Medical pioneer Sir William / SUN 3-11-12 / Actress Lee of Funny Face / Cager Baylor / 1955 Walter Lord book / Classic black-and-white film featuring gigantic irradiated ants / Old PC screen / 1887-1996 govt watchdog / Biblical kingdom where Moses died

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Constructor: Victor Fleming and John Dunn

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: 100 Years AgoTITANIC (63A: Theme of this puzzle)

Word of the Day: I.C.C. (108D: 1887-1996 govt. watchdog) —
The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was a regulatory body in the United States created by theInterstate Commerce Act of 1887. The agency's original purpose was to regulate railroads (and later trucking) to ensure fair rates, to eliminate rate discrimination, and to regulate other aspects of common carriers, includinginterstate bus lines and telephone companies. The agency was abolished in 1995, and its remaining functions were transferred to the Surface Transportation Board. [took a bit of googling to figure which "ICC" was meant—leaning toward International Cricket Council there for a while...] (wikipedia)
• • •

Back on my feet again today with a time well under 10. Hurray. This theme was supremely easy to pick up—didn't get it off the title alone (which I should've), but got it as soon as I hit the clue for JOHN JACOB ASTOR. With the exception of GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS, all theme answers were gimmes or near-gimmes. There was only the slightest amount of dreck, and the only part that made me pause at all was (*again*) the NE corner, where SNIT for PANT (15D: Big huff?) and a bit of I AM SO / ARE SO (14D: Kindergarten comeback) confusion kept me tied up for a few seconds. "Downton Abbey" famously begins with the house getting word that the TITANIC has sunk, with the heir (engaged to Lord Grantham's daughter Mary) aboard. This is what I think of now when I think of TITANIC. One more reason I love "Downton"—spares me from thinking of the dreadful, painfully overrated 1997 James Cameron movie and its even more dreadful soundtrack. There's a lot of theme material in play here, much of it intersecting, so as tribute puzzles go, this one seems pretty solid.

Theme answers:
  • 27A: American millionaire lost with the 63-Across (JOHN JACOB ASTOR)
  • 33A: With 88-Across, 1960 musical partly about the 63-Across, with "The" ("UNSINKABLE / MOLLY BROWN")
  • 88D: With 13-Down, disastrous event for the 63-Across (MAIDEN VOYAGE)
  • 96A: What the  63-Across crossed to begin her 88-/13-Down (ENGLISH CHANNEL)
  • 3D: 2003 James Cameron documentary about the 63-Across ("GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS")
  • 5D: 63-Across's destination on her 88-/13-Down (NEW YORK CITY)
  • 65D: Where the 63-Across's 88-/13-Down began (SOUTHAMPTON)
  • 38D: 1955 Walter Lord book about the 63-Across ("A NIGHT TO REMEMBER")

Started right up top with HAG and ended very nearby with lovely RUTA, mutamaid (10D: Actress Lee of "Funny Face"). I've seen "Ferris Bueller" many times but it always takes me several crosses to remember SLOANE (4D: Ferris's girlfriend in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"). SLOANE is kind of a nothing character—Jennifer Grey, as Ferris's sister, has the only good female role in that movie. One name I did not know was OSLER, though I'm 98% sure I've said that before (32A: Medical pioneer Sir William). Most other names I got easily. BELA, check (28D: Banjoist Fleck). MOAB, check (74D: Biblical kingdom where Moses died). PABLO, check (72A: Nobelist poet Neruda). ELGIN, check (55A: Cager Baylor). TINO, check (29A: Two-time All-Star Martinez). CRT is one of those answers that was bygone before I ever knew it existed, so I always have trouble with it (52A: Old PC screen). My favorite answer in this puzzle is probably "BRING IT!" (9D: "Give me your best shot!"), though I have a strange affection for PRINT AD (which took forever to come into view, but gave me a good "aha" feeling instead of the more typical "ugh") (84D: Newspaper or magazine offering).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Noam D. Elkies 12:18 AM  

The sinking of the Titanic and the creation of the Oreo were both 100 years ago? Who knew!

Nice puzzle overall, with quite a few subsidiary short entries to bolster the theme. Still I'd count all of 29A:TINO, 4D:SLOANE, and 10D:RUTA towards its tare of dreck. Also the crossing of 34D:NICO and 50A:CECE (yecch), and 94A:IF_HE (ouch).

Nice clue for 95A:MARE. That's one "sea" that's utterly arid. On a Saturday one might see the same word clued as "____ nostrum".

How might The Onion have clued the stacked 75A:PUT_OUT and 80A:SPURTS?...


jae 12:30 AM  

A smooth solid  easy-medium for me with no erasures.  Getting the theme early helped.  I liked it. 

Possible problem area -- SLOANE crossing TITO and OSLER.

Nice to know someone else shares my opinion of that movie.

pk 12:32 AM  

This one was going nowhere at first, then stumbled upon 33A which referred to 63A which, with the puzzle title, couldn't have been anything other than Titanic.

Easy going after that, except for writing in Ghost (singular) of the Abysss. Just kept going with those esses without realizing it until Dr. Osler (who could have been anyone) wouldn't fit where he was supposed to be.

Didn't Ruta Lee play the Unsinkable Molly Brown? At least on Broadway if not in the musical? Both?

When I was 10, I had a chocolate poodle named Molly Brown. Such a sweetheart. Don't think I've been dog-less since.

Deb 12:36 AM  

I missed the title, but seeing it now makes me wonder why this puzzle ran today, since the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is April 15th. On the other hand, as I was solving (and being also unaware at that point that the anniversary is upon us), it seemed uber-timely since a comprehensive mapping of the debris field is big news right now. I don't know why the Titanic tragedy is so endlessly fascinating, but I'll definitely be watching the documentary on the History channel on tax day.

Now, I wonder if WS has a killer puzzle waiting for us on that day that perhaps does a play on TAXES and TITANIC. Just in case he doesn't, hop on that, Rex! ;)

Oh, and I wholeheartedly agree with your summation of Titanic (the movie), Rex. It was overwrought, and the ending stunk. Really, really stunk.

I did enjoy the puzzle quite a lot. One of our field trips in grade school was to visit the Molly Brown house in Denver. She was a big hero of mine as a kid (ala Debbie Reynolds' depiction anyway), so it's always fun to run across her name.

Anonymous 3:06 AM  

Nonetheless, a film such as Titanic spares one from thinking of the dreadful, painfully overrated Simpsons!

Anonymous 6:35 AM  

T I T A N I C !!!
I love that movie !!!
And I disagree about Mia Sara as SLOANE in Ferris Bueller's Day Off : she was sooooo hot.
Good Sunday puzzle and good theme.

johnranta 7:11 AM  

"snowy owl" not "snow owl"!

orangeblossomspecial 7:23 AM  

The Dixon Brothers recorded a country song: "Down with the old Canoe" to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. It became the title of books and documentaries about the sinking. There is a nice collection of photos along with the recording on youtube.

Sir Hillary 8:32 AM  

Didn't care for this one. Can't quibble with the construction, but I prefer my Sundays a more whimsical. This felt like a chore. Again, no disrespect to VF & JD, as it was quite well put together. Just not my cup of Sunday tea. Oh well, horses for courses...

joho 8:35 AM  

I'd also add REAR for stern and DECO and BERG to the theme density which I was really impressed by.

I, too, got the theme at JOHNJACOBASTOR and could actually see him being swept away in the James Cameron movie which I really liked!

The only thing foreign to me here was TOHEEL but it makes sense.

Thank you Victor Fleming and John Dunn for a satisfying Sunday solve!

AnnieD 8:52 AM  

Enjoyed this puzz very much even if on the easy side. Only stumbling block for me was the NICO/CECE cross. Only rewrite was VARSITY for ATHLETE off the T in New York City. Thought 86A should have been clued as part of the theme.

Off to the Kenken now....

Jp 9:13 AM  

Pretty easy as Sundays go. Guessed the theme right away from the cluing. Needed a minimum of google just to finish the NE and NW corners. It is well constructed but it felt a bit tedious.
Why is there so much fascination with the sinking of the Titanic to justify a puzzle on is beyond me.

Loren Muse Smith 9:32 AM  

The whole time I was solving this, I was thinking that I don’t really like themes like this – I’ve never been that interested in the Titanic (just saw the movie a couple of months ago and am with @Rex and @jae) when I realized how much I would gobble up a puzzle like this if the theme were Gone with the Wind; I once had a real obsession with that book/movie. Then I laughed at the irony of the constructor’s name. @Victor Fleming– you MUST do one about GWTH!! (Maybe you already have.)

Despite a lack of interest in the Titanic, I enjoyed this thoroughly. On my initial attack, 27A made me look at 63A, which was my toe hold. Perfect. “Boo” for HISS and “gasp” for PANT and not realizing that there aren’t two H’s in SOUTHAMPTON messed me up for a bit. Loved SASHAY, BRINGIT, SCIATIC, and PRIMPS. I appreciated that “summer cooler” wasn’t the tired “ade,” and was deeply impressed with all the peripheral theme fills – I counted 6 and then @joho pointed out REAR and DECO, so it’s 8. Cool.

@Joho – hand up on the odd TOHEEL.

@Evil – spare us on 75A. Be a good boy and focus on 78A and 79A instead. ;-)

Learned a new word this morning and am going to do my level best to work "quidnunc" into a conversation at some point today.

mac 9:34 AM  

Nice Sunday, too bad it's so big.
About Oreo: we see it so often, maybe Will should just make it a requirement for every NYT puzzle.

Can't make it to the tournament next week, just had to extend my stay in Holland because of illness in the family..... I'll miss seeing so many of you.

Hoot Gibson 9:36 AM  

Some other names for the Snowy Owl are Snow Owl, Arctic Owl, Great White Owl, Ghost Owl, Ermine Owl, Tundra Ghost, Ookpik, Scandinavian Nightbird, White Terror of the North, and Highland Tundra Owl. It is the official bird of Quebec.

One other Comment.

Wade 9:38 AM  

If you're a Dave Dudley or truck-driving song fan ("IF"? What am I saying?), you probably got ICC from "Six Days on the Road":

If you're a Nutcracker Buck fan (Hahahahahahahaha! Hahahahaha! [Cough cough.] Hahaha! Ha ha ha. Ha. [Cough.] Ha), you probably aced this puzzle and most of your World History final because of this song:

I'm a little overweight and my logbook's way behind.

Ulrich 9:59 AM  

Add STAHL (German for "steel") to the short theme references scattered about: The one used for the Titanic was substandard, even for the times, one hears.

Another detail I liked was that New York City was placed W of Southampton. Nico, nee Christa Päffgen, from my hometown, was a bonus unrelated to the theme.

All in all, a carefully constructed puzzle, which I appreciate even if I share a lack of enthusiasm for tribute puzzles with some of you, unless, of course, I care about the object being paid tribute to, or should I say the object to which tribute is being paid?

FearlessK 10:06 AM  

Echo all comments about overwrought movie, especially ending. Also ditto on appreciation of theme richness. Easy overall with exception of personal Natick at REPEATS/POHL crossing, where REHEATS/HOHL looked perfectly reasonable. Embarrassing for a fan of science fiction. Now to wait for Evil's post...

archaeoprof 10:06 AM  

Liked the puzzle. Hated the movie.

Clever to have that BERG lurking of the starboard side.

Smitty 10:06 AM  

Not easy for me. Didn't help that, without my glasses, I read "musical party aboard the 63 across"
Whoever the band was, I could hear them playing "Nearer my God to thee" as I waited forever for this clunker to go down.

jackj 10:07 AM  

When I saw the puzzle’s title of “100 Years Ago”, my immediate thought was, “How nice, Will’s paying tribute to Fenway Park on its 100th Anniversary”.

Ah, well, wait ‘til next year for101!

Vic and John have pulled off a bravura feat by filling their grid with some of the knottiest theme entries in memory. GHOSTSOFTHEABYSS, JOHNJACOBASTOR, ANIGHTTOREMEMBER are just some of the unusual bits with which they had to deal. Impressive work!

While dealing with the disparate pieces needed to highlight the TITANIC anniversary, Vic and John still paid great attention to the surrounding fill, giving us such cleverness as “Kind of trail” for VAPOR, PUTOUT, nicely clued as “Peeved”, BRINGIT, which is a strong challenge from someone who was probably already a bit peeved, SCIATIC, which was a pain in the backside, (but nice in the puzzle) and “Quidnunc”, a $5 word for busybody, which allowed Vic to repeat his prior use of YENTA in an earlier puzzle without guilt.

Seeing SNOWOWL reminded me of a sad event that occurred this past Thanksgiving Day in Hawaii. While venturing south, (way south), from its Arctic home during this unusually warm winter, a snowy owl flew into Honolulu Airport, whereupon this magnificent two-foot tall, brilliant white, gorgeous bird was immediately shot and killed by US Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services biologists who feared the owl would interfere with the airport’s operations. What a tragic, senseless, thoughtless ending for this majestic bird, (a cousin to “Harry Potter’s” Hedwig) and being so idly destroyed by scientists makes it doubly tragic.

Getting back to the crossword, as long as Will is giving us tribute puzzles, may they all be as good as this one!

Thanks, gents.

ERS 10:08 AM  

Jennifer Grey had the only good female role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Are you kidding me? Guess Rex missed half the movie. Rebecca DeMornay was great. Did he miss the train scene? Wow.

Tita 10:37 AM  

@jae - I too thought it was TItO...there IS a Tito somebody, isn't there??
@Rex - Hey - just googled it - he is an intern for councilwoman Webb in BINGHAMTON!!

(I guess we were thinking of TitO Fuentes...)

I'll remind NYers again to check out the subway tiles at the ASTOR Place subway - immortalizing a few of the beavers upon which JJA built his fortune.

I guess the BERG wasn't clued obviously because the captain had no warning until it was too late... Good grief - I don't know if I can stand so much symbolism in my puzzles.

(Thanks Ulrich and Archaeo---your spatial observations led me to that one...)

@jackj - "Wait 'till next year" - an apt quote for Red Sox fans! ;)

quilter1 10:41 AM  

I was traveling on Oreo's birthday, but I said to my husband "I bet Oreo is the puzzle theme today. I can't wait to get back and see." But no. I think that would have been brilliant. Oh well.

In Colorado in winter we were driving on a secondary highway and a snowy owl was flying right along the road. Very beautiful. I had only seen pictures before and didn't know they were so large.

Liked the puzzle, Molly Brown and snow(y) owl. The movie, meh.

Leslie 10:42 AM  

Why is there so much fascination with the sinking of the Titanic to justify a puzzle on is beyond me.

Yowch. Read "A Night to Remember." (I promise it's a quick read.) The sinking of the Titanic had an impact on the U.S. and Europe that I can only compare to 9/11. The repercussions were social and even spiritual/philosophical. It was the beginning of the end of set-in-stone class divisions (yep, WWI contributed way more to this, but the Titanic's sinking was also a landmark), and DEFINITELY the end of that Industrial Revolution belief that technology could conquer all.

What everybody else said about the fill, along with my own observation that I can never fill in names like SWENSON and LARSON without waiting for the crosses to tell me whether they end with ON or EN. Every. single. time.

lawprof 10:44 AM  

Enjoyable puzzle, but far too easy for a Sunday. I like to settle in for a while over coffee, let the sun warm the morning and take some time savoring the challenge. But not today. Zipped right through with only two write-overs: Safer for STAHL at 67 D and reef for BERG at 86 A.

JenCT 10:47 AM  

Not my cup of tea; I really dislike puzzles that cross-reference clues all over the place. Picked up the theme right away, though.

@mac: we'll miss you! Good luck where you are.

Just couldn't accept SNOW OWL; wanted SNOWY also. There's a Snowy Owl irruption this winter: see Snowy Owls

imsdave 11:07 AM  

Since Greene is apparantly unavailable, I have a few comments on the musical, "Titanic".

I saw it with my dad in "imparied seating". The set had four levels that went up and down during the performance. When the set had all four on stage at times, anything that was on the top level was unseeable to us.

Besides some amazing voices, the thing I remember most is the scene where John Jacob Astor reweds his wife just before she leaves for the lifeboats. A champagne glass is shattered and I cried.

Superbly crafted tribute puzzle. Well done. I agree with most of the commenters about the movie. Expensive dreck.

KRMunson 11:17 AM  

Meh. Just meh. Nothing exciting about today's puzzle. Thought the NW was harder than the rest of the puzzle. I had no idea what the name of Cameron's documentary was and I couldn't get it from the crosses.

Love the discussion about BERG!! Way better than the puzzle.

Z 11:17 AM  

@ERS - Yeah, and that scene where Ferris uses his parents house to run a prostitution ring in order to fool the assistant principal about being sick is pretty cool, too.

@LMS - I do believe that @Evil doesn't do Sundays. Probably a religious thing.

I got HAG which caused me to look at 3D which gave me 63A and the theme immediately. Only real slow down was AVowS before AVERS. I also was giving letters to varsiTy ATHLETEs. I didn't know ASTOR's first names for the longest time, had just about everything else done (save the AVowS fix) when JOHN JACOB just pooped into my head. Having never been all that interested in the TITANIC, I've no idea how or why I know the name at all.

I do wonder why this ran a month early. April 15 is a Sunday this year.

MaryRoseG 11:29 AM  

To ERS: are you perhaps thinking of "risky business" - Tom Cruise and Rebecca DeMornay. Mia Sara played Sloane in Ferris, but Jennifer Grey had the better part. And yes, Will should have held this puzzle a month.

evil doug 11:34 AM  

Loren---I was also looking at 13A, reminding me of my favorite Pink Floyd song:

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapor trail in the empty air.
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye.
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night.

There's no sensation to compare with this,
Suspended animation, a state of bliss.
Can't keep my mind from the circling skies,
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I.


Anonymous 11:35 AM  

Are you folks confusing Ferris Beuller with Risky Business? Rebecca deMornay and the prostitution ring were in Risky Business, nit FB's Day Off.

evil doug 11:39 AM  

I loved Rebecca DeMornay as Baby in Dirty Dancing....


chefbea 11:51 AM  

Easy puzzle. Got English Channel first and thought it was going to be about swimming the channel. Then it all fell together.

Love the word sashay...a word my grandmother always used.

Loren Muse Smith 11:58 AM  

@Ulrich – I can’t resist anything grammatical. I have no problem whatsoever ending sentences with prepositions and think many times to avoid doing so results in awkward structures.

“Michelle can’t decide with whom she should eat. “ ICK.

I’d rather have

“Michelle can’t decide who she should eat with.“

And yes, I’m starting to avoid “whom” because using it makes me feel conspicuous.

@Evil - beautiful lyrics! I never really got into Pink Floyd, so I went and read about David Gilmour. I see you and he share a passion.

I thought Rebecca DeMornay had a great run in Dancing with the Stars, too.

Mia Sara 12:01 PM  

Sloane was not in the recent Honda ad.

Rudy Shankar 12:25 PM  


Nice German connection with STAHL to overall theme. Yes, the Titanic is of endless fascination to me. My Dad was born that year the ship sank, on the wonderfully symmetric 12/12/12. Apart from the steel, riveting technology was in it's infancy. And yes it continued to be a weakness for different reasons even in the 70s when F-111s fell from the skies.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Good point, Loren. Other prepositional phrases prove the same point, like "Michelle can't decide who she should eat out."

Bird 1:33 PM  

I think this one was too easy for a Sunday, but only because of the subject.

Two (personal?) naticks forced me to look for help:
4D crossing 32A - I love the movie, but always forget his hot girlfriend's name. Can you blame me?
111A crossing 108D - I had 5 possible letters to finish _OOLERS, but none of them rang a bell for the acronym of the watchdog. ICC, IFC, IPC, ITC all seemed right.

Only mis-entry (is that a word?) was ARTICLE for PRINTAD.

Double captchas Routh sersula morph into surreal shout

Ulrich 1:34 PM  

@loren: I'm totally with you re. ending propositions--I mean, Churchill's famous dictum should have settled the issue long ago. I put this in exactly as a tease for persons of your persuasion...

...speaking of language: I did a double-take when I came across, in today's NYT, an actress named "Krautwurst"--you couldn't make this up b/c people would think you're off the wall.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Not only is the Oreo 100, but the first "Girl Guides" (later known as Girl Scouts) troop was founded March 12, 1912. A cookie theme would have been more timely than anticipating the anniversary of the Titanic's sinking. But maybe all the hoopla surrounding the disaster's centennial would have made for an even easier puzzle. I enjoyed the comments as much as the puzzle this week, especially the "berg on starboard." Thanks Rex for hating the Cameron movie too.

jae 2:03 PM  

Last Friday my friend Paul and I were going to Blockbuster (yes there are some left) to rent Tower Heist (Eddie Murphy redeems himself in this one). Matthew Broderick came up (Paul is not a fan) and we got into a discussion of which movie was more classic/iconic (what ever that means), Ferris Bueller or Risky Business. During the discussion I asked him if he knew the name of Ferris's girlfriend (I knew he didn't and was hoping that this would sway the discussion in my favor or at least throw him off track). This is a long way around to say that (@Tita) I meant to type TINO in my earlier post as I knew SLOANE but reverted to TITO which was my first thought before I checked the crosses.

Sparky 2:08 PM  

1A just wouldn't fall for me. Boy, cat, duck, komodo dragon? So, boo hoo, DNF. I even have a post about the snowy owls on facebook! Thanks @JenCT. Anyway, the rest pretty easy. Got the theme with title and clue for 63A. Popped in ade before FAN. Enjoyed so many references here and there. But it also made me a little sad.

Sorry @MAC that you won't be there. Will miss you.

I'm off to a flea market but not a tag sale.

Lakemantom 2:41 PM  

Forgot southampton was one word , not two so ended up with BARE instead of MARE......different kind of MOON reference I puzzle

WillGH 2:46 PM  

Fun easy puzzle.

But "snow owl?". I object! There is no such avian creature, only a "snowy owl."

My nine year old knows this for a. Fact after working through the 15 book series "Guardians of Gahoole" featuring warriors composed from every owl species.

Lewis 3:26 PM  

I saw the movie Titanic on the big screen and gave the dreck a pass because the movie was so visually amazing -- and I admit, I was moved by it.
Sometimes good things happen when you suspend disbelief.

On a tv, today? NAH.

William Langland 4:30 PM  

Thanks Rex for yesterday's comment:"And that British guy who took over for Larry King? Piers Plowman, I think. "

Made 115a a snap.

Anonymous 4:31 PM  

Conspicuous to whom?

Thanks for the nice comments. the puzzle was John's idea and we did submit with April 15 in mind. Will must have something really special planned for that day.


Larry I in L.A. 4:34 PM  

@Noam D. Elkies: How might The Onion have clued the stacked 75A:PUT_OUT and 80A:SPURTS?...

...not to mention that KEEPSITUP crosses both!

Cameron's Titanic was certainly over-rated but also a cultural touchstone that makes it impossible to dismiss. Many people that I know saw it multiple times, and its first 10 weeks at the box office were amazing. Where most blockbusters open big and then consistently drop off (sometimes precipitously), Titanic played to near-capacity for more than two months. Personally, the sinking was so technically awesome that I can almost forgive the mawkish primary story line. I was more moved by the brief montage of nameless families facing imminent demise than the death of Jack, and I wanted to throttle the elderly Rose when she sacrificed her descendants' financial future for the sappy romantic gesture of returning the sapphire to the sea.

DigitalDan 4:58 PM  

If you didn't like Titanic, the movie, or even if you did, check out the sound track to Maury Yeston's Titanic, the musical.

The musical itself was hard to like -- scenes on a level ship in Act I, scenes on a tilted ship in Act II -- but I am totally sold on the score. Great stuff.

Rex Parker 6:20 PM  

Cameron makes a magnificent living because people forgive the general cruddiness of his stories / plots / characters just to experience the "technically awesome." In that sense (the purely technical / financial one), he is a genius.


Jordan 6:34 PM  

Tammy Grimes was the original Unsinkable Molly Brown on Broadway. How do remember? I saw her!

Anonymous 6:51 PM  

How about a puzzle with Downton Abbey as the theme?

Rotten Tomatoes 7:02 PM  

@Rex -- Cameron's "Titanic" was a bit much, we'll grant you. Did get a best picture Oscar, much to our surprise.

But we really liked "The Abyss", "Terminator", and especially "Aliens". And "Avatar" was at least passable. So, a pretty decent body of work, all told. Mr. Cameron has mostly earned his keep, in our book.

michael 11:39 PM  

Easy, enjoyable puzzle.

I'm probably alone in confusing a quidnunc for a quincunx (my ninth grade science project)

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

Speaking of another anniversary re: 69A: "Like tsunami-affected areas". It's been 1 year since 20,000 died in Japan.

Howard B 9:27 AM  

SLOANE was my first answer in this puzzle, which squarely dates me as an 80s child.

Our local high school put on a performance of Titanic (the musical, not Cameron's vision) this weekend, and the cast and crew did a remarkably fine job of it. Not easy to stage such a performance on a high school level. Especially emotional, poignant performances by the ship's radioman and stoker.

They used a half-scrim at some points to divide the ship's upper and lower levels, as well as a mini-ship above the stage with small lights to mark the location of the current scene. A few hydraulics used at the end to tilt the stages and subtly simulate the sinking.

John 7:39 PM  

Creepy to put the video of Titanic Days on the puzzle considering Kirsty McColl died in a horrific boating accident in Mexico.

She was really underrated. I was a huge fan.

Spacecraft 2:23 PM  

Overrated? Dreadful? Really. This guy must be a curmudgeon of the first water. I wonder if there's anything in this world he DOES like. For my money...if you take your girlfriend to this movie, and you don't get lucky that night: you gotta be the 40-year-old virgin. Tell you what, big fella: I cried, yes I did.

The puzzle itself was easy pickings, but for a bit of a tricky NW, where I tried all kinds of OWLs (BARN, HOOT, etc.) before finding SNOW. Also had a minor writeover, putting my ghosts IN the abyss at first.

In the who knew? dep't.: now we have a third alternative to Lugosi and Karolyi. Welcome BELA Fleck!

Solving in Seattle 3:07 PM  

Easy, fun puzzle - good job Mssrs Flemming and Dunn.

@Larry I in LA, add TUNNEL to your list.

Agree that Titanic was super schmaltzy, but James Cameron's body of work is titanically successful. Check it out -
The Terminator (1984)
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Aliens (1986)
The Abyss (1989)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
True Lies (1994)
Titanic (1997)
Spider-Man (2000)
Dark Angel (2002)
Avatar (2009)

Who didn't love Jamie Lee and Arnold in True Lies?

Dirigonzo 3:39 PM  

Any puzzle would have been fine with me today as Mother Nature (or perhaps climate change) provided a cloudless sky and temps warm enough to start on my "no tan lines" tan while solving. I got the theme right away from the title and would have finished very quickly were it not for my desire to extend the experience as long as possible. I still fell victim to the TItO trap that @jae and others mentioned, though.

The oreo is 100 - who knew?


I'm a Titanic buff of the first order, predating the movie. So this was a piece of cake. But I couldn't get past the issue of it running four weeks too early -- I mean, April 15 is a Sunday, even!

Anonymous 7:44 PM  

Aced this--my third or fourth Sunday this year, which puts me well ahead of last year's pace.

Inexplicably, one of the last to fall was "___ the love?". I kept wanting to fit the Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway song in there and couldn't for the life of me see that contraction. Some times you just get stuck on the dumbest things.

@Tita 10:37 AM
"(I guess we were thinking of TitO Fuentes...)"

My favorite Giant when I was a lad. I copied that little bat flip he used to do when I was in Little League. He is also the author of this quote:

"They shouldn't throw at me. I'm the father of five or six kids."

Sharon AK 10:40 PM  

@ Anonymous 3:06
AGREED. (even tho I never bothered to see Titanic)
And thanks for my best laugh of the day.

Lola505 3:28 PM  

Love "Downtown Abbey", "Titanic", not so much, so once I caught the theme, my opinion of this puzzle improved, from easy/boring to pretty good, but still easy. No standout clues or answers IMHO, but it's a pretty Sunday outdoors, so off I go to enjoy it.

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