Salinger title girl / MON 5-27-13 / Spanish Huzzah / Obsolescent PC monitor type / Old-time music hall / Modern film genre with dark themes / Affectedly virtuous / Hit song for Kingsmen with famously unintelligible lyrics

Monday, May 27, 2013

Constructor: Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: DOUBLE DOWN (31D: Blackjack player's option ... or a description of the answers to the starred clues?) — five Down theme answers are all Doubles (i.e. two-word phrases where both words are the same)

Theme answers:
  • 3D: *Band with the 1983 hit "Hungry Like the Wolf" (DURAN DURAN)
  • 27D: *Hit song for the Kingsmen with famously unintelligible lyrics ("LOUIE LOUIE")
  • 6D: *Washington city near the Oregon border (WALLA WALLA)
  • 29D: *Joke starter ("KNOCK KNOCK...")
  • 9D: *Affectedly virtuous (GOODY GOODY)

Word of the Day: WALLA WALLA 
Walla Walla is the largest city in and the county seat of Walla Walla County,WashingtonUnited States.[6] The population was 31,731 at the 2010 census. Walla Walla is in the southeastern region of Washington, approximately four hours by car from Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington and thirteen miles from the Oregon border.
Whitman CollegeWalla Walla Community College, and the Washington State Penitentiary are located in Walla Walla. Walla Walla University is located in nearby College Place, Washington. Baker Boyer Bank, the oldest bank in the state of Washington, was founded in Walla Walla in 1869.
Walla Walla is famous for its sweet onions. Many wineries are located in the area.
In July 2011, USA Today selected Walla Walla as the friendliest small town in the United States. (wikipedia)
• • •

I did this puzzle in 2:46, which is as fast as I've been in a Long time.

Fun fact—I almost went to school in WALLA WALLA (Whitman College, to be exact). My entire family is from the Pacific Northwest, which is the only reason that school was even on my radar.

Very mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, it's just repeated words. On the other, it's got a great revealer, and the Downward theme answers give this Monday puzzle a nice twist. Back to the first hand, the fill is mediocre-to-terrible in several parts, largely because the grid is a. thematically dense and b. filled with 3- and 4-letter words (I might have literally choked on the CRT / RECUE / TSKED section). But, returning to the other hand, the long Acrosses are nice, and NEO-NOIR is byootiful (38A: Modern film genre with dark themes). So ...  there you have it. In a nutshell. Mixed nuts. Mixed nutshells. I'm ceasing to make sense, so I'm gonna go watch the first episode of the new season of "Arrested Development" now.

See you tomorrow.

Oh, and a reminder to those of you who like easy puzzles (T-W level) and want to expand your horizons with some contemporary crosswords based on the week's news, go sign up for Peter Gordon's "Fireball Newsweekly Crosswords" — get in for as little as $5. Details HERE.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:06 AM  

    Medium for me.  Zippy fun Mon.  Loved PERFUNCTORY. My only issue is that 9d should have been clued with the song.  Would have made a nice bookend with LOUIE LOUIE.

    Liked it!

    GILL I. 12:17 AM  

    DRAT OPEL, URE WELL GROOMED and PERFUNCTORY and you URN your SPATIAL DEPTH but, I don't need to be TSKED by a LITHE NIN.
    How did I love this puzzle? - Let me count the ways...

    Anoa Bob 1:12 AM  

    Hmmm, a seasoned constructor and a Monday NYT? Could be interesting.

    Early on, I actually TSKED a time or two at such crossings as GEENA & ESME in the NE.

    When the reveal revealed itself, however, I was won over.

    Are you kidding me? Six theme entries, all of them 10's. That's 60 theme squares. When's the last time we saw that in a Mon. puzz? Or any puzz, for that matter.

    Nothing PERFUNCTORY or IT'LL DO about this gem.

    Can you believe it? My captcha is CAN WE ASK YUL for A TRUE RECUE.

    Ellen S 1:53 AM  

    Yeah? well, my captcha is RESPOND NCLNDOE. Make somethin' of that, I dare you.

    I found this puzzle ODDly fetching. Very easy without insulting one's intelligence -- a neat trick, well done.

    Amati Canwe MTNS 1:55 AM  

    Loved it, thought he was just going for density and making the themes do down just to switch things up (down?) a bit...
    but then I get to the reveal...and Holy Moly, it electrifies the whole puzzle!!! Bravo bravo, author author!!!

    And geting PERFUNCTORY in there? Nothing to have TSKED, except, ironically, TSKED.

    Yes, maybe CRT/RECUE/ATRUE/TSKED should have been given one more nudge, but I will bet that was the best fill given the KNOCKKNOCK joke.

    70A The WHO was a nice call back to THEFIVEWS we had last week.
    Doug Peterson proves once again to be the best all around nothing-he-can't-do guy around, along with Jeff Chen, Ian Livengood, the Patricks and a few others in his league.

    Among other things I learned today, I don't know TWELvtH from TWELFTH.
    and DEMI crossing AMATI is just the right amount of highbrow and low brow crossing to make my head explode (in a good way!)

    @Gill IP nice story there, girl!

    chefwen 3:11 AM  

    @Gill I.P. You are cracking me up. Haven't laughed that hard since you sent me the drawing of me dancing on table tops.

    Thought the puzzle was Monday easy, I'm sure newbies liked it until they came upon PERFUNCTORY which gave me pause for a few minutes, and someday I will learn to spell SPATIAL with a T instead of a C. DOH!

    Loren Muse Smith 6:02 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Loren Muse Smith 6:04 AM  

    Happy Memorial Day! I'm very grateful to live in this country and grateful to all of the people we're remembering today.

    Loren Muse Smith 6:08 AM  

    I saw Doug’s name at the top and thought, GOODY GOODY!

    I agree with everyone who liked it - fun theme, even if I’ve never heard of DOUBLE DOWN; the other five themers were all great.

    @Gill I.P. – funny story! The grid does have lots of stuff that scream story. I especially liked the talky IT’LL DO, THAT’S ALL, CAN WE.

    You’ll notice ULE and YUL. Ewe’ll just have to wait for another grid.

    M & A eight U’s!

    TWELFTH – seven letters, one vowel
    LOUIE LOUIE – ten letters, two consonants
    KNOCK KNOCK – ten letters, four K’s
    PERFUNCTORY – eleven letters, one helluva word

    @jae – Place –The- H game in DEHLI. DHELI. HDELI. DELIH.

    ELM TREE, OILY CAD, LITHE SOWS, PAR and TEE, WOK and SAUTES, and it starts and ends with a palindrome.

    Thanks, Doug. I’D A HOped for nothing less (more?). . .EYED’ve hoped for nothing less (more?). . .. O LEt’s just give up on that one. I have to GO DO Tons of laundry now. BYE!

    Sean Dobbin 6:20 AM  

    Awesome. Same experience as Rex, probably the fastest I've ever done a Monday.

    There wasn't anything I personally didn't like.

    But, zoning in on the CRT/TSKED/RECUE section...I wonder if it could have been any better? The only seriously crappy and ungettable-without-crosses entry there is CRT, in my opinion. The others aren't good, but nothing beyond the pale.

    The best fix I can see is to change to CRI/RECUE/IRKED (with a few other minor changes in the surrounding area), but what good does that do?

    Bottom line: it's fine. Great puzzle.

    chefbea 7:14 AM  

    What a great fun puzzle.!!! Good way to start the week.

    Have a great day everyone remembering all those that fought for our country!!!

    And enjoy your cookouts...the beginning of summer!!!Except for those in NY who will be sleigh riding today.

    dk 7:59 AM  

    @chefbea, warmer weather is on the way. It will be 70 here in Western WI and the front is headed to you.

    My day will be spent sneezing, coughing and otherwise pushing out a cold. And, tomorrow I get to ride on a plane. Yeeewwww!

    🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) PERFUNCTORY - my hero. Saved the "mixed nuts" puzzle.

    Milford 8:15 AM  

    I really liked this Monday, and not just because it was my fastest Monday to date and included DURAN DURAN, my favorite band during my TWELFTH year!

    Yes, lots of easy fill with the theme, but they were a good variety of things, and I thought the revealer was great.

    Was just watching Animal House the other day and explained to our kids that LOUIE, LOUIE is the song that no one knows the words to, but everyone sings.

    PERFUNCTORY was awesome, loved the TWELFTH and DEPTH combo, the WELL GROOMED and UNTENDED combo - all good!

    On a family road trip to Oregon and California we made a special trip to hop over the Washigton border just so my mom could get a bag of WALLA WALLA onions.

    Happy Memorial Day to all! Parade day here - l love ours because it is strictly about Memorial Day - no politics, no church groups, no candy being thrown, just honoring the military and veterans. Good stuff.

    Captcha (the one you have to get right) is blogyard.

    John V 8:50 AM  

    A fun Monday, just right, certainly not PERFUNCTORY -- not a Monday word, may I say.

    Please remember those who have given so much for all of us.

    jberg 9:00 AM  

    If you've gotta have threes all the way across, then:


    is hard to beat! Except for PERFUNCTORY, which is even better (I'm waiting for someone who knows how to tell us how many times it has appeared). So my only quibble is mathematical - you can have a space with any number of dimensions, not only 3. But that's too petty to mar this great puzzle.

    jackj 9:20 AM  

    When one WALLA won’t do; or if a DURAN insists on “No mas” and you need him to go one more round; if Sam GOODY wants to bring his cousin Harold into the business and include him in the name; if your secret code at the front door needs more than one KNOCK or if the LOUIE at the local police precinct doesn’t respond because he is hard of hearing, just do what Doug Peterson did, holler at those singulars to DOUBLEDOWN and you’ll find that an echo is all you need to create a clever, clever theme.

    The fill, though, at times, is more tantalizing than the theme as in one instance when Doug presents a bit of an in joke as boxer Roberto DURAN’s quitter’s utterance is recalled by joining THATSALL with the DURANDURAN theme entry.

    Other more uplifting fill bits included first tier entries PERFUNCTORY, WELLGROOMED, TWELFTH and SPATIAL while some liberties were taken when OFA, ATRUE, RECUE and NEONOIR were needed to complete the grid.

    NEONOIR seems particularly strange, (Isn’t NOIR, NOIR?). But, no, some film critic decided that since NOIR films of the late 1990’s and beyond were increasingly being made in vibrant Technicolor that meant “color is the new black”, hence NEONOIR. Meh.

    It’s also interesting to note that DEMI Moore makes an appearance, while yesterday her erstwhile boy-toy, ASHTON Kutcher graced the Times puzzle. Who says Will doesn’t synchronize these crosswords!

    A fun puzzle for us, (if a mere bagatelle for Doug Peterson).

    joho 9:33 AM  

    Leave it to Doug to create a Monday that's both easy and interesting.

    The reveal is one of the best ever and I loved that we've all just been vertically challenged.

    NEONOIR and PERFUNCTORY are brilliant!

    ITLLDO made me think of Babe and "that'll do, pig" ... brought a smile.

    @Gill I.P., thanks for adding to the fun!

    Doug, you've done it again!

    Z 9:39 AM  

    An OILY NOEL lost its "y" leaving us with a ULE log.

    I guess I'm the only one to get slowed down by LOUIs LOUIs. So much for "fastest Monday ever." Even when LITHE insisted that the S was wrong I resisted. I was getting ready to complain about the incorrect POC CAN Is.

    Fun Monday puzzle. Much better than the mid-50s temps with gray skies we're having today in West Michigan. The swim trunks are staying safely packed, methinks.

    Carola 10:32 AM  

    Fun puzzle, great reveal. @Loren and @Z - I thought that both YUL and ULE were trying and just barely failing to pair up with NOEL. @Gill I.P. - Funny!

    quilter1 10:43 AM  

    Loved it, especially PERFUNCTORY. Sadly it is thunderstorming here so the parade, cookouts, etc. are pretty damp. Bad news: someone stole all the flags off the graves at the Masonic Cemetery. Good news: the Boy Scouts and Shriners replaced them in time for today's memorial ceremony. Have a great day, everyone, and God bless our military, especially Dad's branch, the U.S. Navy (best uniform, too). My captcha is Gracia!

    Tita 11:00 AM  

    @Gill - loved your story. Last night we had a marathon game of Bananagrams with my Mom who is visiting. To spice things up, at the end, we each make up a story using words from our grids.

    Thanks for the drawing - though hopefully earmuff weather is behind us for a while...!

    @jackj - there is not s single NOIR, just as there is not one white... IBM resisted using black for their early laptops, because it was hard to get a consistent black among peripherals.
    BTW - I had "NEON___", and wondered what kind of movie genre it could possibly be...

    Awesome revealer.
    Thanks Mr. Peterson!

    And many thanks to all who serve.

    mac 11:01 AM  

    Halfway through this puzzle I thought: what a pro! Such a great mix of subjects and good words! Neo-noir is my favorite.

    I did notice the collateral: recue, crt and tsked, but it did nothing to spoil the fun.

    Cool, sunny and windy in CT, at least one reasonable day for the BBQ. Yesterday the watering can and twigs flew around my ears as I was grilling the lamb chops.

    Tita 11:05 AM  

    Correction - IBM resisted using black for their PC's - not laptops. Couldn't get monitors and cases to match.
    (For all one of you who care...)

    @quilter1 - insane - who would do that?

    Leon 11:45 AM  

    Thank you Mr. Peterson and Mr. Parker. Happy Decoration / Memorial Day !

    For a Reggae version of Louie, Louie - try Toots and the Maytals.

    Just finished Paul Alexander's biography of Salinger. Salinger received a request from Laurence Olivier to allow him to present Esme as a half-hour radio drama on the BBC. Salinger refused, he was still upset over the way Hollywood transformed Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut into My Foolish Heart.

    The Catcher in the Rye was never made as a movie for the same reason.

    Anonymous 11:49 AM  

    I'm not familiar with the "levels" of difficulty of crossword puzzles. Is there a standard (e.g., does "T-W" mean something? Where can I find the descriptions?


    Bob Kerfuffle 11:56 AM  

    Nice puzzle.

    I was thinking, "Those who do their puzzles with down clues only" (that does not include me!) "will be having a really easy time today."

    jae 12:09 PM  

    @lms -- I think DELHI is the reason I keep trying to stick an H in the Lama guy's first name.

    @anon 11:49 The NYT puzzles get harder as the week progresses. T-W means Tuesday/Wednesday level of difficulty i.e. not too hard.

    MaskedMasked and AnonymoUs 12:29 PM  

    4-Oh's eval of this puz reminds me of that "Amadeus" flick.
    The King of Austria gives ol' Mozart a C+ backstage, after his latest brilliant opera debut. "Too many notes," sez the Emperor. "So there it is."

    Work of art, Peterson dude.

    Not too many U's, tho. No such thing. See @lms's excellent comment, for today's spot-on accurate count.

    Been extra busy makin crosswords, lately. Latest 15x15 one has zero black squares, only 30 answers, and every entry is unique. Take that, Joe Krozel. May be some kinks to work out. PuzEatinSpouse says it's "sick sick sick" (sic).

    Unknown 1:13 PM  

    Fun, zippy Monday. I don't think the asterisks were rally necessary, as the DOUBLE DOWNs were pretty darn obvious.

    Took our relatively new-to-us 2 year old bloodhound Daisy to the parade this morning. Mistake. She dragged hubby away as soon as she realized those drumbeats were getting CLOSER! Hubby now nursing soooore arms.

    Z 1:19 PM  

    @anon 11:49 - if you go to the comments for any Saturday puzzle and look for SanFranMan59's post you will see a nice breakdown of how the play against the clock folk's time get longer as the week progresses. You will then express disbelief that anyone can solve a puzzle in less than two minutes. Sunday's are generally considered to be Thursday level, just bigger.

    Sfingi 2:30 PM  

    Nothing, except around here people pronounce DELHI "del high," as in SUNY Delhi, between Binghamton and Oneonta.

    Lewis 2:37 PM  

    Easy and sparkling, work of a pro, great for a Monday, and a Monday holiday. Great theme idea. Wishing all a good holiday!

    John V 2:38 PM  

    @jberg PERFUNCTORY makes its NYTimes debut with this puzzle.

    M and A also 2:43 PM  

    p.s. @4-Oh: Blog Picture of Mystery: Why the "Memento" movie still? Is it an indirect Memorial Day reference? Confuses the M&A. Great flick, btw. Had me guessin, from the end to the beginning.

    While I'm here...
    fave fillins: EDU, URL, ULE, YUL, BTU. Woyal Weeject Flush.
    fave musical interlude: LOUIE LOUIE. Original version by Richard Berry, if I recall correctly. Words were pretty much intelligible, in that version.
    fave moo-cow-Monday clue: "Piglets' mothers". Kinda steers the solver gently to one safe, squealy-clean outcome.

    doh 2:50 PM  

    @M&A: "Memento" is considered a NEO-NOIR film, you blockhead.


    LaneB 3:19 PM  

    I suppose it was "easy" because I finished without errors and without Googling anything. But it took me long enough, mostly because of the SW corner with ODDLOT, PERFUNCTORY, AMATI AND LITHE. Fortunately the standbys OPAL and DEMI showed up. For me, a lot harder than the usual Monday. Maaybe because it's a holiday.

    Z Z Zed Zed 3:31 PM  

    @M&A- @doh beat me to it. I didn't actually recognize the film but presumed the reference. It was either that or Simon Le Bon.

    retired_chemist 3:46 PM  

    Easy here. Lots of clues I didn't see because there was only one reasonable answer by the time I got to it. What can fill in IDA_O but H, or IT__DO but LL? That always means a fast (for me) time. Theme - killed it. With a few crosses each answer and, after DURAN DURAN and WALLA WALLA the theme, was obvious. So, in a switcheroo, the revealer was revealed by the theme.

    Choice of GODOT or LEFTY for 30A. Figured GODOT was the Monday answer, and it was.

    Thanks, Mr. Peterson.

    Captcha reforwat Natick. None of the latter today.

    sanfranman59 4:59 PM  

    Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

    Mon 6:01, 6:12, 0.97, 34%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 4:00, 3:49, 1.05, 73%, Medium-Challenging

    sanfranman59 10:02 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 6:00, 6:12, 0.97, 33%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:50, 3:49, 1.01, 50%, Medium

    Ebenezer 11:08 PM  

    I loved this one - DURAN DURAN is not the top of the artistic chain, but they're fun. LOUIE LOUIE is the state rock song of Washington - should be the state song - a lot better than "Washington My Home." Walla Walla has become much more upscale in recent years - wine tourism is hot there, and sometimes hotel room prices rival downtown Seattle.

    I'm a big Guy Pearce fan - his career didn't take off after L.A. Confidential as Russell Crowe's did, but Memento was a spectacular NEONOIR film. Yes, CTR is lame, but TSKED and the rest make it more than worthwhile.

    FYI, I've been busy, and haven't been doing puzzles later in the week, but have noticed Mondays lately seeming awfully difficult for someone at my level, who usually always completes them (and Wednesdays half of the time). This was an actual Monday puzzle.

    NM Robin 8:10 AM  

    I really enjoyed this puzzle. Very easy for me. Since I don't time myself, I do not know how long it took but definitely more than 5 minutes. I do not know how anyone can complete a puzzle in 5 minutes or less. It takes me that long just reading the clues.

    Got the theme off of DURANDURAN. Got LOUIELOUIE from th L.

    Great, easy puzzle. Thank you Doug Peterson.

    spacecraft 11:31 AM  

    Cute, WELLGROOMED theme; as a blackjack player I appreciate the DOUBLEDOWN--noting that the long nontheme acrosses are (ahem!) 11 letters long, and the theme answers themselves are 10 (!) letters long.

    Easy-peasy, except for my WOTD: NEONOIR. Is that a real thing? No matter; it makes sense, and goes in on crosses.

    I don't like SAWIN--and it seems to be cropping up more often lately. This puzzle does have a schizophrenic feel to it: on one hand those repeated themers, a superb revealer and marvelous long acrosses; on the other an excess of threes, which makes for a choppy feel and subPAR fill. So I'm in agreement with OFL.


    Ginger 2:37 PM  

    Fun way to get the juices flowing, and an enjoyable start to the week.

    As a Washingtonian, I've got to mention that WALLA WALLA onions make the best onion rings. Sweet and full of flavor.

    NEONOIR sounds to me like a made up word, but it fits the genre and the puzzle, so why not.

    Dirigonzo 3:26 PM  

    I liked the puzzle - it had DEPTH.

    There have been lots of comments on the musical references but I don't think my favorite one has been mentioned - hiding in the middle of the grid is "The Tears OFA Clown" as sung by Smoky Robinson & the Miracles. Classic stuff.

    @Ginger - The ospreys are not far from me, maybe 30 miles as the osprey flies, much longer by boat due to the long necks between here and there. Glad you are enjoying them.

      © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

    Back to TOP