1950s TV star Duncan / SUN 2-10-13 / Nickname of jazz's Earl Hines / Funeral blues writer / Old World deer / Ancient Roman author Quintus / Percussive dance troupe / World capital situated in what was once ancient Thrace / Skull session result / Tangy salad leaves

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "I Heard You the First Time" — "Somewhat redundant" theme answers all feature repeated words

Word of the Day: RENALDO  (85D: 1950s TV star Duncan) —
Renault Renaldo Duncan (April 23, 1904 – September 3, 1980),[1] better known as Duncan Renaldo, was a Romanian-born American actor best remembered for his portrayal of The Cisco Kid in films and on the 1950-1956 American TV seriesThe Cisco Kid. (wikipedia)
• • •

"Did you mean RONALDO?" No, Google, I didn't, but I understand why you ask. I really do.

Not one of my favorite Patrick Berrys. It's cute-ish, but Awfully Easy in the theme department—I didn't have to think more than a few seconds about any of the answers except possibly "THE WILD WILD WEST" (but only because I couldn't quite believe he was going to start a theme answer with "THE" when all the others start with the double-word pairing ... the final theme answer doesn't, but it breaks the doubling convention too, and anyway final theme answers are allowed a certain amount of latitude / ridiculousness). It had a certain Berryesque thorniness in the fill, but overall ended up pretty dang easy, and not as interesting as I'm used to with PB puzzles. Most disappointing was the reliance on pretty obscure proper nouns in the long Downs. I like when Sunday grids are open, and there are a preponderance of long answers, but only if those long answers are gold. You've heard me say before that trying to drive a Down through *three* theme answers is usually a losing proposition, and here that is true ... twice. ELLSWORTH is ???? (sorry I'm not excited by a South Dakota Air Force base—I doubt most solvers will have heard of this) and RENALDO—well, the less said, the better. You all know that the 50s is sixty years ago now, and that this guy was barely a celebrity *then*. Ugh. I actually finished with an error—had RANALDO and HAH, because though the most plausible name, RONALDO, was clearly wrong, surely RANALDO was the next most likely answer (HAH seemed plenty laughish to me). But no. RENALDO. SHEESH and yeesh. Even after spending a minute or so hunting down that mistake, I finished in just over 11 minutes. So, yeah, easy, and not exciting.

Theme answers:
  • 22A: Somewhat redundant 1965 country song? ("GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME")
  • 30A: Somewhat redundant Milton Bradley game? (HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS)
  • 49A: Somewhat redundant size? (EXTRA EXTRA LARGE)
  • 64A: Somewhat redundant 1960s spy series? ("THE WILD WILD WEST")
  • 83A: Somewhat redundant literary genre? (SHORT SHORT STORY)
  • 100A: Somewhat redundant theater production? (OFF OFF BROADWAY SHOW)
  • 112A: Extremely redundant 1963 caper film? ("IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD)
Check out those theme clues. Do you like the 1960s? Well, this is your puzzle. Wikipedia tells me HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS debuted in 1978, though the idea for the game was published (?) in 1967.

  • 17A: "Funeral Blues" writer (AUDEN) — toughie for me. Figured I was looking for a composer, a W.C. HANDY, or a Willie DIXON, or a FATHA Hines, perhaps (101D: Nickname of Jazz's Earl Hines).
  • 57A: "Nick News" host Linda (ELLERBEE) — used to see her a lot in the 80s, never see her now. Perhaps because I don't watch "Nick News."
  • 78A: Like some passages in a symphony (THEMATIC) — I was gonna go with OPERATIC at some point, which is not a good guess, but it's a better guess than IONIA is for 90D: World capital situated in what was once ancient Thrace (SOFIA).
  • 3D: Skull session result (IDEA) — Come on. "Skull session"? WTF? 
  • 5D: Ancient Roman author Quintus ___ (ENNIUS) — Yipes. That is some rough stuff. I took Classical Latin for a bit and couldn't tell you a thing this guy wrote. Let's see ... hmm, seems "only fragments of his work survive," but he was influential. OK. I feel less bad now.
  • 15D: Percussive dance troupe (STOMP) — I remember them from such decades as the '90s. See also "Rent."
  • 31D: MTV's earliest viewers, mostly (GEN X) — Yes. I was one of said viewers. But I wrote in XERS here at first. 
  • 79D: Nabisco treats sold only seasonally (MALLOMARS) — never had one. I'm vaguely aware of their existence. Still, got this answer easily. 
  • 97D: "Music for the Royal Fireworks" composer (HANDEL) — Ugh (on me). Brain went HAYDN! Stupid brain. Can't keep my H-composers straight. HOLST is "The Planets." I know that.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:08 AM  

Easy breezy Sun.  Nothing fancy, just a very smooth grid.

Only erasures: Bias for BENT and HaH for HEH.  The 
latter cross with RENALDO is the only problem I could see.  If you don't know who played the Cisco Kid you might make an error.  Apparently Rex is among those who don't. 

I like a tad more zip/chuckles in a Sun., but it's hard to fault this one.

Evan 12:16 AM  

Yeah, pretty much the same reaction -- didn't find it terribly interesting for the most part. Besides the theme answers, the only multi-word entries in the entire puzzle (that I could find) are OH NO, GOT LOST (the past tense is awkward), and HOT WAR. Everything else is a single word.

It wasn't that challenging either. The only real trouble spot for me was having DARK before MURK (does anyone say the latter?), and I too had to guess on HEH/RENALDO, but I got it right, it seems. I wasn't 100% sure on REG/BLIGH either, but I didn't think anything else but a G could work there. I had XERS before GENX and XII before III, too.

At least I've finally learned about one of the Waugh authors. EVELYN was one of the first answers in the grid, given how his last name gave me trouble a month ago.

Actually, Rex, there are more than two down answers which cross three themers -- GENTEEL, GRANDPA, UNHAPPIER, ELLSWORTH, MALLOMARS, RENALDO, and STASHED all cut through three of them. I have to imagine that really constrained the possibilities in terms of surrounding fill.

Also, don't feel bad about confusing HANDEL with HAYDN. My choir is currently singing "The Creation" by HAYDN, and I can't tell you how often I've felt while rehearsing that it could have been written by either one of them. Seriously, their musical styles sound exactly the same in that piece -- and it's written in English, to boot.

wa 12:17 AM  

It was like a Monday, a day early.

Sorry Rex, skull session is one of those terms that makes business types feel better about what they are doing. Instead of brainstorming, I used say they were more like brain gusts.

Ennius was the sole enigma.

Evan 12:23 AM  

Oh, wait -- I see now that Rex isn't saying that there are only two down answers which intersect with three themers, just that two of them are bad entries.

Still, my point stands about the surrounding fill. I was once told by a constructing veteran to avoid having a long down entry cut through three theme answers to the best of one's ability, unless that down answer is really good. Having seven of them in the same puzzle had to have made it tough to fill everything else.

Kristin 12:56 AM  

Did you check your answer grid? It has TIN instead of GIN in it. I had it right the first time....but I went and googled "pink lady"to make sure.

syndy 1:29 AM  

Randaldo/Hah and I stand by it!Yes Holst is planets and HANDEL was fireworks-George the Second loved them.Among his works was also RINALDO so there!HIH HIH!not very Berry today

chefwen 1:34 AM  

Time consuming because of the size, but an easy solve at this camp. Had a little problem trying to spell MYNAHS, can never remember where the H goes.

Liked it, didn't love it. A little too easy with the duplication.

Last letter in was the N at 5D and 17A , a total guess that worked out.

Elle54 2:55 AM  

I had one letter wrong. I had EVER instead of EVEN. This gave me SRL instead of SNL. a dumb mistake, because if I had read the clue, I would have smiled at the reference to Mr. Bill and put SNL.

Evan 3:34 AM  

Ugh, scratch UNHAPPIER and MALLOMARS from my previous comment. Those intersect with two theme answers, not three, so there are five down entries which cross themes, not seven.

Anonymous 4:33 AM  

Mr. Parker, I regret to inform you that the letter you have entered at the intersection of 95 Across and 95 Down is incorrect. It should more appropriately be a "G".

Eejit 5:04 AM  

Rex DNFed. HEH.

Goose Gossage 5:52 AM  

Another appearance by Ott;
Gossage, I fear, you forgot.
With misspelled Frank PERDU
And Rex's errs too,
I didn't like this one a lot!

webwinger 7:04 AM  

My experience of this one very similar to @Rex, except I knew Handel right away, took 4 times as long, got the “G” correct at the corner of 95 and 95, and had more snow. (Almost 3 feet in New Haven! Get me back to Chicago!!) I grew up watching the Cisco Kid (“Hey Cisco, wait for me!” was the tagline of his sidekick, Pancho, I think) along with Roy Rogers, Wild Bill Hickock, Hopalong Cassidy, and the Lone Ranger, but had no idea what was the name of the Romanian (!) actor who played him. As a 13-year-old boy I thought MadMadMadMad World was the best and funniest movie I’d ever seen; viewing it again recently found it (like many big ones from that era) overlong, turgid, and painfully sexist, though it had a great cast with almost every name comic active at the time.

Anonymous 7:32 AM  

So disappointed...stuck with 30 inches of snow and looking forward to a nice, long challenging puzzle....too easy for a Sunday....just wanted it to end...ok, where's my shovel....

Milford 7:43 AM  

Smiled when I came here and saw that the HaH/RaNALDO cross was also the natick for many. Otherwise, this was my fastest Sunday ever, almost exactly one hour, so I have to like it for that reason.

Not a ton of fun words. Liked MYNAHS and MALLOMARS. Never had one either. Why are they seasonal?

Have actually been to ELLSWORTH AFB, it's in the middle of nowhere, a stop on a trip out west.

Also remember IT'S A MAD,MAD,MAD,MAD WORLD with the buried treasure under the giant W. Like @webwinger, I remember thinking it was hilarious, but I was maybe 5? 8?. Did they used to show it on New Years Eve?

I was one of those GENXers watching MTV in the early 80s. My dad let us kids chose which extra channel to subscribe to for channel 2, HBO or this new music video channel. We were cool and chose the latter. That was back when all they did was play videos and have bands interviewed. Sigh.

chefbea 7:57 AM  

Printed the puzzle last night and figured I start it before I fell asleep. Well...a half hour later the puzzle was done and nary a google. A rarity for me. Now what do I do today?? Could grab a shovel and head north to help everyone.

Of course knew UCONN and I have a very common middle name.

loren muse smith 7:58 AM  

Agreed – pretty easy for a Sunday, but as Sunday for me is a huge catch-up-on-laundry-and-other-put-off-chores day, I always prefer one I can finish quickly.

CRESS was my first entry, flirted with SIXTH, saw the EX. . . and EXTRA EXTRA LARGE was my third entry!

What I noticed was for three of the themes, even just one adjective is arguably somewhat redundant: GREEN GRASS, EXTRA LARGE, SHORT STORY. Too bad OFF BROADWAY, WILD WEST, and MAD WORLD aren’t as redundant. Can’t decide where HUNGRY HIPPO falls. Never met a HIPPO.

Yesterday’s T S ELIOT’s The Hippopotamus and bleedover HIPPO today! We have a ridiculous wooden carving of a big HIPPO whose back rear leg one of our dogs chewed down a bit. He has this permanent stance resembling a dog at a fire hydrant. So my son calls him a tippo.

Liked STOMP next to TEMPO and OH NO crossing SOB.

Loved the clue for GNU!

I always like sound entries: BAA, OOF, BOOED, HAH, and SHEESH. And with the clue for SNL, I can still hear Mr. Bill’s “Oh noooooooooo!”

Thanks, Patrick. I liked this one just fine!

Glimmerglass 8:49 AM  

Always like P.Berry. This one was super easy, though, not his usual toughy. The trouble with this theme is that it gives you too many letters too quickly. The crosses should have been harder to make up for it. A "skull session" was a common phrase in the 50s (and probably earlier), replaced by "brainstorming" in the late 60s, a more descriptive phrase. There used to be (and maybe still is) an orchestra called the Handel and Haydn Society -- perhaps because they are so similar. I always get them confused. The problem is that Haydn has only five letters (no E).

Rob C 8:52 AM  

Finished in one sitting which is very rare for me on a Sunday. Usually need to stop, clear the brain and then get back to it, maybe even ask the wife for help on one or two clues.

AUDEN ENNUIS crossing a complete guess.

Agree with the general comments, good, solid puzzle, not the expected twists and zip from P Berry. Hey, even Babe Ruth needed some singles to maintain a .342 average.

Given that Rex finishes a Sunday in 11 mins, I'm surprised there aren't more mistakes like 95A/95D that slip through.

Just watched Mad, Mad World a few weeks ago on AMC. The humor still holds up for the most part. All the cameos - difficult to think of a modern movie that's similar in that respect.

MikeM 8:57 AM  

I didnt think Green Green Grass of Home was a country song. Nor do I think Extra Extra Large and Off Off Broadway were redundant. Enjoyed the puzzle though. Thanks Patrick, I tackled it with my coffee after shoveling 17 inches of snow

Mohair Sam 9:03 AM  

Very easy Sunday. I think Mr. Berry constructed this in the mid-80's and found it in his desk a couple of weeks ago. Stomp and GenX were the only pop culturish answers I could find that wouldn't have been more current then. KATIE Couric instead of Perry? Get the drift?

Mallomars are the tastiest of the six food groups (according to Billy Crystal) and a clue that was a total gimme here.

Yes, the Gnu clue was a classic. Reminds me of a contest at some zoo years ago to name their two gnus. The winner was Weather and Sports.

Rex Parker 9:18 AM  

Note: Original posted grid was wrong because I had been tinkering with the grid after solving and didn't set it all back to where it was supposed to be before doing the screen-shot. Current grid is correct.


B. Donohue 9:27 AM  

The puzzle took me a while and I got 7 tiles incorrect. Only 2 of those 7 were adjacent tiles. Does that count as a DNF or a poor finish? Is there nomenclature to describe such a showing?

The most awkward mistake resulted in ITSApADMADpADMADWORLD with crossing paT and Dip providing reasonable answers, but with the wrong part of grammar (adjective instead of verb, noun instead of adjective).

The theme, while it helped the solve, didn't have interesting factor that many do, so this felt like a lot of blocking and tackling.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

MALLOMARS are not sold in the summer, as they melt into a disgusting mess. This doesn't happen during cooler months, where they're merely disgusting.

John 9:32 AM  

Super easy, except for BUFF i had FIT. I don't see how "NUT" fiits at all to the clue BUFF and even dictionary.com was no help.

rlt nyt 9:32 AM  

I liked it. Maybe because it was the first time I have solved a Sunday puzzle with no Googling AND in record time (43 minutes) to boot... I know, not blazing fast like many of you, but an accomplishment for me. My final trip up was RONALDO / HOH which was quickly fixed. HEH HEH...

jackj 9:36 AM  

This puzzle was so disappointingly easy I immediately thought, “Yikes, the Emperor has no clothes!”

But, on reflection, Patrick has been so superior for so long that I’ll guess that it was just a case of his Speedo being too tight.

One mulligan, please Mr. Shortz.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

@John - He was a movie buff. He was a movie NUT.

Lindsay 9:51 AM  

I started at the top, hummed GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME all the way to the bottom, and am now heading out to shovel snow.

ELLSWORTH Maine is where you turn off US 1 to go to Acadia National Park. By "you" I mean millions annually. So weird clue, but gettable name.

long suffering mets fan 9:55 AM  

Disappointing effort from the usual sterling PB especially after 3 days of well done puzzles

A mulligan indeed, anyone for snow golf?

On to the LAT puzzle

Susan McConnell 10:12 AM  

Fun, but was Moday-easy. Done way too early in the day.

Tita 10:13 AM  

A little bit too easy for a snowy Sunday.

On Thursday, I thought that SINGLET[HR]EAD would have been better clued with a computer reference, but would be too obscure.
Today we have ASCII.

MALLOMARS is a great clue - didn't know they were seasonal. What a great country - asparagus and raspberries can be had year round, but these things are seasonal? Just what is the season for fresh marshmallows? Aaah...thanks @9:32. I suppose we all should be thankful they haven't found a chemically-indueced way to get around that limitation.

@Loren - you are so right - I thought the redundancy was supposed to be over the GREENGRASS variety throughout!

And me too for Mr. Bill - back when SNL was 30% hilarious, 70$ dreck. Now it's about 4% hilarious.

So, fun and easy, but not my favorite for a Sunday.

Oh - Tada is so much more then THERE.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

"Ellsworth" was an excellent word. Rex, just because it's not in your knowledge bank doesn't make it bad..and visa versa. Quit whining!

joho 10:33 AM  

I agree with everybody who thought this was too easy for a Sunday. But I still enjoyed it, my favorite theme answer being the insanely redundant ITSAMADMADMADMADWORLD.

@Mohair Sam ... cute story. How about Breaking and Just In?

Sandy K 10:37 AM  

Not the usual PB masterpiece, but I had fun, tho it was a pretty easy solve.

Even if you didn't know that Duncan Renaldo was The Cisco Kid, it's been in the NYT Xword before...there was a mix-up then about the spelling of his name- Reynaldo or RENALDO.


quilter1 10:37 AM  

My only nit is calling KATIE Couric a journalist. Otherwise a quick and pleasant Sunday that evoked good memories.
Growing up in the '50's with the name Francisco, of course I "was" the Cisco Kid.

Z 10:45 AM  


ESP is more of a fantasy power than a Sci Fi power in my book so I wanted EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse). I had to run the alphabet to finally get ISO/ESP to finish.

Sir Hillary 10:56 AM  

I didn't mind any of the fill -- typical rock-solid PB construction. Not a very interesting puzzle, though.

Interesting point from @Mohair Sam about this seeming like it was created a long time ago. There is really nothing contemporary in here. Makes you wonder...

orangeblossomspecial 11:10 AM  

Who wouldn't remember Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo? The surprise is that Duncan Renaldo was Romanian / Spanish and not Mexican. Google Leo Carrillo to discover interesting facts about his heritage and the show.

Porter Wagoner recorded 22A GREEN GRASS OF HOME. It started as a country song.

The Isley Brothers recorded 60A SHOUT in the late 50s before video clips were widespread.

101D Earl FATHA Hines became popular in the 1930s.

JFC 11:18 AM  

Why do I have the feeling that if this were by a lesser known constructor there would be more and sharper (pun?) criticism?

Dull theme and duller execution make for an unsatisfactory Sunday puzzle. When it takes the fill to save a Sunday, that is worse than damning with faint praise....


Carola 11:51 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 11:53 AM  

This should appear under "Wishes she could write like joho but will give it a try said":

"WHOSE IDEA was it," SHOUT KATIE and LANA through the DIM MURK that ROILS from the oven, "to reheat the MALLOMARS-NUT PIES under the BROILER? They're ready to ERUPT! GRANDPA?!?"

Thought the puzzle was a lot of fun, with especially witty cluing. Especially liked the Machiavellian ENDS, and even the oft-revisited LOO made me laugh today.

GOT LOST in THE WILD WILD WEST area for quite a while. "Spy series" made me think "coLD coLD (War," but not enough letters), then had WILD WILD WEek - basically had no clue. Other do overs: ROcks -->ROILS, Panic-->PINCH, daRK-->MURK.

@Tita - Not sure if you saw - responded late last night.

John V 11:59 AM  

I like it. Nice on a snow-entoumbed Sunday morning. I always enjoy PB's inventive cluing and today was not exception.

No home delivery of the magazine yesterday, so printed from on line. For me, the AcrossLite printed version is easier to read that the web site offered version, whose numbers are difficult to read.

Lottsa friggin' snow in CT, is what I'm sayin'

Masked and Unonymous 12:29 PM  

@Rob C...Went with Quintus ErNIUS. Sounds flashier. Especially if he had had a Roman BFF named Justin Bertus, or somesuch.

Not too darn bad, Sir Meta Berry. But I've seen you do better. If this had been the Sunday sermon, Ida been out like a light. Wanted CHICHIRODRIGUEZ. Or maybe IDOIDOIDOIDOIDO. Then maybe you could lose the THE in that center themer. But leave 112-Across alone, tho. Classic. Under the big W, dude. That and Edie Adams was worth the price of admission.

@31: Scholarly writeup. thUmbsUp, man. Shootit, anyone who can do the NYT SunPuz faster than shovel their walk has me 52-Downed. How fast can you do both at the same time? New Olympic event. Sholvling.

Joe in Montreal 1:12 PM  

Being a non-NYer, I found ELLSWORTH as easy as the answer to "Cooper's Union location, briefly".
Is it just a coincidence that the acrostic has a clue "theme song for Earl (Fatha) Hines"? Or is there some memo circulating?

ksquare 1:16 PM  

@Milford 7:43 &anon 9:32 That MALLOMARS are not sold in the summertime goes back to the days when groceries didn't have air conditioning. The chocolate-coated marshmallow-on-a-cookie would become sticky in the heat. Hence the didn't return to the store until fall. It's hard not to finish off a box of them in one sitting, but their price these days discourages that.

Lynford Lynch 1:17 PM  

I'm not a whiz and it was pretty easy for me. Thanks Rex, for Linda. It reminded me why I was in love with her.

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

UM... as a musician, I'd have to say Handel (Baroque, contemporary of Bach) and Haydn (Classical, contemporary of Mozart) are not at all alike.

As I point out every week, it all depends on what you know. But this one was too easy for most of us, I'd say.

Notsofast 2:30 PM  

This PB was smooth, not crunchy. Finished in a jif.

MikeM 2:37 PM  

Thanks @orange blossom . After I did the puzzle Yesterday, i youtubed Green Green Grass and listened to Tom Jones version. This was the one I was familiar with. Then I listened to Joan Baez acoustic version. After reading your post I went back and listened to Porters version, complete with pedal steel guitar. Beautiful. I always was a sucker for this sad song...

mac 2:40 PM  

Easy but nice Sunday puzzle, perfect for doing on vacation.

Amazing how much worrying we do about the snow in CT while we are in 30 degree C weather.... Is the power on? If not, the heat tapes on the roof will not work on the generator. Is the intake opening free of snow, or there will be carbon monoxide in the house. The snow is so high that our driveway can't be simply plowed, heavier equipment has to be used before anyone can check the house. The pleasures of owning a home.....

Joseph B 2:56 PM  

This was the easiest Sunday ever, made even easier by the theme answers which were gettable after just a few crosses. I finished in half my normal time, and only one cross left me with (barely) less than 100% confidence (AUDE_/E_NIUS).

The theme answers' clues raise the never-ending question: WHAT DOES THE QUESTION MARK AT THE END SIGNIFY? There is no pun here: the answers are all indeed redundant. Apparently, a question mark can mean, "This is a theme fill."

Plus, almost all of the clues were unusually direct, with very few of the normally pervasive Shortzian double meanings. I spotted only five that marginally qualify, a low number for a Sunday:

Gray piece (POEM)
Constitutional (STROLL)
Picks up (EARNS)
Musicians rate (TEMPO)
Athens home (OHIO)

(Then again, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament is nigh, so maybe Will's NYT-puzzle attention is suffering for it.)

I'm waiting for that guy who posts the difficulty stats to show up. My guess is this one is an outlier on the easy side.

OISK 3:04 PM  

Easy but enjoyable. Especially after a DNF yesterday, ( not even close to finish) it was a relief to run through this one. The general rule that I enjoy what REX doesn't, and vice versa holds again. He calls easy medium (yesterday) my first failure in months, and challenging the previous day's solid success. (for me) I liked the theme, the cluing, and as usual for me - Silk great, Berry, berry good, Wentz, why bother?

Joseph B 3:06 PM  

Oh - add to the list of double meanings above "Peter Pan rival" (JIF)

(Also, Rex: can you get a different CAPTCHA provider for the comment verification? I had to refresh over ten times before I found one that was the slightest bit legible.)

Ellen S 3:13 PM  

I agree with WA this was like Monday a day early, at least down to 88A when it started getting tough. After 30 years in the computer biz, I didn't have any problem with 121A ASCII, but really, for normal people? That was just unfair.

I knew Duncan RENALDO (but first tried REyNALDO, and didn't know he was Romanian) from having fanatically watched the Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers etc etc as a kid. Was that really 60 years ago? @Webwinger, weren't those the days? Every time someone sends me one of those emails about how great the 50s were I reply, yeah, poodle skirts, McCarthyism and an epidemic of lynchings -- what's not to like? But if they just listed the TV shows I was glued to, might be different.

@MikeM, I didn't think Green Green Grass was country but realize I was thinking of The Scottish Soldier. Green Hills of Tyrol, Green Green Grass of Home, whatever.

Liked John of Salisbury, but otherwise, okay but not too fascinating.

joho 4:05 PM  

@Carola ... fun! I can see and smell the smoke ...let's put on the fan!

Lewis 4:21 PM  

I used to love MALLOMARS as a kid. Now if I ate three I'd probably go into a sugar induced coma.

I did like the misdirects that Joseph B was kind enough to cull. I'm guessing the theme sounded like a dynamite idea when Patrick first thought of it, but it turns out not to have a lot of sparkle, in my opinion, and apparently I'm not alone.

Still, I enjoyed the solve, another PBJ (Patrick Berry jaunt).

Melodious funk 4:30 PM  

If one is a musician, as I was in an earlier life, Musicians Rate is SCALE. That is, the union pay rate for a particular job. TEMPO is indeed a rate in the metronomic sense, but I've never heard that term in this context. Maybe a musicians rhythm? Nahhh, that ain't right either. And it's the reason I'm not a constructor.

Berry is the berries,no doubt though.

Fitzy 4:37 PM  

And another song featured in "Animal House"? Well, "Louie, Louie" of course!

OtisDay 4:48 PM  

We'd like to do for you now a tune entitled "Shama Lama Ding Dong" so hit it...

sanfranman59 6:30 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. 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 5:58, 6:08, 0.97, 36%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:03, 8:30, 0.95, 31%, Easy-Medium
Wed 8:23, 11:33, 0.73, 2%, Easy (4th lowest ratio of 163 Wednesdays)
Thu 16:41, 17:05, 0.98, 42%, Medium
Fri 23:18, 21:07, 1.10, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 26:25, 24:55, 1.06, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Sun 21:14, 29:32, 0.72, 4%, Easy (3rd lowest ratio of 73 Sundays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:39, 0.98, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:48, 4:57, 0.97, 36%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:11, 6:29, 0.80, 6%, Easy (9th lowest ratio of 163 Wednesdays)
Thu 9:43, 9:43, 1.00, 48%, Medium
Fri 13:44, 12:14, 1.12, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 13:51, 14:36, 0.95, 39%, Easy-Medium
Sun 14:07, 19:31, 0.72, 3%, Easy (2nd lowest ratio of 73 Sundays)

Lindsay 6:59 PM  

Merle Haggard also did Green Green Grass of Home. That's the version I know.

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

An unrelated question -- is there a way to access the puzzle on the NYTimes Ipad?

Sparky 8:20 PM  

Easy Medium seems JUST. I was finished by 6:36 AM. Had HEe before HEH so not troubled by RENALDO. Got him in crosses.

I am content.

Glad North East contingent is all safe and sound.

LaneB 8:21 PM  

Managed to get the puzzle and the acrostic with modest googling. So it must have been a fairly easy puzzle and, thus, enjoyable. Sorry the ease of it all disappointed some of the expert [and somewhat irritating] commentators. Let the rest of us have some fun!

chefwen 8:28 PM  

@Tita - Just went back to read yesterdays late comments, thanks for the great pics from the tournament. Reread the "wrong answer" list, still laughing!

Kryten 8:43 PM  

I was somewhat expecting the "Late Late Show" with Craig Ferguson to pop up at some point, but I suppose it was not big enough.
I have Tears for Fears' "Mad World" on repeat in my brain.
Ellsworth is a good clue - I think I came across it in one of the Jack Reacher novels I've read recently (61 Hours?)

kristin Ruhle 9:20 PM  

i see you got the error fixed (at lest three ppl pointed it out) usu you have to wait 24hr to get the official answer grid. (Don't those red thingies mean you asked it to solve for you? the 'cheat squares' lol)

mY favorite clus was "John of Salisbury" for LOO.....

ANON B 10:25 PM  

Not often that I get to correct an English professor but-
"are a preponderance" should be
"is a preponderance"

Anonymous 11:11 PM  

@Anon B - And yet another day goes by that you don't get to correct (correctly, that is) an English professor.

In Rex's sentence, are/is follows the form of the noun. Here the noun is plural, hence 'are'.

paulsfo 1:58 AM  

@LaneB: I'm not an expert; I usually finish the Sunday puzzle sometimes with no errors. But I don't *want* a puzzle that's easy for me; it's boring, like tic-tac-toe. I want to struggle and then (usually) get the answer to some clever clue. If I finish error-free, I'm glad, but my primary goal is to enjoy working on it.

Given that, I really disliked the there; all were very easy and, with no twists (eg, subtle changes to a familiar phrase), were just boring. It might have been a challenge to create it but I frankly don't care; I want the fun/challenge to be in *solving* it.

However, I did like several clues; "plastic shields and such" (I had RainGEAR, at first), "Kneeler's offering," "Bedtime preyer" (I had the L and kept trying to figure out how "eel" could be the answer), "John of Salisbury," and "Buff."

the redanman 2:09 PM  

Once I had the theme and was 3/4 done I yawned and quit. ADHD ....

Alan 3:57 PM  

Guess is that you must be at least 73 (as I am) to waltz through Duncan Renaldo. Really could care less if you found it easy or not. I don't do these for anything other than to fill time in a most pleasant way. Cheers.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

For those of you who have never had Mallomars: you have been severely deprived. (And they're only available "sometimes" - i.e. not late spring thru early fall - because Nabisco doesn't want the chocolate to melt.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Why John of Salisbury when the Loo was invented by John Harington?

robert 11:20 AM  

Don't feel bad about 5D ENNIUS, Rex. I teach university-level classical studies, and in my training, I didn't encounter Ennius until my junior undergrad year, in a graduate Latin course. Of course he's all over the place in grad school.
But I wonder about the logic of including him. He's important, but for meter and language and syntax. Not something the educated "general reader" would know about, or should. I don't think he's ever been translated in format which that general reader would ever encounter.
THAT said, I got him after a couple of the across clues. And couldn't believe it. Still can't.

kind regards,


Sir Thomas Crapper 2:53 PM  

@Anonymous 11:09 AM - Because any "John" (first word of the clue, hence automatically capitalized) means "toilet", and in Salisbury, England, that would be the LOO.

Spacecraft 1:49 PM  

Easy. Some of the cluing put an edge on it here and there, but--as has been said--this type of theme provides an overabundance of letters from which to work the downs.

But it IS a Berry. How can you keep a 21x21 Sunday grid free of junk fill? You can't. So, III. Um, that's about it. Well, personally I've never liked GENX/Xers, but I begrudgingly admit it's fair fill. And the rest is inarguably clean! An obscurity or two, perhaps, but gettable on crosses. This, folks, is how we tell the top tier of constructors from the rest. Clean fill. As Judge Reinhold once said: "Know it, live it, love it."

Dirigonzo 4:47 PM  

PP and I made some missteps along the way but had an all-around good time coming up with the redundancies to complete the grid. We couldn't agree on the E_NIUS/AUDE_ cross so we left it blank.

Today's Premier Crossword by Frank Longo was about dog breeds - my Cocker Spaniel made the grid but my LABS didn't, so it was nice to see them at 46d in the NYT grid.

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

The Cisco Kid was the first tv show filmed in color anticipating the coming of color tv several years in the future. They figured that reruns would be worth more if they were the only show in color. gkey

Anonymous 5:45 PM  

Challenges this puzzle provided:

1. How mamy answers can I fill in without looking at the clues?

2. How fast can I finish?

3. Will I guess the correct letter to complete the AUDE_/E_NUIS cross?

answers: (1) too many (2) too fast (3) No, but I had it narrowed down to N and two other letters, so even that wasn't much of a challenge.

But check this out: if you circle the first and last letters of the first theme answer, the center letter of the center theme answer, and the first and last letters of the final theme answer, you get G, E, W, I, D. Mix 'em up and you get WE DIG. Where do we dig? Connect the circles.

Christinica 6:57 PM  

Favorite answer: Renaldo! My older brother got to meet The Cisco Kid and got an autographed picture of him when he won a contest on water safety in the late fifties. Good times, good times.

I liked the puzzle overall, not too easy, not too hard, just right.

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