Defrocked villain on Buffy Vampire Slayer / SUN 7-21-13 / Tatooine race in Star Wars saga / Atlantean Superhero of DC Comics / River that sweats oil tar T.S. Eliot / Capone's top henchman / J Carrol Oscar nominee Sahara / Dairy consumer's enzyme

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Constructor: Tracy Bennett

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Artful Thinking" — puns on artists' names. All clues are "?" clues and have "artist" in them somewhere.

Word of the Day: BOODLES (62A: Monetary bribes) —
n. Slang
    1. Money, especially counterfeit money.
    2. Money accepted as a bribe.
  1. Stolen goods; swag.
  2. A crowd of people; caboodle.
[Dutch boedel, estate, from Middle Dutch bōdel.]

Read more:
• • •

If I'm going to solve a pun puzzle (and I'd rather not, but if ...), then artists' names is a topic I can definitely live with. I didn't think these puns quite landed though. They seemed forced and awkward in many places. You gotta really be rooting for the puzzle ... I mean, you gotta be the puzzle's mom or something ... to be proud of the KAHLOS = "colors" pun. And what's with the artist plurals? That seems pretty cheap. Obviously if you are referring to multiple paintings by an artist, then a plural of the artist's name is perfectly fine, but in the context of this puzzle, it seems inconsistent and weak. Surely are a billion phrases (give or take) that have "color" (singular) in them. Slightly less than a billion containing "mirror," but still. You gotta be a perfectionist about these things. Another thing—this puzzle would've been 100 times better if the pun phrases were at least plausibly grammatical and had clues that made them funny. ["What's up, Salvador!"] is a way better clue for "HELLO, DALI!" than 68A: Artist's favorite musical? I realize that you are using "artist" in every clue to provide continuity and signal the theme, but that's what the title's for? Or maybe a revealer. But a phrase like ONE TOO MANET is just wrong on many levels. First, MANET doesn't sound like "many" at all (accent on wrong syllable, For One). Second, the phrase makes no sense. You couldn't even invent a funny clue to make it make sense. In short, this puzzle is conceptually under-developed. There are many things that could've taken it in the direction of inventive, entertaining, funny, but instead it's just mildly amusing and kind of awkward.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Artist's favorite spiritual? (WADE IN THE WATTEAU)
  • 15D: Artist's line of weary recognition? (HERE WE GAUGUIN)
  • 41D: What the tipsy artist had at the bar? (ONE TOO MANET)
  • 68A: Artist's favorite Broadway musical? ("HELLO, DALI!")
  • 56D: What the artist confused people with? (SMOKE AND MIROS)
  • 89A: Artist's expression for "Such is life"? (QUE SERA SEURAT)
  • 112A: How the expert artist passed her exam? (WITH FLYING KAHLOS)
Haven't seen the dated, semi-sexist COEDS in a long, long time. You'd think clue would at least mentioned its bygoneness. But no (34D: What Morehouse College lacks). Never heard of BOODLES or this NAISH person (though I am nearly certain that I have said that about NAISH before—he shall have a special, gilded chair in the Crosswordese Hall of Fame) (98D: J. Carrol ___, Oscar nominee for "Sahara"). Because I can't spell sometimes, I wrote in GAUGHIN and so had a bunch of trouble figuring out what was up with 70A: Revival meeting miracles (CURES). I had CHRES. At least it was *clearly* wrong, so I caught my mistake. Also screwed up a few other things. With with QAT at 89D: Holy city of Iran (QUM). QAT is a chewed stimulant popular in the Middle East (possibly in QUM—I read about it a story about Yemen). I fixed it. Biggest hole I fell into was EGG / GANGES instead of HAM / THAMES (113D: Easter purchase / 121A: River that "sweats oil and tar" in T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land").

I enjoyed the urban transportation pairing of HOP A CAB and CATCH A BUS right next to each other. Also enjoyed remember that the JAWA existed. I went with JEDI at first, knowing as I wrote it in that JEDI are not a "race" (1D: Tatooine race in the "Star Wars" saga). No idea about CALEB (75A: Defrocked villain on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and I got AKEEM 80% from crosses (97D: Arabic name meaning "wise"). Otherwise, nothing too tough. Finished somewhere in the 11s. Pretty normal for Sunday. A bit on the fast side.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:08 AM  

    Medium for me.  Just about right for a pun filled Sun. No real erasures (although I wanted Ewok for 1d, it's been a while since I've seen a Star Wars movie), but I did have CAB and BUS reversed.   


    Very little dreck with an amusing theme.  Liked it!

    Anonymous 12:14 AM  

    COEDS are babes. It isn't sexist for something to be recognized as what it is. If those NYMPHO MANIACS enjoy making all those Girls Gone Wild videos, well, you go girls!

    Steve J 12:53 AM  

    Ugh. Did not like this at all. As mentioned by Rex, most of the puns fell flat. At least HELLODALI actually rhymes, and while it's a stretch, HEREWEGAUGIN works, but the rest just isn't close enough to the actual expressions. And WITHFLYINGKAHLOS and SMOKEANDMIROS both bad and sloppy.

    As the other theme answers started coming into view, that plural soured me on the theme. If the rest of the fill had sparkled, I could have overlooked it, but the fill definitely did not sparkle. A couple Naticky spots for me - I had no idea a female lobster is called a HEN, and I have never heard of NITTI, nor BOODLES for that matter (crossed with EDDA, which I can never remember). Plus the nonstandard spelling of (H)AKEEM, and way too many abbreviations.

    Incidentally, where do people say HOPACAB? I've said and heard "hop *in* a cab" or "grab/catch a cab", but never "hop" without the preposition. Unless there's a pastime of people jumping over cabs that I've not caught onto. Kids these days.

    Anonymous 1:11 AM  

    My daughter and I enjoyed doing this puzzle. We thought the puns were amusing, and we liked "one too Manet." Are you in a grumpy mood?

    Anonymous 1:43 AM  

    Maybe HOP A CAB is regional? I was raised in Chicago way back when.

    "They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
    luring the farm boys. And they tell me your are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again. And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger. And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, . . ."

    JFC 1:52 AM  

    I rarely disagree with Rex, so that's fair disclosure. And I agree with him on this one in his main points. I think he might be a trifle harsh on his minor points. This was so-so for me but I'm not into artists and I agree that the puns seem a bit awkward.

    What Rex does not say is that this is the constructor's debut. I remember Rex's debut. It wasn't so hot either....


    chefwen 3:09 AM  

    I loved this puzzle, got it at at HERE WE GAUGUIN, and was on a happy hunt to find the rest of the artists.

    Jon and I have spent many hours in Art Museums (our favorite is the Rijsmuseum in Amsterdam (Hi Mac)

    A perfect Sunday romp for me. Takes the bad taste out of my mouth from yesterday. Thank you Tracy Bennett.

    Bob Kerfuffle 6:09 AM  

    Enjoyed the puzzle. Never heard of BOODLES.

    Couple of write-overs: 3 D, "Like old unrecyclable bottles," NO RETURNS before NO DEPOSIT; and 53 D, "Gauntlet thrower's challenge," DARE before DUEL.

    But in the end, I blew it. Finished with 113 D, "Easter purchase," as HAT instead of HAM, giving 121 A as THATES, some exotic, mythological river, instead of the prosaic but correct THAMES. And I had even reviewed my results last night with the aid of Crossword Fiend, but didn't see this error until I read Rex's write-up.

    GILL I. 6:32 AM  

    I was Seurat home with this puzzle. Finally, a theme I had no trouble with.
    My favorite is WADE IN THE WATTEAU - actually they're all pretty good.
    As @Rex noted, I too was a bit put off by the plural MIROS and KHALOS but not by much. Hey, SALMA Hayek portrayed KHALOS so that's pretty neat.
    My HOT SPOTS were BOODLES, SHAKA, AKEEM and a few other names.
    Why is COEDS semi-sexist?????
    If this is Tracy's debut, I think she did a terrific job. I'll take more, please....

    Unknown 7:50 AM  

    I thought it was awkward, too. Cute idea, but just felt a little off ultimately. It took me waaaay too long to get HERE WE GAUGUIN. Just struggled with that NE corner. BOODLES - yuck. Some of the puns were cute and fun (MANET, DALI).

    We were denied the promised thunderstorm last night, but hooray, it is finally cooler this morning.

    Glimmerglass 7:56 AM  

    The thing about puns is that the worse they are the better they are. They don't call 'em "groaners" for nothing. These were pretty bad. Never saw BOODLES as a plural. I don't speak Spanish, but UNOS for "several" doesn't seem right. Easy puzzle.

    Loren Muse Smith 8:44 AM  

    I found this one pretty EASY, TOO. I created a couple of messes for myself early on though: “air” for AXE (hey – I was a firefighter – give me air over an AXE any day!) and “inept” for INANE.

    Caught a bit of a touristy vibe to go along with all the painters – whether you CATCH A BUS or HOP A CAB, you’re ON BOARD to visit the MUST SEE PARC in PAREE.

    @Steve J – I had no idea that CO ED lobsters were called HENS, either, but I got it off the E and felt really smart.

    In Chattanooga, ON A DARE, I once dropped from the Really High Tree Limb in Mrs. May’s front yard. I climbed the tree, got out on the limb, and hung down by my arms. As I was hanging there working up the nerve to drop and beginning to reconsider, a crowd had gathered. Someone kept yelling, “Turn loose!” By the time I realized what a terrible idea it was, I was too weak to climb back up on the limb. I hung there for what seemed like forever and then finally had no choice but to let go. I’m telling you, it really hurt when I landed, but I had to jump right up and hop around and assure everyone it didn’t hurt. Good times. Man, the things we used to run around and do in those Pre Wii days. . . Hi, Mom.

    Congrats on your debut, Tracy! I really liked HERE WE GAUGUIN and SMOKE AND MIROS. The idea made me look for others. How ‘bout “Don’t ask Donatello” and “One for the Monet?”

    Milford 8:45 AM  

    I liked this, but that is partly because I finished it easily. HELLO DALI is great, and I thought HERE WE GAUGAIN and 'TIS THE CEZANNE were pretty great, too.

    I thought the fill was pretty good for a Sunday, with just BOODLES being a mystery (I had pay offs first), and I've never heard of EQUIpoise. Pretty tough clue for PLANETS (orrery? Wow).

    AQUAMAN always struck me as the most useless one in the Justice League. But I was a Marvel fan growing up.

    Milford 8:53 AM  

    @Gill I.P. - CO-ED is semi-sexist, dated because it refers to females only. As in, the regular, expected students are male, but then the addition of females makes the school CO-EDucational. I think it just has an old-timey, second-class, cutesy-dumb feel to it.

    joho 9:18 AM  

    I thought this was really charming and a lot of fun to do. Loved the artistic theme.

    My favorites were QUESERASERUAT and ONETOOMANET.

    NOBALLS might have been funnier with a different clue.

    PARC, PAREE and THAMES added to the theme.

    Today we had SUI without the ANNA.

    Favorite words: CREDENZA and AQUAMAN.

    @Rex, it's a pangram! :)

    Congratulations, Tracey Bennett! How terrific to debut with a Sunday puzzle!

    Casey 9:19 AM  

    Puzzling but fun. Rather harsh revue,Rex.

    Questinia 9:39 AM  

    Reminds me of one of the first Sunday puzzles I ever did as a kid. All I remember is the theme was "cheese" and one of the answers was LADY CHEDDARLYS LOVER.

    Puzzle was right up my alley and finished with nary a hesitation. Vene, vidi, Da vinci.

    Great first puzzle! Loved it.

    Carola 10:02 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Carola 10:03 AM  

    I enjoyed seeing the artists' names jump into focus as crosses revealed a few letters. Got the biggest kick out of the KAHLOS and ONE TOO MANET. Enjoyed the rest of the solve, too - especially CREDENZA and the array of long P's: PAKISTAN, PEPSI COLA, PERCOCET, PENGUIN, PLANETS. Liked NOAH next to ISRAEL, would have been nice if an ark had been floating nearby rather than the RAFT.

    Thank you, Tracy Bennett - I look forward to your next one.

    jackj 10:09 AM  

    First time out and Tracy Bennett wastes no time in distinguishing herself as someone who could entertain the Times’ motley group of dedicated solvers for many moons with her talent for elegant invention of theme and a nicely gnarly ability to surround that theme with intelligent fill.

    As one who lists art appreciation as a prime interest, knowing the artists added to my enjoyment of the puzzle, even though for one not into the arts it was only necessary to get the artist’s names, (allowing for some elisions and imaginings in their pun pronunciations), to complete the pun’s punch lines and enjoy the theme***.

    So, while Antoine WATTEAU of WADEINTHEWATTEAU filled the bill for a neat pun, his early 18th century Rococo works held no interest for me, but Georges SEURAT, a 19th century Post-impressionist painter was more than just QUESERASEURAT, he is a lasting influence whose unique Pointillist style influences artists even today, (think Chuck Close, for example).

    The other theme entry that stood out for me was Frida KAHLO in the entry of WITHFLYINGKAHLOS, an artist who was the art world’s version of “The IST girl”, Feminist, Communist, Surrealist, with talent that melded those “ists” into brilliant, memorable images. (It was a nice touch to clue SELMA, (“Actress Hayek”), who played KAHLO in the film, “Frida”).

    The other fill that complemented Tracy’s theme was fresh in both clue and answer with the likes of “Whammy” for JINX, “Buffet cabinet” (not Warren) for the wonderful word CREDENZA and the two options for getting from MOMA to the Guggenheim, HOPACAB or save some money and CATCHABUS.

    I also especially liked “Cuts some slack” that clues ISEASYON though after writing it, when it next caught my eye it triggered temporary confusion as it seemed to be a strange misspelled Dan Brown reference, ISEESYON.

    In any event, I’m ONBOARD with this puzzle and anxiously AWAIT Tracy’s next offering, certain to be a MUSTSEE (must solve) production.

    Welcome and thank you, Tracy Bennett!

    *** Rex, you should include 43A, TISTHECEZANNE, as a theme answer.

    chefbea 10:36 AM  

    A little tough for me. Had to google a bit. Knew all the artists except Kaholos.

    Shout out to one of us at 13 down.

    Just came back from breakfast and had something the cook flipped!!

    DBGeezer 10:38 AM  

    Question by someone who could no longer see the car they were following: WHERE DID THE VAN GOGH
    Did he buy some jam? NO. HE BOUGHT A CELLI
    Did you call her? NO> ALEXANDER CALDER
    Is the stove still on? NO. I TURNED OFF DEGAS

    Anonymous 10:42 AM  

    I appreciate all praise and pan. As other constructors know, we have more control over the fill than other aspects of a puzzle. As far as fill goes, one thing I've determined is that I'll never use COED in a grid again! -- Tracy

    Questinia 10:44 AM  

    O'Keefe it to yourself!

    Norm 10:52 AM  

    This was entertaining. Thought HEREWEGAUGUIN was the weakest theme answer, because it lacked a syllable, but it still worked. The puns were no worse than Merl Reagle comes up on a regular basis -- and I mean that as praise.

    jae 10:57 AM  

    @Bob Kerfuffle -- Me too for HAt before HAM briefly until I remembered 11d.

    @lms -- My granddaughter (see my pic) had a very similar experience about a month ago stemming from a TPing incident. She just got out of a cast and is in a boot for a couple of weeks. Apparently buckle fractures are serious. Kind of messed up her summer. Needless to say tree climbing/TPing are not in her future.

    @jackj -- If you had SeLMA Hayek you had a DNF.

    retired_chemist 11:03 AM  

    Easy-peasy. I forget which pun tipped me off but once I saw the light the rest of the theme was easy and enjoyable. The one that sort of rankled me was 89A - the original phrase means "What will be, will be." NOT IMO the same as "Such is life."

    Knew pretty much everything except NITTI, for which the crosses told all.

    QUM QAT sounds like a small citrus fruit.

    The 83A answer evokes a lot of clues more interesting than the one chosen.

    UNOS/UNAS is fine for "some" in Spanish.

    Made EtUI out of 9D without even looking at the clue. AtUAMAN looked wrong, so I read both clues. Watch enough Big Bang Theory to get AQUAMAN.

    Thanks, Ms. Bennett. More please.

    jberg 11:03 AM  

    I'm with the side that says the worse the better when it comes to puns, at least this sort of puns, and if they're mispronounced that just adds to the fun. I had a misspelled malapop when I put in ONE TOo Gaugin for 41D; but I didn't like the real GAUGUIN answer so much because you had to add a syllable - I guess pronouncing the second U -- to make it work.

    A few clue problems, maybe not Ms. Bennett's fault: 3d NO DEPOSIT bottles are still recyclable, you just don't get a nickel for them; 62A BOODLES is a brand of gin, but as bribery it's just BOODLE. You don't say "moneys" or "cashes," and you don't say boodles either. And 31D LAIN is transitive, while repose is intransitive, so that doesn't really work.

    But NO BALLS makes up for all the flaws!

    @Joho, that could be a theme: answers like ANNA ... GENERIS where the clue is the missing word, e.g. _____ Sui _______.

    Sunday pangrams aren't so exciting (or, if you're @Rex, infuriating) because there's plenty of room to get everything in.

    jackj 11:04 AM  



    Zygotic 11:22 AM  

    What's not to love/hate about puns? WITH FLYING KAHLOS is great/awful.

    @anon10:42 AKA Tracy - great job. Thanks for stopping by. As for COEDS, I had women first. I think the complaint is more in the clue than in the appearance in the puzzle.

    chefbea 11:22 AM  

    @DBGeezer...Great ones!!

    Steve J 11:34 AM  

    @joho: When I encountered NOBALLS last night, my immediate thought was, "Too bad the Onion crossword isn't around anymore." (Although, the former editor has his own puzzle, and there's a subscription version now, too.)

    @jberg: Unfortunately, lots of people say "moneys". It's become increasingly common, and it drives me crazy.

    Looking through everyone else's reaction to the puzzle, I should probably just recognize that I'm not one for puns. Or I'm very picky with them.

    Still curious to hear what regional dialect HOPACAB hails from.

    JenCT 12:02 PM  

    Please forgive my long comment, but since I won't have time to do the puzzle until later, I just wanted to pop in & update everyone about my Assistance Dog training!

    I just finished Week 1 of intensive dog training up at NEADS; I brought Justice home for the weekend, and I go back for one more week of training.

    If all goes well and we pass our test on Friday, Justice will be my new service dog!

    She's a yellow lab, she's very sweet, a good worker, and I think I may be in love!

    I'll be sure to post an update next Sunday.

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to everyone who contributed!!!

    Norm 12:02 PM  

    Boy, I should have done Merl's puzzle today before using the comparison as praise. Talk about groaners ....

    Sandy K 12:08 PM  

    Enjoyed the artist puns- some sounded better than others.

    There must be an AGE-OLD story AS TO POLANSKI and COEDS...

    @Carola- Did the diagramless and thought I would 11D. : )

    ArtO 12:26 PM  

    Hand up with those who felt our Leader's criticism was far too harsh. I loved the puns.

    Of course, critics are entitled to their POV but we who play the game every day are entitled to disagree.

    Mike Rees 12:42 PM  

    Being a Sunday puzzle, I relied rather heavily on Google to research answers. I never just look for a listing of the answer, instead trying to ferret them out of Wikipedia articles and whatnot, so it doesn't feel like cheating to me. Sadly, Google let me down a lot today. Had QOM instead of QUM, had to guess at AKEEM because it was listed as "Hakeem", ended up with a DNF anyway because I had MONET/BUENO instead of MANET/BUENA. As always, though, it was an educational puzzle for me and I stored away a whole pile of new words :)

    Anoa Bob 1:22 PM  

    I think this was a clever idea but that there weren't enough solid theme candidates for a 21X21 grid. In a 15X15 or a 16X15 grid the two POC themes, those with MIROS & KAHLOS, could be dispensed with and 3 or 4 of the stronger ones used to better effect.

    @jberg, wondered if anyone would ASSOC BOODLES with gin. I remember it from my grad school days bartending gigs.

    The inner 12-year-old wanted to cross-clue COEDS and NO BALLS. SHAME on you(me)!

    GILL I. 1:25 PM  

    @Milford...Yikes! I had no idea. I was out of the academic loop when universities started going "COED."
    Just Googled it and got an eyeful...

    Anonymous 1:54 PM  


    With all due respect (and I say this quite honestly), there is a fine line between being cranky, and being critical.

    In your review today, I feel you crossed this line onto the cranky side. Maybe a little more yin to today's yang would be nice.

    Still, your blog is priceless.

    Anonymous 2:07 PM  

    You don't HOP A CAB and CATCH A BUS...Buses run on an established route, so you don't need to "catch" one, you know where they will be. You CATCH A CAB, since they travel unpredictable routes and you need to hunt one down. Since buses are predictable, you just wait for one to come along and hop on.

    Also, LAIN is the wrong part of speech for the clue "Reposed" (31D). LAIN works for "Set to rest" or "Had been in repose". Since "Reposed" is past tense, the answer to the clue would be LAID.

    Picking of nits completed.

    Anonymous 2:11 PM  

    Easy - and for once, I have to be agree with Rex....the puns are not just groaners, they're really weak.

    Also, in re 89A:
    "Such Is Life" is a Spanish expression..."Asi es la vida" and also a French expression "C'est la vie" and probably an expression in every language under the sun.

    But "Que sera sera" means "what will be will be"

    Rob C 2:24 PM  

    Challenging for me. Aren't puns supposed to be corny? These sure were and that's ok with me. Nice Sunday debut!

    However, I didn't like the names as POCs in the themers. Strikes me as worse than a random noun as a plural. Took me forever to get MIROS b/c I refused to accept the plural of a specific person. And the clues did not indicate plural in any way either.

    Would have loved to see the clue submitted for NO BALLS before W Shortz got to it.

    Artist's shout to his agent? - Show me the MONET.

    Carola 2:49 PM  

    @Sandy K - I'm glad you did! I was starting to 43D about where you were :)

    Anonymous 2:54 PM  

    Enjoyed the puzzle, pretty easy, but agree with Rex that most of the puns didn't quite work.

    Anon 2:07: -- I hear CATCH A BUS very often.

    Glimmer glass: UNOS is correct for some/several in Spanish.

    Nice debut, Tracy!

    Steve J 3:02 PM  

    @Anon 2:07 - Come to San Francisco. I can assure you that buses here are not remotely predictable. Not in their timing, not in whether they'll actually stop where they're supposed to, not in where's they'll complete their route, and, yes sometimes even if they'll follow their route. (When I moved here, I remarked after a couple months that I was amazed that I'd found a city that made the Chicago Transit Authority seem like it was run by the Swiss in comparison.) There are many days where you really do feel like you've accomplished something when you do manage to CATCHABUS.

    Anonymous 3:05 PM  

    Not for me. Too many artists and I am not up on their names. Lousy fill includes NO BALLS (no ump would ever say that without the number of strikes), HOP A CAB is not a phrase (CATCH A CAB is)

    GILL I. 3:11 PM  

    @Anonymous 2:11
    I've given up on correcting Spanish translations. You are, though, absolutely right on with "asi es la vida" to mean "Such is life." So simple to check and really lazy not to.
    @jenCT...How wonderful. You know of course that we will want updates and photos..;-)

    jazzmanchgo 3:12 PM  

    What the hell is a "DET" (53 across)???

    Rob C 3:24 PM  

    Oh, forgot to add @JenCT - good luck, hope everything goes well.

    @jazz - detective

    jazzmanchgo 3:27 PM  

    . . . kinda cute, crossing "ISRAEL" with "HAM" . . .

    jazzmanchgo 3:42 PM  

    . . . also, RE: Original clue for "NO BALLS" -- how much y'wanna bet that it was "unable to reach first base" or some variation thereof???

    OISK 4:04 PM  

    I love puns, but some of these fell a bit short for me. Also, since I never heard of the spiritual "Wade in the water" (I assume the pun was water) and never saw the Star Wars films, so never heard of the "Jawa" I had a Natick. I put "Jaba" with Bade in the... not a good guess, I admit. Don't like the pun much either, since I think the accent on Watteau is on the last syllable.
    All in all, not bad, but not wonderful either.

    Anonymous 4:13 PM  


    lie (past tense lay, past participle lain) is intranstive, like repose

    lay (past tense laid, past participle laid) is transitive

    Anonymous 4:28 PM  

    Surprised you never heard of J. Carrol Naish. Try the Topper movies from the '30s for a start.

    Charley 4:39 PM  

    As a New Yorker I'd catch a cab and hop on a bus.

    Sandy K 4:39 PM  


    I've been 19A and like 51A cuz I'm
    44D. But keeping up with comments and KINDA 63A with yours- eg Finished Sat. puz like you (whew!) and your "lukewarm" was apt for that other one! : )

    ps- couldn't get started on PB in WSJ, did you?

    evil doug 4:46 PM  

    ...and I'm surprised you never heard of Leo G. Carroll--you know, the guy who actually played Topper....


    Leon 4:46 PM  

    Hop a cab is used in NYC. Here you catch a bus, and hop a cab.

    Some references:

    From John Legend: Green Light

    You did it! Let's hop a cab, ,and split it
    I'm kiddin! We both goin to where you livin!(Andre 3000)

    Washington Post, May 19, 2013:

    Visitors hop a cab with hurt duckling
    Visitors who found an injured duckling lying next to a dead duck took the bird by cab to the Arlington County shelter. It was later taken to a wildlife rehabilitator.

    NY Times April 2, 2010:

    A thicket of high-rise condominiums has grown up along 10th and 11th Avenues in Midtown, creating a pocket of marooned commuters who may hop a cab rather than trek to the train.

    Unknown 5:05 PM  

    I went to Vassar, class of 88, and there the COEDs were men! (Men came on board in 1969).

    GLR 5:52 PM  

    @Catherine Park,

    I'm sorry - that's not PC. Please keep it to yourself.

    Carola 6:19 PM  

    @Sandy K - I 12D you'll be back to "26D" 8A! Was just going to check out the WSJ puzzle to see what was in store there. Will report.

    Anonymous 6:20 PM  

    It's often been said that puns are the lowest form of humor. Note: "humor". And they work best as humor when they are groaners, not intellectually perfect constructions. The puns in this puzzle were off-the-wall enough to fill the bill and provide this solver with pleausre.

    Charles in Austin

    Sandy K 7:11 PM  

    @Carola- 26D dOKIE!

    Ron Fox 7:21 PM  

    this is a real issue for crossword puzzle experts who are "kids" - Rex must never have been able to watch J. Carrol Naish as Charley Chan in the New Adventures of Charley Chan in 1957-8

    LaneB 8:12 PM  

    265 mbstaigA pleasant afternoon with the painters and puns. Severalwrite-overs but who' s watching? As expected lms came up with some good stuff with Donatello and Monet. Once going down that path, one gets a little crazy thinking about painters and trying to fit them into puns. There is some low-hanging fruit like: How fast can your VAN GOGH? Fast when I step on DEGAS. Don' t ask me WYETH., But I can GOYA one better. Because I have nothing TOULOUSE. That's enough!!! Give me DE HOOCH (hard ch, really!)

    nurturing 9:11 PM  

    jazzmanchgo said...
    What the hell is a "DET" (53 across)???

    3:12 PM

    No need to get so testy just because you don't know that DET is an abbreviation for "detective".

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:32 PM  

    @jae 10:57 AM - Thanks for pointing out that HAT appeared at 11 D. That's what I get for starting the puzzle early in the morning and finishing in the evening (not all one sitting!) (And when I reviewed my answers (on paper, of course) I only looked at the acrosses, and quickly at that.)

    Jim Finder 12:29 AM  

    Regarding 3D, bottle deposits were instituted to deter littering. They had nothing to do with recycling. And the "old bottles" were glass, which is certainly recyclable.

    Regarding 115D, just yesterday I was telling myself you guys are wasting your lives fussing with the new experimental technology, but today it's me: the clue for 115D didn't print out from the Times website.

    Ted 10:49 AM  

    Puzzle rolled right along for me, but the artist names proved challenging for me personally. I'm currently teaching in Jizan Saudi Arabia and my students joke about chewing 'khat' all the time especially in relation to Yemen (which I'm about 70km from)

    Cool puzzle though overall I liked it

    paulsfo 5:26 AM  

    i liked the artist answers a lot except for "Hello, Dali", which is at least 40 years old.
    Would have liked some less-straightforward cluing, elsewhere, but an enjoyable puzzle.

    spacecraft 11:54 AM  

    @Bob kerfuffle: 113d coudn't possibly have been HAT, which already appears at 11d--and with the same clue! I like twin clues, but today we get a rare triple! HAM/HAT/DYE; WTG!

    @Leon: I believe all your citations, but for this non-NYCer "HOPACAB still doesn't sound right. You hop a bus, dude. You CATCH a cab.

    WATTEAU? Never heard of (him? her?). Is this supposed to be one of the masters? I needed every cross, and some of those were very difficult. I make the top half cahllenging, the bottom medium, for a combined m-c.

    One entry brought back a funny memory; the British used to have this little WWII ditty, sung to the tune of Colonel Bogey March (think: Bridge on the River Kwai):

    Hitler... has only got one ball
    Goering...has two but they are small
    Himmler...has something sim'lar--
    But poor old Goebbels has NOBALLS at all!

    I'm not so hard on the theme as some; this stuff is hard to do. Got confused in the NE trying to make; I just had the wrong guy. Starting out in the NW I thought, uh-oh, we must be shooting for a Scrabble-count record here...but it all worked. For a debut, this was fairly impressive. On a pass-fail: pass.

    rain forest 3:14 PM  

    Pretty good Sunday, as these biggies go, and I smiled at a couple of the theme answers: HEREWEGAUGUIN, and, ONETOOMANET, even if the phrase itself is non-sensical. Didn't know WATTEAU (that could be a catchphrase for ignorance), or KAHLOS, or is it KAHLO?

    I thought the fill was quite free of dreck, but agree that HOPACAB is confused.

    Overall, medium, and fun to do.

    Dirigonzo 5:29 PM  

    This would've been much easier for me if I were familiar with more than a couple of the artists, but I eventually managed to name them all correctly. My errors were in the short fill where SeLnA Hayek seemed plausible and J. Carrol NAISe was as likely as anything.

    USERFEE appeared in today's Premier Crossword by Frank A. Longo, with the two words appearing separately with cross-referential clues.

    My take on the great HOP/CATCH debate is that you have to arrive at the stop on time to catch a bus and you can hop a cab waiting at the airport. I'm glad that's settled.

    @spacecraft - in my paper HAT was clued as "Topper"; only HAM and EGG shared the "Easter purchase" clue. The latter two were, by the way, the main ingredients in the OMELETTE that I made for lunch.

    Climate change is apparent with SLEET in the NE and a NOR' easter in the south.

    Cary in Boulder 7:37 PM  

    It wasn't until I got here that I realized I had a DNF on the KEEN-SEURAT cross. I had the fine master as SEURET.

    Had a lot of mark-overs, but enjoyed sharing the art groaners with my wife, who mostly rolled her eyes.

    Surprised that no fans of the old TV show "The Untouchables" chimed in, as Frank NITTI was one of the main bad guys that Eliot Ness chased after.

    Cary in Boulder 7:39 PM  

    That should've been KEAN-SEURAT. See? I did it again!

    spacecraft 8:25 PM  

    @Diri: You are quite right: 11d is clued "Topper." In my mind, it COULD have been clued "Easter purchase--" as was 92a DYE. But EGG? I searched and searched, but my Easter egg hunt came up empty.

    Forgot to mention my vote for Bleedover of the Year: PENGUIN!

    Dirigonzo 8:47 PM  

    @spacecraft - sometimes I just make things up to fit the narrative, but in my own defense if you are going to purchase DYE surely you will also buy an egg to color? That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

    Anonymous 9:06 PM  


    J.aussiegirl 3:49 PM  

    Thanks, Tracy - good puzzle and I loved the challenge of puns. For me, the groanier the better. and I never have to worry about pronunciation anyway, as I pronounce most everything different from most folk I meet.

    DNF as I also purchased a ham for Easter, 113 D, thereby creating a new river Thates. Did not know the poem. Still, 'twas a lot of fun.

    Anonymous 9:52 PM  

    As much as I struggled with certain sections of this, and as many educated guesses as I took, I am appalled with myself that my only miss was the river. A river I have seen in person. THAyES? Well, it had to be, you see, because everyone knows you buy HAy for Easter.

    b0tias 12:09 AM  

    I was almost too nerdy for JAWA. In the new trilogy they hold a Pod Race, as in a sport, on Tatooine.

    Please deposit POLANSKI, exiled child rapist, into the dust bin along with COED. Ick!

    Unknown 11:38 PM  

    "nerts" never heard of it, "boodle" was a word my parents in Cape Breton would use for money inherited like from a rich aunt pronounced "ant" not "ont"

    leftcoastTAM 5:02 PM  

    I found it more fun with the off-beat pronunciations, like KAHLOS, of the artists' names.

    Last to geau was WATTEAU.

    Sailor 9:34 PM  

    Anyone make it here from summer of 2016?

    What a hoot this was! Just right for a summer Sunday: easy but entertaining.

    I'm very impressed to read through the comments and learn that this was the constructor's NYT debut.

    I raised an eyebrow at COED, but I also note that Ms. Bennett repented, so all is forgiven.

    KariSeattle 10:58 PM  

    No Mo: nay!,, this ruined my Sunday!

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