Early Wagner opera / SUN 4-1-12 / Disappearance of 7/2/1937 / University of Miami mascot / Old-time actress Talbot Naldi / Cassim's brother in classic tale / Terrestrial decapod / Botanical holder / Insect named for Virgin Mary

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Constructor: Patrick Merrell

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Of Course!" — common expressions with golf-related clues

Word of the Day: UNK. (91D: Anonymous: Abbr.) —
Anthony Platt (born March 28, 1982) commonly known as Unk, is a DJ/rapper. He began spinning records in 1998. After meeting DJ Jelly and DJ Montay, he joined their DJ entourage, the Southern Style DJs. They performed for high school parties, proms, pep rallies, and other events around the state of Georgia. In 2000 Big Oomp signed Unk to his label, Big Oomp Records. Some of his recent work has been featured on the 2K Sports NBA 2K9 game. He is known for his smash-hit Walk It Out. (wikipedia)
• • •
Golf. Not my thing. Terms are familiar enough, and the grid (ugsome UNK, aside) seems solid. It's just that cute little golf puns aren't that cute to me. Probably a very satisfying puzzle for golf-lovers or people who like this kind of innocuous wordplay. I'm not this puzzle's ideal audience.

Theme answers:
  • 22A: Golf club repositioning? (CHANGE OF ADDRESS)
  • 14D: Duffer's shots? (FOREPLAY)
  • 40A: Hole in one? (STROKE OF LUCK)
  • 49A: Comment after hitting a tee shot out of bounds? (BYE BYE, BIRDIE)
  • 69A: Wedge shot from a worn-out practice range? (A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK)
  • 90A: Use one club for all 18 holes? (PUTTER AROUND)
  • 101A: Course not listed in guidebooks? (MISSING LINKS)
  • 88D: Club thrown in disgust? (CAST IRON)
  • 122A: Woods stowed in the rear of a golf cart? (BACK-SEAT DRIVERS)

Bottom of the grid was way, way harder than the top for me. This is largely the fault of RIENZI (93D: Early Wagner opera), which may as well have been any random series of six letters. Never heard of it. Never ever. Rough. But there was other roughness in the bottom half of the grid: ALL CASH had a kind of arbitrary clue on it (97D: Like a real-estate deal that doesn't involve a mortgage)—I was expecting something much more real-estate-specific. Robert Frost's middle name? &$^% if I know (LEE). Miami University's mascot is an IBIS? (112D: University of Miami mascot) They're the Hurricane, right? The Miami Hurricane? What the bleep? That's not Miami University OF OHIO is it? Nope (trivia: their mascot is "Swoop the Redhawk"). Even DSCS / ERIC gave me grief. No idea that ERIC was any Danish king's name, let alone the name of a whole lot of 'em (128A: Any of seven Danish kings). And DSCS could be DSOS ... thankfully I realized that ERIO was not a likely Danish name. Top half was largely a cinch, except for AMF (7D: Inits. in bowling lanes). Again, I ask, What the !@#? Stands for "American Machine and Foundry," and according to Wikipedia, "American Machine and Foundry or AMF was founded in 1900 and was once one of the largest recreational equipment companies in the United States." Trying to figure out why this wasn't ALF (a much more reasonable, and cluable, answer). At first I thought it was because the resulting cross, HOLE, was somewhere else in the grid, in a golf answer. But no. Oh, wait—HOLE is in the clue for STROKE OF LUCK. Maybe that's it. Anyway, the point is, ALF / HOLE beats, nay, destroys AMF / HOME.

  • 26A: Botanical holder (TENDRIL) — that's a pretty difficult clue. Took many crosses to uncover the answer.
  • 37A: Jennifer of tennis (CAPRIATI) — you have to be a tennis fan *and* (probably) of a certain age (certainly over 30) for this to be easy (as it was for me). 
  • 53A: Insect named for the Virgin Mary (LADYBUG) — I had no idea. Cool trivia. I filled this answer in without ever looking at the clue. Same thing with BYE BYE BIRDIE, come to think of it.
  • 77A: Disappearance of 7/2/1937 (EARHART) — I was just reading a Nat'l Geographic cover story on The Titanic. Speaking of disappearances, I mean.
  • 99A: Old-time actress Talbot or Naldi (NITA) — I forgot about Talbot. Naldi is a gimme.
  • 4D: Terrestrial decapod (LAND CRAB) — didn't know that was a species. Sounds as real as "land shark."
  • 35D: Sport named for a British boarding school (RUGBY) — more cool trivia. News to me. 
  • 54D: Cassim's brother in a classic tale (ALI BABA) — clue was meaningless to me, but with a few crosses, ALI BABA came into view. I was thinking "man, this dude better be famous..." And lo ...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:05 AM  

Nice Masters week puzzle.  Easy-Medium for me.  Nothing really stands out for me so, if you're a golf fan (I am) you'll probably like this (I did) and if not, I'm betting meh.

Almost Naticked at TRISANE, REINZI, AAMILNE.   Didn't know the tea or the opera or the book(?).   Luckily AAMILNE popped out of crosses.

Erasures:  DEET for MESH, ASKME for TRYME, MIEN for VIEW, SAFE for LOCK, and DSM for DSC.

Anonymous 12:41 AM  

Rex - This might just be the fairest comment I have seen you write. You are not a golfer and do not appreciate the puns but recognize golfers might. I liked this puzzle for its clever clues and cute theme answers and got the puns as they were intended. I enjoyed it because once I realized the theme the challenge was to find common expressions that fit golf in a punny sort of way. It worked for me and BYE BYE BIRDIE was the funniest. If the puzzle has any shortcoming it is because it is so tailored to golfers.

However, I think it was easy, regardless of the golf angle, maybe a trifle harder for the non-golfer....


Jakarta Dan 2:03 AM  

Sorry to be a downer.

@jae, this was beyond meh for me. Thought it was the stalest puzzle in a long, long time. Nothing particularly challenging, clever, or unique, beyond the clue for 56A, which sidetracked me for a while with thoughts of gymnasts and glassware, but gave a small aha when LOCK came in. Puns weren't even groan-worthy. Just more stuff to fill in in a quick, mechanical solve.

Interesting that Rex found the bottom so much harder than the top. I worked this almost completely bottom up.

I'm sure the new week will start on a brighter note.

Best regards,

pk 2:04 AM  

I am a non-golfer, but am married to an Avid One, so this skewed pretty easy for me. 'Cept for stuff like Rienzi - Ouch! When Rex said it was like a random six letters, I was imagining a Whirly Word puzzle. Think I will have to stick those letters into Andy's Anagram Solver and see what pops out. See, there are more ways to cheat at word games than Rex and Google.

Other bumpy spot: DSCS? Distinguished Service Cross, I am guessing? Someone here knows.

Fave theme answer was Cast Iron. Avid Golfer spouse hates it when people do that.

Also loved 113A - spelling aid. A Harry Potter shout-out for the non-golfers amongst us.

pk 2:16 AM  

P.S. Stupidest write-over was Land Clam. Land C_a_. Land Clam seemed plausible at the time. Of course, clams don't/can't live on land. Bye Bye Birdie fixed it, but still, was really stupid.

Evan K. 2:39 AM  

I have to say, when I saw "Of course!" as the title, today being April 1, I was anticipating a brutal April Fools' Day puzzle of Sunday proportions. Thankfully this was not the case.

Aside from that bowling clue, this was pretty much up my alley. Ha. Loved a few of the puns!

chefwen 3:33 AM  

I was very surprised at Rex's rating, was expecting a "super easy". Printed it out late as I was preparing for a blow out party for my renter who is moving back to the mainland to work for my husband in his new venture.

Thought I would get it started and finish later, got the whole thing done in under an hour, which I think is a record for me on a Sunday. Like @pk not a golfer but have driven the cart and admired my more than accomplished golfer husband on many occasion. I may add that I am great at fetching beer.

Pretty happy Sunday puzzle for me. Thanks Patrick.

Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. 6:20 AM  

"arab" = 20% of Israel?

[a bit political, no?]

Anonymous 6:30 AM  

I remain surprised at the things you don't know - Rugby eg - but remain afan of your blog,

Regards JakartaJaap of Batvia

YontifSadie 6:37 AM  

I'm a golfer and got through ithis puzzle more easily than usual. BIG MISTAKE on 122 A when I mistakenly answered:
"Tiger in your tank"

Glimmerglass 7:23 AM  

Not a golfer, but this was still pretty easy. Who decided that cartoon seagull is an IBIS? It looks about as much like an ibis as a land crab.

orangeblossomspecial 7:40 AM  

My experience also was the opposite of Rexie's - I solved from the bottom up. Here are some musical references:

Here's the pride of Savannah: Johnny Mercer singing "A Gal in CALICO" (30A).

Dick van Dyke sings "Put on a happy face", the big hit from BYE BYE BIRDIE (49A).

Ray Stevens' early hit "Ahab the ARAB", the sheik of the burning sands (84A). It has the immortal line "with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes and a bone in her nose ho ho".

Sue McC 8:06 AM  

Ditto on IBIS...that was a real head scratcher. I disagree with Rex on AMF. I haven't been bowling in years but thoses initials popped right in, no problem. I'm not a golfer and we've had a nice streak of sports-free puzzles (as someone has been noting), so we were due, I guess. Overall, it was fun and rightly rated as medium, in my opinion.

jackj 8:07 AM  

This puzzle was a let down on at least three counts.

First, looking for a bit of tomfoolery on April 1 there was none to be found;

Second, the puzzle we got was much too easy (but “easy” seems like a facile boast so let me just call it unchallenging) and,

Third, the puzzle is not a clone but is, maybe, a stepbrother of a Sunday, June 15, 1997 puzzle by Karen Hodge titled identically as OF COURSE! and which riffed on similar golf terms, including at least two of which are repeated in today’s puzzle, PUTTERAROUND and MISSINGLINKS.

Today’s puzzle started nicely with things like the cross-referenced ASEA and ABEAM, then it continued in that vein with CASTE, SHEILA and TENDRIL but, when my first theme clue was filled in as STROKEOFLUCK, the theme became crystal clear and there were no more challenges to be had from the themed bits thereafter. Indeed, the 19 letter answer ACHIPOFFTHEOLDBLOCK was able to be filled in after getting only the beginning “A”.

There were some nice non-theme entries, such as ATSTAKE, ONCEOVER, ALLCASH, NEWKID, AIRDRY and LADYBUG, (which we learned from the clue is named after the Virgin Mary).

But, recycled themes always seem to be lacking.

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

One of the easiest Sunday puzzles in a long time. Once the theme was evident (Bye Bye Birdie) got it for me, it was just a few of the obscure entries that gave trouble. I am a golf fan so I guess I had a built in advantage.

burgundy 8:25 AM  

Rex don't get the connection between 91D clue "Anonymous: Abbr." and "Unk" and some obscure DJ rapper who, it appears, has nothing to do with "Anonymous."

I was thinking "Unk" stood for "Unknown"???


Jakarta Dan 8:32 AM  

@ pk - your writeover was not stupid, but inspired.

I like it.

This world needs ten-legged clams scuttling around.

The ability to raise herds of deca-clams far from the sea would be a huge boon to the chowder industry, for a start.

r.alphbunker 8:33 AM  

Thanks for the Harry Potter comment. I justified WAND by assuming that Aaron Spelling was a conductor.

Sometimes the things that RP posts aunt what they seem. It is a good policy to assume that any mistake in the posting is deliberate.

joho 8:53 AM  

Love golf and also had a lot of fun with this puzzle which as @jae mentioned is very timely with the Masters coming up next weekend.

In fact, I'll be watching the Shell Houston Open later today.

I thought the theme answers were cute and their clues clever, my favorite being FOREPLAY. I can relate.

This was easy but made for an enjoyable Sunday morning. Thanks, Patrick Merrell!

Cross Word Critic 9:08 AM  

@jackj...You remember a puzzle from Sunday, June 15, 1997??? Jeezus, I don't remember what I did yesterday! No wonder I'm such a mediocre puzzle solver. (Somehow I did manage to dredge up TISANE but I don't know how.)

Z 9:32 AM  

@Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D - Think 20% Arab and 80% Jew and it becomes more observational and less political.

@Chefwen - fetching beer is what I'm best at on a golf course as well.

@pk - Love LANDClAm!

I'm definitely in the "meh" category. Also had problems with the random letters RIENZI intersecting AAMILNE intersecting TISANE. Having cAMILlE didn't help.

I had Olaf before ERIC (I can't imagine why), then lookOVER before ONCEOVER. So the southeast was a struggle. I was hoping that either RIENZI or TISANE would be the WOTD. Now I have to go look them up.

archaeoprof 9:42 AM  

Like @Rex, I sailed through this puzzle until I got into the south.

There is only one golf course in Israel. That might explain the constant tension over there.

Mel Ott 9:45 AM  

Not a golfer, but the phrases are all familiar enough.

Whenever I see an allusion to the golf term about ADDRESSing the ball, I can't help but think of this classic Gleason-Carney Honemooners skit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNauilZRzHk

Bob Kerfuffle 10:04 AM  

Like @Evan K and @jackj, I was hoping for some April Foolery, which neither Will nor Rex gave us (I thought Rex's UNK description might be a spoof, but - aside from being a deliberate mis-direction, standard for Rex - it was straight out of Wikipedia.)

Oh, well, I just heard on NPR about Beethoven's newly-discovered Tenth Symphony. Have to see if I can find it on YouTube.

ERS 10:39 AM  

Being an avid golfer, this puzzle was a joy for me. Loved the play on golf terms. Also not a single "rims out". This was a fun and enjoyable puzzle easy to solve. Now I am off to the golf course but not until i have a little foreplay and then for sure there will be no bye bye birdies!!

chefbea 10:41 AM  

When I saw OF COURSE I knew the theme was golf right away. Even tho I was hoping for a Foolish theme..but I think we got our April foolery from Rex with the word of the day.

Of course loved crusty one but have never heard of tisane. I too will look it up.

Rudy Shankar 10:47 AM  

Hey, all. Am not a golfer but enjoyed the puzzle! Perhaps because I was able to solve it.


This is indeed Distinguished Service Cross. The British had a more "distinguished" DSO-- Distinguished Service Order one above the DFC-- Distinguished Flying Cross and one below the much coveted VC Victoria Cross.

So where did Jennifer CAPRIATI make her appearance? A promising tennis player in the early 1990s who was torpedoed by a headstrong Dad. That era saw so many young girls whose careers were affected/almost destroyed by overbearing Dads. Steffi Graf, Dokic, Seles.

Never knew Boomer ESIASON was a Jet , or that there was a GIJOE equivalent in Britain

GILL I. 10:47 AM  

I didn't mind the theme. Maybe because both my parents played golf and we use to watch it on tv all the time.
I do love tennis though and Capriati was a gimme. Nothwithstanding her personal problems with drugs and shoplifting, she was one fine tennis player.
I think we've seen ERIC clued as many a Danish king before along the lines of Caligulas's nephew good old NERO.
PUTTER AROUND is an interesting phrase that conjures up an image of George Burns with his cigar in his mouth.
Nothing to write home about puzzle but at least it didn't fill me with angst.

TDavis 10:48 AM  

I look forward all year for the April 1st puzzle. Instead of some fun brain twisting foolery I get a GOLF puzzle!!!! I hate golf. I'm in complete agreement with Mr. Twain who characterized golf as "a lovely walk, ruined."

Tita 10:51 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy 10:52 AM  

I was very pleased to celebrate the Masters rather than April 1st, and I can't imagine being upset about a theme repeat from fifteen years ago.

After I changed KRONeR to KRONOR to put in INGOD (had no idea) I had RIENZI solely from crosses, but my bigger problem was on the other side. The CAPRIATI - ALYSSA - ESIASON intersections required two guesses. I was very surprised to get them both right.

My first husband played golf, although he didn't have the temperament for it, but I didn't think much golf knowledge was needed. I always thought the best part of golf was the courses, although I could have done without the alligators at Kiawah.

I think a robot would have a better chance of "reading" this captcha than I do. (I was right, trying again...)

Tita 10:53 AM  

Disappointed not only that this wasn't a clever April Fool's theme, but that is was a ho-hum golf theme.

Fully in sync with Rex today.

Never had connected the Ladybug to "Our Lady", but while living in Germany learned Marienkäfer is German for Mary's bug...

Liked Start of an attention getting call - YOO.
Hadn't scene DORIC since the Weng, or was it Maleska, days...

I've run out of my favorite TISANEs...anyone know where I can find more?

Love AIRDRYing clothes...oh those towns who have restrictions against it.

Talk about randomness of clueing...Virtually ANY cloth with a pattern has a repeat.

@pk - LOL!!! Hall of Fame material, prehaps...
Clams might possibly be called Monopods, but rarely Decapods!!

GILL I. 11:16 AM  

I didn't mind the theme at all. Maybe because both my prents played golf and we used to watch it on tv.
CAPRIATI was a gimme since I do love tennis. Notwithstanding her personal problems with drugs and shoplifting, she was one fine tennis player.
I've seen the king ERIC clued exactly like this before along with Caligula's nephew old Mr. Nero.
An ok puzzle that I won't write home about. Now, off to explore the UNK with our pups.
@Tita: Try Trader Joe's. They do have a great lemon ginger herbal tea from STASH.

foodie 11:20 AM  

I'm with Rex, as well, and also with those who were disappointed about the lack of tomfoolery in this April Fool's puzzle.

But I do admire the fact that the theme answers were straight up, bona fide expressions and the word play was in the clues. I always prefer that, even if it makes it easier.

Shamik 11:25 AM  

Maybe because golf seems like it takes forever, so did this puzzle seem to take forever. And then, for me, it turned out to be an easy time. It still would have been in my range of easy for Sunday (currently 11:53 to 16:47) if I hadn't taken a minute to find ERIK from ERIOS. So if there's a mathematical equation for boredom increasing the length of time it seems to solve...this puzzle would fit into it.

Still...it's a beautiful morning in Phoenix, the coffee is hot and flavorful and I solved the puzzle on the day it was published. That makes a good day even when the puzzle is a solid meh.

Lawprof 11:44 AM  

Not surprising that so many were stumped by RIENZI.. It's one of Wagner's (shall we say) lesser-performed efforts. But you do hear the overture from time to time on your local classical radio station.

I, too, was disappointed that today's was not an April Fool's theme. The golf theme could easily have been postponed 'til next Sunday, to coincide with the final round of the Master's.

But...I did enjoy this one; just wish it'd been a week later.

No One Home 11:47 AM  

Golf? Come on! For the first time in 12 years I almost didn't bother doing the NYT crossword. Boring and tedious, I don't think it would be much fun even if you were an avid golfer.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

The correct answer for name of seven danish kings should be ERIK not ERIC. The name is spelled with a K
in scandanavian countries.

jae 11:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 11:56 AM  

@joho -- And, if our favorite crossword golfer Ernie ELS does not pull off a miracle in Houston today he will not be playing in Augusta this week.

Sir Hillary 12:09 PM  

Given the theme, I can't believe that 17D wasn't clued as "Hole in one".

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

The reason Robert Frost's middle name (Lee) is notable is because he was named for Robert E. Lee--not what you would expect given that his persona is that of the arch-yankee.

xyz 1:46 PM  

Fastest Sunday NYT ever - do it must've been easy? Nope, real world knowledge again goes for not.

Very easy for me (a golfer) except for SE which was medium instead of super fast. TISANE? Now that's neither household liberal dross nor cross-rote. yuk, rather pfffft

Most golf puzzles as with any "cross-over" golf anything is to be expectedly (and as delivered) sooooo bad - witness most of the theme grousing over this one. Those of you NOT golfers? At Christmas and for birthdays DO NOT BUY the golfer in your family a "Golf Gift" - it'll get chucked straight into the bin

At least the was no TIGER - especially "in the rear" of the cart.

D+ for this one, not loved by golfers, not loved by clone-word-knee-jerkerz.

I would have preferred the April Fool puzzle.

and plese: Anonymous UNK is "unknown", forget the silly rapper, keep it on your eco-friendly no-carb candy.

quilter1 1:50 PM  

Did this one over lunch. I know Wii isn't reeealy playing golf, but it helped me solve. I thought it was fun, and the theme answers made me smile.

California Girl 2:21 PM  

Just finished Saturday and felt compelled to let the world (or at least Rexworld) know that, on a long-ago Friday night in a high school auditorim, I saw The Beach Boys sing Surfin' Safari before they had memorized the words. They used 3x5 cards.

archaeoprof 3:03 PM  

Unk has just released a rap cover of Beethoven's Tenth.

mac 3:15 PM  

Pretty nice, easy Sunday. My grid looks so nice and clean. I'm not a golfer, but these expressions weren't hard, except I've never heard of a "block" on the practice range.

Esiasion is an unusual name, and I also thought the plural of Krone was Kroner.

@Tita: I love a tisane in the evening. Stop&Shop carries many kinds, including Stash. I like that lemon/ginger as well.

mac 3:16 PM  

P.S. My husband REALLY April fooled me this morning, plenty for one year!

Lewis 3:16 PM  

For me, like Rex, harder on the bottom. Quite a few "meh" ratings here, and maybe it's because the clues just had no dash to them in general. Very straightforward. Still, I'm always pleased to finish a Sunday with no Google or work check...

Lewis 3:18 PM  

oops... word check

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

Things I learned:

"Ones on a circuit" are not REGULARS

KRONER were Austrian

KRONOR are Swedish

quilter1 4:46 PM  

I learned TISANE from books. Recently I read in a novel that a couple had ginger marmalade on their toast and that sounded good, so I found a recipe online and if it ever cools off around here will make it. It makes five pints, so I can also give gifts.

Noam D. Elkies 5:07 PM  

Yes, quite a disappointment. We wait years for April 1 to fall on a Sunday, and then instead of a singularly clever out-of-the-box puzzle we get a straight-up collection of sport puns — and not just any sport, but g*lf, which makes even b*seball feel exciting by comparison. Blecch. First time in ages that I stopped solving in mid-puzzle not because I wasn't getting anywhere (it's much too easy for that) but because I just didn't give a d*mn. I guess Milo Beckman's ingenious Thursday offering was the closest we'll get to an April Fool's puzzle this year.


P.S. @Bob Kerf: If you have no luck finding Beethoven's Tenth, Google for the Brandenburg 7th instead. No fooling!

OISK 5:36 PM  

This puzzle was right down my fairway, and I really aced it. Forgot Nita, and did not know the tea at all, so the "i" was a guess, but Tendril, AMF, Rienzi, Eric, were all gimmes. Rex apparently does not golf, bowl, or listen to opera, but I either did or still do. On the other hand, Rex enjoyed "the Monkees" and "The cars," yesterday, while I never heard of the latter, and never listened to the former. Enjoyed the puzzle very much today.

jberg 5:44 PM  

Finished with an error -- sAND CRAB at 4D. Not as good as land clams. It gave me FAms for 1A, which didn't make sense - and I could see that 3D might be LEAN instead of mEAN, but FAls was even worse. Aside from that, Ok puzzlee. Somehow I must have known RIENZI, because I ot it off the R_EN__, but I don't know how - guess it's just something that gets mentioned from time totime among opera lovers.

What's the pun at 14D, though? Do only duffers yell FORE?

@Tita - DORIC? The only types of column I found were IONIC, SONIC, and ERIC.

Writeovers: A deAl before A WRAP and DenEb before RIGEL (just going with 5-letter stars there, no idea as to their constellations). Also Steal before SWIPE, and falSe before NOT SO. Mostly just being too quick to write possible answers in.

Sparky 6:12 PM  

Got PUTTERAROUND, ACHIPOFFTHEOLDBLOCK and came to a screeching halt after that. Filled in most of the middle.

My wheeelhouse seems to have rolled away with the windmill I was trying to cram into the EDAM yesterday.

I know of TISANE from Hercule Poirot. You never know what will come in handy.

Coming through to the new week.

Z 6:12 PM  

@jberg - FORE is shouted when the struck ball is going toward people instead of toward the fairway, a situation created by duffers.

JenCT 6:13 PM  

I always like Patrick Merrell puzzles, and even though I'm not a golf fan, I was able to finish with no mistakes. I thought the puns were cute.

Yes, an April Fool's puzzle would have been nice, but maybe there weren't any that were ready.

Favorite answers were ESIASON, PIE, NEW KID, WAND.

I'm with @Kathy: a puzzle theme that's from 15 years ago is recycled? Heavens, God forbid a puzzle theme is repeated every decade and a half. Does every theme have to be unique & never-done-before??? How far back should Will Shortz check to make sure there are no repeats? 10, 20, 30 years or more???? Geez.

foodie 6:25 PM  

@NDE, speaking of the great Thursday puzzle by Milo...I was visiting my son on Friday in NY, and my 5 year old grand daughter showed me how she plays on her floor keyboard that I had given her for Christmas-- it's like the one from FAO Schwartz in Big, where you can dance on it to play music. And lo and behold, she sang DO DO SOL SOL LA LA SOL... As she jumped around playing the Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star tune with her feet. Then she made me do it! I wished I'd had her to help me with the puzzle the day before.

Life imitating puzzledom!

DigitalDan 6:31 PM  

If you've ever been in a high school band, you've no doubt been exposed to the Rienzi Overture -- a true warhorse classic. Even if you've never heard OF it, you've quite probably heard IT. As always, different strokes.

Similarly for AMF, the logo for which appears every time the pinspotter sets a new rack.

Whoever first said it (probably not Mr. Clemens), the semantics of "A good walk spoiled" comes through in the earlier comment, but perhaps not the perfect prosody.

DSC is pretty frequent crosswordese; probably worthy of adding to the vault.

skua76 7:04 PM  

Ahh, I too expected an April Fool puzzle, especially as Across Lite's header was the date followed by OF COURSE. I worked this clockwise from the NW corner, and soon figured out the golf theme. Got TISANE right from crosses, knew RIENZI after the first cross appeared, but I threw in KRONER for 74 down, leaving me with INGED for what was on the $20. I decided not to cheat by pulling out a 20, figuring that some strange Latin was involved.

Loved Rex's comments on UNK!

I've been following this most days, but I've been busy moving across the country to Boulder (have to fly back east for a meeting tomorrow). Unlike my rural residences of the last few years, they actually deliver the NYT in Boulder and it doesn't cost THAT much more than the access plus the puzzles...

Anonymous 7:54 PM  

"UNK" is just "unknown" abbreviated, no ?

Loren Muse Smith 7:58 PM  

I’m not a golfer, either, but I liked this puzzle a lot. Because of a busy work day, I didn’t finish it until just now, and after reading all the comments, I just have a few things to add.

I didn’t see that anyone pointed out the couple of non-theme golf extras – 1D and 48A, which always impress me.

@Rex, as I was filling in TENDRIL, I was asking myself how the $%^&*(sorry ED) I knew that. I didn’t need crosses and am so not a scientist.

Followed Matt Gaffney’s Facebook advice on how to approach a puzzle, and got most of the fill-in-the-blanks first.


Monday’s NYT is up, and I’m going to tackle that now.

Joe in Montreal 8:16 PM  

well, I'm getting at it late because when I had to choose to work or do the puzzle, I went to work. Anyways, I'm not a golfer, and I was able to guess the "theme answers" with very few crosses. I usually figure once I get the "thing", the rest is fill. Are these new as puns?

martin 9:18 PM  

There were no danish kings named ERIC. See Wikipedia- they're all named ERIK.

michael 10:39 PM  

I thought this was very easy. However, "caste" is not "class" overseas. These terms have quite different meanings. Being a brahmin is not the same as being in the upper class...

Anonymous 3:19 AM  

AMF was a gimme for me, as I work in the motorcycle industry. Harley-Davidson in the 70's sold the company to the American Machine and Foundry Company. AMF is widely known for making bowling balls, but it is in fact a large, diversified manufacturer.(including making golf carts)

Spacecraft 12:25 PM  

This golf fan loved it! Strange, though (and I don't mean Curtis!), that not a single golfer's name appears, vis a vis a footballer and TWO tennis pros!

I have just found my new all-time favorite clue/response: "Duffer's shots?" for FOREPLAY. Absolute brilliance!

"Pharynx affliction" is a shaky clue for STREP, which is not the disease--the usual, unbreakable phrase being "strep throat"--but merely a shortened form of the bacterium that does the afflicting.

The central theme entry seems to require a really convoluted clue to tie it to the golf sense of the word CHIP; unfortunately awkward.

Single letter writeover at KRONeR, found finally when I aha!ed INGOD (no, I did not pull out a twenty to cheat--I'd have had to get up and go get my wallet!). The puzzle played like a birdie hole till I got to the South. Then it turned into Amen Corner! Some near-naticks there, but I managed it with no Googles. Great fun: I also really liked BYEBYEBIRDIE (and par and bogey too, most likely after an obie).

Dirigonzo 2:07 PM  

Shout out to syndi-solvers at 41d: TimeWarpedInsight!

@Spacecraft - at least you have a $20 bill in your wallet to check; my 20 year-old son is home for the weekend so my wallet is bare.

@Solving in Seattle - are you doing this one on the links? Do they even refer to a golf course as "links" anymore? Obviously, I'm no golfer, but now that I know it involves FOREPLAY and that women bring beer, I may give it a try.

Rex's suggestion of ALF/HOLE sounds something like what I mutter under my breath when someone IRKS me.

I see "preview" is still useless, so what I typed is what you get.

DMGrandma 7:15 PM  

Maybe it's all in where you live. This seemed like a nice enough puzzle for Easter Sunday, a good day for a walk in the great outdoors. Had the family over for lunch on the patio, an egg hunt, Easter baskets and too many Peeps. Then had a tisane while I did the puzzle. Happy Easter, syndies.

SharonAK 10:31 PM  

I totally agree re golf but thought the puzzle and wordplay FUN, enjoyed the theme-related entries Loren mentioned, etc.
"The only types of columns..."LOL
Ditto responses by Kathy and JenCT

Anonymous 9:17 PM  

Damn. Only one error: nIGEL.

Anonymous 9:25 PM  

My only complaint about this puzzle is PUTTER AROUND, which best fits the clue when phrased PUTTER A ROUND. None of the other theme answers require breaking up the familiar phrase.

Lola505 3:54 PM  

The only time I won't complain about sports-themed crosswords is when it's golf, so despite Mr. Merrell slipping ESIASON in there, I had fun with this one!

I always give the crafter extra credit who also puts theme clues in the downs -- uncommon these days.

I'm not an opera buff, but I'd never heard of RIENZI, which came from the crosses.

KRONOR was an unfamiliar spelling of krona, so I learned a new word there.

A quick and easy Sunday puzzle, but I liked it -- would have been even more fun to have had it to solve on Masters weekend.

Dirigonzo 6:24 PM  

@Lola505 - Are you just catching up on your puzzles, or is your Sunday puzzle a week later that the rest of syndicationland? Whichever, still enjoyed your comment - I too like to see theme asnswers in the down words in the grid.

Lola505 6:46 PM  

@Dirigonzo, I've actually emailed my local paper's staff person-in-charge of the NYT Sunday puzzle to ask why it is not on the same schedule as the daily NYT puzzle (no answer to that portion of my email); so, yes, today was the day it was published in our paper.

I'm REALLY "lost" way out here in syndicationland, aren't I? Am I the only one?? (If so, could I perhaps use that as further argument of "mistreatment" of subscribers by my paper?)

The gist of said email was to inform them that they'd repeated the same Sunday NYT puzzle two weeks in a row; that the only reason I had subscribed to their paper for decades was in fact to receive the NYT puzzle, so they'd best keep track.

Anyway, appreciate your reply to my belated post!

Dirigonzo 7:19 PM  

@Lola505 - I get the daily syndicated puzzle in my afternoon paper, which publishes Monday - Friday; I've been trying to convince them to include the Saturday puzzle in their Friday "weekend" edition, but so far no luck. The Sunday puzzle is in another paper I get so no problem there, but I have to buy the Saturday NYT to get the puzzle and solve in "prime time". The life of a syndi-solver is never simple, but we do what we have to do to get our "fix".

Dave 5:44 PM  

Living in Cincinnati, I can tell you that "Unversity of Miami" is in Florida while "Miami University" is in Ohio. They get a little testy about the "of Ohio" thing.

Puzzle was easy for me solely because of the golf clues, but it wan't satisfying. Guessing that Will Shortz doesn't golf either!

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