The Mikado baritone / SUN 2-12-12 / Rathskeller vessel / Superboy's sweetie / Supply at French smoke shop / Actresses Dana Judith / Macedonian city with Greek and Roman ruins / Classic fragrance sold in France as Mon Peche

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Constructor: Kurt Mueller

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Additional Reading" — a "BOOK" rebus puzzle, with "BOOK" inserted (inside a single square) into familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: DONNISH (93A: Professorial) —
Of, relating to, or held to be characteristic of a university don; bookish or pedantic.
• • •

Don't have strong feelings about this one. Theme / rebus was easy to pick up. Theme answers were occasionally cute, occasionally ho-hum. The crosses were kind of a casualty of the rebus word—not many good, different ways to fit "BOOK" into an answer. (Side note: never heard the phrase BOOK IN before; also, I think I would've gone with Newark mayor Cory BOOKER instead of BOOKER T., if only to avoid the partial) Puzzle seemed slightly heavyish on the crosswordese (EDESSA, LEK, ELEA, etc.), and there wasn't much interesting non-theme fill, but mostly it was solid and solvable. Mysteries today included IVEYS (22D: Actresses Dana and Judith — though Judith IVEY sounds vaguely familiar) and (especially) DONNISH. I was forced to run the alphabet to figure out the cross at DON-ISH and ME-O (didn't know MENO—wanted MEZZO). Had DORKISH for [Professorial] at one point. DONNISH / MENO was very rough. ["Ask ___ questions ..."]—now there's a MENO clue.

Theme answers:
  • 21A: Send over some Bibles? (DELIVER THE GOOD BOOKS)
  • 33A: Dolt's football game plans? (PLAYBOOK FOR A FOOL)
  • 54A: The truth about a popular Internet community? (FACEBOOK REALITY)
  • 80A: Egotistical author's request to a reader? (BOOKMARK MY WORDS)
  • 100A: Annual publications for burros? (DONKEY'S YEARBOOKS)
  • 117A: Dust cover made of 100% aluminum, perhaps? (FULL-METAL BOOK JACKET)
  • 13A: Aid for record-keeping at Mrs. Smith's? (APPLE PIE ORDER BOOK)
  • 47D: Get together with your bet taker? (MEET ONE'S BOOKMAKER) — my favorite theme answer   

  • 1A: Handsome, as Henri (BEL) — Not BEAU? 7 years of French and I couldn't turn up BEL. Sad.
  • 72A: Singer/actress with a simultaneous #1 album and #1 film, familiarly (J-LO) — she had a #1 film??? Wow. "The Wedding Planner?" Really, America? She's actually a pretty good actress (see "Out of Sight"). But singing-wise, let's just say, she's no Whitney.

  • 77A: Rathskeller vessel (STEIN) — I think we have a bar downtown called the Rathskeller, or "The Rat" for short. I associate it with vomiting undergrads.
  • 116A: "The Mikado" baritone (KOKO) — the sign-language gorilla?
  • 2D: "There's a Chef in My Soup!" writer (EMERIL) — possibly the stupidest title I've ever seen.
  • 32D: 1987 Broadway sensation, colloquially (LES MIZ) — My first answer: LESTAT (the vampire?)
  • 37D: Superboy's sweetie (LANA) — confusingish, since LANA is Clark's "sweetie" too (if "Smallville" is to be believed).
  • 75D: Classic fragrance sold in France as Mon Péché (MY SIN) — "Classic?" I just translated "mon péché." 
  • 76D: Macedonian city with Greek and Roman ruins (EDESSA) — just one of those geographical terms you learn in the course of doing puzzles. 
  • 97D: Supply at a French smoke shop (TABAC) — You can get great CHIRAC TABAC at SEA-TAC.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Deb 12:22 AM  

I am SO glad you also had trouble with the MENO/DONNISH crossing. I had to run the alphabet, too - as in entering a letter and hitting "submit" for every letter from A through N until I finally got the "well done " jingle. Ugh!

Aside from that, i mostly enjoyed the puzzle; I'm fond of rebuses. I'm not familiar with DONKEY'S YEARS or APPLE PIE ORDER though.

So very sad to read the news about Whitney Houston.

jae 12:31 AM  

Easy-medium so-so Sun. Me too for the MENO/DONNISH cross. Wanted MESO but it made no sense. The only other tough part was the area around DONKESYEARBS, which was a  WTF phrase for me.  Dog years on the other hand .....  Mixing SANT, ELEA, HELLAS, and EDESSA together just seems mean.

Anyone else try PFC before SFC?

45a. Golden Chicken??

Anonymous 12:37 AM  

Donkey's Year, besides being a totaly mystery to me, doesn't Google well. At all.

thursdaysd 12:59 AM  

Donkeys' years = a very long time. As in 'haven't seen you in donkeys' years'.

Anonymous 1:15 AM  

18D: CHIRAC – I thank Evil Doug for his post yesterday at 5:04 PM for this answer. I thank myself for all the others.

Kristin 1:19 AM  

I Googled 'mon peche', and misread the result as MY SIRI. Oops, that doesn't fit...and I don't even have an iPhone! I'm doing this on my iPad but it doesn't have SIRI. Oh it' is SIN. I didn't take French..

Anonymous 1:27 AM  

PS to my 1:15 post - Nice tribute to Whitney, Rex. I feel the same way....


jae 2:45 AM  

Oops -- That's 45d. Golden Chicken?

kirble 3:15 AM  

Rex, while you were translating "mon péché," I was translating "mon pêche" and getting very confused.

chefwen 3:32 AM  

Being a horse racing enthusiast I caught on with MEET ONES BOOKMAKER, the rest was sheer pleasure. Very few write-overs.

Favorite was BOOK MARK MY WORDS.

A good Sunday puzzle that didn't eat up my entire day.

Nickyboy 8:40 AM  

I did the same thing, Kirble!

AnnieD 8:41 AM  

All went well for me until I hit the same stumbling blocks of donnish and edessa and meno and elea with the additional struggle for bookmark my words...for some reason I had a Nanu instead of Namu...wasn't that the Orca from Ork!?!

I also never heard of donkeys years...though I have heard of a 'coon's age and donkey ears....

Loren Muse Smith 8:58 AM  

I love a good rebus, and this one was fun. LALALA and LALAKERS! Had "racket" before RUCKUS, "fracas," MELEE - reminds me of a recent puzzle.

@jae - I agree: the crosses of ELEA, EDESSA, and HELLAS are just impossible to someone who hasn't absorbed them into her crosswordese lexicon. I did plop right down OGEE, though.

If we allow SAKI, would "kamikazi" and "karaoki" be ok, too?

To join Natick and malaplop, I want a word describing the phenomenon of a clue that's plural but the answer has no "s." "Tiny bits of pasta" - ORZO, "subs" - BTEAM.

My mom wore MYSIN in the 60s. I especially remember it on the endless rides from Chattanooga to Myrtle Beach. That and her Salems. Yeck.

@Rex - the chemistry between JLO and George Clooney in "Out of Sight" was terrific. AND. . .thanks for mentioning Koko the gorilla. If I could meet anyone in the world, it would be her.

foodie 9:12 AM  

Rex, about Whitney, I agree :(

I also agree about BEL. Tough start. BEL is used when the following word is masculine and starts with a vowel-- to avoid having to vowel sounds back to back. But somehow, it feels off before HENRI. But BEL Ami would work (I've always though Bellamy was a variant of that?)

In general I liked it. BOOKS, BOOKS everywhere... my kind of place. Although seeing the ASSADS in my puzzle does not put me in a great mood. Could we please subject them to the breakfast test until further notice?

I want to thank my friend who became an Oxford DON and was subtly bragging about it, causing me to figure out that it's a fancy academic rank.

foodie 9:14 AM  

Correction: re BEL: "to avoid having TWO vowel sounds back to back"

thursdaysd 9:31 AM  

But it's not le Bel Henri, it's Henri le Bel.... But it dates back aways, like the 1200s. Language was a bit different then.

Rudy Shankar 9:34 AM  

Very clever puzzle! Struggled through puzzle while watching SNL which is increasingly becoming less funny IMHO. Gone are the Belushi, Akroyd days. Neither was my struggle with the puzzle. Knew it was a rebus but in my BOOK... Oh, I get it!

BTW: Does DONKEYSYEARS signify as short as "Annual" as the clue in 100a suggests? Some words have pretty long shelf lifs, appearing again and again. MELEE is one. EEN OPE EYE appear. And.. an other thing, what's with the clue for 38A "Bar, legally", leading to ESTOP??

BBTW: It is pretty cold here in the South and appears warmer than the temps up North. Maybe you are about to get the Arctic blast (thats a nice Xword answer!) soon and perhaps handle these situations well. Here every snowflake was tracked, anasthesized, dutifully tagged and then and only then allowed to float freely. Stay tuned to the report on News at 6.

GILL I. 9:38 AM  

My first theme entry was DELIVER THE GOODYS so I thought, ok, play on words. Then came MEET ONES SMAKER and I thought well, I guess anything goes. Took ages but I finally got the rebus at FACEBOOK REALITY.
TABAC at 97D brought back memories of smoking gauloises in my "I don't give a damn" days. They were probably the most disgusting cigs on the planet but they were cool looking to smoke. They had yellow paper wrap, no filter and the minute you put them dowm, they'd go out. I would like to thank the French for making me quit.
Thanks REX for the Whitney. A beautiful candle has been extinguished.

jackj 9:38 AM  

When 1down checked in as the excellent BADCOP, I muttered a gentle hurrah, anticipating a Sunday puzzle that might be a cut above the usual fare. And, when the first rebus theme answer was the clever DELIVERTHEGOOD(BOOK)S it looked like a fun solve was ahead.

But, the best laid plans, etc. were waylaid when the ASSADS joined up with CHIRAC and a cascade of foreignisms, COQ, AZOV, OMBRE, LEK, SANT, HELLAS, EDESSA, ELEA, TABAC, SAKIS, etc, etc, etc, continued the overwhelming non-English language mystery tour.

It began to feel like I had been dropped into the middle of a heated United Nations General Assembly debate, while all the translators were out having lunch.

While I finished the puzzle in a reasonable time, the highlights were few and far between. It wasn’t the theme; they were almost all clever and mildly chuckleable, even the one that had us tuning in on an obscure British colloquialism to fill in DONKEYSYEAR(BOOK)S, it was the fill and its influenza of foreign verbiage and hard core crosswordese that ruined the experience.

As always there were a few bright spots like MANDMS, AGUILERA, QUELL, RUCKUS and my favorite of all, 104 down, clued as “Washington airport” which, when one filled in the “E” of ABUSE, followed by the last “A” of DACHA, looking for a six letter word, the grid then likely seduced you into entering REAGAN and frustration and panic followed until one realized SEATAC was the correct answer. Nice work on that one, Kurt!

Constructors, (and editors), have to do what they have to do to protect a clever theme, but when they stretch too much, they might try to remember that it will be the solvers who suffer from it. As we did today.

Smitty 9:39 AM  

MandM RandR - I have a brain deficiency when it comes to these - it got me again today.

I spent way too much time trying to figure out MAGIC Johnson's real name - Latoya? Lamarr? Labrea?

@chefwen, fellow railbird here...

Ulrich 9:48 AM  

I'm with you all re. Whitney.

Enjoyed the puzzle in the sense that I was curious about which of the many book combination that come easily to mind showed up, and I didn't need that post from yesterday to remember Chirac.

Here's my take on a bookworm. [Full disclosure: This is a post on my blog. If you find it gauche beyond belief (we're in the Gallic mode lately) to plug one's blog on somebody else's, please don't click. I just find my bookworm cute beyond belief...]

Z 9:56 AM  

I like Easy Breezy Mondays. I like challenging Saturdays. I intensely dislike easy puzzles with instances of "Huh?" where it takes me forever to suss out one small section. The Donkey Years region just stymied me for little reward. This was Tuesday fast for me except for that region. HELLAS/ELEA/EDESSA? All in one small region of an otherwise easy puzzle? Yuck.

jberg 10:01 AM  

I was once talking to a chap at Oxford who was an avid cricketer. I asked if he still played, and he replied, "Yes, we have a dons' side." So 93A wasn't that hard for me.

Nor was the French, etc. I mean, c'mon, we're living in a mostly European culture, we all ought to know enough French, Spanish, German, and maybe Italian to get through a puzzle. (And as for 38A, lawyers used to be required to speak English with a Spanish accent.)

SFC, though - I was 4-F, so I have no direct experience, but is there really such a rank? I thought it was First Sergeant.

Lindsay 10:11 AM  

Didn't pick up on the rebus immediately as the first theme answer I encountered, APPLE PIE ORDERs, sort of made sense. Though it resulted in a malapopped SER.

Spent aeons staring at 100A. Never head of DONKEYS YEARS, and had two errors crossing, KIth for KIND and caLL TO for YELL TO.

And I only had 4 years of French, so looking for a classic fragrance called "My Fish" is utterly excusable.

In sum, liked PLAY BOOK FOR A FOOL and MEET ONES BOOK MAKER; not so crazy an about the fill.

Lindsay 10:14 AM  

Extraneous "an" in my last post; please ignore.

JenCT 10:15 AM  

@jackj: I'm with you on your entire post.

Just not a fun Sunday puzzle for me.

So sad about Whitney Houston - I bet the Grammys tonight will be all about her...

ArtLvr 10:19 AM  

I loved the whole thing, and expect it was simpler for DONNISH OLDSTERS? C'est LA VIE!


Tita 10:24 AM  

@Anon @ 1:15am - LOL
I can just see the acceptance speeches at ACPT...and I'd like to thank my parents for 12 Across, my husband for 23 Across, and my Mrs. Dupont, my french teacher, for 43 Down...

I like rebuses, so liked this - a few great theme answers, and the rebus for some reason was subtle enough that is fooled me on many of the crosses.

JaxInL.A. 10:24 AM  

My last letter was the H in ASH. "Lucky end?" referred to Lucky cigarettes. Wow.

I heard the terrible news about Whitney Houston just as I dropped off to sleep last night and had a very odd dream about her that I don't fully remember. She wasn't even as old as I am, and she has a teenage daughter as I do. The Grammys take place at the Nokia Theatre, which I ride past on my bike regularly. It all feels very odd. I have no connection, yet I have a connection...

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

had the same difficulty as others and wrote in dontist. found this a bit more of a struggle than usual, couldn't finish in one sitting. i would guess that most of us have been bookworms!as a child i always had my face in a book or was living a novel in my head. i feel a pang of jealousy when in a bookstore i see a young person pick up a book that i loved and know i cant read it again for the first time. terribly sad about whitney. another blazing shooting star burned out too soon.

exaudio 10:35 AM  

Tried "Dulles" AND "Reagan" before I realized the constructor meant THAT Washington. All of them six letters, what are the chances?

Tita 10:39 AM  

@Ulrich...I've commented on your blog.
As to general protocol, I would say that it is ok to have a low key reference to one's blog, as long as it's topical, and as long as you return the favor on your own blog.

Of course, I can't speak for Rex - just call me the Miss Manners of the digital age.

quilter1 10:40 AM  

Maybe this was a puzzle for one who has lived DONKEYS YEARS. I knew APPLE PIE ORDER BOOK, a phrase for neatness plus the rebus. A couple of write-overs, but not too bad. At 122A I had dumb as. But I liked FULL METAL BOOK JACKET. I've actually met (in the psych ward) a person who wore an aluminum foil hat. Some days I even understand that.
Now thinking about apple pie.

I've never been into pop music, but losing one's life at 48 is tragic. My daughter is 45 and I just can't imagine. Peace to you, Whitney.

evil doug 10:46 AM  


On my squadron's first rotation to Frankfurt in 1975, I came upon a Buchschmid & Gretaux inlaid wood piece entitled "Bookworm". Cost much more than a young lieutenant's pay could justify, but I was so taken by both the subject and the brilliant use of veneers that I rationalized spending something over $100. And it's still among my most treasured possessions.


chefbea 10:50 AM  

@Rex thanks for all the whitney Houston videos etc.

@jenct I agree. Will be all about Whitney

Fun puzzle, got the rebus right away.Shout out to puzzle husband at 14down and 30down.

Shamik 11:00 AM  

Blyecch. Found this to be a medium with two wrong squares at RUCKUP/PFC and the Naticky ASOV/LESMIS. But along the way, it was just so full of crosswordese and partials that I was put off long before getting the theme. Very disappointed in this one today.

Ulrich 11:17 AM  

@Miss Manners: I'm with you, and as long as it happens once every leap year.

@evil dog: Just make sure real bookworms won't get into the veneer! I've seen it...

No BS 11:18 AM  

Think maybe 93A is a shout out to you, Rex.

Thanks for the tribute to Whitney.

Found puzzle fun and easy as a Sunday should be.

Norm 11:22 AM  

Cute enough puzzle. SFC (I learn by Googling after the fact) stands for Sergeant First Class, so it's legitimate but obscure. Still, there wasn't really anything else. I thought 116A & 105D was a quasi-Natick as clued. Don't know my operettas (I think that's what the Mikado is) and sushi can have sorts of weird names, so you could put a lot of different consonants in there: MOKO/SAMIS, NOKO/SANIS, etc. "Drink options at Japanese restaurant" would have been fairer (in my opinion) for 105D and I would have better luck at 116A with "Signing gorilla", Minor gripe.

r.alphbunker 11:27 AM  

Guessed wrong at the SA[K]IS/[K]OKO crossing. In retrospect I should have thought of "sakes"

I enjoyed your blog entry

Did you know that the heirs of Emily Post have a site called Etipedia (Etiquette + Encyclopedia)?
In particular there is a link for "Computers and Communication"

JenCT 11:47 AM  

As an aside, does anyone know why there are so many spam emails from previous days coming in to Blogger? Or how to stop them?

Anyone else getting bombarded with these???

David 11:59 AM  

I really enjoyed the puzzle, thought the rebus and most of the answers were very clever. Got it down at MEET ONE'S BOOKMAKER, as I concentrated on the left side of the puzzle first.

Never heard of DONKEYS YEARS, thought there was an extra Y in there. And hand way way up for MENO/DONNISH. I put the N in there as a total guess.

Mel Ott 12:05 PM  

@Rex: Thx for including Whitney Houston's "Star Spangled Banner" from the 1991 Super Bowl (1991). The game was played while the Gulf War was going on. Many considered her rendition the best they had ever heard at a sporting event. Many Giants said they were inspired by it. A few years ago ESPN ranked it among the great Super Bowl moments - no. 18 I think, right up there with all the jock stuff.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

@Ulrich - If you don't blow your own blog, who will? BTW my favorite clip comes from The Third Man (more relevant yesterday with SEWERS, of a different sort):

Harry to Holly:

You know what the fellow said? In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love and 500 years of democracy and peace. And what did that produce? The cuckoo clock!

[Spoken after the ride on the boxcar ferris wheel in Vienna on which I rode and almost died from acrophobia]

Lewis 12:18 PM  

So I've finished Elizabeth Gorski's WSJ Valentines Day puzzle, and therefore know the little trick going on in the puzzle, but I haven't figured out the connection between that trick and the puzzle's honoree. Can anyone give me a hint to that connection (that wouldn't give it away to someone who hasn't done the puzzle) or point me to a blog where that puzzle might be discussed? Thanks!

r.alphbunker 12:37 PM  


Numbers Guy 1:31 PM  

yeah, really tried to stick 2 Zs into 82d:MEzO. glad im not the only one. im sure theres a teacher named donze at some obscure ecole. i needed a Z somewhere since i didnt get one at LESMIs/AsOV.

had ike in the atlantic theater on the way to EDaSSi since ELEi looked just as good as ESEA.

also i forgot to order some SAKIS to go with my mAKIS after making the flight from DCA to SEA. dont know what mAMENESS means but there are so many words that i dont know thats why i come here to find out if it is in fact a word.

finishing with a couple of wrong letters is one of the hazards of getting your puzzle at the base of the driveway in a bag every morning. this is why i prefer math puzzles to verbal ones - numbers dont lie the way words can.

Numbers Guy 1:38 PM  

ELEA/EDESSA - is this a greek suburb of boston, or just inexperience on my part? the HELLAS crossing was obvious enough.

Lewis 1:50 PM  

Thanks, r.alph! Got it!

Some sections flew in this puzzle, some didn't. I'm still gathering my crosswordese. I looked forward to this diversion today, and it didn't disappoint.

Lepisma saccharina 1:51 PM  

Robert Hooke in the 17th century described the tiny insects , he called bookworms, which he observed under his newly-invented microscope as :"one of the teeth of time."

The Teeth of Time is also a chapter in Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve : How the World Became Modern.

AnnieD 1:54 PM  

@lewis, re gorski puzzle, don't miss looking at the smiling figure created by the black squares. Very well executed puzzle with a good solving pace.

david 2:09 PM  

What's donnish?

Ulrich 2:18 PM  

@david: Donnish is when you DON tweed jackets with leather patches at the elbows, DON glasses, preferably of the rimless kind, and DON't like seeing your opinions challenged by pesky students:)

Rube 2:38 PM  

Fell asleep over this last night after getting the theme at FACE{BOOK}REALITY. ELEA and EDESSA are crosswordese one picks up over the years. Nubies dislike obscure crosswordese, but do get used to them with time. Actually, I'm beginning to think of them as old friends. Just don't want to see them too often. Like LEK, which I've seen before and must add to my OneNote xword vocabulary. Maybe I'll remember it next time.

Got JLO from crosses, but thought he was some dude rapper... wait, that's Cee Lo... oh well.

Guessed {BOOK}IN, but don't understand the term. Just now realized why a TEN is inferior to a Jack. And me a Bridge player!

I never took French, but thought pêche meant peach and pêcheur was the verb, to fish, as in Les Pêcheurs de Perles an opera that appears in xwords from time to time. @Kirble's comment had me choking on my coffee.

Got the second N in DONNISH from menos, meaning less in Spanish. Never heard the term DONNISH either. Sorta brings up memories of sad-eyed Dondi from the comics in my youth

Good puzzle and splitting it up into 2 sessions eliminated the slog factor for me.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

I was thinking that those black squares resemble Abe Lincoln with a top hat and beard down to his feet, since his birthdsay is around the same time as Valentine's Day. Could that be her secret funny valentine? No mention of that in the crosswordfriend site....


Loren Muse Smith 3:09 PM  

Dear solvers I wish to admonish
You not to be all too astonished
He is a professor
I'll give it a guess here
Might Rex be a little bit donnish?

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

Westcoaster checking in late. It allplayed out for me EXCEPT "lucky ASH". What/who is this?!!

skua76 4:25 PM  

Hmmm! I had no problem with DONNISH and guessed right on the last letter of EDESSA, but I made a classic mistake, for 47D I threw in MEETyourBOOKMAKER. Which of course had me stumped since none of the crosses worked and I couldn't figure out how to spell AGUILERA.

Of course, after coming here, I see that "your" is in the clue. My bad.

Haven't done that WSJ puzzle yet, it is sitting on my printer...

quitch--what I sometimes feel when I should either quit or bitch

Mel Ott 4:36 PM  

Anon 3:51: the ASH on the end of a Lucky Strike cigarette, aka a Lucky.

(I gave them up almost 30 years ago which is one of the reasons I'm still alive.)

Limerick 4:38 PM  

@Anon: That's as in Lucky Strike cigarettes

@LMS, (LSM FT?): You're good.

Loren Muse Smith 5:18 PM  

My favorite Whitney Houston hit was "I Will Always Love You."

Her version accompanies this moving youtube clip.

Matthew G. 5:36 PM  

Liked this puzzle a lot! Two of the theme expressions--APPLE PIE ORDER and DONKEY'SYEAR--were complete unknowns to me, so those two areas were tough, but the rest was easy.

Phil McHale 6:23 PM  

Both the somewhat troublesome donnish and donkey's years are very common in UK English. Tutors, professors, etc. at Oxford and Cambridge are known as dons. And there is an interesting theory that donkey's years was originally donkey's ears - Cockney rhyming slang for "years". If you said "I haven't seen Fred in donkeys" most oldster Londoners would know what you meant (i.e. for ages).

Sparky 6:33 PM  

Like rebuses and these were tricky enough to provide some fun. Knew DONNISH and DONKEYSYEARS I guess from reading Dorothy Sayers. MYSIN big in its day, with weekly ads in The New Yorker. 101D cALLTO held me up though. So, @ArtLvr right. Donnish oldsters.

There is a song My Bel Ami and, years ago a movie with George Sanders, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami. I Googled to confirm all this stuff and it's from the late 1940s and thereafter. Too bad my short term memory isn't that good.

@Smitty. Also tried to think of Magic's frist name.

Nice tribute to Whitney Houston. Gone way too soon. Thanks Rex.

Anonymous 6:41 PM  

Landry or LSMFT if auto correct would desist. Lucky/ash. Wonderful. Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco

Keith 7:15 PM  

The Rochester Institute of Technology had (has?) a watering-hole called the "Ritskeller."
Locally known as the "Rat-shelter," I associate it with vomiting undergrads.

Anonymous 7:34 PM  

It's toasted!

Anonymous 8:34 PM  

Got the theme at Deliver the good (book)s.

No trouble with donnish, or mon peche, but anticipating regret, had to ask husband for the Mars candy.

Guessed Elea/Edessa.

Enjoyed the book theme.

Surprised Rex did not get Halston earlier.

jackj 9:42 PM  

Sparky (and Smitty)- Magic's first name is Ervin.

Big Ed 10:19 PM  

LS/MFT or Lucky AS H(ell)?!

betrob 12:55 AM  

I'm a late night puzzle doer and found no comment about "mandms". Am I missing something? (74D)

Anonymous 1:40 AM  

In pinochle, ten ranks above the king.

Rube 3:34 AM  

@betrob: Are you new? don't think I've heard from you before. Parse this as "M and Ms".

Lois 9:08 AM  

The distinction is not between Superboy and Clark but between Superboy and Superman. Lois is tied mostly to the grown-up Superman and Lana to Superboy, I think, which would be in Smallville, as you say.

Anonymous 11:45 PM  

Un bel homme, un bel ami ... are very common phrases. Why Henri in this case, I'm not sure. But you could expect to hear something like: "Voilà le bel Henri!" which would translate (with a hint of sarcasm) as "There goes that Henry guy!... he thinks he's so s*** hot."
In French the H is silent so you need the L for the "liaison". The hard H is confusing to a Quebecois. For fun, try getting one to say " I hope so." It will often come out as "Hi 'ope so! "

Anonymous 4:43 PM  

Donkey's Years is a very Brit. expression and yes, it means a long time.

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

For Betrob. I just got it - M and M's from Mars candy co. The caps make all the difference.

Anonymous 9:35 PM  

Not only was there too much European geography, the constructor abused correct Japanese in 105d; who would ever order a "saki" to go with sushi?

Dirigonzo 11:19 AM  

From the syndicate, I finished only because BOOKER T came along and showed me the rebus, plus some lucky guesses all mentioned by others. In the Army an SFC is an E-7 non-commissioned officer and not at all obscure to veterans.

About Whitney, @Gill I.P. said, "A beautiful candle has been extinguished." So lovely and so true.

Spacecraft 1:29 PM  

Well, since the Las Vegas Sun saw fit, in its infinite wisdom, to devote its entire Sunday content to Muhammad Ali's 70th birthday celebration/charity drive (to which, BTW, I have NO objection), I am left without this puzzle. I just came here to see what it was all about--it doesn't appear that I missed a fantastic experience--and to honor two truly great African-Americans. Whitney and Muhammad, would that we deserved your gifts. Thank you.

Anonymous 4:53 PM  

After I picked up the theme I was able to get most of the theme answers from the clues alone (few if any crosses). First guess at 47d was CURL UP WITH A BOOKIE, which kinda creeped me out. Glad that didn't hold up. Actual answer was my favorite.

It's a mockumented fact that The Rutles honed their skills in a Hamburg club called the Rat Kellar. Incidentally, "Rat Keller" means, literally in German, "cellar of rats". That's not "seller of rats", a seller of rats, a person who sells rats for a living to another man as it were, of course not. That means, a cellar...of rats.

Foreign language lesson #2: Péché Mortel is French for "Mortal Sin". If you've ever enjoyed this sublime brew you will never forget that.

Cary in Boulder 2:44 PM  

At the risk of being drubbed with a cocaine spoon, I would proffer that, yes, Whitney's passing marks the tragic death of a beautiful woman with a great voice. But IMO her musical choices were mostly gag-inducing treacle and a waste of her talent. Meanwhile, the recent deaths of two FAR more musically important figures -- Etta James and Johnny Otis (look 'em up, young'uns) --received way less attention. Of course, they weren't 48 when they went, although Etta was also a drug addict. And they weren't fawned over by a mass media that is increasingly musically illiterate.

(For more on Etta, check out my radio tribute at

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