Soap actress Sofer / THU 10-11-12 / Verdi opera set in Aragon / Baal worshiper / Name shared by Broadway quintet / Toon with singing map / Massenet opera based on work of Goethe / Winston's biggest fear in 1984

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: 3/2 — first three syllables are all the same string of letters; last two syllables are the same string of letters

CAN CAN CANTATA (19A: Bach work performed at the Moulin Rouge?)
CHI-CHI CHIHUAHUA (37A: One spotted at the Rodeo Drive Taco Bell?)
BERBER BERNINI (51A: North African counterpart to an Italian Baroque sculptor?)

Word of the Day: RENA Sofer (53D: Soap actress Sofer) —
Rena Sherel Sofer (born December 2, 1968) is an American actress, primarily known for her appearances in daytime television, episodic guest appearances, and made-for-television movies. In 1995, Sofer received a Daytime Emmy Award for her work in the soap opera General Hospital, for her portrayal of Lois Cerullo. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is an odd puzzle. Since it's Thursday, and since the potentially devilish Byron Walden is the constructor, I was expecting trouble. But even though I made the obvious JUNGLE misstep at 1A: Tarzan's realm (APEDOM), and even though I temporarily invented the word TRAMSIDE at 33A: Pickup point at an amusement park (TRAM STOP), I put this thing away like it was Wednesday. The theme feels both slight and tired, which is really, really unusual for a Walden puzzle. Cluing is first-rate, and the grid has many points of interest (most notably EXECUTRIX and BLOW POP and THIN MINTS), but in terms of overall quality it feel somewhat below expectations. Certainly no worse than an average puzzle, but lacking any magic to speak of.

  • 25A: Winston's biggest fear in "1984" (RATS) — I don't remember much about the book, but I remember RATS.
  • 27A: Massenet opera based on a work of Goethe (WERTHER) — clue actually helped, as I was able to infer the answer from the Goethe title "The Sorrows of Young WERTHER." WERTHER is also a candy eponym. These ads used to creep me out:
  • 48A: Toon with a singing map (DORA) — is DORA still working, or did she finally self-deport after work dried up?
  • 50A: Name shared by a Broadway quintet (MOE) — "Five Guys Named Moe"—I know this song because of Joe Jackson:
  • 8D: ___ Croft, comic book herione (LARA) — "comic book"? I think the clue means "video game." No, these are not the same things.
  • 12D: Just before the top of the hour (ONE TO) — the worst. Who in the world would ever say "it's ONE TO!?" You're ___ talk!
  • 20D: Area of Chicago where Wrigley Field is located (NORTHSIDE) — got the NORTH pretty easily. Could've guessed the SIDE part, but waited for crossing confirmation.
  • 44D: Verdi opera set in Aragon ("ERNANI") — wherever lizard brain meets crossword brain, that's where this answer came from. More reflex than thoughtful response.
Happy 10-11-12!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:04 AM  

V-v-v-v-v-very f-f-f-f-f*&*&^ing f-f-f-f-unny. Yeah, I s-s-s-s-tutter. You think those sentences were hard to read, try saying things like that all day, every day. I stutter. So do millions of others. Everyone's so damned PC about everything, but it's ok to make fun of stutters. Well, Byron & Will can kiss my chichichichchihuahua's skinny dog ass.
By the way, how the hell does one get away with calling Baal worshipers PAGANS? 99% of the laws set down in Leviticus are actually in the Code of The Hammurabi, who got them directly from Baal. So, either Baal is the same god of the Old Testament and thus Baal worshipers aren't PAGANS, or the Old Testament is bullshit, hence there are no PAGANS. If we're going to pretend Mormons don't believe in a bunch of crap, why is it ok to make fun of Baalists?

Danny 12:08 AM  

Don't forget to mention that the last two-fifths of each theme answer repeat also. TATA, HUAHUA, and NINI! Fun puzzle, even if it was easy.

retired_chemist 12:12 AM  

Same route as @Rex to WERTHER. Hand up for JUNGLE.

WYOMING before MONTANA @ 60A. Fixed when I got to 59D since MONTANA's state motto, oro y plata, is so often used in crosswords.

Agree there is little magic in this puzzle, but I enjoyed it anyway. Thanks, Mr. Walden.

Evan 12:58 AM  

@Danny has it right. In fact, that second repeating syllable in each theme answer is the only thing that made it possible for me to finish that southwest corner correctly. Don't know BERNINI, don't know ERNANI, but I didn't have to -- the repeated second syllable helped me out there (but only because I've heard of NISI before).

The theme seems a little thin. Just three theme entries? I can't recall the last I saw that in a NYT puzzle. Either way, I was thrilled to see the NORTH SIDE make an appearance -- grew up in the suburbs north of there.

And a hand up for JUNGLE; I suspect at least 80-90% of solvers will have fallen into that immediate trap. STAB instead of SHOT was my only other write-over, unless you count the part where I started filling in TIARAS where TUXEDOS was supposed to go, not realizing at first that it wouldn't fit. I blame being tipsy from two pints of Hawaiian wheat beer beforehand.

syndy 1:39 AM  

Not only was JUNGLE the obvious first answer but I did not want to SUCCUMBTO APEDOM.Dearest Anonymous@12:04 of course BAALIST are pagans they have too much sense to buy into monotheism! More theme would have been nice but what we got was choice.still I agree it was pretty easy but still better than yesterday.

Eejit 1:56 AM  

Was medium-ish for me. I thought the theme was clever. What's a BMOC?

Does anyone here use an Android device? If so, what app do you use?

Anoa Bob 1:56 AM  

For 3D "Woman with great will power?", I immediately tried DOMINATRIX. Disappointed that it didn't fit, although EXECUTRIX is also nice.

Thought CHICHI CHIHUAHUA was over the top and made the puzzle for me. CAN CAN CANTATA was a close second, but BERBER BERNINI exposed an embarrassingly thin spot in my knowledge of North African ethic groups and Italian Baroque sculptors.

jae 1:57 AM  

My bride and I are in NYC and will be in Letterman's audience tomorrow although I'm unsure when it will air as he is taping two shows on Thurs.  So, if you spot me, I'll be the one regretting I panned yesterday's puzzle.  In retrospect, I was irritated by the easiness and over reacted.  It would have been a fine Mon./Tues. puzzle.

Today's was not easy for me.  I didn't make the jungle misstep but I did try @Evan Stab.   NW and SE took a long time.  OBELISK slow to emerge as was MOSCOW.  Did not remember ERNANI and NISI and did not know BERNINI, so guessing was required.   Got lucky.  It would have been easier if  I' d realized that the second half also repeated (nice catch @Danny).  That aspect is pretty impressive!  Nice one Byron!

Evan 1:59 AM  

Speaking of LARA Croft, it turns out that there are comic books based on Tomb Raider. So technically the clue is correct, but it's a pointless misdirection -- just go with the video game since she was far more popular (and originally based) there. It's like cluing LUKE Skywalker as the hero of the book Specter of the Past when he's already well-established as an original movie character.


BMOC = Big Man On Campus.

jae 2:00 AM  
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chefwen 3:14 AM  

After a less than stellar day I was happy to finally get home and bang out a Thursday puzzle with little or no angst, made my struggles of the day a little less so.

Had the same two write overs as @Evan. Loved the clue for 61A, as you wish. Cute.

Wish the capchas were as cute!

WA 6:46 AM  

ChichiChihuahua-is that the dog of an old golfer?

Berberbernini-Toupee for a sculptor?

Although it was easy, there was something irritating about the randomness of the combinations.

How about vexing TV journalist.

Milford 7:42 AM  

More of a medium Thursday for me. Jungle mistep was quick to erase, but APEDOM was slow to get to. Brain could not parse out ODING forever. The Oregon area was a knot because DACHA was completely unknown to me, and SUCCOMBS TO felt weirdly clued. Plus I had arizoNA before MONTANA.

Theme was easy to get and I actually did catch on to the end repeat as well, so that sped things along.

NORTHSIDE was the third word I thought of, after Wrigleyville and Boystown.

EXECUTRIX sounds like a kinky lawyer.

Nice Thursday!

Rob C 7:47 AM  

Fun puzzle. Lots of good stuff. Liked SUCCUMBS TO, EXECUTRIX, NORTH SIDE, ZORRO...

Is APEDOM really a WINTERSALE? Guess so, but I'm not sure I've ever used either of these terms.

Couldn't help but notice that the theme is very close to my puzzle of 2/9/10 - Right down to the BERBER and CANCAN.

Z 8:06 AM  

I had SLoTS before SLITS so I was wondering what kind of THoNgs the Girl Scouts might be offering as they prepared for careers as EXECUTRIXes. This puzzle has a real XXX feel to it, with all of APEDOM wandering about with ERECT OBELISKs while MOM gets ready to BLOWPOP. I think it was the PAGAN THINMINTS that caused ZORRO to RAMINTO DORA, which is certainly still illegal from MOSCOW to MONTANA.

John V 8:25 AM  

Pretty easy and liked it. This is the new, non-rebus Thursday that Will spoke of some weeks back, I imagine. I enjoyed the wordplay. Thought of JUNGLE, but the cross with 1D said that would be wrong; plus couldn't imagine a corner having a three letter word starting with J.

Not a fan of ALISTER, though. Two fairly obscure operas in one puzzle were okay for me but I'd anticipate much kvetching from non opera junkies.

joho 8:32 AM  

@Rob C, I, too, questioned APEDOM being a thing and wasn't crazy about the fact the puzzle starts off with that crossing ATO.

But when the EXECUTRIX whowed up all was forgiven. Also love SUCCUMBSTO and THINMINTS.

I was taught that young men in Germany committed suicide after reading "The Sorrows Of Young WERTHER." @Ulrich?

I love the word CHIHUAHUA so thought CHICHICHIHUAHUA was fantastic! I didn't realize the ENDS of the theme answers were also a double repeat until @Danny noted it. Now that is something to talk about!

This was a very different kind of Thursday puzzle which I really liked. Thank you, Byron!

joho 8:34 AM  

That would be "showed up."

jackj 8:36 AM  

In my wildest dreams, the thought that a Byron Walden puzzle could be too easy was one of those unthinkable, unspeakable, unimaginable ideas that defied reality but, though it pains me mightily to write it, I think this one easily qualifies.

It didn’t seem to want to begin that way as 1down looked too un-Waldenish to be the expected ATOZ but a bit of head banging couldn’t conjure up a “J” down entry to accommodate JUNGLE so APEDOM it was and the puzzle began to fill in with precious little pushback.

The theme answer that cemented things was CHICHICHIHUAHUA and surely someone will pipe up if any more of these delightful triple doubles come to mind, (I’m drawing blanks).

Favorite fill bits had to be EXECUTRIX and SUCCUMBSTO with THINMINTS and ITISSO nipping at their heels.

ERNANI pops up now and then, each time giving me a respectful chuckle when remembering ERNANI Bernardi (no relation to the Verdi opera dude) but rather a 32 year Los Angeles City Councilor, a slightly cantankerous but thoroughly charming champion of the little guy and one time Big Band alto sax player and arranger with the likes of the Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey orchestras. (Sorry, Giuseppe; my guy was set in Van Nuys, not Aragon).

As ever with the top constructors, no matter the difficulty level, things are never boring and this puzzle gives us a delightful serving of crossword ambrosia.

Thanks, Byron.

jberg 9:09 AM  

I avoided jungle, becuase of the obvsious A TO at 1D, but resisted APEDOM until forced into it - also tried to stretch out Tiaras to fill 14D, and then followed that with TUXXEDO through faulty eyesight. Once I got that sorted, I was OK until I got to the SW, where I really wanted the top celeb to be a big STaR - that took a real long time to undo. I had to run the alphabet to get MOM, and then the rest followed.

So not so easy for me, but you gotta love EXECUTRIX, if only for those Xes.

I always thought it was MARIANAs trench, though - I'lll have to look that up.

dk 9:14 AM  

Anon at 12:04, I do not think there is mockery here. A muddle perhaps, but no ill will.

APEDOM: Gimmie a vine please and thank you.

The cha cha cha theme is lost on me. Perhaps because I cannot dance.

🌟🌟(2 Stars) More ambergris than ambrosia. Both have a sweet smell. The former is a little stickier.

Sir Hillary 9:17 AM  

I enjoyed this. The grid lays out almost like a themeless, and the long downs are great. I am clueless on all things opera, but the crosses got me through.

As for another theme is all I have come up with so far:

Bernancke picked up Roger's dinner tab? FEDFEDFEDERER

Notsofast 9:56 AM  

APEDOM! Brilliant! A fairly sweat-free puzzle. Very much so for a Thursday! One question: When is a "runner's place" a skate? Is "runner" a "blade"? I thought a runner was on a sled.

Loren Muse Smith 10:00 AM  


MARIANA, ORAN, MOSCOW, WERTHER, DELA, RENA, BERNINI, ERNANI - Huh?? @Jae – at least someone else said this one wasn’t easy. @John V – there’s my kvetch about two operas. If I had noticed the final repetitions (thanks, @Danny), I probably could have finished.

@Rex, @retired_chemist, @Evan, like @jberg, I didn’t write in “jungle,” but I did consider from “j to be.” Notice that “b” is right there in OBELISK?

@Evan (and @jberg) – I started writing “tiaras” sans wheat beer. Yes, IT IS SO.

I really, really tried to fit some J’s in CHIHUAHUA. HAH!

Nice misdirect with the clue for MELON, but those darn ECRUS EMUS. . . I now know how to spell PASA but invariably put in French salt for CEL.

@John V - I keep wanting to add ALISTER to my “huh?” list because it looks like a proper noun.

@Rob C,@ jberg, and@ joho - anyone who has ever ridden the bus to an away boys’ high school lacrosse game with the team members will not question the word APEDOM. Good times.

I, too, didn’t know WERTHER it was “stab” or SHOT, but after a valiant “attempt,” I dnf because of the naticks at MARIANA/ORAN and BERNINI/ERNANI.

Like Sir Hillary, I kicked around this trick and unlike his excellent example, could come up with nothing that would work – fufufumanchuchoo – nope. Dododonnashalala – nope. (No political comment – just words.) Hey! But how about FU FU CHOO CHOO, MU MU NO NO, BAM BAM TOM TOM, and TU TU BOO BOO! Andrea ??

Those initial triples and final doubles – I take my hat off to you, Byron. This is a really cool linguistic conceit. I did TRI my best and enjoyed it.

quilter1 10:07 AM  

APEDOM was my last entry, solving from the bottom up. I really liked this one and had fun with it. Liked all the entries others did. But I still look for a rebus on Thu.

Rob C 10:13 AM  

@LMS and Sir Hillary-

DUMDUM DUMP - landfill for lollipops?
TSETSE TS ELLIOT - Writer starring in an adaptation of "The Fly"?
SINGSING SINGER – Jailbird warbler?
CUSCUS CUSTARD – middle eastern dessert?
MURMUR MURDER – whisper about a slaying?

Fun stuff.

Cathyat40 10:41 AM  

Theme answers are fun to say out loud.

@Sir Hillary - love FEDFEDFEDERER!

JFC 10:47 AM  

Finally, we get a rant, even though it's by that Anon guy at 4 past midnight. Passion, intensity, color -- all the things lacking in Rex's commentary, which, BTW, I agree with. In fact I suspect that Anon guy is really Rex letting us know how he really feels....


Loren Muse Smith 10:49 AM  

@Rob C - Good ones!

How 'bout


Should have been MUU MUU NO NO - I remember only when it's in a puzzle.

I wish I had signed off. . .


Two Ponies 10:52 AM  

Considering how many things I simply did not know (nisi?) this was medium for me.
The chi chi answer was the best.

Now back to review the first post again. Rather funny anonymous rant.

Art Lover 11:18 AM  

A number of you are unfamiliar with Bernini. I suspect all of you at one time or another have seen and are familiar with perhaps his most famous work: the main altar of Saint Peter's in Vatican City. I am surprised the blog master didn't include a photo of it with today's bullets.

John V 11:18 AM  

Anonymous 12:04 went Baalistic, it seems.

dk 11:26 AM  

JohnV, would that not be baa baa ballistic as in a very angry ewe

Carola 11:26 AM  

What a delight! It isn't too often that a theme makes me laugh out loud, but that doggie in the middle did. Truly inspired, in the best goofy way. And so much to enjoy otherwise, too. Absolutely loved it.

Got the CHIHUAHUA first, then went back and finished the CANTATA. Having spent some time in Rome, I had the easiest time with BERNINI.

On the theme - I found it fantastic that Byron Walden came up with three 2-word phrases that have the syllable pattern xx xyy and where the first word is a modifier of the second. I don't see in the comments that any of the suggested phrases exactly match that, not even @Sir Hillary's fabulous FEDFEDFEDERER

Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers in Rome's Piazza Navona features an Egyptian OBELISK crowned with a dove, the family emblem of Pope Innocent X, a very interesting meeting of the PAGAN and Christian.

Football and opera fan here, so loved having two opera titles and QB Joe MONTANA joining the BMOC and BAMA.

Tyler 11:28 AM  

I thought this was a clever enhancement of an old theme, though I wish FULLHOUSE had been worked in somehow. (Rob C, you might want to take another look at the puzzle; your other proposed theme answers don't qualify.)

Sandy K 11:39 AM  

Enjoyed the cute theme and fill like THIN MINTS!

SUCCUMBS TO- EXECUTRIX reminded me of a best-selling book.

Don't like to be ONE TO AIM AT ORING, ODING, ENO, ETAL...

APEDOM was last on my TRAMSTOP.


Anonymous 11:46 AM  

How about Walla Walla Wallaby

Sir Hillary 11:47 AM  

OK, one more really lame one, and then I am done demonstrating how to waste time in the single-minded pursuit of minutia...

Candidate's query after being advised that a campaign stop in South Florida will not help his/her prospects there = AMIAMIAMINONO.


mac 11:48 AM  

I thought this puzzle was masterful: 3 identical syllables to start with, two matching to end, and that three times? Wow.

Hand up for jungle and stab, Southside in Chicago and I thought "haw" and "twin mints" made a lot of sense, until I took a better look at the dog.

At 25A, Winston's biggest fear, I didn't take note of the date, and thought the answer might be "fear" (itself).

Don't we wish UPON a star?

Nice to have oro and Montana both in the puzzle.

Davis 12:01 PM  

@Notsofast — I have the same question about SKATE as you. I'm still struggling to see how that clue works.

I was briefly thrown by the LARA Croft clued as a comic character, but I assume that they make a comic out of most successful video game series. Nevertheless, this seems like an odd way of cluing that entry — if the video game angle is too obvious, why not clue it as an Angelina Jolie role?

I also made the JUNGLE error for APEDOM, but mercifully the puzzle is designed to fix that quickly. Also entered WYOMING instead of MONTANA at 60A as my first SW entry, but I rectified that one quickly as well. Two opera titles here, which always make me a little anxious; some day I'm going to construct a puzzle that's extremely science-heavy as revenge for these sorts of entries.

Not a bad puzzle overall, though, but nothing really sparkled to me.

Loren Muse Smith 12:02 PM  

OK - everyone sing together. .


Anonymous 12:17 PM  

Singer marries cosmonaut Yuri?


Michael Hanko 12:33 PM  

@Carola: I don't see how @SirHillary's most excellent submission fails to conform to the XXXYY test.

@RobC's final attempt would actually qualify with the addition of another -er, making MURMUR MURDERER. Oops, nope -- there's an extra D in there spoiling everything.

How about GAGA GABON BON: American popstar goes to French-speaking African nation and says "good"

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

Or how about American popstar goes to French-speaking African nation and says "Good candy!"


Michael Hanko 12:43 PM  

OK, one more and than I HAVE to get back to work:

SING-SING SING-SONG SONG: A tune with a rising and falling melody written by inmates in Ossining.

Rob C 12:47 PM  

I was just kind of goofing around not really sticking to the xx xyy pattern. But the fact that the theme is so tight, highlights that the entries should be appreciated. It couldn't have been easy to come up with 3 that made any kind of sense, especially ones as clever as these.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Or American popstar goes to French-speaking African nation and says "Good candy" to lead-singer of U2?


Masked and Anonymo6Us 12:53 PM  

Can't beat a good xx xyy theme, I always say. Especially when the y's have u's in 'em.

Would this clew yield one?...
"Senora soon to have a nene?"

Shortzmeister said he was short on ThursPuzs. Maybe this was a WedPuz, pressed into moving up in class? Whateva. Still was fun.

Has there ever been a rebus puz where there was a rebus inside the rebus, depending on which way you go (across/down)? No? Good. Note to Acme: do not try this at home.

Joe The Juggler 1:49 PM  

I was at least glad that after the overly easy puzzle yesterday, today's wasn't a leap upward in difficulty.

Sparky 2:02 PM  
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Carola 2:05 PM  

@Michael Hanko and @Sir Hillary -
On Bernancke and Federer - I've been having second thoughts and apologize for speaking too soon. I definitely appreciated the xxxyy pattern, but I read it as a three-word sentence: "FED (Bernancke) FED (picked up the tab for) FEDERER," rather than a two-word phrase. It didn't come to me until later that a tennis star treated to dinner by Bernancke could be FED-FED FEDERER. Thank you, @Sir Hillary - so funny and truly inspired.

Sparky 2:10 PM  

I knew BERNINI which helped a lot. Roos before EMUS. I am Siskel today; I miss the rebus or greater nuttiness.

Good puzzle for all of that.

My computer problem was due to a mistake downloading JAVA. Thanks @Chefbea for offering to help.

Bird 2:23 PM  

APEDOM? APEDOM?! What a way to start. Didn’t like that answer at all. Feels made up. After putting in JUNGLE, then realizing that was wrong with A TO at 1D, I could not think of a reasonable alternative answer. Briefly thought AFRICA might be it, but none of the downs revealed themselves. APEDOM? Really?

Love the theme. All those chromosomes look pretty. XXX XXX XXXYYYY

The rest of the puzzle was meh. Tough, but meh. I don’t follow opera or classical music so the puzzle was difficult until I caught the theme. And @Rex is right about ONE TO. I don’t even say TWO TO or THREE TO. I simply round off to the top of the hour.

At least I got the satisfaction of completing this difficult puzzle.

@jae – Say hi to Dave for me.

BAH BAH BAHRAIN (yeah, I know)

Happy 10-11-12 indeed!

Bob Kerfuffle 2:35 PM  

@Masked and Anonymo6Us -

I don't known if it actually meets your criteria, but when I read your question about a rebus within a rebus, I thought of this puzzle.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

Similarly to Milford, I thought of the neighborhood names , "Lakeview" and "Boystown," the broader term, "Northside" didn't occur to me. Some accursed goat must be ransacking my "wheelhouse. ".
What kind of animal is Baal? When there is a Ball in its honor is it called Can-can Canonite night?

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Oops, I mean "canaanite"

M and A then 3:01 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: Oh, yeah... I had repressed all memory of that one. Thanx. Seems like there was a UU vs. W one lately, too, now that you mention it. I was actually envisioning something even more brain-draining than either of those, but I don't reckon I'll let my idea out of pandora's box. Scares the M&A.

Occurs to me that "Senora soon to have a nene" is not a great clue, if yer goin' for an adjective-noun xx xyy answer. So, better would be something like...
"One hell of a next day?" (10 letters)

John V 3:03 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: I remember that puzzle and specifically recall getting #ed to death by it.

Three and out.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

I've been working on puzzles from earlier this year and was surprised to find that Feb. 15 also included Bernini as an answer and clued a Massanet opera. Odd to see two names that don't appear that often show up in the same puzzle.

sanfranman59 3:26 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)

Thu 15:07, 18:50, 0.80, 18%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Thu 8:32, 9:22, 0.91, 38%, Easy-Medium

Lewis 4:23 PM  

I was probably thinking JUNGLE, but I glanced at 1D which was so obvious; then I thought AFRICA, but that quickly didn't work. Got APEDOM eventually.

@Z -- VERY funny

This was medium for me, the cluing was tough for me. But I loved it. Here was the gang trying to equal Byron's theme answers and the only one that did was FEDFEDFEDERER. Plaudits to Byron for an entertaining puzzle.

Anonymous 5:11 PM  

As a nit to pick, TAXCODES don't have schedules. Tax forms on the other hand . . .
-a tax lawyer

M and A (and also N) 6:46 PM  

P.S. "One hell of a next day" = MAMA MANANA.

Carola 8:34 PM  

@M and A - AUUsome!

sanfranman59 10:07 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 6:08, 6:47, 0.90, 14%, Easy
Tue 8:57, 8:57, 1.00, 58%, Medium
Wed 8:15, 11:49, 0.70, 1%, Easy (lowest median solve time of 169 Wednesdays)
Thu 15:08, 18:50, 0.80, 18%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:39, 3:41, 0.99, 49%, Medium
Tue 5:13, 4:40, 1.12, 84%, Challenging
Wed 4:41, 5:56, 0.79, 7%, Easy
Thu 7:53, 9:22, 0.84, 24%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 11:37 PM  

Can Can Cantata would be an excellent PDQ Bach composition. I can hear it now.

Parker O rings 5:25 AM  

There are also several hundred non-standard sizes available along with connector fitting standard sizes.

Spacecraft 10:57 AM  

I was amazed that no one was going for AFRICA till I saw @Lewis' post. That wasn't working, so I abandoned the NW and came back only at the very end. Puzzle was ramped up in difficulty because of all the stuff I didn't know:

BLOWPOP: never heard of it.
DELA: and never WILL know.
WERTHER: but must admit: "original"
DACHA: ???
MOE--and I'm a Joe Jackson fan!

This one is littered with partials: ONETO, GOTO, ONASTAR, RAMINTO, SUCCUMBSTO (that last one OFL actually likes? It's a PARTIAL, dude!). Not to mention an entire self-contained sentence, ITISSO. Sounds like something Charly would dream up. "Is that it? It is." So.

These problems aside, I admire anybody who can lay down two wonderful words like TUXEDOS and OBELISK next to each other and make it work. Love the S&G tune ("I'd rather be a hammer than a nail"). But isn't the trench MARIANAS?

Red Valerian 1:42 PM  

Thanks @Danny! I hadn't appreciated the xxxyy symmetry.

Here's how I got Five Guys Named Moe. I loved that song. I even have the cd. I think they're Canadian/Scottish, though one track appears to be in Finnish. Oh, here's Moe stuff than you could possibly want to know. (Hope the links work--can't tell for sure on preview)

Like @Spacecraft, I've never heard of BLOWPOP. Makes me think of Blow flies. yew. And, I, too, loved TUXEDOS and OBELISK. Oh, and thanks, @Spacecraft, for the tune going through my head. I didn't know the title of that S&G song.

I think it can be either Mariana or Marianas. There's a band from around here called 'Marianas Trench' (I'll spare you a link). I seem to recall we had this conversation on this blog at some point...

Fun puzzle and, as always, fun blog.

DMGrandma 2:31 PM  

Done in by a monkey! Even with A-E-O- , I didn't parse APEDOM. Is that really a word? The one I feel dumb about not getting was PUB. I thought of bar and wanted poster, and there my choices ran out. So, after filling in the rest,including some opera stuff I really don't know,I ended up DNF inthe NW. Loved EXECUTRIX when I finally parsed it. Originally thought of the wrong Winston, and had "fear" which eventually became RATS.

Now for the Captcha, which seems to be "loathan" which seems to be how I feel about trying it.

Dirigonzo 3:36 PM  

We in syndiland seem not to have fallen into the jungle trap, and I resisted Africa which became impossible with A_E_O_ in place - it took a long time to make the connection to Tarzan's APEman moniker and the answer became apparent. One write-over (OWO) again today, with my first attempt at 32d was Stab which was a good answer, just wrong. If I had realized that the last syllables of the theme answers repeated themselves I would not have wound up with BERBERBERtINI - I need to brush up on my Italian cultural art figures.

rain forest 4:10 PM  

Humph. I didn't find this one easy. 1A had to start with A; Africa, I thought, originally, but clearly not going to work, so I went to the NE and quickly got CANCANCANTATA off the TATA, and the jig was up. However, because of my solving approach, I very, very slowly went through the E, the SE, the SW, and the W (which was actually pretty easy), but WERTHER and the NW took forever. Finally, realizing that there is a MOSCOW in the US, APEDOM appeared. Now, I think I like this puzzle, even though the only Bernini I have ever heard of is a sewing machine. The whole week has been fun.

Anonyrat 6:34 AM  

I guess I was the only one looking for "baby" at 30D (Dingo prey)?

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

whaddya mean no one says "ONE TO" (12D: Just before the top of the hour)? ONE TO is my favorite minute of every hour. and every hour, at "two to", my alarm goes off on my phone so i can count down the last minute before the last minute before the top of the hour. and when it's finally ONE TO i jump up from my desk at the office and shout above all the cubicles "IT'S ONE TO". and which ever hour it is that it's ONE TO, i shout "IT'S ONE TO" the corresponding number of times, so everyone knows the hour that it's ONE TO. no one at the office likes me very much...which is why i do xwords...they don't judge me...i get to judge them. and judge i shall:

overall, fun to solve...liked the theme, 3 syllables alike then 2 syllables alike...nice!...and BLOW POP = awesome!

things i didn't like:

operas -- ugh!

how many times is it ok to repeat the word "to"? 5 apparently (A TO, GO TO, ONE TO, RAM INTO, SUCCUMBS TO). that's at least ONE "TO" (actually more like two or three) too many in my books. but at least there is ONE "TO" for each corner...i guess

and lastly... i don't see how "ON A STAR" (61A: As you wish?) is a valid answer other than its cutesyness. it's not a stand-alone phrase like "on a roll"... AND... one wishes "UPon a star" (which would make for an equally ugly answer imo). i dunno, maybe i'm being harsh but that answer just feels like...cheating.

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