Flirty toon Betty / MON 2-13-12 / 1954 Hitchcock thriller / Samuel Beckett play with unseen character / Chicken tikka go-with / Roman poet who wrote To be loved be lovable

Monday, February 13, 2012

Constructor: Ellen Leuschner and Victor Fleming

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: a deer, a female deer — theme answers all end with the sound of "DOE"

Word of the Day: ADEN (31A: Port of Oman) —
Aden [...] is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea (the Gulf of Aden), some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately a million people. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a low isthmus. This harbour, Front Bay, was first used by the ancient Kingdom of Awsan between the 5th and 7th centuries BCE. The modern harbour is on the other side of the peninsula. (wikipedia)
• • •
A pretty nice Monday. Fill is generally boring (as it can be in a 78-worder), but the five theme answers are fairly interesting, and I especially like the grid-spanning "WAITING FOR GODOT" in the middle. Had no idea what the theme was til I was done (and I was done in 2:39, which is largely why I never noticed the theme). I always feel that if a puzzle is 78 words, there should be almost no cruddy fill. High word-count grids are easiest to fill, and 78 words is the max. I'm saying this only to explain why stuff like ON YOU and OREG annoy me more on a day like today than on, say, a Friday (I wouldn't like them there either, but I'd understand them). So—stale fill, but solid theme answers and a cute little theme. Fine.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: It's kneaded at a bakery (BREAD DOUGH)
  • 23A: "Doonesbury" cartoonist (GARRY TRUDEAU)
  • 35A: Samuel Beckett play with an unseen character ("WAITING FOR GODOT")
  • 47A: Vito Corleone portrayer (MARLON BRANDO)
  • 57A: 1954 Hitchcock thriller ("REAR WINDOW") — went through a big Grace Kelly phase in grad school. This remains one of my very favorite movies. Curiously, and perhaps unexpectedly, my big Grace Kelly phase was followed closely by my big Mamie Van Doren phase.

  • 15A: Flirty toon Betty ___ (BOOP) — big thumbs-up to the phrase "flirty toon"
  • 29A: Roman poet who wrote "To be loved, be lovable" (OVID) — this was from his treatise on picking up hot chicks entitled Ars amatoria (roughly translated, it means "hot piece of ass")
  • 37D: Chicken tikka go-with (NAAN) — the puzzle remains the only place I ever see the term "go-with." Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have some tea and chocolate (my "Downton Abbey" go-withs).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:08 AM  

Very smooth easy Mon.  Nice one!

If you haven't seen Bottle Rocket it's worth a look at the Wilson brothers and Wes Anderson early in their careers.

foodie 12:12 AM  

LOL re Ars amatoria translation

Cute idea, high theme density. I solved counterclockwise, so the NE was the last to be done, and to me was the most disappointing.. MISADD, RVER? My iPad wont even let me type these without wanting to change them.

But otherwise lean and very easy. Nice Monday!

foodie 12:17 AM  

I meant clean, not lean...

BTW, nice reminder of the interesting spelling of both GARRY with two R's and ROALD, which always gives me fits because I want to say Raoul.

Oh, and went through HAG-> BAG-> BAT...

chefwen 12:26 AM  

This was one tasty puzzle, not a lot of food that you would find at a LUAU, but with BREAD, TART, CAESAR salad, PIE ALA MODE, RAMEN noodles, throw in a nice tropical RUM drink, a little MELON and you have a good meal. How does one decide, Chicken Tikka Masala or OSSO bucco, two of my favorite meals. Throw in some garlic NAAN with the Masala and I'm in heaven. I think I gained five pounds just solving this delicious puzzle.

Thanks Ellen and Victor, I'm full.

Tobias Duncan 12:31 AM  

Very nostalgic puzzle for me.When I was a child I loved Roald Dahl and Trudeau. I was also made to watch a PBS production of Waiting for Godot when I was much too young, as far as I was concerned it was a boring play about boring.It could have been worse, my sister was made to play the harpsichord.
Childhood friends said that my house sounded like the Adams Family TV show.

Anonymous 12:50 AM  


Evan 12:59 AM  

Blasted 41-Across. I always mix up my TARTs with TORTs. Would've set me a new Monday record if I hadn't missed that mistake.

Hmmm, this was a fun puzzle but too bad it didn't have any PLAYDOH, or JOHN DOE, or DESPERADO, or EL DORADO, or Celtics point guard RAJON RONDO in it. In fact, I'm somewhat shocked that a Simpsons fan like Rex didn't refer to Homer saying "D'oh!" as the theme, so to make up for it, here's 20 seasons of Homer shouting "D'oh!" in four-and-a-half minutes on YouTube. My life is already much better for having seen it.

Audi Cello Misadds 1:08 AM  

Where was your D'OH! Comment???
Would have loved to see that in a corner, or as the reveal!

This puzzle was so nice...first to notice that DOE had so many homophones, spelled in so many different ways, and with such smooth examples of each!!!!!

I guess PLAYDOH or just D'OH are the only ones left out...

I totally excuse OREG, etc. bec almost every down word had to cross two theme entries, so 78 words may be the easiest fill, but not when you have five theme answers and have to keep every word easy.
As it was ROALD is hard, as is ADEN, but I found this nice and smoooooth. To have done it better is ONYOU!

Bet donuts to dollars that the original clue for 5D involved Edith and Archie!!!!!
(insert mild rant about calling people "biddies" and "oldbats", from one that is nearing that stage...suddenly "cougar" and "catlady" don't seem so bad!)

OK, back to the Grammys! Not to be confused with grammies/old biddies...

(Makes me sad tho that they just used Al Green song that is my fave song to make love to for a .com company commercial)

acme 1:13 AM  

sorry for the repetition, I obviously was writing at the same time as you!

Rube 1:16 AM  

Like @Foodie, debated hAg/bAg, and when the B popped up, put in BAg. That T was my only writeover.

@Tobias D, had to LOL about your Addams family house.

@Chefwen, can you get a decent OSSO Bucco on Kauai?

As for the theme, "D'Oh".

Anonymous 1:33 AM  

And Rex said: "and I was done in 2:39...." I laughed so hard when I read that I broke the third rib from the bottom of my left side. That was even funnier than Rex's obsession with Mamie. I have this vision of him with his pen and paper and his stop watch. He presses the watch (I wonder if he counts the time it takes to press the stop watch?) and then he races through the puzzle and presses the stop watch again. He probably says dOh when he's done....


Anonymous 1:56 AM  

Had no clue on the theme till I came to your website. Okay Monday. Nothing earth shaking. Did this puzzle while watching Katy Perry do her thing on the Grammys. She's so hot, even with blue frizzy hair.

Evan 2:37 AM  


No worries. Great minds, and all that.

I expect we'll see a lot of "D'oh!" comments before Tuesday's post goes up.

chefwen 3:05 AM  

@Rube - Of course you can when you at at Chefwen's diner, just ask @clark.

acme 3:35 AM  

just realized Edith was a DINGBAT not an OLDBAT. My Badt.

Z 6:34 AM  

Hand up for hAg/BAg/BAT as well as ToRT/TART (where is that "e?").

Garry Trudeau, Garry Moore. I've just exhausted my list of two "R" Garrys. Anyone else?

Downtown Abbey is so big that NPR was running a spot on anachronistic phrases in the show this morning. How long until the conventions with costumed attendees start?

Loren Muse Smith 7:12 AM  

A Monday with NAAN and GRUB? I’ll take it. With BREADDOUGH, I thought maybe this would be an exploration of “ough” and all its various pronunciations : through, though, bough, hiccough, enough, cough. . . (God bless you ESLers).
But instead the theme played with words that rhyme with “no.” Do the fills CELLO, RADIO, MEMO, APO, EGO, and OSSO count as secondary theme answers?

@audi cello misadds -"I guess PLAYDOH or just D'OH are the only ones left out..." How about sew, Noh, apropos, toe, faux, Pernod, Van Gogh? I know everyone’s talking about “d’oh,” but for me that rhymes with “the.”

REARWINDOW scared me as bad as "The Birds," but not as bad as the doberman pinscher my in-laws once owned. His name was ODIN. Definitely not an ODIE.

Kelly 7:18 AM  

I'm a newbie and loved a Monday that I could sail through even though I'm still not sure about RVER. Thanks for all the great comments. Coming here after each puzzle is almost the best part.

dk 7:40 AM  

New Google privacy policy ate my post.

Cliff notes version:

*** (3 Stars)

Sue Mc 7:46 AM  

Fun theme. I saw Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, and John Goodman in Waiting For Godot a couple years ago, and liked seeing that answer show up here. Though in the production they pronounced it GODot, and I always want to say godOT.

Love the comment that pointed out all the food words!!!

evil doug 7:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
SethG 8:05 AM  

Andrea, don't forget bordeaux. French!

John, it took me 3:31. How funny is that?

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Joe schmo? Faux pas?

Matthew G. 8:49 AM  

Very nice puzzle. Only nit: I'm pretty sure OREG is not an accepted abbreviation for Oregon. It can be OR (postal) or Ore. (AP abbr.), but not OREG.

Otherwise, this was pretty seamless. Had my personal best time for a paper-and-pencil solve today.

jackj 9:01 AM  

“Doe, a deer, a female deer”, oops, she didn’t make the cut, but her dear baby deer, FAWN did, so she wasn’t totally forgotten.

As a tease, maybe, there are also a goodly number of last letter “O” words in the puzzle like EGO, OSSO, et al, which don’t really bring much to the puzzle but, then, there’s “Biddy”, giving us OLDBAT, which sure does add a fun wrinkle!

Now, since turnabout is fair play, we should order up a puzzle with OLDGOAT, clued perhaps as, “89 year old hubby of 26 year old Anna Nicole Smith”. Works for me.
(Not sure it worked out too well for the groom, though).

A fun way to start the week from the Judge and Ellen, ("The Judge and Ellen", huh, sounds like a new sit-com).

joho 9:13 AM  

Nice Monday, thank you Ellen and Victor!

My only write over was OLDBAg to OLDBAT.

I thought OREG. was going to be an abbreviation for oregano.

chefbea 9:13 AM  

I agree..a yummy puzzle. Had hen at first for old biddy.

When I saw the first theme answer Bread Dough thought the theme was going to be different way of saying money...moolah, do re me etc.

captcha - bredism = the belief in making bread

jberg 9:30 AM  

I agree with the easy rating - hardest part was putting that second R in Garry (I almost put an X at the end instead, but I knew that was wrong). But I would have been more impressed if three of the five theme entries hadn't been names that originated in other languages, with different rules of pronunciation. As other commenters have pointed out, that are plenty of unused English spellings of the OH sound. Or they could have been all names; I'd like it better either way.

@Evan - a tort is a legal action where you sue someone; a tart is a legal action where you throw a pie in his face.

Nitpick of the day: I loved the answer, but not quite right to call GODOT an unseen character. That would imply a voice from offstage, or something. Godot is just a subject of conversation.

Factoid of the day: In Japan, RAMEN (64A, "Japanese noodle soup") are called "Chinese noodles."

Tobias Duncan 9:35 AM  

D'OH! I owe ACME five bucks! Thats what I get for shooting my mouth off.

quilter1 9:38 AM  

My biddy was also first a hen. I believe there is a difference between an old biddy and an old bat. I wouldn't mind being around the biddy, as I probably am one myself. But I imagine most people would want to avoid an old bat.

No Downton Abbey spoilers, please. We had a Drake game last night (just wiped the floor with the Evansville Purple Aces; go Bulldogs) and haven't watched it yet.

Some fresh fill saved this one for me, although I finished quickly and didn't get the satisfaction at the end. On to BEQ.

chefbea 9:49 AM  

@jberg love your difference between tort and tart...but then what do you do with a torte???

Two Ponies 10:25 AM  

Nice to see Victor Fleming in the by-line. We haven't seen him lately. Nice Monday grid.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

sethG - Stop that. It now hurts when I laugh. I can't even read the clues that fast....

quilter1 10:42 AM  

Well, shoot, BEQ wasn't that hard either. Pass the Bordeaux.

archaeoprof 11:04 AM  

OLDhag/bag/BAT here too.

My avatar today is a photo of my NYT Crossword birthday cake. A surprise from my daughters at dinner in NYC on Saturday night!

chefbea 11:10 AM  

@archaeoprof How cute!!! Was the puzzle edible? Want a tissue box cover?

wyonative 11:30 AM  

A pleasant Monday, made doubly so by the absence of sports trivia and the presence of literary trivia. Had, for a while, eerier instead of edgier.

GILL I. 11:30 AM  

I never time myself but this puzzle was done in what seemed like 2:39 minutes. I only paused at OLD....
Having said that, after I finished I looked at the puzzle and thought it was a clever Monday puzzle. I liked the way many answers were clued - especially for BOOP.
OLD BAT comes from "bats in the belfry" or crazy old woman. The clue for that - Biddy - is supposedly from the Irish name "Bridget." Back in the old days, wealthy American families hired Irish immigrant lassies to work as maids. They had to work off their passage debt. Bridget was a common Irish name that was shortened to biddy. So, I'm not sure if I want to become (or am) an OLD BAT or a biddy.

Yay Adele!

Lewis 11:38 AM  

Yes, easy even for a Monday, and good for the constructors to find all the examples of "doe" sounding endings in our language except maybe for deaux. I've been looking for real life examples of "Oreg." as the abbreviation for the state, and haven't found one yet. Just a little pizazz short of a perfect Monday, still very enjoyable.

archaeoprof 12:00 PM  

@ChefBea: the puzzle (which came from a bakery in TriBeCa) is made of sugar! I've decided to save it. How do I get a tissue cover?

Sigmund 12:03 PM  

"Curiously, and perhaps unexpectedly, my big Grace Kelly phase was followed closely by my big Mamie Van Doren phase"

Neither curious nor unexpected. The Id overwhelms both the Ego and Super Ego in young men. Every. Single. Time. You couldn't have picked a more illustrative example.

Sparky 12:07 PM  

Hand up for hen before BAT and thinking of words for money as theme before I saw it on TRUDEAU. Made it through pretty fast (11 min.) on across so didn't even see some of the down clues like ROALD.

I buy the green tissues at Publix in the big boxes @chefbea so I'll have to pass on the tissue cozy. Happy Birthday @archeaoprof. Neat Cake.

When can we talk about Downton Abbey? Chafing at the bit.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

29A: SSN, which for individuals is their federal tax ID. The Sixteenth Amendment is the Constitutional provision that allows Congress to tax individual incomes. It was ratified 99 years ago this month. So in honor of its anniversary I composed this little refrain to be sung to the tune of 16 Tons made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Sixteenth Amendment, what do you get
Another year older and deeper in debt
Uncle Sam don’t you call us ’cause we can’t go
We owe our souls to China’s Hu Jintao


quilter1 12:46 PM  

Not yet! Not yet!

JenCT 12:55 PM  

@archaeoprof: great cake!

@chefbea: do you make those covers?

Same mistake with HAG-BAG-BAT, and one R at first for GARRY.


Didn't even see the theme until I came here.

Bird 1:26 PM  

Easy peasy.

Only writeover was Ezine for EBOOK.

Left OLD _ _ _ blank and let the crosses fill in the rest.

I also dislike RVERS and OREG.

Ellen Leuschner 1:40 PM  

Hi all! Ellen here. Thanks for all the good comments. I have to agree on OREG. Sometimes words (or abbreviations) seem good when you're creating a puzzle. After several months pass, you look at them again and think ... really? I put that in there? Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with the theme and puzzle overall. It's always a learning experience. And I love to learn! Thanks to Vic on this one, too!

fergus 2:28 PM  

Garry Kasparov.

santafefran 3:01 PM  

While I was sitting at my REAR WINDOW, WAITING FOR GODOT, the BREAD DOUGH was rising so I sipped on some RUM with NAAN, RUING the fact that I hadn't added any MELON to the TART.

Much to my surprise, I saw MARLON BRANDO ROAR past at 50 MPH overtaking an RVER with an NRA sticker; no MOUSY man with a LISP was he. EGO MANIA might be a more apt description.

Just then a mellow CELLO could be heard as it FLOATED in from my SONY AMFM RADIO so I left the window to go out to the LEA and slurp my RAMEN. What a great IDEA now that the FOG has lifted.

with a nod to JOHO!

sanfranman59 4:19 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 5:47, 6:49, 0.85, 3%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:19, 3:40, 0.91, 12%, Easy

Spoiler Alert! 4:50 PM  

Man, I didn't see that one coming, Erica Kane moving in next door as a love interest for William, after Dr. Drake Ramore performed emergency spinal/brain surgery on him to restore him to health!
Wow, what will they think of next?!

Joey 4:59 PM  

@Spoiler - What?! Dr. Ramore is still practicing medicine? I thought he retired after curing cancer.

Spoiler Alert! 5:02 PM  

@Joey - No, you're thinking of the doctor from Duke, not Dr. Drake. The Doctor from Duke who cured cancer is on the lam from authorities because, well, he was a fraud and a liar.

mac 5:08 PM  

Easy but very nice Monday. Another hand up for a "words for money" or something as a theme.

Are there more o's in the puzzle than normally?

Happy birthday, @archeoprof! Nice cake!

Palm Beach looks as if it has been vacuumed. I saw one weed!

captcha: prate. OK, I'll shut up.

mac 5:11 PM  

P.S. I think hag, bag and bat all sound a lot nastier than biddy.

Joey 5:11 PM  

@Spoiler - Ah, OK. Now whatever happened to Dr. Demento?

Anonymous 5:18 PM  

if you enjoy it, why try to get it over with as quickly as possible?

Anew Carrie Melons 5:35 PM  

Actually to be fair, i guess Playdoh and d'oh wouldn't have worked because they were all two word phrases ending in -doe sound, so wha twas there was great.
I don't want to turn into Gene Siskel where he always reviewed the movie about what he wish had been included or nagging about what had been left out, instead of what was there, right in front of him.

So what was here was nice...tho imglad even@Ellen copped to the OREG, but maybe that is something Vic or Will could have asked her to get rod of, along with RVER as they are in the same area, then it would be nit-free!

Any time would be too soon, as you will inevitably spoil for someone who is here for the not start a blog about Downton Abbey?! I bet you would get 10,000 hits a day and folks could discuss to their hearts content!!!
Maybe even @Joey and @Spolier alert could be your first two commenters/wags.
But I want a cut when you start advertising on it!

chefbea 6:11 PM  

@sparky thanks for the name for my tissue box covers. Did you ask @Andrea to help you with the name?

Tita 9:30 PM  

@chefgwen - lol to your puzzle-induced weight gain!

@acme - your observation on the many spellings of that sound is one of the main reasons why English is such a hard language to learn for non-natives! (as @lms alludes to too...

@Z - rotflmao to Downton Abbey Conventioneers!!

AlsO nOticed sO many mO' Os in the fill. Anyone count 'em?

@santefefran - great story.

Thanks for stopping by, Ms, Leuschner- I always appreciate hearing from the constructors.
Loved seeing Betty BOOP!
Didn't like MISADD...sounds like what a politician would say his SuperPac accountant did when lieing about the contributions...
Lite and ez Monday, which is good, since I had a busy one.

sanfranman59 12:56 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 5:49, 6:49, 0.85, 4%, Easy (5th lowest median solve time of 138 Mondays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:18, 3:40, 0.90, 9%, Easy

Solving in Seattle 12:50 PM  

Ellen and Victor put in OREG so there would be one thing everyone of us could bitch about.

@Rube and @Chefwen, for OSSO buco on Kauai I recommend Merriman's.

Think the theme for this puzzle has been kneaded enuf?

Spacecraft 1:01 PM  

Nice little puzzle. Remarkable for the crossing of two of my most very favorites: King and Hitchcock. Too bad about the unfortunate OREG. Looks like a a mixture of blood type with a gas grade. Gimme a pint of O-REG; the hi-test is too expensive.

Dirigonzo 3:40 PM  

Only bump (I won't say "speed bump" as speed is not my thing) other than the aforementioned OLD(whatever) was ROALD which required all the crosses. I don't believe I have ever read a Stephen King novel so I was surprised when CARRIE leapt to mind off only the C.

@Spacecraft - I'm pretty sure O-REG is a universal donor, except for BMW and Mercedes owners. Which gives me a nice opportunity to remind folks to give blood - it's the gift of life.

@jeberg wrote: "Factoid of the day: In Japan, RAMEN (64A, "Japanese noodle soup") are called "Chinese noodles."" Pie a la RAMEN - really?

Spacecraft 9:16 PM  

@Dirigonzo: Never read King? Man, you are missing out. The man can weave a tale, for sure. Check out any of the Dark Tower series, particularly "The Gunslinger" and "Wizard and Glass."

M-O-O-N, that spells King!

DJ Stone 9:35 PM  

Dumping on the OREG answer, especially 5 weeks after the fact, seems a bit wrong but I live in Oregon. As such, I can assure you that the only people who use OREG as an abbreviation for the street also pronounce the name of the state O-ree-gone.

Monday puzzle, so it wasn't going to be great, but you know what would have made this puzzle classic? Replacing either 17A or 57A with this answer: Mario Cuomo. Here's why.

First, fits the theme. Second both Garry Trudeau and Waiting For Godot are in the grid. What ties those two points together?

Back in the 80's, Trudeau used Waiting For Godot to riff on whether a certain Democrat was leading on his supporters as to whether he would declare his candidacy for President. The phantom candidate? None other than Mario Cuomo.

Man, I wish Leuschner or Fleming would have known about that.

Deb 12:51 AM  

Dirigonzo! You call yourself a Mainer and you've never read King?!? Shame on you. He is, hands-down, my all-time favorite author. Not only does he weave a great yarn, but there isn't another author EVER who creates such completely endearing, fallible, REAL characters.

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