Actress Webb Sevigny — SUNDAY, Jan. 3 2010 — Sea's partner commercially / White-bearded Kenyan / Benedict IV's successor

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Constructor: Jeremy Newton

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Antique Finish"
— words ending in -ET are turned into words ending with the archaic verb ending -ETH in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are "?"-clued

Word of the Day: PILAR (69D: Pertaining to hair)adj.

Of, relating to, or covered with hair.

[New Latin pilāris, from Latin pilus, hair.]


Cute spin on the add-a-letter theme, with a very cute (and apt) title to boot. Not sure I'll remember any of these theme answers except ROCKETH SCIENTISTS, but no matter. This is a fine Sunday effort, with (small detail of the type I notice) 4 Downs that traverse 3 theme answers and a central Down that traverses 4 (rare and nearly unheard of, respectively). Tough to get Downs to work out when so many different letters are locked in from the get-go. Those Downs would (likely) have been the first entries into the grid after the theme answers. I always think of those multiple-theme-crossers like bolts, holding the frame of the puzzle in place. The rest is decoration — you can write and rewrite it all you want, but you're probably not gonna touch the bolts unless you're up for a complete tear-down.

Theme answers:

  • 23A: Wins a bridge hand? (trumpeth players)
  • 33A: Fame fades? (celebrity dieth)
  • 51A: Stuns experts after new findings? (rocketh scientists)
  • 64A: Newborn puppies enjoy the sun? (litter basketh)
  • 74A: Recruits people to sell stolen goods? (picketh fences)
  • 86A: A lace starts to come undone? (shoestring budgeth)
  • 101A: Words escape President Karzai? (Afghan blanketh)
  • 117A: Rebels against military forces? (bucketh brigades)

Had a STRANGE amount of trouble in the NW, specifically on the second halves of the two long Downs up there. ARMY ... submarine captains?? Failed to remember that TANKS have periscopes too (4D: Periscope users). And I wanted, oh, I don't know, MONSIGNOR or something like it for 3D: What to call an archbishop (Your Grace). Even after I had YOUR G- I couldn't piece it together w/o many subsequent crosses. Wanted SNEEZES AT for 11D: Pooh-poohs (sneers at), but it wouldn't fit. Took some work to get AMISH (17D: People without power, often) (nice clue). Didn't know J. CREW was based in Greenwich Village but (to my crossword credit) I nailed UTAHN (50D: Many a Mormon) without blinking. To my ear, "THAT'S HUGE!" and "Wow, congrats!" are in somewhat different registers. Guess it all depends on how you say "Wow, congrats!" Figured KEELS need "over" to be correct, but I guess not (105D: Topples). Took me a ridiculously long time to get the very basic ALBUMS (98D: Photo groups on Facebook). Last letter into the grid: "E" in BEBE (104D: Tiny addition to la familia) / E-MAIL.


  • 1A: Singer with the compilation "A Box of Dreams" (Enya) — I think that everyone who puts her in a puzzle should try to come up with more and more outlandish clues for her. That's the only way she'll remain intere... well, something other than utterly unwelcome.
  • 26A: iPod sound (long "I") — haven't seen a good "letteral" clue in a while. This one fooled me.
  • 29A: Object of many 1950s jokes (Edsel) — subject of many 21st-century crossword clues.
  • 42A: Modern home of ancient Persepolis (Iran) — Any reader of "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi knows this.
  • 62A: "S.N.L." veteran Gasteyer (Ana) — haven't heard from her since.
  • 91A: Real downer, for short? (tranq) — whoa. Spelled this TRANK, as I'd seen it spelled in crosswords of yore (last year). This made 86D: Black-and-white (squad car) start out as SKUA-. Me: "SKUA BIRD? ... is a SKUA black and white?"
  • 112A: His twin duped him (Esau) — in the middle of reading R. Crumb's "Genesis," and I can't recommend it highly enough. Gorgeous.
  • 128A: "As rust corrupts iron, so ___ corrupts man": Antisthenes ("envy") — easy — I had the "EN-" in place before I ever saw clue. But ... I don't know who Antisthenes is. I'm guessing he was someone who did not like sthenes (he was a disciple of Socrates, for the record).
  • 13D: Stake a claim (call dibs) — great, colloquial phrase (of my youth).
  • 14D: Tic-tac-toe line (OXO) — perhaps my least favorite clue cop-out of all time.
  • 36D: U2's Bono, since 2007 (Sir) — I tend to think of Bono as a self-righteous windbag, but, but, but ... I forgot there was a time when he wasn't. When he mainly just made music. That time was the '80s. Through the early '90s. Anyway, here is a video I recently saw while browsing the internets, and it's pretty fantastic. U2, live, in Dublin, Dec. 31, 1989 (so ... just after the fall of the Berlin wall ...). According to the website where I found this, the concert was "broadcast live across Eastern Europe as the Iron Curtain slowly collapsed." Anyway, I found it all oddly moving. Plus the song involved is just great.

  • 53D: Actress Webb or Sevigny (Chloe) — a gimme, though ... not sure I could pick either woman out of a line-up.
  • 71D: Sea's partner, commercially (Ski) — took much brain-jarring to get this answer loose.
  • 75D: Bizarro, to Superman (foe) — kind of wanted "friend" or "ally" here.
  • 87D: Pound escapee, maybe (stray cat) — That CAT was a DOG for a while.
  • 92D: Ridiculous degree (nth) — thought maybe "B.A. in English." Self-zing!
  • 97D: White-bearded Kenyan (gnu) — only because "Obama's grandfather" wouldn't fit.
  • 108D: When repeated, a luster's cry (hubba) — love the expression "HUBBA HUBBA," but "luster" ... must be lost. I believe he's looking for yesterday's puzzle, where his -ER kin were having some kind of big reunion.
  • 114D: Benedict IV's successor (Leo V) – ending in "V," what else could it be?

And now your Tweets of the Week, puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:

  • brianhraymond I'm totally freaked out listening to my 11yo on messenger with her friends today. Fuck I wish I could get her to do a
  • hmstrjam workin the crossword puzzle and watching live from lincoln center after egg nog bust!
  • limonov my horoscope for today said to do a crossword on a treadmill, which i take to mean "drink 6 millers in a dumpster full of dead rats"
  • ELthundercat My horoscope just told me 2 do a crossword puzzel while on a treadmill..hmm very tempting but I think ill put that on my dnt attempt list.
  • utterdismay No horoscope, I am not in the mood to do a crossword on a treadmill. The two stress me out enough on their own... but together??
  • jimbojones1 You know your fat when your horoscope tells you to do a crossword puzzle on a treadmill.....
  • rachaelward i feel sorry for my mum. im dancing along to the radio with friends while shes in the corner with a crossword.
Got time for more puzzles today? Here's a couple from off the beaten track:

See you tomorrow,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


George NYC 1:02 AM  

Fun puzzle. Took me a long time to fully get the theme which looking back makes me feel like an idiot. But it's been a long week. What day is this?

lit.doc 1:49 AM  

Good morning, all. Saddened by ongoing reports that I actually have to start going to bed early, getting up early, and actually earning a living again come Monday a.m. So...back to the caboose of the comment train.

This was, for me, an absolutely brilliant theme puzz. Loved it. Wish the Across Lite clock had five digits, though. Not that I care about elapsed time as such (good thing, too). Just hate that guilt-inducing red thing staring back at me. That's why I grade in green.

Anyhow, only drove thru three major potholes. I'm curious to see how many of y'all start with 10D LOU Grant instead of AMY (she got an Emmy?), 26A SONGS (firmly anchored by OXO, BINGE, and ROGET crossing down) instead of LONGI (great misdirection), and a rancid PAT of butter at 118D, instead of KID (cute).

Jeffrey 2:12 AM  

OXO is least favorite clue cop-out of all time? It isn't even the worst in this puzzle - see LMNOP.

No matter. This was a funth puzzleth. Approveth.

CoolPapaD 3:17 AM  

@lit.doc - hand up for PAT; "A little butter" and "People without power, often" were fantastic clues!

Rex - "Letteral" is terrific - I can't recall seeing that before.

One idiotic mistake - I thought the setting on the boom box was CASS (as in cassette), even though there was nothing to suggest an abbreviation. I'd never heard of CLASE, but no other letter seemed any better (that is, in the absence of the accent aigu).

My New Year's resolution was to start getting back in shape. This was one of my slower Sundays, but DAMN - do you have any idea how hard it is to do this on a treadmill?

andreth carleth michaels 3:48 AM  

What's your sign? Do you come here often? Love them tweets!

Anonymous 4:12 AM  

It took way too long to put the "d" in kid. I stared at it(couldn't even envision "stds") for ages until the light came on. Love the clue - now.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:15 AM  

I caught on to the gimmick fairly quickly, but found it oh so hard to keep it straight in my mind as I worked the rest of the puzzle. Even in the cold light of day. And after the champagne was finished.

lit.doc 7:34 AM  

@CoolPapaD, be fair to thine own self. CLASE was not an idiotic mistake. It describes the stage beyond blase:

Main Entry: cla·sé
Pronunciation: \clä-ˈzā\
Etymology: French
1 : apathetic to pleasure or excitement as a result of excessive indulgence or enjoyment of crosswords : word-weary
2 : sophisticated, word-wise
3 : unconcerned with the clock

Not even the French could agree on how to spell the D stage, so nowadays one simply progresses to ENNUI.

Betsy the midwife 7:35 AM  

Caught on quick, northwest corner was the only place I didn't finish. No googling at all.

Vincent L. 8:38 AM  

Enjoyed it. AFGHAN BLANKETH was pretty memorable too. I don't get the SKI-SEA connection; I had SKY until SKY was taken by 120D (ELOY and ELOI being equally unfamiliar to me). I love Marjane Satrapi.

imsdave 8:48 AM  

@Vincent L. - Sea-Doo(personal watercraft), Ski-Doo (snowmobile).

Very clever puzzle.

Rex Parker 9:04 AM  

I had PAT at first, for sure.

And LMNOP is the *only* letter string that *should* be allowed in puzzles besides ABC and XYZ. It's a coherent unit, after which at least one book has been named ("Ella Minnow Pea" by Mark Dunn). Had a friend who used to think the string was a single letter (you know, before she went to college ...).


Anonymous 9:14 AM  

@ Vincent L and @ imsdave - Sea &Ski was/is? a brand of sun tan lotion.

Old King Sol 9:23 AM  

@Anonymous -

Sea and Ski still is.

Old King Sol 9:28 AM  

Or, on second look, maybe it ain't.

Qoheleth 9:40 AM  

For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how DIETH the wise man? as the fool.

joho 10:00 AM  

My reaction to LONGI was ugh.

I did not liketh this puzzle as much as @Rex and others. Therefore I am the wetBLANKETH today.

Pat 10:02 AM  

Hey, the question mark in 118D should have let me stay on my nice warm toast and not placed on the cold, cold puzzle page to be picked on and ultimately rejected..

Someone Who Doesn't Speak Hebrew 10:04 AM  

Oh, so that's what Qoheleth means!

You were quoting yourself at Ecc. 2:16!

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

I don't get it, what is "kid" for "a little butter"?
Also, bebe (104 D) is french not italian, should be clued la famille, non?

chefbea 10:10 AM  

Took a while to get the theme. First thought was that the answers would end with QUE.

Never heard of the term black and white for a squad car.

I also had Lou instead of amy.

And I remember Sea and Ski lotion from my youth

F.O.G. 10:10 AM  

Got "UTAHN" tho my ear told me "Utahan." Wanted "STRAYDOG", probably cuz the pump had been primed with "LITTERBASKETH", but eventually accepted the feline. Fun puzzle -- loved it.

F.O.G. 10:11 AM  

KID = baby goat.

VaBeach puzzler 10:13 AM  

Ditto, Joho. I didst not care for yon theme -- it trieth too hardeth.

OldGoat 10:15 AM  

@Peri - Following up on F.O.G., read butter as one who butts. As do goats.l

OldGoat 10:17 AM  

I didn't enjoy the theme because, even while getting the Antique angle, it just seemed to me as if someone were lisping. This added an annoyance level I couldn't shake.

Greg Clinton 10:17 AM  

My last hold out was RAH...mainly because I'm not familiar with SABOTs and still don't know what IRR stands for. Irrefundable? So I almost put DOH as a game day cry. Well, if I had, it would have been a memorable blunder.

retired_chemist 10:19 AM  

Liked it. Medium works for me. Theme - fun, though TRUMPETH PLAYERS is, well, incorrect. Just. Flat. Wrong. (Although easily inferred.) Appreciate Rex's providing the insights into construction.

Favorite clue/answer pair - 64A of course. Least favorite: tie between LMNOP and OXO. YOUR GRACE was a gimme, ditto EDSEL, OHMS, UTAHN, RENEGED ON with a couple of crosses (More with the bridge, yet....), and more. TESLA was my first guess @ 58A - lucky. Wanted CAMEO for BIJOU @ 47A - not so lucky.

Nice one, Mr, Newton. Incidentally, as often as we see dyne, shouldn't we sometimes see the mks unit newton, which is 100,000 of them?

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Hey Greg C - IRR means irregular as in some of the clothes are... even I know that - sorry. Flowerlady9

Elaine in Arkansas 10:24 AM  

Rust builds up fast, I guess. This puzzle did not welcome me home...took forever, it felt like. I fell into all the traps-- PAT, etc.-- and though I caught on to the theme almost at once with TRUMPETH PLAYERS, I had to hammer out a lot of the answers.

KEELS and HOARS usually require a companion word--One "keels over," and "hoar frosts" are winter coats. FOUL!!

I also tried to get something more elegant, like HIVES, for the allergic reaction...

Good puzzle, but I am too creaky from the long car ride to welcome the workout. Penn State won its bowl game, so all is right with hubby's world....

OldCarFudd 10:46 AM  

I enjoyed this, and thought the theme was clever and different. I'm not yet sophisticated enough at these things to appreciate the elegance of the grid, so thank you, Rex, for the explanation. Really liked the clues for amish and obit.

@lit.doc - I'm just roaring about clase skipping to ennui - brilliant!

@anon10:08 - Bebe is Spanish as well as French, and the clue was Spanish, too. In Italian it would be la famiglia.

With all the (excessive, I thought)revulsion over wolf whistle last week, I was surprised to see its contemporary equivalent, hubba hubba, accepted with nary a murmur.

Maggie 10:48 AM  

I've been reading Rex for a long time and I've never commented before, but we're stumped-

43A--It ends in septembre=ETE ?

Would someone be kind enough to illuminate? Thanks!

dk 10:48 AM  

Never a Sunday fan. Agree with @joho this one was a slog. I found the theme tiresome. Carping aside liked seeing LONGI, BIJOU and TESLA in the fill

Mostly I am crushed that @andrea myheartbreakethin2 michaels is flirting with @coolpapaD, whose new "sign" is DOA (insert the song Gangster Paradise about here).

Teardrops on my Cheerios: Breakfast for the forlorn, or a tune for Paul Anka.

Reading about bucket brigades in the book Connected, a study of social networks. Hope to incorporate their findings into my work. If you know of interesting work on social networks, click on Skipper (avatar) and email me the source.

Back to wallowing in misery and self pity... or skiing. It is a balmy -8 this AM.

*** (3 Stars) I did not like it, but it is still a good one.

Rex Parker 10:51 AM  


ÉTE = French for "summer." Summer ends in "Septembre."

Best, RP

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

@Maggie ete is french for summer, which ends in Septembre

Parshutr 11:05 AM  

Excellent, enjoyable puzzle. But shouldn't HTS been clued as an abbr.?

Parshutr 11:08 AM  

RP, and Anonymous. Ete has accent aigu over BOTH e's.

Maggie 11:09 AM  

Thanks, Rex and Anon--it seems like such a small word to be *summer*! That's what happens, I suppose, when you have a house full of people who all studied Spanish in high school!

JC66 11:13 AM  

I had TRANc for 91A, so, as a long time scotch drinker I immediately entered SCOTTIES for instead of SQUADCAR for 86D.

chefbea 11:17 AM  

@Maggie welcome!! Hope you join us more often

CoolPapaD 11:25 AM  

You crack me
Up so much

And lit.doc's
Wit rocks
He's got the touch

I'm a poet
I know it
With a simple style

And Rexy
So sexy
You make me smile

JannieB 11:38 AM  

I'm with Joho and DK on this one - didn't like the theme at all. And agree with ret-chem that TrumpethPlayers doesn't parse in any sensible way. Some of the clues were great but the theme was a real disappointment.

Noam D. Elkies 11:47 AM  

I hath a good time with this puzzle too (yes, I know this use of "hath" sucketh).

Did anybody else try "fells" for 105D:KEELS, using the active sense of the clue "topples"? It fits all but the two theme entries it crosses ⇒ delays in the South. (87D didn't help either; I tried STRAYPUP too before the right # escapee meowed into place.) Rex must have reached 92D:NTH before 89D:BAS which was already clued via humanities degrees (never mind that science majors usually get a BA these days too — though Harvard still calls it an AB).

As a mathematician I don't like this usage of 22A:AXIOM for what I regard as a maxim or adage (both 5 letters as well), but the dictionary doesn't care what I think. As for the previous Across entry 20A:LMNOP, note also the alphabetic run FGH in 101A.

The clue for 126A:STDS is unfortunate, but in the NYT there's not much choice (short of changing the D to A or N); xwordinfo remembers a recent clue "Censors have them" for STDS — 'nuff said... also expands STD to sacræ theologiæ doctor, doctor of sacred theology, but this too has yet to appear in the puzzle.


P.S. What kind of horoscope are those tweeters reading!?

Norm 11:51 AM  

Thumbs down.

slypett 11:59 AM  

Flew out of the box like a bronc rider in a rodeo. Tamed the NW, then had to work my way through the rest. The puzzle kept me interested and amused. Finished in the NE with a flourish of my ten-gallon hat.

mccoll 12:03 PM  

I think this is a great puzzle. Lots of fresh stuff and good cluing. I got into the centre and solved LITTERBASKETH which gave me the theme. Smooth sailing from there with the NE the last to fall. I had FEAST as the opposite of fast for the longest time until I got AMISH (great clue) A fine effort for Sunday. Thanks Jeremy!
@litdoc Great post. Do you make these things up?
@JC69 - SCOTTIES is wonderful. It should be correct.
Letter strings can be more interesting.

"ABCD puppies."
"LMNO puppies."

Here endeth the lesson.

foodie 12:03 PM  

I'm in the Joho camp. Found it easy, but when I read the finished product I thought: nah... ROCKETH SCIENTISTS? Not this one.

Or may be I'm just grumpy because real life is looming...

PS. Although I did admire the juxtaposition of the TESLA AND OHMS with ROCKET SCIENTISTS, with IRAN disturbingly nearby...

Shamik 12:05 PM  

Am I the only one actually really liked this puzzle? Maybe I just speaketh in eths too much. Medium time at 22:23. Loved the theme...thought the cluing was clever and some odd things just fell easily, like KID. After all, it was clued with a question mark. Butter with question mark almost almost means some form of goat. So if you had Jamaican butter as a clue would it be CURRIEDGOAT? Now there's a theme for the foodies.

Off to the shower and then outside again. : )

jeff in chicago 12:06 PM  

I like the theme enough, and cranked through most of the puzzle. But the SW stopped me cold. I would not let go of ...DOG, PAT, and, despite the obvious clue, thought 101-A would start with OFFHAND...


Like "Coming-out party" for GENIE and "People without power" for AMISH.

That's it...busy Sunday ahead. Have a good one, everybody!

joho 12:30 PM  

@Noam D. Elkies ... hand up for fElLS.

@foodie ... that's what I thought, too, about my mood and reaction to the puzzle. The reality of a cold, Monday morning back at it is definitely bringing me down. I think I'll rent a comedy. Or perhaps start one of the books I bought yesterday: "Me Talk Pretty One Day" or When You Are Engulfed In Flames."

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Haven't quite got Eloi in my crossword brain so Eloy sounded OK and sky too. Then sky again in SE! Had songs for too long in NE then got Amish which left songi which I didn't check against call dibs. Other than that 50 minutes which is a record. Clever and amusing theme.

ArtLvr 12:36 PM  

Aside from the wrongness of TRUMPETH PLAYERS, I agree with Rex -- an excellent puzzle with fresh twist in the theme and lots of fair but slanty clues!

Thinking of Treedweller, I wanted "Topples" to be Fells (trees) for KEELS, but then Buckle Brigade was a no go: AFGHAN BLANKETH finally solved that bit.

The SIMIAN chimpanzees started as "Mimics" early on, shades of Apers. And the COBRA, Charmer's subject at top right, was a spot where my mind blanked a moment -- but Krait refused to fit in. KID took a while to recall too, though I knew it wasn't a little Ram!

My favorite was the GENIE as "Coming-out party"! I won't be getting out any time soon, since the snowplow man cometh not. Bad PILAR day ahead?


joeyshapiro 12:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
joeyshapiro 12:47 PM  

wife and i thought you'd mark this one an easy, @rexparker. we had a few of the same hiccups (STRAY DOG instead of CAT, AMISH, THATS HUGE), but they all fell into place.

glad to hear you are enjoying crumb's genesis. i am as well.

mac 1:08 PM  

Sunday is not my favorite either, but this one was smooth and fun.
Just a few minor write-overs, like gorge for binge and erratic for spastic. I liked seeing Tesla and ohms so close together. My favorite clue was for "obit"!

Interesting little info about the "bolts". We lived in Hamburg when the wall came down, very moving time.

@Noam: great comment.

I think I remember the smell of Sea@Ski, or was it Sable et Soleil?

Doug 1:29 PM  

Not my cup of tea, but clever nonetheless. Perhaps if I picked up on the theme earlier on it would have been enjoyablle. Or maybe it was the two bowl games I watched last night while picking away at answers? Games were great though!

lit.doc 1:38 PM  

Can someone tell me how to do that "post has been removed by the author" thing? I type dyslexically, as on my LAT post(ss) this a.m., and do-overs would be a nice option.

@Anon/Flowerlady9, I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here, having come so lately to the blogosphere, but..."even I know that"?! Ouch. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in any of our particular, partial educations.

@retired_chemist, good eye! Didn't even notice that variant. All the other theme answers form stand-alone phrases with the H removed. For "Wins a bridge hand?" to make any sense at all, the phrase really needs the whole archaic locution--he "trumpeth players" and wineth a bridge hand--though even then only if he trumpeth enougheth.

@Parshutr, 90D does indeed signal an abr., with "N.Y.".

@Noam D. Elkies, me too re those horoscopes. Lots of related traffic here and, I think, on a couple of other blogs.

@CoolPapaD, thanks, man! Nice to get a good rap for a change.

@mccoll, yeah, I'm that undermedicated. In this particular case, I adapted Merriam Webster's def. for convenience.

retired_chemist 1:50 PM  

@ lit.doc - to delete your post you need to be on Google blogger. Easy enough to do.

PlantieBea 2:13 PM  

An easy medium for me. Started it last night and lost interest, but finished just now with more enthusiasm. Favorite theme answer: AFGHAN BLANKETH. Had to guess the L in the PILAR/ELOY crossing, even though I know I've seen ELOY before.

Great tweets today. I too am wondering what kind of horoscope recommends walking and solving at the same time.

Back to stressing over a kid in northeast airspace on this turbulent day and trying to staying warm in a house that does not take well to being heated. Thinking of ACME.

treedweller 2:43 PM  

Finally finished a puzzle again without mistakes and without cheating. Maybe I'm not losing it.

@McColl I knew this variation, which isn't really on topic, but what the hecketh:
MR snakes.
MR not snakes.
MR snakes.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Me thinketh too longeth to enjoyeth
the puzzle as answers did not cometh readily....however, no googling so I counteth a victory.

chefwen 2:56 PM  

To me this puzzle sucketh, got the dang thing done but as others before me mentioned, it was a slog!

Wow, three bad days in a row.

jae 3:00 PM  

Easy-medium for me also. Thought it was cute in a ho-hum sort of way. My first pass at Topples was OUSTS, then I checked the crosses.

Van55 3:00 PM  

The theme answers were mostly hits for me today, with the sole exception of TRUMPETHPLAYERS, which simply does not fit the clue.

I have a short list of misses today:


Overall, much fun!

I'm Just Sayin' 3:23 PM  

LOU & AMY confusers: Grammys are music awards. I'm guessing singing is not one of Ed Asner's fortés...

fikink 3:33 PM  

@NDE, I understand your discomfort with "Power corrupts, e.g." to clue AXIOM.
My understanding of "axiom" is probably based in formal logic rather than "horse sense." Kinda like the music/mathematics connection.

Squeek 3:47 PM  

@ mccoll and treedweller,
Loved the lessons in "hill speak."
I used to know one that started MR ducks but can't remember the rest.

fikink 3:59 PM  

@squeek -
"MR ducks."

"MR not ducks."

"OSAR - CM wangs?"

"LIB! MR ducks!"

retired_chemist 4:10 PM  

From my mother, in the forties:

ABCD goldfish?
LMNO goldfish!
OSMR goldfish.

In rural central Virginia patois.

JC66 4:13 PM  


Thanks for the kind words.

@ I'm Just Sayin'

You took the words right outta my mouth

miguel 4:17 PM  

Perhaps it was misspent youth, but we used to smoketh 'duebys'
This internet world is creating too many E-words. Today joining E-mail its (praise) E-ave, (Hawaiian food) E-loi, Greek letters (E-sau), (vallley girl turn downs) E-nya, and the (Judy Garland offspring) E-liza.

I very much admire this puzzle and the manual effort made to get this to work with the constraints, although the 21x21 grid probably helped. Do Ethiopians lead the world in ETH ?

ronathan 4:26 PM  

I have just one question; can someone explain the cluing to 103D "Coming-out party?" = GENIE? I get that its a pun of some kind, but I guess I am just being thicketh, because I just don't get ith.

lit.doc 4:32 PM  

@I'm Just Sayin', thanks for the should-not-have-been-needed clarification. Looking back at my early post, I see I totally didn't RTFC. Doh!

lit.doc 4:36 PM  

@ronathan, "party" here means a person, like "the party of the first part" in a legal doc. And said person is "coming out" of his lamp.

ronathan 4:42 PM  

lit.doc: "@ronathan, "party" here means a person, like "the party of the first part" in a legal doc. And said person is "coming out" of his lamp."

Wow. That be a pretty lameth joke.

Note to crossword writers; if you have to work that hard at figuring out the joke, your pun is either not funny, or doesn't make sense. Or maybe both.

Thanks anyway, lit.doc.

retired_chemist 4:51 PM  

@ ronathan - sorry you didn't like the misdirecting pun. I did. The more you solve, the more you will find. 'Fraid you better get used to them....

mac 5:01 PM  

@fikink: WHAT are you talking about??

@JC66: you just gave me an earworm with your: You took the words right out of my mouth. Meatloaf! The next sentence is a riot: "it must have been when you were kissing me".

k1p2 5:05 PM  

felt so-so about this for a Sunday. An afghan is a blanket and I've never heard anyone ask for an afghan blanket (usually one or the other)

Ditto the comments on 23A.

Favorites were rocket scientists and bucket brigades (although for britcom fans a hyacinth bucketh clue would have been fun)

Bob Kerfuffle 5:13 PM  

Stealing from the website of a "Mr. Jensen, Latin teacher for hire":

“O sibili si ergo! Fortibus es in aro. O nobili demis trux. Watis inem? Causand dux.”

[ Oh, see, Billy! See her go! Forty buses in a row! Oh, no, Billy! Them is trucks! What is in them? Cows and ducks!” ]

(@k1p2 - Love those Westminster chimes!)

Ulrich 5:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulrich 5:14 PM  

Since it's never too late to give credit where credit is due: @CoolPapaD: Cool indeed!

@Ronathan: A guy coming out of a bottle would be exactly the person Philip Marlowe would have called a "party"--40s lingo, I believe, and I'm cool with that.

fikink 5:20 PM  

@Mac, In hill-speak that conversation goes:

"Them are ducks."

"Them are not ducks!"

"OH, yes they are - see them wings?"

"Well, I'll be! Them are ducks!"

It was what Squeek was trying to remember.

edith b 5:21 PM  

Although "trump" doesn't fit the clue in the most literal sense, it is the connection between bridge and the word trump that is the key. We see this kind of thing all the time and flexibility of mind is probably the most important attribute to have when solving.

IMOO, it is THE most important thing to have when solving late week puzzles. Literal-minedness will kill you every time.

Elaine 5:36 PM  


My mother's version included a final line: DLDR!
(The hell they are)

LOI? Hawaiians wear LEIs and eat POI, but I must protest that I never saw anyone ingesting LOI...

And i second Edith B's note above!

JannieB 5:41 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle - thanks for the memory. My mother had that bit of verse printed in very gothic script, framed on a wall in the family room. A few nuns were visiting day and tried (in vain) to translate the "Latin" saying for her. Much hilarity ensued!

imsdave 5:59 PM  

Egads - I just saw that I mis-explained the SEA/SKI thing. There must be a term for that - misunderstanding the intent of a clue in such as way as it led to the right answer anyway.


PIX 6:09 PM  

Did not like the theme.

69D "pilar" pertaining to hair...when your skin gets cold, you develope a "Piloerection": "Erection of the hair of the skin". {}

112A...STDS usually "means sexually transmitted diseases"...adds whole new insight into the clue which states "Gov't bodies may issue them"...good thing it's late, none of this would get past the breakfast test.

Glitch 6:15 PM  


I liked your first explaination so much I didn't bother to post the alternatives others did.

A perfect example of of what @edith b posted a couple of posts back (5:21pm).


Stan 7:33 PM  

@ArtLvr: Here, the plow guy did cometh, but burieth the paper 'neath a snowbank. I hope yours has shown up by now.

Thanks Rex for the link to John Farmer's interesting movie / puzzle website. Also, the 80s College Radio site has scary time-wasting potential!

fergus 7:34 PM  

Lots of room for error in that NE corner, starting with my clever use of BREAK as the Opposite of fast. (Not fast-break.) Song 1 playing on my iPod, MAXIM instead of an AXIOM ...

his puzzle seemed to improve after looking at the theme Clues again after finishing.

I'm betting that the British "Spastics Society" has updated its name in the last decade or two.

k1p2 7:38 PM  

@bob kerfuffle - I'm making more mulled wine while listening to the Westminster chimes of the grandfather clock

SueRohr 8:03 PM  

I think this could have been subtitled "The Animal Puzzle" seeing as we had pet, bass, cobra, trot, simian, litter, gnat, gnu, and (stray) cat.
"Call dibs" really brought me back to my childhood. Coming back from the lake at summer camp to our cabins we used to call dibs on the first shower. From ages 6-11 it was 2 at a time, but after that modesty prevailed. Ah,the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer as someone once said.

Tinbeni 8:35 PM  

Personally, I liked SPASTIC over PILAR as Word of the Day.

Had a problem finding the theme, until the AMISH came to the rescue (how often can you say that!).

TESLA followed by OHMS = RAH nice line.

OXO = Hugs and a kiss, would have been better. We'll probably see XOX as kisses and a hug soon.

Bill from NJ 10:38 PM  


Nat King Cole

Steven P. Fusco 11:03 PM  

To MOOR (18A Drop anchor) a ship is to tie it up to a dock or to an existing mooring buoy. You don't drop an anchor to moor.

Two Ponies 11:15 PM  

@ edith b, Spot on, as always.

Elaine 1:24 AM  

someone else had explained Sea and Ski...but your explanation was still entertaining. Where's the word for that, Andrea SunTan Michaels?

We used a ton of Sea and Ski in the Fifties. May as well have been putting on toothpaste, I think-- for all the good it did. It was hell to put it on thoroughly, hell to shower off, and did very little protecting from the Equatorial sunshine....

andreth carleth michaels 1:58 AM  

ohforgoodnesssakes, dk...can't a girl compliment someone for posting a funny without tears in the Cheerios?
Didn't I just declare my love for you publicly yesterday despite your having been a Wasp-y pose(u)r who fenced?

my day off! Spent the day making a puzzle for once (for a special pal's bday), instead of solving/commenting on one!

Thank you for your warm thoughts, literally. If it weren't for google alerts, I wouldn't have even known you were thinking of me!

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

Got a ton of this puzzle straightaway (Including 99% NW!), then bogged didn't finish. Thought the theme in the end was kinda stupid, was completely dense to it and didn't like it once I knew it. Rex's admiration for the construction really makes a lot of sense and is something I'll look for in the future to help solve these kind of theme puzzles as I can really see where it helps.

counteth moi not so much a fanneth, but onward to this morning's puzzle.

lit.doc 10:28 PM  

Really just a test post to see if I've succeeded in creating my blog avatar. Whether or not, enjoy the Tuesday puzz which is, if anything, easier than today's.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

again, a week late (we get the puzzle in syndication).
But, I liked the puzzle once I got onto the "Antique Finish". I found 69D Pertaining to hair interesting. (I just knew I'd heard that "name" before)...PILAR was Suzanne Pleshette's character in Navada Smith....and, what beautiful hair she had.

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