Victor at Gettysburg / WED 9-12-12 / When repeated hit 1997 movie / Tokyo-based carrier / Edson Arantes do Nascimento to fans / City founded by Pizarro in 1535 / Letter to Odin / Palace of Nations locale

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Constructor: Robert W. Harris

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Move the S — familiar two-word phrases where the second word begins in "S" are clued as if the "S" is the possessive ending of the first word; wackiness ensues.

Word of the Day: Harvard's NIEMAN Foundation for Journalism (45D) —
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University is the primary journalism institution at Harvard. It was founded in 1938 as the result of a $1 million bequest by Agnes Wahl Nieman, the widow of Lucius W. Nieman, founder of The Milwaukee Journal. She stated the goal was "to promote and elevate the standards of journalism in the United States and educate persons deemed specially qualified for journalism." It is based at Walter Lippmann House in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hey, being on Twitter actually helped me solve a puzzle. I Follow the NIEMAN Journalism Lab at Harvard (@NiemanLab), which is the *only* way I know that name. Not sure how I started following them in the first place, but ... who cares!? That little bit of knowledge probably took 20-30 seconds off my time. You're always in good shape when you are at least familiar with all the puzzle's proper nouns, as I was today. Les NESSMAN, check (31A: WKRP's Les). Whatever his name is MEADE, check (37A: Victor at Gettysburg). "LIAR, LIAR," check (1A: When repeated, a hit 1997 movie). Even when the clues seemed mysterious, the answers always ended up being very familiar. See LIMA (19A: City founded by Pizarro in 1535), PELE (36A: Edson Arantes do Nascimento, to fans), and GENEVA (43D: Palace of Nations locale).

Couldn't remember what (the hell) "feldspar" was (turns out it's a MINERAL), but other than that, most stuff was in my wheelhouse. This felt pretty hard at first. Couldn't see the theme for a very long time—I'd gone from the top of the grid to the bottom without solving a single theme answer. Then COMIC'S TRIP off of TRIP, and once the gimmick was out of the bag, the other answers went from "???" to cinches.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Index, middle, ring and pinkie fingers? (THUMB'S CREW) — my favorite theme clue of the day
  • 29A: "Lord, make me impervious to Raid?" (BUG'S PRAYER) 
  • 43A: Reason everyone whispered during the afternoon on Gilligans' island? (GINGER'S NAP)
  • 57A: Excursion for Jerry Seinfeld or Chris Rock? (COMIC'S TRIP)
I like this theme, even though it's very simple and feels like something I've seen several times before. The key is the clues, and at least half of them are funny—a good batting average for this sort of thing. The one that doesn't work for me at all is BUG'S PRAYER. I like the clue—I just don't think of a "bug sprayer" as a thing. "Bug spray," sure, but not "sprayer." The other theme answers are based on tight, familiar, common phrases. That one's just a little ... loose. Defensible, but nobody wants "defensible."

  • 21A: Loudness units (BELS) — See also SONE, another loudness unit I've never seen anywhere but crosswords.
  • 10A: Tokyo-based carrier (JAL) — The one other important Japanese aviation-related crossword answer I can think of is NARITA (Tokyo's airport).
  • 25D: Letter to Odin? (RUNE) — Cute clue. I'm technically a medievalist (if my Ph.D. is to be believed), so, no problem here.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:07 AM  
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jae 12:10 AM  
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Milford 12:11 AM  

DNF on this one due to having STEamS/BaLS/RAm instead of STEEPS/BELS/RAP. Took forever to find that mistake. Yes, in retrospect, to steam does not mean to go "into" hot water, and yes, bals isn't anything. Still got me.  Dang it.

But I did really enjoy this puzzle and it's theme. It fit right in with my late 70's childhood memories of watching GINGER, Les NESSMAN, and Mork & MINDY, cheering for PELE, and listening to CRUEL Shoes on LPs (we had Let's Get Small, too). 

This is the second time recently that PSAT has been clued as a test that juniors take. My sophomore takes it next month - isn't that more the norm?

I married into a Greek family, but I haven't drank OUZO in 20 years, thanks to a trip by boat from Patras to Brindisi. Nuf said. 

jae 12:12 AM  

Easy and amusing.  I had no problem with  BUGSPRAYER, for me it was the best of the lot.  Also liked the BAKER/TOKE cross.  It goes with STASH (mini theme?).  

Only erasure was MODart to MODERN.  Don't ask me why.

Potential problem area: SATORI/NIEMAN/BRAUN

Zippy stuff:  NESSMAN,  TLC (just because it's pretty off the wall these days), EVILEYE...

Rube 12:13 AM  

I'm trying to figure out what DEN has to do with a TV spot.

Otherwise, a fun puzzle. Sadie Hawkin's day is coming up.

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

@Rube - Many people keep their TV's in their den. However, as you are a rube, living in a one room shack, your not getting this clue is predictable.

Tobias Duncan 12:34 AM  

Could be my rural existence but a BUGSPRAYER is most definitely a thing. I have a huge one that I used to spray acid on my concrete floors.

Evan 12:39 AM  

Medium would be about right, mostly because a) the cluing felt pretty tough for a Wednesday, and b) I couldn't understand what was going on with the theme until I was halfway through. Then once I got it, it all made perfect sense and the puzzle suddenly became much easier. The clues for seemingly simple answers like BOO, ERASER, LPS (no abbr. in the clue), CRUEL, and EVIL EYE felt way harder than I would have expected (I don't even understand how EVIL EYE is a "whammy"). And that's to say nothing of several nouns that were total mysteries to me like NESSMAN, SATORI, and NIEMAN.

Still, the puzzle gave me a good a-ha moment and it looks like a pretty clean grid on reflection. I'm quite glad that SOLD OUT was clued in a more MODERN way than if it referred to selling all of an event's tickets.

I wonder if that S-shape in the middle of the grid was intentional, given the theme?

Alito Cruel Michael's 12:56 AM  

i feel ya! I had to run the alphabet three times to get the N in DEn!!!
Cost me extry time at the BAC Fill...esp because I've never seen WKRP but knew Howard Hess(e)man, so nESSMAN was a total mindf*#% for me.

Everyone else's downfall at the tourney was STEam/STEEP as RAm fit the clue as well as RAP.
And Tyler Hinman said he had to stop counting how many folks put in BaL and went on with their lives...

I didn't realize that deciBEL must mean ten bels...maybe it's even where we get the word "bell"!

Anyway, love the simplicity of the puzzle, even tho it's been done. Reminds me of one of my fave constructors Alan Arbsfeld who adds a Y or shifts an apostrophe and the wor(l)d changes! Right on!

Bleedover alert from Monday: CRUEL! EVILeye!

Anoa Bob 1:15 AM  

I like the theme for its cleverness and its haiku-like simplicity, although it didn't quite bring on a state of SATORI.

I also like that, with only four 10-letter theme entries, the rest of the grid has room to breathe. Check out those double-stacked 7's down in each corner, and the two double-stacked 6's down near the middle sandwiched between two more 6's at 22/33 down.

And not a single clunker in the bunch. NIEMAN (45D) was tough but legit. The rest are first rate, the aforementioned SATORI being my favorite.

Also like the STASH (5A)and TOKE (35A) combo.

Great example of balance between theme and fill. Well done.

dk 1:44 AM  

A puzzle based on old tv shows. Who could ask for more. Tobias, I use my BUGSPRAYER to apply wall paper remover and whet plaster (lime putty) in the curing process.

Off to cafe and treats here in Sanary Sur Mer. Seems this was Nazi hang out in ww2. More on that later.

Perhaps we will take a 3 hour tour in a tiny ship.

Tripmate always refers to anise as anus to we are getting Pernod later today so she can have a sip of an..

*** (3 Stars) A speedy and fun Monday

chefwen 2:36 AM  

Loved it! Had one of the G's in place with 32D STAGE and GINGERS NAP popped into my brain. Don't know how or why but it opened up the whole puzzle for me. I'm a T.V. junkie so, of course, I knew Les NESSMAN.

I'll spray any bug that crosses my path, I guess that makes me the opposite of a BUG'S PRAYER.

Lots of fun, thanks Robert Harris.

Anonymous 3:42 AM  

My grandma always called the Orkin man "the bug sprayer".

Acme 4:19 AM  

Make that Alan ArbEsfeld...

Didn't know you were such a dope fiend! (Hey! I could have had that in my Monday puzzle...did your grandkids do it?)

Thanks for that Dionne/Boy George clip. Love love love that song! Funny that HE got the line "...before I put on my makeup..."
Thank god for this blog! i say a little prayer for you!

Bob Snead 6:04 AM  

Who says "on me" in place of "I've got this one"?

"Help, we need someone to administer CPR!"

"On me."

The Bard 7:16 AM  

As You Like It > Act II, scene VII

JAQUES: All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Loren Muse Smith 7:26 AM  

@Rex – I can’t believe you found/knew to look for that clip. How à propos!

Fun puzzle! Though I had THUMBSCREW, I didn’t parse it correctly until COMICS TRIP. After that, like people are saying, everything got a lot easier. (Oh – and after I realized I was reading “Tub trio member” as “Tub trio memoir.” Jeeze.)

HOWL crossing BELS, AUTOS morphing into SPED, EVIL EYE smack dab next to the devil TEMPTER, and ON ME crossing REMIT. . .I liked this one a lot.

Milford 7:31 AM  

@Acme- "went on with their lives..." good one! Yes, that was me, blindly accepting BAL as some obscure physics term. At least I was in good company!

Of course, the decibel makes perfect sense as 10 bel units. Maybe I don't think of that word as having the root with a metric prefix because I've never heard it with other prefixes. Are there microbels? Kilobels?

exaudio 7:31 AM  

Laughed out loud when I got GINGERSNAP. DNF, though, due to my insistence on ZAP at 25A, figuring ZUNE was just some Norse thing I didn't know about.

Sue McC 7:45 AM  

@Bob Snead I think it's more an answer to who will pick up the tab???

I loved this one. All of the tv shows and comedians were fun and familiar. Even FELDSPAR is something I see every day in the pottery studio. But my favorite thing about this puzzle is that I now get to think of my fingers as my THUMB'S CREW!!! I can't explain why but that absolutely cracked me up! I will use my THUMB'S CREW now to enter the Captcha :-)

Bob Snead 7:58 AM  

Ahh, makes sense. Still think it should be "IT'S on me" though.

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

"decibel makes perfect sense as 10 bel units"

Except at were it to be 10 bels, it would be decAbels. A decIbel is a tenth of a bel.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

@ACME and Milford... a decibel is one tenth of a bel. Just sayin

Milford 8:14 AM  

Absolutely correct, thank you anon 7:58. I am really cementing my non-genius status today.

Z 8:19 AM  

@jae - "potential problem area?" - Come on. Say it. Natickville.

I was surprised at the medium, but that's because I caught the theme at BUG'S PRAYER. At the time I was wondering a little as all I had for the finger clue was -----SCREW. I also had a little hiccup since I wanted cache and axel at 5A and 10A. I didn't write either in, so my only writeover is Ssn to SEX.

@Rube - I was wondering about DEN until I read your question. For whatever reason, seeing the question finally gave me the answer.

We have the 60's up north with STASH and TOKE. We have the PED users in the south with ALEX and BRAUN. Illicit drug use for fame and money instead of peace and love is not an improvement in my book. Maybe a little OUZO would improve my attitude.

@Milford - My junior is taking the PSAT, and my two older sons also took it as juniors.


John V 8:21 AM  

Played challenging here because of NESSMAN/BAKER/RUNE area. Unlike @Rex, I knew NONE of the proper names in the puzzles. Fun puzzle, good theme.

49D SRS reference to AIRBAG was profoundly annoying.

jberg 8:31 AM  

So glad to come here and learn about Greek prefixes!

@Rex, you've probably seen BUG SPRAYERs in old cartoons - a pointy tube with a cylindrical tank attached to the bottom and a pump handle coming out of the non-pointy end. You pump the handle and the spray comes out the hole in the pointy bit.

Almost DNF - like several, it took me forever to see that the TV spot was a place for the TV, not some adworld jargon. Never saw WKRP; wife had but couldn't remember Les's surname.

Also like several, didn't get the theme until COMIC'S TRIP. I had BUG SPRAYER, so thought it was going to be different kinds of weird prayer, or something. Fun puzzle, once I had it.

jackj 8:35 AM  

Woody Allen flunked out of CCNY? Imagine that!

What a fun puzzle from Robert Harris who does some clever transplant work by moving the “S” in two word combos from the verso to the recto, (turning the first word into a possessive), and knee slappers, (or, at least, chuckles), ensue.

BUG’S PRAYER tickled my fancy the most with THUMB’S CREW winning the silver, though the other two were keepers as well. (NESS MAN also wanted to qualify as a “Loch” or “Elliot” cluing play but old Les just couldn’t be folded into the gimmick).

SATORI and NIEMAN seemed to be the most difficult words in the puzzle but as many have noted, the trickiest area was STEEPS crossing RAP. Who knew from BELS?

Seeing ALITO again was a reminder that the three different vowels in his five-letter name make him irresistible to constructors and we will likely see more and more of him as time passes.

Fun stuff for me included TOKE and IUD, (mildly aggressive words probably not found in the Times Usage Manual), but the most fun was the debut use of SOLDOUT, a nice bit of crossword refreshment.

Thanks for a special Wednesday treat Mr. Harris!

ArtO 8:35 AM  

Really loved BUGSPRAYER and THUMBSCREW. Hands up for STEAMSBALS error. With @john v on NESSMAN as never watched WKRP.

Glimmerglass 8:39 AM  

Just about a perfect Wednesday -- not in the Fri/Sat cluing range but still a bit challenging (for a Wed.). I got all the letters of THUMBSCREW from crosses, then stared at the clue for a bit until THUMB'S CREW clicked. Nice theme, not too hard for midweek, but clever enough to be entertaining. Feldspar might be "Bernard T.'s golf goal." Good fill, very little junk. When the clues were a bit hard, they were always fair.

ArtOi 8:41 AM  

@anonymous - no call for nastiness to @rube - even if intended as sarcasm (lowest form of humor).

nlg 8:56 AM  

I had a bug sprayer come this week! Don't know if any of those crickets said a prayer. My favorite clue and the one where I discovered the theme after a moment of head scratching (no bugs involved in that.)

Carola 9:14 AM  

Nice Wednesday! Loved the theme and plenty of the rest. Favorite theme answer was GINGERSNAP - and it's nice how it crosses BAKER.

DNF, though, due to TV, or the lack of one. I got totally faked out by that "TV spot," thinking it was an abbreviation for some sort of ad. And not having a TV hurt me with NESSMAN (I gather he was/is on a show) - just hadn't heard of him.

@jberg - That old cartoon bug sprayer was what I envisioned, too. Seemed to be a pretty popular prop, along with anvils and sticks of dynamite :)

chefbea 9:40 AM  

Fun puzzle. Had to google a few things but finally got it all.

Loved Gilligan's Island

mac 10:11 AM  

Great Wednesday puzzle!

@Milford: I also got caught at the steams/bals/ram crosses.

Also had genres before modern at 33D. I got the theme after dancing around a bit at Ginger's nap and I laughed!

I'll be leaving for Danbury soon with my Dutch butter cake for lunch with the Puzzle chicks. Going on the delicious chorizo croquettes she brought to JenCT's, we're in for a treat!

quilter1 10:21 AM  

So fun. It made me smile and I thought all the theme answers were great. I rate this one easy, but perhaps I just owe it to my particular knowledge base.

They still sell those bug sprayers. We've got two--one for weeds, one for bugs.

@ArtOi: I don't think the comment was made either nasty or sarcastic. I took it as teasing given @rube chose his name and avatar to stylize himself. Pretending to believe it is funny. I laughed. So, @rube, did you like it?

joho 10:22 AM  

Add me to the loved it group.

Fun, fun, fresh theme which while done before seemed very original to me. I wonder if THUMBSCREW was the seed?

Thank you, Robert Harris!

Cathyat40 10:28 AM  

Rex is in his wheelhouse - All's right with the world!

RAPbert BRAUNing
Pippa PaRses

Bob Kerfuffle 10:30 AM  

Quick, Henry, the Flit!

Two Ponies 10:33 AM  

Great puzzle. Just the right mix of gimmees and WTFs that made for a fun solve. My favorite was Ginger's nap.

I laughed at the Anon. response to @Rube, I hope he did too.

Wish I lived nearer to @mac and the puzzle girls. Sounds like a yummy good time.

Sandy K 10:34 AM  

Really a fun puzzle!

GINGERSNAP was my fave.

EVILEYE and The Great Satan harkened back to Monday's naughty but oh-so-nice puzzle!

Woody Allen flunked out of college? Wow, another COMIC'S TRIP.

jae 10:38 AM  

@ACME -- Not really. Sure, a bit back in the '60s and early '70s(today's stuff is so much better, or so I'm told) but I needed a secret clearance for my DOD job so I pretty much stuck to the legal stuff. And, the kids are back in school, so, next summer perhaps...

@Z -- Yeah, I was thinking possible Natick, but apparently not. The STEamS/BaLS problem never occurred to me as BELS was a gimme.

@Carola -- Your post reminded me of the rock group Cream for some reason?

Carola 11:06 AM  

@jae -
As my knowledge of rock becomes shaky after "Meet the Beatles," I needed to go to Wikipedia. Ginger Baker - very neat!

Mz.D 11:27 AM  

@Exaudio:I did exactly the same thing with zap/zune;thought it was some obscure reference to Odin etc
But I REALLY REALLY loved this puzzle!So smart;so funny;so unexpected!...As to the ubiquitous bug sprayer:I think its familiarity is related to where you live/how you live.I also have two of them:One for foliar feeding my hibiscus and one for insecticides (i.e oily substances)
So Rex,now you know way more about the devices than you ever wanted to!

Old AT&T Guy 11:33 AM  

For the record, the BEL unit of sound was named after Alexander Graham Bell, credited with inventing the telephone, and founder of the Bell System (RIP, 1984). Its logo is a visual pun on his name.

obertb 12:03 PM  

I, too, thought that BUG'S PRAYER was the best of the bunch. (A bug sprayer is most definitely a THING; you can get one at any hardware store.)The other three theme answers, when understood by their usual meanings, have nothing to do with the clue. A THUMBSCREW has no relation to one's fingers, a GINGERSNAP has nothing to do with Gilligan's Island and a COMIC STRIP nothing to do with Seinfeld or Chris Rock. But a BUG SPRAYER is what one uses to, well, spray bugs, so it's a double whammy. Cute.

Rube 12:05 PM  

@Anon 12:25, @ArtOi, @quilter1, and @Two Ponies, I suppose I should have taken umbrage at the "shack" reference to my humble abode here in Southern Marin, but I was laughing too hard.

FYI, Johns Hopkins gives the SAT to 7th graders as a qualification exam for their Center for Talented Youth.

Tomás de Torquemada 12:54 PM  

@obertb - Sorry, but you're wrong. In today's terminology you're close to being correct, but history is always with us.

Always suspect the Spanish Inquisition!

ksquare 1:20 PM  

@alito cruel michaels, you have it backwards. BEL comes from BELL, probably Alexander Graham ____ . He had much to do with sound. One BEL is so loud that their intensities are measured in tenths or DECIBELS.
At least I can easily read todays captcha.

John V 1:43 PM  

All this talk of "bel" reminds me of the adage of the four stages of a soprano's vocal life:

"Bel canto
Can belto
Can't belto
Can't canto"

Atrributed to Madame VeraGalupe-Borzkh, nee Ira Siff

Milford 1:48 PM  

I kid you not, I just went to the mailbox and there is a letter from my oldest daughter's school explaining the PSAT. I guess mostly it is taken by the juniors, as @Z and the puzzle clue stated, but sophomores can take it for practice (it just won't count as a NMSQT). I stand corrected! Again! I'm new at this high school kid thing.

OK, now I am totally craving the Dutch butter cake from @mac...

That audio on the captcha is terrifying.

chefbea 2:19 PM  

@Milford I think it's only fair that @Mac shares the recipe with us.

Cheerio 3:35 PM  

Definitions on the web for Whammy include a hex. But one definition (cited to Collins English Dictionary0 puts it this way:
"2. (Spirituality, New Age, Astrology & Self-help / Alternative Belief Systems) an evil spell or curse she was convinced he had put the whammy on her."

So I am wondering if this is a new use of the word by new age folks, or is it an ancient use of the word. All I can say is that the word has never had that meaning for me.

Lewis 4:09 PM  

Puzzle felt solid, confidently made. I did like the theme, and it helped my solve. I had LSAT and wondered who LELE was, but finally fixed that. Never heard of NESSMAN.

sanfranman59 4:16 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 12:00, 11:48, 1.02, 59%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:55, 5:56, 1.17, 88%, Challenging

Freddy King 4:53 PM  

@Cheerio - She Put the Whammy On Me is hardly anything new.

JFC 5:00 PM  

@Rex is too young to remember the old bug sprayers that @jberg described. They've been replaced by aerosols....


Bob Kerfuffle 5:09 PM  

@Cheerio - My paper dictionary lists the first (presumably printed - may have been in oral use a lot longer) use of the word "whammy" as occurring in 1940. Not ancient to me; others may feel differently.

JenCT 6:22 PM  

Finally back after a long hiatus....

Really liked the puzzle; didn't get the theme until BUGS PRAYER - very cute.

I said a little prayer that the monarch chrysalis I brought to our Chicks' luncheon at @Tita's lovely house wouldn't hatch until we got there, and we did have a successful hatch & release over great food. Shoutout to @mac & @Sparky.

mac 6:30 PM  

Our bug sprayer is called Mike.

@Tita and her husband prepared a feast for us! The weather was perfect for an outdoor lunch, very close to Candlewood Lake. Nary a puzzle came up for discussion...

airbag comic minerals 7:56 PM  

"I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me."

I remember a variation of this joke from one of Woody Allen's stand up routine but I could swear he said he was thrown out of NYU...
"Padded" his resume on stage, no doubt! Maybe he didn't do so well on his PSATs!

Sad to miss puzzlechick lunch! Sounds fun.

And thanks all for une belle education, but surely the word BELL was around before Alexander G.!
Deci = 1/10, that rings a bell at least! I sit corrected.

sanfranman59 10:02 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 5:39, 6:48, 0.83, 1%, Easy (2nd lowest median solve time of 166 Mondays)
Tue 8:29, 8:57, 0.95, 41%, Medium
Wed 11:58, 11:48, 1.01, 59%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:23, 3:41, 0.92, 16%, Easy
Tue 4:49, 4:39, 1.04, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:32, 5:56, 1.10, 79%, Medium-Challenging

Sfingi 10:37 PM  

@Mac - was wondering if there was anyone from NY. Woody was kicked out of NYU (classier than CCNY) because he cheated on his metaphysics final by reading the mind of the guy next to him.

@John V - great little rhyme. Thanx.

mac 7:50 AM  

@Sfingi: Sparky is from the West Village!

NM Robin 10:03 AM  

Great puzzle. I got the theme at "ginger's nap". We had just gotten a TV so watched all of Gulligan's Island.

I'm in the rural part of the country and yes, bug sprayers are definitely used for everything - not only bug spray. Would not use aerosols for anything.

Spacecraft 11:34 AM  

I liked this. Haven't seen Mr. Harris' name here before, so if this is a debut it's a smashing success! Very clever, funny and well-executed theme--and a minimum of junk in the fill. What's not to like?

Forgot the Jim Carrey vehicle momentarily, so I left the NW and attacked the SW; the two G's gave me GINGER and then SNAP! I got it. SE was just a little slower; I was puzzling over COMICSbook before hitting on the STRIP. Loved the solid Z crossing. See, folks, this is the difference between forcing in a scrabbly letter for its own sake and letting it occur naturally. The J at 10? Less so. PETE/PAL or METE/MAL would serve as well. But hey--throw a little kulchur at us; we won't duck.

WOTD for me: SATORI. New one.


Waxy in Montreal 2:52 PM  

@Spacecraft - SATORI was a new one for me also as was AIT so am declaring a personal Nattick. Theme was fun - got it early at THUMBSCREW so the other theme entries were a (ginger)snap.

Dirigonzo 3:14 PM  

I put an big X next to "Gets into hot water?" to mark it as a lousy clue for STEamS, which is what I had in my grid - it's a pretty good clue for STEEPS, though.

Loved learning PELE's real name, and when and by whom LIMA was founded - who knew?

I miss WKRP and its wacky cast of characters - the University of Southern Maine has a radio station (you can listen at WMPG.ORG) with some pretty bizarre volunteer dj's (and some really good music), but nobody to compare to Les NESSMAN.

A wonderful Wednesday workout - want more, please.

Ginger 4:31 PM  

WOW 3 great puzzles in a row. My life has been pretty hectic and by the time I got to the puzzles, it's been waaaay too late to comment.

@Acme - Loved the evil doings on Monday. Knew it would be great when I saw your name. The theme was just a lot of fun. I'm with those who prefer leaving 'this way comes' hanging.....

Punny Tuesday. Also like the additional theme ideas mentioned here. @SIS re your comment on the SeaHawks - fantastic game, though with the turnovers it shouldn't have been so close. My SIL was there. Even with the rain, wish I could have joined him.

I liked today's entry, but I got stymied in the BEL curve and was unable to straighten it out. I also took note of the shout out at 41A. Sadly, the similarities end with the name, however I have at times had red hair. One nit, Justice Sotomayor filled the seat of Justice O'Connor, Alito replaced Jusice Rehnquist.

Surprised no Syndilander has mentioned the debate last night. Lots of sparks were flying. I was angered by the lack of respect shown to the moderator, or to our CIC. Sad.

DMGrandma 5:29 PM  

Figured out the gimmick at GINGERSNAP, and then went back and worked the other S clues. Unlike Rex, didn't know the asked for names, but surprised myself by droppingi in SANTORI. Must have learned it from puzzles. Finally realizing that NATAL was NEO, not pre, made it possible to finish. But what does SRS stand for? Some kind of system?

Bob Kerfuffle 5:40 PM  

@DMGrandma - SRS = Supplemental Restraint System, i.e., an airbag

Bob Kerfuffle 5:52 PM  

P.S. - For information on almost any answer to any New York Times crossword, you should bookmark this invaluable site:

rain forest 6:32 PM  

Really enjoyed this one. I don't have anything of note to add to the comments. Managed to avoid the snags others have mentioned, and am somewhat proud that I stayed quiet re yesterday's totally irrelevant comments, and am doing so regarding last night's presidential debate. I really don't see, though, how a debate can affect a person's vote, unless a candidate just totally chokes...or lies (ahem).

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