River through Pomerania / THU 2-13-14 / Evangeline locale / City known as Florence on Elbe / 1963 movie with the tagline Everybody who's ever been funny is in it

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Constructor: Daniel Landman

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: MAD rebus — four MAD squares in the central Down answer, then one additional MAD square in each quadrant

Word of the Day: ACADIA (7D: "Evangeline" locale) —
Acadia (FrenchAcadie) was a colony of New France in northeastern North America that included parts of eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and modern-day Maine to theKennebec River. During much of the 17th and early 18th centuries, Norridgewock on the Kennebec River and Castine at the end of the Penobscot River were the southern-most settlements of Acadia. The actual specification by the French government for the territory refers to lands bordering the Atlantic coast, roughly between the 40th and46th parallels. Later, the territory was divided into the British colonies which becameCanadian provinces and American states. The population of Acadia included members of the Wabanaki Confederacy and descendants of emigrants from France (i.e.,Acadians). The two communities inter-married, which resulted in a significant portion of the population of Acadia being Métis.
Today, Acadia is used to refer to regions of North America that are historically associated with the lands, descendants, and/or culture of the former French region. It particularly refers to regions of The Maritimes with French roots, language, and culture, primarily in New Brunswick,Nova Scotia, the Magdalen Islands and Prince Edward Island, as well as in Maine. It can also be used to refer to the Acadian diaspora in southern Louisiana, a region also referred to as Acadiana. In the abstract, Acadia refers to the existence of a French culture in any of these regions.
People living in Acadia, and sometimes former residents and their descendants, are called Acadians, also later known as Cajuns after resettlement in Louisiana. (wikipedia)
• • •

There are pluses and minuses to this one. The solve is actually retrospectively interesting, in the sense that I can look back on the first half and be somewhat amused at how the rebus thwarted me. Wanted "MADELINE," didn't fit (wrote in "ELOISE" even as I thought to myself, "The Plaza is not in Paris…") (16A: Title girl in a children's books series set in Paris). Wanted "IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD," didn't fit. I actually flailed a good bit before finally getting my first gimme at ELROY (20D: The Jetson boy), then flailed some more before the next gimme, "PNIN" (9D: Nabokov novel after "Lolita"). got me going in the NE. But after I got the rebus (at MADDEN), the puzzle just deflated, interest-wise. I think the central answer is a cute way to showcase the rebus, but with the rebus mystery gone, there was just the matter of where the MAD squares were going to be. And with only average fill throughout, there just wasn't a lot to ooh and aah over. I loved His AIRNESS. The rest felt a little flat. It's a standard rebus with no real flair—one nice marquee answer, a couple of interesting bits of non-theme fill, and that's about it.

KEEN EAR and SORE ARM feel very GREEN PAINT-ish to me, i.e. they're kind of arbitrary adj./noun pairings. Yes, they are real phrases, but they aren't exactly strongly self-standing. I enjoyed seeing CLAUDIA Cardinale—a not uncommon feeling among many male movie-goers of the '60s, I suspect. She co-starred in one of my very favorite movies, Sergio LEONE's "Once Upon a Time in the West." Very important precursor to everything Tarantino ever did. Also has my favorite Henry Fonda performance of all time. Sinister to the teeth. Fantastic. Anyway, CLAUDIA is in it. Memorably.

Really strongly considering taking a snow day tomorrow (we're gonna get hammered) and just teaching my classes from home. Why did God create the internet if not to enable me to teach in my pajamas? My God is a loving, super-chill God who wants me to be warm and happy.

[Sid Caesar, 1922-2014]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. The Finger Lakes Crossword Competition will be held in Ithaca, NY on Saturday, Mar. 1, 2014. I'll be there, "judging" or "lurking around" or something like that. Proceeds to benefit the literacy programs of Tompkins Learning Partners (TLP.org). All the info you need here.


Evan 12:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan 12:10 AM  

I was pleasantly surprised that I sniffed out the rebus almost right away, so I finished in a pretty fast time for a Thursday. I had the last two letters of 25-Across and figured it had to be MADDEN -- the only question was if the rebus was going to be MAD or ADD, but I guessed right the first time. I nearly had a spin-out at the end with I'M HERE/TIMA before correcting it to IN HERE/TINA.

I'll add I CAN'T LIE and ED O'NEILL as good fill, as well as LADY (MAD)ONNA pulling solid rebus duty in the middle, though there are some clunkers: UNI, OREG., AS WAS (weird seeing that partial in that past tense), ECOL., SE RI, AT A, LAXER, A NET, PNIN, SSN, and I agree with Rex that KEEN EAR feels a little arbitrary. Overall it's pretty good, though a bit easier than I expected for a rebus.

jae 12:11 AM  

Medium-tough for me.  Got the rebus with MADDEN but would have had it sooner if I'd read the 15d clue.  Very funny movie with everyone from the late great Sid Caesar to the 3 Stooges in it.  NW was the tough part for me.  Getting NEGLECT finally broke it open.   

Ty BurreLL almost fit for 53a. 

Corona alternative should have stayed in Mexico...Dos Equis, Negro Modello, Pacifico, Tecate...

Nice pairs: MADAM MADRE, SE RI SERE, AIN'T and it's anagram TINA, ATF DEA...

Liked it, a bit of zip and a bit of crunch.

wreck 12:12 AM  

It IS a Thursday, so I always suspect a rebus. When I got to 'popular video series' -- I suspected MADDEN and then got immediate confirmation with ITSAMADMADMADMAD WORLD. It went fairly smoothly from there until I went back to the NW quadrant. I knew there should be a MAD rebus in there somewhere and finally got MADELINE but ARMADILLO had me stumped for an eternity. I should know AKIMBO, but that gave me fits as well.

Eprailick 12:13 AM  

Odd icoincidence that Sid Caesar should die on the same day that one of his films is the centerpiece of the puzzle. Conspiracy theorists, discuss!

Garth 12:17 AM  

I just about always enjoy a rebus and this was no exception. As seems to commonly be the case, I had the same solving experience as @jae, i.e. I had the most trouble with the NW. (trouble meaning dnf).

How odd that Sid Caesar died today and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--a movie he appeared in--was the marquee theme answer today?

Questinia 12:41 AM  

Same near spin-out as @ Evan with I'm HERE instead of IN HERE. Agree with @jae that the beer should have stayed Mexican and NW was hardest.

Agree with much of what Mr. Rex wrote: Also entered at ELROY which implied LADY MADONNA and 15D just confirmed the rebus. So the puzzle opened the kimono pretty fast for me... and stood AKIMBO

Love-love AMADEUS.

Stay home Mr. Rex. I am. I worship the same God.

chefwen 12:56 AM  

That was a FUN X's 4 puzzle, just what I was waiting for.

Around Thanksgiving I was instructed not to lift anything heavier than 10 lbs. for about six weeks so my SOUS CHEF, Jon was in charge of preparing (under strict supervision)the turkey, I told him to place the wings AKIMBO, he looked at me like I had just landed from Mars. AKIMBO and ALPACAS were my first fill, I was off to a great start, however, it still took me quite a while to catch on.

Hand up for wanting MADELINE and settling for Eloise at first. Had the O in place with BON MOTS and thought the Modern Family guy was Stonestreet and maybe streets/roads/etc. were going to be abbreviations for the Rebus. Wrong again. The movie finally clicked in and the rest fell a little more quickly.

I use crushed Almond ROCA as a layer between a coffee and vanilla ice cream cake that I construct. DEE LISH!

Ellen S 1:56 AM  

What everyone said, esp. about eloise, can't be right but MADELINE doesn't fit. totally easy -- proven by my finishing this with not even the tiniest cheat. I surprised myself by knowing ED O'NEILL is in Modern Family, after getting about half the letters. I thought I was going to have to IMDb it, but gimme some credit: I never watch the show. Same for TINA and ELROY but they required more crosses; luckily they were shorter names.

Least fave: OREG. I've never seen that abbreviation. Looks more like a spice. But I rather liked UNTURNED for In Situ. i was looking for something more, I don't know, scientific.

Will someone 'splain me about "Flying without A NET"? I never fly with a net. Don't they sort of tend to snag on trees?

Steve J 2:00 AM  

Picked up the rebus very quickly, at MADDEN. Made the central down easy to pick up as a result. Otherwise, as Rex said: Just an exercise in figuring out where the other MADs went.

End result was a puzzle that didn't grab me at all. Not a lot of interesting fill - LADY MADONNA was the nicest cross with the central answer, and AKMIBO is always a cool word - but more LAME fill than I'd like to see (most egregious: OREG - the abbreviation is Ore. - SEIS, SERI, AS WAS, ANET).

@jae: Agreed with you that the Corona alternative needed to be another Mexican beer (I initially tried to fit Dos Equis). If you drew a Venn diagram of Corona drinkers and SAM ADAMS drinkers, the intersect would be pretty small. And they're not remotely similar styles, so one's not likely to go for the other when in the mood for one.

Ariadne Claudia Madeline 2:16 AM  

@Ellen S
Flying without a net is prob in ref to acrobats

Loved this! It was a MAD MAD MAd MAD puzzle!!!!

Yes, odd coincidence, but since it's a movie with "Everybody who's ever been funny is in it!" nomatter who died (except Shirley temple) it would be quite the coincidence!

Synchronicity just miss...solving this while Sir Paul was belting out "Get Back!" on the repeat of the CBS Grammy special
(he should have danced with Yoko, she was being such a good sport and sort of rocking out on her own)
anyway, got LADY(MAD)ONNA and was off and running.

Hand up for ImHERE/TImA.

And I had a little trouble spelling MAD(el, no e?)INE
so AR(MAD)ILLO was the hardest for me.

I'll have to mildly disagree that KEENEAR (I started with goodEAR) and SOREARM = to Green paint.
They are both very visceral answers and well-clued and not arbitrary and in the language.

Sad that this clever puzzle didn't perk up Rex, but since he's in his pajamas anyway, maybe he will get up on the other side of the bed tomorrow and find this quite fabulous!

I liked AIRNESS even tho I didn't know it...

Speaking of Michael Jordan....
The men: SAMADAMS, (John) MADDEN, AMADEUS, MacBeth or MacDuff are nicely offset by all the interesting women that populate this grid:

As for SE RI Pak, I don't honestly know if that is a man or a woman.

MOI? ICAN"TLIE, I really enjoyed this!

Anoa Bob 2:42 AM  

Sid, I remember him well. RIP.

Jason 4:28 AM  

This was my inaugural puzzle after signing up for the paid crossword subscription (incidentally, why do they make existing subscribers pay extra for the crossword?), and the rebus made it very difficult to solve online without clicking "reveal," because there's no means to type more than one letter in a box. highly annoying. Took me a while to figure out. (the "ear" in keen ear was one of the first things I got, though.)

Danp 5:13 AM  

@Jason - If you click on a square and then press the insert key, it will allow you to type in multiple letters. Hope you get this so you don't spend as much time figuring it out as I did.

Danp 5:36 AM  

This puzzle was a mess for me from square one - literally! I figured Armadillo for 1D, thought Thursday rebus, then "arms akimbo" for 1A. Even when I couldn't get them both to work, I couldn't imagine I was on the wrong track. Then I found ARMADA and BROKENARM (turned out to only be sore). Just goes to show that how power of faith can drive you MAD!!!!

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

Easy and fun Thursday. I wanted symmetry or a figure to come from the MAD squares, but that was too much to hope for, I guess.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:47 AM  

Effectively snowed in this morning, but my NY Times was delivered, so I settled in to savor a delicious Thursday puzzle. Made a few entries, then was totally deflated. Nothing wrong with the puzzle -- problem was that this is the one that had been used as the final round at the Westport Contest! (I had known it would be, but had forgotten.)

So I filled it out, out of OCD (Overwhelming Crossword Desire), and still managed to get a write-over at 15 A, I WON'T LIE before I CAN'T LIE.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Not easy, but definitely enjoyable!

Unknown 8:03 AM  

Really liked this puzzle but got beat on my inability to spell - keAnear crossing mAline. Hate when I know the answer but make the mistake of a fifth grader.

Glimmerglass 8:06 AM  

Liked this a lot. I got the rebus down the center, off ITSxxxxxxxxx. But I still struggled in places. What got me was Corona. I thought of the car and the cigar, but not the beer. Silly me. SAM ADAMS is our favorite beer!

AliasZ 8:30 AM  

Lovely puzzle, and an excellent second effort by Daniel Landman.

I loved the MAD theme, which is what I got when I received this rather dismissive response to my query regarding the missing "Enlarge grid" link for the timed Java applet (for Sunday puzzles):

"Dear Premium Customer,
Thank you for your feedback, and for taking the time to write The New York Times.
The enlarge feature has been removed due to the newest redesign of the website.
Currently, there is no word on when, or whether it will or not be coming back as a feature.

Genell Godbolt
Online Customer Care
The New York Times"

How do you like that? Screw you, premium customer. But rest assured, I will leave no stone UNTURNED until I get to the bottom of this.

Anyway, my favorite scene from IT'S A MADx4 WORLD is the one in which Jimmy Durante literally kicks the bucket.

RIP, Sid Caesar!

Nice to see Greg KEENEAR mentioned in a NYT puzzle. Whatever happened to him?

There are so many musical possibilities today, from AMADEUS to ARIADNE obnoxious, from LADY MADONNA to the BAND playing at your wedding. I am going with ARIADNE auf Naxos by Jiří Antonín Benda (1722-1795), a melodrama, that is, a spoken drama accompanied by music, or opera without singing. By the way, the conductor of this performance, Christian Benda, is a descendant of the composer, a family of a long line of prominent Bohemian (Czech) composers and musicians.

Mohair Sam 8:34 AM  

Another enjoyable puzzle, the NYT is on a good run in my eyes.

DNF here - personal natick on 42a first letter (mOCA). The reveal was our first gimme because LADYMADONNA was our first test of the rebus and it worked! Thought we'd zip through after that - but hit our natick. Humbling.

Liked AKIMBO and UNTURNED a lot, fresh stuff. Miata competes with Boxter? Have a friend who owns a Boxter, hope he doesn't do the NYT Crossword.

jberg 8:53 AM  

Yeah, CLAUDIA Cardinale. She was great in "The Pink Panther," too. Not to mention 8-1/2.

So many of us wrote in Eloise first! There's clearly some deep link between the two, maybe someone in cultural studies can get an article or two out of this.

Other things to like: our old friend ODER crossing Florence on the Elbe".

I think you have to stand arms AKMBO, though, not just AKIMBO.

29A, OREG, would be better clued as "seventh sample in the assayer's office." That would also let it join IN F as a subtheme.

joho 9:00 AM  

@Mohair Sam, I had the same thought about MIATAS and Boxsters, not in the same league.

Loved that the puzzle started with AKIMBO. Loved even more that it was a rebus, especially incorporating the word MAD. @Mac, how'd your new app work?

Funny how many of us thought of Eloise first even though Paris made no sense.

@Rex, I remember CLAUDIA Cardinale in a Pink Panther movie ... she was something else!

Thank you, Daniel Landman, for a fun, fun, fun, fun puzzle!

Unknown 9:01 AM  

I struggled until I got to MadDEN, them things started to fill in. It was plopping in all the Ms down the middle :-)

Beaglelover 9:03 AM  

I rarely finish a Thursday puzzle because the tricks flummox me. I actually figured out the trick today. DNF but definitely feel good.

ArtO 9:16 AM  

Same experience as Rex with Eloise/Madeline. As with others, picked up the rebus with MADDEN which gave the movie away, etc.

Yes, eerie coincidence with Sid Caesar's death. Further coincidence, we attend lectures at FAU (as snowbirds) and today's is entitled "Sid Caesar:Pioneer of Television Comedy."

Z 9:41 AM  

A restored version of IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD has just been released, so it's been in the news recently.

Defeated in the NW, otherwise a fun solve. ILL FAME? Infamy didn't fit. AKIMBO never got dredged out of the deep regions, MADELINE didn't occur to me. The only real complaint there is ILL FAME, otherwise I was just not on the right wavelength this morning.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Really enjoyed the puzzle once I figured out the movie, which I remember seeing as a child. I cried when Jimmy Durante (was that who it was ?) kicked the bucket; I didn't understand why everyone was laughing at the guy's death.

Z 9:47 AM  

February 6 in the NYTimes, to be exact

Nancy 9:49 AM  

Last week, POPOV broke open a puzzle for me. Today, SAM ADAMS broke it open. (Up to then, I didn't think of a rebus, even though I had thought of "IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD, but didn't write it in because it didn't fit.) Only after SAM ADAMS did I see NOMAD and ARMADA and MADDEN, et al. Does that say something about me? (Slurp). Anyway, found this puzzle great fun!

John V 9:49 AM  

This was the final puz at Westport. Fun to watch the finalists destroy it in around 7 minutes.

Holy crap, is it snowing in Norwalk this morning.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

In whose dreaqms is a Miata a competitor for a Boxster? Some people need to get out more.

Unknown 9:59 AM  

2:15. 5 errors. Didn't see any rebuses until I started googling after an hour. MADMADWORLD was first rebus. MADDEN was second. I used the rule of symmetrically placed rebuses and got delayed in a bug way. Put MAD across from MADDEN. Ruled out MAD everywhere else. So that isn't a rule, huh? I really thought that was a rule.

I saw lots of extra rebuses: (MAD)E(MAN) for member of la familia MADRE. But there was no symmetrical placements for MAN, so I got rid of it.

Never saw the rebus at SAMADAMS, although SADAMS felt wrong.

Some rabbit holes:
SEco then SECE for SERE
leantO for AKIMBO

NEGLECT was blocked by the symmetric MAD from MADDEN. LAME, ROCA, ABETS, LEAN and AKIMBO were a very long time coming.

Googles for SERI, CLAUDIA, LADYMADONNA, MADWORLD. But those didn't help.

Scratched at UNTUclED/SEcE/STIlT and SAdAMS/AHd.

Well, that was bad. I'll never trust symmetrical rebus placement ever again.

Unknown 10:09 AM  

Almond Joy. Never heard of this other candy.
. Some obscure fill, but managed the crosses despite my lack of knowledge of things entertainment (Glee, Modern Family). My experience was similar to Rex's. Medium.

Z 10:14 AM  

@cascokid san - Some have argued that symmetrical placement makes a rebus "too easy." I know, right!?! I had MADDEN/MADE WAVES first and immediately checked the symmetrical square. It wasn't a rebus, so I didn't go down that rabbit hole.

quilter1 10:16 AM  

Loved seeing AKIMBO, CLAUDIA, LADY MADONNA and the MAD movie. I think I need to see it again. Also checking out if Your Show of Shows is available. Sid plus Imogene Coca could not be beat. Good, good puzzle.

RnRGhost57 10:19 AM  

I got the rebus quickly, which is unusual for me. Something of a European air to this one: Paris, Brandenburg, Elbe and Dresden, Beatles, Macbeth and Macduff and Scot, Pomerania, Nabokov, Cardinale, Titian, Eliot and Sand. Coincidence?

I Thaought that was the point 10:46 AM  

@Rex wrote "..but with the rebus mystery gone, there was just the matter of where the MAD squares were going to be."

What alternative would make you happ[ier]???

Two Ponies 10:50 AM  

I got the central rebus very early then enjoyed the surprises lurking around waiting to be found.
That is a very funny movie. Most memorable character was played by Dick Shawn I think. Strange "hipster" son of that loud woman.

Yeah, I think you could buy several Miatas for the price of one Boxster.

Numinous 10:55 AM  

I CANT LIE, I loved seeing MADAM today. She for whom one TURNED THE TRICK, yesterday.

I got the rebi off ITS. I backfilled WORLD and found four places to put MAD. MADDEN fell and then I found SAM ADAMS. I nearly fell down @cascokid san's rabbit hole looking for symitry but already had LINE so MADE dropped right in. A photograph of an old friend with a similar name, Madeleine, that I took in 1968 has become the cover of her biography. Fancy that.

MIATA is not in the same league as a Boxter. I liked MADRE under MADONNA and the SEIS SESTETS left UNTURNED IN HERE.

All in all, this was worth the TAXI FARE!

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

@jason, I had the same complaint. After much griping to the NYT, someone there reluctantly told me how to print out the puzzle from the Replica Edition for free. You can't solve it online that way, but at least you can still get the puzzle when your paper doesn't get delivered, like this morning. You can also print out multiple copies in case your spouse likes to solve it alone, etc. I find it much easier to write on regular paper than newsprint and my printer scales it up to fill the page, making it easier to read the clues and more room to write in rebuses. The puzzle is usually available by 10 or 11 pm the night before.

chefbea 11:02 AM  

Hand up for Eloise!!! Great puzzle.

We have finally thawed out. Lots of downed trees and many limbs. Going to be 54 tomorrow!!!!

Sandy K 11:04 AM  

If it's Thursday, it must be a rebus- so I wasn't disappointed...

Found it at LADY MADONNA -very timely- and then looked for all the MADs.

Me too for thinking Eloise before MADELINE and I'm HERE before IN HERE.

Liked it a lot- esp Evangeline clue- one of my fave poems. Only nit- isn't it AHMeD? Never saw it spelled AHMAD.

@AliasZ- Greg KEENEAR has a new show on Fox.

lawprof 11:07 AM  

Pretty easy, enjoyable Thursday. Picked up the rebus early on. 15A had to be MADELINE, but didn't fit, so that was the tipoff. Then MADDEN was pretty obvious, and the game simply became one of locating the MAD squares.

Slowed down a bit because the rebus squares were only roughtly symmetrical. Otherwise, a satisfying solve.

One writeover (geOL/ECOL) and one correction (ILLnAME, until I remembered that Bach rarely wrote in the key of N).

Unknown 11:12 AM  

@numinous one of these days, FIVER is going to be a solution. On that day, I'll anoint myself Warden of the Warren, and everyone gets a STINT onIce (forgot to mention onIce as another rabbit hole in this puzzle,)

@Z I'd been misled on rebus symmetries, not by Amy (whose book arrived this week!) but by my local #nytxw guru, who thinks blogs are stupid. His loss. Fortunately, the matter is now settled.

Loren Muse Smith 11:26 AM  

Hey, Daniel – really nice job. I sat with this for a while, knowing it was a rebus but just not sussing it out. Unlike everyone else and MADDEN, I saw it with SAM ADAMS and NOMAD.

I took BAND as the ring on the finger rather than the music group.

Me, too, for “I’m here” before IN HERE. I kinda like IN HERE. Makes you wonder where the heck the speaker is.

IN HERE. (In that ridiculously big cooking pot she accidentally bought on ebay.)
IN HERE. (In the closet behind the winter coats.)
IN HERE. (Folded up in the cabinet up here. Don’t ask)

When my kids were little and they got a good fight going, I would run and hide in a closet behind stuff. And then listen as they called, “MOOOMMM??!!” “MOOOMMM?!” And I would be as quiet as a mouse. But they soldiered on and always found me. The funny thing is, they never once asked, “What are you doing IN HERE crouched behind the snow pants?” They always just complained, “S/he hit me!” I always answered, “Why are you telling me? I wasn’t there. Just work it out between yourselves.”

ICED TEA. Surely we all noticed the D. I don’t think I could choose ICED or ICE of someone insisted I take a stand.

If any of you see footage of the snowy gridlock in Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill from yesterday afternoon, if you squint hard, you can see my mother-in-law and me in a white Kia. Two and a half hours crawling around trying to come up with a game plan. Not fun.

@M&A – I cannot do your little puzzlets from my I phone (in hotel last night), but I managed the easy one this morning. Very nice! Thanks for the message! That one for @Bob was tough. I have about three years before I can solve as well as Bob. I love these little puzzles. Keep’em coming!

Yay for the Thursday rebus! I liked it!

fiddleneck 11:59 AM  

Where is the insert key on a MacBook?

mathguy 12:08 PM  

Jason: I'm a subscriber and I had to call NYT to get the crossword without an additional charge.

Loved the puzzle as I do most rebuses.

The NW also gave me the most trouble. I agree that KEENEAR is rather arbitrary. I don't remember my daughter reading the Madeline books although my wife says that she did.

I remember Claudia Cardinale in The Professionals, that wonderful Lee Marvin western.

Tita 12:21 PM  

On a mobile device...my excuse for not reading all comments yet.
At Westport, I also halted at the Miata/Boxter comparison...
Personally, I'd rather have one Miata in each color than "just" one Boxter...

I loved the clever rebus...but then, everyone knows I'm a sucker for them.
Thanks mr. Landman!

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

@Danp, thanks for the advice on the insert key.
@fiddleneck, on a Mac, "fn" with "return" = "insert"

@Anonymous, would you be willing to share the advice you got from NYTimes on how to print the crossword from the Replica edition?



Lewis 12:33 PM  

@fiddleneck -- use the escape key

Yes, a Miyata is no competitor for a Boxter.

Some interesting background for PNIN:
The novel draws from Nabokov's experience at American academic institutions, primarily Cornell, and it has been claimed that it is "teeming" with people and physical details from that university.[1][3] The main character is based, in part, on Cornell Professor Marc Szeftel, who may have "somewhat resented the resemblance".[4]
Sections of Pnin were first published, in installments, in The New Yorker in order to generate income while Nabokov was scouring the United States for a publisher willing to publish Lolita.[1] It was soon expanded, revised, and published in book form.[5]
Pnin reappears in Nabokov's 1962 Pale Fire as a tenured professor at the fictional Wordsmith University. (Wikipedia)

mac 12:37 PM  

Fun puzzle, got the theme at "made waves", and the mad, mad, mad, mad world popped into my head practically unasked.

Pnin was new to me, have to check it out.

@joho: it worked like a charm!

fiddleneck 12:58 PM  

@ Lewis. Thank you

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Isn't the phrase "work without a net"?

Sandy K 1:52 PM  

Oh, yeah- AHMAD Rashad...

Masked and MADonomo3Us 1:54 PM  

Where's @r.alph been? Miss that dude. He makes good charts and fun, tough U-puzs.

@4-Oh: thUmbswayUp for yer blog's pictorial selections today:
* Mad comic books. Home of Darn Old Duck. fave artist: Billy Elder.
* Claudia Cardinale. And that Leone flick was indeed primo. Liked how each character had their own theme music.
* Edie Adams. In the plane with Sid. She made my Tiparillos smoke more than Claudia did.
* "It's a Mad x 4 World" flick. The money's under the Big W, btw.

15-Down was an instant gimme for m&e, but still thought this was a fun puz. Thought maybe it was gonna be a 6-L themer job, when I first espied the grid. ACADIA National Park is a must see, when in New England. What else can I digress about? fave fill: OREG. D-lishushly desperate. One of my puzs had an abbr. for Arab that outdid it, tho.


M and Also 2:14 PM  

Actually, the Mad artist went by Will or Willy Elder, mostly.

Sid Caesar fascinated little M&A on old TV shows. I think he used to scat in foreign-language gibberish in some of his skits, which I would valiantly struggle to decode. As much fun as doin a Mad Crossword puz.

Humor in a jugular vein...

okanaganer 2:40 PM  

Thanks, Rex, for the Renee Fleming cover of Tears for Fears' Mad World. Here is another version...similar sound, but the video is quite touching: Gary Jules.

I quite liked this puzzle! I finished with one error because I had cELINE for 16 across, and I thought maybe 1 down: ARcILLO was a famous maker of...china plates or something.

Someone's Gotta Keep Rantin On And On and On 2:45 PM  

Mad once had a great small-print, illustrated ad for a selection of choice novelty items. Little M&A always remembered the come-on line in the Giant Bowie Knife ad-let, therein:
"Hunt small animals and small friends".

Mad had a pronounced effect on M&A's young development.

Dick Swart 2:55 PM  

I ran through every Mexican beer I knew searching for the corona alternative. I knew the last 'mad' had to be there as well.

It wasn't til I actually wrote down SAMADADAMS that i saw it.

Sam Adams doesn't jump into your mind when you live in the land of craft beers here in OREG. I'm not sure about WASH.

sanfranman59 4:11 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 (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Thu 17:34, 18:35, 0.95, 37%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 12:22, 10:36, 1.17, 75%, Medium-Challenging

I think today's All Solvers rating is probably falsely skewed toward the Easy end of the scale due to the rebus. The idea being that those who would have posted higher solve times didn't post times at all today either because they couldn't figure out the rebus or they didn't know how to enter the rebus squares in the online app. But I don't really believe the Top 100 Medium-Challenging rating either. My solve time falls in the middle of my Easy Thursday range. Perhaps my success with the puzzle was because my rebus antenna went up early on when I felt sure that 16A: Title girl in a children's books series set in Paris had to be MADELINE. And I may have been on the constructor's wavelength a little more than usual. So I think Rex's Medium rating feels about right with this one.

LaneB 7:04 PM  

Fine and dandy until I missed a couple of MADs in the SE and SW and DNF on AMADEUS andSAMADAMS. Didn't feel overwhelmed, though, since I did better with a rebus puzz than I often do. No cause for complaint tho' as usual I have trouble with the connection between some clues and their answers,e.g.SCALES, SEEIN and INF

ahimsa 8:50 PM  

Loved this puzzle! The movie at 15 Down is one I've only seen parts of on TV. But I did recognize the title, vaguely. I could not remember how many "MADs" so I just worked backwards from WORLD. What a great backbone for this puzzle! Kudos to Daniel Landman!

Like many I also wrote in Eloise at 16A and then thought, "Wait, that's wrong." :-)

As an OREGonian (waves "hi" to @Dick Swart) I agree with all the comments about OREG.

The "Word of the Day" makes me think of ACADIA National Park in Maine. Beautiful place.

My fave MAD crossing is AR[MAD]ILLO and [MAD]ELINE even though it took me forever to see it.

@lms, your comment about BAND making you think of a ring somehow triggered an earworm of that old song, Band of Gold.

I have been trying to solve a couple more puzzles each day. So that means less time to write any comments. But I still read the puzzle write-ups here and at http://www.crosswordfiend.com/blog/ pretty much every day.

Thanks to all you witty "gridderati" who comment here -- keep up those interesting comments.

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spacecraft 12:06 PM  

SHEESH, there must be three people on the planet for whom PNIN is a gimme. I almost DNF because I thought that four-letter set was an impossibility; I also didn't trust ICANTLIE. People don't say that; they say "I won't lie." To say CAN'T, paraphrasing good old Father George's mythical cherry tree denial, is absurd. Of course we all CAN--and do. However, nothing else worked there, so I left it in. PNIN a gimme. Now you're just plain showing off, O Fearless One. I hate when you do that.

There were other entries not, IMO, really in the language. KEENEAR? Mine's not keen enough to have heard that one. Keen EYE, sure. And ILLFAME?? Is that even a thing? We're talkin' infamy. In fact, I think ILLFAME is so out-of-language it draws the flag.

One other roadblock that kept me out of the whole western side for a while was NEGLECT. "Disregard" is a terrible clue for NEGLECT. They hardly mean the same thing. This, necessitating the ridiculous abbreviat. OREG, gets another hankie. Man, you guys have really been racking up the ol' penalty yards this week!

Now, all that being said, I did finish this one, and even liked it (the MAD parts). As a longtime fan of that hilarious magazine, I recall their parody issue of 15d: "It's a World, World, World, World MAD." Those guys were a riot. The rebus fell immediately; I suspected the Paris girl was MADELINE--too long--then cast about and found the wordy clue for 25a. This just HAD to be MADDEN--but only four spaces. Wait a sec...bingo! That aha yielded the movie, and so we have a theme weakness, in that once you get it the whole house of cards comes down.

Couple other nits: ASWAS/ANET is awkward (might we say AKIMBO), and...do we really think MIATAS compete with Boxsters? Somehow, I can't see the bank accounts of these potential customers coming within two commas of each other. Almond ROCA? Whassat? Joy, fine.

So, an enjoyable solve; good, clever theme...but AMADEUS it's not.

5's full of 6's today.

Dirigonzo 3:21 PM  

For reasons that I can't explain the movie clue made me think immediately of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and I spent way too long entertaining that as a possibility - I even had the OR in place for fORum. I finally got the MAD rebus at ARMADILLO, remembered the right movie title and cruised (in a lurching kind of way) across the finish line. VISA is a big name in plastics? You betcha - loved that clue!.

Rats - two pair!

P.S. @spacey - I echo @rainey's sentiment that your early posts every day are a welcome sign that I have arrived home in syndiland after a voyage through the sometimes story seas off Rexville.

DMG 3:40 PM  

Got the MAD thing at ARMADILLO, confirmed it with MADRE, but still fell short. Missed in the NE because I refused to believe PNINwas anything. The SE was worse. Never figured where to put the MAD. Don't have any idea what a boxster is, tho MIATA seemed to fit. But an Arabic name crossing an unknown Mexican beer starting with an S? Tried SAMACADAMS, but didn't parse it correctly, and threw it out! still not a bad Thursday for me.

I'm also glad to arrive at the calmer shores of Syndiland. Maybe it's the water?

Two pairs not worth mentioning!

Solving in Seattle 5:37 PM  

I, Three, caught on to the rebus at ARMADILLO. And 15D confirmed. Concur with @Spacy on OREG. Didn't even need to go to the booth. Had Teen for 51D until crosses corrected. Loved the clue for 60A.

59A comes close to an instruction from the Kama Sutra.

Two pair. Crumbbuns!

Dirigonzo 5:47 PM  

@SiS - Welcome back! Did you bring us all leis?

Oh sure, now I get a boat, 999/66.

Solving in Seattle 6:32 PM  

@Diri, mahalo. Nice to be back. Yes, Syndylanders, consider yourselves leid.

sdcheezhd 8:56 PM  

Couldn't believe how long it took to get MADDEN. And SAMADAMS is not a Corona alternative. If you are debating between a Corona and something else the something else isn't likely to be a Sam Adams, or vice versa.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Absolutely enjoyed this one. Disagree with Rex entirely, but that's nothing new. Very clever puzzle thanks to Mr. Landman. When I can do a Thursday without once using Wikipedia, I give myself a big pat on the back and smile all day.

Ron Diego 8:05 AM PDT 3/21

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