Local staffer for Al Jazeera / TUE 6-7-11 / Acela operator / Former drink marketed zomething different / When doubled band with 1984 #1 hit Reflex

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Constructor: David Liben-Nowell

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Going against type — all theme answers follow [adjective]-IS-[opposite of adjective] patterns, where [adjective] is actually not an adjective at all, but some famous person's last name.

Word of the Day: James BLUNT (43A: Comment about well-dressed pop singer James?) —

James Hillier Blount (born 22 February 1974), better known by his stage name James Blunt, is an English singer-songwriter and musician, and former army officer, whose debut album, Back to Bedlam and single releases, including "You're Beautiful" and "Goodbye My Lover", brought him to fame in 2005. His repertoire can be best described as a mix of acoustic-tinged pop, rock and folk. After recording on the independent American label Custard Records, Blunt won two BRIT Awards, two Ivor Novello Awards, and by 2006 was nominated for five Grammy Awards. The following year, he released his second album All the Lost Souls (2007). Blunt's third studio album, Some Kind of Trouble, was released in November 2010. Worldwide, Blunt has sold over 15 million albums. (wikipedia)
• • •

Another puzzle with a lackluster theme but nice fill. This theme has so many possibilities that it hardly seems like a challenge to come up with answers. Vince or Brigham YOUNG IS OLD. Reggie WHITE IS BLACK. Shelley LONG IS SHORT. Grace SLICK IS ARTLESS. Jean SMART IS STUPID. And (probably) on and on. The choices that are actually in the puzzle are particularly unimaginative, with the exception of BLUNT IS SHARP, which was its own kind of hell — I'm, let's say, not terribly fond of his music, so much so that I completely forgot he existed and had to uncover him from crosses (what do you call a really negative "AHA moment"?). By contrast, the fill was nice all around, except TWINER, which has that forced -ER factor (i.e. no one who made a braid was ever called a TWINER) (25D: Hair braider, e.g.). I don't really understand the clue on QATARI (24D: Local staffer for Al Jazeera, e.g.). Is Al Jazeera *based* in Qatar, and that's why the staffer is "local?" I got it off the "Q," but the clue felt forced, or at least much more difficult than I expect a Tuesday clue to be. I liked OIL CRISIS (11D: Emergency of 1973 or 1979) and CLAM DIP (8D: Seafood-based party food). Did not like LOG as clued (19A: Fireplace wood), esp. sitting as it does two clues down from a clue where "wood" is used differently (properly) (11A: Wood used for wine barrels=>OAK). [Fireplace wood] is not LOG any more than [Hamburger meat] is PATTY, i.e. you're talking about form/shape. Clue is defensible, but weak. Also, why are you not writing home (specifically) about a SECRET? What if you and your mom share the secret? I get that you are playing on a phrase here, but the clue just doesn't point to SECRET very clearly or directly. So I'm no fan of the cluing, but the words themselves are solid and interesting, for the most part.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Comment about comic actor Martin when standing next to a peewee? (SHORT IS TALL) — what is a "peewee?" So weird. Do you mean "child?" I know "peewee" as an adjective, and as a comic performer, not so much as a simple noun.
  • 26A: Comment about actor Jack, racially speaking? (BLACK IS WHITE) — the phrase "racially speaking" is mildly icky.
  • 43A: Comment about well-dressed pop singer James? (BLUNT IS SHARP) — I'll make the SHARP IS BLUNT joke here so you don't have to.
  • 57A: Comment about impressionist Rich when playing a packed house? (LITTLE IS BIG) — this could've gone in ... bluer directions.

  • 52A: Former drink marketed as "zomething different" (ZIMA) — "Former drink" made me laugh. Finally, I know who's actually drinking ZIMA: no one.
  • 55A: When doubled, band with the 1984 #1 hit "The Reflex" (DURAN DURAN) — if you weren't a youngish teenager in 1984, then you probably don't remember that for a brief, weird time, DURAN DURAN were not only huge, but hugely popular with girls. The band featured several certifiable teen heartthrobs, three of whom had the last name of TAYLOR, *none of whom were related* ... 9th grade was weird. Here are two songs that remind me of that year (the only one in my life where I took the bus to school. Pointless trivia!):

OK, three songs:

  • 4D: The record score in this game is 1,049 points (SCRABBLE) — I never play, but this was still easy to get.
  • 7D: Acela operator (AMTRAK) — I learned what "Acela" is from crosswords.
  • 33D: "Wrapping up ..." (IN SUMMARY) — why do I feel like "IN SUMMATION" is a more common/apt phrase? "IN SUMMARY" just feels slightly off. But I would never use any of these phrases, so what do I know?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]



CoffeeLvr 12:39 AM  

Dang, Rex, I was waiting for you to post so I could make my clever comment first, but you beat me to it.

Got off on the wrong foot with the first theme answer, thinking of that wild and crazy guy, Steve Martin, entering SteveISTALL. Didn't make any sense, but, it all worked out.

Anonymous 12:54 AM  

I now have 'You're Beautiful' stuck in my head. Thanks, puzzle maker. I hope you get a rash.

Matthew G. 1:02 AM  

Al-Jazeera is not only based in Qatar, it is owned by Qatar. So there's nothing forced about that clue at all.

Other than that, what Rex said, except that I'm a little more negative on the theme than even he is. Awkward clues and almost as awkward entries. Totally limp theme, IMO. but I agree that the balance of the grid is nice.

syndy 1:39 AM  

I DID like the clue for SEURAT but not much else-not the theme or much of the fill. UNHIT? really A CAB -ANGST= unsettled?? But I would only rate it easy

Princess Kosmonopolis 1:40 AM  

What Professor Sharp said 100%, except that I don't know what Acela is...?

Octavian is Seven 2:05 AM  

Best thing about this puzzle was the Jack Black video introducing The Who at the Kennedy Center honors. Great mini-documentary on Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.

The puzzle itself was largely forgettable though there were some zingy answers like ONE CAR, QATARI and CLAM DIP that gave it an edge.

PEEWEE has to go down as one of the oddest clue words of the year. WTH.

chefwen 2:37 AM  

Wow, a lot of negativity going on here. I personally liked it and thought it was pretty crunchy for a Tuesday. Not too many write overs, SAssY before SAUCY, QUAD in and out once, and a couple of other foibles. Tuesday is turning into my second favorite day after Thursday.

acme 2:54 AM  


andrea clamdip michaels 3:35 AM  

I really liked it!!! New twist!
I would have liked even more if BLACK IS THE NEW WHITE fit...

Felt the same way tho about INSUMMARY, I've only heard INSUM (or INSUMMINGUP or INSUMMATION); that -MARY felt extra, as did the MUSIC in RAPMUSIC
(Haters: insert comment that RAPMUSIC is an oxymoron here)

And of course I'm loving on SCRABBLE and CHILL and CLAMDIP.
Tho ZION only calls to mind the antisemitic "Protocols of..."

And I used to work for Lexicon, the company that (took credit for the individual who) named ZIMA, which is Russian for "Winter". PowerBook and Blackberry went over a bit bigger!

(ps @jackj
pls read comment I posted late last night...I was NOT attacking you, I was edifying others! I trust you've recovered!) ;)

GILL I. 5:45 AM  

@Anonymous 12:54 - please get out of my head...I can't sleep now.
I like REX's take on "SMART IS STUPID." I certainly feel like the latter since this took me the longest time to complete for a Tuesday.
MAMA mia....!

DJG 7:11 AM  

OK puzzle. Not great, not terrible.

As a frequent Scrabble player, I'm skeptical about a legitimate 1,049-point game. I think most people who care about this type of thing (which probably isn't too many) recognize the record as being 830 points.

Glimmerglass 7:29 AM  

A really negative "Aha" moment is an "Oh sh*t" moment.

SethG 8:10 AM  

I had a friend named SHORT, who was tall. We called him TALL. That was in college. At Carleton College, in beautiful Northfield, MN.

UNRIPE and UNHIT is UN too many UNs. I don't understand the clue on SWITCH. I never understood ZIMA. A TWINER, though, is clearly one who TWINES.

In summary, David Liben-Nowell is smart, funny, and a good-looking man.

Z 8:18 AM  

peewee Herman was my first thought. Along with LITTLEISBIG could have turned this puzzle very blue.

Well dressed James locked my brain onto BROWN, so that section came from crosses. The only thing I know about Blunt is that Billy Bragg has a low opinion of him.

Like others, I liked the longer fill better than the theme.

John V 8:25 AM  

@Princess Kosmonopolis Acela is a train operated by Amtrak, between Washington and Boston.

Only pauses here were SW, Blunt (never heard of him, needed the crosses) and Zima.

I'd make this and easy Tuesday.

LookUpGuy 8:43 AM  

@DJG - You're not alone:

Most tournament players will pshaw that 1049-point game by Phil Appleby mentioned in the Guiness Book of World Records because they knew it was a cooperative (i.e. collusive) game. While it is very
exciting to win a game and score a lot of points, the true brilliance of the game lies in the strategical element. [tribe.com]

Brian 8:45 AM  

I prefer a theme that has a twist or produces a pause. Once I got Shortistall, which was almost immediately, the others fell just as quickly leaving the fill as the only interesting part.

1,049 points! Wow. That's a lot of bingos.

joho 8:46 AM  

I've heard people say INSUMMARY so that sounded fine to me.

Thank you @Rex for the Kennedy Center clip, riveting.

And thank you, David Liben-Nowell for an enjoyable Tuesday solve!

JenCT 9:13 AM  

Had CRABDIP before CLAMDIP; couldn't remember the abbreviation for Marseille Miss.

Liked the clues for LIMITS, IDEA, GIRL.

Duran Duran was huge! I remember watching the video for "Hungry Like The Wolf" over & over.

Agree that the answer RAPMUSIC is clunky.

quilter1 9:14 AM  

I rate this one easy. I had crabdip before clamdip, but I just like crab better. Really liked the clue for Seurat. Never heard of Blunt, but it came easily with crosses. Happy Tuesday, folks.

chefbea 9:25 AM  

Liked the puzzle what with Acme, scrabble and Sharp!!
I make crab dip more often than clam dip.

David L 9:25 AM  

I have heard of James Blunt, but know nothing about his music, something for which I should be grateful, judging by comments here.

In any case, if you need to use BLUNT as a surname in a puzzle, Emily should be your go-to girl.

JC66 9:41 AM  

Never heard of James BLUNT either, but still an easy Tuesday for me.


In case you weren't kidding

Judith 9:47 AM  

Easy puzzle for a Tuesday IMHO

Always hated Duran, Duran even tho I was in the targeted older teen/college girl demo. Loved the Police tho, esp. Canary in a Coal Mine.

Re. scrabble -- Put that I love scrabble in the personal ad that landed my hubby. It was amazing how many nice men responded to that interest. Have to get the board out and play tonight -- 14 yrs later.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:48 AM  

Hand up for SASSY before SAUCY.

But Black's white today, and day's night today, or as Cole Porter put it, Anything Goes.

efrex 9:48 AM  

Just because a theme has lots of possibilities doesn't weaken it for me, and I was quite happy with this one. The overall fill was much better than yesterday's, and the variety of cultural references (ZIMA, SEURAT, DURAN) made for a really fun solve even after the theme "aha!" kicked in and I was able to run off all the long answers.

Only writeover: Wanted MARY for 31D, and took forever to suss out ACAB and TAR ("TWINER? Really?!"). Very solid Tuesday effort.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

I get a kick out of people who can do a Friday or Saturday Times puzzle disparaging a Tuesday puzzle. Of COURSE you find the theme and the fill and the cluing unsatisfactory! It's like me going into American Eagle and complaining that the clothing is not to my taste. I'm not the target customer.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Why so negative about James Blunt? He not only has multiple hits and awards,he can drive an army tank, and he's intelligent!

That aside, I enjoyed the puzzle for a Tuesday.

Newbie 10:34 AM  

The Kennedy Center clip made my day. Made me think of my previously favorite Kennedy Center Honors moment--when Jon Stewart introduced Bruce Springsteen. Thank you, RP, for posting this one!

Noam D. Elkies 10:36 AM  

43A:BLUNT_IS_SHARP could also be a comment about his singing out of tune...

"Acela" was probably named to suggest "accelerate", with only one c to avoid sounding like "axilla". [The -celer- root is also the source of "c" for the speed of light in E=mc² etc.: c for Latin "celeritas" = speed.]

Sharp's "Pointless trivia" comment could just as well apply to 55A:DURAN² itself (with yet another clue via some "hit" of a generation-plus ago), and to way too many other grid entries nowadays. No más already!


Two Ponies 10:39 AM  

Acceptable Tuesday effort.
USMA two days in a row.
@Andrea, You beat me to it on the oxymoron. You came up with name for Zima? Cool.

thursdaysd 10:43 AM  

I thought it was a bit harder than usual for a Tuesday, but I started with SteveISTALL, and had only heard of Rich Little before, so I didn't get the theme until 57A. After that it went better.

Never heard of ZIMA, either, and had ANtsy before ANGST. Liked ONECAR, and OAK intersecting KEGS. A little puzzled at first by LAM for Escape, as I'm not used to seeing it on it's own.

Paul 10:48 AM  

@Anon 10:18 - Your comment makes no sense. Do you suppose that a critic capable of differentiating between 3 and4 Star restaurants isn't capable of differentiating between a good hamburger and a Big Mac?

Matthew G. 11:02 AM  

@Anon, 10:18 a.m.:

I frequently find easy-puzzle themes satisfactory. Today, I did not. To the extent that the difficulty level is a factor at all in my opinion of the theme (which it isn't, much), I found this theme slightly hard for a Tuesday, and not in a good way. I wasn't familiar with James BLUNT, and I wouldn't have known Rich LITTLE except that he showed up in another puzzle just last week. Oh, and like a few other people pointed out, I initially thought of Steve Martin, not Martin SHORT, at 17A (probably because the former is so much funnier).

But the main thing that made the theme simulataneously Tuesday-challenging and less-than-fun is the awkwardness of both the clues and the entries. Rex broke down that awkwardness pretty well, so I'll rest on his case.

LookUpGuy 11:16 AM  


You have half of it:

Amtrak also wanted a fresh name for its new high-speed service. At first it considered calling it "American Flyer," which sounded very patriotic, but the design team argued against it because America was not known for its trains. OH&CO came up with the name Acela, based on the ideas of acceleration and excellence. "It's a name that can be adapted and implemented anywhere. It's not a geographically-centered name the way trains usually are," ... [cdf.org]

JaxInL.A. 11:56 AM  

I swear that there must be only two degrees of separation between Andrea and the rest of the world. Or in the case of Andrea and Jack Black (or Woody Allen), zero.

Clever way to get The Who into the blog today, Rex. (BTW, music videos 2 & 3 don't play on the iPad.)

I used to ride the Acela train regularly between D.C. And NYC, and boy do I miss that rail option now that I live on the left coast.

I got stuck in the SE:
- Didn't know the (obscure) Canon brand,
- started (stupidly) with ANGer instead of ANGST,
- got stuck thinking that green, purple and red food might be grapes,
- the "nothing to write home about" does not work for me, for all of the reasons Rex noted, and
- I think of an ARBOR as a structure, not a recess.

I just did not have the time this morning to untangle that mess, so came here for relief. I thought the puzzle was fine, though, especially since it triggered Rex to say Sharp is blunt.

JaxInL.A. 11:59 AM  

Oh, and @SethG, should we just take your word for it that Mr. Liben-Nowell is handsome, along with being a gentleman and a scholar? Pix? Friend of yours?

Rex Parker 12:19 PM  

All vids from same source (youtube) so no reason there should be compatibility issues.

fikink 12:23 PM  

@NDE, thanks for the "celerita" explanation.

@Rex, thanks for the Kennedy Center clip. Also agree with you on the LOG clue - sloppy. How 'bout [like a bump on a ___ ]? Too BACK COUNTRY?

Masked and Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Thought the puz was fine. Don't think that many crossword themes have ever rated a Pulitzer Prize, so maybe I set my sights lower than 31 does. Still, enjoyed the write-up a lot, especially the TWINER-gate interlude, and fully agree that the fill was extra nice.

Thought this was a pretty easy TuesPuz. Don't remember bogging down very often. No pregnant pauses, punctuated by chomps on a cinnamon roll. Well, maybe at TINAS and TWINER, but, as I recall, emergency bypasses worked pretty well, even in those cases. Did blank out briefly on MLLE -- things often seem to move in slo mo, when they talk to yah in a foreign lingo.

Kinda liked the "+" in the middle. Always wonder if the constructor meant somethin' by it. Like, thinking "SHORT plus TALL", or some such. Thumbs up for cheater squares, anyhoo. They make the grid look feistier.

Lindsay 12:27 PM  

I came here intending to complain that the theme celebrities were too old for me to have heard of; apparently they're too young.

Not a good sign when Rich Little is the only familiar name.

Hand up for SAssY before SAUCY.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

No wonder "Zima" is a "former" drink.
Someone told them, a bit too late, that it means "incest" in Hebrew.
Same as "Nova" in South America...

Nighthawk 12:41 PM  

The Who clip made my day, Prof. STUPID. Many thanks!

Hand up for also nonplussed by the theme. Also for BLUNT needing crosses, tho had heard of him due to teen daughter.

@Gill I. P. Funny!

@Acme-had I only known! I feel thirsty just thinking of Siberia. But was thinking, mistakenly, of yuMA. Still made me thirsty. Parchingly.

mac 1:07 PM  

I found this pretty easy for a Tuesday. Me too, sassy to saucy. Filled in Blunt before seeing the clue and fully expected Emily there!

Next time you make guacamole, add a cup of crab and a little mayo. Makes the best dip.

acme naming 1:12 PM  

@Two ponies, @Nighthawk
No No No... I did NOT come up with the name ZIMA. I don't even like the name!!!
I worked for Lexicon as a freelancer back in the early 90s and Zima was one of their "claims to fame" along with PowerBook, etc.
(The parenthetical phrase was bec I don't like saying that a company named something, not crazy about corporations getting to take credit for individual's work, any more than I would say that the New York Times wrote a puzzle, even tho it's called a NY Times puzzle, you know?) ;)

Jack Black = HUGE Scrabble fan...
Reason #4986 to like that guy.
And that Who Tribute was fabulous, @Rex. thanks for posting that.

Stan 1:34 PM  

Serviceable theme, and some really nice vocabulary for such a smooth, easy puzzle: QATARI, SEURAT, ZIMA, etc.

It's possible to like both James Blunt and Billy Bragg.

Cheerio 1:38 PM  

What does "tar" have to do with Parliament?

I guess you know you're from professional DC if you know the Acela high speed train, but have to think about the fact that its Amtrak that operates it.

treedweller 1:39 PM  

those who thought of Steve martin weren't completely unjustified (sorry, not a great video, but the only one I could find):

Let's get small

D_Blackwell 1:52 PM  

"All vids from same source (youtube) so no reason there should be compatibility issues."

Well, yeah, there surely are. Not all videos are compatible across all platforms. It is a longstanding problem.

Today, videos 3 and 4 don't play on Android, just a black block that says "The video you have requested is not availabe". (Samsung Epic) They render on the desktop.

Lewis 1:53 PM  

@cheerio -- Parliament is a cigarette brand.

A negative "aha" moment -- an "oyha" moment?

DBGeezer 1:57 PM  

@Rex, Enjoyed the blog, as usual. Could you please identify those fine looking people in the picture in your P. S.?

Acela (akela) is the Hindi word for lonely, so I smiled when I heard the name of that train.

Noam D. Elkies 2:18 PM  

Zima = winter? Neat. I always thought it had to do with fermentation, as in "enzyme". The Wikipage notes both allusion.

JD 2:26 PM  

That 1,049-point game is with SOWPODS, the British dictionary, which has almost 100,000 words more than the dictionary used in American scrabble. Hardly counts. Even the American record, 830, is not without controversy: http://www.slate.com/id/2152255/.

(And yes, I had to look much of that up.)

JD 2:29 PM  

Ah, I should have figure Trip would have made the same point already.

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

@DBGgeezer - Jack Black and ACME

quilter1 2:38 PM  

My then teen daughter luuuuuuved Duran Duran.

Sfingi 4:26 PM  

The geek in me really wanted the top Scrabble score to be 1049 since it's so close to 1K.

Easy, ok.

How long does it take for a car to drive the Acela route, which is @7 hours on AMTRAK? Anyone tried that?

My maternal g'ma smoked Benson and Hedges Parliaments. They came in a gold cardboard box which was wider and flatter than usual and opened as on a hinge. They contained a paper ad that she used as bookmarks for her genealogy, so we find those here and there.

Didn't know Zima is kaput.

Joe 4:44 PM  

Bad theme or not, this was fairly easy.

A pet peave of mine is that in the past ten years or so, because of the military, people have started to call QATAR "cutter" instead of "Kuh-TAHR."

If you do this, you sound like an idiot.

jberg 5:04 PM  

Really nothing to add- never heard of any of those people, except R LITTLE from last week. But I enjoyed the theme.

As for this week, is it going to be dedicated to the army?

Z 5:20 PM  

@Stan - I didn't say you couldn't like both Billy Bragg and James Blunt, only that Billy Bragg doesn't seem to like James Blunt.

re: Duran Duran, I can remember them be spoken of in the same breath as REM and New Wave/alternative artists in 1981-82. Then the MTV videos got huge and they turned into teen idols.

jackj 5:22 PM  

Seeing BLACKISWHITE immediately triggered the memory of Democrat Kevin White running against Republican Ed Brooke for Massachusetts Secretary of State in 1960. (Brooke is African-American; White is Caucasian).

The Democrat's bumper stickers proclaimed, you got it, "Vote White".

There was no racial context implied since it was, in fact, his name and White won the election.

Each candidate went on to bigger and better things, White as Mayor of Boston and Brooke as US Senator from Massachusetts.

PS to ACME- I am slowly crawling out of the slough of despond. Cheers!

LookUpGuy 5:35 PM  

More than one way to pronounce Qatar

GILL I. 5:46 PM  

When I was young(er) I used to pronounce Yosemite "yohzemite." The sad part is that no one corrected me. I guess I'm an idiot.

JenCT 6:01 PM  

@Joe - a pet peeve of mine is the misspelling of the word peeve as "peave." :-)

@LookUpGuy - thanks for that amusing NPR link.

Anonymous 6:13 PM  

@jackj - "There was no racial context implied" -- I assume you are joking. Vote for White or just plain White would be fine. Vote White, especially in Massachusetts and especially at that time in history, was a racial appeal and the coincidence of name was merely convenient camouflage. If White had been black, that would have been different.

Cheerio 6:18 PM  

@Lewis. Thanks, that's a good aha moment, so I guess that's an oyha.

Stan 7:04 PM  

@Z: Did my comment sound like a disagreement with your comment? If so I apologize -- I liked your comment. Sometimes I just think out loud on the blog and don't control tone very well.

santafefran 7:51 PM  

@ACME Just saw a bumper sticker that said "Thinking for yourself is the new black". Too long for a crossword puzzle I guess.

Had a stupid mistake at ARMY where I had typed in ARMS and didn't notice that ALLS didn't compute. Such a TWIT!

Puzzle seemed fine for a Tuesday.

belatedly @JenCT glad you liked the Manchego/quince combo.

Thinking I will pass on walking my dog today due to the massive amount of ash in the air from the AZ Wallow fire. It smells like the fire is right next door.

exoti--almost exotic but not quite

mac 7:54 PM  

"Thursday is the new Friday" is my favorite. I know, bad segue.

santafefran 8:28 PM  

@mac I like it! Who's keeping score anyway?

fikink 10:35 PM  

@santafefran, we are even getting the effects in Iowa. I am so sorry.

michael 11:29 PM  

project for someone to do someday -- categorize Rex's comments on puzzles on a 5 point scale from really like to really hate, then examine how this rating and the rating of the puzzle's difficulty varies by (1) day of the week; (2) constructor.

michael 11:32 PM  

addition to previous comment -- I'd guess that Rex dislikes Tuesdays more than any other day of the week.

hazel 11:50 PM  

the only thing i remember about Zima is the fact that we used to think it was hilarious to say Zima Zucks. And I can't believe those Scrabble scores.

Live Strong everybody!!

Scully 7:47 AM  

Fun theme. I can't figure out how TAR has anything to do with "Parliament".

GILL I. 2:20 PM  

Check out @Lewis post at 1:53
Cheers and happy smokin.

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

I found this puzzle easier than yesterday's but then I am often out of sync on that score (it's an age/gender/nationality thing - eg I don't know ANY of the sports clues!) Thanks for the Kennedy clip, Rex; this grandmother still loves the WHO.

Only knew Zima because our then teenage daughter requested that we bring some back from a holiday in the States - it was unavailable in Calgary.

Really didn't like "unhit" - when was the last time you heard that in a sentence?

But overall I liked it, probably because the theme clues came easily.

Deb 1:27 PM  

@Whoever-couldn't-get-the-videos (scrolled back through for the name twice and couldn't find it): It's probably just the browser you're using. I wasn't able to see them using Chrome, but am now trying with Safari and there they are.

I had the same fleeting thought re IN SUMMARY, but also feel it's not so out-there as to bear mention. Now TWINER? Ugh. Had OIL SPILLS instead of CRISIS at first, probably because methinks we've been in a pretty constant state of OIL CRISIS for decades now.

@Pippin - love your handle! And re YSER from yesterday: Rex used to have a Pantheon of obscure xwordese and I'm sure YSER was in there at some point. I miss the Pantheon, btw. I think I'll run over to FB and ask Rex why he ditched it.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

Favorite cross: (Jack) BLACK/SAUCY

Dirigonzo 5:09 PM  

Any puzzle that mentions my hometown's largest employer, L.L. Bean, is OK by me. Next year is its 100th anniversary and I hear there are plenty of festivities planned for the celebration.

On the breaking news front, another AMTRAK train, the DownEaster, was involved in a fatal accident yesterday when it and a tractor-trailer arrived at a crossing at precisely the same instant. Truck driver lost his life, but miraculously no one on board the train was seriously injured despite the explosion and fire that resulted from the crash.

Dirigonzo 6:01 PM  

@Pippin - I agree that "unhit" just sitting there by itself looks like a pretty improbable word, but I think it works OK in a sentence like: "The bombs destroyed several buildings but the main target was unhit." (i.e., still standing, as clued.) Does that work for you?

But you still can't "unring" a bell and you can't "unhit" your little brother.

SharonAK 6:55 PM  

@Dirigonzo. But wouldn't that sentence read (or be said)"...target was not hit?"
Actually I wasn't bothered by "unhit" doing the puzzle.
But after reading the blog, it seems more and more unlikely.
Contrary to Rex's reaction, I thought "Nothing to write home about" was a fun, clever sort of misdirecting clue for "secret".

Anonymous 7:56 PM  

@Dirigonzo - I'll allow "unhit" in your example, though I must agree with @SharonAK that it would be more likely to be "not hit". "Undamaged" maybe, but unhit just sounds wrong somehow. Even my grammar and spelllcheck feature has "unhit"underlined in red each time I type it!

And I didn't like "twiner" either - there is a subtle difference between braid and twine IMHO.

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