1994 denis leary kevin spacey flick / SUN 7-17-11 / Monster of Norse myth / Article for Lil Wayne / Creator of Thidwick / Swan Lake maiden

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Constructor: Daniel A. Finan

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "The End Is In Sight" — familiar phrases where the last word appears to be missing, but is actually represented by the circled letter(s) in that same answer. Connect the circles to form a picture of someone mooning you ... or the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; I can't tell which.

Word of the Day: NUNCIO (108A: Papal legate) —

n., pl., -os.
A papal ambassador or representative.

[Italian, from Latin nūntius, messenger.] (answers.com)

• • •

Printed this out and solved it on paper rather than on-screen. Sunday puzzles are sucky to do this way, because either your puzzle runs onto a second page (annoying), or it all fits on one page but the type on the clues is mind-addlingly small. I went with the latter option. First sight of circles of course sent a shudder down my spine, but once I got into the puzzle and caught onto the theme, I didn't mind them at all. They're integral to the theme, and all circled letters represent the sole appearance(s) of those letters in their particular answer, so they didn't seem arbitrary and stupid the way circles sometimes can seem. With the exception of the icky LACS (7D: Varnish resins) and NUNCIO (108A: Papal legate), the grid was reasonably clean. Cluing was suitably tough—not exceedingly difficult, but I wasn't able to blow right through it the way I sometimes can on a Sunday. Weirdest thing about the grid is its girth—22x21 instead of the normal 21x21. It was my understanding that Will wasn't taking outsize Sunday puzzles anymore, but I swear I've seen at least a small handful this year. Maybe it's just 23x23s in particular that are out (though one exceptional puzzle earlier in the year was certainly that big). Not sure why 23x23s are out, but they are. Officially, at any rate.

UPDATE: Some clarifying info from Mr. Shortz himself:
To clear up the confusion regarding 23x crosswords ...

Kevin McCann misquoted me on Cruciverb. I never banned them. I simply discouraged them, because they're difficult for me to use in the downsized Sunday Times Magazine.

A couple years ago the Sunday Magazine had its trim size significantly reduced. I can no longer print a 23x and KenKen and the KenKen answers from the previous week on a single page. The KenKen answers have to go elsewhere in the Magazine, for which I need to get approval, which is a pain and an uncertainty. So I just discourage 23s.

But for a 23x (or any odd-size puzzle) I really like, I'll still take it. I'll find a way to use it.

Note that a 22x21 isn't really affected by the above rule. By shortening the clues a little, I managed to fit everything into the usual space.
Theme answers:
  • 25A: Parting words from the busy type (PLACES TO GO, PEOPLE TO)
  • 36A: Hans Christian Andersen story ("THE PRINCESS AND THE")
  • 53A: Hardly breaking a sweat (WITH RELATIVE)
  • 66A: End of a command at the Battle of Bunker Hill ("... THE WHITES OF THEIR")
  • 82A: "Godspeed!" ("BEST OF LUCK TO")
  • 93A: End of a Benjamin Franklin aphorism ("... HEALTHY, WEALTHY, AND")
  • 111A: 2009 fantasy film based on a best-selling book ("WHERE THE WILD THINGS")
Little pockets of this puzzle were quite enjoyable. Love almost everything from SHEPHERD (8D: Jesus, to Christians) down (south-south-westerly) to "THE REF," which is one of my favorite movies and one of the most underrated movies of all time, perhaps because the premise is preposterous and people thought Denis Leary was just some MTV buffoon (56D: 1994 Denis Leary/Kevin Spacey flick). But the movie has Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis, and Christine Baranski, all of whom are astonishingly good comic actors, and the dialogue throughout is really topnotch.

Had a little trouble with ALOU (12D: Jesús, for one) and GIPP (13D: Notre Dame football legend) up north, and had to think a bit about the clues on PEEP SHOW (86D: Something to watch when there's nothing on?) and TAP DANCERS (74D: Some clickers), but otherwise, a fairly uneventful solve.

  • 31A: Area in a 1969 Elvis Presley hit (GHETTO) — and his mama cries ...

  • 48A: Island known for having "the wettest spot on Earth" (450+" of rain per year) (KAUAI) — Had the "K" and "I," so once I read [Island] I knew what I was dealing with.
  • 56A: Article for Lil Wayne (THA) — love this clue. It's an article for Lil Wayne in particular not just because he's a rapper, but because he has a series of albums called "THA CARTER" (number IV is set to be released next month)

  • 65A: Monster of Norse Myth (KRAKEN) — I know this only from the movie "Clash of the Titans," thus I thought it was Greek.
  • 73A: Granter of an honorary degree to George Washington in 1776 (HARVARD) — "Granter" is awkward, but this is an interesting bit of trivia.
  • 89A: Pianist Albéniz (ISAAC) — I think I get this guy confused with Claudio ARRAU.
  • 103A: Most clueless (DITSIEST) — Really really want this answer to have a "Z" in it.
  • 117A: "Swan Lake" maiden (ODILE) — crosswordese! I know this only from crosswords. Very handy answer to have in your back pocket.
  • 120A: Tree with fan-shaped leaves (GINKGO) — whoa. Back-to-back days for a word I (almost?) never see in the grid. Weird.
  • 16D: Chicago mayor before Emanuel (DALEY) — He's completely dropped off my radar since the mayoral election. I realize now that he *kinda* reminds me of Anthony Weiner.
  • 26D: Creator of Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose (SEUSS) — not from any story I know, but that didn't matter because I never saw the clue.
  • 38D: 1980s lightweight boxing champ (CAMACHO) — The Macho Man. Hector "Macho" CAMACHO. From back when people cared about boxing.
  • 54D: They moved from Minnesota to Los Angeles in 1960 (LAKERS) — Somehow I always thought it was several years later than that.
  • 96D: 2006 comedy title character from western 2-Down ("BORAT") — this is what I'd call an Extraordinarily weak cross-reference. ASIA? You use this clue to get to ASIA? Unnecessary and awkward. If cross-reference doesn't seem tailor-made, don't force it. I mean, GINKGO and ZEN are both better options if you really must have your cross-reference (and, let's be honest, you mustn't).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Announcement for New Yorkers:

I'm coming to NYC for the Lollapuzzoola Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 6 (you should go—info here). But you know that. What you don't know (yet) is that I'm coming several days early to do some interviews for a crossword project I'm working on, and I'm hoping to interview some of You (New Yorkers) about your xword habit. I'm especially interested in talking to people who think they are unlikely solvers, or who solve in weird / interesting / iconic places, or who have good solving anecdotes, or who are famous / prominent in their fields, or any combo of the above. I'm not looking for fast or accomplished solvers. Just interesting solvers. If you live in NYC, this (probably) means you! If you are going to be in town on Aug. 4-5 and are willing to talk to me for a few minutes, drop me a line at rexparker at mac dot com. I'll be exceedingly grateful. I'll see what kind of response I get and set up a schedule from there. If I don't hear from you, I'll just have to wander the streets harassing anyone I see solving a crossword, even though this may result in my getting punched, or worse. So help me out. Thank you!

P.S. Google still hates me and is not indexing individual pages (i.e. individual write-ups) from this website properly (grrr...). Still no idea what the deal is, esp. considering Google owns Blogger :( Let me know if you have a clue. Thx.


George NYC 12:24 AM  

Liked this, though never used circles. And please explain [kiss] = MWAH. What exactly are brackets for, anyway?

Anonymous 1:38 AM  

George, maybe the brackets indicate a sound? Air kiss, mwah, mwah!

Anonymous 1:42 AM  

Just flew through this, probably my fastest ever,and was waiting for it to be pronounced "easy". So I'm feeling pretty smug as I head to sleep! (George NYC, "mwah" is an exaggerated kiss sound--like you'd use to send a kiss over the phone. I guess the brackets are meant to indicate it's a sound, not a synonym, being clued.)

lit.doc 1:49 AM  

Most interesting circled-letter puzzle I've ever done, because, as Rex noted, the circles are integral to the answer, not an afterthought to the puzzle.

Well done, Mr. Finan!

CoffeeLvr 1:55 AM  

Loved this puzzle. So much better than themes where a letter is left out or forced in.

I did have a Natick where ODA (MAE) crossed COMACHO.

Had hEMI and sEMI before DEMI was demanded by the cross.

chefwen 2:16 AM  

This post coming to you from the island known for having the wettest spot on earth, MWAH!

Loved this one and thought the circles came in handy. The top half fell a lot quicker than the bottom half, maybe I just got tired staring at all those tiny, little squares. Ended up with one error because I spelled ANHEUSER with a I instead of a U, which gave me NiNCIO which seemed to be O.K., not knowing that word anyway.

I bet we all spelled GINKGO correctly today, unlike yesterday.

Thanks for a fun Sunday puzzle Mr. Finan.

jae 2:57 AM  

@chefwen - Yep, got GINKGO right with no help this time.
And my last entry was to change the I to U in ANHEUSER only because NUNCIO seemed vaguely familiar.

Nice not to have to connect circles or figure out some anagram (I did try). I.e. Liked the theme! Very clever. BORAT/ASIA link, not so much.

Easy-medium for me. No major write overs or pausing episodes.

@ coffLvr ODA- MAE was iffy on more than one cross for me. Just happened to guess right.

lit.doc 4:15 AM  

@chefwen, jae, and any other "i before U" solvers, whether you started or finished with "ANHEISER" (which makes perfect language sense), congrat's on the misstep as it evidences a lack of familiarity with cheap beer.

Anonymous 6:47 AM  

Said to myself, 'Bet Rex Parker still hasn't planted a garden and doesn't see anything wrong with the clue for 3D.' And sure enough.

Not that it ruins a good puzzle, but come ON.

I fell for a lot of the misdirections--but loved most of the puzzle. Praiseworthy!

Dan 7:18 AM  

ODILE is temporarily non-crosswordese because of Black Swan.

Can someone explain ALOU?

Anonymous 7:34 AM  

Knew Oda Mae right away but put it in order. Having Mae come before Oda threw me.

Judith 7:53 AM  

Felt dumb that I had a personal Natick at Marat and La Vie. Thought it should be le vie. Not a Frech speaker.... or a French history major.

JenCT 8:10 AM  

@Anonymous 6:47 - agreed; my bell peppers grow on upright plants, not vines.

For some reason, the circles didn't print on my puzzle (at least in a visible-to-my-eyes) way, so I was searching for the end to the phrase in adjoining squares...what???

Found this tougher than others - bottom third fell quickly, but got stumped up top.

Got MWAH (wasn't that in a recent puzzle?) easily, and GINKGO.

Had IED before WMD.

Liked TWEET.

Goldenrod is a good bee plant, so not considered a WEED in my garden. And no, it's not responsible for hay fever, as is widely believed.

Gareth Bain 8:19 AM  

Rex, i am guessing but if will shortz stopped accepting plus-size sundays, he'd still have a large backlog to publish before we'll experience the change...

Glimmerglass 8:20 AM  

Jesus Alou was a baseball player, along with several brothers. @chefwen: Yep. GINKGO wrong yesterday, correct today. Don't take long to train me. Didn't understand the gimmick until I'd completed the puzzle (I'm a bit slow, I guess), but when I had it done, I thought the title and its execution were clever. I thought ET VOILA was kind of obscure, but my HS French came though. (Maybe the crosses were all easy.)

M07S 9:13 AM  

@Anonymous 6:47...I had the same thought about bell peppers growing on a "vine" however a number of people refer to tomato "vines" which seems just as curious to me.

None X 9:49 AM  

The use of the circled letters is very clever. I'm trying to think up examples and I can't.

For George NYC and anyone else: a quick way to get a word definition is type "define mwah" (e.g.) in a Google search box.

archaeoprof 9:56 AM  

Easy breezy. With a reference to country music at 97D!

joho 10:00 AM  

Besides GINKGO we also see HIPPO from yesterday.

I enjoyed this Sunday as it was slightly thornier than usual, not a just a "fill-in-the-blanks" solve.

I wonder if I'm the only one in the world who thinks Ricky Fowler looks a little like Elvis?

Thanks, Daniel A. Finan!

jackj 10:20 AM  

Last Thursday, BEQ and Ian Livengood mused as to whether crossword editors were SADISTS.

Will Shortz missed his chance, today, to prove them correct, (and also have a ball by triggering the slings and arrows of outraged crossword bloggers and commenters), just by changing one letter.

Had he found a way to use the alternate spelling, (GINGKO), the day after it confounded so many solvers as GINKGO, the blowback would have been delicious.

No matter, this puzzle was a lot of fun and I'll even forgive Mr. Finan (Will?) for the awkward cluing at 4, 28 and 77 across and 2, 3, 61 and 96 down.

Favorite theme entry was, PLACESTOGOPEOPLETO(C) and non-theme sparkler was ETVOILA.

Thanks, Daniel for a most enjoyable Sunday workout.

JaxInL.A. 10:41 AM  

Had Oliver Stone before SHARON, but generally found this completely on my wavelength.  

In the end I had a Natick at ASIA/USE.  Rex noted all of the reasons ASIA is clued Badly. Add to that cluing USE as Advantage, well, it feels tenuous at best. If course, it didn't help that I kept waffling between NIL and NuL, so in the end I was looking at A_UA. 

Z 10:53 AM  

Presume that Anon @ 6:47 is referring to the fact that bell peppers are fruits, not vegetables.

Thought the theme and circles were great. Really like that the plural sound is represented by two letters, adding to the consistency and, I presume, the difficulty of coming up with theme answers.

I had iDA MAE at first, but knew CAMACHi had to be wrong. I also wanted BESTOFLUCKTO to be lotsOFLUCKTO for the longest time, so that was my last section to finish.

First time I've ever seen the answer to Saarinen be anything other than Eero, so that also slowed me down in that section.

@li.doc I spelled ANHEUSER correctly although I only drink beer brewed in the mitten these days.

All-in-all, a great puzzle.


600 10:57 AM  

I remembered ODILE! Yay for me! (And not because of "Black Swan.")

I loved this puzzle, not just because I finished with no Googling, but because the theme was fresh and clever. It didn't help me much, but I enjoyed uncovering the mystery of "The End is in Sight."

If unsupported, tomatoes do "vine" on the ground. Bell peppers don't. They may get blown over by the wind, but they're an upright plant. A small oops in a delightful puzzle.

dk 11:13 AM  

Well it would have helped if I could have spelled ANHEUSER and SHEPHERD... Coupled with I did not get the circled letter thing until: just now.

I wonder if Rex would come to Western WI and interview sub-moronic solvers? We may not be fast but we are fun to watch.

*** (3 Stars) Cute puzzle now that I get it. Perhaps I shall listen to The Doors - This is the end.

Off to play in the 110 degree heat index.

Oldactor 11:13 AM  

Rex: Click print, then *customize*, then *print using two pages* You get an enlarged grid on one page and very legible clues on the other.

Great for my old eyes.

quilter1 11:31 AM  

My mom had a stroke of Friday so my participation here will be spotty. I am saving the puzzles for hospital wait time.

The Daily Sigher 11:33 AM  

Does anyone else care that bell peppers don't grow on vines? They grow on shrubs. 'Maters grow on vines, and cukes, and beans. And grapes. Not peppers.

thursdaysd 11:33 AM  

Enjoyed the theme, which I got with the princess, even though it ended up DNF. Not only did I have aDA MAE, I had LaTT instead of LETT and had to Reveal Letter to get SSR - had no idea there had been 15.

Liked TAPDANCER and pleased to remember JAGUAR. I know KRAKEN from John Wyndham's "The Kraken Wakes" (old scifi, "Out of the Deeps" in the US), didn't know it was Norse.

The Daily Sigher 11:43 AM  

Oops. I'm new at leaving comments. I see others noticed the "vine" thing. "Vegetable" is, in culinary contexts, accepted usage OK, although botanically a bell pepper is a fruit, as is a tomato. Calling a pepper a "pepper" is, I gather, a misnomer, a marketing decision made by Colombus. Peppercorns (from an unrelated plant) were east Indian and in high demand, so....

chefbea 11:45 AM  

Loved the puzzle!!! Got the theme right off with Princess and the...
@lit doc doesn't matter if anheuser bush brews cheap beer...it's from St. Louis!!!

@Quilter1..Sorry to hear about your mom. Hope it wasn't too bad and she gets better

Here In Franklin 11:46 AM  

Have lived in Tennessee most of my life and went to the University of Tennessee. It is never, ever referred to as UTenn. NEVER!

Lindsay 11:46 AM  

Circles give me an OHNO TINGLE, but I actually found this entertaining. Very clever to find phrases with one occurrence of the circled letter for a last word in the singular, and two occurrences for a last word in the plural.

However, I had an error. First, ODA didn't seem like a plausible name, and second, I couldn't believe that Macho CAMACHO is 30 years gone by, so I figured the clue must reference some different boxer, and went with aDA/CAMACHa. This is what happens when you get old.

600 11:52 AM  

I forgot to ask--what is SSR? I tried Googling after I finished, but I'm pretty sure it's neither "Society for the Study of Reproduction" nor "Society for Skeletal Research."

@quilter1--I know I don't know you, but I've been reading this blog a long time, though I've only started commenting recently, and I feel almost as though I do. Anyway, I'm really sorry about your mother and hope things go smoothly for you and her.

600 11:54 AM  

I just figured it out--as I hit the button! Soviet Socialist Republic! D'oh!

Vega 12:03 PM  

CAMACHe/eDA = nope. I'm not going to gripe about it, though, because I had such fun otherwise waiting for the next theme phrase to reveal itself. Yes, *this* is the way to use circles in a crossword puzzle.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Do not understand the clue for 61D. Help, someone?

The Raven 12:59 PM  

Can anyone explain 77A? I got it with crosses but remain mystified.

CoffeeLvr 1:00 PM  

@Quilter1, my heartfelt sympathies are going out to you. Yes, solving should help the hospital hours pass for you.

@Anon 12:04 pm, I had to Google this to figure it out. I had "I WON, I WON" until a malapop at 104D needed it. Anyway, it is a line from an ongoing gag on the Conan O'Brien show, I think. I don't know; the only late night I watch is Craig Ferguson.

CoffeeLvr 1:05 PM  

@The Raven, in grade school there was a taunting rhyme that went something like "Mike and Marcia sitting IN A TREE, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Marcia with a baby carriage." I might be confounding two taunts, not sure.

Three and out.

mac 1:23 PM  

Excellent puzzle, with the jibes/jaguar/gassy area to fall last, and Ida for Oda, unfortunately.

@Z: I also thought the point was that bell peppers are a fruit. Even though it isn't really a vine, it's still a good idea to tie the plants to a fence or frame, the ripening peppers will droop to the soil and get ugly or eaten by slugs (escargots;-)).

Nice to see Eliel for a change!

In Holland Goldenrol is planted in the gardens, not considered a weed at all.

@quilter: so sorry about your mother. Hope it will turn out well.

P.S. Had lapdancers at 74D for a while. Cute term, farmer's tan.

WesIsland 1:26 PM  

@anonymous12:04 Not sure either, but Bill Maher often says "I kid, I kid" as in "I kid, I kid Sara Palin because I (love) her."

syndy 1:47 PM  

Goldenrod makes me sneeze-uncontrollably!Such a fabulous puzzle! loved the circles! and I don't usually love circles!Ghost is by far 103 d's best work and ODAMAE was a big part of it!My cousin refers to her daughter as the KRAKEN!(appropiate)Cardinal campeggio was a papal nuncio!

hazel 2:00 PM  

very cool gimmick which i didn't get until several passes -at HEALTHYWEALTHYAND. but got it i did, and it made the rest fall fairly easily. had forgotten about Macho CAMACHO and don't remember Whoopi Goldberg roles beyond 24 hrs, so that was the last block to fall.

BELLPEPPER clue was a misfire. We stake our peppers in the way we stake our tomatoes, but that doesn't make them "on a vine". Our black beans and sugar snaps are another story altogether.

Go Braves!

Lewis 2:00 PM  

@here in Franklin -- I concur. I have never ever heard UTENN.

@Quilter1 -- I will send thoughts and prayers your way...

I thought the theme was clever, and for me, a relatively smooth solve. Have a good Sunday everyone. Go US Soccer!

Jenny 2:06 PM  

@12:04: Yeah, I don't think "I kid, I kid!" is a pop cultural reference; I think it's just something people (sometimes) say. For me the feel is - hmm - male and loud and significantly older than me and a New York accent and maybe Italian or Jewish, and pulling my leg about something in a kinda funny, kinda aggressive way. If that helps.

Tried Paintdry off the P in PEEPSHOW and felt momentarily clever. Oops.

Sparky 2:14 PM  

Had Odete (Sp.) first because she has the white costume and could be considered a maiden. Odile has the black costume and is a hot patootie.

Hand up for DITZY with a ZY. Clash of the Titans just on TV. Thought the use of circles clever and fun to discover with the princess. Ah hah with HIPPO and GINKGO which I was about to misspell again but TINK saved me. Good puzzle, took me a while.

Thanks @CoffeeLvr and Wesisland for the explanations. I relied on crosses for 61D and 77A.

Happy weekend one and all.

Sparky 2:20 PM  

@Quilter1. So sorry about your mother. My best wishes go out to you. I hope things work out.

Beadola 2:49 PM  

Bell peppers are indeed a fruit, since they have seeds; and while we are nitpicking, a weed is any plant growing where you don't want it. The clue could have been almond tree, for example, if it a volunteer from the neighboring orchard.
Mad at myself for forgetting Odile, yet again, and trying to fit the other kind of surfer in by crossing site with Otile.

ANON B 3:13 PM  

Can someone please explain 74A: Farmer's tan?tumodea

santafefran 3:55 PM  

@ ANON B-- Farmer's tan is one you get with your shirt on--so usually only arms below the shirt line, face and neck are tan.

Worked this puzzle in Crosswords app without the circles and could just not figure out where the missing words were. Boo!

Now that I see the circles--a real winner.

chefwen 4:43 PM  

@Quilter1 - Thoughts and prayers flying your way for you and your mother. Stay strong.

fergus 5:53 PM  

Puzzle got harder as the tension grew with the World Cup final. Got really slow when it went into overtime. Good puzzle; great match.

bswein99 6:08 PM  

What's the objection to "nuncio"? The "papal nuncio" is a well known phrase if you pay any attention at all to the Vatican; it's far more reasonable to expect a person who is well read and well informed to know this than many, many other things that appear in this puzzle. I got Alou from Jesús immediately because I've always been impressed by the proliferation of Alous in Major League Baseball, but it's hardly a bit of info that you could expect most people to know.

Anonymous 6:28 PM  

Okay. I am Anonymous@12:04 and I call 61D a Natick. Maybe you're supposed to know all movie character names -- but come on. What's wrong with good old "harem chamber" for ODA and there are plenty of clues for the cross-referenced MAE. No one so far has given a clear explanation for 61D -- and I have no effing idea what the "clue" is even supposed to signify. Blegh.

quilter1 6:36 PM  

Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes, prayers and positive thoughts. I hope we know more tomorrow after more tests to look for emboli. The aphasia is the most frustrating. This woman has never been at a loss for words in her life!

I enjoyed today's puzzle, but did not know I KID. So I had a blank space in the center. But no sweat. Looking forward to Monday.

skua76 6:43 PM  

@quilter1, sorry to hear about your mother, I hope things turn out well. My mother had a stroke in March and passed away a week ago...until the stroke she was doing Monday and Tuesday puzzles!

Z 7:03 PM  

What makes a vine a vine?

Anonymous 7:42 PM  

Okay. From the NY Times Wordplay, "I kid! I kid!" is an Eminem reference. Doesn't make me any happier. Don't like rap. Nor fair to cross it with odd movie name. I'll stop now, but I still those two clues sucked -- and really detracted from my pleasure in what what otherwise a really cool puzzle.

Rex Parker 7:44 PM  

"I KID, I KID" is *not* an Eminem reference. I mean, that may be a lyric somewhere, but it's not a famous lyric, that's for sure, and there is no way that's the basis for the clue. It's a phrase people say. Pure and simple.

jberg 7:52 PM  

Quilter1, my very best wishes for your mother's speedy recovery.

I didn't know either Camacho or Oda Mae, so finished with CAMeCHi, THe, and iDA. Still enjoyed it, though.

A vine is a plant whose stem is long and can't support itself, so it clings to or wraps around aomething else. You may want to stake peppers, but the stems aren't long the way a vine's are.

If having seeds makes you a fruit, are beans and peas fruit? Seems like an artificial distinction.

JenCT 9:20 PM  

Here's a rather long definition of a fruit from the American Heritage Scientific Dictionary:

"fruit (frt)
The ripened ovary of a flowering plant that contains the seeds, sometimes fused with other parts of the plant. Fruits can be dry or fleshy. Berries, nuts, grains, pods, and drupes are fruits. Fruits that consist of ripened ovaries alone, such as the tomato and pea pod, are called true fruits. Fruits that consist of ripened ovaries and other parts such as the receptacle or bracts, as in the apple, are called accessory fruits or false fruits.

To most of us, a fruit is a plant part that is eaten as a dessert or snack because it is sweet, but to a botanist a fruit is a mature ovary of a plant, and as such it may or may not taste sweet. All species of flowering plants produce fruits that contain seeds. A peach, for example, contains a pit that can grow into a new peach tree, while the seeds known as peas can grow into another pea vine. To a botanist, apples, peaches, peppers, tomatoes, pea pods, cucumbers, and winged maple seeds are all fruits. A vegetable is simply part of a plant that is grown primarily for food. Thus, the leaf of spinach, the root of a carrot, the flower of broccoli, and the stalk of celery are all vegetables. In everyday, nonscientific speech we make the distinction between sweet plant parts (fruits) and nonsweet plant parts (vegetables). This is why we speak of peppers and cucumbers and squash (all fruits, in the eyes of a botanist) as vegetables."

@quilter1: Hoping for a speedy recovery for your mom.

nurturing 9:27 PM  
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nurturing 9:29 PM  
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nurturing 9:31 PM  

I know the story (and its many versions) of Swan Lake as well as I know my own history.

No one took issue with the cluing of Odile as a maiden. She is definitely NOT a maiden. Odette is. Odile is not. She has most often been represented as the daughter of the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart who turns her into an Odette lookalike - but in black - and controls her malevolent bewitchery to bring about the downfall of Prince Seigfried.

Maidens are innocent, pure as the driven snow, uninitiated!

Odile is not even quite human, and she's been around the block many times. Her sole function is to obfuscate the Prince with her wiles. No, Odile is not a maiden by any stretch of the imagination!

Agree totally with bell peppers not growing on a vine. Even looked up the definition of vine to make sure. Nope, peppers just don't qualify. I've grown them for years along with tomatoes and lots of other vegetables. While a tomato plant is sometimes called a tomato vine, a pepper plant never is - unless it's the BLACK pepper vine. But that's another plant altogether!

Anonymous 7:03 AM  

Could somebody explain 53A to me? Still can't understand how "Hardly breaking a sweat" becomes "with relative."

Z 8:13 AM  

anon @ 7:03 - With relative ease (E's)

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

How do I use this?

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Is it just me? I haven't seen any reference to 98A (9/=SEP)? Can anyone explain?

Z 10:48 AM  

9/ = September as in 9/1/2011

Tita 10:55 AM  

@Anon at 10:31 - as in MM/DD/YY - my birthday is 9/29 - Sep 29.
Kinda dumb, but that's the idea...

I thought this puzzle was deliciously clever.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Finished, but with rEED instead of WEED.
In a related issue, I misread the clue number for 55a by one, and all I could think of was that, according to an old grape nuts commercial, "Goldenrod makes an excellent TeA"...which actually gave me two thirds of 56a.

Had a similar issue with misreading the clue number for 9/. Got "LIE IN" from the crosses and just shrugged. Never noticed SEP to the left or the actual clue for 99a. I need glasses.

UCONN = yes.
UTENN = sorry, no.

@Z 10:53 AM
I only drink beer brewed in the mitten these days.
Must be nice. We get Jolly Pumkin here in CA but little if anything else in the way of Michigan craft. Can't complain about our own locals though.

Smelt Fisher 4:50 PM  

This is my type of puzzle. As wonderful as yesterday's wasn't.

The circles added extra charm.


Dirigonzo 9:29 PM  

The oppressive heat that has been cooking my corner of syndiland has left and today was an absolutely glorious day to solve the Sunday puz poolside in a leisurely, relaxed manner. Puzzle-novice friend who helped me out yesterday stayed over to participate in the fun. Thought we had figured out the gimmick when THEPRINCESSANDTHE was followed by 43a, A kind of shot, and I immediately said "pea" (like might be shot out of a pea-shooter?) so we went looking for adjacent answers to complete the theme answers. Which of course was wrong, but still pretty clever I thought, and then we spotted the significance of the circles and raced to the finish line. We had a lot of laughs and a lot of "aha" moments along the way, so this was a terrific Sunday outing.

Anonymous 10:19 PM  

OK, I got thrown sideways there for a minute. I knew 36a had to "The Princess and the Pea," of which all but the last word would fit. Next word over, at 43A, was a 3-letter word for "kind of shot." Well, PEA is a kind of shot, so I thought, that's the gimmick. I tried like the devil to make sense of the ENE off of that, to no avail. LAKERS I knew, and LAVIE, but then I had to throw PEA out. I, too, have never heard of the Vols referred to as "UTENN." It seems totally unnatural. I'd be willing to bet this is the first time that name has ever appeared in print. Still, FLU made everything work. Only then, when I more or less filled in WITHRELATIVE on crosses, did I notice that there were two letters circled, which finishes the saying "with ease." Clever, these Irish. I liked the finishing corner: have you ever had SEX with an ORYX?
One letter error: thought of SEMI and HEMI, but completely forgot about DEMI. DITSIEST wouldn't have made any more sense to me than SITSIEST. Like others, I feel this word demands a Z. Also had to change OCTETS to the far more obscure OCTADS, but got that done before completion.
Good old HIRES root beer. MWAH!

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