54 PM  

Even (now) knowing that the "Self" in Self-appointed (13D) is a magazine title, I still don't know what EDS is short for. Editors? Editions?

And these somehow make piles called "MSS?" (64D) What are MSS?


archaeoprof 1:57 PM  

I didn't get the theme either, until I came here.

Several write-overs today: goesoff/GOESAPE, dips/DIMS, runup/REVUP, ease/REST, etas/ETDS.

ANYHOO, I just learned that FDNY has a website with some amazing holiday gifts. Just ordered some for my godson Benedict.

Self-Appointed Answer Person 2:01 PM  

@Joseph -

EDS are Editors and MSS are Manuscripts.

Rube 2:01 PM  

Have been following this blog for about 6 mos now and think I've finally gotten past the steep part of the XW learning curve since got the theme from the do, re, mi, and sol answers. Put fa, la, & ti in and the south (mostly) collapsed.

Started with ANdnow for 48D which gave me ASTORS which brought me around to ANYHOO and I frowned!

Was stuck in the SE thinking, (from the R), that you can REVUP your engine all you want but you're not going to accelerate until you pop the clutch. Googled for GINO, (I'm an old opera loving engineer and know nothing about contemporary singers/actors), and finished with SELAH.

Used to live in Yakima, WA and know Selah as a small town just north of Yakima. Always thought it was an indian name, like Yakima is, but Google tells me that it's origin is uncertain and that the name either means "still waters" in Yakima, (the indian language), or is from the bible. Didn't know the biblical term.

Loved the clue for 56D, POISE. Don't understand the clue for EDS... always thought editors were hired.

Looking back, realized that none of the ~150 obscure xwordese 3, 4, & 5 letter words I have garnered over the last 6 mos appeared in this puzzle. Thanks and a tip of the "Hatlo" hat to Trip Payne.

(Also realized that it's a challenge to write blog comments like this without overusing the pronoun I.)

Joseph Brick 2:16 PM  

MSS. Wow - I don't think I've ever seen an abbreviation ending in "S" in its plural form anywhere (even as a hail-Mary fill).

It could have been worse, I guess: "Postal codes for a southern state."

Thanks, Self-Appointed Answer Person.

Sam 2:33 PM  

Put in "kasba" for the sheik's home and never recovered in the NW. Unfortunately, the "B" fit my TRIBECA answer so I never shook it.

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

@ Bob Kerfuffle - thanks for the hat info. Truly more than I need to know, but very helpful - I used to love Archie growing up!

Doug 2:35 PM  

@ Bob K, that was a really interesting history of the beanie. I read Archie as a kid, but never even thought about the "crown" as more than the illustrator's own doing.

Neded a couple of revisits to finish it off, but finally finished the sucker. Definitely on the Hard end of the scale for me, but really enjoyed the challenge. Thanks Trip!

edith b 2:50 PM  

TAMI Hoag writes first-rate mysteries and what might be called "bodice rippers" or Harlequin type romances and it is sometimes hard to recognize the difference between the two from the early chapters. Rex is right as both names have turned up in puzzles in the past and are likely to in the future. She is on her way to crosswordese.

lit.doc 2:56 PM  

Absolutely RIPPED through this one (read "in super-slo-mo" if you're a competent solver). Only hitch was 49A where (like retired_chemist) I had SEETH, until ALLEGRO and the lamish AVIATE fixed it. I was totally rocking. Until I hit SW. WHAM!

So there I am, listening to my hair grow, with EBB (like Frances), USA, FINE WINE, "AND NOW for something completely different..." (I blame Monte Python for that), and MSS for my downs. I'd left 58D blank 'cause I wasn't ready to accept EARN from that clue. Crosses are total gibberish. Stopped me cold, with nothing googlable.

Still don't like the cluing on EARN. You sell something and it fetches a certain price. Agree with Elaine that ANYHOO ought to have been clued as slang.

Thanks for the write up, Rex. I'm pretty sure that I saw a puzzle in the last few months that did the solfege scale in order, symmetrically and diagonally, SW to NE. Anybody else remember that one? BTW I think Trip was probably thinking of the scale words as written, not as spoken; ALFALFA and PANATELLA both end with schwas, and PARASOL doesn't have a hard O.

Ulrich 3:06 PM  

After a few minutes of getting nothing, thinking, again, that Trip and I must be living on different planets, I got traction and progressed steadily from the NE down the two diagonals to SE (it helped that I knew the "Sheik of Araby" from Swing combos, although they seemed to pronounce it "Aroby"), where I got the theme, and then went back and filled in the missing notes--when I wrote SOL, I KNEW the answer had to be PARASOL. My downfall was the SW: I never heard of panatelas, until non-puzzle wife told me that she used to smoke them, and I KNEW that ANYHOO had to be wrong--until I finally googled. Still, Trip and I may live on the same planet after all--if still separated by an ocean.

@Bob Kerk: Thx from me, too, for sparing me the trouble of finding the poem. When it comes to beaches, Dover Beach beats Chesil Beach by miles!

andrea selah michaels 3:06 PM  

Learned more from the blog today than the puzzle...

Did NOT know SELAH and was so determined about Jughead's crown that when I had - - - N I -
i thought there might be an alternate spelling of "cornic(e)"!

Fabulous to get them in descending order, but I was wondering if folks would nitpick about the RE pronunciation and if they hadn't I would...but now I see the he_MI nitpick and sort of agree, altho am loathe to, given the masterfulness of the puzzle in general.

My suspicion is that HEMI was left over from an earlier draft? ALtho too short ot really be a theme answer.

I mean what's really amazing about the 8/9 theme answers is that they are all part of 7-8 letter words!!!
and on the end, and in order and pronounced right (save the RE)

Maybe we should start saying "over-tu-ray" just to make Trip's brilliance flash even brighter!

AND he can solve a puzzle faster than anyone?! AND is a champion Scrabble player?
My beanie off to him!

Random questions while solving:
Why does PANATELA have but one L?
Why did I think the festival was in CHELSEA?

How cool that ALF ALF A is two repeated words plus an A... (I thought THAT was going to be the theme...others????
Anyone up for a joint puzzle/challenge for Will on NPR there?
(Name a word that the first two syllables are the same plus one more letter) Is there even more than one?

If not, the question can be: name a food AND a character in the movies where the first two syllables are the same.
(Rin Tin Tin is almost)

I thought Carpenter's sound at one point was POP (as in VERY non-urban POP)

Didn't under stand LEAP second. Is that a second that is added on in Leap year and after four years we need a whole day or something?

You would be disappointed in me... I had to run thru the alphabet to get the second L in pause to consider AL NEGRO!

NEVER have heard "Tight as a Tick" and that sounds icky. As in a tick full to capacity with blood?

sanfranman59 3:07 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Thu 20:04, 19:00, 1.06, 68%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 9:17, 9:07, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

"Anyhoo" is not a word!!!!! It drives me nuts when people say that. Where the hell did that stupid word come from anyway????

Doc John 3:29 PM  

@ Andrea- a leap second is added (or subtracted) periodically, to keep clocks in sync with the spin of the earth (which is slowing down). Billions of years ago, days were 22 hours long.

Noam D. Elkies 3:31 PM  

Neat theme and puzzle, and yes, impressive to stack pairs of 8-letter theme answers — and also to have the first two reinforce the musical theme.

Thanks to Rex for explaining about Self; didn't remember that magazine. Interesting point about the pronunciation of 17A:OVERTU{RE}; is there a suitable word that does have the musical pronunciation?

Didn't know 47A:PANATE{LA}, nor 14A:LENTAN{DO}, the latter even though I've been playing music for 40 years now (sure it's inferable from "lento", and approves, but since "ritardando" and "rallentando" won't fit I could only think of "ritenuto" — though that's not quite right, and turns out not to fit the theme). Didn't know this usage of Allegro (42D) but it's a nice counterpoint to both 14A:LENTAN{DO} and the theme. Maybe 70A:REST counts towards that too.

If we're going to count the first across entry 1A:A{DO} towards the theme, perhaps also the last, 71A:E{RE}? :-)


william e emba 3:53 PM  

I learned of ANYHOO from DC comics. It was used by G'nort, the extremely low IQ Green Lantern. I know of no other usage. The OED says it's a dialect spelling, listing an 1850 Irish source.

Dictionaries list one or both of PANATELA, from the Spanish, and PANATELLA, from the Italian. Both mean "small bread".

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

Thanks for the "aye" explanation Anonymous - I was thinking of Broadway backer, not the backer of a bill.

miriam b 4:05 PM  

@andrea: Ticks hang on like all get-out. I suppose they may drop off when satiated, but I don't think most victims like to wait around to see. Happily, no one in my human or pet family has ever had a tick, though I once had the pleasure of removing one from the child of a squeamish neighbor. I HAVE been attacked by leeches, which also hang on, but that's another story.

Re Dover Beach: Yes, I've always loved that poem. It was read at a relative's funeral many years ago, so it makes me feel sadder than it oughta.

Anonymous 4:53 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle- you're right. It's more than anyone would ever want to know :). Thanks for the link

nanpilla 5:01 PM  

@andrea selah michaels :

entente ?

Geezer 5:30 PM  

I thought that a Duke's home would be PALACE, as in Venice, but ... I would still rather be in Venice than North Carolina :-)

Also thanks to Rex and others for pointing out the theme. I didn't catch on till I had your help.

SueRohr 6:06 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot and laughed out loud when I figured out the theme. Struggled a little but got done quickly with no googling. Also had Alice instead of Allie and anyhoo was my last fill - not thrilled there! I'm having a great week which means I'll probably get killed tomorrow!

Clark 6:18 PM  

I liked the puzzle a lot. LENTANDO is an inferable word -- no complaint here. But do note that it is very rarely used 'in music.' I don't think I've ever actually encountered it in a musical score. Can anyone come up with an example? (I'm sure there are some.) There is a concerto for Baritone Saxophone and Orchestra (1992) by Werner Wolf Glaser which uses the indication for the first movement (Lentando) and the third movement (Tranquillo e sempre poco lentando). And there is a piece by Sir Granville Bantock (1868-1946) called the Cyprian Goddess, which has a section marked Poco lentando. These are, of course, unusual examples because a word like LENTANDO that indicates a progressive change in tempo is not usually the marking for a movement or section.

Any other examples out there? Special bonus points for an example from within a score (that is, one that does not show up in the relatively google-able form of the tempo heading of a movement).

andrea that's mss michaels to you 6:22 PM  

Wow! Very sophisticated!
I had already forgotten I had asked and thought "Oh no! Am I in some sort of blogfeud with nanpilla whom I've somehow insulted and she is offering to be friends again?!" but that would be detente, right?

I sort of wanted one where you say both parts, like the alf alf...but this is a good start. Do you think folks would know that word?
Thanks for taking up the challenge!
murmuring ululate papaya...

michael 7:08 PM  

I liked everything about this puzzle except for anyhoo.

jae 7:45 PM  

Really liked this one. For me it was easy-challenging. Every thing but SE went pretty smoothly. Didn't know the singer, the psalm word, or the musical which left me with a lot of staring and alphabet running. Very clever/fun/interesting puzzle!

slypett 7:49 PM  

lit.doc: ANYHOO should be clued as 'Cutesy abomination'.

Clark 8:28 PM  

While everyone has been going on today about how much they hate ANYHOO, I have been trying to figure out whose voice I hear saying it in such a way that I find it hilarious rather than annoying. I finally figured it out. Mo Gaffney plays a character, Bo, on Absolutely Fabulous. She is the amusingly annoying American girlfriend of Marshall, one of Eddy’s ex-husbands. She is always saying, in a ditsy sing-song voice, ANYHOO. I think that saves it, by lifting it up to the level of high camp.

mac 9:06 PM  

Wow, there are poems on both the NYT and the LAT blog.

The anyhoo makes me think of another one: in Yorkshire people say "anyroad" instead of anyhow.

Blackhawk 9:33 PM  

Super-excellent puzzle, right down to the anyhoo and the surprise theme. Nice job, Trip. Continues to amaze me how creative people can be within the confines of a 15x15 grid. At some point you would think you've seen everything, and then along comes this gem. My favorite part of the puzzle was the little 'upside down exclamation point,' which is what the ADO at the top is, in my opinion. It's not starred, but as the "Sound of Music" version of the do-re-mi song concludes, "That will bring us back to do!"

Blackhawk 9:41 PM  

I have to get in my 2 cents on ''anyhoo.'' ... People, this is how the language grows and lives and breathes. It's great that we can observe a non-standard word in the grid and have people understand what it is. Hat's off to Will for allowing this. ... It's an inventive use of sound to create an new meaning of a word that's already familiar to us. It's a great example of linguistic evolution. If that bothers you, consider that almost everything we consider normal now would be considered an abomination to proper speakers of English in the Elizabethan era. The heck w/ them: It's our language and we will use it as we see fit. Ain't dat right? Anyhoo ...

slypett 12:09 AM  

blackhawk: You are what I call 'a linguistic futurist'. You are always ready to abandon the language for 'something better'. I can't speak for the Elizabethans, but they seem to have been pretty much aware of the plasticity of language, that it is constantly changing. That doesn't mean that some insertions, such as 'anyhoo' are not any more than facetious incroppings, not evolutionary constructs.

Anonymous 1:16 AM  

a couple of points: no big fan of archie comics, but i thought that jughead wore a crown. (i was under the impression he was a descendant of royalty.) wikipedia states he wears a pork pie hat. the puzzle answer is beanie. whatever. most of you probably know the manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca is a acronym for TRIangle BElow CAnal. however it's not a triangle, it's a TRAPAZOID. therefore it should be called TRABECA.


sanfranman59 3:17 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 7:00, 6:57, 1.01, 55%, Medium
Tue 8:13, 8:37, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium
Wed 12:21, 11:50, 1.04, 65%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 20:37, 19:01, 1.08, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:42, 3:41, 1.00, 56%, Medium
Tue 4:07, 4:25, 0.93, 35%, Easy-Medium
Wed 6:08, 5:50, 1.05, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 8:53, 9:06, 0.98, 49%, Medium

Jeffrey 3:24 PM  

ok, Rex, we're cool. I accept your GINO Vanelli apology.

Great puzzle.

citizenarchitect 12:20 PM  

REV as in REVUP does not involve any motion as the clue to 55A (accelerate sharply) implies. To REV is to increase the revolution rate of the engine while the clutch is disengaged. No motion = no acceleration, whether you depress the 'accelerator' or not. Sloppy clues are a bummer.

Singer 12:58 PM  

When you REV UP your engine, you are accelerating the speed of rotation of the engine sharply. Clue is fine.

Knew Gail Devers, but thought her name was Deaver at first.

Had a lot of trouble in SW, primarily because of ANYHOO, which I finally put in but didn't like.

Did like the rest of the puzzle and the beautiful theme words. Wish Overture could be pronounced with the correct pronunciation of RE, but also can't think of a word prounounced that way in English. Outré is pronounced with a schwa, so it doesn't work, and is too short anyway. Coup-fourre does, and its place as part of the Mille Bornes game would have made it fair game for a Thursday puzzle, but it was too long as all theme answers were 7 or 8 letters long.

Bottom line is, very nice puzzle with mostly good fill (ANYHOO not included) and fresh application of the theme.

Singer 2:11 PM  

Hey, I have never tried anything like this before, and attempting it has given me new appreciation to the difficulty of building a puzzle:

I came up with MISERERE as a word that is the proper length (8 letters) and has RE pronounced correctly. My suggested fill to make that word work, with a couple suggestions for clues:

1A – ADA (First woman to program a computer Lovelace)
1D – ALMAS (Super tall tower in Dubai)
2D – DEICES (Removes rime)
3A – *MISERERE (Mass part)
3D – ANSELM (Early 3rd Century Archbishop of Canterbury)
4A – ACER (Dell competitor)
5A – SELMA (March city)
5D – HAR (Cynical laugh)
6D - ONES (Place for calculating)
15D – TERMINA (Ends)
30A – SMIRR (soft rain in Scotland)
31D – ARMLET (Saxon jewel)
34A – NMI (unit of dist. at sea – nautical mile)
44A – ELLS (Pipe turns)

Works, but creates some fill that I am sure would be shredded by the contributors to this blog.


Waxy in Montreal 5:41 PM  

Solving this grid involved a lot of real pain (not to mention Thomas Paine and Trip Payne) for me. Most of the time felt somehoo (my neologism du jour) like Matthew Arnold stuck on a darkling plain. Only the armies weren't ignorant, just me.

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