Cord material / TUE 6-8-10 / Old Testament prophet who married harlot / Bra insert / Word after does doesn't in old ad slogan

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "TWIST AND SHOUT" (39A: With 41- and 42-Across, 1964 Beatles hit) — two other bands who had hits with this song are also in the grid: THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS (24A: With 41- and 54-Across, group with a 1967 ballad version of 39-/41-/42-Across) and THE ISLEY BROTHERS (40D: With 9-Down, group with a 1962 hit version of 39-/41-/42-Across)

Word of the Day: PELÉE (56D: Martinique volcano)

Mount Pelée (pronounced /pəˈleɪ/; French: Montagne Pelée "Bald Mountain") is an active volcano on the northern tip of the French overseas department of Martinique in the Lesser Antilles island arc of the Caribbean. It is among the deadliest stratovolcanoes on Earth. Its volcanic cone is composed of layers of volcanic ash and hardened lava. // The volcano is now famous for its eruption in 1902 and the destruction that resulted, now dubbed the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century. The eruption killed about 30,121 people. Most deaths came from the city of Saint-Pierre, at that time the largest city in Martinique, due to its pyroclastic flows. (wikipedia)

• • •

A puzzle that likely came into existence through sheer amazement that these answers fit symmetrically into the grid in such a way that a workable grid could actually be constructed around them. Impressive theme density and lay-out, but the theme itself is pretty straightforward — unless there's an anniversary or birthday or something that I'm missing. Also, where are THE TOP NOTES?! (first group to record the song, which was written by Phil Medley and Bert Russell). Beatles get center stage (in the main theme clue), I guess because their version is the most famous. What's most annoying about this type of theme is running into *this* type of clue, right off the bat: 24A: With 41- and 54-Across, group with a 1967 ballad version of 39-/41-/42-Across; my wife and I (independently) did same thing—thought "ugh, I'm not looking at all those clues to try to figure out what the hell's going on" and instead just pieced it all together from crosses, as we got them. As a result, this puzzle took me a bit longer than a normal Tuesday. [as for the advert on the right—pretty sure it's authentic, and pretty sure that the guy is TWISTing AND SHOUTing at the FAIR SEX]

Good news is that the dense theme didn't destroy the rest of the grid (i.e. necessitate a bunch of ugly, bad little words). Really enjoyed OUTER EAR (28A: Audio input location), FAIR SEX (59A: Women, quaintly, with "the"), and STONER (which I'm surprised I haven't seen before — such common letters, such a common concept) (36A: One who can't keep off the grass?). Was all prepared to say that I've never heard of BAST, only to find out (in one Google search) that it was the Word of the Day in late '09. So much for this job's making me smarter. Oddly high number of "?" clues today. Well, there are 4. That seems high for a Tuesday puzzle. There's the STONER clue, then the ECHO clue (11D: Repeated message?), then the SLATS clue (58D: Strips in front of a window?), then the XRAY clue (72A: Look inside?). The SLATS clue is particularly nice.

  • 26A: Word after "does" and "doesn't" in an old ad slogan (SHE) — another interesting clue. Had to think about it for a few seconds, and then the "does she or doesn't she?" came to mind—I know it's an ad from before my time, and I feel like it's for hair dye. Let me check... Yes. Clairol. Next sentence in the ad copy: "Only her hairdresser knows for sure." Copy written by Shirley Polykoff, who also wrote "Is it true blondes have more fun?" "Her copy for Clairol built the hair-coloring industry."

["If I've only one life, let me live it as a blonde"—HA ha]
  • 27A: Glass on a radio (IRA) — yuck. Should be "the" radio. "A" radio is TTH (Trying Too Hard, in this case, to be tricky).
  • 45A: Join the staff (HIRE ON) — counterintuitive. If I'm joining, I'm *being* hired. Weird.
  • 35D: Bra insert (WIRE) — so many other thoughts here, some practical (KLEENEX, CASH), some racier (HAND).
  • 55D: Old Testament prophet who married a harlot (HOSEA) — that's a hell of a way to go down in history. It's not often you see "harlot" used in this kind of straightforward, simply descriptive way, i.e. not modified by "dirty" or followed up by "whore," etc.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


PanamaRed 7:14 AM  

What a great puzzle - thanks Peter. Constructing this must have been fun.

@Rex - you commentary on 35D was very funny.

Loved the clue for STONER - I've been there (long ago).

Leslie 7:19 AM  

Good heavens. The Mamas and the Papas did a ballad version of "TWIST AND SHOUT?" I've apparently blocked that from my memory and I'm definitely not clicking on Rex's link. OTOH, love that picture of a very young John, Paul and George.

I was very close to Rex's solving experience in that I didn't care to go looking all over the grid for what eventually turned out to be "Twist and Shout." Eventually I did, though, which led me to hop down south and fill in THE ISLEY before returning northward.

Did Not Know that Paul Anka wrote that song. Jeez, was he three years old or something? You gotta give the guy credit for a long and prolific career, although he's still permanently demoted for "Havin' My Baby."

And, Rex? The Clairol "does she or doesn't she" campaign is something you have to go look up? Pfffbbbbttttfff on you. ;-)

Greene 7:19 AM  

In a very strange coincidence, I heard on NPR this morning that Marvin Isley, bassist for The Isley Brothers, just died yesterday. This is just a coincidence isn't it? I guess Will could have been sitting on this puzzle for months, but there's no way he could have slipped it in as a tribute that quickly could he?

Had the exact same reaction as Rex and Sandy at 24A: "Ugh, this is just too much work." Actually, I thought that clue was about as clear as a map of lower Manhattan.

Still and all, this was a highly enjoyable solve for me. The cluing was fun and most all the answers were right in my wheelhouse. And well they should be, I'm old enough to have ushered at that wedding with Hosea and the harlot.

Excellent write-up Rex. Just the right balance between informative and amusing. Incidentally, I remembered BAST!

dk 7:37 AM  

My favorite version:
Twist and Shout

ACME, drugs and rock and roll.... who could ask for more: Not I!

A nice mix of standard crossword fare and the theme.

Had tunerxxx instead or OUTEREAR which cost me some time but otherwise a smooth sail. My former job, that paid as much as Rex's current job, as a college dj gave me a leg up.

Paul Anka, Burt Bacharach and Carol King penned some great pop songs. Laura Nero's cover of Bacharach's One Less Bell to Answer is a fine example of the waning days of tin pan alley.

**** (4 Stars) Thanks for the memories past and present.

jesser 8:00 AM  

With only one Major Dislike, I loved this puzzle. Rex, your writeup was spot-on as to my solving experience. Took a little time and my eyes just glazed over at the 24A clue.

It's cool that the WOTD is PELEE. One of Jimmy Buffett's biggest hits is 'Volcano,' which was recorded on an album of the same name at a studio in Martinique just weeks before the eruption. I'm not certain, but I believe it was the very last album to come out of that studio before it was destroyed.

Minor nit: Aren't women the FAIRer SEX? I can't recall ever hearing the phrase without the er on the end.

Loved STONER and flannel PAJAMAS, as well as the XBOX. Two XXs! I want a beer! Later...

And now, the rant: 32D is irksome. The clue/answer pairing is completely valid, but it's a reminder that while marriage is a RITE, it is not a RIGHT for a huge segment of the citizenry, because the Immoral Majority PREVENTS it from being so, citing -- of all people -- Jesus Christ. These people, in my view, are modern-day HOSEAs. Take that, Bob DOLE.

OK, I'll stop. Happy Tuesday, Rexites!

Quilyz! (a beach in Belize?) -- jesser

Dough 8:04 AM  

Paul Anka did not write the song. It was written by Phil Medley and Bert Russell. Weird video of the Top Notes' 1961 version, but with pictures of early Beatles?? wtf?

Anyway, I enjoyed this quirky little Tuesday homage to a great tune. Lots of fun fill and clues. Lively start to the day for me.

joho 8:06 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Loved the theme. And I do think it's a tribute puzzle to Marvin Isley. Or maybe not. Peter?

As Tuesdays go this one was terrific.

Great TWISTANDSHOUT out to ACME, too!

Thanks, Michigan Pete!

Dough 8:33 AM  

@Greene is right: Marvin Isley, Bassist in Isley Brothers, Dies at 56 [nytimes]

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Who is the cartoon character in the green shirt and what is the relation to the crossword if any?


Rex Parker 9:08 AM  

Somehow people continue to have issues posting comments. Browser issues? Anyway, here's a comment from the constructor:

"Hi everyone. I know cross-referenced clues aren't the favorite of many folks, especially speed-solvers. But as Rex mentioned, once I noticed the symmetry and potential interconnectedness of the themed entries, I was powerless. I had to write the puzzle. It's probably a good thing I didn't throw in ROCK/AND/ROLL (making the AND in the center of the grid work triple-time). That TWIST surely would've caused some to SHOUT.

Weird about Marvin Isley dying yesterday. May he rest in peace.

Pete Collins"

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Why is this rated med-chall? I'd give it an easy rating -- or easy-med at most.

PuzzleNut 9:13 AM  

Not much to add to Rex's comments. Only thing missing was a reference to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
@Anonymous - That's Shaggy, who I assume is a stoner.
@jesser - agree with your fairer sex nit. Thought about FAIRest at first as FAIRSEX just didn't ring true.
Doing this diagramless, had StONEAGE for 25 down at first and struggled with tUTE REAR. Like others, assumed the clue was referring to some part of an amplifier.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

"Shaggy" is a character from Scooby-Doo who many viewers suspect has trouble keeping off the grass.

A third AND 9:22 AM  

Brian Poole and the Tremeloes ... covered "Twist and Shout" four months after The Beatles had released their version, and achieved the number 4 position in the UK Singles Chart. [Wiki].

But then, that would have really messed up the grid :)


JayWalker 9:23 AM  

I'm with the constructor on this one. What's the big deal about having "instructions" included in the puzzle? I understand that for many the "speed" is important, but it should never be a race, just a pleasurable jaunt. Relax. Read the clues. Enjoy the puzzle. Get on with your life. Today's solution took me all of 9 minutes. So? And yes, the coincidence of Marvin Isley's passing is notable and sad. I really liked the puzzle today. It brought back nice memories of a gentler and wackier time. And I could spare the time.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:24 AM  

Up-to-the-minute topicality (even if the constructor denies it), a shout-out to ACME, terrific inter-weave of theme answers (note TWIST and SHOUT cross THEISLEY and BROTRHERS), all in a Tuesday puzzle. What's not to love?

"The FAIRSEX" sounds right to me. HIREON sounds British, but I've heard (or read) it.

Vincent Lima 9:27 AM  

The cross-referencing was frustrating in principle, but since the first cross-referenced clue was THE MAMAS (I happened to do the Downs first, so THEMAMAS was just sitting there), it was easy enough to just fill in AND/ THE PAPAS and move on.

I hated L-DOPA because I'd never heard of it and it was in no way intuitive.

Also, goldenrod as WEED seemed off, since I know it as a medicinal herb rather than a nuisance. And it's apparently the state flower of Kentucky and Nebraska and the state wildflower of South Carolina.

Otherwise, it was a fun puzzle.

hazel 9:34 AM  

Started out as kind of a frenetic solve for me - i'm usually an across then downs or downs then acrosses solver, but this time I shook it up to avoid the issue of toggling all over for the cross-referenced clues. Really liked the payoff, though, and wound up liking the new twist to my solving experience.

That Mamas and Papas version was definitely a stoner version of the song.

deerfencer 9:36 AM  

Fun, breezy puzzle--nice job, Peter!

The only turnoff for me was ODIST, just a fugly (and very unpoetic) word.

Doug 9:43 AM  

Took me forever to get THEISLEY then it went quickly. You can tell someone's age group when they insist, like me, that the Isley's version of T and S was the better than the Beatles. I hope I never hear the Mamas and the Papas version.

Sparky 9:44 AM  

Started off thinking it was easy but finally DNF. Didn't know bast and Xbox and should have been able to think of Xray. Sighed when I saw cross reference clues but managed them and think double duty "and" quite nice. Wasn't Mamas in just the other day? On review a good run for the money.

Van55 9:48 AM  

This one was right in my wheelhouse. Easy romp, despite the annoying cross-referenced cluing of the theme answers.

Really liked XBOX/XRAY crossing. Loved STONER.

I thought this was a bit easier than yesterday's puzzle, and I would have switched their days had I been in Shortz's chair.

lit.doc 9:50 AM  

Only vexation with this puzzle was the clue for 69A. Had ZERO before OPER, which made that block a bit sticky, albeit briefly, since I didn’t know BAST. XBOX fixed it easily enough, but isn’t it about time to start qualifying that clue with something like “…on land-line phones”?

Didn’t know 56D PELEE either, but the rest of the fill was so smooth that I didn’t know that I didn’t know it till I’d finished the puzzle.

File interrelated theme answers under “yippee”.

SethG 10:02 AM  

The Isley Brothers recorded the song in 1962. Marvin was 8 years old; he didn't join the band until 1973. This is not a tribute puzzle.

A wire is an insert? Okay.

Smitty 10:23 AM  

@Rex thanks for hunting down all these great pix/videos included in your daily write ups.
The Isley Brothers T&S was brilliant and that's exactly how I remember listening to it.
How many songs would stand up to being played in Mono on an old Victrola without digital remastering or MTV to help it along - Nothing to watch but a vinyl disc going around and around.

dk 10:28 AM  

@anon and others, see if you can find the Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law episode where he defends Shaggy. Shaggy and Scoobie are arrested when the police come upon the van and smoke of a certain type is pouring out of it. Harvey also defends Inch High Private Eye when he is fired for being short: EEOC claim I am sure. Sometimes you can find this show on Adult Swim, Hulu or other places.

That is all.

foodie 10:32 AM  

Loved this puzzle! In addition to the exuberant song that it evokes and the various bands who sang it, it elicited many chuckles. Strip in front of the window, for example! And the STONER clue was inspired as well. Have I already told you all that Hashish literally means "grass" (the kind you mow) in Arabic?

My problem with the convoluted theme clue is not that I'm a speed solver, it's that I cannot keep track of lots of bits of info without a conceptual connection. So, like Rex and Sandy, I worked my way around it.

@Seth G, when you're not doing something racier (a la Rex) and choose to study the construction of some bras, you'll find that for so-called underwire numbers, there is a little tunnel where the wire is inserted. It keeps the cash and other goodies propped up.

@Vincent Lima, I'm glad for you that you don't know L-DOPA because it means you don't have anyone with Parkinson's Disease in your life. Not a fun illness to live with. Beyond being widely used, L-DOPA is the first brain drug that derived not from serendipity, but from actual knowledge of the brain lesion that leads to Parkinson's Disease- the loss of Dopamine-containing brain cells. L-DOPA replaces the lost chemical. This discovery, made decades ago by Arvid Carlsson, led to the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2000. A very interesting book of relevance to this topic is called Awakenings, by Oliver Sacks.

I never thought I'd write about L-DOPA and bra inserts in one sitting!

Two Ponies 10:51 AM  

What an amazing puzzle.
We rarely see something this dense and complex work so well. No crap fill, Roman numerals, or dead popes!
Great clue for She.
So many fun choices ran thru my mind for 35D as well. Boob would fit but falsie would not.
First thought for 57D Over-priced.
@Rex, great write-up.
@foodie, Funny and informative all in one sitting.
@Peter Collins Thanks for the input and a fun solve.

CaseAceFos 10:59 AM  

"Yo! Hosea! Who be dat Ho wit ya?"

retired_chemist 11:07 AM  

I am in the minority - I did not particularly like the theme, for two reasons. First, I generally dislike this much cross referencing. Second, I only know the song by its name and cannot recall ever having heard it. Looking at its chronology, I know why: it appeared at a time in my life when I was doing about 97 other more important things. Except from this puzzle, I would have had NO idea who sang it, let alone who covered it, who made it a ballad, yada yada yada. But the crosses were perfectly fair, the duplicate use of the central AND was a very nice touch, and in the end it was a solve well worth the extra couple of minutes the theme cost me.

Tinbeni 11:10 AM  

Ahhh, a puzzle with a 60's beat.

WEED, STONER and L-DOPA (a subtle reference) throw in some BREWS, the FAIRSEX and some music and we can have a party.

SethG 11:28 AM  

Technically, anything that's put into something is an insert. In usage, though, I'd never refer to something as an insert unless it's either removable or put-in after the fact.

The nearest analog I can think of is a shoe insole. An insole that's glued to the midsole was inserted at one point, but I wouldn't call it an insert. An insert would be a removable, or replaceable, insole.

Similarly, I'd only refer to an underwire as an insert if it was intended to be removable or had been added after manufacture. There _are_ removable-underwire bras, but they're less common.

By the way, I had an internship during college with this company. But as an accountant, and I have never worked as a grammarian, either.

Ulrich 11:38 AM  

I always loved Twist and Shout as done by the Beatles (didn't know the earlier version) b/c I loved to twist: I lost 16 pounds in 3 days during the great Twist Mardi Gras (Karneval) In Cologne (must've been '60 or '61)!! So, the M&P version sounded absolutely perverse to me--were they singing in church? Regardless, great puzzle-- the cross-referencing actually helped once I figured it out--great trip down memory lane.

Speaking of which, I'll be off to Cologne tomorrow to watch the World Cup matches at decent times--won't be able to do much puzzling, but will be busy commenting on my blog--see you all again in July!

Moonchild 11:43 AM  

Perfect puzzle for this stoner of the fair sex.
@ Tinbeni, What time is the party?
I'll be there!
@ SethG, I'm sorry one little clue/answer is bumming you out so badly. Why not watch Rex's videos and get happy!?
I'm not sure what a harlot is.
A prostitute or just a slut?

Howard B 11:52 AM  

Not a cross-referencing fan, but liked the interplay of the bands as well as the fill. Not sure that I want to hear a ballad version, but open to a listen.

Enjoy Köln and the tournament, Ulrich. When we visited last year, we won some beer (in front of the cathedral, no less!) via a local radio promotion in which you had to kick a soccer ball through the host's outfit, which contained soccer-ball sized holes under the arms. 3 kicks per Euro, and a goal = beer. So we left happily with our victory Kölsch. I try not to be a tourist, but every so often cannot help it :).
Now back to your daily puzzling.

Clark 12:00 PM  

I didn't know I knew L-DOPA, but then it just popped into my head. I guess I must have heard about in conversations with a good friend whose mother had Parkinson's.

I was not a fan of the song TWIST AND SHOUT back in the day, but it sounds good today.

[Now, let's see if I can post this with 1 try.]

TraceyO 12:25 PM  

Did the puzzle - fairly unfamiliar with the Isley Brothers, then find this:

Youngest Isley Brother died over the weekend.

Tinbeni 12:32 PM  

So this STONER scores the WEED, gives it a TWIST, the PAJAMAS go flying, and uses @SethG definition of insert (Technically, anything that's put into something is an insert.) and HAS A BALL.

This puzzle heats up to A BOIL the more I think about it.

your average blank 12:44 PM  

two good days in a row...I like Dennys; went to RIT; play old song trivia. Thanks Rex for the tunes. I will add the top notes to my list of trivia questions; played for drinks. thanks for the memories and fine puzzle, Peter.
Let me ask one of my tougher oldie music stumpers....who sang "when"
as in when, when you smile, when you smile at me then, then I know... ?????????/

mac 12:52 PM  

Nice, quirky puzzle, great write-up and many funny and informative comments make for a super puzzle Tuesday.

I'm with SethG on the "insert" issue. It was funny, though, thinking up all the things that could go in. I guess socks are for men.

Hire on felt odd as well, even when I considered the possibility of a Britishism.

Villa d'Este may be the most wonderful hotel I've ever stayed at.

shrub5 12:58 PM  

Fun puzzle! @RP: Thanks for the four versions of T&S in chronological order. The slow Mamas and Papas version just doesn't cut it, IMO. It needs to be sung with JOIE de vivre. A wave of sadness came over me, though, watching those cute fresh-faced Beatles.

Masked and Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Came in the side door on this puz. Not a greased lightnin' solver, so am always checkin' out the theme clues first, just to see what the thing's all about. 39-A clue, with shape of the answer entry, gave me TWIST AND SHOUT immediately. Which right away gave me i-i-i-ISLEY BROTHERS (soon to become THEISLEY), 'cuz I'm an old record-collector hound. Then had to think for a few seconds to random access up THEMAMAS AND THEPAPAS, as wasn't quite as familiar with that version. [Don't know the Brian Poole version (@3rd AND) either, which is flat weird, 'cuz I've met Brian before.]

So there I sat with all the theme entries filled in, and hadn't even peeked at a single non-theme clue yet. Bizarro, man. Pretty decent fill, by the way. Real easy puz, for me. Twisted thumbs up, shoutin'.

syndy 1:27 PM  

When you work short term projects you hire on ;on some projects (nuclear plant refuels for instance)hiring on process takes weeks!!@retired chem its not too late to embrace Rock and Roll!Music saves the mortal soul!!

Tinbeni 2:29 PM  

I think you have your Jimmy Buffett Volcano album and Caribbean Islands mixed up.

The album and its title song are named for the then dormant Soufrière Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat in the British West Indies where Buffett recorded the album in May 1979 at AIR Studios.
The studio was destroyed in 1989 by Hurricane Hugo.
Soufrière Hills erupted again in 1995.

What PELEE in Martinique and its famous eruption in 1902 has to do with any of this I have no idea.

But I'll still toast you at sunset for making me research this since I'm a Parrot Head from way back and was curious.

Cheers !!!

foodie 2:56 PM  

@SethG, it never pays to underestimate the depth of knowledge of a fellow commenter (as I keep learning). You worked in a factory that made bra inserts!!!!!!!!!!
Anyhow, I certainly take your point re the nuanced meaning of insert. And my hat's off to your varied experiences. Now, if you'll pardon me, I'll try to figure out if the foot in my mouth meets your definition of insert.

@Ulrich, I wanted to wish you a great trip. I look forward to reading about it on your blog.

@syndy, thank you! There was something in the back of my mind about "hire on" that I was trying to retrieve and you nailed it-- what people say when they land a short term position!

Steve J 3:01 PM  

Like a lot of people, I'm generally not big on multilayer cross-referential clues (if I have to start drawing mental diagrams in my head, it's too much), but this one came together nicely. And I am indeed impressed that such a them-dense puzzle doesn't have any glaringly bad fill.

Well, other than ODIST. Yuk.

Coincidentally, there were a lot of things I don't know a lot about directly, yet managed to squeeze out of deep storage in my brain fairly easily. I couldn't name you an ISLEY Brothers song if I had to, but I recognized that quickly. "Does SHE or doesn't she" predates me, but popped into place quickly. Years of Sunday school paid off with Hosea and his harlot.

Just a couple things didn't quite sing for me: I have the same question about HIREON as others. And I don't really like OUTEREAR's clue. Reasoning is similar to SethG's point about "insert": the term implies being able to take it out again, and you clearly can't get sound out of your ear.

But the nits are truly nits. They don't distract from a pleasant puzzle.

fikink 3:10 PM  

@Leslie, with you on not availing myself of the M&P recording of TWISTANDSHOUT - some of their stuff you want to forget, like forgetting the Cowsills.
And don't get me started on "Havin' My Baby"

I have the same reaction to puzzles that send me all over the grid - Rhythmically, I'd rather mow than hunt for four-leaf clovers...Om.

@jesser, Dos Equis! funny! Try a Fat Tire.

@PuzzleNut - YES! Ferris on the float! Thanks for remembering.

"Does SHE or doesn't she?" is more of the Pussy Galore double entendre that Don Draper's world was full of. Not surprising many of the FAIR SEX do not reminisce.

@deerfencer, I am stealing "fugly" ;-)

@ulrich, Viel Spass!

But I did like the puzzle a lot, Peter. Thanks.

operapianist 3:19 PM  

@Rex--fantastic write-up!

@everyone else (incl Rex)--did anyone catch the Nat'l Spelling Bee on ESPN2/ABC last week? I'm assuming so, given our mutual philologic logodaedaly (try saying THAT fast). I digress. My point: "pelean" was one of the words in Round 4, and the speller balked (but eventually nailed it) when he asked for the etymology and the pronouncer said "Montserrat place name". (see here:

Anyhow, it seems like a nice coincidence to learn something on Fri then use it the following Tues in a crossword (with no crosses in place!).

I'm also happy to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my representing GA in the Nat'l Bee. Any fellow former competitors on this blog?


Some things never change 3:32 PM  

Today, the M&P's version of T&S sounds the same to me as it did in my *stoner* days --- and I still grock it.

For those that *hope never to hear it*, keep your horizons narrow, and along with those who *hate* word they never heard of, you will always have something to complain about :)

... and @SethG --- nice job in arguing both sides of *insert*. You won!


retired_chemist 3:34 PM  

@ operapianist - County second was my personal best in a spelling bee....

one more thing 3:38 PM  

Re: my some things never ... post

You don't have to like it, but how would you know?


Stan 3:48 PM  

This puzzle rocked! (And I learned something, too: The Top Notes were totally unknown to me.)

jesser 4:52 PM  

@Tinbeni: I'll take that toast with you to wash down my meal of cold crow! Just goes to prove that whole adage about a little bit of learning being a dangerous thing. And yet, I was so sure! Man, I love this blog (which can't be refuted the way a volcano and geography can). :-)

fergus 5:05 PM  

Since I will never surpass the second tier of speed-solving, I go for meticulousness in filling in the grid. But today, somewhat absent-mindedly I thought that Panama hats could be made of flannel. Which gave me a sort or NOIR de Vivre. And then after the SEEM appeared I absurdly entered FOIE -- the liver of life.

Sometimes I think that solver mistakes are intentioned by constructors, even early in the week, but I hesitate to think that my erratic solution mess was prefigured by Mr. Collins.


Sorry Jesser, but I don't agree that the SEX adjective requires the comparative.

retired_chemist 6:00 PM  

FAIR SEX here too, though friends who have experienced divorce have sometimes referred to the UNFAIR SEX. Myself, I haven't has the experience (and don't want to).

3 and out.

fergus 6:13 PM  

Those of Scottish extraction could take exception to calling a thistle a WEED. (And similarly to any compatriot whose national symbol is Goldenrod.) Fortunately for those in charge, no defamation suits are impending.

SethG's complaint could have been solved by 'insertion' -- and Foodie's hashish and the origins of the term 'assassin' are getting all confused.

retired_chemist 6:22 PM  

@ fergus - the two pounds in my pocket with the edge inscription of "NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT" and the thistle on the reverse will attest to my Scottish heritage.....

4 and over 1, but we are in the silly season (happy hour?) now anyway.

Anonymous 6:22 PM  


Loved the FOIE de vivre conflation. Reminds me of a presentation about liver disease at a scientific meeting some years ago. The world-renowned hepatologist ended his talk with the philosophic question "is life worth living?" and projected his last slide (this was WAY before Powerpoint): "that depends on the LIVER."

PIX 7:03 PM  

When I learn a new word I will frequently go to Google Images to see some pictures of the word, to help me remember it for next time. If you go to Google Images and type in Bast Rope, the fourth "image" that appears is not an image of Bast rope but rather the New Year's Eve puzzle that had Bast as an answer and a link to Rex's writeup. Hey, Rex, you are even taking over Google Images; the internet is yours.

fergus 7:25 PM  

Frances -- got a good chuckle from that.

Ret Chem -- there is some pride among Scots about not being troubled by any aspersions cast upon them, in any ethnic or racial way. The more I think about it, the less I care.

Anonymous 7:38 PM  


You mean the tightwads that don't wear anything under those skirts?

I'm glad nothing bothers them ;) :)

retired_chemist 7:42 PM  

@ Anon 7:38

Fire ants do.

fergus 8:02 PM  

Wearing a kilt, as I was forced to do at Sunday School in 1963 in a Chicago suburb is the worst embarrassment I have faced.

Ethic pride takes a toll on children of even the well-meaning parents in our polyglot society. There must be thousand of other who have had a comparable experience.

Martin 8:38 PM  


I can't imagine a comparable experience.

Hosea had issues, for sure. His harlot wife was named Gomer. She bore him a daughter that God told him to name "Not Mine." He divorced her but then bought her back from her pimp for 15 pieces of silver and one and a half measures of barley. Sounds like some serious negotiations took place for a well used Gomer. She was pretty hot, apparently.

fergus 9:01 PM  

Martin -- you're wrong. You can only imagine the characters that are yours and not them.

But bring them to life in a similar situation -- they are sitting around in our memory, and I don't want to try to be allusive of authors everyone should know.

Sfingi 9:05 PM  

@Rex - great write up.

@Fergus - thought the same on the thistle. Same for the Welshman's leek. OK, why were you forced, and were you the only one?

@Leslie - I thought Paul Anka wrote everything. I remember him before he had a nosejob, and I remember the Clairol ad quite well. It was considered risque at the time. I'm so old I remember when a STONER was someone who annoyed you.

Prefer BAST as an Egyptian solar cat-goddess.

I'm acool about ABOIL.

@DeerFencer - agree on ODIST. Was in fear he was going for ODER, which would be worse. Worst would be ODdIST. And that darn Ode on a Grecian Urn. Is it actually ON the urn? etc.

@Greene - thanx for info. THE ISLEY BROTHERS were definitely my favorite for this song. It has a nice beat, and you can dance to it.
(As they used to say in S. Philly.)

@Clark - Lots o people know L-DOPA because of Michael Fox (and 4x married "Tubby"s comments thereon).

@OperaPianist - Whatever happpened to Rebecca Sealfon? Does she do CWs. With magic fingers?

Does avine (captcha) mean something, like birdlike?

acme 9:17 PM  

A bit late to the dance party, but @Rex
thanks for the videos!!!!!
I've always loved the Mamas and the Papas, whatever they's a fun take on it in that it IS totally not fun...never thought of it as a stoned version, but now I will!

Didn't @Dough just bring up the Mamas and the Papas yesterday?

Did no one else have pRAY for "look inside?"? I thought how poetic! Till I realized it was wrong. Is that the mislead Peter was going for???

Again, even tho all the cross-references for me were a little annoying, not from speed, just from just seems like a wildly cool thing to have noticed and built...he's really something else that Peter Collins!

Have I told you about the time I was hired by a branding company to lurk in the aisles of Mervyn's and ask women who were buying bras about their choices? (Wire or not, how many they buy at a time, when they bought their first...and on and on. Bizarrely, not one person refused to talk to me or considered it odd I was asking!
Yet with the census I'm getting the door slammed in my face for simply asking how many folks live there!)

I would think the word L-DOPA is practically DERIVED from how men get thinking about the things that can be inserted into bras!
I learned the word exactly as you mentioned, from that Robin Williams movie "Awakenings". Wasn't his use of L-DOPA what "unfroze" the folks who had been catatonic for decades?

Oh my god, a twist-a-thon!!!!!!!!!
As it is THE only dance I can do, I would love to have been there in '60, '61...I would have only been one...but that DOES make me old enough to know "Does she or Doesn't she?" without blinking.
And, yes, I do!

TWISTANDSHOUT out!!! Ha! Love it!

as always, right backatcha, my love!

Martin 9:25 PM  


I still think you're being modest; I've been subjected to many degradations in my time but there's a special place for potential exposure that I can't imagine going to. But I'll grant you we each carry our unique baggage in our sporrans.

Two Ponies 9:36 PM  

This party has turned into the best it has been in ages. Everyone is cracking me up! Can't have anything to do with my own happy hour! No!
Happy hour started with me while my stylist and I ducked out for a quick sip at the pub next to the salon. I have the coolest stylist.

The right man in a kilt has me at Hello.

fikink 9:54 PM  

@Martin, "sporrans" - THAT is what they are called. I have a refrigerator magnet of Michelangelo's David with various changes of dress. One whole magnet is devoted to the sporrans for his kilt.

@fergus, with you on the thistle. Altho they are considered noxious weeds around here, I often cut them and bring them inside for the table.

@Two Ponies, I hear you! Such camaraderie!
Three Fat Tires and Gus by my side, who can complain?

fergus 9:55 PM  

Martin's sporran holds all concise knowledge. Would that it were, in some quaint verbiage.

fergus 10:59 PM  

Yet Martin does't know everything.

Playing around

When it comes to being a knowitall, I might toss him out of the ring.

jordaps 4:33 PM  

Love your site - view it very often. How come some letters in your solved puzzles are in different colors and shaded? Never have been able to figure that out. What am I missing?

Continued solving............

Anonymous 5:19 PM  

Jordan, this and more is explained in the FAQ here.

Anonymous 5:20 PM  

here. The FAQ here.

Waxy in Montreal 10:56 AM  

SyndiPetPeeve: why oh why is a Close call (4D) described as a NEARMISS? Shouldn't it be a NEARHIT? Arrgh!

Worked the Montreal Forum in 1964as an usher and saw The Beatles perform Twist and Shout live - twice. Of course, I think they did because neither my outer or inner ear picked up much audio other than the earshattering screams of overcome teens of the fair sex. In a bizarre twist of fate, 46 years on Mrs. Waxy and I are going to see Paul McCartney perform at the Bell Centre in Montreal in August. If he does Twist and Shout this time, betcha it'll be the milquetoast version...

Singer 12:31 PM  

Waxy, if it just misses, it missed nearby, therefore a near miss. Near as in location, rather than in quality.

Waxy in Montreal 3:50 PM  

@Singer, to quote the immortal George Carlin (RIP),
"Here's one they just made up: "near miss". When two planes almost collide, they call it a near miss. It's a near hit. A collision is a near miss.".
Good enough for me...

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