Royal attendant in Gilbert and Sullivan operetta / MON 10-18-10 / Wild-riding squire of Wind in Willows / Nintendo product for gym-averse maybe

Monday, October 18, 2010

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Famous Lady Abodes — two-word phrases describing a type of dwelling, where the first word also happens to be a famous woman's name...

Word of the Day: "The YEOMAN of the Guard" (11D: Royal attendant in a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta) —

The Yeomen of the Guard, or The Merryman and his Maid, is a Savoy Opera, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It premiered at the Savoy Theatre on 3 October 1888, and ran for 423 performances. This was the eleventh collaboration of fourteen between Gilbert and Sullivan. // The opera is set in the Tower of London, during the 16th century, and is the darkest, and perhaps most emotionally engaging, of the Savoy Operas, ending with a broken-hearted main character and two very reluctant engagements, rather than the usual numerous marriages. The libretto does contain considerable humour, including a lot of pun-laden one-liners, but Gilbert's trademark satire and topsy-turvy plot complications are subdued in comparison with the other Gilbert and Sullivan operas. The dialogue, though in prose, is quasi-Shakespearian, or early modern English, in style. (wikipedia)

• • •
Three actresses ... and a singer. O ... K. I guess that works, somehow. Don't like any of the theme answers except FOSTER HOME. Do like the biggish NW and SE corners, and (especially) WII FIT (46D: Nintendo product for the gym-averse, maybe). Might be weird to call a puzzle I finished in 3:10 "Medium-Challenging," but between the "?"-style cluing and the not-at-all-Monday cluing on YEOMAN, this puzzle seems at least slightly more difficult than your average Monday fare.

Super-busy this week (more busy than I've been in a long, long time), so write-ups will be brief for the near future (unless I get someone to cover for me this weekend, which is likely, given that I'll be out of town for a speaking engagement). November is looking for very good for me, but until then, yeesh. It's as if I work for a living, all of a sudden.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Where Jodie lives? (FOSTER HOME)
  • 24A: With 53-Across, where Victoria lives? (PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE) — since "Dallas" isn't on the air any more, allow me to say, for all the young people out there, that Victoria PRINCIPAL used to be somebody. I swear. You may know her nowadays from some kind of skin care thing she sells on infomercials. Is that right? I feel like I've seen her on one of those. . . or maybe I just imagined that I did because she has a series of beauty / health / skin care books that (like this puzzle) pun on her last name.
  • 37A: Where Donna lives? (SUMMER PLACE)
  • 59A: Where Sally lives? (FIELD HOUSE)
[one of the many paperbacks I'll be talking about at Hofstra this Friday]

Donna Summer played here at the university earlier this semester. I enjoy her music a lot, but do not believe I would enjoy seeing her in concert now. I would enjoy seeing Gladys Knight, though, so if anyone wants to be my sugardaddy/momma and take me to Vegas to see her, I'm available (pending wife's approval).

  • 49D: Wild-riding squire of "The Wind in the Willows" (MR. TOAD) — I do appreciate the imaginative cluing on this one, and throughout the puzzle in general.
  • 58A: Multigenerational stories (SAGAS) — Weird. SAGA was clued via "Twilight" yesterday, and ... that series is not (from my limited knowledge) really "multigenerational." Although there are parents and their children in it, but if that's the only criterion, then virtually everything ever written in a "SAGA." I think "Dallas" was a SAGA, for sure. Also, Dallas lost to Minnesota yesterday. Good times (which, like "Dallas," was a '70s TV show).
  • 44D: Former Web reference from Microsoft (ENCARTA) — I don't think I knew it was "former." It appears still to exist in some form.
  • 10A: Dame Hess at a piano (MYRA) — know her only from xwords; for some reason, "Dame so-and-so" always makes me imagine the wealthy dowager from Marx Bros. movies or "Simpsons" parodies thereof. Unless I know the "Dame" in question — like Edna or Judi Dench.
Off to bed. 8 hours of yoga this weekend has left me a little ... sore. But happy. If you live in the Denver area and are at all interested in yoga, I can now Highly recommend that you seek out Julieta Claire as a yoga instructor, as she is Fantastic. OK, back to crosswords.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


foodie 12:11 AM  

I really liked this puzzle, and found it on the easy side of Medium.

But, Rex, I wondered how you, and others who are not of a certain age, would feel about Victoria PRINCIPAL. You're right, she used to be on infomercials (don't make a habit of watching them, but I do stay up late at night).

I love, love, that book cover of yours! That talk should be great. Will it be webcast?

andrea circa michaels 1:14 AM  

The real queen of Mondays, Lynn Lempel...ALLRISE!
I love this kind of theme and that they were all women...of a certain age...which I guess I am too, officially today! ;)

Felt that altho the women were from way back when, WIIFIT brought it nicely into this century, even if YEOMAN was from a whole 'nother one.

I not only didn't scream at III, I might steal it.

OK, so APEXES are the new ACMES.

My only minor nit is it seems UMPS should have been clued by an equally short term, like refs, to indicate it's not UMPIRES.

Has there been a baseball puzzle yet where the UMPIRE strikes back?

chefwen 1:51 AM  

@andrea (insert middle name) michaels. Happy Birthday, I hope it's the best one evah!!!!!

I was shocked at the rating, seemed on the easier side of easy to me. YEOMAN, ELONGATE, and ENCARTA might give some reason to pause but that would be about it.

My husband got me WII FIT last year for Christmas after I assured him that "of course I will use it". He doesn't have to say "I told you so" anymore, but I can hear him thinking it as the damn thing is still in the office untouched. Sigh!

Back to the puzzle, loved the cute theme, thank you Ms. Lempel for a fun Monday (Sunday night) romp.

George NYC 2:14 AM  

I was thinking....why not Elke? But her name is spelled SOMMER.

Steve J 2:53 AM  

Medium-challenging was right on for me. Definitely slower for me than the past few Mondays, thanks to have to work a good amount in the NE (the MYRA/YEOMAN crossing was particularly Monday-tough). Also thrown off for a moment by having APECES. I've never been clear on when X goes to C in the plural (say, in indices).

I liked the theme, even with everyone's heyday in the CIRCA 1979 (or earlier, I suppose, for Sally Fields). But since I grew up in the '70s and '80s, they were all readily familiar.

Captcha - unnic: An ultimately failed experimental procedure to reverse one's becoming a eunuch.

Clark 6:51 AM  

This felt easy to me. Pats himself on back.

Happy Birthday, Andrea! I remember now, yours follows upon the birthdays of my cats, who are now four.

Greene 7:17 AM  

What's up with the clue to 5A? I'm fairly confident that the last words uttered by Scarlett O'Hara in the film are "After all, tomorrow is another day!" This line, while not quite as iconic as Rhett Butler's "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!", has got to rate pretty high up there with famous movie lines.

The whole "I'll never be hungry again" business occurs about midway through the film, right before the intermission. This is pretty much where one would bring down the curtain on Act I (if this were a play). It's the climax of another famous speech, but hardly Scarlett's final film words.

This little error aside, I totally enjoyed the puzzle. Thought the theme was clever and especially enjoyed the open NW and SE sections. Plus you've got Yeoman of the Guard, so what's not to like?

Thanks, Lynn Lempel. I always enjoy your work.

Frankly, 7:38 AM  

@Greene, absolutely correct - right before Intermission.

5. Scarlett whose final film words are "I'll never be hungry again" : OHARA

Final film words:
Scarlett: Tara! Home. I'll go home. And I'll think of some way to get him back. After all... tomorrow is another day.

Tinbeni 7:47 AM  

@andrea, Happy Birthday!
21 again?
I'm not surprised!

I always like a puzzle with booze references:
My STILL (yum ...'White lightning'), ALES and then ends with the proper way to consume Scotch ... NEAT.

FUN easy Monday!

joho 7:54 AM  

I thought this a fun Monday, more interesting than usual, and totally up to Lynn Lempel's high standards. Brava!

Happy Birthday, Andrea!!!

Diana Holquist 8:03 AM  

Rex doing yoga?!? This ruins every idea I have of the gnarled misanthrope, scowling out of his lair, whose snark I've come to adore. Well, at least he's not doing WIIFIT.

Thought puzz. was easy and fun. Happy Monday! (And happy birthday, Andrea!)

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

Much better Monday than last week. Could do it while the kids were getting ready for school. Curiosu if the miserly and on air where in reference to the Fox/Cable dispute. I don't miss Fox, news or Glee or Idol but I do want Fox Sports. Love Victoria Principal in Dallas.

The Hag 8:28 AM  

Pretty tight theme, no real eye-rollers. Can't ask for more from a Monday. If forced to nitpick, I'd be more inclined to do so over the fact that a FIELDHOUSE isn't somewhere that you live. Though primarily a singer, Ms. Summer was in the movie "Thank God it's Friday." ;) Long live disco!

Extra easy Monday for me because:
1. I was in a community theater production of "Yeoman of the Guard."
2. I was just cleaning up some old laptops and ran across Encarta bloatware.
3. I have a WiiFit that gathers dust. DDR is my video-game based exercise of choice.

fikink 8:37 AM  

This one flowed for me, left to right, top to bottom.
Happy to see Rachel Maddow in the puzzle. I wonder how many people have already alerted her to the fact.
Some good solid fill: USURPED, MISERLY, PREMISES, MR. TOAD, ALL RISE. Anybody going to complain about tired fill today?
Thanks, Lynn Lempel, and Happy Birthday, Andrea ALL RISE! Michaels.

jesser 8:54 AM  

Happy Birthday, Andrea! :-)

Easy puzzle from my perspective, although had ENCARTA not filled itself in, it would have stumped me.

I had a good time knowcking down PINS last night, with a 193 in the third game. Woo hoo!

No time. Staff meeting in 5 minutes.

Happy Monday!

Warib! (Stupid question at the Bovine and Swine BBQ joint. Of COURSE, I want at least one!) -- jesser

Jim 9:05 AM  

To this day, still confuse Victoria Principal and Valerie Bertinelli. Both are eternal babes from my very early childhood.

Laughed as I caught myself entering Edna,before correcting, especially since I am quite aware of MYRA Hess. Though I don't think she was born British, she epitomized the English stiff upper lip, continuing to give concerts during 'The Blitz'. Well-known example of this, her playing the 'Appassionata' sonata. You can almost hear the Stuka in the background. Very powerful, and beautiful.

John V 9:07 AM  

Fun, very easy, save for SW, as did not immediately know wii fit.

ArtLvr 9:20 AM  

Sneaky PREMISES at 3D has double meaning, both as clued and also as location like the RESIDENCE theme. Wow!

Happy B'day to Andrea Apexes -- top spots, too!

I had one of my fastest times on this one, NEAT. I love the subtle Lempel productions...


Glitch 9:22 AM  

Very nice Monday outing, one cupper here.

WIIFIT experience similar to @chefwen's, however, ours gathers dust in the bedroom.

Having replaced a treadmill, biggest drawback is it doesn't make a very good clothes rack.


OldCarFudd 9:27 AM  

Since no one has mentioned it, I'll
quote the poem in today's "Metropolitan Diary" in the dead tree edition.


I do Monday's puzzle as quick as a wink.
I'm such a shrewd solver, I do it in ink.
Would you believe that, by midweek, my skill is diminished?
But it's fun to be challenged and see the grid finished.
Come Friday - Oy vey! I could pull out my hair.
I sit and stare blankly at every (blankety-blank) blank square.
The clues seem arcane and the answers too tricky.
Hello Mr. Webster and Roget and Wiki!
I'm still a dunce Saturday, doing no better.
Does Will Shortz himself fill in every last letter?
But Sunday's my last Herculean endeavor.
Then T.G.I.M.! It's so nice to feel clever.

- - Norma Fenster

A good, fun puzzle! Happy birthday, Andrea!

ArtLvr 9:28 AM  

p.s. You could say PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE has double meaning too, referring to each starting name in the theme answers as a principal in a production...


ArtLvr 9:32 AM  

p.p.s. Many thanks, @ OldCarFudd, for giving us the PUZ poem! Wish I'd written it...


mexgirl 9:49 AM  

I was done with the puzzle and both ken-kens in about 10 minutes. That definitely should count as an easy Monday!

Happy birthday to my namesake Andrea! I always look forward to your comments :^).

Frankly, Scarlett 9:50 AM  

For the record, Scarlet Ohara's final film words were "after all, tomorrow is another day". NOT "i'll never be hungry again"! That was her final phrase in part one of the film right before intermission. Come on, NYT - get it right!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:51 AM  

Very Happy Birthday, Andrea!!!!!

But before you steal III (is that a baseball reference?), I came to the blog this morning primed to ask the following:

It seems to me that I have heard that the proper order of father, son, grandson names is "Joe Blow; Joe Blow, Jr.; Joe Blow II (i.e., the second). Illogical, perhaps, but true. Any experts?

OldCarFudd 9:57 AM  

I believe Joe Blow II would be used if the grandfather (or earlier relative), but not the father, had been Joe Blow. If the father were Joe Blow, the son would be Joe Blow Jr. Think of the Ford Family. Henry Ford's son was Edsel Ford. His grandson was Henry Ford II (not Jr.). His great-grandson was Edsel Ford II.

John V 9:58 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: I'm not an expert, but always have heard Joe, Joe Jr, Joe III

Sparky 10:01 AM  

Paper not delivered this am. Printed it from Times site. Happy Birthday Andrea and many more. Saw Dame Myra at Lincoln Center many years ago. Very stately in brocade gown. Puzzle pretty straightforward but Natick on WIIFIT and ISP. Had to guess the I. Clueless on all the gadgetry. I'm happy that week off to a good start.

Parshutr 10:11 AM  

So all that time learning that the plural of apex is apices, the plural of index is indices was wasted.
The modern has --xes as the first plural for both.
Anyway, not even medium for the 8th decade easy as to be dull.

Parshutr 10:19 AM  

@Andrea...There was a story about a very mean father who was umpiring a game where his son was playing, and he threw the kid out for protesting a call, after whacking him on the butt.
He tried to make up with the child later, asking him to sit on his lap, but was told that the son never sits on the brutish umpire.

Van55 10:19 AM  

Happy birthday, ACME.

Great Monday puzzle! Loved the double meaning of PREMISES.

Haven't we had a lot of Julius Caesar and his murderer(s) lately?

Van55 10:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Van55 10:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sparky 10:29 AM  

@OldCarFudd. Thanks for the Times poem. I printed it out.

Ulrich 10:39 AM  

Very easy for me, too. Knowing all the principals immediately shows what age group I belong to. Anyway, cute theme in my book.

@OldCarFudd: Thx form me, too!

@Artlvr at 9:28: Right on!

Two Ponies 10:40 AM  

I agree with the rating today because of that tricky NE corner.
I considered "nth" before max and had to wait to see what gauge I was reading on the dashboard.
Unfortunate about the inaccurate GWTW clue.
On the bright side we have Andrea's birthday and OldCarFudd"s poem. Hope you both have a great day.

mac 11:12 AM  

Lovely, elegant puzzle, with beautiful Lynn Lempel clues. Only write-over summerplace for summerhouse. Donna lives around here, I think. Agree that Foster home is the best of the theme answers.

@Glitch: LOL! My husband recently replaced the treadmill with a bench and stationary bike. That was an improvement in the clothes storing dept.

OldCarFudd: thanks for pointing me to the Monday diary. It's not so easy to spot anymore, I forget about it. The late evening posts last night include a beautiful Gray verse with the "ignorance is bliss" it it.

Chip Hilton 11:22 AM  

A Midwood paperback cover . . . my, but that looks familiar. Signs of a misspent youth, I guess.

archaeoprof 11:44 AM  

Fun, fun Monday. NW corner is especially good: USURPED, MISERLY, and PREMISES side by side.

As for 5A, frankly, I don't give a damn.

Matthew G. 11:45 AM  

A good Monday. I put it at easy-to-medium, and would put it at a pure easy if not for the MYRA/YEOMAN cross. AMBER was also a little non-intuitive, I guess, at least to my color-blind eyes.

Myra Hess was a new one to me, but I do know of Victoria Principal, if in a decidedly Gen-X way. The name of the school principal on "South Park" is Principal Victoria, and I saw the joke explained somewhere along the way.

Elisa 11:50 AM  

You all should see Rex bust out a handstand. For real.

S. Marner 11:54 AM  

It was quite insensitive to include USURPED MISERLY PREMISES. Really, it brings back such unpleasant memories.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:56 AM  

@parshutr - I laughed out loud at your joke about the "brutish umpire." But then I remembered reading about the Beloit College Mindset List, and I thought, what is the age cut-off point for people to appreciate that pun? Maybe somewhere around the same age, in the other direction, for appreciating a typical BEQ indie band reference?

Thanks for all the responses to my question about Sr., Jr., II or III. As one who has been there all my life, I would say, Don't give your children a "Junior" name!

jabogs 12:16 PM  

My, but Sally has interesting pudenda.

SethG 12:37 PM  

My holdup was missing the "With 53-Across" part of the clue and staring at PRINCIPAL for way too long to figure out how that could possibly work with FOSTER HOME.

Also, I think that might have been what Scarlett said before intermission.

Parshutr 12:38 PM  

@bobkerfuffle...Henry Ford II's nickname among the Ford Folks was "Deuce"!

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

The age to appreciate the pun should be distinguished from the age to recognize the pun.

cody.riggs 1:29 PM  

Thanks to @fikink and @glitch for explaining the AcrossLite download last week!

Never solved on the computer before today. I can see how it could be a lot faster than paper once you get over the initial awkwardness. But I'll stick with printing out the puzzle and solving on the bus.

One can get funny errors by mishitting keys. Such as "A clown might get it in the face"... I had P_E and accidently put an "E" as the middle letter. Ooops!

Octavian 3:58 PM  

Great puzzle -- anyone who doesn't like this one is an idiot. Amusing theme, lively fill, great clues, what's not to like. To complain that two are actresses and one is a singer, or whatever, is totally ridiculous.

J 4:30 PM  

Victoria Principal was rumored to have lied about her age for years but she now....says.....she was SO upset by this that she let the IMDB see a copy of her passport. (I thought they all lied about their ages.) Another big rumor is that Catherine Zeta-Jones has shaved TEN years off her age was only caught in a security check when she went to the White House.
Hey--you can't make this stuff up, kids.
I just wonder if Victoria Principal is still trying to live down "The Naked Ape."

sanfranman59 4:45 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:33, 6:56, 0.94, 23%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:29, 3:42, 0.94, 29%, Easy-Medium

mmorgan 5:57 PM  

Sailed through it, VERY fast. And it was a delightful puzzle.

And of course... HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREA and welcome to your "certain age!"

Ah, Sally....

Inner Twelve Year Old 6:07 PM  

@cody.riggs - "One can get funny errors by mishitting keys." Or one can get funny by correctly typing "mishitting".

andrea oharla michaels 6:30 PM  

Wow, thanks for all the good wishes!
Sorry Lynn's fab puzzle was partially USURPED by so much birthday love!!!!
(And thanx to @rex for unwittingly providing the party venue! The consummate host!!!)

Saw VP on an infomercial last night! SO still going strong.

Perfect poem for today! I wonder if Norma Fenster lurks here?

Going out to celebrate tonight AND I'm going to celebrate tomorrow, after all it's another day!

With so much cake, I'll never be hungry again!
(To be fair, those are SO'H-B's final words... if you leave the film halfway thru!)

Frankly, 6:44 PM  

From Jim Horne at Wordplay, at 4:25 p.m.:

To all those who insist that 5 Across is wrong, well, you're right. Errors are very rare in N.Y.T. puzzles but we have one today. "I'll never be hungry again" only ends the film for those who leave at intermission. Thanks, commenters, for pointing out the mistake.

Sfingi 8:54 PM  

@Rex - I realize you mean Moderate for a Monday, and I'm glad it seemed Easy for Me.

Didn't know Dame Hess. My, she's more masculine looking than Dame Edna. But anyone who plays Scarlatti is Foyn to me.

@Cody - it could happen.

I'm waiting for WII Tai Chi.

@Ulrich - remember "Theme from 'A Summer Place'" auf Deutsch?
Wenn der Sommer kommt
Dann kommt auch du zurück
Und die Amsel singt fűr uns zwei...
1959. I was in HS, and we learned that version. Were you old enough? Or even born, yet?

Happy Birthday, Andrea SUPER Michaels!

Ulrich 9:40 PM  

@Sfingi: No, I don't.. but yes, I was not only born, but in the upper grades of grammar school in Cologne in 1959 (your HS I suppose)...

Robin 9:41 PM  

Great fun, this puzz. Was sure the 5A clue was wrong having recently attended GWTW viewing party with two teen-age nieces at my mother's. I brought the BBQ (for the 12 Oaks BBQ scene), Mother provided the turnips which we clutched in our hands as we fell to our knees just before intermission for the As God Is My Witness bit, then polished off a delicious red velvet cake baked by the girls so that we could keep that vow.

Happy B.Day, ACME, and thx as always, Rex.

sanfranman59 10:00 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 6:36, 6:56, 0.95, 26%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:26, 3:42, 0.93, 25%, Easy-Medium

mac 10:15 PM  

@Robin: LOL! Just imagining holding those turnips!

foodie 11:32 PM  

Busy day, but came to say Happy Birthday, Andrea!!! I hope you're out celebrating, and NOT reading this till much later.

I've decided it's better to be a woman of an uncertain age...

acme 3:00 AM  

Yes, much later! Woman of an uncertain age!!!!!!!! LOVE IT!

Thank you! I was alive in 1959 (depending on which month)

Semi-impromptu dinner...In the only puzzle portion of the evening, Tyler Hinman was willing to be the unpaid entertainment as 40 folks watched in awe as he solved a puzzle Michael Blake and I had created for another friend's fledgling political newspaper (, check 'em out!) in less than 4 minutes!

It's been a great day. Thank you, Rex's blog!

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

A fun Monday puzzle where we thought we were hot stuff solving so quickly; showing our age; I remember The Flying Nun & Dallas My wife doesn't use the WIIFIT either but it does require dusting

Dirigonzo 3:59 PM  

Not much left to say about the puzzle, so I'll use my time to belatedly wish ACME a happy birthday - the puzzle originally appeared on her special day but the syndicated publication was on my birthday. It's like we share a birthday 5 weeks apart - or something like that. Oh, and I've had a lot more of them.

NotalwaysrightBill 5:03 PM  

Syndicated dead tree solver.

Except for the fact that I don't know my ISP from any other concieveable _SP and WIIFIT from any other WI_FIT, this was a pretty easy but enjoyable get.

Had the (obviously incorrect) idea coming here that there'd be more comment on "Wild-riding" MRTOAD.

Thanks once more to OldCarFudd for copying Norma Fenster's poem to us: really put the "Wind in the WiNDows" for me today.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

I just did this crossword off the calendar (2014). I didn't see if anyone commented about 5-across.

"I'll never be hungry again," is not the last line of GWTW, it's "Tomorrow is another day."

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