Classical guitarist with four Grammys / TUE 11-15-11 / Explorer of Rockies / TV heroine in leather skirt / Bygone Hollywood star known for tough-guy roles

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Constructor: Gareth Bain

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: FISHERMEN (58A: What the answers to the four starred clues are?) — "famous" (I'm using this term very loosely) people whose last names are also kinds of fish

Word of the Day: David Allan COE (21D: Country music's David Allan ___) —
David Allan Coe (born September 6, 1939) is an American outlaw country music singer who achieved popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. He has written and performed over 280 original songs throughout his career. As a singer, his biggest hits were "Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile," "The Ride," "You Never Even Called Me by My Name," "She Used to Love Me a Lot," and "Longhaired Redneck." His best-known compositions are the #1 successes "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)," which was covered by Tanya Tucker; and "Take This Job and Shove It," which was later covered by Johnny Paycheck that was later a hit movie (both Coe and Paycheck had minor parts in the film). (wikipedia)
• • •

I didn't know who half these people are, so this was dreadful for me. Needed every cross for: ZEBULON PIKE, ALDO RAY (who I thought, at first, was AL DORAY ...), and JULIAN BREAM (!?!?!?!). I barely know that a BREAM is a fish—this "guitarist" does not pass my Sherman Alexie test. You must be more famous than Sherman Alexie to be a theme answer in the NYT. This rule exists because of a puzzle I once had rejected by Will because (in part) he didn't know who Sherman Alexie was, and thus didn't think him fitting as a theme answer (he didn't know who Sherman Potter was either, but that's another story). Apparently this BREAM guy is also lutenist—so, you know, if you're into that ...

Total guess at the COE / CESARIO crossing (21A: Olivia's love in "Twelfth Night"). No idea about former, clearly forgot the latter (all those damned characters with Italiany, terminal-vowely last names, ugh). So, yeah, I didn't like this at all and have nothing more to say about it.

Theme answers:
  • 3D: *Explorer of the Rockies (ZEBULON PIKE)
  • 18A: *Former 'N Sync member (LANCE BASS)
  • 37A: *Bygone Hollywood star known for tough-guy roles (ALDO RAY)
  • 25D: *Classical guitarist with four Grammys (JULIAN BREAM)

  • 52D: One-named New Age musician (YANNI) — I once had a girlfriend who owned some of his CDs. We didn't date long.
  • 33D: Sharon's predecessor as Israeli P.M. (BARAK) — Ehud. There's also an Ehud Olmert. I couldn't tell one Ehud from the other if my life depended on it.
  • 54D: Mrs. 55-Down on "The Avengers" (EMMA) (PEEL) — By far (and I mean faaaaaar) my favorite thing about this puzzle.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:14 AM  

Julian Bream is not obscure. As the clue says, he's won 4 Grammys. His recordings have been widely available for decades on major labels.


Clark 12:20 AM  

Andres Segovia, Chrisopher Parkening, Julian Bream -- they are the Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Mel Ott of classical guitar.

But I sure did not know ZEBULON PIKE, or ALDO RAY, or COE. And I totally forgot CESARIO, even though I have read it and I saw it some years back at the Vivian Beaumont with Helen Hunt and PAUL RUDD. So, not at all Tuesday-like for me.

Detour 12:23 AM  

Seriously?! HTG on a Tuesday?! Even knowing they were fish still couldn't get BREAM (that's a fish?) or PIKE w/o Google. Crosses didn't help in this area. TAKE (assume) Is iffy IMHO. Didn't know ALDORAY or COE either, but guessed from crosses.
Noticed COE and BREAM were both born in the 30's...On a positive note - this crossword makes me feel young!

@anon: "for decades" being the key words

Gill I. P. 12:24 AM  

I'm not sure what to say about this puzzle. I guess I can start by saying that I counted 15 male names and like @Rex, didn't know my Lil Jon from Al Doray. Yanne makes me want an ALEVE but EMMA PEEL is a GEM. Yay, a female!
I first heard JULIAN BREAM play "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" on quitar. Although in my opinion, not nearly as good as Segovia or Yepes, he makes me happy. He also makes the lute sound as if it's talking to you very softly.
So, I did like BREAM and think that naming your child ZEBULON is great if you want to be in a crossword.
Yikes, my captcha is balsitt!

Detour 12:36 AM  

@Gill: 15 male names and 1 female name! Thanks for pointing that out.

Anoa Bob 12:37 AM  

I know who JULIAN BREAM is but am surprised to see him as a theme in a Tues. puzzle. (As I recall, his name is pronounced "breem" while the fish sounds more like "brim".)

What surprises me more is that the reveal is FISHERMEN while "what the answers to the four starred clues are" are people whose last names are also the names of fish. There are no FISHERMEN in the group that I can see. Would not that be something more along the line of "angler", "trot line setter". "Old Man and the Sea", etc.? PIKE, BASS, RAY and BREAM are all fish, not fishers. I must be missing something here.

Miette 12:46 AM  

I had to 'google' (David Allan) COE and (English Novelist Nick) HORNBY to finish the puzzle. Was able to get the rest on 'crosses'.

Evan 12:58 AM  

Yeah, this puzzle theme would probably have been better executed if it went with first names for the fish instead of last. Some examples:

GARSAMUELSON (former drummer for Megadeth)

I'd even take the fictional KILGORETROUT over JULIANBREAM and ZEBULONPIKE, personally.

Tobias Duncan 1:00 AM  

Geeze I came here to confess that I am an idiot that has never heard of anybody. Now I dont feel so bad.

I have heard the name Zebulon Pike but its waaaaaaay back in the recesses of my brain.If you just gave me the name and made me guess, I might have said Star Trek character.
Most of these others do not even ring a bell.
Damn tough Tuesday, my time says toughish Wednesday.

Jim 1:21 AM  

My only complaint is that Hezekiah Lungfish didn't make it as a theme answer. How did he escape Mr Bain's notice?

Either the most ill-conceived or poorly executed theme I've ever seen...I haven't decided which yet.

Although, it would have been worth it to have Tim Salmon in there, just to see Tobias' head explode.

chefwen 1:22 AM  

Green Bay 45, Minnesota 7 YESSS! GO PACK, NINE AND OHHH!!!

Sorry Tobias, but it had to be said.

Agree with the challenging rating. Like @Rex I wondered who the hell AL DORA? was, tried to squish in DORADO but it wouldn't fit, Oh yeah, ALDO RAY, I remember him. Knew PIKE from PIKE's peak but needed all the crosses to get that first name, what were they thinking?

LIL JON was on Celebrity Apprentice last year, interesting guy, never saw him without his sunglasses on, I don't get that.

Finished before the Packer game came on. Important stuff.
@dk - have you jumped on the band wagon yet?

Gareth Bain 1:49 AM  

Not surprised by these comments at all. Guess this one for those who like names, and the rest of you can tell me to take this crossword and shove it. Surprised you didn't know Aldo Ray though, Rex. He's a crossword staple. The intended way of parsing the key answer is Fish... Er... Men, which partly explains the men.

Rube 2:23 AM  

I, too thought this was a toughie. Still I liked it for the "Oldies'" names like ALDO RAY and JULIAN BREAM. If you spend much time in Colorado, you'll know Pike's peak and ZEBULON PIKE. My only problem there was that I had to take out isle and replace it with TOUR. My only other writeover was INAJAM/INArut. Like others, I also had to guess on the COE-CESARIO crossing. ALso had to guess on the HORNBY/JON crossing.

I always find it humorous how much mileage Ron MEESE gets in xwords.

Any puzzle with EMMA PEEL and Li'l ABNER in it is superb, IMHO!.

r.alphbunker 2:25 AM  

Definitely felt challenging for a Tuesday. Here is a comparison with last Tuesday's puzzle which felt like a typical Tuesday to me.

Eejit 2:46 AM  

Nothing wrong with Julian Bream, excellent guitarist, but I prefer Paco de Lucia. The pathetic Magmic app crashed with two clues left and the grid was empty when I reloaded it, so I had to re-enter everything and finished in 3 minutes, arf arf. Am I the only one who thinks this app is garbage?

V 3:05 AM  

I have no chance with sports-heavy puzzles, but I knew all the names in this one somehow...Kazan (xwordese), Don Juan, Lil Abner, Lance Bass, Nick Hornby (great book), Ali (son is a Will Smith fan). As a one-time denizen of the western US, I found Zebulon Pike to be a gimme (Pike's Peak). Oh wait, I didn't know Lil Jon or Ned Flanders. David Allan Coe, Cesario, and Julian Bream needed a little prompting, but I knew them. I really don't think any of these names are at all obscure.

Greg Charles 3:16 AM  

I find it weird when I know things that Rex complains about, since it mostly works the other way. I knew Zebulon Pike and Julian Bream right off the bat and with minimal crosses. I bet I still didn't beat Rex's time though, even if you tripled it.

Lance Bass was definitely the hardest for me. I didn't even know they gave boy band members individual names.

arena crimea meese-als 3:18 AM  

I too was going to comment that you had to know at least 16 names, but didn't really realize the imbalance of men:women...and the only two women are fictitious! (EMMA PEEL and XENA!)

(Then again, so are two of the men: NED Flanders and Lil ABNER)

ALtho until JULIA turned into JULIAN I thought there might be a third woman...I conflated Julian Barnes with that woman who was the classical musician they made that movie about...maybe she played cello or Bass. Anyone know who 'm trying to think of, as I sure don't.

I count this puzzle as a trivia contest/crossword, which I sort of liked bec I needed every cross for most (JON, COE, BARAK, ZEBULONPIKE, JULIANBREAM) and even all the crosses for names I knew (MEESE, HORNBY, ALDORAY) I think the ONLY one I got right off the bat was

I knew folks would scream, but I loved the J's and X and Z and the idea behind the puzzle and the two "LIL"s (ABNER and JON)

Plus the theme answer FISHERMAN helped me get LANCE what the heck is his last name? Et voila, BASS!

Definitely more a Sun puzzle than a NYT.
My only writeovers tho were INArut, which gave me utuRn for ABORT.

I always confuse ALDO RAY with Alejandro Rey who played the priest in the "Flying Nun"...

I too get confused by the Ehud's, but I think BARAK went to Berkeley.

No idea about BREAM as either musician nor fish, but I look forward to listening.

acme 3:28 AM  

PS @Greg Charles
Ha!!! Till I watched Rex's video, I had TOTALLY forgotten that Justin Timberlake was in N'Sync!!!!!!!!

When I googled to see if that was indeed Justin Timberlake in that video, I found Justin's marionette doll in a box is going for only $12.00 on EBay! Get on it, girls!

aceof cesario michaels 3:34 AM  

oops, promise last one, but didn't want to get misinformation out there...Ehud BARAK went to Hebrew University then Stanford.
I was confusing it with when he came to speak at Berkeley and was wildly protested.
But you know, he was one of the masterminds behind Entebbe...check him out!

jae 3:49 AM  

Tough Tues. Could have been an average Thurs. Didn't know PIKE's first name or the BREAM guy and also misparsed ALDORAY. Did know COE. Got it sorted out but it took way longer than usual.

Speaking of Natick, I read in the paper today that it is the home of the R&D center for making military MRE's (crosswordese?) more tasty.

Clark 4:34 AM  

Julian Bream playing Villa Lobos

Anonymous 6:06 AM  

Acme--do you mean Jacqueline du Pre?

Del Taco 6:07 AM  

I didn't like this Tuesday puzzle
I agree, too many obscure names

joho 7:20 AM  

This is one of those puzzles I find rewarding when finishing because I did not know, or only vaguely knew, the FISHERMEN but was able to get them through crosses.

@Gareth Bain, thanks for sharing the correct parsing of FISH ER MEN, because without your input it would be pretty near impossible to figure that out!

I'm with @Rex regarding EMMA stacked next to PEEL ... very cool and my favorite thing about this puzzle.

David 7:36 AM  

It's curious - I found all of the names easy, although I paused over AL DORAY, but FISHERMEN and that corner were the last to fall. What's obvious about the ACEOF spades?

Once Elia KAZAN came to mind (sadly, associated with naming names for HUAC), it was off to the races. Those were beautiful nmes in and of themselves, even without the fishy theme.

Z 7:58 AM  

Knew Lance Bass. Zebulon was an "oh, that's right" once the crosses were mostly done. ALDO RAY and JULIAN BREAM, on the other hand, are not in my memory banks (although ALDO does seem vaguely familiar from a prior crossword).

Had aCE for ICE for the longest time, although knowing that the last names were fish would not have helped me with BREAM, anyway.

So far a tough week. I'm wondering if a few DNFs lie in my future.

@Matt G yesterday - Sadly, I wasn't joking. The game was TETRIS but I kept reading Tempest. Sigh.

hazel 8:07 AM  

i liked this puzzle's quirkiness and I bet @archaeoprof knows David Allan Coe! even though i never saw a live performance, they were legendary down here. He's kind of a cross between Hank Jr. (no thank you) and George Jones in the rowdy drunk dept. And there was ALWAYS the potential for a fight to break out.

I'd heard of everyone but JulianBREAM - the fish part made him easy to get, tho.

@Gareth - thank you for the parsing confirmation. That's the way I had it parsed too - I thought it was v. clever. QED I too was v. clever.

The Bard 8:08 AM  

Twelfth Night > Act I, scene V

VIOLA (in man's attire as Cesario): Make me a willow cabin at your gate,
And call upon my soul within the house;
Write loyal cantons of contemned love
And sing them loud even in the dead of night;
Halloo your name to the reverberate hills
And make the babbling gossip of the air
Cry out 'Olivia!' O, You should not rest
Between the elements of air and earth,
But you should pity me!

OLIVIA: You might do much.
What is your parentage?

VIOLA: Above my fortunes, yet my state is well:
I am a gentleman.

OLIVIA: Get you to your lord;
I cannot love him: let him send no more;
Unless, perchance, you come to me again,
To tell me how he takes it. Fare you well:
I thank you for your pains: spend this for me.

VIOLA: I am no fee'd post, lady; keep your purse:
My master, not myself, lacks recompense.
Love make his heart of flint that you shall love;
And let your fervor, like my master's, be
Placed in contempt! Farewell, fair cruelty.


OLIVIA: 'What is your parentage?'
'Above my fortunes, yet my state is well:
I am a gentleman.' I'll be sworn thou art;
Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions and spirit,
Do give thee five-fold blazon: not too fast:
soft, soft!
Unless the master were the man. How now!
Even so quickly may one catch the plague?
Methinks I feel this youth's perfections
With an invisible and subtle stealth
To creep in at mine eyes. Well, let it be.
What ho, Malvolio!

[Re-enter MALVOLIO]

MALVOLIO: Here, madam, at your service.

OLIVIA: Run after that same peevish messenger,
The county's man: he left this ring behind him,
Would I or not: tell him I'll none of it.
Desire him not to flatter with his lord,
Nor hold him up with hopes; I am not for him:
If that the youth will come this way to-morrow,
I'll give him reasons for't: hie thee, Malvolio.

MALVOLIO: Madam, I will.


OLIVIA: I do I know not what, and fear to find
Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind.
Fate, show thy force: ourselves we do not owe;
What is decreed must be, and be this so.


Glimmerglass 8:17 AM  

I liked this Tuesday puzzle, because I like hard puzzles and I usually have to wait for the end of the week for one like this. I'm a closet CW fan so David Allen COE was a gimme. Best song: "You don't have to call me darlin', [pause] Darlin'--You never even call me by my name." Figured the fish was a PIKE (Pike's Peak), but didn't know his first name. However, when I had ..EBULON, what else could it be? (I didn't remember Ella, but KAZAN certainly seemed possible). There were lots of gimmes, which made the obscure (to me) names gettable, but this felt more like a Friday than a Tuesday.

jberg 8:25 AM  

Must be something wrong with me, I enjoyed this one! Started by writing in the gimmes at 1A and 6A - an X and a Z! - and knew the puzzle would be unusual.

I did try ZEBediah PIKE, but fortunately that didn't fit, and then I remembered he was ZEBULON. I knew JULIAN BREAM, and thought I didn't know ALDO RAY (I too wanted AL DORAdo), but it sounded right so I guess I've heard of him.

So why did I like it? I guess the weird names, EMMA PEEL, CROP - Li'l ABNER. But also, I really don't care what day of the week it is - if I'd like it on a Wednesday or Thursday, I'll like it on a Tuesday.

Finished with an error though - thought XENA was XErA, giving me LArCE BASS - an unlikely name, but what do I know?

Writeovers: TachS for TTOPS, IN A rut for IN A JAM, emoTE for ORATE.

If you don't know Nick Hornby, go read him right now. The opening of How To Be Good is one of the best in literature.

Campesite 8:42 AM  

I like the Sherman Alexie rule.  That Coe Cesaro near Natick, for a Tuesday, at the C.

Ditto on the Nick Hornby love, and his work tends to turn into pretty good film, particularly High Fidelity, An Education, and About a Boy. The last one sports a lovely soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy. Take a look/listen:

Something To Talk About

SethG 8:43 AM  

Too bad Jackson Pollock is a 14. I thought the Brad Pitt character in Inglorious Basterds was Aldo Ray, but it was Aldo Raine. In homage.

Jp 8:43 AM  

I don't like themes that rely on some pop culture and other obscurities whether they are sport figures, musicians, politicians etc. This one was loaded with such clues that I just don't care to remember.
Very difficult for a Tuesday. Rex said it all.

dk 8:44 AM  

Highway Patrol is my favorite TV memory from the young dk years. I wanted my dad to put a shotgun on our car door.. alas he would not.

I know my fish but I stared at ALDORAY for about 5 minutes before it hooked.

New Mexico sisters are big C&W fans so COE was easy but CESARIO was -- I guess so. How far can I fall?

I know! I can tell you that COE is an alternate spelling for Koi, Coy or pretty carp. And, they would be fish. Can you tell I was on the DEANS list?

Another early week challenge . Thank you Mr. Bain.

*** (3 Stars) Lotsa names.

Now you know HORNBY read High Fidelity .

efrex 8:46 AM  

Nobody has any love for Tuesday puzzles, so I'll try to lay off this one a bit, but this one was about as far removed from my wheelhouse as one can get. Don't think I know any of the proper names in this thing, except for BARAK and KAZAN. Certainly didn't know from any of the theme answers, although I have heard of bream (the fish), so I was able to fill in Julian's last name without needing every cross.

John Milton 8:46 AM  

Hi Rex. I wanted to thank you for continuing to do the crossword puzzles. I run the blog over at Good Apps and we are reviewing puzzles. Your blog has really helped me. Would it be ok to cite you in my upcoming post on good apps? Thanks!

John V 8:58 AM  

Yes, challenging. 15 minutes for a Tuesday (paper) is WAY long. Like @Rex guessed 21A, but guessed wrong with an R, so Naticked there. Had no clue on ALDORAY but got that with the crosses.

Good news: I knew JULIAN BREAM. Bad news: didn't know BREAM is a fish, so the theme was confusing just there. For my tastes, YANNI does not pass the breakfast test.

100 is APLUS? Would have thought it to be an A.

So, finished with one crappy error.

jackj 9:02 AM  

Gareth Bain goes swimming with the fishes and in the process clues so many proper nouns we find ourselves involved in a spirited game of “What’s My Name” (but, sadly, without the beauteous Rihanna).

This puzzle will forever be remembered in some circles as the crossword which evoked memories of that legendary Zen Buddhist koan:

“How many peaks could be picked to be PIKE(s) when PIKE preferred that the one picked peak not be PIKE but be Zebulon?”

Shed a tear, no Ed MUSKIE.

quilter1 9:05 AM  

What? No outrage at 42D?

I liked it. Harder for a Tuesday, but I knew most of the names and got the rest from crosses. Of course liked EMMA PEEL, and PAX Romana. I liked the cluing for ROBED. Ditto @dk on memories of Highway Patrol. You didn't have to be pretty to be on tv then, male or female. Tough guys looked tough.

rangl: this puzzle

Matthew G. 9:10 AM  

I found this only slightly harder than average for a Tuesday. ZEBULON PIKE was my second entry in the grid, off the Z in KAZAN -- I'm a geography/history buff, so explorers and the like will always be easier for me than other proper names such as actors/singers. I guess that gave me a major time boost over most solvers today.

Also knew HORNBY and COE. On the other hand, I needed every cross for ALDO RAY and JULIAN BREAM, but those crosses thankfully weren't hard to get, so I never felt like I was struggling that badly with this.

I have to agree with Will that Sherman Alexie is not famous enough for the puzzle (sorry, Rex), but neither is JULIAN BREAM. I mean, he may be one of the most famous classical guitarists, but with all due respect ... is that saying much? It certainly isn't saying enough on a Tuesday. Add to that the fact that BREAM is a fish that only exists in European streams, and you've got a pretty obscure early-week answer right there.

The only BREAM I know is Sid. SAFE! Safe at the plate!.

Eric 9:10 AM  

Totally agree with Rex

Probably an age thing 9:25 AM  

One of my better Tues times.

From the department of meaningless (but interesting) statistics:

Rex Parker 1,900,000 Google hits
Emma Peel 1,760,000
Aldo Ray 1,700,000
Julian Bream 822,000
Ned Flanders 440,000


jesser 9:35 AM  

I used to like David Allan Coe until I heard one of his song that was blatantly racist and pretty much endorsed lynching. My take on him changed instantly.

I don't know whether I'd have had trouble with the ZEBULON PIKE answer had Rex not made a Facebook post about the name ZEBULON that I read prior to doing the puzzle.

As it was, my last letter was the B at the HORBY/BREAM intersection, and it was a Total Guess. Never heard of the fish or the guitarist. But I knew of Bruce HORNsBY, so I thought ok maybe. I also needed every cross to get ALDO RAY. WTF?

LANCE BASS is the gay one.

And now: that work thing. Happy Tuesday, Rexites!

hazel 9:46 AM  

@MatthewG - not sure where you got your info on bream, but the BassProShop begs to differ with you:

"We love bream fishing for many reasons. These bantam panfish fight like blue blazes for their size. They're tops on the dinner table. Umpteen-jillion swim in nearly every lake, river, creek and pond in the country. When we want to catch lots of fish, regardless of size, bream answer the call. Nowhere in the continental U.S. are we more than a short drive away from a body of water well populated with one species or another". It does go on, but you get the picture.

I do like your homage to Sid Bream, however. I remember precisely where I was during that call: a Holiday Inn Express in Pensacola, Florida. I was there by myself for a meeting and went out in the hallway thinking SOMEONE else would have watched the game - wanted to high five. celebrate. Nothing.

They replay Skip's "Braves win Braves win Braves win" alot down here, and it gives me chills every time. What a game/series. And congratulations to our Craig Kimbrel - unanimous choice as NL Rookie of the Year!!

David 9:53 AM  

Last week I was about a half minute slower than a normal Tuesday - today it was about 5 minutes (10 mins total)! Yes, Challenging. Got the theme early, as I knew ZEBULONPIKE with only a cross or two to go with LANCEBASS. Also have seen ALDORAY many times. But I've never heard of JULIANBREAM and would've been Naticked with this Hornby buy had Bream not been part of the theme.

Just wasn't wired well to solve this one. Very slow to get APLUS for 100, and barely got SEMIS for 67A, both of which should've been easier. Also guessed the C on COE/CESARIO.

Tobias Duncan 9:53 AM  

Dang it,Sherman Alexie is to famous! His wikipedia page does not do him justice."Smoke Signals was the darling of the arthouse scene when it came out and there is no mention of his 4 World Heavyweight Poetry Bout tittles (98 to 2002 when he retired)back then he was arguably the best slam poet alive.He is also the most famous contemporary native american writer.

foodie 9:55 AM  

"I didn't like this at all and have nothing more to say about it."

Matthew G. 9:57 AM  


I was going off the Wikipedia page, which states: "The common bream's home range is Europe north of the Alps and Pyrenees, as well as the Balkans. It is found as far east as the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, and the Aral Sea."

There's no mention of the fish existing anywhere in the USA. But Wikipedia is hardly infallible, so I'm sure you're right.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:00 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle, but apparently I suffered from a misdirection no one else has mentioned:

As I worked my way down, I saw LANCE, PIKE, RAY, and thought we were going to have a reveal that had something to do with weaponry! (I know, I'm looking at both first and last names . . .)

@quilter1 - In case you are not joking - I also felt a twinge as I filled in the answer to 42 D, Lab supply source?, but then I realized it referred to LABradors, not LABoratories!

Lindsay 10:02 AM  

I was drunk the day my mama got out of prison*. That must be why I had two blanks on a Tuesday. H-RN-Y crossing the rapper who could have been Jen, Jan, or Jon, and the guitarist/fish I've never heard of.

Actually, I really liked the idea of having fish-people revealed by FISHERMEN. But people I've heard of would have helped. Nice try Gareth.

*David Allan Coe

evil doug 10:17 AM  

Okay, puzzle-builders, take heed: The PC police have made gender-counting the topic du jour, so make sure you get your quota of female in-fill or face the consequences. Obviously, only men can know answers of the male persuasion, so you're clearly not meeting Title IX obligations unless you get more babes in your dude-dominated puzzles.

Of course, if you can squeeze "acme" in there, you're one chick closer to fulfilling this requirement.


jesser 10:17 AM  

@ Lindsay: The song was actually co-written by Coe and the late, great Steve Goodman, best known for having penned "City of New Orleans."

hazel 10:27 AM  

@tobias d - Louise Erdrich is pretty famous too, you sexist so-and-so! Also, do you remember where you were during Sid Bream's slide?

I guess that's it for me for today (#3.) So don't get mad. You know I'm just kidding with you!

Lindsay 10:28 AM  

Jesser, thanks. I was just singing the song in my head, not looking anything up.

Mel Ott 10:35 AM  

Insert my usual proper name rant here. Sheeze, when the theme is proper names, couldja at least be sparing in your use of proper names for fill? 22 non-theme proper names.

The only theme name I knew was ZEBULON PIKE. Oh, I didn't know AL DORAY, but I have heard of ALDO RAY.

BREAM is indeed a popular freshwater panfish. Usually pronounced BRIM. I think there's also something called a Sea BREAM.

Two Ponies 10:35 AM  

I'm usually one to gripe about proper names but this one came very easily. The exception was the guitarist but I do know my fish.
I only knew Lance Bass because a friend of mine used to date him.
@ jberg, I toyed with something like Zebediah Pike but I think it was because Ned had me in a Simpsons frame of mind and the founder of Springfield was Jedidiah Springfield (not sure of the spelling).

Shamik 10:41 AM  

@quilter1 and Bob Kerfuffle: Absolutely felt a twinge at 42D and didn't realize until Bob's post that it meant the dogs. Yeesh on me!

Medium-challenging at 5:37 for me for a Tuesday. But I liked this puzzle and all its obscure/not so obscure names. Knew all of them but CESARIO. But then I have a minor in English with as little Shakespeare study in as possible (one survey course). Color me uncultured?

Glimmerglass 10:58 AM  

Re the charge the David Allen Coe is racist: see Maybe he's only really insensitive!

John 11:08 AM  

I thought the reveal was "Anchormen" and was imagining Zebulon as some right-wing news anchor in Oklahoma City. This one was definitely a Wednesday or a Thursday, not a Tuesday.

r.alphbunker 11:15 AM  

Re: Sherman Alexie

jesser 11:18 AM  

@Glimmerglass: Interesting read. But it doesn't change my mind. The songs changed my mind about the man. I didn't know about (or read) the NYT piece to formulate my opinion. I just heard the songs and was repulsed by them. Three and out!

TimJim 11:29 AM  

Liked it fine. Knew all the names except LANCEBASS, which was easy through crosses. Knew Zebulon because long ago I spent some time around the town of Zebulon, GA. Loved the ginger ale ad!

archaeoprof 11:36 AM  

@Hazel; of course!

@Jesser: how about Coe's send-up of all-too-typical country music:

"I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison,
and I went to pick her up in the rain,
but before I could get to the station in my pickup truck,
she got run over by a damned old train."

syndy 11:42 AM  

I got the ZEBULON OFF CROSSES but knew pikes' peak. I know ALDO RAY but misparsedit anyway and did not know AL DORA* . Had JULIO **REAM but knew the fish and fixed that! I am definitely willing to go with LAbrador for 42 d.I figured WILL figured he had a little challenge unused from yesterday.still doable But I can not believe Rex "UGHED" W.S.!

Two Ponies 11:53 AM  

@ archaeoprof, That song makes me laugh every time. Solid gold.

Steve 12:25 PM  

Kept trying to force DORADO or DORY into ALDORAY. Too many viewings of Finding Nemo, I guess. A couple of Bay Area boys, Ed Meese (Oakland) and Aldo Ray (Crockett) make a Tuesday.

Rube 12:29 PM  

If you've listened to a classical music station during the last 50 years, you can hardly not know JULIAN BREAM. However, pursuing bream as a fish, Google informs me that bream are a European sunfish but the term is more broadly applied elsewhere to sunfish, or panfish, in general. Personally, I've caught many a bluegill at Lake Powell and just today found out that they are also called bream.

miriam b 12:38 PM  

@Rex: Sherman Alexie is one terrific writer, IMHO.

I once had a boss who was crazy about YANNI. She was crazy in other respects as well.

@Tobias Duncan: Were you thinking perhaps of Zaphod Beeblebrox?

Kilgore Trout? How about his inspiration, Theodore Sturgeon?

Stan 12:56 PM  

I found the collection of names very cool, esp. ZEBULON Pike and EMMA PEEL. Is that just because I recognized them all (or at least could dredge them up)? Probably, which puts me in a rather odd Venn-diagram intersection of folks.

I guess one solver's needless obscurity will be another's A PLUS. Please keep them coming Gareth.

MikeM 12:57 PM  

I only knew ALDO RAY from previous crosswords. After 40 years of crosswords some of these names stick, Aldo is one of them. Did not know Zeb Pike, but knew Pikes Peak and worked backwords. LANCE BASS is the only Nsync guy I know, so I lucked out there. Didnt know BREAM, got it from the crosswords. Nick HORNBY is an excellent author - read High Fidelity if you haven't already. Tough Tuesday but finished with no errors and no Googles; so not *that* tough

mac 1:28 PM  

Nice puzzle, crunchy for a Tuesday, but I got the whole thing without help. I too had the u-turn/--rut write-over.

Not sure if Kart without Go is used here.

I got the fish theme at Bass, but stared at ALDORAY awhile, wanting dorade... Love Hornby, and love Sherman Alexie, whom I discovered through the blog.

@Shamik: no worries, Gareth is a vet. Maybe that's why there are so many animals in the puzzle. I spot a rat and an eel as well.

Favorite words: pax Romana.

Laurence Hunt 1:29 PM  

Maybe this is a generational thing. I've listened to Julian Bream all my life, and my grandparents used to send postcards home from Pike's Peak, and we all knew that it was named for Zebulon - in fact, we were probably taught his name in school. But I had no clue who Lance Bass or Aldo Ray were, let alone David Allan Coe! Nor did I know that bream is a fish! Pretty challenging for a Tuesday, nonetheless.

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

Painful. Obscure. Ruined my lunch-hour.

Like @Rex, the only positive thing about the puzzle was EMMA PEEL.

Matthew G. 1:50 PM  

@Rube: That's what I came to see upon further research of BREAM: "True" bream are an exclusively European fish, but the word is informally used to describe a number of other species. I doubt I'll forget the word again!

Lewis 2:07 PM  

@johnv -- did you mean crappie?

Had no problem with Zebulon, but I think I'm the only person here who didn't know EMMA PEEL.

Guessed on the C at 21 (guessed right).

Nice to hear an echo of OLD NICK at 65a.

BREAM seems like a good one to remember from this puzzle. Tougher than a usual Tuesday, and I felt good completing it.

Masked and Aldonymous 2:38 PM  

Knew: ZEBULONPIKE and ALDORAY. Have climbed (well, driven up) part of Pike's Peak. Always confuse Aldo Ray with John Agar ("The Mole People" -- great schlock flick with WArd Cleaver in it).
Never ever heard of: LANCEBASS, JULIANBREAM and BREAM the fish.
Eww Moment: PuzSpouse, as several others here, felt sorry for all the PETSHOP animals sold to those labs for nasty experiments. Except for budgies; then she felt sorry for the labs.

This puz was pretty feisty for a Tuesday, here. Took an extra cinnamon roll to get 'er to squawk. Nothing wrong with that, tho. M&A

sanfranman59 3:17 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)

Tue 10:32, 8:52, 1.19, 91%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:35, 4:34, 1.22, 96%, Challenging

ALDO RAY was the only theme answer that I came up with immediately. I know I've seen ZEBULON PIKE's name before, but I needed a few crosses to dig it up from my memory. I'm a tad surprised that Rex and others don't know RAY. According to, his full name has been in the puzzle 6 times and his first name 16 times (generally clued as Actor Ray or something similar).

Z 3:37 PM  

@mariam b - 42

Chip Hilton 4:03 PM  

Sherman Alexie does not pass my JULIAN BREAM test.

COE/CESARIO crossing a total guess for me.

Mike 4:29 PM  

Really disliked this puzzle. Actually gave up when I realized I probably didn't know a single theme answer. On a Tuesday, no less!

JenCT 4:29 PM  

ZEBULON PIKE was my big holdup.

Is today really Tuesday?

This puzzle makes me want to create a woman-themed puzzle (@acme, what do you think?).

Flinched at 42D also; glad to know the real meaning!

quilter1 4:33 PM  

@Bob Kerfluffle: Thanks for the Lab clarification. I know why I didn't make that connection, but did make the painful one. We have puppy mill problems in Iowa and my understanding is that if you want a quality animal you don't go to a pet shop but to a reputable breeder or better yet, adopt. So getting a Labrador from a pet shop was just not a possibility in my mind. I'm relieved I was wrong, but still think it is kind of an iffy clue since it can be taken the other way. Puppy mills are evil.

Sparky 4:34 PM  

Natick at -OE/-ESARIO. Popped JULIo in for JULIAN which tripped me up over there. Now I recognize the name too late. When I filled in the hint said "These guys all fish?" Gave up too soon. Hay @Rube, neat shout out.

According to the poll most people solve on newspaper. I get the impression that most of the people on this blog solve by Applet and other. Hmmmmm.

Evan 4:39 PM  

@ miriam b:

I think Tobias may have been thinking of Zefram Cochrane -- the Star Trek character who came up with the warp core drive.

skua76 4:40 PM  

I enjoyed it and thought it easy! Threw in COE at once, and with a few crosses ZEBULON PIKE and JULIAN BREAM followed. I do listen to classical stations now and then, mostly overnight while sleeping or trying to sleep, and soft guitar/lute music is a staple. ALDO RAY was not known, and 42D brought a laugh! Thanks Gareth.

John V 4:42 PM  

@Lewis: touche re: crappie! Notice I did NOT say that my mistake smelt.

84 comments on a Tuesday puzzle. Is that a record?

ledies: catcha reading this blog!

Nancy in PA 4:46 PM  

Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked is laugh-out-loud funny. And I think I've already written how much I liked Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, now on 10th-grade daughter's curriculum. Now we just need to start seeing Ayelet Waldman, Jhumpa Lahiri, Siri Hustvedt, and other literary ladies in the grids...

Tita 4:49 PM  

Chiming in too late here - will read most of the comments later tonight.

While I thought yesterday was a breeze, I was defintely stymied by today's!!! Too many men - er - celebs...

I enjoyed slogging through it never-the-less, and liked many of the clues:

35A made me think of Paris, where I will often in the summer order a geen feez.

Husband and I have been downing ALEVEs at a furious rate as we haul yet more and more and more trees to the curb, 1/4 mile away...


Liked 34D - the other kind of puzzles I love are of the jigsaw variety...

long suffering mets fan 4:58 PM  

Normally like a challenging Tuesday puzzle, but not my cup of tea

Seriously, are we really keeping track of the male v female answers

Too many names, never heard of a fish called a bream even though I got the theme early, didn't know Nick Hornby, Julian, Cesario, Aldo not to mention LIL JON, Zebulon, knew it was Z something Pike

SEMIS following quarters was clever, but the SE took forever

Did know XENA, however

DOH and Ugh !!!!!!!!!!!

chefwen 5:07 PM  

According to my Food Lover's Companion - Bream (BREEM) The name applied to any of several freshwater or saltwater fish such as the American porgy, The Japanese sea bream and the French daurade. In general, bream can be grilled, baked or fried.

Bob Kerfuffle 5:30 PM  

@quilter1 - If I can soften 42D, Lab supply source?, even a bit more, I think that as the clue is written it suggests not so much that you get the dog from the PETSHOP, but the dog's supplies: tasty kibble, a nice rhinestone collar, a comfy dog bed, a colorful blanket, a top-notch grooming kit, . . .

baja 5:32 PM  

one word ouch!

quilter1 5:39 PM  

OK, Bob, Lab supplies, hmmm. I'll take it.

Off to a Drake BBall game. Go Bulldogs.

Two Ponies 5:52 PM  

@ Bob K., My thoughts exactly. I even had "pet food" at first. Very wrong but along the same lines.

Zebulina coela michaels 6:22 PM  

@long suffering mets fan
Not keeping track per se, it is just interesting to note...just like i''m sure you might find it fascinating how many at bats a certain mets player may have had, there are some of us who are interested in what constitutes "well known" enough to be in a puzzle and when there is not one woman in the grid of accomplishment or otherwise in a puzzle chockfull of names, it is worth noting on some level, or at least as worthy as some other things being noted...
And it is not bec it is a PC thing as @evil is implying.

It is worth trying, tho I'm sure half the names would be dismissed by the editors (all men who claim no bias!) as unknown!
But don't worry, I'm still fighting each Hello Kitty battle that comes down the (Zebulon) pike!

@anon 6:06am
Jacqueline du Pre, exactly!!! The Julia/Jacqueline thing thru me.
Bleedover ARENA yet again

GLowe 9:55 PM  

Hey Gareth - they hate the hackneyed themes, but they truly despise the efforts at originality.

Yours is a good effort at originality, and if you missed, well, you didn't miss by much.

Stay on it my friend.

Richie Rich 10:06 PM  

As a native Texan, "COE" was probably the easiest answer in the puzzle. Everything else, not so much. That was brutal for a Tuesday. Couldn't finish it at Starbucks this morning. Had to finish it tonight at home.

sanfranman59 1:27 AM  

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 6:42, 6:50, 0.98, 48%, Medium
Tue 10:46, 8:52, 1.21, 92%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:39, 0.98, 43%, Medium
Tue 5:20, 4:34, 1.17, 90%, Challenging

evil doug 3:58 AM  

I don't create puzzles---low level of pay, high degree of criticism---but I'm guessing the last thing a crossword builder worries about is the gender of fill. It's challenging enough coming up with an answer that both fits and also satisfies Will and a majority of the solvers.

To expect the designer to take on the additional burden of meeting some artificial and unnecessary gender quota is inane. To further suggest that it's reflective of some male plot is just plain pathetic.

There are plenty of places to appropriately point out sexism; let's not trivialize those with cooked-up crossword conspiracies.


Z 7:15 AM  

@Evil - "-Isms" aren't conspiracies, nor the result of individual's intentional bigoted behavior. "Isms" are states of being. In the US in 2011 there is an economic and social advantage to being male. The puzzle reflects that advantage.

Here is a testable hypothesis, the number of male names appearing in the puzzle in the past x period of time exceeds 50 percent by a statistically significant amount.

a guy 7:17 AM  

Who said anything about a quota? But does anyone think that if a puzzle had the names of 20 famous (or semi-famous) women and one man it wouldn't seem like a gendered puzzle? Would that also be unworthy of comment?

Tita 8:07 AM  

What else would a puzzle themed fish - er - men have?

a girl 8:39 AM  


another girl 8:56 AM  

I think there was complaining that there were only 2 REAL women and then a fictional character. Not many people had heard of one of the women so there was that too.

Cheerio 10:11 AM  

In college in the 80s, it seemed like a badge of sophistication to own a Julian Bream record.

rain forest 1:33 PM  

I'm a little ticked that there were more fish than reptiles in the puzzle.
PS: I'm amazed and disappointed, especially with this crowd, that the brilliant Julian Bream was unknown to so many, but Aldo Ray (?), was essentially nailed.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

Spacecraft here. I must admit I not only never heard of 25d (I tried TROUT but it didn't work), but I've never even heard of BREAM as a fish. I know it as a verb: to clean the hull of a ship. Maybe, scrape all the dead bream off??
Knew Zebulon Pike, for whom Pike's Peak was named (a gimme), guessed (correctly) at the natick at 21, and remembered ALDORAY in a remarkable film called "Battle Cry." You want a war movie with some impact, watch that one.
Agree wholeheartedly--and whole-every-other-body-part-imaginable-edly--about EMMA PEEL being the best thing in this puzz!

glista: Ms. Flockhart with a head cold.

Dirigonzo 4:17 PM  

Rex's write-up was a little sparse today (5 weeks ago) so let's supplement it with his thoughts on related entries from much earlier puzzles:

9/28/2006: "Kazan is a master director who ratted out friends and colleagues to HUAC. I saw a great documentary on PBS recently about his career and his relationship with Arthur Miller - it was fascinating, and pretty even-handed toward Kazan. Apparently he nailed Marilyn Monroe a lot. That's what I took away from it."

7/30/2007: "This is because I'd never ever heard of 46A: Explorer Zebulon (Pike), though that's probably the PIKE's Peak guy, right? Why did his parents name him after what I can only imagine is a fictional planet and / or space alien leader. "Set a course for Zebulon!""

Until this very moment I did *not* know that Jimi Hendrix ever recorded "Silent Night" but that is what is playing on WMPG (Southern Maine Community Radio from the University of Southern Maine) right now. He gives it a "different" interpretation.

Dirigonzo 5:15 PM  

Forgot to mention, the Labs (and Cocker Spaniel) and I subscribe to the @Bob Kerfuffle interpretation of 42d (maybe without the rhinestone collar).

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP