Leandro's partner in Handel title / TUE 2-21-12 / Rowdy Rawhide cowboy / Old nuclear regulatory org / Brew named for Dutch river / Like much of Pindar's work / State capital main street Last Chance Gulch

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Constructor: Caleb Madison

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: BEST PICTURE names (59A: What the starts of 18-, 24-, 38- and 49-Across each won) — theme answers are movie people with BEST PICTURE first names

Word of the Day: Rowdy YATES (50D: Rowdy ___, "Rawhide" cowboy) —
Rawhide is an American Western series that aired for eight seasons on the CBS network on Friday nights, from January 9, 1959 to September 3, 1965, before moving to Tuesday nights from September 14, 1965 until January 4, 1966, with a total of 217 black-and-white episodes. Starring Eric Fleming andClint Eastwood, the series was produced and sometimes directed by Charles Marquis Warren who also produced early episodes of Gunsmoke. [...] Usually the episode would be introduced by Gil Favor but sometimes by others. The typical Rawhidestory involved drovers, portrayed by Eric Fleming (trail boss Gil Favor) and Clint Eastwood (ramrod Rowdy Yates), coming upon people on the trail and getting drawn into solving whatever problem they presented or were confronting. Sometimes one of the members of the cattle drive or some of the others would venture into a nearby town and encounter some trouble from which they needed to be rescued. Rowdy Yates was young and at times impetuous in the earliest episodes and Favor had to keep a tight rein on him. (wikipedia)
• • •

Big thumbs up. Clever, toughish, unexpected. The theme is nicely tight—movie names all belong to movie people: director Stone (himself an Oscar-winner), and actors Oswalt, DeMornay, and Feldman. With the exception of Stone, theme answers aren't exactly first-tier celebrity names, which is why I think the puzzle might skew tough for a lot of people. I knew all the names and it still skewed tough for me. I think older solvers will have trouble with PATTON OSWALT (who is a hugely successful comedian / actor with a firing-on-all-cylinders Twitter feed) and younger solvers with MARTY FELDMAN (whom I know only from "Young Frankenstein" and from a parody of "Bette Davis Eyes" called "Marty Feldman Eyes"—he had some congenital issue that made his eyes appear to bug out). REBECCA DE MORNAY could end up stumping young and old. If you missed "Risky Business" (or, slightly less famously, "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle," or, much less famously, "And God Created Woman" (1988)), you missed her. I wonder if there are other movie people with BEST PICTURE first names ... didn't Casablanca Jones star in some blaxploitation films in the '70s? What about porn star Cimarron Sinclair? Or pro-wrestler-turned-action-star The Hurt Locker Davis?

Theme answers:
  • 18A: "Platoon" director (OLIVER STONE) — "Platoon," also a BEST PICTURE winner
  • 24A: Comedian who voiced the lead role in "Ratatouille" (PATTON OSWALT)
  • 38A: Tom Cruise's "Risky Business" co-star (REBECCA DE MORNAY)
  • 49A: Igor player in "Young Frankenstein" (MARTY FELDMAN)
I had the most trouble with this puzzle in the south, where YATES was totally unknown to me, and I had TOTALS for 68A: Sends to the dump (TOSSES). I was not aware that BONES was Dr. McCoy's real first name (30D: Sci-fi physician played by DeForest Kelley). Wait, it's not. It's Leonard. So ... is the colloquial "sci-fi" supposed to cue the nickname? That seems a Stretch. Still, I love the answer, and its symmetrical counterpart—from another "Star" franchise (3D: "Star Wars" weapon = LIGHT SABER). The other real winner in this grid is "OH, STOP" (4A: "You flatter me too much!"). Original, colloquial, fantastic. Almost makes me excuse REPINE (???) (15A: Complain). Wasn't too fond of ODIC (25D: Like much of Pindar's work)ERO (22A: Leandro's partner in a Handel title), or singular O'JAY (16A: Any of the singers of the 1973 #1 hit "Love Train") but those are insignificant when the bulk of the grid and the marquee answers are so good.

  • 57A: Old nuclear regulatory org. (AEC) — Atomic Energy Commission. An impt. abbr. to know. The non-old nuclear regulatory org. is named, shockingly, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  • 5D: State capital whose main street is named Last Chance Gulch (HELENA) — wow, that is ... improbable. That's some Knotts-Berry-Farm-recreation-of-a -Wild-West-town naming right there.

  • 46D: Brew named for a Dutch river (AMSTEL) — pretty well-known beer, reasonably common crossword answer. Don't think I knew it was a river. Also, did not know how to spell Bob SAGET's name. I spelled it as if he were the creator of a restaurant guide: Bob SAGAT.
  • 33D: ___ Kross ('90s rap duo) (KRIS) — they had an impossibly infectious song out during my first year in grad school. Ridiculous. Silly. Ubiquitous. Hard to resist. Uh huh, uh huh.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I'm quoted in this article (on last Thursday's cluing of ILLEGAL) and so are several commenters! 


dk 8:02 AM  

Older solver here. Did not know PATTON O.

Did know, as I have memorized all the various spellings, AMOEBAE. Next I will pass the robot test.

Solid puzzle and I have nothing else to add.

*** (3 Stars) This week is as good as last week was bad... so far.

Evan 8:08 AM  

PATTON OSWALT also has one of my favorite stand-up routines about another big-time movie name known for the LIGHT SABER: George Lucas. You can listen to the whole thing here (warning, some adult language for the faint-of-heart).

I glanced askance at REPINE for a real long time, thinking there was no way that could be a real word. But indeed it is.

In preparation for the ACPT, I've started solving by locking the solution to each puzzle on Across Lite, so Mr. Happy Pencil doesn't show up until I tell him to -- at least, he doesn't show up until I hit unlock and then cross my fingers that I didn't make any mistakes. What I would give for Mr. Happy Pencil to show up in Brooklyn with me. That's right, I said it.

SethG 8:13 AM  

My age is in the middle, so I knew everyone but Bones (Yates from The Blues Brothers. A is a good country key.) and found this easier than yesterday's.

Awesome theme.

Sue Mc 8:13 AM  

With the exception of REPINE, this puzzle was quick and easy. I suspect it's because my age puts me in the sweet spot of being a fan of both Young Frankenstein and Everybody Loves Raymond. Ditto on Patton Oswalt's Twitter feed...it alone could make a Downton Abbey fan of anyone!

John V 8:15 AM  

A real stinker for me. Got it done with no errors but took a very long time. What do all the films in the puzzle have in common? I've seen none of them. I was going to make a count of proper names in the grid, but what is the point. Most difficult Tuesday in memory and no fun. Way, way, way too much film/pop, new and old; not in my arena. Sorry, Caleb.

To put a different spin on your Tuesday, have a peek at a puzzle I recently came across that I suspect will amuse all those familiar with a recurring theme in Gail Collins' NYTimes column: Gail Collins

jberg 8:19 AM  

Rex is right about th enames, I didn't know any except OLIVER STONE - and I needed to get the theme to realize that 24A didn't start with PATTy. But all were inferrable - I think I had some back-of-the-mind about MARTY FELDMAN, and got enough crosses on REBECCA DEMORNAY that none of the other choices sounded like a real name.

My only real problem was the clue for SERF. Caleb Madison is too young to remember feudalism, but a vassal definitely was not a serf - rather, a lord who owed fealty to a higher lord (his suzerain). Serfs were just serfs.

As for variant spellings of 29A, how many are there? I don't think I've ever seen 'amebae' - seems like the Latin ending requires the dipthong.

Finally, you've gotta love 1A. Nice job, Mr. Madison!

efrex 8:21 AM  

Somewhere between Rex and John V: not a movie buff, and Rebecca De Mornay is a total unknown. Loved the Star Wars / Star Trek references, though, and the theme was interesting. Found much of the grid tough and eventually uninteresting (AEC, REPINE, ODIC, OPEL, HGTS, UGHS), but that might be just me.

evil doug 8:25 AM  

Lap up, Lapps?

Funny---Amstel Light gets all the play. Not sure if I ever had regular hi-test Amstel....

REBECCA: (Gesturing toward the book) So, you want to donate this to charity?

GEORGE: Well, I assume there's some sort of write-off.

REBECCA: What's the value of the book?

GEORGE: Uh, about two hundred dollars, Miss DeMooney.

REBECCA: (Correcting. Stern.) It's DeMornay. Rebecca DeMornay.


REBECCA: (Opens the cover of the book) Oh, wait a second. (Certain) This book has been in the bathroom.

GEORGE: (Nervous) Wh-what are you talking about? That - that's ridiculous.

REBECCA: It's been flagged. I know. I used to work in a Brentano's. Mister, we're trying to help the homeless heare - it's bad enough that we have some nut out there trying to strap 'em to a rickshaw!

GEORGE: (Desperate to get rid of the book) Alright, I, I'll just take fifty. Do - do we have a deal?

REBECCA: Yeah, and here it is: You get your toilet book out of here, and I won't jump over this counter and punch you in the brain!


jackj 8:36 AM  
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Z 8:45 AM  

One mistake, I wrote in grammy award for 59A. Oops.

Other than that, this was very easy for me, and even that moment of stupidity was quickly fixed, so I was surprised to see the medium challenging rating. I must be the right demographic for this puzzle.

"Risky Business" wins the award for Best Use of Public Transportation in a Movie. For that scene alone, Ms. De Mornay is forever etched into my brain.

I've been proving my non-robotness with only the blotched word for several days now. It works.

jackj 8:46 AM  

With this, his fifth Tuesday concoction, Caleb shows us that, in clever hands, Tuesday’s need not always be the week’s worst puzzles.

The trick of turning performer’s names into BESTPICTURE titles is clever, fun and just downright imaginative; befitting a charter member of Will’s smart set and providing us a nifty reminder that the OSCARS will be here again on the 26th.

When Caleb accumulates enough new pictures for a sequel to this theme, he will already have in hand the quintessential crossword entry, taking up two lines in a 15X15 grid, THEARTIST(FORMERLYKNOWNASPRINCE), this year’s certain BESTPICTURE.

As a footnote, one entry in the puzzle looks teasingly like the blurred, nonsense words we face each time we post to prove we are not robots - A M O E B A E.
The more you see it the wackier it gets, a fun entry.

Thanks, Caleb; you’re getting better with age!

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Yes @Z we know about your Robot test cheating.

The Borg

quilter1 8:50 AM  

Very easy for me. I knew all the names. Rawhide was a don't miss at our house.

Best lines from Young Frankenstein

Y.F.: Damn your eyes!
Igor: Too late.

Cathyat40 8:56 AM  

Jim never called Bones "Leonard".

JC66 9:01 AM  



If the clue was Teenager played by Henry Winkler.would you expext the answer to be Herbert Fonzarelli?

Tobias Duncan 9:02 AM  

I knew REBECCADEMORNAY because she was dating a buddy of mine from the coffee shop last summer.He was so cute about dropping her name for a while, then sort of having to explain who she was,he really was into her.Then one day he just stopped.Someone told me it may have ended badly.Its been long enough for me to ask about it right?

I actually had to sing the MARTYFELDMAN eyes song to myself to remember his name.
I had heard of everyone in this puzzle besides YATES and the OJAYs. Pretty good for me, I usually never remember names and have not had a TV since the mid 90s.

Great Puzzle

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

Anyone who, like myself, finds proper nouns in crosswords uninteresting would call this one of the most boring puzzles ever constructed. I did persevere to solve the answer for the puzzle theme, but cared so little about all the names that I didn't bother to finish. To each his own.

evil doug 9:07 AM  

Re: The article...

Mr. Gastelum conveniently omits the many arguments contrary to his opinion---and the fact that many reasonable people who welcome and enthusiastically honor the benefits of legal immigration apply the term in question without any intent to offend. It's a word, it's descriptive, it explains the situation in a clear way---and it is clearly nowhere near the pejorative nature of the "n word" and other patently offensive terms as some speciously argue.

In fact, his own position seems to morph on a dime. He starts out with the "immigrant as noun" concern: "...many people would consider the term, when used [as] a noun or short-hand for 'illegal immigrant', offensive."

But later he mentions groups who dislike the term as an adjective as well: "The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has publicly called on media organizations to stop using not only “illegal” as a noun, but also “illegal immigrant.” So which is it? Would "________ immigrant" be an acceptable clue or not?

Most telling, at no time does he offer an acceptable alternative to describe people who enter the U.S. illegally. He also fails to address the threat such unauthorized border crossings represent as well as the unfairness to those waiting their turn to legally immigrate---instead limiting his concern to words: "...the language around the immigration debate is somewhat of a sensitive issue...."

I don't doubt Mr. Gastelum's sincerity, nor the fact that many people choose (repeat: "choose") to wrap themselves around the axle of being offended by a simple, common word that has adopted a relatively new connotation. But if he wants to discuss the primary "sensitive issue"---the illegal act that predates the need for a phrase to describe it---I'm all ears.


OISK 9:26 AM  

With John V, a total stinker for me. I actually missed two squares, having never heard of OJAY, and not knowing the Spanish for "eyes." But this was full of pop references, and although I knew Demornay and Feldman, never heard of OJAY, Kris (Kross - OK, I guessed it)or Yates. Eventually got Cher, (heard of, but song cited was totally unfamiliar), and Bones McCoy, although I did not recall his last name. Never heard of Patton Oswalt either. As usual, the puzzles I enjoy most seem to be those Rex enjoys least, and vice-versa! Bad Tuesday puzzle. Bad any day puzzle.

chefbea 9:26 AM  

I knew all the names except Patton Oswalt. Had a Natick at Yates/aec. Other than that a pretty easy puzzle.

Time to make an angel food cake and sew up a tissue cosie for my friend's b-day.

acmeofepitome 9:28 AM  

Other notable jokes from Young Frankenstein:

The hump that shifts from one shoulder to the other and Igor's response "What hump"?

Standing in front of the door when Gene Wilder says, admiringly, "What knockers!" and Teri Garr responds "Thank you."

And the multiple jokes about the Schwanstucke.

Bones McCoy was the only hame I recall for him in Star trek.

Lindsay 9:35 AM  

UGHS all around.

Have I mentioned that I don't own a television? Or watch moving pictures of any sort? Even videos embedded in this blog? (OK, I did watch Loretta Lynn sing "One's on the Way" a while back).

Am I to infer that there's a movie named MARTY, and it won an award? Really? This sounds improbable. OLIVER's a Broadway show, no? Is PATTON OSWALT related to Roy?

Way too confusing for a Tuesday.

Thanks to @Z, who has answered my question about how we can be deciphering old texts if the computer already knows the answer. The computer only knows the answer to the blob.

imsdave 9:40 AM  

Great Oscar Week theme. I guess I am the correct age for the theme answers - dropped them all in with no mispellings (for a change). Only write over was LIGHTSABre. Of course, I also always spell theatre that way too.

Was madly infactuated with Ms. Demornay in my younger days.

These captchas are killing me.

Z 9:43 AM  

@Evil - I have to keep this short since the Borg are apparently after me...

Acts are illegal, people are not. Hence, "illegal immigrant" is dehumanizing, "illegal" more so. When you are reduced to swearing it suggests that you do not have faith in the strength of your arguments.

jesser 9:43 AM  

I ripped right through it with no writeovers, but guessed (correctly!) at the Y and the T in YATES, probably because they made the most sense. I did not know REBECCA DE MORNAY, but she just fell into place with all the downs. I'm sorry she jilted Tobias' buddy. I'll probably remember her for THAT going forward.

First day back at work, and my office feels like it's rocking. It apparently takes sea legs (and sea butts) a while to fade away. I'm ok with that. :-)

evil doug 9:50 AM  
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KRMunson 9:54 AM  

I guess I'm in the minority here. I found the theme pedantic. It isn't a stretch to imagine and create a theme around people's names that are also people's names in movie titles... I get that it was timely with the Oscars on Sunday. The puzzle was ok as far as fill, but the theme didn't do much for me. Just sayin'.

Stan 9:55 AM  

I spent entirely too much time yesterday morning reading Oswalt's live Downton Abbey Tweets, so that one was rather easy. He also posts a recent picture of himself with Clint Eastwood.

The theme reveal was (for once) a real surprise. Good going, Caleb.

My blob is yetiest: Maximally Bigfoot

Smug old White Guy 9:59 AM  

You go Evil! I too, when I was in my early 40's had a minor crisis of consciousness, and had to reevaluate my life. I decided then and there that I was a good, honest, fair, and hard working man, good enough for the rest of my days. Why should I care, why should I have to pay attention to the changes going on around me? I didn't use ethnic slurs I knew at the time, why should I be bothered keeping pace with the ever-expanding list of them? What's it to me that biggots keep coming up with new ones? I did my life's work, I don't want to be bothered with all this new-fangled politeness. It's served me well these past 20 years.

Hey you kids - GET OFF MY LAWN!

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Evil - You are beating a dead horse over the use of ILLEGAL to refer to an illegal alien. Will caved on that way of cluing ILLEGAL. Goto:


So, let's move on and see if Will will have the same deference to people from Appalacxhia....


Loren Muse Smith 10:14 AM  
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Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Agree with Rex on this one because I like movie themes, though I think Rex likes Caleb and Rex, being human, tends to be nicer to those he likes than those he does not or does not know personally (I can see all those rebuttals coming in faster than I can duck, but I am not attacking Rex's integrity, only his human tendencies). But the theme is narrow and I can easily understand people might dislike this puzzle because of the theme, as I did not like yesterday's because President’s Day is so bogus....


David 10:22 AM  

Terrific puzzle, one of the best Tuesdays in memory! fun theme, didn't see that the 4 answers were also movie people until reading the blog. PATTON OSWALT took a bunch of crosses, but the other 3 plus BONES MCCOY required no crosses, so this puzzle overall was about as far in my wheelhouse as it could be.

I believe Caleb Madison has published only latter-week puzzles thus far, and recently had a nasty tough guest puzzle on BEQ's blog, great to see that he can nail an early-week offering as well.

Z 10:23 AM  

@Evil - "you" as in "one" not "you" as in specifically you. Swearing as in pejorative, not as in "f--- you."

Howard B 10:24 AM  

Yep, "Bones" is how the character is commonly known, so in the grid it goes.

Rex, that's it, I think I am changing my name to "Hurt Locker" now. That'll look great on a license.

Wood 10:25 AM  

Liked the puzzle, though it turned out to be my worst Tuesday time since modern recordkeeping began (1/1/12). Got hung up for too long with OJOS/EYES because I had ROMA at first, and didn't know OJAYS (J is a very counterintuitive letter to insert in that spot, either across or down!) Finished with 2 errors -- epIC instead of ODIC, which gave me PATTEN (forgivable?), and I failed to notice SOcA.

The only theme name I didn't know was PATTON OSWALT... Until just now I was mixing him up in my mind with Oswald Gewurtztraminer or whatever his name is, the guy who voices the AFLAC duck.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

"BONES" is an olde-timey nickname for the medical officer on a ship, from saw-bones, a surgeon.

Tita 10:30 AM  

@JohnV...I tagged 12 answers today as "Pop"...12 out of 76, which is 15% of the puzzle.
Our app now color-codes your tags, so you can see at-a-glance how many Obscurities, Pop names, Naticks, Redirects, etc. you marked. Depending on your wheelhouse, lots of pop names can make a puzzle easy or hard.
See Infograph here

@anon @ 9:02...
You sum up my feeling about pop-name-heavy puzzles...
Even if they are people I know, ho-hum.

But, today, the revealer made me like it. And what crosswordese existed was freshly clued.

Oh no! My capcha is on to me!!
Neither clue is blotched!!!!

xyz 10:33 AM  

Quite a bit more interesting than most Tuesdays (and yesterday's)and well-constructed, but I thought rather easy as I did it quickly watching TV Doc on Clinton last night on PBS. Part II tonight, Too bad Hillary didn't get Health Care through ....

As for this puzzle - have a good fund of knowledge, really easy, rely on crossrote - could be pretty tough.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

I agree with the people that said my age puts me in the wheel house for the longer answers. I got them all on the first pass with little or no effort...that rarely happens...Same with the shorter ones, knocked them all out in one try...

Loren Muse Smith 10:34 AM  
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archaeoprof 10:40 AM  

Best line in "The Three Musketeers" (spoken by REBECCA DE MORNAY): "With a flick of my wrist I can change your religion."

Extra-good Tuesday. One of Caleb's best so far, I think.

Two Ponies 10:46 AM  

Well constructed but boring.

I'm tired of worrying about other people's sensibilities esp. if you broke the law.

Mighty Nisden 11:05 AM  

Really liked this one. Hand up for PATTONOSWALT being the only name I didn't know.

Took me forever to get HELENA as I had noSTOP for the longest time and didn't pay much attention to 4D. Doh!

Since I beleive this 'prove you're not a robot' is being used get old manuscripts into the digital world and you only type in the blurred word, will the word that you don't type just be left out of the digital writings?

I for one don't mind doing my part to get written word into digital media.

Loren Muse Smith 11:18 AM  

@Evil Doug “LAP UP LAPPS” LOL!!

Loved the puzzle! I thought I would have this one in the bag and hit what I thought was going to be a nice little stride when (as @Rex called) wham - lethal proper nouns. Dad is visiting from NC, and we solved it at the same time. The Greek OMEGA and AMOEBAE (decked out in its Sunday finest) were easy, but HERA made us pause. I have a remarkable ignorance of all mythology. Dad went to Wake Forest, and before I saw the clue for 30D, I wanted Bones McKinney, even though it wouldn’t have fitted. REBECCADEMORNAY scared the bejeezus out of me in “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.” I had “soap” instead of SODA for too long and loved OJOS/EYES! Today’s fare did rock yet for a Tuesday I struggled a lot. After this gig, I need a nap!

Lindsay 11:28 AM  

@John V --- The Gail Collins puzz is hilarious. Thanks for the link.

wyonative 11:45 AM  

I'm also one who fears puzzles with a lot of film or pop music names, so I expected this one to be impossible for me. But it was a pleasure to do and I surprised myself by finishing it in good time. I watched the Friday night boxing fights and Rawhide with my father every week: an interesting father-daughter evening given the nature of those two shows.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

So I finally noticed Rex’s footnote and my apologies to any for wasting your time as to my cite earlier (which is essentially, but not entirely, incorporated in the article Rex links) and to Evil who apparently enjoys not only beating a dead horse but giving it a few extra kicks….


PS. I HATE the new way of proving that I am not a ronot. Two-thirds of the time I cannot make out the letters in the shadows.

Ulrich 12:07 PM  

Where I stand is clearly indicated by the fact that this Oswalt guy is the only theme person unbeknownst to me, which is another way of saying this Tuesday was not too hard for me

@jberg: Agreed on "serf".

@anon at 10:27: One more trivial tidbit that has entered my brain--as if I needed more!

@loren: You're a sly fox (as in Leslie Caron)!

Masked and Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Dr. McCoy, after just meeting new recruit Jim Kirk, in the "Star Trek" film (approximately): "Just went thru a messy divorce settlement. My ex took everything but the BONES." Nickname evidently ensued. Think character's actual name was Leonard.

Academy awards! thUmbsUp! @31: Your write-up rocked, too. P.S. -- Patton who?(!) Surprised 31 didn't evoke that Alexi dude.

Speaking of awards...

Masked and Anonymous II 12:21 PM  

I Fink U Freeky -- 1st Annual Crossword Awards
For 2011:
1. Jeff Chen – NYT, May 4, 2011 (Giant flying U’s in the grid layout! Dude!)
2. Bob Klahn – WashPost, December 12, 2011 (Titled “Just For Youse”. Says it all.)
3. BEQ & Ian Livengood – NYT, July 14, 2011 (14 U’s! 7 per constructor! Super puz.)
4. Barry C. Silk – NYT, 25 June, 2011 (13 U’s and crazy-good fill)
5. Caleb Rasmussen – NYT, July 7, 2011 (U got a great theme, here)

And I Like U a Lot award, for best amateur achievement:
“Friend of M & A” – Rex Parker comment section, December 5, 2011, 1:46pm (An almost U-topian puz.)

Larry I in L.A. 12:34 PM  

This movie lover loved the puzzle.

As to ILLEGAL as a noun, I believe that this usage is dehumanizing and tends to foment ill will toward all brown-skinned people, even those who are U.S. citizens.

The bigger problem for our country is the lack of an ongoing rational discussion about the 10 million-plus people living here after crossing one of our borders in an illegal manner. After the much-ballyhooed amnesty, we didn't have the will to meaningfully sanction employers that persisted in hiring undocumented workers. Now, despite what some politicians say, we certainly don't have the will (not to mention the money) to find, apprehend and deport these millions. We need to pursue policies and solutions that address the facts on the ground, rather than wishful thinking.

Sorry for the non-puzzle tangent, but this stuff really pushes my buttons...

Rube 12:34 PM  

I'm in @JohnV's camp. Couldn't have put it better, and won't try. Tx @imsdave for pointing out that this is Oscar week. I didn't make the connection.

Mighty Nisden 12:49 PM  

@JFC - Totally agree, they could make it a little easier for humans to prove themselves.

I just hope they don't start checking to see if I am a clone or dare I say an alien.

David 12:55 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous II -

If you like U-themed puzzles, run, don't walk, to Patrick Blindauer's site (www.patrickblindauer.com), find the link to his Free monthly puzzle, and check out his February puzzle entitled "I Love U".

Tobias Duncan 1:29 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous II
Fink U Freaky is a very odd flag to throw out.I cannot imagine any of the posters here have ever heard that song or anything else by Die Antwoord.
The idea of South African nerdcore rap going mainstream is freaking my out a little bit.

joho 1:50 PM  


Also the BESTPICTURETHEME as it's so timely.

YATES was a gimme as Clint Eastwood is one of my all time favorites.

Wasn't it also MARTYFELDMAN who said, "Werewolf? There wolf!"

I really can't REPINE about anything here ... well, maybe that!

Thanks, Caleb!

Suzy 1:51 PM  

Very fun and fairly easy puzzle. John V: see these
movies! They're all great!

Midj 2:17 PM  

Enjoyed this one quite a bit. It was right in my wheelhouse. I guess I am just at the age to know both ends of the spectrum of people revealed. Learning to do the against time puzzle on the NYT website is a bit of a challenge but I'm getting the hang of it, finally. Glad to be out of syndication land.

In other news,I just watched Rex solve a crossword puzzle at

http://discovere.binghamton.edu/video/watch-rex-parker-solve-a-puzzle-2-4432.html .

Fun to find out he and I solve in much the same manner, trying, as much as possible to stay with the crosses and even occasionally yelling at the paper... Thanks for sharing that on Twitter, Rex!

Loren Muse Smith 2:21 PM  

@Midj - I just watched it, too. I commented that we never heard what "urban invader" was!

Masked and Anonymous's Last Silver Bullet 2:31 PM  

@David: Wow. U-Freeky. Looks like a new world record. (NYT record is but 19!) Definite 2012 award nominee. Many thanx. And thank U, pauer. thUmbswayUp!

@Tobias Duncan: Die Antwoord was just on David Letterman's late night show, doing that song. Couldn't help but be inspired. Sincere apologies for freaking you out. I must admit, those dudes are way out there. Especially liked the drummer.

@Caleb Madison: Really cool idea for a puz. And loved the long sci-fi downs. Keep Up the good work. How'd a young pup like U come to know about the O'Jay(s)?

boteagan 2:33 PM  

@jackj -"The trick of turning performer’s names into BESTPICTURE titles is clever, fun and just downright imaginative" Couldn't have said it better myself. Terrifically clever.

But if I repine about REPINE, is that metarepining? "Little blobs on slides" evokes memories of the days of bundling my kids up and take them to the park. I may have to LAPUP an AMSTEL tonight.

TimJim 2:42 PM  

I recently watched "Patton" again - it loses a little on the IPod Touch ... Didn't know P. Oswalt, but appreciated the clips - I'm now a fan!

Tobias Duncan 2:48 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous II
Wow just wow.
Letterman? Holy crap!These two are art school nerds and have had several incarnations of this band.They used to get talked about in the same circles as MC Frontalot. At some point they realized that being nerdy and clever did not lead to success so Waddy Jones adopted the tough guy persona known as "Ninja" and they really started to take off. I never ever dreamed they would make it to Letterman.

To see the older stuff search "Max Normal"

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

This one was right in my wheelhouse. Finally a puzzle with (mostly) recent pop culture answers. I like it! Best puzzle in a long time, thanks Caleb!

No offense to the older crowd but most puzzles skew towards your generation (albeit rightly so) so its nice to have one where PATTON OSWALT and REBECCA DEMORNAY are big theme answers.

This week is off to a great start.

Midj 3:04 PM  

@loren muse smith...

That frustrated me about the clip, too. Only thing I could think of was that it was too good a clue and he's saving it for a future puzzle. What say you @Rex??

evil doug 3:09 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 3:12 PM  

"Urban invader"---Does 'illegal immigrant' fit?


sanfranman59 3:23 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 8:25, 8:52, 0.95, 41%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:50, 4:35, 1.05, 69%, Medium-Challenging

boteagan 3:28 PM  

@Evil Doug - I wish I were as quick as you.
@midj and loren - I wanted to know, too. (Loren - did you embed "Amadeus" and "Rocky" on purpose?)

Deb 3:31 PM  

Loved it! Had no trouble with any of the names save YATES, even though I, too, used to watch Rawhide regularly with my Dad. Knew PATTON OSWALT mainly because my son is a fan, but also because of his role on The Big C. I kept thinking as all of the names fell into place "what on earth could all of these disparate people have in common?!" so seeing the reveal was a real treat. Bravo, Caleb!

retired_chemist 3:34 PM  

Tough Tuesday here. Not enough of a movie fan, plus not having heard of PATTON OSWALT, BONES MCCOY, or Rowdy YATES.

Tried topEkA @ 5D. Wrong. Fixed.

Anyway, my bad, not Caleb's. Nice one.

chefbea 4:08 PM  

@Midj copied and pasted but still couldn't see Rex solve the puzzle.

Midj 4:15 PM  

@chefbea make sure you're not including the period at the end of my link above. I don't know how to embed here so if anyone can help out I'd appreciate it.

Here again is the link, sans period. Perhaps this will work for you--


chefbea 4:16 PM  

Just watched it!!! Rex had it on facebook. I too want to know the urban invader??

r.alphbunker 4:19 PM  

Google "newsday urban invader" to come up with a plausible answer.

This is much worse than a Natick. At least with a Natick you know how many letters there are in the answer (unless of course it is a rebus).

I found the clip to be pornographic in that it titillated but did not really satisfy.

What @Tita posted is much more informative and satisfying.

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

Except for the (very) few clunkers, this was an extremely enjoyable puzzle that seemed to be right in my wheelhouse. Breezed through it. Agree with "big thumbs up" rating!

Die Antwoord 4:48 PM  

@Tobias: Enjoy.

jae 5:29 PM  

Very impressive Tues. that played more like an easy-med. Wed. for me.  Pretty smooth grid and an extremely clever theme.

Nice zip with both Stars (Trek and Wars), a missed Wars chance with 19d, and Eastwood's Rowdy YATES.

REPINE and ERO were WTFs for me which is atypical for a Tues.  Hence, this was tougher than average.

Mike 5:59 PM  

I did not like. When all the theme answers are relatively obscure people, I find little satisfaction even if I can solve them with the crosses. Also, how much foreign language should you need to know for a Tuesday puzzle?

On a side topic, the Captchas are getting ridiculous. I'm hitting the "revolve" button 4 or 5 times to get one I can read!

JenCT 6:28 PM  

Really liked this puzzle.

Since I don't think anyone has mentioned it, PATTON OSWALT was great in the movie "Big Fan;" a dark movie about a NY Giants fan who has a run-in with his idol. I highly recommend it.

Andrea Oh Stop! Michaels 6:42 PM  

Loved this!!!!!
What a clever idea!
How perfect for Oscar week.
Had zero idea where the puzzle was going till the reveal! As it should be! Fun fun fun.
Love that Caleb boy!
Didn't know PATTON Oswalt till I saw him in that new film with Charlize Theron playing a monster promqueen from Minnesota...but now i see him everywhere...reruns of "King of Queens" and I think "Everybody Loves Raymond" shows i missed first time around, but sometimes are on in the background at 1 am while I solve the puzzle.

For the record I am NOT this acmeofepitome who is a relatively new poster. :)

chefwen 7:25 PM  

Put me in the loved it column. A couple of the names were new to me but easily obtained with crosses.

MARTY was an excellent 5 star movie.

After getting BEST PICTURE the rest fell into place quite easily. Not up on my Spanish, so like @OISK I ended up with a couple of holes in the OJOS/OJAY region.

Thanks Caleb, usually you scare me, not today.

Z 7:36 PM  

Re Urban Invader- Look at the puzzle at the 3:16 mark of the clip.

Lindsay 8:07 PM  


Somewhere the sun is shining,
Somewhere the songbirds dwell;
Hush, then, thy sad repining,
God lives, and all is well.


Three & out. See you tomorrow. If I have anything to say.

mac 8:15 PM  

I loved the puzzle. Can't read all the comments, no time! I'm so sorry about that, because I always enjoy it.

r.alphbunker 8:16 PM  

Here's the Urban Invader puzzle

quilter1 9:25 PM  

@wyonative: my dad and I watched the fights and Rawhide too! To look sharp, every time you shave....

Who? 9:55 PM  

Rebecca (1940)
Marty (1950)
Oliver! (1968)
Patton (1970)

Not an easy puzzle for Gen Y. But still entertaining, even if very frustrating!

sanfranman59 1:32 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 7:34, 6:49, 1.11, 91%, Challenging
Tue 8:35, 8:52, 0.97, 46%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:05, 3:40, 1.12, 91%, Challenging
Tue 4:32, 4:35, 0.99, 52%, Medium

Jasmine Smith 1:56 AM  

Thanks for providing such useful information. I really appreciate your professional approach.

Acme 4:54 AM  

That's what hit this out of the box for me...
Movies old but actors he mentions are contemporary...
REBECCA Hitchcock film of 1940
But REBECCADEMORNAY big in the 80s for "Risky Business" and "Hand that Rocks the Cradle";
MARTY 1950, Ernest Borgnine won best actor...
But MARTYFELDMAN big in the 70s...
OLIVER late sixties, ubiquitous play and then film... But OLIVERSTONE huge in 80s and 90s directing the biggest films...
PATTON defined early seventies with George C Scott winning best actor and his speech shown everywhere (even before there was YouTube, where I'm sure you could now look it up...) but PATTON OSWALT getting bigger all the time, and i thought he would be nominated alongside Charlize...he was every bit as good in her new film, whose name still escapes me.
So it's extra cool and gettable from all different angles.

For those who are so disappointed in this puzzle who pride themselves on disliking pop culture, films and TV, I honestly can Not imagine what your lives must be like!

publicus 11:23 AM  

Whatever he is, Lou Dobbs ain't a newsman.

PDQ 12:09 PM  

I loved this puzzle because of the clue that could not be used yet - this year's best picture winner-to-be, Hugo! Another in a group of one-named movies that are best picture winners.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:50 AM  

Just a test.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Agree with John V. Got the theme but had problems with most of the names. Too many proper names. Difficult for Tuesday!

Solving in Seattle 12:55 PM  

This puzzle went pretty easy for me despite not knowing who PATTONOSWALT is. I thought the OJOS / EYES clues were clever.

Anybody catch that Richard GERE was also the male lead in Chicago, which won best picture in 2002. Nice job Mr. Madison!

My only REPINE is the word "REPINE."

SE 1:34 PM  

I sometimes get hung up on Canadian vs. American spelling and wanted to put down lightsabre.

Spacecraft 2:09 PM  

I do not share the majority's love of this puzzle. There's much to like, but the fill is awfully clunky. Right in the middle: HGTS crossing EDT, with AMFM close by? We can't do any better than that? Similarly, in the SE: CPO and YRS? Lots of UGHS. Bringing us to REPINE. Looks like I thought I was over my lost love, but today I thought about her again so now I REPINE. Or maybe, That bathroom still smells bad after cleaning; I think I'd better REPINE. All right, then, I guess I will not REPINE about REPINE any more.

Add to that, I find that the OLIVERSTONE entry is a bit disappointing. We have one Oscar winner as part of another, so we must make the careful distinction between picture and director categories. Now, if OSWALT (MISTER Obscurity himself! Nev-vah heard of him!), DEMORNAY and FELDMAN had also been Oscar winners in their own right, I might have called this brilliant.

What I do like is the double-Star sci-fi icons in the long downs, even though the term BONESMCCOY itself was never used; it was either "Bones" or "Dr. McCoy." [I'm a doctor, not a REPINEr.] I also like the excellent word KHAKI, not often seen in crosswords.

DMGrandma 2:18 PM  

Too many unknown names for me, but eventually almost got it from the crosses. The almost was because I had put in alts where hgts was wanted, and Bob Salet looked ok, tho I did wonder who Caer was, these new singers names never sound right to me. The strange part is that Cher is actually ssomeone I used to watch back when TV had shows with real talent. Do you think my robot test is trying to tell me something? abwas lyingsp.

Dirigonzo 2:52 PM  

I blame all of my difficulties with this puzzle on the generational gap (2 generations, at least) between the constructor and this solver. Or maybe it's just my innate penchant to always guess wrong: goodS for WARES, audi for OPEL, OHSnaP instead of OHSTOP and (inexcusably) Lasersword for LIGHTSABER. All easily fixed and none of it CM's fault - I'm just a lousy guesser. I'm not REPINing though - I thought it was a fun Tuesday puz.

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