Toon for which Hank Azaria won 1998 Emmy / SUN 1-17-10 / Orange-roofed establishment in brief / Rapper's retinue / Japanese I.T. giant

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Constructor: Cathy Allis

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Subtleties" — in familiar phrases, "T"s are removed from beginnings of words that follow words ending in "T," creating wacky phrases, which mostly sound like the familiar phrases, and which are clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: Chuck NORRIS (117A: "Good Guys Wear Black" star, 1979)

Carlos [warning: do not call him "Carlos" unless you want a roundhouse kick to the face] Ray "Chuck" Norris (born March 10, 1940) is an American martial artist, actor and media personality. After serving in the United States Air Force, he began his rise to fame as a martial artist and has since founded his own school, Chun Kuk Do. // Norris appeared in a number of action films, such as Way of the Dragon in which he starred alongside Bruce Lee and was The Cannon Group's leading star in the 1980s. He next played the starring role in the television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 to 2001. As a result of his "tough guy" image, an Internet phenomenon began in 2005 known as Chuck Norris facts, ascribing various implausible feats of strength to Norris.


Well that was easy. Picked up the theme at WAR AGAINST ERROR, then went up top and, after taking a while to wrestle Dr. Ruth to the ground — kept PARSING that theme answer as GOD SHONE something... — tore through the rest of the puzzle like it wasn't even there. When all you're doing is dropping a single letter from enormous phrases, there's not a lot to figure out. Not that I didn't find the puzzle enjoyable. It was cute, and the grid as a whole was actually beautifully, elegantly filled, with almost no cringeworthy stuff (exc. "ANO," which I'll never like).

There are five ROOs hidden in this puzzle. Can you find them all?

Theme answers:

  • 23A: Dr. Westheimer telling it like it is? ("God's honest Ruth")
  • 31A: All you need to brew a lot of coffee? (right urn only) — I feel like I'm missing the joke on this one. What does "a lot" have to do with the answer?
  • 49A: Result of a plumbing disaster in the above apartment? (toilet raining)
  • 65A: Tome that makes a pub owner feel nostalgic? (The Book of Lost Ales) — no idea what "Book of Lost Tales" is. Ugh, some Tolkien crap. Should have known. Adds to the nerdfest begun by the twin "Star Wars" "opening crawl" clues.
  • 84A: Where to find a best-selling CD? (on the fast rack)
  • 99A: Something kids might very well tune out? (the parent rap)
  • 112A: Advice to Tin Man costume designers? ("Don't rust anyone")
  • 19D: Debugger's mission? (war against error) — this is technically called "The War ON Terror," so ... not liking this one so much.
  • 40D: Damage to a paperback edition? (soft issue injury) — that, I like.

Ran into snags here in there. Tried ANDANTE (?) first where ANIMATO was supposed to go (20A: Spiritedly, in scores). Thought 27A: Chief Ouray's tribe (Ute) might be OTO. Considered IHOP at 102A: Orange-roofed establishment, in brief (Hojo) — there's a ROOF in the grid, btw (ROOFRAT — 92D: Attic scurrier). Two, actually, if you count PROOFREAD (46D: Scan for slips). Apparently I thought Shevat and Sivan were Spanish mountains, because I tried MONTE first at 61D. Got DOBIE (58A: ___ Gillis of 1960s TV), but needed all the crosses to get DWAYNE (120A: Hickman who played 58-Across). Needed lots of crosses to get SONANT (10D: Voiced, in phonetics). Considered ELKO where the much more likely RENO ended up (44D: City near old silver mines). Don't remember what I had at first for 95D: Ethnic group including Zulus (Bantus), but it wasn't right. Thought the 47D: "West Side Story" girl might be MARIA (it's ANITA). Put in SEC for NEC (115D: Japanese I.T. giant). And for all that, still finished in only a little over 10 minutes.


  • 17A: Ivanhoe's lady (Rowena) — You don't see many ROWENAs these days. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the most famous ROWENA in the world right now is ROWENA Ravenclaw, who gave her name to one of the four houses of Hogwarts.
  • 47A: Male symbol components (arrows) — first, had to figure out what was meant by "male symbol" (?!). Then, had to wonder why the answer was ARROWS when the "male symbol" I know has just one.
  • 60A: Rapper's retinue (posse) —

  • 80A: 1977 Sex Pistols song ... or their first record label (EMI) — news to me.
  • 11D: Quark/antiquark particle (meson) — a gimme! Finally ... I knew the day would come when MESON would be a gimme, and today was that day. From WTF!? to gimme in ... let's see ... three years. Pretty good.
  • 14D: Handel oratorio king (Saul) — when you have the "-AUL," not so hard.
  • 16D: Bert who was a Leo, aptly (Lahr) — 'cause lions say "lahrrrrrrr!"
  • 49D: "___ of Souls, Na'vi temple in "Avatar" ("Tree") — some pop culture phenomena I opt out of. This is one of them. Haven't been as uninterested in a movie since Sandra Bullock played a crossword constructor.
  • 101D: "This I Promise You" band, 2000 (*NSYNC) — group on which "Party Posse" (see above clip) was at least partially modeled.
  • 114D: Toon for which Hank Azaria won a 1998 Emmy (Apu)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

PS For those who were curious about Caleb Madison's crossword class (see Thursday's puzzle), he has passed on the following info to me:

I’ll be teaching the class again in the coming spring semester. It takes place at John Jay College, 899 10th Avenue (between 58th and 59th street). Though the spring catalog hasn’t been released yet, you can find out more here.


Noam D. Elkies 12:24 AM  

Nice puzzle — thanks, Cathy (the NYTimes blog reveals that it's the Cathy Formerly Known As Mullhauser) and Will! Not too easy for me for a Sunday, though 23' is a bit under my one ACPT time for a 21x21. My hangup in the North was "steres" instead of 6D:WIDTHS, which seemed to fit "resends" for 4A:REWIRES. Fortunately 118A:INNEED was not a serious delay, though the -ED ending of both clue "Strapped" and entry suggested something like "belted". Does tin actually rust, as suggested by the clue and answer for 112A? The Wikipage for Element L suggests not ("...not easily oxidized in air, and is used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion").

I find a fourth and fifth ROOs only by going up or diagonally as in a wordsearch — and then one of them extends to ROOOO. One might still quibble with Rex's count of "five ROOs hidden in this puzzle" because at least 57A:ROO isn't hidden at all.

There's also the near-identical 3D:BARN (neatly clued) and 43A:BRAN.


retired_chemist 12:34 AM  

What Rex said. Easy. It helped that I got the theme early on from 49A TOILET RAINING.

I still doubt anyone outside crossworld calls Sam Spade a TEC. The clue for 21A IMO should have indicated it required a non-English answer. Other than those and ROOF RAT, which sounds contrived, I enjoyed the cluing.

Thanks, Ms. Allis. I'll happily spend Sunday crossword time with your future puzzles.

Steve J 12:36 AM  

Did not like this, and it certainly wasn't easy for me. The latter is definitely due to a big mistake I made, and the former is at least 50% the fault of the same mistake. I misread the puzzle title as "subtitles," and indeed I didn't realize that was wrong until I got here. So I never got the theme, which made those answers tougher for a while. Even once I got the gimmick, some of the theme answers (particularly the northern ones) just weren't coming to me.

In fact, I had that problem a lot. I just wasn't on the same wavelength as this puzzle. Oh well.

(Oh, the other 50% of my dislike thy wasn't the fault of my misread comes from the fact I just did not like the theme answers and their cluing. To me, they just weren't clever or amusing. In fact, nothing much did. Maybe I'm just grumpy today.)

lit.doc 12:41 AM  

Now THIS one was fun! Freaking hard, yeah, but lots better than yesterday’s total fail. Absolutely loved the double-duty T theme, though I didn’t spot it till I worked out “Result of a plumbing disaster in the apartment above?”

Things were going well about an hour in (there’s gotta be a definition of “going well” into which that fits), and then north-central ate my brain. Tick tick tick.


Fiiiiinally figured out GOD’S HONEST (T)RUTH and the rest fell (77:47). And there was a great rejoicing.

Best “Aha!” moment was when the “cabbage = money” synapse finally fired. And, as always, the missteps that make the endeavor both frustrating and rewarding: FAT/SOB (“Web site for Charlotte” was utterly invisible till then), CON BRIO/ANIMATO, _MUON/MESON (geez, didn’t I just step in this one yesterday?), REBOOTS/REWIRES, and BUGS/PESTS.

CoolPapaD 12:44 AM  

I love it when Rex blogs at night, because mornings are usually too busy to leisurely read and comment, so thanks! Fun write up, and very entertaining puzzle.

Hand up for the similar ANDANTO. Another big hangup was LESABRE for CENTURY.

Though I really enjoyed SOFT ISSUE INJURY, my favorite, which barely passed the after-dinner test, was TOILET RAINING - bad, bad visual there.

OORT?? Really? OK!

I wanted BOOK OF LOST SOULS, because it seemed as though I've heard of it before - just found out, however, that it is a Marvel Comic, and I have never heard of or seen it before.

If there was ever something that could jump-start my resolution to get in better shape, it's the fact that Chuck NORRIS is going to be 70 years old, and he could whoop my behind blindfolded, bound, gagged, and UPENDed!

Anonymous 12:48 AM  

Good post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you as your information.

JaneB 1:05 AM  

Rex, i think "a lot" of coffee always signals an urn -- that is, you make a lot of coffee in one.

des 1:23 AM  

In addiiton to the incorectly phrased, "war on error" (which barely makes sense without the "T"), I agree that tin doesn't rust. Also, there is no such thing as a "fast rack" (this one failed to make senses without the "T"). Finally, invoking God in relation to a sex therapist is pushing all kind of boundaries, with or without a breakfast test.

CoolPapaD 1:41 AM  

From The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:

"Did you groan?" asked Dorothy.

"Yes," answered the tin man, "I did. I've been groaning for more than a year, and no one has ever heard me before or come to help me."

"What can I do for you?" she inquired softly, for she was moved by the sad voice in which the man spoke.

"Get an oil-can and oil my joints," he answered. "They are rusted so badly that I cannot move them at all; if I am well oiled I shall soon be all right again. You will find an oil-can on a shelf in my cottage."

jae 3:24 AM  

Cute and easy. I got hung up in the north for few minutes until I sussed out the theme. After that, pretty smooth. My only post-theme-getting misstep was SOFTTISSUEDAMAGE. Having come of age in the 60's DWAYNE was a gimmie. (Is that apostrophe correct? I'm still processing the info from a couple of day ago.)

lit.doc 4:06 AM  

@jae, loath though I be to restart that Picayune Points of Grammar thread, your reference to the 1960s isn't a possessive construction, just a simple plural. But it does need a leading apostrophe for the elided 19, so it should be '60s.

Ref's to decades actually can be possessive, as in "the 1960's greatest events included...", but it gets pretty ugly when shortened.

acme 4:15 AM  

Maybe just a typo...but I'm sensitive about constructrix bylines! I believe Cathy's last name was Millhauser with an "i". There, now Allis well.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:21 AM  

@retired_chemist - "Santiago" is Spanish for "Saint James", so I believe we do have a foreign language tip-off.

In general, if one is catering an affair, it would be necessary to know if one is serving 20 people or 200 people, so one can use the RIGHT URN ONLY.

Liked the puzzle. One write-over, 100 D, had EVADE before ELUDE.

I thought 49 D was certainly right-up-to-date, but also that there might be alternative ways to clue TREE.

Cathy Allis 7:55 AM  

Thanks for everyone's comments.

To des (1:23): After reading this article,

I realized just how appropriate it is to use the name of God in conjunction with Dr. Ruth. She is herself devoutly religious, but believes healthy marital relations are essentially God-given. I apologize if my entry offended you or anyone else.

chefbea 8:06 AM  

Got Dr. Westheimer answer right away but still had trouble. Was sure oort was wrong. Looked it up in the dictionary and it wasn't there. I'll have to ask google.

I am sure someone put scotch for cocktail party serving - not mentioning any names.

@chefwen belated happy birthday. Keep celebrating

Doris 8:25 AM  

Speaking as one who usually scorns pop culture, I say that you MUST see "Avatar." Raises the movies to a whole new level. But it must be seen only in 3-D and preferably at an IMAX theater, not, I realize, available everywhere. And don't miss one great joke (no, not "unobtainium," also mildly amusing). There may be others, but things go by quickly.

Clark 9:10 AM  

@CoolPapaD -- The oil can meme. We like it.

@jae, @lit.doc -- [continuing] apostrophe to form a plural would be called for if it were necessary to avoid confusion, but not here. (Concurring with GeorgeNYC and @lit.doc)

Semi-puzzle partner tells me that the clue to the Star Wars crawl is wrong. He says the text referred to in the clues is a title card, which is followed by the logo, which is followed by the crawl. Wiki confirms.

imsdave 9:13 AM  

Medium for me. I think Cathy is one of those constructors who has a way of keeping me on my guard. I suspect that Will keeps more of her clues than he does for others, as there is a style that she has that always throws me off just a bit - I enjoy that.

Minor quibble at the crossing 'of' TONOF/BOOKOF, but what do I know.

Thanks for a lovely Sunday puzzle.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Julio to julio (91A) suggests month. The Latin word ano means year. Month is mensis.
How is this a correct clue?

Unknown 9:26 AM  

Let the nerd-fest commence -- with a nerdy error!

AGO (28A) is not the fourth word of the "opening crawl" in Star Wars. It is the fourth word of the opening screen.

The "crawl" refers -- or should -- to the words that track across (or into) the screen, receding into the virtual distance. "A long time ago..." is not part of that crawl.

So what is the answer?

Well, it depends on whether you include the words "STAR WARS," which disappear into the distance before the crawl -- and, more importantly, whether you are talking about the original 1977 release of the film or the re-releases, which added the words "EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE." (Does "IV" count as a word?)

For my space credits, the correct answer is PERIOD.

Man, I love a good nerd-fest! Send me my no-prize! Are we having fun yet?

SethG 9:39 AM  

Chuck Norris solved this puzzle before his waffle was done.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

@David julio to julio (July to July) = 1 year (ano)

Elaine 9:59 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, though it took some time for the theme to emerge for me. Once I had SOFT ISSUE INJURY, the others fell quickly.

I was taught to use an apostrophe to pluralize any numerals or acronym constructions (7's...COD's) but newer style manuals change that, along with capitalizing seasons of the year and regions (Winter...South.) Sigh

TIN doesn't rust, but it does form a sort of powdery coating. Since Frank Baum was making up much of his story (except the part with the flying monkeys) it little matters....

I have nothing to add except
God thinks sex is dirty? It comes to mind that such a belief creates the need for sex therapists, actually....

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

@Anon, Thanks. I had understood as the month of July to Julius

Meg 10:01 AM  

@David: I fell in the same trap trying to parse "Julio to julio", thinking it was "according to" which still didn't make sense since the 2nd julio is the month. Great clue!

I had fun with this one, even though knowing OLIN and DWAYNE Hickman made me feel a bit old....

ANDANTE is actually moderately slow. Andar is "to walk" in Spanish. Same in Italian?

My only question is how a SLAM is a poetry contest. Cards I understand, but poetry? Is this a joke I'm missing?

PlantieBea 10:05 AM  

Liked the puzzle enough but it took me a while to do last night. Favorite answer: "THE PARENT RAP."

ROOF RATS are alive and well in my neighborhood. Last winter we heard SCURRYING noises in our attic. We called the RAT tRAPPER to set live traps and caught one RAT which RATtled the cage all night. In the AM we discovered not a ROOF RAT, but a RAT SNAKE in the cage; it had devoured the RAT and been unable to exit. Tomorrow the termite SPRAYER comes to treat and renew the annual termite bond. At least we have no CARPENTER ANTS. Having concrete construction aids in the WAR AGAINST pests. Our native PITCHER PLANTS are beautiful with their striking PITCHERS and gorgeous red flowers. We have dissected the pitchers for FLY/insect count. Some are large enough to capture small frogs.

slypett 10:42 AM  

Wednesday/Thursday time for me, though I did enjoy the outing.

Rex: You, of all people on the entire planet, would be enthralled by "Avatar". Not only is it visually lush (I actually had moments of near-vertigo), but it is well-acted(!), with characters that, although cartoonish, are plausible and likable. Besides, Sigourney Weaver is always a treat.

P.S. I usually fall asleep during action movies, but this one kept me alert.

ArtLvr 10:42 AM  

@ PlantieBea -- ugh, the snake!

I'm impressed with Rex's time on this, and that of anyone managing to arrive at SUCCESS in ten minutes or less! I had to savor this puzzle in more leisurely fashion -- amazing that Cathy got in two long down theme answers with all the horizontals! There was also a neat symmetry between the first and last of the latter group in TRUTH and TRUST.

I certainly didn't care if there is no official FAST RACK in a music store's layout, and the WAR AGAINST (T)ERROR makes excellent sense too even if certain presidents used monosyllablic prepositions -- never mind that they should have been talking about bringing criminals to justice, not "making war" on stateless fanatics. Shades of "war against drugs": in that case, it might even sound as if our warriors are "on drugs", i.e. high?

I'm looking forward to reading Dana Priest's book of a few years ago, "The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military", in which she points out that the US has been constantly expanding the Mission of our troops (in Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq, etc.) with conflicting results, and that a different mindset and different structure is long overdue! The current problems in Haiti underline this thesis...

p.s. If one objected to the plural in the clue "male symbol components", maybe "Tell's ammo" would have worked better. He did use just one for the apple on his son's head, but we can easily extrapolate to the plural when he demonstrated his singular skill.


Smitty 10:54 AM  

Nonplussed = THROWN?
(i was searching for a cousin of LET DOWN since I too had IHOP in the cross

Ulrich 10:54 AM  

A toilet rain is not funny when you experience it, and you don't have to have a neighbor living above you to do so: All it takes is a cold winter that freezes the waste pipe somewhere in the basement, old plumbing with leaking joints between the pipes, and ceilings made the old fashioned way: plaster on wooden slats, and bingo: The waste water from the 2nd floor bathroom backs up, starts to leak through the joints, and is then evenly distributed by the slats in the ceiling underneath to produce credible rain in the dining room below--it all happened in a cold winter in Pittsburgh, PA--the day before xmas, to boot.

BTW "annus" it Latin for year.

And Cathy NEE Millhauser--thx!

PanamaRed 11:09 AM  

One of the early scenes in "The Boondock Saints" will give you whole new meaning for TOILET RAINING :)

Jeffrey 11:15 AM  

Choices, choices. Should I encourage continued discussion of the Star Wars crawl or TOILET RAINING?

Use the force, Crosscan!

I have it!The trash compactor scene!

"One thing's for sure. We're all gonna be a lot thinner!"

ArtLvr 11:34 AM  

More on "War on ___" which has always been a cry to rally the voters by appealing to their patriotic instincts, even if nothing Military was at stake: e.g. the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), signed into law in 1958, provided funding to United States education institutions at all levels (no reason for the word Defense, except to remind everyone of Cold War anxieties), Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty in the '60s, G W Bush's annoying and meaningless red-orange "alerts"... on and on. We need new paradigms to forge a safer world, or we're all gonna be a lot more neurotic!


Wikipedia 11:39 AM  

@Meg -

A poetry slam is a competition at which poets read or recite original work (or, more rarely, that of others). These performances are then judged on a numeric scale by previously selected members of the audience.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Finished, but the top three lines gave me fits. SUCCESS there was a long time coming.

I was not so hot on the theme, but appreciated the parallel Oz and Dobie Gillis clues, as well as the Hebrew and Spanish month references.

@ Smitty- For the longest time, I thought nonplussed meant the opposite of what it really means, because of the 'non' at the beginning.

fikink 12:28 PM  

90 Across: Here we go again - bread, moolah, doremi, cabbage, WAD.
A steady, enjoyable Sunday morning exercise for me, this puzzle.

From yesterday,
@lit.doc, your mention of a "vorpal blade," and my not recalling that it came from The Jabberwocky, sent me googling into the wee hours. I was led me to "Versatile Object-oriented Relativistic Plasma Analysis with Lasers," or VORPAL.
I'm still reeling! :)

joho 12:35 PM  

@coolPapaD already answered the objections to tin rusting. Tin most definitely rusts in 'The Wizard of Oz" so it also rusts in this puzzle. And speaking of the the movie, @Rex "lahrrrrrr" made my day. LOL.

As to urn, already answered, too, but @Rex ... you need a big urn to brew a lot of coffee.

@SethG ... and then he broke the waffle in half with his fist.

@Cathy Allis ... I wasn't in the least offended and am happy you checked in so I can tell you that I loved your puzzle! Very clever and perfect for a Sunday.

lit.doc 12:37 PM  

@Doris and @darkman, hell yeah. Me, three times so far. Cameron rocks. Those scenes in which the avatars and humans interact, even touch, are astonishing.

In fairness to non-fans, I can certainly imagine some people disliking the film's cultural politics (which I very much did like).

@Doris, is the second half of the joke you mention "...I've *got* to get a sample..."?

mac 12:47 PM  

I liked the theme quite a bit, and the rest was a nice combination of helpful crosswordese and cute clues.

I was convinced oort (O.O.R.T.?) was going to be the word of the day. Guess I have to google it myself.

I also thought "mes" was going to be the answer to 91A, until I realized the second julio would then be capitalized. The Star Wars crawl and screen had to come from the crosses. Poetry slams are new to me.

I liked nonplussed, after yesterday's nonesuch!

@Noam: where you thinking of the beautiful town of Muehlhausen?

Fitzy 12:47 PM  

Hello all,

Lots related to España today...St. James is said to be buried in Santiago de Compostela - my very favorite European city - I studied Spanish there in the summers of 2000 and 2002 and also hiked half the Camino de Santiago in 2002. Good memories!

PS Let's not forget our tildes (~)... "año" means "year", but
"ano"...sorry folks...means anus...

kate 12:50 PM  

I really object to the Star Wars clues. The "A long time ago" line appears in a static title card, followed by the graphic "Star Wars," which is *then* followed by a crawl, which begins: "Episode IV A New Hope. It is a period of Civil War."

Toilet Raining failed the breakfast test big time for me.

Didn't love this one.

jeff in chicago 1:00 PM  

Thanks Cathy! Fun puzzle. Finished in an average Sunday time, with a nice mix of challenging and ease. THEPARENTRAP is my favorite answer as well.

I found 5 ROOS, without going diagonal, but a couple are anagrams. (Well...not really anagrams as they don't make real words when they're mixed up.)

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

Puzzles by Cathy Allis have been running on the last page of National Geographic for the last few months. They are thematically related to material in the magazine and give me one more reason to get excited when they arrive.

urbanXworder 1:14 PM  

The Apu video reminds me of a call I made to a credit card company. The guy on the other end answered, "Hello. How can you help me?"

PIX 1:30 PM  

Fun puzzle, just right for a Sunday.

Bronx Zoo vs. The Bronx Zoo? ...little known fact: Fordham University gave the city the land for the zoo and the next door botanical gardens for $1,000...

retired_chemist 1:43 PM  

In the real world, tin does not rust. It does, however, deteriorate at low temperatures. This is called tin pest or tin disease. This url gives several interesting bits of history affected by tin disease.

mac 2:45 PM  

Do Cathy and Don Gagliardi know each other? There is a parallel clue/answer going on.

Doris 2:53 PM  

@lit doc,
The punch line of the joke is, "You'll go blind!" I've probably missed other jokes. David Denby in The New Yorker thought that "unobtainium" was Cameron's only stab at humor. He apparently missed "my" joke.

Noam D. Elkies 3:15 PM  

Apologies to Cathy Millhauser for the misspellung. Enjoyed your National Geographic puzzle too.

"Unobtainium" is indeed a humorous coinage but it long predates Avatar.

Thanks to CoolPapaD for the reminder/explanation of Oz chemistry.

@ArtLvr: you neglected the unfortunately-acronymed Moral Equivalent of War (a term which long predates Jimmy Carter).


Smitty 3:23 PM  

@tptsteve - well you forced me to look it up - how about that. I wonder how many other words in my vocabulary I'm using incorrectly. Thanks!

Tinbeni 4:18 PM  

Was going to pass on this one but the game got boring early.
Time for the Dallas fans to SOB, their team got EARFULS from those Viking fans.

Great theme, caught it at the reason I have never lived under someone, TOILET RAINING.
Then they all fell into place.

Last fill was SUCCESS;
Time to place ABET on the J.E.T.S.

A DOBIE sounds nice but I'm IN NEED of AVATAR ...

Not the movie, MY avatar ... SCOTCH!

Little Jack Scorner 4:41 PM  

Doris, pardon me, but would you happen to have any Grey Poupon?

chefwen 4:54 PM  

Absolutely loved this puzzle, my biggest problem was leaving Ihop in for way too long before I figured out that it would just not work.

TOILET RAINING brought shivers, a couple of months ago, one of the toilets in our rental unit broke. No one was in the unit at the time and no one was in the unit underneath us. All we needed was new flooring but the downstairs unit got a WHOLE new makeover on our insurance company. Very ugly!

Anyway, thanks for the great puzzle Ms. Allis.

bookmark 5:16 PM  

@Fitzy: I am envious of your study in Santiago de Compostela and your hiking half of the trail. We were there last year and were inspired by the cathedral and its pilgrims' mass, as well as the beautiful town. Wish I could do part of the walk. To date, I've read five books on the subject and its fascinating history. But I'll probably have to settle for an armchair traveler's experience.

My two mistakes were ANIMATE for ANIMATO and AN ACT? for [Is that] A FACT?

lit.doc 5:38 PM  

@Doris, ooooh, the "Don't play with that..." moment. LOL when I caught it--ya gotta listen close for that one. I was thinking of the Sigourney Weaver foreshadowing which, thought sad in context, was still a no-doubt-intentional chuckle. Remember when they're discussing The Tree and she says "I'd die to have a sample from there..."?

OldCarFudd 5:47 PM  

I haven't seen Avatar, so I'm unfamiliar with unobtainium in that context. But old car nuts looking for hard-to-find parts for some
odd vehicle have long said that they're made of two rare elements: Unobtainium and Cantaffordium.

Liked the puzzle!

Anonymous 6:11 PM  

An old sniglet:

dreamonium--the gold-colored substance you scratch off of lottery tickets.

rpnorton 6:56 PM  

59 across: "Spade, e.g., for short" = "Tec" ??? in what universe? It should be "Det", no?

mac 7:25 PM  

@Rex: no tweets today?

chefbea 7:25 PM  

watched Julia and julie today. @Elaine thought of you and was laughing hysterically!!!!!

edith b 7:31 PM  

Google ate my comment. It doesn't matter that tin doesn't rust in the real world. It rusted in Baum's world which is why the Tin Man was always concerned about staying well oiled. I think that is called suspension of disbelief.

The theme bogged me down early on as I tried to fit SEX in the Dr Ruth clue before I figured out how to parse it. I finally saw what the theme was trying to say at SOF(T)ISSUEINJURY and,as per usual, I made fine progress from that point forward.

The Tin Man 8:18 PM  

You folks are all so young! And all so rich! I'll bet all of your food is either fresh or frozen or comes in plastic.

But back in the 1930s [no apostrophe!] where I come from, we had food containers which we called "tin cans." Actually, they were just tin plated. And when one was empty and left in the trash, it would start to rust almost immediately.

I'm really only tin plated also, and where my joints rub and wear off the tin, I can rust pretty fast, too.

Someone pass the oilcan, please!

Anonymous 9:03 PM  

Oil can and the Tin Man were a topic not too long ago when the clue had something to do with a garage.
Are we running out of things to talk about?
The Julio to julio clue is a good example of a tactic that constructors can use knowing that the publisher capitalizes the first word of the clue. It is especially useful if a proper name is a noun.

Glitch 9:59 PM  

@anon 9:03

Oil Can / Garage was indeed a discussion item a few weeks ago (give or take), don't think Tin [or Tinman] was part of it (If wrong, corrections will be swift and plentiful).

As we are "talking" about the current puzzle, it's not "us" that's running out of topics.

As for the capitalization of the first letter of a clue, it is indeed a common "tactic" that for which the experienced will compensate. (Sentence construction in honor to the old school grammarians among us). ;)


PS: Using Anon's posting as a springboard, not commenting on the comments per se.


Fitzy 10:43 PM  

@ Bookmark,

So then you know what a magical town Santiago de Compostela is then!!!

I don't know what your day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year situation is... but maybe you will be able to walk the Camino someday... I encourage you (and everyone else reading this)... you "only" (LOL) have to walk the last 100km (62 mi)to get your "Compostela" (Pilgrim's certificate)

If you have any q's about it please
feel free to email me at:

Steve J 11:23 PM  

@rpnorton: indeed, TEC is legit. Well, it was about 70 years ago. Discussion came up here a couple weeks back. Tec was slang for detective back around the '30s/'40s. It's use pretty much never (other than crosswords) since then, but you can hear it used in some old film noir.

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

Anyone else find "earfuls" incorrect? I believe it should be "earsful" - as in passersby...

and @Rex re: 16D: Bert who was a Leo, aptly (Lahr) — 'cause lions say "lahrrrrrrr!" Bert Lahr was a Leo on the zodiac, born Aug 13 1895; hence the "aptly."


slypett 4:21 PM  

Anonymous 1:05: My dictionary votes for'earfuls'. Better luck next time.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

I thought Bert was "aptly" a Leo because he played the cowardly lion, "leo" being the Latin for lion.

Oscar 10:17 AM  

Per RP's 31A lament, RIGHT URN ONLY is about "a lot" more -- to TURN ON the heat and turn it up, one can usually ONLY TURN the knob RIGHT.

funboytim 12:23 PM  

Tin certainly does rust. Haven't any of you seen old rusted tin rooves on houses before? If you don't paint them, they will oxidize and turn red.

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