1978 Nicolette Larson hit / WED 5-23-12 / River past Ciudad Bolívar / Renault model of 1970s-80s / So-called Gateway to the Pacific Rim

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Constructor: Eric Williams

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: OBI-WAN KENOBI (36A: With 39-Across, Jedi master first seen on 5/25/77) — he was played by ALEC GUINNESS in "Star Wars" and EWAN MCGREGOR in those other horrible movies. Oh, and he fought DARTH / VADER (53D: With 9-Down, villain faced by 36-/39-Across) in "Star Wars"—classic LIGHT / SABER battle (45A: With 31-Across, favored weapon of 36-/39-Across).

Word of the Day: Lauren TEWES (46D: Lauren of "The Love Boat") —
Cynthia Lauren Tewes (play /ˈtws/; born October 26, 1953 in Braddock, Pennsylvania), known simply as Lauren Tewes, is an American actress best known for playing Cruise DirectorJulie McCoy on the sitcom The Love Boat beating out over 100 other actresses for the role.[5]Tewes was replaced on the series by Pat Klous in 1984 after a highly public battle with cocaine abuse, although she did reprise her role as a guest in a 1985 episode as well as in a 1997 episode of the sitcom Martin and a 1998 episode of the revival series Love Boat: The Next Wave. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is what happens when you observe that ALEC GUINNESS and EWAN MCGREGOR have the same number of letters. Not sure how you can love or hate this one. It's just full of symmetrical trivia. The end.

I have to say that VIN DIESEL (18A: "The Fast and the Furious" co-star) and Lauren TEWES (46D: Lauren of "The Love Boat") are kind of miscast. Unless they were in one of those damned prequels, which I have no reason to believe (or doubt).

"Hey, that looks expensive. It must've COSTED AREAR" (me trying to make those answers usable)

Honestly, I don't know what to say here. It's a puzzle. A very easy puzzle (I said 'Easy-Medium' only because with trivia puzzles, you get *very* slowed down if you don't know the trivia, and EWAN MCGREGOR may have given some solvers some trouble). I did not know RED DOG meant that "blitz"—weird, as I've watched football for a long time. I also stupidly had the NAVIES on land as ARMIES at first (6D: Combatants at Trafalgar). I think my combatants were at Trafalgar *Square*. Otherwise, aside from some stupid eye-skips that had me reading wrong clues, this one put up no fight. I did misunderstand "drive" at 24A: Fix, as a drive (REPAVE) at first. And I just had to trust that COSTED was the thing the clue says it is (52A: Figured the price of). Couldn't remember Vice President John Garner's middle name, mainly because ... Vice President who?  (eight years, FDR's VP). This was an overly name-y puzzle with some ugliness in the middle (NOLDOLNOS!). But mostly it was just ... there. Mostly competently filled. Nothing to rave or complain about.


  • 13A: 1978 Nicolette Larson hit "___ Love" ("LOTTA") — wow, it's like this puzzle knew when I first began listening to the radio incessantly. Total gimme. 

  • 7D: River past Ciudad Bolívar (ORINOCO) — because of the Enya song "ORINOCO Flow," I associate this river with Ireland. 
  • 36D: Answer to the old riddle "What's round on the sides and high in the middle?" (OHIO) — and people say riddles aren't funny or remotely entertaining. Wait, people don't say that. I say that. How 'bout [What Zeus said in the middle of having sex with yet another nymph]?
  • 48A: Issuance of Pontius Pilate, e.g. (DECREE) — "Issuance?" Sounds like the clue was going for some kind of bodily discharge. 
  • 59D: So-called "Gateway to the Pacific Rim," informally (LAX) — flown in and out of there many, many times, and never heard that. But then I've never been to the Pacific Rim. Wait, is NZ Pacific Rim? If so, I'll be using this alleged "Gateway" in a little over a month. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Tobias Duncan 12:10 AM  

Good lord this thing was right out of TV Guide.Not big on pop culture as I have not had a TV in many years and don't see many movies.That combined with my hatred of sports left me with a stack of names I just did not know.Still a fairly easy puzzle.

Has everyone checked out the cool stuff Tita is up to on her blog?

I am going to make time this summer to check out everyone's homepage.So many interesting humans here.

Pete 12:11 AM  

Not being able to read too good, my combatant at Traflagar was NELSON.

I know everyone's got a name, but did they all have to be in one puzzle all at once? Granted I added one of my own, but damn, there were a lot of names. TEWES? Seriously? NANCE? LADDS? You got Alan LADD, but who's the father or the son?

The theme was exactly zero fun for me, add the phone book as fill, and you've got one seriously sub-par puzzle.

foodie 12:14 AM  

This was like some crazy Hollywood party from outer space. The center of the action is Star Wars, but creatures from all walks of filmdom show up, from old time movies (the LADDS) to old time TV (the Love Boat), to the Matrix to the Fast and the Furious. And they arrive in weird transportation, a LOANER CAR here, a LECAR there. Some STARE, some DROOL, some CRASH. The DISCO atmosphere gives the LIGHT SABER fight a whole new dimension...

jae 12:17 AM  

Star Wars, an action movie star, a dash of pop music, baseball and football players...what a difference a day makes.  Definitely in my "shallow" pop culture wheelhouse and easier than yesterday's for me.  No erasures.  

Clunker:  COSTED
Potentially tough cross:  LADDS/NOL

I sorta liked.   Pretty smooth grid, OK theme.

Anonymous 12:20 AM  

Spot on with realizing that Ewan McGregor would slow people up. Particularly since it crossed that Tewes person at the W that I was sure was a V.

dbleader61 12:20 AM  

Lovely puzzle for a Star Wars fan - which I am and Rex apparently is not. The symmetry on light saber caught me with reversed answers for quite some time. All the names (Cleary, Rollie, Ladds, Neo, etc) were known to me except Lauren Tewes - just didn't ever know her other than Julie. Last fill was "repave" - was thinking computer hard drives until I saw "veni" on the cross.

pk 12:22 AM  

I'm with jae here - way way easier than yesterday.

I'm old and I didn't see the horrible (wait, was it terrible?) later Star Wars films, but I knew Ewan McGregor. He must be famous for something else. Like The Lord of the Rings. Or Harry Potter.

How is it that I've barely heard of Crash? That's going into the Netflix queue.

Clark 12:26 AM  

Did not remember CRASH which made the 2x2 square in the NW corner hard to get. LOTTA/CLEARY/ROLLIE. Lucky guesses in that order.

We have a Jedi cat named Obi-Wan, so I cannot help but like the puzzle.

Andrew 12:28 AM  

I know John Nance Garner solely for his quotability; he once said the office of the Vice Presidency was "not worth a bucket of warm piss."

Admiral Nelson 12:31 AM  

Keep Calm and Carry On.

syndy 12:40 AM  

um ALAN LADD and ALAN LADD jr,jr was a producer.he backed LUCAS's space opera when the rest of the studio wasn't thrilled.Diesel may have been a stormtrooper but Julie?did they have shuffleboard on the Deathstar

Anoa Bob 12:51 AM  

Never saw any Star Wars movies but got most of the theme entries based on previous crosswords. Still not too sure about VADER DARTH and SABER LIGHT. Hand up for "v" instead of "W" at the 46D-56A junction.

Can you tell from the VIN if a LOANER CAR or a LE CAR is a DIESEL?

Is there a term for when the three-letter word square count exceeds the theme square count, here 72 to 56? How about a WALMART puzzle?

chefwen 2:11 AM  

I did surprisingly well for someone who shunned all Star Wars films. Just didn't care for them. Must have absorbed enough through the hype. Spelled EWEN with a V, 37D irks before BUGS, 61D don before ADD. Didn't remember 46D, so TEvES worked for me. Technically a DNF, but close enough for me to call it a day.

Big brother owned a LE CAR, looked like a skinny dude driving in a fish bowl.

How I knew VIN DIESEL is still a mystery to me.

COSTED ?? seemed awkward.

On to Thursday!

arear cleary michaels 2:18 AM  

@Anoa Bob,
I think it's LIGHT SABER.

To hear that VINDIESEL was actually in the movies made up for his inclusion...

LOANER CAR and LECAR should not have been in the same puzzle and I didn't like CRASH defined as a film in a puzzle about another film...
That said, the pile up of LOANERCAR, LE CAR, VINDIESEL and CRASH made it ok, somehow!

And to read that Alan LADD, Jr backed the movie made that more bearable too...
Is it a tribute puzzle? Did someone just die? Is it the 28th anniversary of Lauren Tewes cocaine conviction? Why? Why?

But I liked the symmetry, Beverly CLEARY, the amount of theme and LAX (where I'm bound on SUnday for my grandmother's 100th!)

Also, in a moment of synchronicity, on "Jeopardy!" tonight one answer was CARTEL for an answer where the head of OPEC was insisting that "OPEC was NOT one of these..." the champ said "What is CARTEL?"

(He is also someone with whom I once had a fling and he left me with a frozen shoulder and then stuck me with a $100 dinner tab when he took me to dinner to make up for my injury...$80 of which was for HIS bottle of wine!
I do hope the $48,600 he has just won will go towards picking up a check now and then)

Kevin A 2:25 AM  

Eric Williams, Congrats on your debut! May the force be with you!

@acme- Thank you. Is there a way to contact you via email? (You could always create a fake email account for a few days). I would like your opinion on my latest creation: a 56 word/ 33 block themeless puzzle.


Steve J 2:26 AM  

Found this really clunky in spite of its easiness, and nowhere near as enjoyable as the first couple days of this week.

Examples: using actor names for non-theme answers when actor names are a key part of the theme.


I lived in LA for nearly a decade, flew in and out of LAX a bazillion times, and recall no mention anywhere of "Gateway to the Pacific Rim". (Trivia: for me, entering that phrase into Google doesn't bring up a single mention of LAX until the third page, and that's a reference to Rex's post about today's puzzle.)

DOL/NOS crossing. Fugly.

REDDOG is a type of blitz, not a synonym. The clue awkwardly implies that they're synonymous, when really REDDOG is blitz as Bosc is to pear.

Lastly, this was insanely sports-heavy. For as much complaining as there was about yesterday's classical-music-heavy puzzle, this was much worse. And I say that as someone who gets most sports references. ROLLIE, UNITAS (two more people who have nothing to do with the theme), REDDOG, NCAA, BRONCO, NAGANO. Much more specific-subject-heavy than yesterday.

acme 2:44 AM  

Yes, sports heavy, but amazingly, even I knew ROLLIE Fingers, and Johnny UNITAS off the UN...but REDDOG...yikes!

@Kevin A
Feel free to write to me, just put a period between my second and third names @g... and I'm happy to look at anyone's anything, but I don't think I'm the gal to ask about themeless!
Have never written one in my life.
There are probably better folks out there for that, including your fearless leader here...

MaryRoseG 6:33 AM  

Spent many a Saturday night with Lauren Tewes and the rest of the Love Boat gang. Always wanted to be Julie McCoy, sailing off to Cabo, being romanced by some suave businessman.....ah, the 70's. And then off to Fantasy Island. Da plane....da plane!

Z 7:07 AM  

Jedi Master first seen on 5/25/77.... That makes today the 35th anniversary. Alrighty then.

The names, the names. Give me L'Histoire du SOLDAT over TEWES any day. Equally obscure to me but I somehow felt better putting in that S than I did that W. NAGANO? Fortunately, Schuss Mountain added a lift around the time of the '98 winter games and gave the runs names from Olympic sites. I liked seeing CLEARY in the puzzle, but tomany movie names for my taste, LEO, LARA, NEO, VIN in addition to all the theme answers.

I agree with my generation's assessment of the two Star Wars Trilogies, but I cannot help but wonder if this assessment (original and two sequels good, later prequels bad) if this will be the view 25 years from now.

Z 7:19 AM  

Oops - Friday will be the 35th anniversary. I guess WS went with the tribute puzzle he had.

SethG 7:22 AM  

Much much easier than yesterday's, and about as enjoyable. Something interesting, but then way too much of it.

And NOL/LADDS is an absolutely terrible cross.

Anonymous 7:32 AM  

other than costed, not a bad wednesday. always thought Sea-Tac was the Gateway to the Pacific Rim. Been to LAX numerous times and never heard it referred to as the gateway to the pacific rim. if i never see another puzzle with star wars clues it will be too soon.

dk 7:41 AM  

@Kevin A, the old check out my puzzle gambit….

@tobias, I was reading Tita's blog last night.
Both of you (Tita and Tobias may want to look at this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMWFhplFSEQ

If someone will remind me how to do the click link that would be fine and dandy.

@MaryRoseG, when I moved to SoCal I visited the LA County Arboretum just to see the lagoon from Fantasy Island. Needless to say I was not the only one looking up at the sky saying….

Wonderful puzzle hommage to Star Wars. I still DROOL over Leia chained to Jaba--but then I photograph Barbies

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) Nice solid Wednesday, good beat, easy to dance to… wait is that Inna Gada Da Vida I hear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WltcRVxR9yw&feature=related

orangeblossomspecial 7:54 AM  

COSTED is a term used frequently in managerial accounting or cost accounting courses when you need to calculate the cost of producing something. It's a transitive verb in that usage because you cost something.

With the death of another BeeGee, 29A DISCO seems particularly appropriate. Here is Jive talkin'.

I initially wanted armadas for 6D, but couldn't fit it in. Here's another hit by the Village People: In the Navy.

exaudio 8:03 AM  

A rare Wednesday DNF due to NOL/LADDS/REDDOG crossing.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Easiest Weds. since I started doing the electronic version at New Years. Beat me Weds record by almost 2 min. A couple of stumpers but no two stumpers that crossed each other. I still don't get REDDOG for "blitz in football" and I've been watching football for at least 30 years, but it fell into place from the crosses. I liked this one.

Z in Dearborn 8:09 AM  

@DK - FAQ Number five takes you to this page.

John V 8:10 AM  

So, the fog in Charlotte meant that the Times never arrived at Panera's. Therefore, I did this one on AcrossLite. This is totally dis-orienting, particularly with so many referential clues. The navigation is such a pain and the visceral aspect is just a horror. Also, no good way to mark questionable answers, clue, etc. I spend ALL DAY working on my computers (plural). Solving the puzzle with a software tool is just not my idea of a good time.

Well, my kids were little when Star Wars was around, so some stuff of this got absorbed into my subconsciousness. The things that were murky was fairly crossed, so I thought it played easy for a Wednesday. For my appetite, the theme was pretty cliche, uninteresting, but that's just a nearly-old solver being cranky in the Charlotte fog. Bah.

@Tita, can you provide a link to your blog?

John V 8:12 AM  

Speaking of fog, see my penultimate paragraph above for some splendid grammar. Bah. Can't wait for the weekend.

evil doug 8:20 AM  

'Costed'? Like 'efforted'. We're watching the death of a language right before our very eyes....

'Ewan' crossing 'Tewes'? Never mind that they're forgettable grade C actors; they also share the fact that their damn names are unpronounceable. Leonard Franklin Slye had the good sense to understand that if he wanted to be a cowboy he better change his name to Roy Rogers.

Lotta tighten arear? (ex)Lax.

The first movie was fun---a camp and clever homage to the old Republic serials. After that, just painful schlock. Making money on that crap was worse than anything Bain Capital did....

GEORGE: Puddy’s just gonna give you the car, huh? You’ll see. First they stick you with the undercoating, rust-proofing, dealer prep. Suddenly, you’re
on your back like a turnip.

JERRY: All right. Calm down.

GEORGE: My father had a car salesman buddy. He was gonna fix him up real nice. Next thing I know, I’m gettin’ dropped of in a Le Car with a fabric sunroof. All
the kids are shoutin’ at me, "Hey, Le George! Bonjour, Le George! Let’s stuff Le George in Le Locker!"


Anonymous 8:31 AM  

I seldom post but today's an exception.

Earlier posters have anticipated my comments -- lots of proper names, trivia; excess of 3-letter answers; unimaginative theme entries.

Rex was much too soft on this one.

Glimmerglass 8:35 AM  

Well, I coached high school football 40 years ago. Back then, a RED DOG was a blitz by one linebacker (sometimes a corner back). Which one was the "red dog" depended on the offensive team's formation, which could change during the play if there was a man in motion.

Airymom 8:35 AM  

A "Star Wars" theme?!? How stale is that? I'll tell you..Princess Leia is old enough to move into an "active adult community."

(Before you cry ageism--I'm the same age as Carrie Fisher)

This is not fresh, interesting or challenging. It just occupied my time while I ate my bagel.

Rob C 8:37 AM  


I'm a CPA and have bad memories from my cost accounting class way back when. You're absolutely correct in everything you said about COSTED. In actuality, I don't think I've ever heard the word used. Also, it's just an ugly entry in a crossword in that it would only ever be used in that small niche of cost accounting.

Tyler 8:42 AM  

As a Star Wars fan, I didn't mind the theme. But the whole center-right section: LADDS/REDDOG/DOL/NOS left me cold. Just couldn't get those last squares.

archaeoprof 8:56 AM  

EvAN/TEvES got me, too.

Sue McC 8:59 AM  

Ditto Airymom, above. I had high hopes based on CRASH, which I loved. And Lauren TEWES could be considered charmingly retro. But the Star Wars theme? Yawn.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Thanks for the red dog explanation, Glimmerglass.

loren muse smith 9:05 AM  

@Tobias, I thought of you the whole time I was solving this! Lots of sports and pop culture. . .

The part of me that regularly shops at soimmature.com loves seeing DROOL in a puzzle. Beverly CLEARY was my favorite author in elementary school, and I also liked THUG, BUGS, and, mysteriously, FRY.

I mucked up the SW for a bit with “don” for ADD crossing with “too” for AND. Then, before ADD fell, I had “act.”

@jae – you called it on the LADDS/NOL cross. Jeez. Tough!

Not really a big Star Wars fan, I nevertheless enjoyed the fill and appreciate the symmetry of both DARTH VADER and LIGHT SABER.

@ACME – I was really pulling for the woman to beat Joel!

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Very easy to dislike or even hate a puzzle with this many proper nouns. Not interesting in the least bit. If you are a Star Wars fan, the themed clues would be ridiculously easy, so what's the fun there? This puzzle really needed enlightened fill to make it enjoyable, which it did not have.

chefbea 9:13 AM  

Not a star wars fan so was tough for me. DNF

Hardly ever cook like the colonel but some of my baking reacts to leaven.

jberg 9:17 AM  

@Acme, you had a fling with the head of OPEC? Tell us more!

@Rex, the combatants in Trafalgar Square are pigeons - too many letter, though.

After CRASH, LOTTA Love, ELTON, and VIN DIESEL, I was all set to point out that this has more pop culture than yesterday had classical music, and that I wan't complaining, so there. But then I hit the Star Wars theme. I loved the first three (IV, V, and VI), but never saw the others - so they were all gimmes, except for EWAN MCGREGOR. I just guessed that, correctly, since TEWES sounded more likely than TEvES.

I've always heard COSTED used to mean figuring out what something costs you, not the price you are going to sell it for, so that's a little misclued, IMO. Same for 6A - you ban TV, you don't ban NO TV.

On the other hand, I'm old enough that Johnny UNITAS was a gimme, and political enough that John NANCE Garner (who seems always to have used his fill trinomic) was, as well. And I don't really know where Ciudad Bolivar is, but ORINOCO has to be your second choice for a South American river - and it figures prominently in LOVE IN THE TIME OF THE CHOLERA. Fun but easy.

joho 9:18 AM  

Darn, I didn't watch "Jeopardy" last night so I missed the guy who gave Acme not only a cold shoulder but a frozen shoulder and stuck her with the bill! Do they have repeats?

I liked the denseness of the theme today.

COSTED, though, is awkward.

I live in OHIO and had no idea that we're round on the sides and high in the middle!

quilter1 9:27 AM  

Like others DNF due to the knot in the middle. Of course I know Alan LADD, but was not aware of the son so running the alphabet was useless. Otherwise swanned right through and thought it was easy. This bonbon did not have a creamy center.

Jgerbs 9:33 AM  

What is the answer to the Zeus/nymph riddle!!!!???

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

I'll lodge a small complaint against TENN as Johnson's home state, as he was born in NC. Trivia: all 3 presidents claimed by NC (Johnson, Jackson, and Polk) are claimed by Tenn. as well, an Jackson by SC also.

jackj 9:57 AM  

This puzzles theme answers were a bit frustrating due to the cross-referencing but it was still not much of a challenge, even for this non-fan of Star Wars (have seen only the first released film).

1 and 2 down provide a classic opportunity for a nice teaching moment, “Children’s book writers” almost always clues Beverly CLEARY (or Judy Blume); “Relief pitchers” are almost always ROLLIE Fingers (or Hoyt Wilhelm), (and, in the same quadrant, if a “John” isn’t a LOO, it’s usually an ELTON).

“Keep them in the memory bank” is a basic reminder straight from Enigmatology101.

The tenor of the puzzle seemed Y chromosome-ish with VINDIESEL stomping his way down the grid to cavort with such as BRONCO, REDDOG, UNITAS, THUG and the LADDS, (Alan and Alan, presumably, “Shane” for the father, 20th Century Fox prez for the son).

All in all, a macho enough tinge to warrant some gentle flack from the X chromosome set.

The major missteps in Eric Williams debut, (skipping over the easy threes), seemed to come with the off-putting use of AREAR, followed by another bit of awkwardness with NOL “pros.”, (better to clue LON NOL), but the appearance of LOANERCAR and CRASH made reasonable amends, so not a major beef.

The puzzle didn’t cause me to DROOL in delight but there were enough plusses in the puzzle to warrant an encore, (just spare us the proper noun overload).

Tita 10:04 AM  

By popular demand (thanks, y'all), here is link to my Crucimetrics blog.
(Yesterday's post show my comments while solving ACME's LAT gem.)

Will come back later to read and comment on today's puzzle, but must say that @Pete's and @Foodie's comments are among my favorites ever!

joho 10:29 AM  

I'm an idiot: I just got the OHIO answer!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:31 AM  

As I was solving this puzzle, I was also musing: Has anyone ever created a puzzle in which 100% of the answers were proper nouns, capitalized adjectives, and/or capitalized initialisms? This one seemed to be approaching that ideal!

Department of Small Comfort for those who hate Star Wars: It is commonly believed that initially there were planned to be three trilogies, or nine films!

@jgerbs - Oh, Io! (Io was a nymph.)

Crosscan 10:33 AM  

Funny, I thought Vancouver was the Gateway to the Pacific Rim.

I have seen Star Wars more than any other movie. So, yeah, I liked this puzzle.

May the Fill Be With You

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Wouldn't a homework prohibition be TV instead of NOTV?

retired_chemist 10:41 AM  

Not much to say that hasn't been said. Too many 3's and too many names. Luckily I knew or could guess them all.

The center was tough. With RED DOG sloppily defined,the LADDS as a duo, and the obscure legalese NOL, that took me a while.

Also there was no hint in the clue for 19D that a foreign word was called for. The proper answer IMO is SPANISH. Of course, it was easy to get from a few crosses, but still......

ABAFT is a real word. Is AREAR, or is it just ad hoc crosswordese?

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

Worst puzzle in ages. I tossed it aside when I saw all of the pop crap and sports. The few actual words in the grid are horrid.
Boo hiss.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

Make THUG into SLUG (or SLAG) and COSTED into POSTED. Better already---though SLP (VCR recording speed) is not as good as TLC.

Why aren't these obvious fixes being made before publication?

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Red dog was the term commonly used before blitz. According to the fountain of all knowledge, Wikipedia,...

The term "Red Dog" was coined in 1961 by longtime San Francisco 49er announcer Bob Fouts, during a training camp photo op with his Irish Setter Casey posed with his front legs raised up on quarterback John Brodie. From there he used the term when describing a linebacker blitzing the opposing quarterback.

Those of you who have never heard the term before, like Rex, are merely too young.

Lojman 10:55 AM  

If you a) have watched football for ages but never heard of a RED DOG and refused to enter it in the puzzle because of how ridiculous the clue was (Glimmerglass's excellent explanation notwithstanding, it's just not a term that's in the language, period), b) have never heard of the LADD lads, and c) aren't conversant in abbreviated Latin legalese, then you, like the Lojman, took a DNF. Born in the early 70's and a huge Star Wars fan, I find myself booing this otherwise delightful and breezy puzzle. Booooo!


Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Word of the day: U-FORCE

The U-Force was a game controller made by Brøderbund for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

This answer seen in Jonesin Crosswords.

imsdave 11:36 AM  

@evil doug

Ewan McGregor is far from a C-list actor. With the exception of the Star Wars trilogy (he obviously needed the money), his films and stage work are quirky, offbeat choices that showcase his enormous talent:

"Brassed Off" - amazing film documenting the destruction of the coal industry in Britain under Margaret Thatcher (not unlike the current situation in this country) told in a humorous fashion with the colliery band as the vehicle that drives the picture.

"Big Fish" - I assume this is the guy equivalent of a "chick flic". But it is a moving father/son film ala "Life as a House" or "October Sky" or "Dad"

"Little Voice"
"Moulin Rouge!"

And he's not a total sell-out for doing "Star Wars" He turned down James Bond before Daniel Craig took the role, because he didn't wan't to get typecast.

Oh, I liked the puzzle.

4 tries to get the captcha's right, and we still get spam on the site.

Noam D. Elkies 11:45 AM  

Re:x's alt clue for 36D:OH,_IO!: LOL. BTW "!" was originally I atop O, a ligature for the Latin exclamation "io!".

I was also amused by the clue for nearby 37D:BUGS. Granted that it does mean "perturbs", but it must be rare to have a sentence where one might naturally use "bugs" in place of "perturbs".

Not amused by 1A:CRASH/2D:ROLLIE. Guessed correctly but could just as well have been ClASH/lOLLIE for all I knew (and 1D:CLEARY might be O'LEARY though O?ASH is implausible). Was all that trivia nameage really necessary there? 1A:CRASH is one of the few actual words in that corner; why not clue it that way rather than take the trivia copout?

Apropos of which, @Bob Kerf: there was a regrettable Tuesday puzzle some time back [found it: Dec.8, 2009] where all the Acrosses (but none of the Downs) were given names, all clued with the same formula: 19A: Mezzo-soprano Resnik (Regina), , 16A: First lady McKinley (Ida), 56A: Skier McKinney (Tamara), 32A: Actor Feldman (Corey), 53A: Keyboardist Saunders (Merl), etc. etc. (or rather et alii et alii). I'm still awaiting the blessed puzzle that will have exactly 0% proper names.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

We do in fact have a kinder, gentler Evil Doug among us. Upgrading Lauren TEWES to the C-list? Wow!

r.alphbunker 12:08 PM  

The quote that I have heard is that the vice Presidency was "not worth a bucket of warm spit." Maybe that is not what he said but placing NANCE over DROOL is a nice touch anyway.

I pretty much ignored the cross references once I got that the puzzle was about Star Wars. The names are well enough known to fill them in with only a few letters known.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

Can one of you XWP gurus tell me why it is ok to hace CAR twice in the puzzle? I thought repeats were a no no. Thanks....


Tita 1:33 PM  

@jfc - I was astonished by the two CARs in the grid too! Whenever I see such a glaring disregard for the x-rules, I fear to leave the house!!
Agree with all the comments...meh!

@dk...was it re: my "It Takes a Village" blog that you posted the Marwencol clip? What a spooky film - I want to look into that more - thanks!

(Though I imagine most folks here would be more drawn to the Crucimetrics blog - the Village blog is seasonal, and really of interest only if you're friends or family!!)
Both of them are available from my profile.

Tanasi 1:35 PM  

@evil doug
Ewan McGregor is no way a "forgettable C grade actor". To add to @imsdave's list, there's also "The Ghost Writer". A bit of trivia - McGregor motorcycled from London to NY via Siberia and also from Scotland to South Africa. Not that it matters. But as for acting... IMO he is very credible --based on his films other than Star Wars (which I don't remember well).

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

i liked the broader sub-theme:
That 70s Puzzle

star wars
le car.
unitas retired in the 70s.
lotta love.
broncos were in the super bowl.
i learned the "hi in the middle" riddle in the 70s.
was in love with lauren tewes in the 70s.
if only LADDS had been Angel Cheryl and others.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

I really never paid much/any attention to Ewan McGregor but he seems to have made a number of forgettable movies. Unlike Alec Guinness who went from being a great actor to prostituting himself for the tons of money he made off Star Wars, McGregor's career seems to revolve around the Star Wars second trilogy (which I've never seen). I did watch The Island (don't ask me why) but I don't remember much of his acting, probably because I was focusing on Scarlett Johansson, so I do not recall much about his acting skills, which suggests that ED is closer to being right than wrong, though I probably would rate him a B class actor....


Lewis 2:02 PM  

One way to avoid the ugly COSTED would have been to have SEP (abbreviation for the mo.) for TLC and change BUGS to BAGS. THUG would become SHAG, LIGHT would be EIGHT, and COSTED would be POSTED.

Anonymous 2:12 PM  


LIGHT is thematic and can't be changed.

As I suggested already, make THUG into SLUG (or SLAG) and COSTED into POSTED. Better already---though SLP (VCR recording speed) is not as good as TLC.

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Actually, we can combine our efforts:

SHAG instead of THUG, and POSTED instead of COSTED.

Maybe there's better still.

Bird 2:24 PM  

I love all the opinions and comments this blog has to offer. Anyway . . .

Not much to complain about (maybe AREAR) and nothing ugly about it (COSTED is business language). A good smattering of Hollywood, though the LADDS are probably one the least known of father and son duos, and sports trivia – right up my alley. Only mistake, that was easily corrected, was CRUMB before DROOL – seems to me bibs catch more drool than napkins.

It’s no wonder that today’s children are growing up glued to the TV when parent’s are prohibiting NO TV during homework time.

Happy Humpday!

The Village People 2:45 PM  

DISCO - now THAT was real music;)

Took me 15 seconds 2:55 PM  


sanfranman59 3:48 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Wed 8:58, 11:48, 0.76, 5%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:06, 5:53, 0.87, 17%, Easy

Anonymous 4:05 PM  

@Took me 15 seconds


Did Jedi Knights wield TIGHT SABERS?

Took me 15 seconds to get it all wrong 4:11 PM  

Sorry, forgot LIGHT was thematic. Just really didn't like SLP.

Rob C 4:15 PM  

Best one that I could come up with in a few mins in order to avoid COSTED is


You can decide if using the partial (Work like _____) ADOG is worth the price. Many complain about partials, but sometimes they're used in order to avoid words like COSTED. Pick your poison.

Bob Kerfuffle 4:18 PM  

For those who mis-interpret 6A, "Homework-time prohibition", think of the parent saying, "No TV!"

Tiger Mom 4:24 PM  

@Bob K - we did not misinterpret anything about 6A. The clue and answer do not match. I prohibit TV during homework time, therefore the proper answer to 6A should be TELEVISION (because TV is too short). Or clue it as "What parents say at homework time"

PS. These captchas need to give us humans a fighting chance. I needed to reload 5 times before I could recognize all the letters.

Mel Ott 4:28 PM  

@r.alphbunker: My understanding is that "warm spit" is a cleaned up version used by TV pundits, but the actual quote is "warm piss". The latter also sounds more like Mr. Garner who was supposed to have been a crusty old SOB.

I don't have to do my proper names rant today since everyone else has done it for me.

mac 4:28 PM  

I had to do this one online, so I can't really compare. I didn't enjoy it very much, but it has clever details.

@imsdave: I saw "Brassed Off", that was good! Remember Pete Postlethwaite best, though.

miriam b 4:51 PM  

@acme: Frozen shoulder as a result of a fling??? Hope it's OK now. How far did he fling you to produce that injury, may I ask?

I seem to remember that you don't drink, which makes the $80 bottle of wine all the more reprehensible. What a gawdawful experience. My sympathy in retrospect.

I'm a Jeopardy! addict - in fact I was a 4-time winner back in the Art Fleming era around the time that Mel Gibson's wacky father won the Tournament of Champions, possibly setting into motion the trajectory of his miserable son's career. BTW, my paternal grandmother's maiden name was Grigorieva, like that of his ex. - hope no relation.

I'll watch tonight as usual and will boo, hiss, and throw rotten tomatoes at the TV in a futile attempt to unnerve your erstwhile flingee.

Z 4:55 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle - You are correct. The prohibition given at homework time is "NO TV." Surprising how many want to parse the noun as a verb.

miriam b 4:57 PM  

Meant to comment further - this guy knew a lot about the law, beatig out the woman who was in fact a lawyer - could be he has a record. I hate him by proxy.

Badir 5:17 PM  

I did this pretty fast, but was thinking VaN DIESEL, even though ORaNOCO looked funny. :(

jackj 5:19 PM  

I lived in LA for many years and can fondly remember returning through LAX from frequent trips and always thinking, during the walk from gate to baggage claim, "Ah, back in the Gateway to the Pacific Rim. Praise be!"

Tiger Mom 5:20 PM  


Homework-time prohibition

Information to analyze:

Main Entry: prohibition [proh-uh-bish-uhn]
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: ban, forbiddance
Synonyms: bar, constraint, disallowance, don't, embargo, exclusion, injunction, interdict, interdiction, negation, no-no, obstruction, off limits, out of bounds, prevention, proscription, refusal, repudiation, restriction, taboo, temperance, veto

Proper response to clue:

Turn of the TV and do your homework!

Sfingi 5:21 PM  

I thought I'd have trouble with the Jedi stuff, but the only one I didn't get was EWAN, since I didn't know TEWES. More problems in the SW - wanted Tow where LOANER was since I never heard of Gateway to the Pacific Rim. Hey, my area is Gateway to the Adirondacks, far from that.

Two Ponies 5:32 PM  

Ooh, a villain to root against on Jeopardy! tonight. What fun.

Atlantasolver 6:10 PM  

Congrats on knowing "spit" was a media bowdlerizstion. Cactus Jack didn't think FDR should run for a third term. Buh-bye!

Tobias Duncan 6:25 PM  

@ACME and Two Ponies.I am assembling a crack team of psychic Taos hippies right now to meet at the bar for jeopardy so we can vibe this guy out and put him off his game.

chefbea 7:30 PM  

time for jeopardy...see u later

Two Ponies 7:37 PM  

@ Tobias, I'm there in spirit.
Oh how much I would love it if Alex asked him about that date during the "interview the contestant" part.

Tita 9:10 PM  

@acme - boo...I too sent "You should be ashamed of yourself" vibes, to no avail.

I was, however, happy to see an entire category devoted to Madeira - a most beautiful island, and a sublime aperitif.

ACME 9:26 PM  

No no no, we want Joel the Despicable (as he is known in these here parts) to continue to win, so he doesn't do that to other unsuspecting gals!
Also when i knew him he was supposedly a bond trader in Florida, orig from Boston; on the show he's claiming to be in real estate from Oakland...I'm telling you, a total sociopath...but he's funny as hell, which you can't quite tell due to what must be nerves ( maybe that he'll be recognized by exes who will come after him for whatever bodily/monetary harm he caused them!)
Telling that his first interview with Alex he spoke of being too drunk to drive! Charming.

You left out my favorite Ewen MacGregor film... "Shallow Grave "

sanfranman59 10:03 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:32, 6:50, 0.96, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 10:35, 8:53, 1.19, 91%, Challenging
Wed 8:58, 11:48, 0.76, 5%, Easy (7th lowest median solve time of 150 Wednesdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:44, 3:40, 1.02, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:27, 4:36, 1.19, 93%, Challenging
Wed 4:59, 5:53, 0.85, 15%, Easy

evil doug 3:29 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 3:32 AM  

Nope. You're too late. It's a done deal. Ewan will always be primarily associated with his Star Wars "acting"---and, now, with Lauren Tewes....

Nice legacy,

long suffering mets fan 4:56 PM  

This puzzle should have been acCOSTED

@Evil -- hysterical comment about Bain Capital

being in the accounting field, costed is a valid term, but if thats not your profession, its a butt ugly word

sports live 9:12 AM  

thanks nice video

Spacecraft 12:35 PM  

Help me, OBIWAN-KENOBI, you're my only hope. I'm losted.

Couple of interesting sub-themes:

STOCK and RISK meeting at the K;

UNITAS in symmetry with REDDOG, the forerunner of the modern blitz (Yes, I know, a certain blogger--whose initials are short for touchdown!--hates sports. Yet he keeps telling us that, over, and over....)


and the already-mentioned automotive traffic jam.

It's a wonder you can make any puzzle at all fitting in so many theme parts, with the two-worders in symmetry. Sure, the fill suffers. The surprise is that it didn't suffer even more.

Still, some of it should have been tosseded.

Solving in Seattle 1:09 PM  

I CRASHed through this XW over half a cup of coffee but ended with one blank square at the intersection of 46D & 56A. An actor natick for me. My guess would have been a "v" and I would have been wrong. Other than that, what is the day of the week easier than a NYT Monday puzzle? This is it.

AREAR. No. I've sailed since Chris and I came over on the Santa Maria, and I've never heard anyone say that word. She's got A nice REAR, maybe, but not "The tiller is AREAR." Aft, yes. Abaft, ok. Back there, yeah. But never AREAR. Point made.

Capcha: otestery. Unisex organs?

Dirigonzo 4:15 PM  

My local paper decided to make this more challenging by not printing the clues for 41, 43, 46 and 48 down, and I still finished with no write-overs. It's a good thing I was able to pull EWAN out of my memory banks because I wasn't going to get that W even if there had been a clue for the forgettable Ms. TEWES.

Is Castor OYL and relation to Popeye's girlfriend Olive?

I am curious as to what the clue for WALMART (43d) was - anybody?

Solving in Seattle 4:21 PM  

@Diri, 43D was "World's Largest Retailer.

Dirigonzo 4:42 PM  

@SiS - thanks; I thought maybe it had been clued as a theme answer: "The Evil Empire" (I have a friend who actually refers to Walmart that way).

By the way, the captcha definition from your earlier post was laugh-out-loud funny.

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