Actress married to Kurt Weill / MON 11-21-11 / 1970 hit by Sugarloaf / Older woman's plaything in slang / Old dagger / Funnywoman Rudner

Monday, November 21, 2011

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: iTUNES (67A: Where to find the songs in this grid ... or an appropriate title for this puzzle) — songs with a color and some form of "EYE" in the title

Word of the Day: LOTTE LENYA (11D: Actress married to Kurt Weill) —
Lotte Lenya (18 October 1898 – 27 November 1981) was an Austrian singer, diseuse, and actress. In the German-speaking and classical music world she is best remembered for her performances of the songs of her husband, Kurt Weill. In English-language film she is remembered for her Academy Award-nominated role in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961) and as the sadistic Rosa Klebb in the James Bond movie From Russia with Love (1963). (wikipedia)
• • •
Not really a Monday, and definitely not a puzzle for anyone under 30. Old songs with "eye" in them. Two -EYED, one EYES. Cutesy reveal. It's OK, I guess, if you enjoy LAYERs and BRAYERs and CD PLAYERs. Four partials is at least two too many for my taste. I'm guessing that if you know the music and like the music, you'll like this puzzle, and if not, not. I went through a classic rock phase in high school (yes, all these songs were already classic rock 25 years ago), so I knew all the titles, though "GREEN-EYED LADY" was by far the hardest to come up with, mainly because no one today, including most of those who actually lived through the very early '70s, could pick Sugarloaf out of a line-up. I actually listened to the opening of The Who's "Quadrophenia" today (a remastered version appears to have just been released—it's featured on Spotify), so seeing them at 1A was a strange coincidence.

Theme answers:
  • 1A: With 10- and 65-Across, 1971 hit by The Who ("BEHIND / BLUE / EYES")
  • 28A: 1967 hit by Van Morrison ("BROWN-EYED GIRL")
  • 44A: 1970 hit by Sugarloaf ("GREEN-EYED LADY")
No serious sticking points—just a general feeling that the cluing was slightly tougher / vaguer than the usual Monday cluing. Clue on BAR for instance (53A: Legal profession). Perfectly good clue, but there are way more Mondayish clues for that one. I wanted LAW. Nice musical clue on REUNITE, but again, took some crosses to figure out (42D: What the Beatles never did). No big deal. Probably the most interesting feature of the grid is the crosswordesey LOTTE LENYA showing up here in her full-name form. I had to learn both her first and last names as part of my ongoing crossword training, but I don't think I've ever seen them together in the grid like this. Speaking of crosswordese, let's pause a moment to acknowledge the presence of both SNEE (62A: Old dagger) and ELY (66A: Cathedral town near Cambridge), but of whom YOU will be seeing again, if you haven't had your fill of them already.

  • 16A: Hollywood's Howard and Perlman (RONS) — wish Perlman had been replaced with Jeremy. Lots of actors today. MEL Brooks (58D: Funnyman Brooks). RITA Rudner (42A: Funnywoman Rudner). The aforementioned LOTTE LENYA.
  • 23A: Older woman's plaything, in slang (BOYTOY) — disappointingly, not SEX TOY. I guess sex toys could belong to women (and men) of any age.
  • 51A: Who said "The joke's on you, Riddler!" (BATMAN) — it seems he said this at least once in the '60s TV series ... in keeping with the general old-timeyness of this puzzle.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Matthew G. 9:12 PM  

Post's up early? Interesting.

Anyway, I had no difficulty with any of the songs — I may have been born in the 70s, but those songs are all classics to my mind.

LOTTE LENYA, on the other hand? Not. A. Clue. most obscure long Monday fill ... Ever? I do know who Kurt Weill is, but I can't believe I'm expected to know his wife on a Monday.

Even so, my time was barely above normal for a Monday because everything else was a peach. Liked the puzzle.

Jo 9:43 PM  

Nothing I didn't know, but the mind had to stretch more than usual for a Monday. SNEE I only got thanks to Jabberwocky, where I think there was a "snicker-SNEE."

Tobias Duncan 10:05 PM  

I knew all the songs in hindsight but I have blocked them from memory, I just hate the 200 or so songs that are in rotation on every classic rock station in the entire country.Im may not be their fault, but I would erase them from the planet if I could.

This puzzle was chock full of crosswordese and felt clunky as hell.
Took me double my Monday average time.

foodie 12:11 AM  

I thought it was a good puzzle, but misplaced. It really should have been a Tuesday. The theme was consistent and the reveal was good. But as noted by Rex, the cluing was harder in some places than would be expected on a Monday.

Favorite entry by far is BOYTOY...and I did like all the music references In the fill.

thursdaysd 12:15 AM  

Thought it was going to be really tough for me when I saw all those music clues, but it went down pretty quickly, even though I had to guess the songs and some names. Plenty of crosses to help.

I was tempted by cOugar before BOYTOY. Nothing else stood out, except that "BRITs" don't only live in London.

SethG 12:23 AM  

There should have been more songs about other eye colors. These have been done too many times.

Kristin 12:24 AM  

Thought it was a colors theme (ORANGE TREE?) till I got the pun...iTUNES is where you go and cheat ha ha, but no need to since I knew most and got the rest from crosses.

retired_chemist 12:58 AM  

Agree with all that this puzzle was crunchier than a Monday usually is.

Writeovers: DIRK @ 62A (SNEE) and DEPAUL @ 59A (LOYOLA). Each fits the clue perfectly but is wrong.

Thanks, Mr, Collins.

Anonymous 1:33 AM  

I am under 30 and yes a very unenjoyable solving experience. I eventually got Lotte Lenya and knew it had to be wrong. I mean just look at it.

Ugh. Better luck tomorrow.

chefwen 1:55 AM  

Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown. Oh, the line forms on the right babe. Now that Macky's back in town. Mack the knife, Mom's fave.

Loved the puzzle, right in my wheelhouse. Yeah, I'm that old. Only write over was BROWN EYED GIRL over green EYED GIRL when GREEN EYED LADY showed her pretty face.

Thank you for a fun Monday Peter A. Collins.

arearug careens michaels 2:12 AM  

Wow, how does Peter get away with breaking all the rules on a Monday yet!!!

First of all, you can never repeat a word, otherwise I would have a hundred more puzzles up my sleeve...

iTUNES definitely is a WONDERFUL payoff, but still!!!!!!!! How can you repeat a word without its being a rebus???!!!!
He really broke the usual rule, plus at least ten words that are not "Monday" in terms of what is usually expected:
NIT (??!) ETS, SAGO, APNEA, GARY, FRA (diavolo) LOYOLA, ELY, ADAGIO, and the much-mentioned LOTTELENYA

(and yes, good call @chefwen, it is in another song)

SO I loved that he got in a slew more music refs, and a bonus ORANGEtree color... so, yay.

I am half torn with jealousy that Peter clearly got away with murder on this (ie two EYED and one EYES and split between three clues for one, but full for the other
(tho beautiful parallels with BEHIND/ITUNES and BLUE/EYES) so that's why he can get away with it...
so half jealous (GREENEYED LADY?) half thrilled bec it means Will MUST need Mondays and clearly has none, and I have some backlogged, so they should start cropping up!

Seriously, how did he get away with repeated words???!!!!!!!!
You go, Peter! I'm not mad that he did, I've always wanted to...
but I've never gotten one passed!

As a solver, this was hard for me. I had zero idea about the coll. hoops thing, or if Jesus was a BABE or BABy bec I wasn't sure about ETS.
And I needed every cross for FRA, considered mOXY for awhile.
Tough tough tough, but colorful!

OH! ANd I loved BOYTOY, esp bec I was watching the PBS Woody Allen doc while solving...and marveling that they were completely not even tiptoeing around the inappropriateness of the whole Mariel Hemingway thingie in "Manhattan" that would play itself out in a very different way but a few years later...
There was Mariel, all aged and plastic-surgeried later just blithely commenting on how loving and real he was during the filming!

jberg 7:09 AM  

LOTTE LENYA was not originally in the lyrics to "Mack the Knife"-- she was added in a 1960s cover of the song (by Bobby Darin, of all people, if memory serves) as an homage to her being the first singer to perform it, in Berlin, in the Brecht/Weill Dreigroschenoper (Threepenny Opera). She was a big star, whomever she was married to.

I don't know how to embed, but here she is.

I didn't like BRIT when the clue pointed to Cockney - but I guess he wanted to match that clue wih 34A.

Glimmerglass 7:28 AM  

Easy. Would you believe I'm too OLD to know these songs? Never heard any of them, that I remember. Nevertheless, the [color] EYE theme was obvious very early from crosses. Not much obscure here (perhaps ELY and LOYOLA). Maybe a Tuesday, but still pretty easy.

dk 8:23 AM  
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dk 8:24 AM  

More of a Magic Bus guy my self. And, as Tobias wrote I have an iPod hooked up to my car stereo to avoid the top 200 especially GREENEYEDLADY.

The puzzle is fine. I am becoming my sister as she only begins puzzles now on Wednesday... but she is a hater or is that hatter.

One word made the puzzle for me:

Andrea! Behind! (Insert Beavis and Butthead chortle about here).

** (2 Zits) I may be jaded.

Tho, I the puzzle has prompted me to listen to Radio (aka Turn it up -- Radio).

PanamaRed 8:37 AM  

Jeez, @Tobias Duncan, you would now cleanse the planet of classic rock songs/stations, and that's after you've cleansed the planet of sports! The world would be a boring place if you had your way.

Anyhow - I liked the puzz - knew all the songs as soon as I got a couple of crosses.

And thanks @jberg for the info on "Mack the Knife" - I did not know that, but loved the Bobby Darin cover of the song.

joho 8:38 AM  

@area rug careens michaels drummed in into my head that you can't repeat a word in a puzzle so I, too, was astonished to see it here. But I enjoyed the puzzle very much even in it's non-Mondayish feeling.

Looks like Will is loosening up and breaking the rules more and more often. This makes for interesting new directions in crossword world.

Anybody remember the joke in "Punchline" by Taylor Negron about, "you don't need a cahpet you need an arrrrrrea rug!"

After Lotte Lenya died I was in line to rent her apartment but it went into probate so I never even saw it.

Thanks, Peter, I enjoyed it!

evil doug 8:53 AM  

"One word made the puzzle for me: Andrea! Behind! (Insert Beavis and Butthead chortle about here)."

dk: You're kind of starting to creep me out with this persistent and suggestive stalking-of-Acme deal.

But as long as you've opened that (back) door, perhaps "Brown Eyed Girl" holds a special meaning for you. And so might this classic from Spinal Tap:

Big bottom, big bottom
Talk about mud flaps, my baby's got 'em
Big bottom drive me out of my mind
How could I leave this behind?


jackj 9:11 AM  

Peter Collins gives us a good, fun Monday puzzle which means we should once again do the obligatory tut-tutting that, while early week solvers won’t be happy, they should grin and bear it, since it will help them advance their skills (the old “spinach is good for you” gambit).

Truth be told, let’s just say, “thank goodness there was something in this Monday puzzle to rouse our gray matter”.

While the theme was certifiably Monday, the fill was, thankfully, somewhat non-Mondayish with LOTTELENYA, VOYAGING, LOYOLA and CAREENS being of note and, oh man, the clue for “Where London is” had those of us in the know wisely smirking that you weren’t going to fool us with that obvious misdirection, of course it was ONT for Ontario. (Oops.)

But, then, throw in BOYTOY and we’re really percolating again, though it would have been nice if it was noted somewhere, somehow in the puzzle that when BOYTOY(s) grow up they join the ranks of those desirable, attractive devils who are affectionately known as “stud muffins”.

Thanks Peter, you gave us a good one.

quilter1 9:24 AM  

I liked it and found it easy. It went down smoothly. Really liked all the song names; now have them running through my brain. I liked BOY TOY, LOYOLA, AREA RUG, CAREENS, and IN ON IT. I liked the cluing that made me smile.

And who made the no repeated word rule? Bah! This was fun and it worked.

mac 9:27 AM  

Good puzzle, although a little hard for a Monday. I bet most of us enjoy that. Lotte Lenya is crosswordese, IMHO.

I noticed the "eyed" being used twice, but thought it might be acceptable because they are song titles.

ETS could just as easily be YTS for me; just lucked out with the 50-50 guess.

Funny, the zit right on the forehead.

John V 9:30 AM  

So, all I ask of life is an unfair advantage and this morning I got it. I grew up with most of these songs, so this played easy/medium for me. @acme, BABE was my first answer. With the B in place for BABE, I immediately had BEHIND BLUE EYES, and off to the races. NW was dead easy.

Loved the revealer. The eyes/i-s/ayes have it this morning.

Fair bit of indirection in the clues, for a Monday so in that sense it should have been harder, but just wasn't. Had REAIR @32D inintially, ETALIA for ETALII, LAW for BAR, but there were no difficult crosses anywhere. Thought 53D would have been MARK.

I thought 27D clue, "Phonograph successor", was a slight stretch. When I think phonograph, my mind runs to 78s, not 33 players, which I think of as Hi-Fis.

@Evil Doug, surprised you didn't channel Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls, but here you go.

@jberg, I will have Bobby Darin rolling around my mind like a BB in tuna can for rest of the day (nod to Dave Barry's Adventure Dog.)

OT @r.alphbunker: You made mention of the Borgesian database on Friday. THE NEXT MORNING the Times Book Review covered Umberto Eco's new novel, "The Prague Cemetery", which the reviewer characterizes as "... a situation ready-made for a novelist with a Borgesian fascination with reality's perverse permeability by falsehoods." Borgesian two days in a row. Spooky! Off to B&N to pick up Eco's latest.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

@Jo "One two, one two, and through and through his vorpal went snicker-snack."

JC66 9:53 AM  

@ jberg

How to embed URL's

Lindsay 9:56 AM  

My antipathy toward the songs colors my opinion of the puzzle. I see I'm not alone.

Isn't a Phonograph Successor an 8-track? Are we carrying over yesterday's theme? Along with 3-Penny Opera, which is certainly easier to come up with than LOTTE LENYA, though I appreciate @chefwen's insight into the Bobby Darin lyric, which never made sense to me.

OISK 9:57 AM  

Like Glimmerglass, I am to OLD to know any of those songs; I don't know anything by Van Morrison, know only the theme song from CSI from the Who, and Sugarloaf is a mountain. Lotte Lenya, on the other hand, is a gimmee! Despite my pop culture deficits, I finished in 6 minutes, which is about average for a Monday.

mac 10:22 AM  
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archaeoprof 10:23 AM  

Yes, this felt like Tuesday. Big smile at the reveal.

Very good, Peter Collins!

@Tobias and @dk: satellite radio is my answer. Channel 56, Willie's Roadhouse, and Channel 61, Bluegrass Junction.

David 10:43 AM  

Boy was this puzzle ever completely in my wheelhouse. Like a few others here who have posted thus far, I am a huge 60's-70's rock fan, and I got the 3 theme answers with one letter each. Greatly enjoyed the reveal at the bottom. Also a big Bond fan, so once I had LOTTE I filled in LENYA with no other crosses. Wrote over SEGO for SAGO but it didn't keep me from my second ever sub 4 minute Monday.

Two Ponies 10:44 AM  

Great Monday. Thanks Peter.
These songs may get a lot of air time and there is a good reason.
No idea who Lotte or her husband are/were.
Boy toy is both funny and creepy to me.
I love breaking rules and if doing so is going to give us more original puzzles I say "Way to go Will!"

John V 10:50 AM  

Deb Amlen notes that today is Will's 18 anniversary as editor, for those who want to send kudos his way. (Is kudos a Monday word? Hmmm.)

hazel 11:02 AM  

@2ponies - pretty much 100% agreement! though i think BROWN-EYEDGIRL is slightly overplayed (SOOO many other VM songs to pick from!) and BEHINDBLUEEYES could use more air-time. My sampling of classic rock radio is sporadic at best nowadays so maybe this is no longer true.

Love to break the rules! liked this one very much!

dk 11:41 AM  

@evil doug, Sigh... perhaps your right I have beaten that joke (if there ever was one) into the ground.

Now you and @John V. Have me listening to Taj Mahl singing about Big Leg Mommas.

So Tobias ... do you think you may be able to rid us of sports and classic rock stations. I ask as I listened to the Packers v. Viking game on the radio only to find that touch downs and first downs now have sponsors. I can not (ok I can) wait for: "That clipping penalty was brought to you by Jacoby and Myers Attorneys at Law."

ok back to work

evil treedweller 11:44 AM  

Finished with an error. I was prepared to rant about the unfair Weill wife, which I was sure was where my indetectable error lay, but then it turned out I failed to check a cross and had RERUN / SWUN. otherwise, I thought I was going to set a record I was cruising so fast, but it turns out i was slightly slower than a typical Monday even without the mistake.

I agree with @Tobias about the overplay of a number of "classic rock" songs, except out of his 200 I probably really love a dozen or so and you'll get them when you pry them out of my cold, dead 8-track player. To each his own.

@evil doug you've been coming to this site longer than I have, but you're just now getting creeped out by dk's bizarre acme fixation? You really are evil.

Clark 12:19 PM  

OK. Maybe (?!) LOTTE LENYA is not Monday material, but she is worth getting to know. Here is @jberg's link: Mack the Knife. Here's Louis Armstrong singing it (Lotte Lenya mentioned at 2:46). And here's a nice version from 2004: Michael Bublé (Lotte Lenya appears at 2:19).

And here she is (at 2:03–2:23) in the trailer of
From Russia with Love.

r.alphbunker 12:43 PM  

@John V

Look for it in a crossword puzzle next. After all, ZOLAESQUE made the cut.

John V 12:49 PM  

@r.alphbunker: How would you clue "Borgesian"?

Tita 12:52 PM  
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retired_chemist 12:57 PM  

Hand up for RERUN/SWUN. My last correction, and it extended Mr. Happy Pencil's hibernation for a solid minute or more.

Tita 12:59 PM  

Never knew Lotte was a real person - thought she was jsut a nice alliterative name for an old song...

According to wiki, it was Louis Armstrong who improvised her name, because she was in the studio while he was recording.

NPR recording of Louis Armstrong singing Mack the Knife

Oh - Clark - maybe same as yours - well, it took me so long to get the html right, I am leaving it anyway... ;)

r.alph - can I get that app too? Maybe would make me become an app solver rather than a print and solver...

evil doug 1:01 PM  

dk: I say make a date with Acme. Meet her at some crossword deal, wine her, dine her, play a little scrabble, and who knows?

archaeoprof: Absolutely concur on satellite radio. I get one of the cheapest packages there is---dozens of rock, country, soul, rap, et alii---for like $12 a month. I'd give up Starbucks before bailing out of Sirius.


Matthew G. 1:07 PM  

I know the song "Mack the Knife" well, but from a cast recording of "The Threepenny Opera," not Bobby Darin, so it doesn't have LOTTE LENYA mentioned in it.

Maybe she was famous in her lifetime, but unlike playwrights, composers, and novelists, the work of actors is transitory. Even those on film quickly fade from memory for me, even as the film itself burns itself into memory.

I guess I'll always find knowing actors much harder than other famous people, and I just have to accept it. They go in one ear and out the other--regardless of era. I don't feel about them quite the way Tobias does about sports figures, but it's on the same spectrum.

Clark 1:15 PM  

@Tita -- Your link goes to the real deal. What a find! That's Louis singing with LOTTE LENYA. If you were only going to listen to one version, this would be it.

gary 1:22 PM  

For a minute I thought that irish singer enya had a first name of lottel

r.alphbunker 1:26 PM  

@John V
For a Monday puzzle, I would clue it "Library of Babel, e.g." :-)

For a Saturday I would have a puzzle based on Victor Borge's "Inflationary Language" with the revealer being "Type of humor used in this puzzle"

[a famous comedy routine] is [Borge's] "Inflationary Language", where he incremented numbers embedded in words, whether they are visible or not ("once upon a time" becomes "twice upon a time", "wonderful" becomes "twoderful", "forehead" becomes "fivehead", "tennis" becomes "elevennis", "I ate a tenderloin with my fork" becomes "'I nine an elevenderloin with my five'k' and so on and so fifth"). (See wikipedia)

Z 1:32 PM  

Surprised at the medium-challenging. It took me two down clues, BABE and EDIT, before plopping in BEHIND BLUE EYES. Cruised along after that. Only stumble was ETALIa before seeing ITUNES. Super simple for me.

Not quite as old feeling as Saturday's offering, but may have even less balance. A very 1960's-70's feel to everything. So that may account for the degree of difficulty.

I stopped listening to classic rock stations in the late 80's, and "music" radio in general in the '90's. Got most of my music fix from WDET for about a decade, until they fired most of their music hosts and went to news/talk programming. Now it is cd's or my iPod playing when I drive.

dk - I've come to anticipate the daily Beavis and Butthead chortle.

John V 1:32 PM  


Is that not Victor Borge's routine, rather than Jorge Luis Borges?

r.alphbunker 1:51 PM  

@tita, @JenCT
Here is the story behind my crossword puzzle program. My main form of transportation is a bicycle. For years I had seen this other guy riding also but had never talked to him. One day I saw him in a restaurant solving a crossword puzzle from a tattered 1960's Dell Crossword puzzle book. That was sufficient reason to sit down with him and we became friends. He is a very good solver and I knew that competing with him on puzzles would improve my skills. So I came up with the idea to write a computer program that we could use to compare our solutions. The program saves all keystrokes and produces a detailed report of our solutions side by side. Over time I added other features as they occurred to me.

Because of its extremely limited user base (2 people), I have never written an installer for the program. The program needs Java to run and Java may not be installed on your computer.

Since there is no installer it may be frustrating for some one who is not a programmer to install the program and I really don't want to frustrate anybody. However, once installed, the program appears to be robust. My friend prides himself in knowing nothing about computers and in the eight months we have been using it, he hasn't crashed it.

So with these disclaimers, here is a link to a description of the program and how to install it. If you live in NYC, maybe @John V will help you. :-)

MikeM 1:55 PM  

easy peasy. The songs are right in my wheelhouse (52 year old rock fan). Didnt know Lotte Lenya but got her easily from the crosses. I didnt know that her name was in Mack the Knife although I have heard that song a thousand times. Learn something new every crossword...

John V 2:03 PM  

Re: program, thanks for the link. I'll have a go at it at home this evening. Pretty straight forward install instructions, even for this T-SQL schlepper, whose Java skills are a touch rusty.

Have you tested on Linux, Kubuntu or Debian?

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

My cat "Lotte" was named after Ms Lenya - loved her in The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone.

r.alphbunker 2:17 PM  

@John V

I have tested it on Ubuntu.

Regarding cluing BORGESIAN I would argue that that adjective could also be used to denote Victor Borge's style. Many to one works both ways!

Lewis 2:19 PM  

We all have knowledge deficit areas that get in the way of our puzzle solving. There are ways to deal with this:

1. Start familiarizing ourselves with the new area in general.
2. When a puzzle answer is in that area and we don't know it, we try to learn and remember it, even if begrudgingly, so our solving acumen improves.
3. Or we refuse to learn such an area or remember an answer "on principle" because we feel it's wrong to include that area of knowledge in puzzles.
4. (There may be other ways to deal with this as well.)

I tend to be a #2. I figure over time I'll learn the more common answers at least. This seems to be how Rex approaches this issue. Patience and practice (or maybe impatience and practice).

But I also hear people in this blog who are #3's, or who won't do a puzzle if there are too many clues from a deficit knowledge area. Or at least will bitch very loudly.

Many in this blog have been coming here for far longer than I. I'm wondering if anyone has a strong opinion on how to approach the issue of "deficit knowlege areas"...

John V 2:42 PM  

I'm a #2 in your schema. When I started solving, I always cut out and saved the solved puzzle to compare to the solution the next morning. If I had blanks or errors (and this is important for me), I would always write in the correct answer. Writing make it stick better in my brain. To this day, when I come here, either completed or DNF, I continue to write-in the correct answer. Been doing this since 1971.

Works for me. Last week, M-F, I had one, one letter mistake across five puzzles. Saturday was a McTrainWreck for me. Sunday was perfect. (God, such self-serving B.S.)

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

600 here. Blogger just ate my post and will not let me post under my account! RATS!

I wouldn't be able to pick Sugarloaf out of a line up, but GREEN EYED LADY is definitely part of the soundtrack of my life. BEHIND/BLUE/EYES went in with one or two crosses as did BROWN EYED GIRL. I guess Rex is right; I'm over thirty and I surely enjoyed this puzzle, even though I found the non-theme portions more than a little challenging for a Monday.

NIT? Really? Couldn't we clue that as a lice egg or something a few of us would have a chance at?

I had a malapop at 34A. I'm from Detroit and quite familiar with London, Ontario. Like @jackj, I was confident of having caught the misdirection, and then there came ONT at 60D. Anyway, I like having a name for when that happens. It takes so little to please me . . .

@Jo--Don't thank Jabberwocky. Slithy toves, yes. Snicker snee, no. (Were you thinking of the sound snicker snack, maybe?)

A bit off subject here: I was reading Chris Cillizza's political blog today and came across this line: "The Union-Leader kerfuffle — there is NO better word in the English language than 'kerfuffle' — is far from an isolated incident." Nothing to say about that except the shout out to Bob K. Hope he happens by today.

Tita 3:11 PM  
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PanamaRed 3:14 PM  

@tita - thanks for posting that wonderful duet.

Tita 3:15 PM  

@r.alph - so generous of you to share!! (I love the story behind it too...)
I've been in the computer business my entire career, with a program on a stack of punchcards in the basement from some courses at NYU , long ago last century.
However, except for school, never did any programming. I know enough to recognize greatness, but unable to create (like Salieri).

I think I can follow your detailed instructions no problem. If not, I'll shoot JohnV a note next time I foray downtown. ;)

@Lewis - I applaud your attempts at categorization. I do puzzles 'cause they're fun, challenging, a workout, and I learn stuff. Since coming here, I've appreciated the additional education I get into the world of constructing.

With that preamble, I'm a 3, though not because I'm a knowledge snob, but because I subscribe to the cookie sheet theory of memory - my brain is a cookie sheet - as I push more cookies onto it, eventually, others start falling off the other side.
So I try to be selective - no peanut butter, white chocolate chip, or tv/sport/celeb chips of any kind.

Not that I want to be an ignorance snob, but I if I'm gonna not know something, I would prefer to not know an American Idol reference over astronomy.

Hmm...I am starting to sound like
J.B. Lee, Jr., Potential Hog Raiser

(weirdness w/posting this - had to do so 2x)

Lindsay 3:24 PM  

@Lewis --- I suspect most people are a combination of the types you describe. For example I am a walking catalogue of knowledge defecits, most of which I would be happy to fill with facts, except when it comes to tv trivia, which I do not want rattling around in my brain under any circumstances. Sort of like @Tobias feels about sports.

The great thing about this blog's comment section is that it provides a context for otherwise mysterious answers, and thus fixes the information in one's brain. I won't be forgetting Lotte Lenya anytime soon.

Lindsay 3:27 PM  

Also spelling defecits. I meant deficits, of course.

Two Ponies 3:35 PM  

@ Lewis, I'm usually a 2 but I have certain things that turn me into a ranting 3. I don't see that changing in the foreseeable future.

sanfranman59 4:16 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Mon 7:27, 6:51, 1.09, 83%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:18, 3:40, 1.17, 95%, Challenging

dk 4:25 PM  

Man, are some of you late to the party.

But first, I would hardly call my interest in Acme bizarre and creepy.

I mean we have met, we have had dinner together on two occasions and personally I think the restraining order is a term of endearment.

I tried the Beavis and Butthead chortle on my neighbors chickens.

Hey Hen! LAYER! (Insert B&B chortle about here)

All they did was turn their beaks up in the air and let the rain drown them. Now I know how constructors feel when we criticize their work.

The good news: Chicken for dinner.

10 4

retired_chemist 4:38 PM  

@ Lewis - I think #2 is the only functional choice. #1 fails to emphasize the crosswordese terms that often determine success (or not). THEY are the ones to remember.

Learn all you want about opera arias, composers, baseball players, etc. - but only some of them lend themselves to the grid. Learning about the area of one's deficiency will be annoying (you didn't WANT to know that stuff, after all) and also will give you a lot of trivia that NEVER will fit in a real grid. That would pretty much take over your brain, I fear.

Of course if you want to do it that way, well and good. You could earn a LOT on Jeopardy! but it would not be an efficient way to become a more efficient solver.

And I just can't buy the nihilistic approach of #3.

Sparky 4:44 PM  

LOTTELENYA a gimme for me. I did not like the clue. After a long and distinguished career needs better than wife of... Knew only one song BROWNEYEDGIRL. Heard it just the other day. Others easy though crosses particularly with colors in mind. One error, sTUNES/ETALIs. Pleasant puzzle.

@Tita. Already posses a fair amount of trivia, including sports (@Tobias), which comes in handy. I don't seek to pick up more, but it comes in via osmosis anyway. Enjoy yourself. Thanks @Lewis for the analysis.

Sfingi 4:48 PM  

Easy for me, deefeecult for you. Harder to get through Blogger! What's a memcache?

Brilliant puzzle.

"Und der Haifisch, der hat Zahne,
Und die tragt er im Gesicht"

(Lotte Lenya, Mack the Knife w/o umlauts. Too lazy this Monday.)

Also, a mini-theme for Britain, here. ALso, lots of Y letters.

@Lewis - I've been working on memorizing sports shorts for a while, now, with some success.Have found there's no need to learn on a deep level, shich is true for most crosswordese,

Sparky 4:54 PM  

Sometimes when I am making a comment and press Preview, the place where my name should be says When you publish your comment you will be asked to sign in. But when I hit Publish... it jumps to Create a Blog. I alreayd have a blog! So then when I try to get out of that the whole thing disappears including the comment. Anybody know what's going on?

Tita 5:01 PM  

Someone mentioned here a while ago a best practice, which I try to remember to use (when my head isn't overfilled wtih winners of PGA Tours, that is...)

After you've typed, while your cursor is still in the text window, press CTRL-A, then CTRL-C - this selects All text, then Copies to clipboard.
Then whatever happens next, you can always CTRL-V to paste that text back in.

Today I also got a memcache error, and separately, the behavior you described, Sparky.

I also try to always Preview - seems more stable when I do that first. Pretty crummy behavior for such a ubiquitous app...)

@Sfingi - Vielen Danke fuer den Uebersetzung (umlaut-frei) (Probably declension-free too...)

evil treedweller 5:54 PM  

@dk perhaps your interest in acme is neither bizarre nor creepy, but your endless lascivious remarks here, outside of any context, seem that way (to me, at least--and that goes back to pretty much the first one I saw, at least a couple of years ago). If you two worked together, she could take you to the cleaners with a harassment suit. I am willing to believe she actually likes you and wouldn't do that, but that's not generally apparent in these comment threads. just sayin.

Sparky 6:14 PM  

@Tita. Thanks, that was JohnV to me but I guess I didn't understand it. I'll try it now. Bye all.

Sparky 6:14 PM  

Whoopee, it worked.

Anonymous 7:20 PM  

really easy if the rote is in your wheelhouse

Two Ponies 7:26 PM  

@ evil treedweller,
I see you "went blue" and got a real name. After your comment to @ dk I clicked on your name thinking it would take me to your profile. Instead I was sent to a Herman Cain sexual harassment spoof.
Are you that upset by the puppy love?
Are you the original treedweller?

thoughtful in london 7:50 PM  

Let's get this straight once and for all: apnea is not a sleep problem, it is an awake problem. And let's be clear about some simple terms: a Toy Boy is a young man used by an older woman. A Boy Toy is a woman or girl who is the, well, toy of a boy.

Anonymous 7:56 PM  

I'm sure if Beavis & Butthead were solving this crossward puzzle -- then reading Rex, then wading thru the comments, then leaving their own -- they would giggle at:


Even me and my wife laugh when someone mentions it on a TV cooking show.

This puzzle definitely had an English bent.

Boy, BATMAN has been popping up a lot.

I would say for crosswords are a good way to learn your musical signatures (is that the proper term), presidents, and states.
Also, I like NEA as Nat'l Endowment for Arts.

I was waiting/hoping for this tune to pop up:
[url=]Bullet - White Lies, Blue Eyes[/url]

or "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" a popular country-pop music song by
Crystal Gayle (trivia Crystal's eye are blue)
capcha = hicin "A protest by the cast of Green Acres"

JenCT 8:33 PM  

VERY late to the puzzle today, but liked it a lot - very much in my wheelhouse.

@r.alphbunker: thanks for the program link; I sent you an email.

@Clark: cute kitty!

Tita 8:59 PM  

@r.alph...likewise - thanks very much.

@sanfranman - thanks too for the Thursday links - I'm not a Thursday Child per se, but your comment of 8/1/09 was too irresistable!

Sfingi 9:05 PM  

Tita - Thanx, will try.

This time, at preview, it asked for a visual verification, whatever that is, and then said sorry doesn't match.

Sometimes, I put in a single word and go to the preview to see if it's in a good mood.

foodie 9:46 PM  

@sanfranman, do you have a rating for last Saturday, by any chance?

sanfranman59 10:10 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 7:35, 6:51, 1.11, 90%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:15, 3:40, 1.16, 94%, Challenging (8th highest median solve time of 126 Mondays)

@foodie ... check the Saturday blog comments. I didn't post until yesterday, but it's out there. I was surprised that it came in at Easy-Medium and Medium for the two groups of solvers. (I just noticed that I mistakenly called it an Easy-Medium for the Top 100, but 44% actually falls in the middle quintile and so should have been called a Medium.) I thought everything but the NE was Saturday Easy or Easy-Medium, but that section made it a DNF for me.

Evan K. 10:43 PM  

A painful puzzle, with a bizarre layout -- only one way in or out of multiple corners, the key for one being ETALII. Really?

Not at all enjoyable. Didn't know any songs, didn't find the rest of it too much fun, just. No.

Acme 4:09 AM  

@evil tree dweller, @two ponies
If you don't like them it's harassment, if you do, it's romantic. I totally get Where @dk is coming from...hehheh
But thanks for looking out for me!

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

Three ways you could know Lotte Lenya, other than as Kurt Weill's wife:
1) Bobby Darin's lyrics to Mack the Knife include "Miss Lotte Lenya and old Snooky Brown"
2) She was in one of the early James Bond films, and her character was reprised in one of the Mike Myers films
3) She was famous in her own right

pk 2:01 AM  

I thought Goldie Hawn was married to Kurt Someone, and since she fit where Lotte Lenya was supposed to go...well, as you can imagine, it was a mess.

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Delmarian 2:57 PM  

Maybe it is just having solved a jillion puzzles, but I walked through this one. I have never tuned into the music that most of today's puzzles cite. The answers come from just seeing what word could possibly fit, and the limits of the English language generally supply an answer. My problems come when the grid is what someone recently called a "cross name" puzzle.
Rex, lately when I hit the syndicated puzzle button, what comes up is most often yesterday's blog. I'm not an early morning type so it's usually 10am California time when I look to see what's being said. Is it an easy fix? Today, as often lately, I had to resort to Google and sort through various offerings to find you-more painful than just hitting the bookmark bar. Hope you can help, I don't get out much anymore, and this blog is one of the bright spots in my day!

Dirigonzo 3:42 PM  

@Delmarian - if the syndicated button takes you to the prior day's puzzle just scroll to the bottom and click on "newer post"; problem solved. Alternatively you can go to the blog archive on the right side of the blog and pull up any puzzle you want by date; also easy with no googling required.

As to the puzzle, I thought it was a fun Monday, rules be damned. Nice to see NIT as something other than a minor problem to be picked at.

Shout out to Canadian Rex-ites (Can-Rex-ites?) at 60d reminds me to wish them all a happy Boxing Day.

Delmarian 4:49 PM  

@diriginzo. Thanks for the hint, but hitting "newer post" most often still brings up yesterday's grid! I'll try searching
Rex's post.

Nullifidian 12:41 AM  

Another voice from syndie-land.

I'm always pleased to find that Rex has rated a puzzle medium-challenging that I found a complete walkover. And for the record, I'm 31 years old and only have heard one song in the theme list: BROWN-EYED GIRL.

I was pleased by the fact that I could get LOTTE LENYA without any crosses. I've long loved her collaborations with Kurt Weill, but I bet more people might remember her better as Rosa Klebb. For an example of her work, here's "Surabaya Johnny".

And for another musical clip, I bet that Jo was thinking of The Mikado, when Ko-Ko "gnashed [his] teeth | when from its sheath | [he] drew [his] snicker-SNEE!" This was one of the songs filmed for the brilliant biopic of Gilbert and Sullivan, Topsy-Turvy.

I enjoyed the theme answer for its unexpectedness. Based on the completing half the crossword, I had thought that it was going to be "B-sides", which wouldn't be a bad theme for a crossword puzzle either. When I finally got the theme answer, I groaned at the pun but I was still amused by it.

Smith Jonshone 3:49 AM  
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