Some canapé picks / SUN 4-27-14 / Mop's commercial partner / Prankster's patsy / Catchy pop ditties / Hindu part of Indonesia / William who played Hopalong Cassidy / Houston pro informally

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Constructor: John Lampkin

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Predictable Partings" — idioms meaning "left" or "departed" are clued in relation to professions that seem (on a literal level) to be appropriate to them:

Theme answers:
  • The paparazzo … WAS GONE IN A FLASH
  • The demolitionist … BLEW THE JOINT
  • The civil engineer … HIT THE ROAD 
  • The lingerie manufacturer … SLIPPED AWAY
  • The chicken farmer … FLEW THE COOP
  • The sound technician … MADE TRACKS
  • The film director … QUIT THE SCENE
  • The soda jerk … RAN LICKETY SPLIT (this doesn't really work … expresses movement but not specifically departure)
  • The ecdysiast … TOOK OFF
  • The percussionist … BEAT IT
  • The van driver … MOVED ON
  • The paper doll maker … CUT OUT
Word of the Day: William BOYD (54D: William who played Hopalong Cassidy) —
William Lawrence Boyd (June 5, 1895 – September 12, 1972) was an American film actor known for portraying Hopalong Cassidy. […] In 1935, he was offered the supporting role of Red Connors in the movie Hop-Along Cassidy, but asked to be considered for the title role and won it. The original Hopalong Cassidy character, written by Clarence E. Mulford for pulp fiction, was changed from a hard-drinking, rough-living wrangler to its eventual incarnation as a cowboy hero who did not smoke, swear, or drink alcohol (his drink of choice being sarsaparilla) and who always let the bad guy start the fight. Although Boyd "never branded a cow or mended a fence, cannot bulldog a steer", and disliked Western music, he becameindelibly associated with the Hopalong character and, like rival cowboy stars Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, gained lasting fame in the Western film genre. The Hopalong Cassidy series ended in 1948 after 66 films, with Boyd producing the last 12.
Anticipating television's rise, Boyd spent $350,000 to purchase the rights to the Hopalong Cassidy character, books and films. In 1949, he released the films to television, where they became extremely popular and began the long-running genre of Westerns on television. Like Rogers and Autry, Boyd licensed much merchandise, including such products as Hopalong Cassidy watches, trash cans, cups, dishes, Topps trading cards, a comic stripcomic books, radio shows and cowboy outfits. The actor identified with his character, often dressing as a cowboy in public. Although Boyd's portrayal of Hopalong made him very wealthy, he believed that it was his duty to help strengthen his "friends" - America's youth. The actor refused to license his name for products he viewed as unsuitable or dangerous, and turned down personal appearances at which his "friends" would be charged admission. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well it's a pretty dense theme, I'll give it that. The "jokes" are kind of corny, but they work OK. There is nothing particularly remarkable, bad or good, about this puzzle. You won't remember it tomorrow, and neither will I. What is there to say? Well … lots of phrases beginning with "I," such as I PASS, I ROAM, I DENT and I KON. I assume I, RAE is [Actress Charlotte's autobio]. BOYD was the only answer in the whole grid that was outside my PURVIEW. The puzzle started out very fast for me, but slowed down to normal when I got to the whole S / SE area, where SWORDS made no sense to me as an answer to 91D: Some canapé picks. Aren't canapés like … hors d'oeuvres of some kind. Do you run them through with little plastic swords? Is that what this clue is on about? For whatever reason, the cluing seemed somewhat tougher / vaguer in and around RAN LICKETY SPLIT (which, as I say, is the one real theme outlier). I did enjoy the BUTT/BONER crossing, though, I will admit.

Speaking of that SE section: what the hell is up with SIEG? That's either laziness or bad judgment right there? First off, you always pick the actual English word over the not-widely-known foreign word. Every. Day. Of. The. Week. The actual English word in this case, off the top of my head: DIET. INSPIRED / DIET / STATE. Look at all those real words! But SIEG!? No. No on foreign grounds, as well as no on Hitlerian grounds. Big fat no. Nothing else in the puzzle bothered me very much. Again, as I said, hardly any strong feelings either way on this one. Didn't know TOADS hibernated (106A: Some hibernators). That was my big aha moment of the puzzle. Kind of sad.

Puzzle of the Week: not the greatest week for regular themed puzzles. My favorite was a lovely little puzzle from Sam Donaldson in the LAT on Friday—a simple letter-change theme with (here's the key) genuinely funny results. Terminal "X"s are changed to "G"s, a retagging that's expressed in terms of film re-rating, i.e. phrases are now G-rated, not X-RATED. I also thought Brad Wilber's Saturday themeless in the LAT was fantastic (good week for the LAT)—it's got a SW corner that made me "ooh" out loud: ALADDIN over CRAB RANGOON over ZEPHYR, with MR. DARCY running through the lot. Brad is one of my very favorite themeless constructors—his puzzles are really wide-ranging in their content and the cluing is always really thoughtful. Tough and clever. But the best puzzles this week were contest puzzles (and both are ongoing, so I can't say too much about either one). Honorable mention goes to BEQ's current contest puzzle, "Let's Begin" (get it here), a meta puzzle that took me a little while to figure out. I saw one element right away, but the "six-word phrase" took me down a lot of dead ends before I found the non-dead one. Puzzle of the Week, though, goes (again) to a Fireball puzzle–specifically, Evan Birnholz's "White Lies," which was Hard As Hell, but worth it. Thankfully, though it is a contest puzzle, there is no meta angle to puzzle over. If you can manage to solve it (good luck), the answer will be obvious. Do it. I mean, subscribe to Fireball, then do it.

See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Mohair Sam 12:13 AM  

Very easy Sunday for us. Printed off AcrossLite just after 6, watched NBA playoffs while solving, and left for dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant at 6:45 with the puzzle finished and time to spare. We never work that fast.

Brief hiccups at ABASh for ABASE, and IcON for IKON, otherwise no resistance at all.

Sieg? Anything that brings Hitler to the front of the mind should be avoided. Rare day when I agree with every word Rex wrote. Well, except for "medium" on the difficulty level.

retired_chemist 12:28 AM  

Easy. I just kept entering words with rarely any pondering. Once I sussed out the theme, most of the theme answers were no-brainers as well. Messed around with MeiOSIS instead of MITOSIS, but that was easily sorted out. Ditto Sledge instead of SNO-CAT.

Thanks, Mr. Lampkin. Fun for a while but I have to agree with Rex that it isn't memorable.

jae 12:31 AM  

Mostly easy for me too.  ArmY before ALLY, fled before QUIT,  and EARworms before CANDY were my only erasures.  Cute theme and a pretty smooth grid, liked it, except for maybe the Paul Simon song running through my head (speaking of ear worms).

chefwen 2:56 AM  

Joining the crew with easy. A few were filled in just knowing the theme and ignoring the clue. Almost too easy as I was done before I was ready to be done. Jon was a little upset that he didn't get a hand in the solve. Poor DEAR.

A few write-overs, but not many. As we have chickens galore around here, FLEW THE COOP was my favorite. Don't mind the chickens, but please, somebody come and take the roosters, they are definitely not EAR CANDY.

Cute puzzle Mr. Lampkin, thanks.

Moly Shu 3:20 AM  

Heh-Heh, BUTT/BONER. My inner 12 year old can't stop laughing. This one gave me fits all over, rare for a Sunday. The TORO and TOADS areas just wouldn't fall. Liked DUCTTAPE (also known as 200 MPH tape), and PURVIEW, just an awesome word. The theme was fine except for BLEWTHEJOINT, people might say "let's blow this joint" but does anyone say " we blew the joint"? That one seemed off to me. I liked it cuz I had to struggle on a Sunday.

Now about this SIEG thing. It means victory in German (I didn't know that), but it also brings to mind Hitler, so it shouldn't be in a puzzle? Does that mean reich or panzer or blitzkrieg (all of which I've seen in puzzles) should also not appear? It means victory, lighten up. Ok pile on me now.

paulsfo 3:43 AM  

@Moly Shu: For me it wasn't SIEG, in general, but why use Wagner (who is associated with Hitler) to invoke it? Why not "Victory, for Wilhelm", for instance?

I didn't get the theme till I read it here; makes me like the puzzle a lot more. :)

Liked the clues for PAW and ELF. Disliked "two points" for COLON.

Anonymous 6:06 AM  

Tonight, in Israel, is Yom Ha Shoah -
or the day to Remember the Holocaust - so, maybe, the timing for "Sieg" was not great.

Unknown 6:29 AM  

Have to disagree with Rex that "ran (lickety split)" doesn't fit the theme. One way to use ran in that way is, for example, "Did anyone see the other driver in this accident?" "No, he got out of his car and he ran". In that context, it means much more that he took off to escape the police than it does that he literally ran rather than walked. Right, Rex?

Another vote for easy. I was really surprised when I saw this graded as medium. Fastest Sunday solve in a while for me.

I also don't see anything wrong with "Sieg". Rex makes it sound obscure. Distasteful as the context may be, everyone knows Sieg Heil. I think Rex is nit picking there.

mac 6:32 AM  

Sieg is an ordinary German word.

I found this one easy-medium, just a steady solve.

Thought of heli- instead of teleport, and I had to look at "DOTOAT" a while before I got it....

Bob Kerfuffle 6:42 AM  

Not much to say, so how about a Did You Know?

Did you know that the product was originally called Duck Tape, because of its water repellency? At least, that's what I have read.

Time to make like a tree and leave . . .

Loren Muse Smith 7:01 AM  

Yeah, I guess this was fairly easy, but I didn't finish because of the BACH/LILI/CLASSY/AIR section, and I just never went back and guessed.

I don't know. Does any dog or cat really open a pet door with its PAW? My crüe are all Snout Openers.

Man, "paper doll" took me back. Of all the things that occupied me as a child, this is the most mystifying. I could spend a couple of hours changing the clothes of a paper doll, and no matter how many times I switched it out and attached it again, I always marveled at how that cute little red ensemble fit the pose perfectly. Every single time.

TARMAC – speaking of childhood, this word always reminds me of Celia C – a neighbor with the only trampoline – so obviously we had to put up with her unbelievably bossy ways. Her thing was, though, that she was still a lot younger than we were (to add insult to injury) and had not developed her velar sounds – namely G and K – so for K, she always used a T sound instead. TARMAC sounds to me like her version of "Carmax." "We looked at SUVs at TARMAC. The new ones don't use a TEE – just number TOADS to unlock the door. I thought the Sorrento was TUTOR than the Sportage. Then we TAUT the end of the Pie TOOK OFF at the TONY Island fair."

I missed the BUTT/BONER cross but did notice POSEY over ROSAS, STAGE/EMOTE/SCENE, and JUROR sharing the grid with PIERS. Har.

I'll BE A TIT and beat @AliasZ to the parsing game. ASS IS I and all that. Can you think of a phrase with SEIS M'S? Gimme gimme gimme? @Mac – it does look like DO TOAT.

Hey, John – fun Sunday, so many themers!! Nice job.

Oh, no, @Bob – you may have just opened a whole new can of worms. So I'll make like an exorcist and…

Danp 7:25 AM  

The timing of Sieg in a puzzle is no where near as bad as a tick-tock theme on the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. And Wagner never cheered Hitler on to victory.

Ellen S 7:26 AM  

I've been doing the puzzles all along but lately rarely have a chance to post here before I get distracted by something. I agree with easy. Also Hopalong Cassidy was a total gimme for me. Sometimes it pays to be old.

My parents had an album of songs from the International Brigades, who fought against fascists in Spain. One of the German songs from the Thaelmann Brigade had a line that translated "victory will be ours." It does bring Hitler to mind, but "SIEG" always makes me think of that song before I think of the Hitler salute.
Here it is, sung by a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Eddie Balchowsky, introduced by Utah Phillips.

jberg 7:38 AM  

The I-words didn't bother me as much as the RE-words. I mean, REHEAL? Stretching it a bit too far, for me. Easy, though -- my main problems were confusing BALOO the bear with BALOu the cat, and UNERRING for UNERRaNt (which should be inerrant, I know, but I was being tolerant.)

We old professors never leave at all, just keep collecting our paychecks.

Ellen S 7:44 AM  

Oh yeah, and my dogs always open the dog door with their faces, like Loren's. However, I think the first time they meet a pet door, dogs will usually PAW at it.

Speaking of going A TIT, when I first saw 106A, I thought perhaps gOAts hibernated.

Sir Hillary 8:01 AM  

Cute theme. Tough to make a Sunday really sparkle, so this worked fine.

SIEG is a lousy entry because it could have been DIET so easily, not because it is distasteful. It's a basic German word, not an endorsement of the Third Reich.

George Barany 8:29 AM  

On SIEG, I write from the vantage point of one whose parents were both concentration camp survivors. No, it doesn't bother me. Check the range of clues that Will Shortz has allowed, from gifted constructors (both Jewish and not) such as Randolph Ross, Charles Deber, Cathy Milhauser, Byron Walden, Manny Nosowsky, Barry Silk, and Anna Shechtman. There is the alliterative "Teutonic triumph" and all of the other clues use the word "Victory," be it to Viktor, Wagner, or Viennese-style. Clear and clever, with no exceptions. True, Richard Wagner was a nasty man and an anti-Semite, but he lived years before Hitler liked that music and co-opted it for his political agenda. Google "Israel Philharmonic plays Wagner" for additional perspective.

A commentator mentioned the publication of a TICK/TOCK theme on the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon. Surely, that coincidence is reading something into the scheduling of puzzles that just is not there. Furthermore, it would have taken some unfathomable combination of malice and prognostication skills to have deliberately scheduled a tribute to the 102nd anniversary of the Titanic sinking on the same calendar day that the Korean ferry tragedy was yet to take place.

To most solvers, crossword puzzles are a refuge from the chaos of the news cycle. Let's not take puzzles any more seriously than what they are designed for.

MikeM 8:38 AM  

Finished with one google, which I hate doing. LILI Taylor just didn't come to me. I could picture her, and I also knew her from Six Feet Under - my alltime favorite TV series. But Liv Tyler was running interference in my head. I had SpaSMS for SEISMS at first. Seems like we've had a lot of ASSISI and UTNE of late. Great puzzle, John L, thanks

pmdm 8:52 AM  

Sieg seems to have hit a nerve with many solvers. Comments above have adequately discussed its appropriateness. So I won't comment on that aspect of its use.

Wagner was not the only composer Hitler turned into a symbol of the Nazi state. Beethoven and Bruckner are two others, both who certainly would have had no sympathy for Hitler. Any problems with Wagner stem from the problems with Wagner's own philosophy, not from his embrace by Hitler. The standard we apply to Beethoven and Bruckner should be the same standard we apply to Wagner.

Why use Wagner rather than Wilhelm? Why use sieg instead of diet? I suppose Shortz was trying to adjust the difficulty level of the clue. Regardless of how it is clued, sieg is more difficult than diet since it is a foreign word many may not know the meaning of. And such words are (unfortunately in my opinion) perfectly acceptable and are used all the time. Some may not associate Wagner with German as quickly as if the name were Wilhelm, especially if they are Opera illeterates. I guess that's why Shortz used Wagner as the name hinted the answer was a German word.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Little plastic swords are used as picks for canapés sometimes. Cute!

AliasZ 9:08 AM  

@Loren, have you heard of this new Web site dedicated to selling strictly whole grain cereals? Its URL ends with DOT OAT.

It was fun to see SYSTS clued as "operating procedures", then see SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) at 60D.

Moses supposes MITOSIS are POSEYs But Moses supposes erroneously,
Moses he knowses MITOSIS aren't POSEYs,
As Moses supposes MITOSIS to be.
A ROSAS what Moses supposes MITOSIS,
Couldn't be a lily
or a daffo dilly,
It's gotta be POSEYs which rhymes with MITOSIS.

What's all this hullaBALOO about SIEG being a bad word? Maybe it should be replaced with Scheiß.

For some EARCANDY, let me start with the St. John Passion by BACH, and to end on a lighter note, here is FÊTE Polonaise from the opéra-comique Le roi malgré lui (the king in spite of himself) by Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894).

Now I'll beat a hasty retreat, vamoose, hightail it off the premises, make myself scarce, take a hike, skedaddle, hotfoot it from this pop stand, head for the hills, make like a sewer and get the Scheiß outta here, and depart.

Z 10:00 AM  

When you put the right umlaut obsessed band in the wröng spöt it rëälly mäkes a mëss of yöür grïd.

Otherwise - Sunday.

RAD26 10:04 AM  

Agree with most that this was Easy rather than medium. Sadly am old enough that Boyd was no issue. Kept wanting CURRENT or COURANT rather than COOLEST which slowed down the SW corner. Liked that most of the theme clues were capable of being figured out. Made for a good start.

Carola 10:08 AM  

Easy and fun. I was impressed at the number of exit lines the constructor came up with to fit symmetrically in the grid, along with nice non-themers like POLENTA, PURVIEW, UNERRING, EAR CANDY.

@mac, @loren, @Alias Z - My thought was, now we have DOT OAT to rhyme with HAVE A GOAT.

@Alias Z - To go along with your closing lines and your love of music, I thought you might be interested in this line-up from a chamber music festival I'm involved with.

chefbea 10:38 AM  

Started the puzzle last night and couldn't get the theme. This morning...finally got it though I had to google several things. Yes it does pay to be old...Knew William Boyd!!

Ludyjynn 10:40 AM  

As I worked on the puzzle, I performed my weekly ritual of simultaneously watching CBS "Sunday Morning". For those who had trouble last week in getting the Mitch ALBOM answer, Jane Pauley did an in-depth interview w/ him on the show. Very informative and nice to know he spends lots of his $$$ from book sales on philanthropic causes.
Also, it was good to see JP in her CBS debut.

Puzzle broke easy-medium for me. Thanks, JP and WS for a well-executed theme, DOneTOAT.

Off to do some gardening on this beautiful day.

OISK 10:46 AM  

Easy, pleasant Sunday. @Ellen - I have (somewhere, on a cassette) a collection of 6 of the songs of the International Brigade. Wish I could find them. It includes "Freiheit," and also "Moorsoldaten" and "Hans Beimler", as well as 3 others. Thanks for reminding me.

Use of Sieg doesn't bother me at all, it is a German word many people have heard in one context or another, and just as valid a clue as the Spanish word for eight, for example, which appears fairly often.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

It really bothers me that people defend the inclusion of the word

Good, it does not bother some people...but the point is that it
DOES bother other people. Even
though I was not overly irritated
by its use..., I have to admit the
connection I made when I realized the
answer was "SIEG" was "sieg Hitler."

For better or worse, that is the connection one - or at least this one - makes when seeing/reading/hearing this word.

And, in the context of this blog, or in the context of the blogger - who is an incredibly sophisticated puzzle solver, who is looking for the most subtle "problems" or "weaknesses" in a crossword puzzle, I believe that is pertinent to say that the inclusion of the word is a
bit, off....It detracts from the overall fun, beauty of the puzzle.

Arlene 11:03 AM  

I agree with the comments about the use of SIEG - did not sit well with me either. The fact that it has to be discussed proves the lack of sensitivity of including it as clued.

I did like SWORDS for canape picks - got that right away, and smiled as I always loved those miniatures.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Not Charlotte Rae's autobio. Dies Irae = Day of Wrath = Judgment Day.
Part of RC liturgy.

Orange 11:09 AM  

Well said, @Anonymous 10:57. I usually like seeing German words in the crossword because I studied German, but I made the same observation Rex did, that the word was jarring here and that DIET would so easily fit.

I'm reminded of the NYT puzzle a few years ago with HEIL in it. In that case, it could so easily have been changed to (if memory serves) HEIR. I wish Will Shortz and his staff would be a little more attuned to such things, given how triggering they are for so many people.

Joe in Montreal 11:25 AM  

If I can finish it smoothly, it must be very easy!
I agree totally with George Barany. Sometimes people are bothered without any reasonable cause. SIEG is not from SIEG HITLER. If anyone has a legitimate reason to think that Mr Shortz or the NYT deliberately put it in as some sort of dig, let's hear it. Otherwise we're getting all Balkan.
I don't get the bit about "I" words. Sure, if it is a phrase "I-something" it's weak, but IDENT, IRAE, and IKON are not phrases.
ps the captcha had '666' in it - does that mean this is a devil-worshipping puzzle? Nah. It's a coincidence.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

The fact that Wagner pre-dated Nazizsm does not detract from the connection one makes with specific German words.

For better or worse, there are some German/Nazi words/expressions which
are part of the Western zeitgist (a German word, by the way, which is NOT automatically connected to Hitlerism).

The connection one/I makes with this word is explained on Wikipedia.

Maybe I am brainwashed, but whenever I hear this word I hear the thunderous shouts at Nuremburg, circa 1939.

Hopefully, we will never hear these shouts again.

old lady Sheila 11:41 AM  

Self-censoring to ensure that NOONE is offended by a perfectly legitimate German word or any word that might offend someone, somewhere at sometime, restricts free expression. Should we disallow all foreign words? Or references to religion, creeds?
The writer, OISKe who referenced "Freiheit", a Spanish Civil War song pertaining to the fight against fascist supported Franco, has the word "sieg", meaning victory over fascism.

Unless a writer is deprecatory deliberately, there should not be censorship, self or otherwise.

jdv 11:45 AM  

Easy. The only area I had trouble in was in the NE corner; I wanted SARAH (28A) instead of POSEY and I couldn't see the SPR (14D) abbreviation. Really liked the clue for 58A One Heading to the Cape. Never heard of 7D Xeric or 77D KOAN.

I. Caramba 11:57 AM  

Um ... he was *joking* about the I-phrases-that-aren't. Lotta dumb people here for a crossword blog!

Any anybody who defends having SIEG in a puzzle should be shot ... a dirty look.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

Guys, what's big deal about SIEG?

It's fairly common in Wagner's work (which, as Mark Twain noted, is better than it sounds), and we even had ELSA from Lohengrin making an appearance in the NW corner.

I do agree that dIEt would have been a better choice but I don't see Nazi ghosts lurking here.


Questinia 12:35 PM  

KOAN: Does a dog opening a pet door with its PAW have Buddha-nature?

Masked and Anonymo9Us 12:44 PM  

"Fried opener, served up by Wagner??"

Or, make 114-A MEINE = "Liebchen opener, for Wagner??" And while yer thar, change STAGE to STAKE.

Or, make 114-A MEINS = "Chow ___, for hungry Wagners??" And go with STANK at 118-A.

C'mon, constructors! Show a little desperation, here! day-um.

"Yer SunPuz corner is my runtpuz"

lawprof 12:47 PM  

Too windy out to go for a Sunday morning bike ride, so curling up with this puzzle was smack dab in my comfort zone. Pretty much on the easy side, but clever theme kept it alive.

Just one writeover at 81D: [Have]
A fEEl/ANEED [for].

No problem with Hopalong Cassidy's portrayer; he was part of my BOY[hoo]D. But seeing his name in the grid triggered all kinds of trivia questions/memories re those characters' horses' names: Hoppy's? Roy's? Gene's? Dale Evans'? Tonto's? Roy's dog's? Who knows 'em all? No googling.

Every opera fan has to come to terms with Wagner, his sublime music and his nasty anti-Semitism. It's not an easy thing to do. Stepen Fry, the British actor, who is Jewish, made a documentary entitled "Wagner and Me" in which he attempts to reconcile his passion for the music with his revulsion for the composer's personal views. It probably doesn't answer the question for everyone, but (speaking for myself) it helped.

Anoa Bob 1:01 PM  

Got William BOYD (54D) instantly, having shopped around a puzzle a while back with HOPALONG CASSIDY as the central, grid-spanning themer. (No one picked it up. Sigh.)

He always wore black from head to toe and always rode a white horse. Very ikonic. Hopalong got his name after being shot in the leg.

COOLEST entry? I vote for 48D YECCH!

Unknown 1:05 PM  

2:29. No googles, but scratched at 1A/2D PeER/eRAE. Shameful, really, that I guy with a nom d' guerre based on Casco Bay can misspell PIER. *shakes head in shame*

I'll rate it an easy-medium puzzle, but it kept me re-engineering solution space right up to the end. I guessed right on my only true Natick: eRAE/ARLEN.

The theme seemed familiar, but it took me an hour from the first correct cross NASH/EAST to solve the first theme clue HITTHEROAD. None of the theme clues fell without a fight although all were predictable, after the fact. Hands up for wanting a BANANA with the SPLIT.

WTF clue award to [100A. Execute perfectly] DOTOAT. I spent several minutes trying to rationalize-or-fix that one, and decided to run with it. In post mortem, I see that it is exotic crosswordese.

Lots of new-to-me content: [77D. Paradox to be medidated on] KOAN; [Old Black Magic composer] ARLEN; that UTNE had a first name; LILI Taylor; ELSA Lohengrin; SIEG=Victory ; ARID=Xeric; people remember William BOYD 42 years after he died; SOP=bribe ; that ecdysiasist is a) a thing, b) a pretty thing, c) a rather googleable pretty thing, and d) NSFW.

Favorite clue: [58A. One heading to the cape?] TORO

Pain inducers: [79A. Scale part] SOL ; [45A. High-toned] CLASSY ; [51D. Current amount] AMPERE ; [14D. Origin of stream] SPR ; [48A.Exclamation said before stickout out the tongue] sayah/YECCH

Overall -- save for the head slap -- a perfectly positive experience. I finish the week 2 complete/5 DNF, or about PAR.

evil doug 1:06 PM  

I think the Lone Ranger used to cry, "Heil, o, Silver!"


Hartley70 1:15 PM  

No problem with the puzzle, but once I got here I got lost in a sarsaparilla reverie. But since I knew it was made from the sassafras tree I always thought it was sassparilla. I drank it as a kid and it was a lot like Rootbeer. Pretty good stuff.
The Sunday Morning piece on Mitch Ablom pointed out he sold 15 million copies of his first book and each subsequent book has hit #1 on the NYT best seller list. Not too obscure a clue!

mathguy 1:15 PM  

Not much joy for me. The theme answers didn't all make sense and they were simply containers for a key word. For example, when I saw "soda jerk," I wrote in SPLIT before worrying about the rest of the line. But I do compliment the constructor for the clues for PITS, ELF, TORO, NASH, BEBOP, and ROWA.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

STRO? Google'd it and no references at all. I don't even think Astros fans call them STRO's. Come on

Evan 1:30 PM  

Thanks for the POW award, Rex! Much appreciated. There's still a little bit of time to enter the contest -- 6 pm ET today is the deadline.

I'm not one who's bothered by SIEG because of its association with the phrase Sieg Heil. I mean, there are plenty of words that could be associated with awful things, like UZI, or WAR, or GUN, or IDI AMIN....even one of my entries yesterday (23-Across) could be tied with some pretty ugly stuff in American history. Rather, I'm bothered by SIEG for the reason that Rex states -- it's a foreign word (and not a German 101 word) that could easily be DIET. I just think it's better to go with common English words for an American crossword wherever possible.

Orange 1:30 PM  

@Moly Shu wrote "Does that mean reich or panzer or blitzkrieg (all of which I've seen in puzzles) should also not appear? It means victory, lighten up. Ok pile on me now."

I checked two dictionaries. Both listed "panzer" and "blitzkrieg" as English words. One also listed "the Reich." The one with "the Reich" has "Sieg Heil." So SIEG is not in the language (the English language) in a non-Nazi context. The other ones have been imported to English.

And since you asked for a pile-on, I'll add that it's generally "OK" or "okay," not "ok," and that you needed a comma before the word "pile."

mathguy 1:37 PM  

It just occurred to me that the credit for the excellent clues I mentioned above should go to Will. If so, bravo to you, sir.

M and also 2:06 PM  

@Q: Does a doggy that opens the pet door with its tail announce its entry with its krab's? ... or does it utilize the koan of silence? ... or does it just ko an in?

Do some kats only use the pet door when insiders open up a koan of tuna? ... And use the bay window when the bay koan is trotted out?

fave Farside cartoon -- Kid inside yellin to a dog outside, which is runnin toward the door like heck: "Come on fifi! Hurry fifi!"
Inside, the doggy door has been securely nailed shut.

"The doggy door to wisdom"

tensace 2:07 PM  

SIEG offends you? My what thin skins. Should we scour the hours of Hitler speeches and delete all those German words as well? Silly.

Besides the clue cited Wagner. It could have been Goethe, Gutenberg, Bach, Beethoven, Handel…

Germany is much more than just one monster.

Questinia 2:37 PM  

@ M&A "the doggy door of perception".

Can a snake open a door?

Last Sieger Pewit 2:49 PM  

@Q: har. Koan boas.

Tried that there trick with our budgie, once. Used our front closet, usin the ipad for filmin. Figured it'd be our shure trip ticket to the Letterman show. Six hours later, all I got was a lotta bird poop on my I Heart Wagner ballcap.

"My snake can't do that"

Anonymous 3:01 PM  

Too easy, almost boring. But I did learn a new word, koan. So done with the people that are always offended. Get over yourselves. How many people have you helped today? Do you care about what's happening as you do your puzzle? Of course not, it's about you. You're special, if course.

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

Another vote here for easy. Probably my fastest time on a Sunday puzzle ever - 23 minutes. I'll admit I did a doubletake at "sieg", but one of surprise, not offense. To Anonymous@1:28, I was watching an A's-Astro broadcast last week, and the announcers referred to the Houston team as the 'Stros. So it does happen. I bet you might try googling "stros" and you'll get a different/better result.

Benko 3:17 PM  

BALOO answered, "CRÜE!"

wreck 3:51 PM  

My Houston buddies have called them them "The Stros" since at least the 70's.
Nice, puzzle - fairly easy for me.

wreck 4:53 PM  

...... They were also known as "The Disast-Stros" for many years as well!

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

"Look at all those real words! But SIEG!? No. No on foreign grounds, as well as no on Hitlerian grounds. Big fat no."......

Folks, those who discourage people from reacting to the use of specific words (to be honest, this may pertain to ANY word, within reason) and argue that these "reactors" are in fact "censors", are nothing but the epitome of effective censorship themselves: that is, when a community makes it "uncool" or "unacceptable" for someone to voice his/her opinion, this community limits the open and honest exchange of ideas.

and argue this "censorship"
limits free speech are the very epitome

Moly Shu 5:37 PM  

@Orange, thank you. I did ask for it. In my defense, I was a few adult beverages in. Something happened to my filter as well as my punctuation.

Diet would have been much, much better.

Z 5:40 PM  

@anon5:16 - Huh? Read your post twice and have no idea what your point is.

I learned today that SIEG means "victory" in German and that a whole lot of smart people have a different understanding than I do of the difference between "painful" and "offensive." Implied threats of another kristallnacht - offensive. Being reminded that Man is capable of great evil towards his fellow men and women - painful.

I'm in the camp that finds SIEG crossworthy (indeed, better than the tired alternatives suggested) and wonder if those on the other side really mean to argue that ignorance is bliss, or if I'm over thinking their objections.

Fred Romagnolo 5:40 PM  

YECCH - a regionalism? A variant? Does it equate with YUCKIE? Does everybody accept it? Am I the only one to question it? I'm with the ones who say fuggedaboutit on SIEG. People with overly delicate sensibilities should not telling others what's acceptable.

Fred Romagnolo 5:50 PM  

As to Posey, we here in San Francisco (named after the man from ASSISI)know, and admire, Buster, never heard of Parker. My terrier, Buster, is the best ball player on Bernal Heights, one of the many hills in this town.

Anonymous 5:52 PM  


Thank you for reading my post twice. I was TRYING to say that there seems to be a culture of intolerance that exists in this blog community (and probably in most others) which does not allow for people with "delicate sensibilities".... i.e., "People with overly delicate sensibilities should not telling others what's acceptable," which was just posted at 5:40. To wit, why should be people with "delicate sensibilities" be discouraged from voicing their opinions - or, more to the point - as soon as anyone is discouraged from expressing his/her opinion, that is the beginning of True Censorship.

Does this make any sense?

Benko 6:11 PM  

@anonymous 552: Conversely, why should people who aren't offended be discouraged from telling people "with delicate sensibilities" their own views? Isn't that free speech too?

Anonymous 6:20 PM  

The vocal minority really pisses me off. Get a grip people, move on. If you actually gave s shit about anybody but yourselves you would be across the ocean without electricity or the NYT.

JD 6:29 PM  

I like this blog because it isn't a bunch of angry people arguing over politics and hurling vituperative bits of spit at theirs screens. And um the puzzle stuff is fun too. There are regulars who seem like mini blogs in and of themselves (you know who you are, big thanks) and Rex, a semi benevolent puzzle blogging despot. When the occasionally offended or spoiling-for-a-fight people pop in, they just seem like those drivers who cut you off on the freeway, disconcerting but gone in a flash

Z 7:05 PM  

@Anon5:16/5:52 - Clearer. Thanks.

Questinia 7:07 PM  

@ Benko, Baloo has Buddha-nature.

Mohair Sam 7:48 PM  

William BOYD. Gimme of a lifetime here. First two-wheeler was a Hopalong Cassidy 20-incher: all black frame, white sidewall tires, with black and white streamers flowing from white handlebar grips. I never became a car nut because no Corvette or Porsche could steal my heart like that Hoppy Schwinn.

GILL I. 8:28 PM  

Crossword....OK (Hi Orange)
@Questinia and @M&A...funnierthanhell.

sanfranman59 8:45 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 6:07, 6:04, 1.01, 59%, Medium
Tue 6:42, 8:16, 0.81, 4%, Easy (8th lowest ratio of 228 Tuesdays)
Wed 12:08, 10:13, 1.19, 88%, Challenging
Thu 16:25, 18:08, 0.90, 31%, Easy-Medium
Fri 19:45, 21:15, 0.93, 37%, Easy-Medium
Sat 22:17, 26:36, 0.84, 16%, Easy
Sun 25:14, 29:32, 0.85, 22%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:45, 3:58, 0.95, 19%, Easy
Tue 4:19, 5:07, 0.85, 4%, Easy (10th lowest ratio of 228 Tuesdays)
Wed 7:19, 6:14, 1.17, 88%, Challenging
Thu 9:28, 10:44, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium
Fri 11:06, 12:18, 0.90, 28%, Easy-Medium
Sat 15:27, 16:39, 0.93, 34%, Easy-Medium
Sun 18:10, 20:23, 0.89, 25%, Easy-Medium

R. Duke 9:42 PM  

Rex, please don't reveal things about your contenders for puzzle of the week. I'd rather try those without knowing anything about them ahead of time.

Unknown 9:58 PM  

@Orange I beg to differ about HEIL being an unacceptable word.

Victory to me!

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

I get the puzzle a week late so almost no one will see this, but to all those who were offended by sieg I am offended. That means that you can't say any thing ever again in case you might offend me.

spacecraft 11:50 AM  

Now and then a puzzle comes along that makes me wish for an old, wimpy pencil--with an eraser, even--instead of this messy pen. My north central looks like a dog's breakfast. Naturally, catchy pop ditties are EARworms, right? Then when my demolitionist BLEWTHEscene, I was in a bit of trouble. After a while I found a CANDY JOINT, two aha! moments.

Farther down, I never went to Pratt, so didn't know which degree one might get there: thus the very common MbAS, yielding bLEWTHECOOP. Hmm, that didn't sound right. Wasn't it FLEW? Oh, yeah, and we are now Masters of Fine Arts rather than Business Administration. So THAT's Pratt's.

Down in the SE my tremors were, of course Shakes. Weren't everybody's? OSHA looked OK for 98a before reading the clue, but the rest of it, like the music at that store in McLean's ditty, "wouldn't play." So GHostly had to become GHASTLY, between continents had to be the old ASEA--and the Shakes morphed into SEISMS. All better.

I liked it; especially those shorter, almost throw-away themers TOOKOFF, BEATIT, CUTOUT and MOVEDON. Don't know if QUITTHESCENE has many real-life references; BLEW seems more natural, but that was used already. All in all a fun do--even if the finished product looks like it was put together with DUCTTAPE.

If there's such a thing as a super-full house, then I have one with four 9's and three 6's.

rain forest 1:34 PM  

This was a fun, theme-rich, relatively eseless Sunday. I got most of the themers right off, except, notably, leftTHE SCENE, and getting the Q took some time (nice crossing, that). PURVIEW was humbling as I had ...IEW and said to myself, "there's no word that ends in IEW".

I have to say, though, that the surrounding entries seemed almost deliberately designed to help the stupid solver, ie, me.

In the end, and it was pretty quick for a Sunday, I have to declare SIEG, and that doesn't bother me.

Now I will MOVE ON to other things, and among them will not be other puzzles that @Rex directs me to.

er, @Spacey, what's this obsession with 6's and 9's?
Whoops--9's full of 6's here. You win.

Solving in Seattle 3:22 PM  

Let's ban SIEG from all crosswords. Furthermore, let's ban it from use anywhere, including Deutschland. There are a few more words that should be banned, too. And some books.

The ecdysiast TOOKOFF her SHIRT and exposed her FRONTS, bared her BUTT, and ran RANLICKETYSPLIT into 97D bringing about SEISMS. It was the COOLEST, MAN.

IKON was klunky.

Uber all, it was a funpuz, John. Danke.

Twos over eights. @Spacy takes the pot.

Dirigonzo 4:21 PM  

I caught on to the theme pretty early, only fell for a couple of misdirects (ShakeS, certainly, and a dEb had a ball at my country club), and anything ...LICKETYSPLIT always makes me smile. (I will omit any mention of ORAL tradition out of sensitivity to the sensibilities of others who may be offended by such things.)

@spacy and @rainy must have used up all the 6s and 9s - I fold.

IdahoConnie 4:55 PM  

Regarding those who are offended by the word sieg...I have an intelligent and talented friend who said to me not long ago, "I wish the Jews would stop whining about the Holocaust." Now that's offensive.

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