Co-worker of Homer on Simpsons / SUN 2-13-11 / Home of Elaine in Arthurian legend / Headwear worn over dreadlocks / Kenan's old partner on Nickelodeon

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Bargaining" — Familiar phrases "gain" BARs (hence the title, "Bar-gaining"), creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: OSH (2D: Kyrgyzstan city) —

Osh (Kyrgyz: Ош) is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939. The city has an ethnically mixed population of about 220,000 (in 2003), comprising Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Russians, Tajiks, and other smaller ethnic groups. [no word on whether they have an OSHA...] (wikipedia)
• • •

Fine Sunday fare. Lots of BARs. Playful phrases. Pretty commonplace idea for a theme, but it results in a fine way to pass the time for a few minutes on a Sunday. My main problem with the theme today was how strained the clues had to be to make sense of the answers, even in the wackiest light. ALIEN SPACE BAR CRAFT clue was possibly the worst of them. E.T.'s ability to use the lower part of a keyboard is his "CRAFT?" I can stretch the word "CRAFT" awful far, but at some point it becomes transparent and at some other point it just falls apart. No matter who, where, or what you are, your ability to hit a SPACE BAR can never, ever, be considered a CRAFT. Are dimwitted people CLUNKERS? I've never heard of that expression. It sounds rightish, in that maybe dimwitted people are so dim that they, I don't know, run into things a lot? SOAP BAR OPERA went the other direction, i.e. not wacky enough. SOAP OPERAs get their names from the SOAP companies that sponsored them, so making the SOAP into a BAR doesn't really change much. Otherwise, this one went down like most Sundays—it was OK, and it took slightly longer than a typical Friday puzzle for me. Favorite answer of the day: SNOOKER TABLE (15D: Where an Englishman might get a break?). Wanted to show you a clip from "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret," which has a recurring "how do you pronounce SNOOKER" gag, but I can't find that clip, so I'll give you this one, which is also funny:

Theme answers:
  • 22A: "Should I say 'Come here often?' or 'Hey, babe!'"? ("WHAT'S MY BAR LINE?")
  • 26A: Area banning pub regulars? (NO BARFLY ZONE)
  • 42A: Lines on a Dan Brown best seller? ("THE DA VINCI BARCODE")
  • 53A: E.T.'s ability to use the lower part of a keyboard? (ALIEN SPACE BAR CRAFT)
  • 75A: Where dimwitted people pay to drink? (CASH BAR FOR CLUNKERS)
  • 90A: Like a former 97-pound weakling? (SAVED BY THE BARBELL)
  • 103A: Dramatic production about Ivory or Dial? (SOAP BAR OPERA)
  • 114A: Certain cases of the munchies? (MARS BARS ATTACKS)
Teaching Arthurian literature from time to time helped right off the bat with ASTOLAT (18A: Home of Elaine, in Arthurian legend), but listening to Bob Marley from time to time did nothing to help me get TAMS (6D: Headwear worn over dreadlocks). I had TA-S and just stared... In my mind, TAMS live nowhere but Scotland, and there is nothing Scottish about whatever's going on over dreadlocks. Nutso-ish clues on OSH and TEL (63A: ___ Dan (Israeli archaeological site)) and OMAN (105D: Home of the Bahla Fort and nearby oasis), probably to try to slow down the solver tearing through the puzzle. Crosses were easy enough. I think [Losing tic-tac-toe row] may be my very least favorite repeater clue, i..e. clue that keeps showing up in crosswords no matter how much you wish it would die. There is a reason OOXTEPLERNON's name begins the way it does. My yoga instructor gets annoyed that so many people think of sex when Tantrism comes up (49A: Like some yoga=>TANTRIC). Stupid Sting.

Double dose of Japan today in OSAKA (65D: Home of Kansai International Airport) and KOBE (79D: Japanese port), and an even bigger helping of full names, including AXL ROSE (71A: "Welcome to the Jungle" rocker), AL GORE (119A: Author of the 2009 book subtitled "A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis"), EL CID (47D: Spanish hero of yore), and "ERES TU" (108A: 1974 hit whose title is sung twice after "Como una promesa"), all of which show up in part much more often than whole. I don't quite understand how a fraternity chapter #17 is a RHO, but I figured frats, Greek letters ... yeah, that sounds right. ETON helped me change "ERIS TU" to "ERES TU" (110D: School near the Royal Windsor Racecourse) and I don't know what helped me remember "Kenan & KEL" (116D: Kenan's old partner on Nickelodeon), though I do know that one of them (I'm gonna say Kenan) went on to become a cast member of SNL.

I wore some LACOSTE in the early '80s (31D: High-end French retailer), except we called it IZOD. And was I happy to see CARL (36D: Co-worker of Homer on "The Simpsons")? Well, yes, but it's sort of sad to see him without LENNY, his constant companion (here, CARL sings "Who leaves Atlantis off the maps?" and Lenny follows with "Who keeps the Martians under wraps?")

["We do! We do!"]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Haile 12:09 AM  

This is a tam. Any rasta brother wearing this is gonna get his butt wooped.

Anonymous 12:22 AM  

Fraternity chapters are generally named for a greek letter, in order. So the first chapter to open is the Alpha chapter, the second is Beta, and the seventeenth is Rho. Not a huge fan of the fact that the first two theme answers (and the fifth) used bar in the "where one goes for a beer" sense and the rest used it in completely different ways.

syndy 12:45 AM  

Liked MARSBARSATTACKS and NOBARFLYZONE not so much the others especially SOAPBAROPERA. There has been an awful lot of quoting of the scottish play in these puzzles and it never bodes well!J and a Q short of a pangram.

The Bard 12:55 AM  

Macbeth > Act II, scene I

MACBETH: Go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.

[Exit Servant]

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes. Now o'er the one halfworld
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder,
Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth,
Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear
Thy very stones prate of my whereabout,
And take the present horror from the time,
Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives:
Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

[A bell rings]

I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell.


Unknown 1:18 AM  

This is my first comment, so let me say I really enjoy your blog!
I enjoyed "Ta-____-Boom-de-ay" in lieu of the so-oft-seen ____ avis for that fill. Refreshing to me. Have you seen it before?
I always find it irritating swapping the Dutch "ij" digraph with "y" in Rembrandt's name. It's not the same letter. Easy enough to figure out, and technically permissible, but it's so much less common, doesn't is deserve a "var." (variant)?

jae 1:20 AM  

Typical Sun. that was on the easy side for me. My only problem was the OSH/ASTOLAT cross. Needed help from my bride who had heard Martha Stewart talk about going there (OSH not ASTOLAT). OK puzzle.

Unknown 1:32 AM  

Rho is the 17th letter of the Greek alphabet.

Anonymous 6:59 AM  

Easier than normal Sunday puzzle for me. By 10PM thought it was already Sunday night and wanted to print the Monday puzzle.
Solved all without any help but had a few errors. Had CASH FOR CLUELESS instead of CASH FOR CLUNKERS. Could not figure out MARS BAR ATTACKS so the SE corner was messed up. ALSO guessed AMBROSE instead of AXLROSE. Other than that had wrong letter in ASTOLAT, TANTRIC.

Smitty 7:24 AM  

I spent way too long trying to figure out what a
SNOO-BAR- TABLE was before realizing the theme wasn't carried into the Down clues.

mac 7:31 AM  

This one went too fast, halfway through the flight between Amsterdam and London (45 min) I was done. Favorite theme answer was "no barfly zone" and at 103A, with hardly any crosses, I put in "bar soap opera", of course. Like the peg leg! Blush wines can be quite dry.

Welcome, Ray, and I totally agree with you. We do use they y in Dutch, but not in Rembrandt van Rijn's name. The river is called de Rijn. Just saw a part of a wonderful drama series on his life on TV.

On to the next flight. I've printed out two Fireballs for that leg!

Nickyboy 8:01 AM  

This one felt like a Monday to me.

mmorgan 8:05 AM  

Hand up for Camelot at first at 18A.

Just got back from Jamaica, and I have a friend from Anguilla who wears one, but had no clue it's called a TAMS.

Got stuck a few places (e.g., SW) and asked my wife for help. (Better than having to Google, no?) Still ended up with 2 or 3 dumb typos (not her fault).

Agree that the theme answers were mostly cute, despite some strains.

Greene 8:33 AM  

This one flew by. Need something to do with the rest of the morning. Had trouble with OSH ASTOLAT crossing. Both were unfamiliar. Ditto for the TAMS ASTOLAT crossing. At least TAMS made some kind of sense. That S in OSH could have been anything. Talk about GET LUCKY with that guess.

Favorite entries were SAVED BY THE BARBELL and, of course, MARS BAR ATTACKS. This last one is really funny.

Unknown 8:39 AM  

I will always remember ASTOLAT.

Once when I was a teenager I started doing the NY Times Sunday puzzle, not realizing that the Sunday puzzle belonged to my step-father. I had just started doing the puzzle when he quickly and rightfully claimed the puzzle as HIS, and howled with laughter at my answer of ASTORIA.

What? Elaine wasn't from Queens?

sam samsil 8:50 AM  

googled dreadlocks caps found site to buy nappycaps or Rasta hats nary a mention of tams

joecab 9:03 AM  

I liked seeing NOONER in the grid near the answer to "Score on a night out" which began with GET L...

Huh-huh huh-huh huh-huh.

Tita 9:06 AM  

@Christel_b - you made my day with Elaine of Astoria! Great story.

This one was fairly easy for me, though just challenging enough that I could not finish it in one sitting.

I can TELL it was easy 'cause I got here when a mere 12 comments were posted!!!! (Though I sadly realized I was wrong about ALlROSE...)

@Ray - I also liked Ta-RARA-Boom-deay :D

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

Claiming Natick with OSH/ASTOLAT, at least as it is defined in the RP manual.

I'm going to guess that that "S" was the last letter to fall for many.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

way too easy. i guess half the theme answers before writing another letter in to the grid.

really disappointing.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

i meant "i guessed..."

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

and "into".
should have previewed. sorry.

Nancy in PA 9:46 AM  

The S in OSH-ASTOLAT was the last for me, too. And not often do I get to run the Greek alphabet, as I did for 72D. Liked NONUKES, STIGMA, and VAMOOSE. Not so fond of ORANGES--not the typical smoothie fruit in my household. All in all, fun for a Sunday morning.

Thebro730 9:47 AM  

Pretty easy, and yes, the "s", was tthe last letter for me

JaxInL.A. 9:52 AM  

Got all the way through this puzzle, but still the program said I had incorrect cells. I guessed on ANTOLAT (count me into the cameLoT crowd) so fixed that with Google, but success still eluded me. Finally figured out that I had misspelled contempt-IBLE. Do you mean to tell me that Montreal does NOT have an artisanal beer called aLE Des Soeurs?

Perhaps I can put down my bad luck to the presence of the Scottish 
Play in the grid. In theatrical circles, legend has it that even mentioning the name of Shakespeare's classic tragedy about murder and ambition in the highlands brings peril to the speaker.  My husband  just finished reading a manga version on his iPad that knocked my socks off (also published on paper).  In iTunes you can buy it for a mere $4.99. (The iTunes version uses the very elegant Ave!Comics interface.) Using the Bard's language, the comic sets the action in a post-apocalyptic Samurai society and it works beautifully! (Be prepared, though, for some sci-fi oddities, e.g., MacDuff has an extra set of arms.) The same publisher has done a dozen or so of the Bard's plays in manga form. I found high quality study guides and classroom lessons and loads of other resources for using them to introduce kids to Shakespeare, too.

Thanks, @The Bard, for so consistently providing us with the real thing.

And welcome to all the new posters I have seen recently, including @Ray, @Ragtime, @Gil.I.Pollas, and a few others I don't recall now. Gotta warn ya, tho, coming here is quite addicting. Happy solving.

Lindsay 9:54 AM  

I thought "no way do dreadlocks go with TAMS," so ASTOLoT (sounds like Camelot???) crossing ToMS for one error.

On the other hand, just scored last week's variety puzzle, and I'm a genius! Even if my reproductions do start "a la" rather than OVA.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Not up on Arthurian legend or Kyrgyzsh cities so the crossing "s" was my last letter. I guessed and got it right.
Thought BARFLY, BARCODE and MARSBAR fairly clever and OK with CRAFT. Ehnh on the rest.
All in all, I rate it (on a scale of MondayMorning-SaturdayNight) at TuesdayMorning.

JenCT 10:10 AM  

@Smitty: I made the exact same mistake!

Just could not see POSTITS, even with most of the letters, or SNOOKER. Never heard of STEELIES before.

Although on the easy side, I enjoyed this puzzle. Liked VAMOOSE.

imsdave 10:18 AM  

@mac - the best champagne (oops -sparkling wine - those french are so picky) I ever had was at Domaine Chandon on a trip to the west coast. It was a vintage blush and quite dry. Other than a Margaux I once had abroad, the most exquisite taste of the grape I've ever had.

@greene - screamed through this puzzle, but thought it might be ASTOLET - very french sounding and seemingly appropriate for Arthurian literature. Stared at it for quite a while before deciding TAMS must be right.

Noam D. Elkies 10:18 AM  

Since I'm a musician and non-barhopper, 22A:WHAT'S_MY_BAR_LINE suggests to me an entirely different kind of clue...


chefbea 10:27 AM  

Fun easy Sunday puzzle. Started it early and had no idea what the theme was. Went out for breakfast. Came home. Went back to the puzzle and got it right away. Must have been the eggs over easy with grilled tomatoes that got me going.

Looking forward to a heart shaped puzzle tomorrow

matt 10:36 AM  

This was quite the racy puzzle, what with NOONER and GETLUCKY. Someone's looking forward to a good Valentine's Day, eh?

Easy overall, but the OSH/ASTOLAT intersection was a Natick for me, too. I had to run through a few letters before the happy pencil told me I was done.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

At first glance, almost nothing. Then it fell together. Love it when that happens.

archaeoprof 11:02 AM  

Agree with Rex, even if it did take me more than "a few minutes."

Excavations at TEL Dan in Israel produced an ancient inscription that mentions the biblical king David.

Shamik 11:18 AM  

GETLUCKY didn't pass my breakfast test.

And the puzzle was a ho-hum easy-medium...even adding in the 50 seconds to find that I had to change the "I" to a "Y" in RYN.

@christelb_devlin: Best part of solving today's puzzle was reading your story. In our house, the puzzle belongs to one person and one person only. Do not touch it! On the other hand, roaring at Elaine being from Queens? Priceless.

GILL I. 11:26 AM  

I liked this puzzle. My only complaint was that it was over too quickly. I down-loaded it at the un-godly hour of 3 a.m. and when I finished it I still wasn't tired.
TANTRIC was new to me. I looked it up in Wiki. The description I liked the best was "Tantra deals primarily with spiritual practices and ritual forms of worship, which aims at liberation from ignorance and rebirth, the universe being regarded as the devine play of Shakti and Shiva."
@imsdave. I love Domaine Chandon. It's located in Yountville, Ca.- beautiful country. Also, all the Domaine wines, as far as I'm concerned, are wonderful - especially Moet et Chandon.
@quilter 1 from yesterday, thank you.

David L 11:44 AM  

I agree with many here that OSH/ASTOLAT is a Natick -- I guessed S only because it seemed the least implausible option. Pretty easy apart from that, although I share RP's puzzlement over CLUNKER meaning a dimbo.

Mel Ott 12:00 PM  

I cry foul at cluing 15D with a ?, which makes it look like a theme answer. That held me up til I got to its counterpart at 60D, which is not clued with a ?. Sometimes I guess I just try to overthink these things.

So that hat is called a TAM. Didn't know that, even tho I had an acquaintence who wore one. Never heard him name it.

Gunga Ram 12:09 PM  

The ritual lock in Tantra rites passes my breakfast, lunch and dinner tests. Hope everyone gets lucky !

santafefran 12:15 PM  

Well, riddle-me-ree, I guessed right on the s in Osh but not remembering "Kal" Penn, I filled in snoozer table--d'oh!

ovetedit--perhaps I need a nap to recover.

foodie 12:23 PM  

At the intersection of OSH and ASTOLAT sat a place called Natick, for me too. But I will remember OSH. It's now associated in my mind with an image of my son when he was four, wearing an OSH Kosh and smearing his face in ice cream, green eyes twinkling with pleasure.

And speaking of memory triggers:

@archaeoprof, I wanted to say thanks for telling me recently that TEL (which means hill in Arabic and Hebrew) also meant an excavation site. That popped up immediately for me today.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Domaine Chandon was the first winery-type establishment I ever toured -- that was a long time ago.

syndy 12:41 PM  

Do kids play marbles anymore?Your STEELIE was your shooter; heavier than the others it could knock them out of the circle...I knew Rembrant's name didn't look right!

CoffeeLvr 2:54 PM  

Did puzzle last night, with[out] help from the last glass of wine. Slow slog in some areas. Hands up for the S Natick, had to visit Mr. MaGoogle. And I still had two errors - did not know the name for the apparently popular HExApod robot, and blanked on Axl, a little after my rock and roll years. Also misspelled contemptIBLE, which I didn't even see until coming here. Too annoyed to post after midnight.

I have been solving, reading the blog and comments, but not posting for a while. Had right eye cataract removed, but the uncorrected eye and the now good eye don't work too well together. Left eye scheduled for Tuesday, so maybe I can get back in my routine. I found this a frustrating puzzling week. Lots of errors, or unknowns. I was so proud of my entry for Friday's clue "Work out," GETaNswers for GETINSHAPE. Big DNF in the SW that day. So discouraged that I have not even looked at Saturday.

Enough of that. Really liked the SW today. Also PEGLEG, second entry for me. Was hung up in the middle for a long time - "keyboard" signaled music to me, and I kept trying to make "piano" BAR work. At least that would have been a CRAFT.

quilter1 3:31 PM  

Another busy day and finally got to the puzzle and blog. I had bar soap opera first as that is a more common term I think. OF course, since it was wrong....and I knew ALL STAR GAMES had to be right. I liked all the theme answers, especially MARS BARS ATTACKS. Pretty spicy in the SE, with NOONER and GET LUCKY. Woo woo.And two shout outs to two of my favorites, Rembrandt and Donne. Off to work on baby quilts--two in the pipeline, so to speak.

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

@shamik, @jocab, @matt--this WAS a racy addition to NOONER and LET LUCKY, there is also SHAG, as well as the alluring TANTRIC...not to mention the pickup lines in 22 across ("come here often" and "hey babe").

chefwen 4:23 PM  

My favorite clue/answer was 56D Small part of a pound FLEA, cute. The rest was what everyone else has already said. Easy yet fun.

@CoffeeLvr - good luck with your second surgery, had the same procedure, in the same order a couple of years ago. What a relief to have depth of field again, makes for less tripping.

joho 4:48 PM  

It took me forever to figure out the NW corner because I couldn't see what kind of line it was: county, state ... duh! Finally got WHATSMYBARLINE and that solved my TAMS problem. I wanted rAgS as in do-rags. TAMS? Really? Next we'll be hearing ska with bagpipes.


Fun Sunday, thanks, Ian Livengood.

Clark 5:05 PM  

@JaxInL.A. -- I had the same two goofs. I will remember ASTOLAT now, thanks to @christelb_devlin. I will remember OSH in the future too, but I've already forgotten what the clue is. Something out East I think.

Spelling has never been my strong suit. Especially telling my IBLE's from my ABLES.

I loved the ET clue. What a picture!

fergus 5:12 PM  

One day there was this rastaman driving (swerving) his VW bus painted in Jamaican colors, doing maybe 45 on Highway 1 up to San Francisco. In addition to many ganja stickers on the back of his bus, most of the rear end was shrouded by an enormous example of dreadlock headware, also in proper Jamaican colors. "Dude ain't gonna make it to Half Moon Bay," my companion stated as we passed, flashing the peace sign. But there we stopped for a snack, and when back on the road, there he was again, with a toothy grin, onward boldly to the City.

Maybe the CHP awards points for outrageousness in these parts?

Evgeny 5:18 PM  

OSH was in a puzzle just a couple of months ago - remember myself bitching about how one's supposed to know any Kyrgyz city other than the capital. Today, it helped. I think back then, it was one of the bullets, today it's WOTD. Kudos on the promotion, OSH!

archaeoprof 5:35 PM  

@CoffeeLvr: good luck with that surgery. See you back here afterwards!

MichaelAShea 5:46 PM  

The four down clues were not directly in the theme, but obliquely. STATEPEN is behind bars; SNOOKERTABLEs are often in bars; you might GETLUCKY by going to a bar; and you watch games like ALLSTARGAMES in sports bars.

I got TAMS pretty quickly. No, it is not called that for dreadlocks, but the form of the hat is pretty much a match.

Agree with the comment that theme answers were quick to get, much more quickly than their crosses.

Moonchild 7:30 PM  

My Jamiacan friends informed me that a true Rasta does not earn the right to wear that hat until his dreads reach a certain length. I forget the length but I enjoyed learning that. Never heard the word tam used in this context.

Sparky 7:39 PM  

O-H/A-TOLAT caught me too. Plus I had some blanks in SW even though SOAPBAROPERA was the first theme I got. This was a slog for me but I did hang on. Terrible week. I need to change me name to ISkipT-S. Boo Hoo. Welcome so many new posters. Good luck CoffeeLvr. Looking forward to a new week.

Greg C 8:07 PM  

Finished in under 18 minutes for the first time ever, ending with (of course) the "S" in OSH/ASTOLAT. Actually, I'm not sure I've ever cracked 20, so this is a big one for me. Maybe it's 'cause I did Friday and Saturday, it's like swinging a bat after you've warmed up with three bats...

Rube 8:12 PM  

Like @Greene, @Lindsay, et al. ASTOLAT was my downfall. Figured on the _LoT ending like Camelot and that there was no way dreads had anything to do with TAMS... so had ToMS... eh!

Also had barsoapOPERA first... the "A"s fit. Then realized that this would be the only answer with the BAR at the beginning.

Loved MARSBARATTACKS, also, like @Chefwen, FLEA for "small part of a pound" although she thinks dog and I think cat.

@Archeoprof, I thought that stelle fragment found at Tel Dan referred to the "House of David" and only by inference to King David. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Enjoyable puzzle. Even if it took way too long.

quilter1 8:15 PM  

@coffeelvr: had that surgery too in the same order. Its a miracle. You lie down on the table (my dr. called me dahling) and ten minutes later you sit up and you can see. I still have a little problem driving after dark but otherwise need no corrective lenses for print 12 pt. and larger. Good luck!

michael 9:47 PM  

I wonder how many of use filled in osh/astolat last. I just went through the alphabet and thought that an "s" made more sense than anything else. But what kind of "sense" would that be? Crossword sense?

william e emba 10:55 PM  

Part of the fun of reading Pynchon is looking up everything (or so it seems). So back in the day I learned of OSH when I was curious about the notorious Kirghiz Light from Gravity's Rainbow. That made my day.

Unknown 11:21 PM  

@mac – you mentioned a TV Series about Rembrandt... have you seen the Peter Greenaway film Nightwatching? Gorgeous art film about his life and the intrigue surrounding that notorious well-known group portrait.

@mac, @Tita, @JaxInLA – thanks for making me feel welcome!

Elisa 11:25 PM  

Way to explain it, Sting.

mac 7:12 AM  

@Ray: that film looks interesting, I'll see if I can get it. The new series, made for Dutch TV, is done in Holland, in many cases exactly where he lived and worked, with Dutch actors. I'll see if I can find some more info.

MichaelAShea 12:21 PM  

Added fun note - actress Mena Suvari (12D) showed up in this puzzle on her birthday.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

Izod and Lacoste are different companies - in the '70s, Izod (American) licensed the alligator logo from Lacoste (French). Now Lacoste sells its own stuff in the US, and Izod has a different logo they use now, which at the moment escapes me.

cody.riggs 10:53 PM  

@Ray 11:18 welcome! Been reading this blog every puzzle since the 1st or 2nd week. It's become a pleasant habit. I didn't at all appreciate the "RARA" clue until you pointed out the other way it's usually clued. Now I like it.

May I also thank THE BARD for the regular Shakspeare quotes. I read them out loud often, and relish in the wonderful poetry of it. Today's was delicious.

On another note, tonight's (Monday's) Jeopardy was certainly interesting. I doubt WATSON could solve a NYT crossword, yet.

Portland, Ore.

BobbyF 10:38 AM  

Not surprisingly, I was saved largely by the bargain basement entries at a price that was affordable. I was thrown off kilter by "mars bar attacks", somehow managing to end up with "attache", given my erronenous (117 D) 'ESE' exposure. And then there was 1-across, of all items, in which I penned 'postems' rather than 'postits', a term I am not familiar with. Overall, I'll give myself a B+ (perhaps, undeservedly).

kate 10:12 AM  

guess it pays to be somewhat dim-witted (or a clunker) for, unlike so many of you, i get to enjoy solving the sunday puzzle over many days...for example, never heard of "mars attacks" and keyboard clue had me zeroed in on a piano bar...just thought this blog needed some balance from an "average joe"

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

I was confused right off the bat with this puzzle because I spotted the Rembrandt clue, and never having seen it any other way but RIJN, thought this must be one of those puzzles with multiple letters in a space.
Some of the theme answers were really a stretch, but I though THEDAVINCIBARCODE and SAVEDBYTHEBARBELL were quite clever.

jane 10:36 AM  

Funny, "Astolat" was the first word I filled in on the puzzle. Got completely stuck on the two long "down" clues. I had snooker table and was sure I must be wrong. That this clue and the allstargames must both have a "bar" in them. Not as satisying as many Sunday puzzles. But I'm struck by the fact that Astolat stays and so much else doesn't. I thought immediately of "Elain, the lily maid of Astolat."

Matt 11:48 AM  

I immediately thought of the newer version and wrote in Shalott. Soon changed it to Astalot though. My last was changing Rin to Ryn when a helping alli made no sense. Was a fun and easy puzzle. Liked Mars Bar Attacks, but not many of the others.

Matt 11:48 AM  

grr... Astolat obviously.

Dirigonzo 3:04 PM  

Since syndicated solvers are so far unrepresented here today I'll chime in to say that I left the A_TOLAT/O_H cross blank, as any answer would have been a total guess and so not a very satisfying way to finish. Still it was fun to watch Shed become SILO and runaway morph into VAMOOSE - I love how these puzzles force me to keep an open mind and a willingness to change (traits which are helpful in real life, too.)

Nice to see that @Gil.I.Pollas has moved up to the "big leagues".

GILL I. 5:07 PM  

Come join us; it's fun - so far.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

Syndication here....I don't think I'm a "clunker", but I've never heard the word "omerta" before. And not a comment here about it, so maybe I am a clunker! I have to go study.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

@Dirigonzo: I don't believe there is such a thing as a "total" guess in crosswords - you've either used your experience with language and/or powers of deduction as to what letters are possible and which are not, or you actually draw the answer from your subconscious without knowing it. Therefore the fact that you've guessed at all should not diminish the sense of satisfaction in getting it right, IMO. :-)

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

I am way late reading this blog due to syndication. We only get one NY Times puzzle per week, on Saturday, but it's from the Sunday two weeks before, and I was late doing this past week's. I was in Jamaica in November so all the discussion on TAMS caught my attention. Here is a site that will verify that TAMS is indeed a correct term, along with pictures of the same. Sorry I'm not sure how to make it a link, and probably no one will see this except Rex. But it might be helpful to someone. Wendy in Nova Scotia (and yes that's Latin for New Scotland so we are quite familiar with the usual tams!)

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