Performer with self-titled HBO special 2006 / TUE 8-2-11 / ABC 1996 / Comedy Central 2003 2006 / PBS 1977 1982 / Manny of 1970s-80s baseball

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Constructor: Albert R. Picallo

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: D.C. COMICS (60A: "Captain Marvel" publisher ... and a hint to 17-, 25-, 37- and 50-Across) — theme answers are "comics" whose initials are "D.C."

Word of the Day: ALLUVIAL (11D: Like soil in a delta) —

ALLUVIUM n., pl., -vi·ums, or -vi·a (-vē-ə).
Sediment deposited by flowing water, as in a riverbed, flood plain, or delta. Also called alluvion.

[Medieval Latin, flood, from neuter of Latin alluvius, alluvial, from alluere, to wash against. See alluvion.]

• • •

I feel bad for this constructor: this exact theme was published last fall in the LAT, and I'm guessing today's constructor conceived of the theme completely independently and submitted it to the NYT well before that LAT puzzle ever came out. Oh well, many of you won't have seen last year's puzzle, in which case—helluva a theme, right? (My friend Angela's not sure "DICK CAVETT" really counts as a "comic," but he's certainly known as "comical," so close enough for me) What's most interesting about the theme duplication is that the two puzzles share only two comics. The LAT had DREW CAREY and DAVID CROSS instead of DICK CAVETT and DAVE CHAPPELLE. Who knew there were so many "DC" comics in the world (all American too). I'm somehow not at all impressed by the "self-titled" element of all the theme clues. Means that the clues aren't as interesting or illustrative or apt as they might be. Clue for DANE COOK (17A: Performer with a self-titled HBO special in 2006), for instance, could really be anybody. No need to add that element to the clues. D.C. COMICS is great all on its own as a theme unifier and revealer.

I had a lot of trouble with this one (for a Tuesday). Time in the low 4s, which is significantly higher than my usual. Could not (easily) get DAVE CHAPPELLE from the clue and D'ARC + ANTH (wow, really ugly pair) were not helping. COACT and ACCENT and ALLUVIAL all took some prodding to come to light. So, it's a typical Tuesday, except (in my case) for everything from the center to the NE. I say that as someone who knew XTC and TRILLO cold (I know not all of you did) (31A: "Senses Working Overtime" band + 16A: Manny of 1970s-'80s baseball). Embarrassing to take so long with FLORENCE. I teach Dante all the time; you'd think I'd have that Arno/FLORENCE thing figured out by now.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Performer with a self-titled HBO special in 2006 (DANE COOK)
  • 25A: Performer with a self-titled ABC series in 1996 (DANA CARVEY)
  • 37A: Performer with a self-titled Comedy Central series from 2003 to 2006 (DAVE CHAPPELLE)
  • 50A: Performer with a self-titled PBS series from 1977 to 1982 (DICK CAVETT)
Outside the theme, I enjoyed BAD BOY, but wish it had been tied to the record company (63A: Recipient of coal for Christmas). Why didn't the BAD GIRL get the coal? Never a big fan of gender specific answers with gender neutral clues. I love the word "straphanger" because in my head the "ph" and the word sounds roughly like "scavenger." Next time you're on a crowded subway, turn to your companion and say "would you look at all these straphangers," only use my pronunciation. Won't be any weirder than a lot of stuff you might see on the subway (7D: Straphanger's buy, once). The idea of returning to OLD FORM certainly makes sense, but somehow my slumper wanted to return to TOP FORM. Well, first it was GOOD or TRUE or some such nonsense, but that wouldn't fit. I did not know that REVLON was the [Fire & Ice cosmetics company]. They should've gotten Pat Benatar to be pitchwoman.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


foodie 12:10 AM  

I'm not one for names, so it's not the kind of puzzle that makes my heart sing. But I liked certain juxtapositions, especially: RIVER, next to ALLUVIAL, next to FLORENCE clued by the name of its river.

I like how GENOME is so well known as a word these days that it makes a Tuesday normal entry. I'm looking to see "Proteome" and "Transcriptome" on a Friday or Saturday...

Noam D. Elkies 12:14 AM  

:-) Re "straphanger". I'll uffold your pronunciation. The LORD is my Shefferd…

Evidently the BAD_GIRL didn't get the coal because she wouldn't fit in 63A's six spaces. We've seen both ATTABOY and ATTAGIRL, the latter marginally more common even though longer, and each clued gender-neutrally with only one exception out of 4 or 5. A more serious complaint might be that the one definition of BAD_GIRL in xwordinfo's database is sexist: "Not just a tease".

—NDE (captcha = baseight, which I guess makes today 10.1.3733; well, "10." in a date does usually stand for OCT.)

a guy 12:20 AM  

Why YET instead of, say, YAH? Why TROY instead of, say, TAPE? Why every 3-letter word (and "word") with an E and an O?

I can forgive the theme duplication a lot more easily than I can some of the fill.

Tobias Duncan 12:21 AM  

I really really liked this one. Best Tuesday I can remember.XTC is one of my all time favorite bands. Like TMBG they kept making great music for years after their hits were forgotten.
I might just hate Dane Cook more than The Crimson Tide, but his presence in the grid did not seem to bother me.
I grew up watching Dick Cavett and always loved him. His NYT piece after the death of W.F. Buckley was wonderful.

Just about everything was in my comfort zone but it still took me a while. I dont at all mind that the theme has been done before.

@ foodie "Proteome" is on its way. I hear that all the time these days.

Pete 12:22 AM  

DICK CAVETT actually was a stand-up comic for some time, as well as being a comedy writer for Jack Parr & Johnny Carson. Cluing him as a comic for his monologue on his TV show is, however, akin to cluing Leno as a comic based on his TV work.

santafefran 12:24 AM  

Challenging for me and I didn't get the happy pencil at first because I had entered DANA CARVER-doh!

I liked LEICAS next to ANSEL but I do NOT like OLEO on my toast. It must be butter.

Didn't know TRILLO or XCT but got them from crosses.

@foodie re yesterday's comment: relationships have been based upon less than syllables in common. :-) However, my husband's name is Dan so we introduce ourselves as Fran and Dan, Frick and Frack.

lit.doc 12:34 AM  

Oh, good, Rex has posted. Before reading same, I should confess to 1) not seeing the DC theme at all, and, 2) burning all my longer-than-average Tuesday seconds on the “ok, is it EOE or EEO?” problem in NW (or is that a totally imaginary var. that I’ve imbibed into being?).

Ok, feel better now re time, but am still curious whether the EOE/EEO thing is a chimera I’ve created for my own perpexion or not. Anyone? (And BTW do NOT check the Urban Dictionary on this one).

santafefran 12:45 AM  

@lit.doc--I always have the same EEO/EOE dilemma so we must have been abducted by the same aliens.

invers--opposite of the outvers

retired_chemist 12:54 AM  

@ lit.doc and santafefran - EEO - equal employment opportunity; EOE - equal opportunity employer. Either satisfactorily answers the clue; the choice is obviously from crosses.

Medium Tuesday, lengthened by my having ABLE @ 53A. Noticed OLD FARM and thought the answer strange, but didn't see the rest of my consequent errors until I actually seriously checked. So much for dashing in a corner all from acrosses.

Solid puzzle - a fun solve. Didn't see the theme coming - after I solved the puzzle, I thought (for about 4 seconds) and the light dawned.

All 3 letter music groups I knew wee REM and ELO. Now I know XTC.

Thanks, Mr. Picallo.

Princess Kosmonopolis 12:55 AM  

Okay, it is official, I cannot solve a Tuesday puzz, which makes me officially OLD. This one was totally outside any references I could grab hold of...maybe I should have tried harder, but I have no interest in Marvel Comics, so maybe it is just as well....

CoffeeLvr 12:57 AM  

One year my 14 YO nephew was such a BADBOY that I got him a lump of coal for Christmas. He had hurt his parents so badly. But I wimped out, mostly because I didn't want his reaction to spoil things for his parents or little sister. Fortunately he has matured into a less obnoxious human being.

I thought the puzzle was just alright; the only one I really like is Cavett; have a DVD set from his variety show.

OOZY is ugly.

Anonymous 12:59 AM  

My captcha is fooll, which makes me wonder why I am here. DC stands for District of Columbia where all those politicians are. Now I get it.

syndy 1:45 AM  

I did not care for "CO ACT"or ELO/LEO/OLEO but some really nice stuff ANSEL/LEICAS GBS/BADBOY Hand up for the EEO/EOC conundrum!ANY puzzle with the artful and poetic ALLUVIAL is thumbs up in my book!

anaconda coo michaels 1:54 AM  

I loved this!!!! THought the theme was outstanding...Am sad it's been done...tho I'm sure 96% of this crowd hadn't done the other.

(I love making up statistics!)

I thought the self-titled thing added a nice unifying extra level again, making an extra dollop...
they are comics, they all have initials of DC, the first names are all four letters, they have been on four different channels, four different eras, AND the shows were self-titled!!!!

That's a lot to love there!

I even thought at first it was some sort of name ladder: DANA, DANE, DAVE, ...DICK!

Fill wasn't ideal, esp EUR being just one more letter than the clue: "Part of E.U.: Abbr."

I don't mean to be a crank case, but I had OILcAN (cue "Wiz of Oz" scene here!)

Only Manny I know is Nowsowsky!

I would have loved to have come up with a theme like this!

chefwen 2:24 AM  

I thought this looked familiar. Tougher than your usual Tuesday puzzle, ALLUVIAL and STASIS were both new to MOI. Maybe I have lived a sheltered life but DANE COOK was new to me and I had forgotten DAVE CHAPPELLE. Never had watched the show but the name now looks familiar. We are off to a interesting week, Lord knows what Friday and Saturday will bring.

Anonymous 3:03 AM  

I read Straphanger as Straph-anger which I had no idea what it could mean.

I'm normally not a fan of insert random name here type clues but this was okay since I'm a big comedy fan so I'd at least heard of these guys.

lit.doc 4:01 AM  

@santafefran (great summer opera venue you live in, BTW!) and @ ret.chem, thanks for the info and reality check on the EOE/EEO thingy. @r.c, the less-than-obvious problem for moi was that EOE abetted the MES AMI possibility (yeah, I know, bad French, but hey), which screwed up DANE for a bit.

Z 7:09 AM  

In agreement with the plus/minuses already mentioned. XTC was a gimme, so now I will have "Melt the guns" in my head all day.

I do appreciate LEICAS next ANSEL, but can we give LEICAS a rest, it seems like it's appeared 3 to 5 times in the past couple of weeks.

jberg 8:21 AM  

I took the "self-titled" bit as mild misdirection -- once you see it the second time, you think "Oh, the theme is comics with shows named for them," and let it go at that - then I started to notice that they all started with D, but didn't get the DC until the revealer.

One gripe - I've never heard or seen an Iranian called an IRANI (20A) except in crosswords; so I stuck to IRAQI as long as I could. I think the 'add an i to denote nationality' rule is Arabic, whereas the Iranians speak Persian.

Lindsay 8:38 AM  

Very, very obscure names as far as I'm concerned.

DANE COOK: The guy whose business manager embezzled millions and stashed it in a condo a couple of miles from here. Singer?

DANA CARVEY: Rings a vague bell. Celebrity, perhaps?

DAVE CHAPPELLE: Never heard of.

DICK CAVETT: Some suit & tie guy from the 50's. Television?


Off to a meeting. See you tomorrow.

dk 8:40 AM  


A BADBOY gets coal while a BADGIRL gets dates. Unfair.

Generally I am proud, NAE arrogant and smug, that I do not own a TV... except today.

I thought 26D was a shout out to our anons and had no idea DAVE C's last name was not nappelle.

Had cold cuts for 37d as I over thought the theme thinking maybe we would mix up the D and the C... but just like my strategy with the SATs -- wrong.

I am on a theme apprechiation jag these days. I like this one. As I need most of my day free to make up statistics (I'll get you for that Andrea) I only do the NYT. So much like Dora (Finding Nemo) this theme was new for me.

Note: Did you know that for a goldfish each trip around the bowl is a new experience.

*** (3 Stars)

d (as in Dora) k

diane 8:40 AM  

Heh. DNF. I don't know the words STRAFE nor ALLUVIAL - so had STRiFE and iLLUVIAL, had to check here for the real answer. Didn't get my congratulatory music and popup, went through the puzzle twice, googled everything I was slightly unsure of. They are both words though not *exactly* as clued but I didn't have a better guess. Unusual for a Tuesday.

Also, I had no idea what a straphanger was (some sort of drywayller / plasterer I would guess) but got TOKEN from crosses anyway.

Brian 8:54 AM  

Thought the theme was cool and the fill overall entertaining. Loved OLDFORM and ANACONDA.

At first I thought the puzzle was going to be a bore with EEO and OLEO and IRANI and ATMS. DANECOOK started me wondering where the puzzle was going and was delighted by the reveal, which I didn't see coming at all.

As Andrea noted, I found the "self-title" cluing a nice layer that doubled as misdirection.

This is one of those themes that impress me by the fact that the constructor ever uncovered it, by which I mean it is not a manufactured theme in the way yesterday's puzzle was. This is a theme of discovery.

I imagine the inspiration process going something like this: "DC Comics. Sounds like comedians with the initials DC. Like Dana Carvey. Oh, and Dave Chappelle. Huh. I wonder . . . Wouldn't it be cool . . . Oh, look! It works!"

But it probably doesn't work that way at all.

Nice job, Mr. Picallo.

efrex 8:58 AM  

Thought I'd see much more grumbling about the "junk" short fill. The longer stuff was good-to-great, though. ALLUVIAL is a lovely word, if a bit jarring on Tuesday.

Loved the theme. As a big stand-up comedy fan, I got a huge kick out of seeing DICK CAVETT and DAVE CHAPPELLE in the same puzzle. I actually saw Cavett playing the narrator in the last Broadway revival of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" - the man had far too much fun slamming the "idiot savants" in the audience who had memorized every line from the show.

Never been a big fan of DC COMICS' regular offerings, but their adult imprint, Vertigo, has some fantastic titles.

All in all, this one left me smiling. Thanks, Mr. Picallo!

jackj 9:01 AM  

My familiarity with DC comedians is on a level with my knowledge of Albanian cricket players so, not having enjoyed this theme when it played in the LA Times last year, I liked it even less in this regurgitated version in today's NY Times.

Unfortunately, the fill didn't compensate for the theme and such dreadful bits as DELIMEAT, COACT, OOZY and the ever present ATOZ, TRE, EON and AAA only made things worse. (STASIS and ALLUVIAL were nice exceptions).

In fairness, it would be tough for any puzzle to be successful following on the heels of yesterday's bit of brilliance.

jesser 9:14 AM  

Wow. I'm swimming against a hard tide today, because I didn't like this puzzle a bit. I didn't have a problem with the solve, but I thought the DC theme was weak and the reveal was forced. COACT? Yuck. Thank Shortz I never even saw TRILLO until Rex pointed him out; the downs filled him in without my having to worry about him.

No writeovers, but no love. Maybe I'm just grumpy. It happens...

thursdaysd 9:19 AM  

Hated, HATED, this, especially after the delight that was Monday. It's bad enough when a bunch of people show up in the fill, but as theme answers? No! I finished it in what felt like a perfectly reasonable Tuesday time, despite only really knowing DICK CAVETT, but throw in COACT and PHAT and XTO and I'm surprised I didn't throw in the towel.

John V 9:22 AM  

Meh. Average to me. What's the deal with 35A COACT? New bit of clunky fill.

Didn't know Dane Cook. All else were obvious.

Initially thought we were looking at a word ladder, going from Dane to Dana, so slightly in-directed for a second or so.

Alternative geeky clue for 68A: "Alternative to Red Hat (abbr.)" Answer DSL = Damn Small Linux. Trust this will sate everyone's inner geek :)

joho 9:26 AM  

Since the theme was new to me I really enjoyed it.

Back in the 70's Dick Cavett tried to get a crossword game show accepted on the networks. I'll bet he does the NYT puzzle and now I'm wondering if he reads this blog!

mac 9:36 AM  

Good Tuesday puzzle, but a bit workmanlike. I do love the river Styx, alluvial, Florence, and then Rex added Dante! Like Leicas and Ansel as well.

I also don't think I knew Dick Cavett as a comedian, know him better from more serious interviews and his discussion of his depression.

Captcha: racen. Another reindeer?

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

What in the world is ATOZ?? First time I have come across this "word."

santafefran 9:41 AM  

@lit.doc. Now that you mention it, we are going to see La Boheme this weekend and Faust later in the month at the lovely summer opera venue here in Santa Fe.

@diane. Straphanger refers to standing subway riders or I suppose it could be bus passengers as well.

santafefran 9:44 AM  

anon: A to Z

flogypoo--'nuff said

Matthew G. 10:25 AM  

Started out slowly because I've never heard of DANE COOK, and I found the crossing of his name with GEAR TO a little rough for a Tuesday. I regard the other three comedians in the grid as extremely famous, but even looking at DANE COOK's Wikipedia entry now I can't recall ever seeing him in anything. He's only slightly older than me, so he probably started getting famous around the time I started tuning out pop culture for the most part (DANA CARVEY, on the other hand, is of exactly the right vintage to have been a staple of my sophomoric years, and DAVE CHAPPELLE has generated too much controversy not to notice).

Too bad about the repeated theme, but I don't do the LAT puzzle (life's too busy to do 'em all), so it was new to me, and I liked it.

slypett 10:32 AM  

I'd like to shoot Mr. Picallo with his own OOZY.

JaxInL.A. 10:41 AM  

One of my first purchases as a college freshman (and big movie musical fan) was an MGM mirror to decorate my apartment that said "ARS gratia artis." Think I still have it somewhere. 

@lit.doc, you were probably thinking of the aria "A Mes Amis" from Donizetti's comic opera Daughter of the Regiment. Juan Diego Flores sang it at the Met a couple years ago to a spectacular ovation. I nearly put in Mes AMI myself, but then realized that the clue was singular and mes amis is plural (and doesn't fit).

I liked this one a lot. Two really good offerings in a row. Nice.

Ruth 10:43 AM  

@slypett: now, now! But still: good one!!

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

@jberg. Iranians speak Farsi.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:52 AM  

Good one, IMHO.

BigSteve46 11:05 AM  

Just something I am curious about: do those of you who are high end solvers, e.g., who, let's say complete the Thurs, Fri $ Sat puzzles 90% of the time - still do the Mon, Ties and Wed. puzzles? I generally do not.They're simply not very challenging. (I did today's - had time on my hands and was getting bored.) Just would like to know what others do.. (Rex HAS to do them or he doesn't have a blog!)

Matthew G. 11:11 AM  

@BigSteve46: I do the NYT puzzle seven days a week because it's generally of high quality even when it's easy. Friday and Saturday are the days I live for, but I do the rest to see if I can improve my speed. Actually, when I skip a puzzle, it tends to be the Sunday puzzle, because I just am not a fan of grids bigger than 15x15.

Other than the NYT, I solve only puzzles than tend to be challenging: Fireball, BEQ, MGWCC, etc.

Tenzil Kem 11:16 AM  

I have a bone to pick with the "Captain Marvel" clue - DC sued the heck out of CM's publisher - Fawcett - and eventually put them out of business, absorbing the Big Red Cheese and all the other Fawcett characters. I get that Captain Marvel might be misleading for non-aficiandos, but there's a whole log of backstory to the character before you get to DC (and this isn't even getting into the Miracleman/Marvelman mess).

Thanks for the terrific blog Rex!

foodie 1:01 PM  

@Jberg, I believe IRANI is an acceptable way to refer to people from IRAN, in English. I agree that its derivation is Arabic or Arabic-like. In Arabic, not only is the ending used for regional references, but one speaks of Americani, Italiani, Yabani (Japanese), Allemani (German), and of course Irani. And those words refer to both the people and the language, although Farsi, as noted above is also used.

I was trying to think if the "i" ending is used in English for any one outside the middle East (including Israeli). Can't think of an example... So, you're right that it's a pretty unusual ending in English.

John V 1:43 PM  

@BigSteve46, I don't solve on weekends, just due to time pressures, but do regularly solve Monday through Friday and have been since 1971. While it is true that Monday and Tuesday challenges are pretty modest, my take is that they are fun. To me, there's no such thing as a bad puzzle, just some are better than others. I also enjoy the "line" that the puzzles take through the week, the stepping up of the pace. Also, you can be deceived by an early week puzzle that you expect to be easy but may toss in a curve.

For me, the puzzles are an integral part of my commuting life, getting on the train with my coffee, paper and pencil. It is just the best possible way to start the day, early in the week or late in the week.

My two cents.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Can someone please explain ONEA (Fit to serve - 53A). Thanks.

John V 2:05 PM  

@Anonymous: Selective Service/Draft classification, 1A. Ready to be drafted.

dandrea carla michaels 2:15 PM  

I went and looked at the LA Times puzzle (to give Meredith Ito her due!) and it is amazing there are so many DC Comics!
DREW CAREY would have fit nicely into today's what with four letter first name and self-titled show...
but DAVID CROSS, who may be funnier than all 6 put together, has a five letter first name, no self-titled show, and is not that well-known outside his rabid fans.

I liked that this one spanned color and ages a bit more than the LA Times one, which had all white guys roughly the same age bracket...
Nevermind no women comics...what is more shocking to me, is out of the 6 DC Comics in the two puzzles combined, not one Jew!

(Hmmm, David Cross might be, great name for a crossword, odd last name for a Jew! Then again, my cousin's last name is Fuhrer!)

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

@anon at A. army draft designation. so far i find puzzles this week more challenging than usual. is it a trend?

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

Who the hell is Dane Cook?? -otherwise good puzzle. Manny Trillo popped right in and I thought was so easy it had to be wrong, but no.

acme 2:28 PM  

oops, misspelled Manny Nosowsky's name @1:54am! Shame on me!

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

I was totally clueless about the meaning of ATOZ until I scanned these comments. I kept parsing it as AT OZ or A TOZ. Figured is must be some weird slang.

Smacked myself in the forehead when I saw A TO Z! duh! Equally annoying is the frequent RANDR.

mitchs 3:30 PM  

@BigSteve46 I hadn't solved a M-W in years until I started again about a year ago or so. The one reason: this blog.

Anonymous 3:46 PM  

Always a fan of Dice Clay.

sanfranman59 3:51 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)

Tue 8:31, 8:55, 0.96, 41%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:39, 4:35, 1.01, 60%, Medium-Challenging

Make up statistics Andrea? It's people like you what cause unrest!

CrazyCatLady 3:56 PM  

Wow. I thought this was much easier than yesterday's puzzle. I was solving in down mode and even though I've never heard of Dane Cook and Dave Chappelle, they kind of filled themselves in. ALLUVIAL, FLORENCE, ANACONDA just flew in. Had SAUSAGES before DELI MEAT. The town where I live is situated on an ALLUVIAL fan.

Halfway through the puzzle I started having a feeling of déjà vu. Now I know why.

JD 4:44 PM  

As usual, I threw down AONE in place of ONEA. This led me to finish OLDFAR- with the obvious T without looking at the clue. Is that Kosher for the Times? If so, definitely adding it to my word list...

Sfingi 4:56 PM  

Never heard of TRILLO, XTC (pretty awful sound, but interesting words, so thanx for the education), DANE COOK (I would have known Dice Clay or Drew Carey), GEAR TO, COACT.

@LapelPinHead - When doing crosswords, I often think of an actress in My Fair Lady referring to Eliza Doolittle's slips as "the new small talk."

Abbreviation of abbreviation EUR was annoying. Pigskin snapper was a ?, but knew it was football so threw in one of the usual suspects.

Nevertheless, after-Googles, only.

@Noam - we can choose from ITSABOY and ITSAGIRL, too. What's a STRAfHANGER?

@Anon146 - you must be young if you don't fear 1A. Just read about Frank Stella hoping for and gettin a 4F.

@CrazyCatLady - considered sausages, but waited since I saw the Ds rising up. Saw an "Action Figure" called the Crazy Cat Lady, which came with several cats at Soave Faire. Might be cheaper on the internet.

@BigSteve - I give up around Thurs. and go for the USA Today - always a Wed.

To those who say unfair to bad boys, don't complain unless we get rid of war and rape.

long suffering mets fan 5:01 PM  

Manny Mota, no Manny Ramirez, no -- too early wow, finally got Manny Trillo from somewhere deep in the recesses of my baseball brain. Guess no other way to get TRILLO

@acme -- who the heck is Manny Nosowsky?

@john V -- 1971? why aren't you rubbing the sand between your toes in Fort Lauderdale with a maitai in your hand waiting for the Red Lobster to open for the early-bird special??? just busting, my friend -- I enjoy your daily comments

Pretty good Tues puzzle

stay cool, all

The Month That Was 5:31 PM  

too many names, characters, song people to make this very enjoyable.

It reminds me of the good ole days when the NYT puzzle was based predominantly on creative wordplay rather than a raft of pop-culture trivia

Agree with the general feeling of horror at BIEBER making his debut here but at least Rex crossed him with CORPSE, perhaps a sly hint that it will also be the LAST time our hero uses him in a NYT puzzle.

I wish I neverheard of Justin BIEBER.

liked a few other things but damn did I hate the sports stuff and pop culture today.

My 13-year-old daughter has a huge vocabulary and she uses it pretty fearlessly at home

I hate Bloody Marys -- no amount of alcohol can overcome my loathing of tomato juice

I typically prefer cleverer themes

All sorts of language purists (I don't mean that in a negative way; I'm one myself)

I have two young kids, and I have no problem correcting their grammer

Would refrain from posting this except for the content of your remarks - Did you by any chance mean "grammar"?

That word is just loathsome.

"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 KID, I KID" is *not* an Eminem reference.

All these films are severely flawed but I love each of them, and would be a poorer person had I not seen them.

Green Day is a band? If you say so.

Always dangerous to slam "Casablanca"'s pitch perfect for some of us.

Helped that I knew ALBAN and STAGG -- a football coach who is was accidentally memorialized in connection with nuclear power. Stagg Fieldhouse is where Fermi made the first self-sustaining nuclear pile.

I just won a Scrabble game in part because of judicious placement of HAdJ across triple letter/triple word squares that gave me 102 points for a single word.

Harumph. Muddled through, but not too happily.

I am not happy that I now know BAMA = Crimson Tide. I find sports trivia vulgar.

Two Ponies 5:34 PM  

I usually hate puzzles that have lots of proper names but this one tickled me. Also, any puzzle with alluvial, esp. on a Tuesday, gets my two thumbs up. I had a check mark in the margins next to the Christmas clue because I liked that one.
My blogging today has an original twist for me. I'm standing in the shallow end of a swimming pool with my friend's laptop sitting on the pool deck in Cape Coral Florida. Do I need Puzzler's Anonymous?

Sfingi 5:43 PM  

@TheMonthThatWas - boy are you on my wave length.

The only expression I know with Kid is "I kid you not," Jack Paar. I'm actually too young for, "I love my wife, but O you kid."

Anonymous 7:26 PM  

This is @anon (1:46 pm) here, who had the ONEA question (Fit to serve - 53A). My thanks to all who replied graciously.
@John V (2:05 pm)
@anon (2:15 pm)
@sfingi (4:56 pm)

captcha: emize -- e-mice, the 21st century version; or is it a tip of the hat to those who say anony-mice :-)

foodie 8:18 PM  

@sanfranman, I too gasped in shock when I read this bit from Andrea!
Unrest is her middle name!

That fish license bit was hilarious! But nothing comes close to the dead parrot sketch...

@The Month That Was...excellent selection! Come back again!

Noam D. Elkies 9:24 PM  

There's also "Nepali", which is an alternative to "Nepalese" (as well as a language).


dk 9:38 PM  

@Sfingi, this bad boy was thinking more along the lines of removing the top off the salt shaker, and with the aid of a 3X5 card (look it up), turning said shaker upside down and placing the shaker top on the bottom. The result is an upside down (of a sort) shaker that looks... well ya know right side up. Thus, when one picks up the salt it spills all over the table.

d(bad santa)k

sanfranman59 1:30 AM  

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 6:45, 6:51, 0.98, 49%, Medium
Tue 8:37, 8:55, 0.97, 45%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:32, 3:40, 0.97, 36%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:31, 4:35, 0.99, 50%, Medium

joecab 7:17 AM  

I wasn't crazy about "Captain Marvel" being the example for DC Comics (btw Rex there are no periods in the company's name) either. As said above, Captain Marvel started out as a Superman knockoff before coming into his own at Fawcett Comics and after many legal wrangling and fawcett going away, it eventually became the property of DC after all.

And if THAT weren't enough, there's a Captain Marvel at Marvel Comics too, you know. After Fawcett went away, no one was diligent about keeping CM in copyright so Marvel nabbed the name. This also required getting the law involved so that now DC *cannot* use the name "Captain Marvel" on the cover of any of its comics, only for the character's name within the book. Most of the time they just use his phrase "Shazam!" on the cover.

JaxInL.A. 9:57 AM  

Great info on Cap'n Marvel. Thanks, @joecab and @tenzil Kem.

william e emba 4:53 PM  

DC does not use "Captain Marvel" as a title. As clued, I'd say there's a mistake here. DC publishes Captain Marvel, meaning the character whose best known secret identity has been Billy Batson. DC Comics does not publish "Captain Marvel".

My understanding is that DC does not publish "Captain Marvel" because of a gentlemen's agreement with Marvel Comics. I know Wikipedia and other sources say Marvel took over the trademark (NOT copyright, as mentioned above) for themselves when the original Captain Marvel disappeared, but such a trademark would apply inside the book as well as outside. (You do not see Marvel Comics publishing their own "Superman", craftily keeping the name off the cover, now do you?)

Marvel Comics, in turn, agreed to kill off their superduper Captain Marvel and replace him with a completely different Captain Marvel.
Personally, I think co-algebras CO-ACTing on co-modules are the co-olest thing, but I'm a math major.

Tincup2 9:23 PM  

A day late posting, but yesterday, after getting off work early and parking my butt on a park bench to tuck into the puzzle - well after filling in the first 6 or 7 words I just leaned back sighed and said why bother and tossed it right into the trash can - just felt like it was going to be a waste of time. Don't think I've ever done that before.

Skipped todays entirely. Is it the heat or some bad puzzle vibe?

Marlo 10:35 PM  

Also catching up a day late, but as soon as I entered the XTC answer I hurried to finish so I could come here and watch the Senses Working Overtime video that I knew Rex would post. Didn't occur that we'd get a bonus Pat Benatar song, too. This child of the 80s approves.

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

Only writeovers were ORKIN for ORtho, and FLORENCE (of course) for kLORENCE (of course not), which came from STRikE at 8a. Had no clue about 11d so after Fixing FLORENCE I left STRiFE at 8a for my only error.

XTC, ELO, and Styx would be a heckuva lineup. I say that having seen two of the three live. Caught DANA CARVEY's pre-SNL standup act several times too, so let's make him the MC.

Come to think of it, I saw Manny TRILLO play live a few times too. He played second bass in the Manny Trio.

DELI MEAT and ANACONDA crossing DICK. I'm just saying...

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

...and KNOBS?? don't tell me that section was an accident.

Dirigonzo 3:55 PM  

Sitting here in syndiland staring at my completed grid, wondering what I could add to the discussion of the puzzle (nothing, it turns out) and I realized that there is not a single write-over - not one! I think this is a first for me as some of my first guesses inevitably prove to be wrong.

@CoffeeLvr, "matured into a less obnoxious human being" when the comparison is a 14 year-old boy is faint praise indeed.

Nullifidian 8:42 PM  

In from syndication-land:

I hated this puzzle. I needed most of the crosses for every theme clue (including DANE COOK, whom I've never heard of before), and then to top it all off I was fighting this remarkably ugly fill all the way. In the north we have LEO and ELO crossing OLEO, and in the South we have ATOZ, CTR, COO, ENDAT, and OOZY. And COACT? I know it's older than the 20th C., but it still sounds like one of those dreadful business school neologisms. No matter where I turned my attention, I had to deal with this horrible fill.

I'm very displeased and I can only hope tomorrow's puzzle will be much better.

Anonymous 1:21 AM  

@the month that was: sorry, but there is no line on a standard Scrabble board that connects triple letter and triple word squares. There is one way, though super-contrived, to score 102 points by playing "HADJ:" if someone had somehow played "OWLS" in the lower left across [upper right down] in the second through fifth squares so that the word just misses the corner triple word square by one, then the play of "HADJ", with the H on the double letter square and the J on the triple word, forming "JOWLS," that would indeed score 102 points. However, if your opponent could not block that corner (or worse, if he could have but didn't) then you need to find a better grade of Scrabble opponent.
To the puzzle. This longtime Phillies fan accepted the Manny TRILLO gimme with a smile. At one point, the second baseman set a record for most consecutive chances handled without an error.
I guess I agree about some of the fill being low-grade, but I feel it's something you put up with to get longer entries, stacks, or a theme to work. If you can pull all that off with clean fill it's, like, serendipity. Like winning the lotto or something. I try to keep my fill-bitching to a minimum. As to the "comics," well, I have socks that are funnier than DICKCAVETT, but the rest of it I kinda liked.
Many mentioned the photo mini-theme in the SE, but haven't you ever wondered if your strange-tasting DELIMEAT was really ANACONDA?

Today's v-word is aranse: spoken by a pirate about to relieve Mr. Adams of his LEICA?

DJ Stone 2:39 AM  

Not sure how the "Senses Working Overtime band" clue didn't get clue of the day.

Rex might have known it instantly, and I certainly did (with a big grin), but it's a great clue in that it references the band at the height of its offbeat powers, rather than referencing the later pablum of "Mayor of Simpleton" and other assorted crap.

If Andy Partridge hadn't quit touring because of severe stage fright, XTC would likely have been huge. I can only imagine how cool it would have been to have seen the band perform "Helicopter."

(In a somewhat ironic note, Partridge used to carp to the press about how the smooth pop songs of bassist Colin Moulding were not as popular as Andy's angular pop. He seemed to want to prove to the world that pop didn't need to involve predictable melodic/harmonic/rhythmic changes
to sell, but XTC only achieved mass (relatively) popularity once Partridge refashioned himself as a Moulding type songwriter.

Reminds one of Lennon griping about McCartney's "sing-a-longs" before he recorded "Double Fantasy."

"I looooove yoooouuuuu, well, well, now and ..." (oops, gotta barf now.)

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