Carl's lifelong companion in Up / SUN 2-14-10 / Pioneering 1740 novel / Mecca trekker / Frequent Sgt. Friday rejoinder / 1993 dance hit

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Constructor: Matt Ginsburg and Peter Muller

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "THAT'S AMORE" — Question "WHAT IS LOVE? (23A: 1993 dance hit and a question answered seven times in this puzzle) is ... well, it's answered seven times, surprisingly — each time, according to a different famous person or character.

Word of the Day: "PAMELA" (96A: Pioneering 1740 novel subtitled "Virtue Rewarded") —

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded is an epistolary novel by Samuel Richardson, first published in 1740. It tells the story of a maid named Pamela whose master, Mr. B, makes unwanted advances towards her. She rejects him continually, and her virtue is eventually rewarded when he shows his sincerity by proposing an equitable marriage to her. In the second part of the novel, Pamela attempts to accommodate herself to upper-class society and to build a successful relationship with him. The story was widely mocked at the time for its perceived licentiousness and it inspired Henry Fielding (among many others) to write two parodies: Shamela (1741), about Pamela's true identity; and Joseph Andrews (1742), about Pamela’s brother. (wikipedia)
• • •

Happy Valentine's Day. I got you ... a new blog design. Romantic, I know.

I really liked this puzzle — a Valentine's Day puzzle that isn't insipid or sappy, and that caused me to remember ridiculous bouncy dance music from my college years:

Grid is not thematically dense at all, which means that the non-theme fill can breathe. Breathing = vitality. I'm used to seeing Matt work with very demanding (and often impressive) themes and stunts that often compromise the quality of the material not related to the theme. Today, the non-theme stuff is across-the board fantastic, and the cluing is really lively and interesting. I had one WTF? moment right in the heart of the grid, where LUNTS (68A: Lynn Fontanne and her husband) meets TOPO (69D: Hiker's map, briefly). TOPO!? Really? I think TOPO Gigio is something I know of ... from Ed Sullivan? I guessed the "T" because of its (I assumed) derivation from "topography." Maps ... topography. Made sense. How can you be Lynn Fontanne and a LUNT? I mean, I know you're married to the guy, but if you don't take his name ...

I have been to Edinburgh three times, twice for extended stays (including the entirety of the fall semester of my junior year in college). I visited a WOOL SHOP (42D: Edinburgh tourist attraction) exactly no times. Of course I didn't see many TAMS either (28A: Kilt accompaniers) — doesn't mean they weren't there.

I sailed through this one with very little trouble, despite never having heard many of these "LOVE IS..." phrases. I'd heard of "Love is BLIND" (10A: 23-Across ... according to Shakespeare) and "Love is A MANY SPLENDORED THING" (102A: ... according to Frank Sinatra) and "Love is ALL YOU NEED" — aka "ALL YOU NEED is Love" (114A: ... according to the Beatles). The rest were new to me, including the Neil Young quote. I listened to Neil Young's first album earlier today (self-titled). Is that a coincidence? Sort of. I know it's not ironic.

Saigon Kick - Love Is On The Way

Enjoyed the quotey clues today. A fresh clue for NEHI (1A: It was once advertised as "Your favorite drink in your favorite flavor"), a witty zinger from C.S. Lewis (72A: One who's easier to pray for than to visit, according to C.S. Lewis — BORE), and the requisite daily Shakespeare quotation (12D: Teller of a tale "full of sound and fury," per Macbeth — IDIOT).

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

John LOCKE wrote "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" (11D). Locke believed that human nature was characterized by reason — and 300 years later, Norwegian supergroup a-ha extended his insights with their assertion that "Love is Reason"

Remaining theme answers:
  • 32A: ... according to Joseph Campbell (friendship set to music)
  • 52A: ... according to St. Augustine (the beauty of the soul)
  • 78A: ... according to Charles Schulz (sharing your popcorn)
  • 123A: ... according to Neil Young (a rose)

  • 15A: Mecca trekker (haji) — I've said this before, but this word sounds like a racial slur to me now
  • 36A: Secret dish in "Sweeney Todd" (meat pie) — thought for sure it would be something like HUMAN PIE. PETE PIE?
  • 37A: One ___ (baseball variant) (o'cat) — I like O'CAT about as much as I like all "variants" in crosswords, i.e. not at all.
  • 41A: Martin's partner in 1960s-'70s TV (Rowan) — why not just say "Laugh-In?"

  • 73A: German region occupied by France and Belgium from 1923-25 — nice variation on the clue, which would normally contain the word "valley" and / or possibly "Essen."
  • 83A: Sunfish or moonfish (opah) — sounds like an alternative to OLE, i.e. something one might shout at a soccer match.
  • 121A: Early smartphone (Treo) — I don't own an early, middle, or late smartphone. When I see PuzzleGirl next weekend at the ACPT in Brooklyn, I will, as usual, covet hers.
  • 8D: Old cruise missile (Navaho) — Didn't know it, then spelled it NAVAJO.
  • 14A: The saddest key, supposedly (D minor) — really, really glad the cross was obvious on the "D".
  • 51D: Blessing preceder? (ah-choo!) — an oldie but a ... well, an oldie.

  • 60D: Chemicals banned by Congress in '76 (PCBs) — I like the way the abbrev. is cued by the shortened year in the clue.
  • 62A: Butler's locale (Tara) — did not see that trick at ALL ... until it was all filled in. *Rhett* Butler's locale. Aha.
  • 88D: Chief of staff under Obama (Emanuel) — in trouble recently because of his penchant for profanity. And for his use of the word "retards." I'll let Colbert fill you in.

  • 96A: Animals with eye patches (pandas) — a habit they picked up from years of sailing with pirates.
  • 99D: Frequent Sgt. Friday rejoinder ("No, ma'am") — his version of "No, you $%&!ing idiot."

  • 106D: Carl's lifelong companion in "Up" — opening of this movie is rightly considered one of the greatest montages in the history of movies. Even better than that part in "Breakfast Club" where they dance on the library furniture.
  • 115D: Hoped-for answer to "Will you be my Valentine?" (Yes) — a much better answer than "... what? What are you, 8 years old?"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Zeke 12:16 AM  

Good point about how the theme opened up rather than constrained the puzzle. Whatever it was, it made for a well above average Sunday.

I know no one cares, but an insight into my degree of socialization could be gleaned from the fact that I thought SALTINGYOURPOPCORN was an appropriate definition of love. For a long, long time.

nanpilla 12:34 AM  

Love the new look! Quite elegant.

KOAN was new to me, but the crosses were solid. DENEB only sounded vaguely familiar after I had all the crosses. Never even saw PAMELA - must have only used downs there.

I enjoyed this one, and didn't get bored, as I often will on a Sunday puzzle. I wouldn't have realized that could be due to low theme density if you hadn't pointed it out. Just one of the many reasons why I come here.

The ocean sunfish, not the OPAH, is one of the oddest looking fish around. Looks like a huge fish head with a weird flattened tail attached right to the head!

foodie 1:06 AM  

Awe!!! That puzzle was so sweet!

And your new blog design so lovely!

Popcorn, all the way around!

Clark 1:17 AM  

Nice! Nice puzzle. Nice write-up. Nice new look.

“Yeah, well, it's part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy that I'm doing in D minor, which I always find is really the saddest of all keys, really, I don't know why. It makes people weep instantly.” - Nigel Tufnel, This is Spinal Tap. I will not name the song that he was working on. Wouldn't want the new blog to get blocked on the first day.

Noam D. Elkies 1:18 AM  

Yes, a nice way to use V-Day without drowning in its saccharinity. The NYTimes crossword blog notes some hidden extra theme entries: the authors' wives 96A:PAMELA and 17D:JILLIAN, and 6D:EEL (as in "that's a moray" and symmetrical with the thematically clued 115D:YES).

The first commenter on that blog suggests that "according to Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend love is not 10A:BLIND but bling", which would make G minor the saddest key. Anyway why should one minor key be sadder than another except for the few people with absolute pitch? Apparently that musical factoid is an example of Colbertesque truthiness: the source is not a standard treatise, nor the collective wisdom of the musical community, but the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. [Added in proof: I see that Clark just beat me to this.]

I liked the clue for 40D:ELEM, in part because I went the right direction without any crosses. D is an isotope (deuterium, as in D₂O (heavy water), but not an element. 69D:TOPO is new to me, and (as defined) also to, which has even more instances of the "___ the morning!" partial than it does of Gigio. It's surely supposed to stand for "topographical map", though by analogy with "typo" (which it sure looks like) it might make more sense for "topo" to be a topographical error.


P.S. 1) What, no xword tweets?

2) No idea what my captcha "sarinoot" means except it's an anagram of "orations" (and thus also of "Ontario's").

George NYC 2:06 AM  

Love the new look!
Liked that this puzzle's theme answers ranged from St. Augustine to Joseph Campbell, from Shakespeare to Schulz.
Also liked VAMOOSE, giving a slip the slip (ASEA) and Butler's locale (TARA).

What's with this trend of sharing captchas? They are just computer-generated letter combos. WGAS? It's annoying, IMO.

Martin 2:21 AM  

It might be bunk, but the supposed emotional color of tonalities (including sadness for d minor) goes back much further than Spinal Tap. This one goes to 11.

George NYC 2:26 AM  

Forgot to mention that the LUNTS are featured in a oft-quoted set piece in "The Catcher In the Rye." Wonder if the timing is a coincidence...

Clark 2:42 AM  

@Martin -- Sadness for d minor you will find. But the saddest . . . ? That was suspicious.

lit.doc 3:00 AM  

@Rex, congrat’s on the new skin. Old one was fine, but hey. And your write-up, in addition to the loving video clips, was great. LOL especially at your Pamela commentary and your explication of Sgt. Friday’s verbiage. 96A (sitting on my shelf, as is Fielding’s parody thereof) and 56D were the sound of grad school paying for itself. (Blatant rationalization for school-loan payments, of course, but hey.)

@Noam D. Elkies, thanks for explaining ELEM. Got it from crosses but was still stumped.

@Clark, I thought the saddest key was eleven minor. But seriously, that “saddest key” thing has to do with modal tuning of keyboards, which had pretty much died by the time of Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier”. Google something like “equal temperament” if you give a rat’s ass about the details.

Not surprisingly for a big-grid puzzle, lots of bad first bets. 1A just haaad to be BEER. Don’t even. Same with “Secret dish in ‘Sweeney Todd’”, which had to be soylent green. You get the idea. That this was an N Effing YT puzzle prevented me from going BEQ on 122A’s butt. Tempting though, huh? C’mon, I’m not the only one.

Best Crosswordese 101 moment of the night was “German region yada yada yada”, where I slammed in RUHR just ‘cuz. Worst was ONE O’WTF, which needed crosses.

Only clue quibble was 108A “Put one’s [sic] foot down”. (Picayune Points of Grammar crowd, go back to bed.) Seems to me that it would take more than one foot to have trod, unless one could hop really forcefully. Just sayin’.

lit.doc 3:28 AM  

I really, really tried not to post this, but find that I am too weak after seeing that bit from the Repor. DO NOT read this if you havn't seen the Colbert bit.

Colbert pointedly uses the term "nailin'" re Palin. I leave it to you all (or y'all, or even youse, depending on how you felt about yesterday's conversation) to youtube "Nailin' Palin" for the parodic porn f[li]ck made during the last presidential campaign.

"Don't defenestrate the messenger, he's doing the best he can."

George NYC 3:57 AM  

@ lit.doc
I don't get your point here. Are you saying that the fact that Colbert used the common term "nailed," meaning scored a rhetorical point against an opponent, implies he is referring to or even endorsing some stupid, obscure youtube parody from last year?

lit.doc 4:17 AM  

@George NYC, yes, Stephen Colbert knows about the film and has previously commented on it. Don't underestimate his wit.

CoolPapaD 7:36 AM  

You know me - I like ALL of these puzzles, but I really LOVED this one. Any Neil Young reference takes it to a whole new level! Loved "Rep center?" as the clue for GYM. Learned KOAN, which is my word of the week.

I remember learning One O'CAT from an episode of the Tony Danza show (please don't ask). He was talking about games he and his friends played growing up, including ringolevio, Johnny on a pony, one o'cat, and others. I remember Googling these at the time, having never heard of them before. Why I remember this is so beyond me.

I tried fitting "A WARM PUPPY" for 78A, but soon realized that that was Schulz's definition of happiness.

@lit.doc - eleven minor is awesome!

Rex - the new look is like when my wife comes home with a brand new hair-do. Even if I'm not entirely sure at first, I immediately smile, tell her that I LOVE it, and soon enough, I can't remember her ever looking more beautiful. Now THAT'S love!

Smitty 7:38 AM  

Fun puzzle - even better Rexified.

Who could resist Ewan McGregor and ??? singing and dancing to the original EMO hit by Mickey and Sylvia.

Topo (topographical) map is common parlance among geologists, surveyors, hikers, etc.

The Bard 8:36 AM  

King Henry V > Act V, scene II
KING HENRY V: Yet they do wink and yield, as love is blind and enforces.

The Merchant of Venice > Act II, scene VI
JESSICA: Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
For I am much ashamed of my exchange:
But love is blind and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformed to a boy.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona > Act II, scene I
SPEED: If you love her, you cannot see her.
SPEED: Because Love is blind. O, that you had mine eyes; or your own eyes had the lights they were wont to have when you chid at Sir Proteus for going ungartered!

Hamlet > Act II, scene II
First Player: … Aroused vengeance sets him new a-work;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour forged for proof eterne
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam…

Macbeth > Act III, scene II
MACBETH: O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!
Thou know'st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.
LADY MACBETH: But in them nature's copy's not eterne.

Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes,
That they behold, and see not what they see?
They know what beauty is, see where it lies,
Yet what the best is take the worst to be.
If eyes corrupt by over-partial looks Be anchor'd in the bay where all men ride,
Why of eyes' falsehood hast thou forged hooks,
Whereto the judgment of my heart is tied?
Why should my heart think that a several plot
Which my heart knows the wide world's common place?
Or mine eyes seeing this, say this is not,
To put fair truth upon so foul a face?
In things right true my heart and eyes have erred,
And to this false plague are they now transferr'd.

imsdave 8:38 AM  

A perfectly fine effort that only slowed me down in my post-puzzle review, when I ZARFed on KOAN.

Earworm 8:49 AM  

What is Love

HudsonHawk 8:50 AM  

@imsdave, I also ZARFed on KOAN. I was sure it would be the word of the day. I triple checked the crosses, then googled KOAN, surprised to find it really is a word.

@lit.doc, LOL at what a bear does (in the woods?).

Can't hear Haddaway without thinking of the SNL Night at the Roxbury skits.

joecab 9:01 AM  

I wanted to see me some Benatar in there with "A BATTLEFIELD" as an entry, but I guess that's not as positive as the others.

Gee my eyes got just a bit misty when I saw the "Up" clue. *snif*

I like the new layout. DId your RSS feed change as well? The feed hadn't updated since Friday so I unsubscribed and resubscribed to get it current again.

fikink 9:02 AM  

WOW, Rex!
Your new look is spectacular - very polished.
Congrats and Happy Valentine's Day.

PlantieBea 9:38 AM  

Love the new look, Rex.

I, too, ZARFed on KOAN. Hmm, KOAN...a reference to that which has no name--the geeky joy of solving a NYT puzzle, and coming here to share?

Cute puzzle Matt and Pete. Love to all.

Monica 9:41 AM  

Butler didn't really hang out at Tara...but frankly, I don't give a damn.

chefbea 9:48 AM  

Good puzzle. busy day today so really can't finish it or have time to read all the comments. Having an open house this afternoon for all our friends and co-workers to drink up all the booze we have (Don't want to schlep it all to NC)

Great new look to the blog!!! Thanks Rex.

PanamaRed 9:48 AM  

Had to check a couple of shampoo bottles to get REPEAT (duh!), then the rest of the NE fell quickly, and the puzzle was completed.

Slightly embarassed to admit ownership of a Nehru jacket back in the day. It was all the rage. For about a week. Wish I had kept it.

poc 10:08 AM  

I too choked on WOOLSHOP (I lived in Edinburgh for over 5 years). Is that the best clue possible?

Otherwise, moderately OK but not thrilling. I don't get GYM as "rep center".

I like the new theme by the way. Pity the comments still don't work as a properly threaded mailing list, but I guess that's not under Rex's control.

JenCT 10:09 AM  

@Smitty: I agree that TOPO is a commonly used word (my being married to a geologist, LOL)

Never, never heard the term One O'CAT.

Had VEGAS for Sin City for the longest time - arggh.

Also had BEAN instead of KALE.

I remember the Peanuts comic about Love is SHARING YOUR POPCORN.

All in all, liked the puzzle, and really like the new blog look, Rex.

JenCT 10:10 AM  

@poc: You do "reps" at a gym - get it?

A Capriote 10:10 AM  

Oh it's "you are like a hurricane" and "love is a rose" I had them mixed up. real hard trying to stuff a hurricane into that spot.
Oh new look! Sorry I'll be honest I don't like it. I guess I don't like change.
Sarah Palin Sarah Palin much more of her and I'm packing up my family and moving to the land of amore (I guess I don't like retards either)
Happy Valentines Day Everyone!!!

ArtLvr 10:12 AM  

I had a little trouble in that I first wanted Woolsack for the tourist attraction, but unlike the Stone of Scone it hasn't moved around, still in the House of Lords in London since the 14th century. After WW 2 it was restuffed with wool not only from England but from each of the Commonwealth nations. A big cushion covered in red, it's the Lord Speaker's official seat.

Anyway, as I worked the downs, Jet Skis looked likely too -- until the POPCORN fixed both WOOLSHOP and SPAS.

I was blind to BLIND until the very end, since E minor is the saddest key to me -- my favorite musical work being Mendelssohn's violin concerto in that key. I guess we all have our blind spots.

So Happy Valentine's Day to all, and thanks to Matt and Peter for a lovely puzzle...


p.s. A randy young dolphin from Norway
Swam southward one spring on a foray:
His mother cried "Son,
She's just not the one!"
He sighed "But Ma, that's a moray!"

jesser 10:24 AM  

I kinda slogged through this one, with the last section falling the 47A through 49D area. Hands up for WTF on KOAN and LUNTS. And although I do BEQ's puzzles (sac)religiously, I did not catch what would have been his answer for 122A until it was mentioned here, and it made me laugh out loud. :-)

My only error was a g instead of a J leading 17D, and I'm giving myself a Valentine's Day pass on that one.

Speaking of which, I'm off soon with the S.O. to collect 85-year-old WJ Wallace from the Alzheimer's home. We'll be meeting his family and my son and his GF at a local restaurant, where we'll all help Mr. and Mrs. Wallace celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary. THAT, friends and neighbors, is LOVE!

Mistaily! -- jesser (@George NYC: because they often make me smile, and if you don't like them, that's cool, but don't piss on my Post Toasties, please.)

jesser 10:27 AM  

Oh, and the new blog look? It'll take some adjustment, but put me in the LIKE category!

Sonicurc! -- jesser

poc 10:32 AM  

@JenCT: what's a "rep"? Oh I see, it appears to mean "repetition". I guess you learn something new every day.

OldCarFudd 10:37 AM  

Good fun, well done. Liked it all. The new format is fine, but so was the old one. ArtLvr - great limerick!

Rachel 10:52 AM  

How about some of the double entendre sexy answers like Hookups, Put Out, Hit it and oral?

Colleen 11:04 AM  
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Colleen 11:07 AM  
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Elaine 11:11 AM  

Nice eye-friendly green on the new website look...

I once answered the door to find two FBIs there, investigating the theft of luggage from the Honolulu airport; the victims were parents of the captain next door, but that family was not home. While the Fubbies waited for one of my parents to arrive, I offered the guys coffee; they answered, "Oh, no thank you, ma'am." I was twelve.

I am pretty sure that Rex was misinterpreting Sgt. Joe Friday's 'NO MAAM.

slypett 11:19 AM  

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I didn't like this one. For one thing I'm allergic to "Peanuts".

Ruth 12:01 PM  

BIG GRIN to ArtLvr. (same joke: "When an eel bites your thigh when you're just swimming by, that's a moray. .")
Don't they yell "OPAH" in Greek restaurants when they ignite the cheese?
New look--very manly.

archaeoprof 12:06 PM  

Nice array of sources in this puzzle, from Augustine to Shakespeare to Neil Young.

Did no quote about love from the Simpsons???

archaeoprof 12:08 PM  

Of course that should be "BUT no quote about love from the Simpsons?"

jae 12:10 PM  

Sweet V-Day puzzle. My take was pretty much what Rex said. I knew 30a was a KOAN but was thrown off by the "say" vs. "e.g." so I needed the crosses to be sure.

Jetflyer 12:17 PM  

Had an error which resulted in a funny answer to 78 Across (...according to Charles Schulz). Thought 42 Down (Edinburgh tourist attraction) was a place and I had WOOLSHIP instead of WOOLSHOP. Still had a couple of gaps in the downs for 78 Across so I was left with SHARINGYOUR_IPCOR_. I jotted down _IPCOR_ in the margins and looked at it for a bit and came up with RIPCORD. Yes, SHARINGYOURRIPCORD could be considered a loving thing to do and something I could see Mr. Schulz saying.

Noam D. Elkies 12:20 PM  

@Martin et al.: to the extent that keys sound different it's less a matter of keyboard tempering (even in unequal temperament one can retune so that D minor sounds like what B minor used to be) as of instrumental technique (e.g. D major sounds very different from D-flat on a string instrument with G, D, A, and C or E strings) and composers' associations with well-known earlier pieces in the same key (which may preserve traces of technical constraints that no longer apply to newer instruments).

For all that, there's something to be said for the simple clue "Key of Beethoven's Choral Symphony", especially since the last movement's Ode to Joy may at first mislead solvers to throw ?MAJOR into the grid.

(with yet another anagrammable captcha, "rebank", which may appear in the grid one of these days)

Martin 12:56 PM  


Fashion indeed played a major part. An eighteenth- or nineteenth-century audience was much more attuned to the differences that you mention (and a pre-Boehm woodwind makes key very obvious to a listener trained in tonality). They were also more likely to appreciate and exploit the gift of perfect pitch. But they also knew the supposed significance of the key. Mozart's audience knew what the three flats in The Magic Flute meant to the composer, whether the individual listener was a Masonic sympathizer or not. The key signature implied emotion because the composer and listener shared a cultural contract that was part of the experience. "E-flat major! This is going to be heavy." We have lost that, and can only understand this aspect of music appreciation academically.

joho 1:03 PM  

Thanks @Rex ... I've always wondered why pandas have eye patches.

And thank you, Matt and Peter, for a Sunday puzzle filled with love and liveliness. This was definitely not a case of FITS. Can you believe that's what I dreamt after solving most of puzzle last night? FITS = Filling In The Squares. So many times a Sunday seems to be that kind of a chore, more drudgery than fun. This puzzle did anything but give me the FITS!

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!

Stan 1:35 PM  

A perfect Sunday-level Valentine's puzzle. Congrats to Matt and Peter for making it look easy.

The new blog design looks really clean and uncluttered, though I wish the daily puzzles could have been larger (like Sundays). I think people in syndication are going to really appreciate having a direct link from the top navigation bar. It's also nice that the FAQ is up there for easy reference.

Peace and love, all.

Clark 1:50 PM  

@lit.doc -- You are confusing 'well-tempered' with 'equal-tempered'. Bach used an unequal-temperament. The 'well' of 'well-tempered' meant that one could play in all keys, but those keys did not sound the same. If you are interested, there is a good discussion of this here. For tables of the details of different versions of un-equally tempered scales, check out this site.

mac 2:01 PM  

Good puzzle, not too cutesy and with excellent fill.
I had some trouble in the NW starting out, so I moved South, but driving my car I thought of the obvious question: What is love, and when I returned home it filled in fairly smoothly. I did start with "a rose" for 10A for a few seconds, but erased it because I thought llD was "Donne"... It all worked itself out eventually.

I actually bought some beautiful wool plaid in Edinborough once, only to end up with a pretty boring skirt.

@Artlvr: thanks for the limerick; it explained Noam's mentioning of "eel" to me.

Tip: don't repeat your shampoo and rinse. Modern shampoos work just fine in one go.

Nice, sophisticated new look. I am happy the background color is still soft, but I like the ny type a lot. The whole thing is decidedly more masculine.

SethG 2:02 PM  

Like joecab, I missed me my Benatar.

Confirm that TOPO is common, that the Carl/ELLIE montage is fantastic, and that Rex's Sgt. Friday interpretation is indeed likely. "No, ma'am", of course, should be followed by "we're musicians."

Susan 2:12 PM  

but what's "doty?"

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

A minor quibble with @Rex, who groused thus:

37A: One ___ (baseball variant) (o'cat) — I like O'CAT about as much as I like all "variants" in crosswords, i.e. not at all.


One O'CAT is a variant of baseball (i.e., in the clue), not a variant in the grid of an alternate answer (e.g., 15A HAJI or in five letters HAJJI or HADJI). So what's not to like?


Basketball warning!!!

GO BEARS, who may win the pathetic Pac-10 Conference for the first time since 1960 (when it was the Pac-8). Sigh...

alanrichard 2:20 PM  

A night at the Roxbury. I love thT Movie!! What is love, baby don't hurt me.
Oh yeah, I liked this puzzle too!

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

liked the puzzle 'cept for Koan
which I too was lost

LOVE the blog re-do...cleaner
and crisper!

edmcan 3:21 PM  

okay puzzle, cool new blog Rex.

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

Hi Rex,
Glad you've been to Edinburgh. I was born and bought up there, now living in London. Been hooked on this puzzle for years. Oddly, my two most difficult clues were the Scottish ones (not the Macbeth). For a while I was thinking woolsack, knowing it had never been out London so how wrong they had got it. But wool shop?
Hey, but maybe they think Americans mainly come to Edinburgh to buy woollies? Like you, I don't think so. And tam, a short form of Thomas in Scotland, didn't immediately spring to mind as a tam-o-shanter, usually referred to in full.
Carp over.
Liked the puzzle though.

chefwen 4:15 PM  

Loved the puzzle, loved the theme, loved everything about it except all the teeny, tiny, little squares that make my eyes feel like they are going to start bleeding. I know there is an option to print it out on two pages, but for some reason that option has been removed from my access. Sigh!

Still don't get KOAN. Will have to read Rex's write-up again.

chefwen 4:16 PM  

Loved the puzzle, loved the theme, loved everything about it except all the teeny, tiny, little squares that make my eyes feel like they are going to start bleeding. I know there is an option to print it out on two pages, but for some reason that option has been removed from my access. Sigh!

Still don't get KOAN. Will have to read Rex's write-up again.

Elaine 4:28 PM  

@chef wen
I am with you on the eyeballs-fall-out-onto-keyboard feeling. It takes a lot of the fun out of it.

KOAN-- just google it. It seems to indicate a paradoxical statement or parable designed to make Zen students have seizures: 'What is the sound of one hand clapping?' and the like.


My mother was a cartographer, and 'topos' (as noted above, topographical maps) showing elevations were quite tedious and expensive to produce. Perhaps new technology has changed that, but in the 60's and 70's, people still got ink on their fingers!

Unknown 4:42 PM  

A nit on 10D -- MIT does not award "BS" degrees. They are officially "SB" ("Scientiae Baccalaureus") degrees.

George NYC 4:46 PM  

@ Anonymous 3:55
Just to join the WOOLSHOP chorus. I have visited Edinburgh and environs twice and never heard of a Wool Shop. In fact, I had a girlfriend who lived in Edinburgh, and she never suggested "let's got to the wool shop!" More likely: "let's go to the bar!" (not pub). And you're right, Americans do not visit Scotland for the thrill of buying wool in a shop. We buy their famous wool products online or via catalog, like everything else.
Minor point in an excellent puzzle.

Chip Hilton 4:52 PM  

KOAN was easy for me solely because it was part of a bit in a 'Cheers' episode. Okay, I got VEGA and DENEB, but why no Altair? If you're going to have the two, it seems the third should appear as well. Include me in really disliking WOOLSHOP . So many real attractions in Edinburgh from which to choose.

Love the new look - great color choices. And it's nice to be back making my semi-annual appearance.

Steve J 5:01 PM  

Like the new design, Rex.

Note to my future self: 17th century English men of letters named "John" are not interchangeable. Like @mac, I put in DONNE at first, which would have required me to have a DOAN. Fortunately, I've studied up a bit on Buddhism, so KOAN was well-known to me, especially in reference to the example in the clue.

Had a lot of missteps, actually. A lot of things that were very cleverly clued. As a result, I was more impressed after everything was done than I was while I was doing it. At first I thought the puzzle was clued obtusely, instead of placing the obtuse blame where it belonged: me.

@John, I noted the same thing with the MIT degrees, which kept me from getting BLIND for a long time. Of course, an SB is functionally the same as a BS, but it still strikes me as off.

Free Lunch 5:10 PM  

As far as great montages go, it's still hard to beat the first 5 minutes of Raising Arizona.

Noam D. Elkies 5:24 PM  

P.S. Forgot to mention: URSA MINOR = saddest key for a bear?


lit.doc 6:11 PM  

@NDE, LOL re URSA MINOR. If memory serves, Verdi's heart-rending aria "Harshing on the Pooh" was composed in Ursa minor.

@Rex, I forgot to add that I had always thought Pandas got those black eyes from making smart remarks to gorillas. Thanks for straightening me out on that one.

bluebell 7:31 PM  

@lit.doc. re trod. I think I have seen the construction "she trod on a nail." That would only take one foot, wouldn't it? My favorite "trod" quote is from Gerard Manley Hopkins, "Generations have trod, have trod, have trod. . ." which is the sound of many feet treading.

I almost got all of this puzzle. Not quite, but almost.

I can't remember Friday saying "No ma'am." Of course "just the facts, ma'am," is there in my memory loud and clear.

PIX 7:34 PM  

A lovely puzzle for Valentine's day...have to rate it easy because I was able to finish it.

PCBS = "Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)... PCBs were widely used for many applications, especially as dielectric fluids in transformers and capacitors and coolants." {wiki}

I have obviously spent too much time reading about Buddhism because I just assumed that Koan would be known by everyone.

edith b 8:10 PM  

I like the new design of your banner with the clock under the large REX PARKER dominating the field. The one thing I do miss is the Friends of the Show feature which I hoped to make if I ever upated my blog on a regular basis. Like some others, I often check out some of them. Any plans for its return?

I liked the fact that the puzzle lacked the sappiness of some Valentine Day puzzles. I liked the Joseph Campbell quote that set the bar for the other theme entries and because the theme entries were kept to a minimum, it allowed the fill to shine through.

All in all, I liked it.

Van55 9:19 PM  

Where is Andrea Koan Michaels when you need her?

Very good puzzle!

"DOUR" is on of my favorite words.

Stan 10:18 PM  


Andrea Koan Michaels is hopefully aboard a plane heading for the East Coast. Last heard from about 4 hours ago, she was "in between flights in
Vegas...and in this case hoping that what happens in Vegas DOESN"T
stay here...namely me!"

slypett 11:08 PM  

Elaine, et al: The first koan is called Mu. That is the answer to the koan "Does a dog have Buddha nature? It's intention is to bring the student to an openess to the experience of the universe. Oneness, if you like. When Mu opened for me, the entire universe was alive and dancing. I could barely contain my glee.

xyz 1:20 PM  

WOOLSHOP was far more a groan than KOAN.

I just could not figure out a way to fit in


Ahhhhh, a 'tis GREAT country.

didn't quite get all of this puzzle. :-( I sometimes just get bored with a 23x23 grid.

Anonymous 9:43 PM  

Some eejit at our local paper had the headline written as "Thatos Amore" suggesting some strange Greek slant to it. I figured it out in spite of that error. Always irritating when the local does that.

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