Overlapping fugue motifs / SUN 7-6-14 / New World monkey / Star in Summer Triangle / Four-time NBA all-star pau / Setting of James Clavell's Gai-Jin / Wolfsheim gambler in Great Gatsby / Initialism in Beatles title / Title name in 2000 Eminem hit / City whose name was source of word sherry

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Constructor: Daniel C. Bryant

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Oh, Say…" — buncha facts about "THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER" (65A: This puzzle's theme, whose first notes are indicated by shaded squares); shaded squares (represented here by circles) form a visual representation of the anthem's opening notes as they would appear on a musical STAFF (8D: Locale for this puzzle's shaded squares).

Theme answers:
  • FRANCIS SCOTT KEY (24A: Lawyer who wrote 65-Across)
  • EIGHTEEN FOURTEEN (30A: Year 24-Across wrote 65-Across)
  • BRITISH PUB SONG (40A: What the music to 65-Across was, originally)
  • WHITNEY HOUSTON (88A: Performer who gave a memorable rendition of 65-Across in 1991)
  • PRISONER EXCHANGE (99A: Mission that 24-Across was on when he wrote 65-Across)
  • BALTIMORE HARBOR (113A: Where 24-Across was inspired to write 65-Across)

Word of the Day: Matt BAI (69D: Political writer Matt) —
Matt Bai /ˈb/ is national political columnist for Yahoo! News. Prior to that, he was the chief political correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, where he covered both the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns. Bai often explores issues of generational change in American politics and society. His seminal cover stories in the magazine include the 2008 cover essay “Is Obama the End of Black Politics?” and a 2004 profile of John Kerry titled “Kerry’s Undeclared War.” His work was honored in both the 2005 and 2006 editions of The Best American Political Writing. Bai is a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University in Medford, MA. In 2014, Bai appeared as himself in the second season of TV show House of Cards. (wikipedia)
• • •

Happy 6th of July, everybody!

This puzzle lost me at 1-Across, and continued to lose me more and more as that little NW corner filled itself in. I just don't have patience for fill this mediocre/bad any more. I wrote in ADINS immediately (1A: Serving edges), but with sincere hope that it was wrong. No dice. Here is my very smart and very kind tennis fan / constructor friend's best defense of ADINS:
We...e..e...e...ll, no denying it's a strained plural. You can't have a simultaneously co-existing handful of AD-INs, as you can balls, or strawberries, or All-England Club towels. But I suppose you could say, "Federer has not captalized on four AD-INs and is still serving as the length of this game stretched to seven minutes.
Why is there creaky, junky fill in an easy-to-fill little section of the grid? It just shouldn't be. Shouldn't. Be. So theme shmeme, I was already opposed to this puzzle before I'd even begun. First impressions are often right, because if that little NW corner isn't filled well, what are the odds any of the rest of it will be? (A: slim).

The theme consisted mostly of arbitrary trivia about the national anthem. The real thematic coup de grâce was the visual representation of the anthem's opening notes, which is very nicely conceived and executed. Sadly, it causes HEMIC, which is kind of robbing Peter to pay Paul, elegance-wise. There was some longer fill in here that I liked quite a bit: YOKOHAMA, COLD CASH, ESCAROLE, and NEOPHYTE, all lovely. I also like FACTOTUM, a word I never use and rarely see but like nonetheless. Seems like it should mean something completely different, like … a small bit of data or … some kind of sacred object or amulet or something. Maybe I never hear it any more because no one has "general servants" (whatever those are) anymore? Anyway, thumbs up to that SAT word. I read "The great Gatsby" for the first time (true story) last year and I don't remember the MEYER Wolfsheim at all.  And yet I remember the TITI (15D: New World monkey) and Val d'ISERE (29A: Skiing destination Val d'___), so who can say how my brain works?

Not much else to say here. Puzzle was extraordinarily easy. I was done in well under 10 despite knowing nothing about the national anthem besides FRANCIS SCOTT KEY. Oh, I have one other thing to say: let's never, ever do tribute puzzles on off days. Hit the day on the nose or don't hit it at all. Ridiculously anti-climactic to have this arrive two days late.

Puzzle of the Week this week goes to Patrick Berry for his Friday NYT themeless. Its only fault was it was too easy. Otherwise, it's as close to perfect a piece of themeless grid construction as you're ever going to see.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Fearless Buller 12:08 AM  

    "I was already opposed to this puzzle before I'd even begun." -Rex Parker

    This is embroidered on a sampler that hangs above Rex's desk.

    George Barany 12:09 AM  

    I want to address briefly Rex's comment on the timing of the puzzle. The New York Times policy on tribute puzzles is rather a bit early than a bit late. Well, this is not a Fourth of July puzzle. The Battle of Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key was held in mid-September 1814, toward the tail end of the War of 1812 ... and that's what we should be celebrating.

    jae 12:09 AM  

    Now there's your Yankee Doodle Dandy!   More medium for me. Some classic crosswordese...AIT, AMBIT, NISAN, ELIA, EOS, EDA, ISERE, ASTI...mixed in with a few WOEs...GASOL, BAI (the ALTAIR cross could be tough) STRETTI...made this a tad crunchy.   Plus, I always want to put a Q in ECUADOR and BEt before BES.

    RONAN would have been a WOE if I hadn't seen him interviewed recently on the Daily Show.

    The musical notes were a nice touch.  Like it despite the fill issues.

    Anonymous 12:09 AM  

    Long theme answers filled themselves in almost instantaneously, but the rest was a slog. But I liked the notes. Didn't hate it as much as Rex but it wasn't a lot of fun.

    paulsfo 12:23 AM  

    I also didn't like the too-easy theme answers (eg, I read the clue for 30A and immediately filled in 44 squares).

    Got naticked at crossing of ELIA and RONAN. Are these well-known to crossworders? I was an English Lit major and had never heard of "Essays of ELIA."

    Unknown 12:27 AM  

    Hey Rex. Been reading you for a few years but no more. Your constant nit picking at puzzles is just no fun anymore - even when I agree with you. You beat the heck out of these puzzle creators - who I think do a great job - and rarely any praise for any of them. If I wanted that kind of abuse I'd watch Fox. Sorry but good bye.
    Ernie Nathan

    wreck 12:34 AM  

    Patriotic, yes - 4th of July theme, no.
    I saw the other day that Jeff Chen put out a plea on behalf of Will that he was in great need of Sunday and non-rebus Thursday puzzles. Now I know why.

    Moly Shu 12:47 AM  

    Didn't like it so much either. The theme entries too easy and the rest not so great. The notes in the circles did nothing for me either, but I don't appreciate good music.

    Like @Paulsfo, didn't know the ELIA/RONAN cross. Just guessed and got lucky. HISORHER bothers me, shouldn't it be HImORHER or HISORHERs ?? Kept me from seeing ASSET for the longest time.

    Goodbye @ErnestNathan, I hardly knew ya.

    Pete 1:03 AM  

    Seriously, beyond the innate bullshittyness of ADINS, shouldn't it be ADS-IN, as in Attorneys General? The noun is AD (advantage), then IN is merely a modifier. So yes, the non-existant ADINS are ADSIN

    Rudyard Kipling 1:07 AM  

    I try to solve using downs only, so I never saw the clue for 1A. I just glanced at it, and thought it referenced Gung's family.

    jae 1:09 AM  

    @paulsfo & Moly Shu - ELIA was one of the pen names used by Charles Lamb. And, no I didn't know this before embarking on my crossword addiction. ELIA appears frequently enough to commit to memory.

    SenorLynn 1:24 AM  

    Exactly an hour, with one mistake: ROrAN Farrow, because I did't look up the Shakespeare quote.
    The do-re-mi meant nothing to me, but it's real clever.

    chefwen 1:48 AM  

    Not the fun Sunday romp I was hoping for, but it was O.K.

    Did not know 40A British pub song or 99A Prisoner exchange, but they filled themselves in. FACTOTUM was also a new one for me, but Jon knew it.

    The I in BAI/ALTAIR was my last fill. No idea, guessed right for a change.

    Like I said, O.K. but nothing to write home about.

    OISK 1:53 AM  

    Got Naticked at Gasol and GNC. Never heard of either, and so _asol with _nc was a pure guess, and I guessed wrong. Irritating to ruin a perfect week, where I triumphed on "ash Thursday", got though Mr. Steinberg's challenging but very fine Saturday, only to come up short on an otherwise very easy Sunday. What is GNC?? I hate product clues….

    ( I had no trouble with the cryptic puzzle at all…)

    chefwen 3:05 AM  

    @chefbea - Tinbeni is still around, he's hanging out at Crossword Corner, C.C.'s place for the L.A. Times Crossword. I think he got weary of Rex and opted for a kinder, gentler group. Not my style. Bring it on Rex!

    Steve J 3:17 AM  

    Meh. Theme answers all fell very easily, so there wasn't much challenge here. And then it felt like that there was an effort to make up for the inherent easiness by making the fill tougher in spots, which is not how to increase difficulty (or maybe it was just bad fill brought about by theme and grid constraints). HEMIC and AIT, and ELIA and RONAN both seem like unnecessarily obscure crossings. I naticked at the latter, guessed correctly at the former as that was the only one that seemed to make any phonetic sense.

    Agreed that ADINS is not how you want to start a puzzle.

    Those problems aside, there was some nice longer fill: NEOPHYTE, YOKOHAMA, ESCAROLE, FACTOTUM. I actually used FACTOTUM in a conversation recently, and then I realized I was confused as to whether I meant that or polymath.

    @Moly Shu: HIS OR HER is correct. The clue is their rather than theirs (represented by his or hers). Example sentence: The valet quit, so everyone has to park their own car. Or: The valet quit, so everyone has to park his or her own car. Your alternatives wouldn't fit there.

    @OISK: General Nutrition Corp. Seller of vitamins and nutritional supplements. In malls and retail districts everyone.

    TD 3:39 AM  

    My husband and I, both professional musicians, got a kick out of the arrangement of the solfege syllables on the grid according to not only the contour but also the rhythm of the melody. And thanks to the famous "Largo al FACTOTUM" from The Barber of Seville, 12A was the first to fall in for me. :)

    Bob Kerfuffle 5:13 AM  

    Must admit the puzzle tripped me up at 2 D: was wondering if it would be DISKS or DISCS, left that fourth space open, never saw the DISCI coming until 30 A wouldn't work!

    Otherwise, sad to say, not very thrilling, although Jimi Hendrix and Roseanne Barr came to mind before WHITNEY HOUSTON (88 A) - obviously the date is important.

    Moly Shu 5:25 AM  

    @Jae, I know "that" ELIA from xwords also. Just didn't know this was the same one. Probably why I guessed right. Thanks.

    @SteveJ, thanks also for setting me straight on "their". Makes sense now.

    I come to this blog to be educated and entertained by this community. Today, mostly educated. Oh, I also come here to listen to @Rex rant, demean, discard, dismiss, rail and whatever else others think he does negatively.

    James F 6:10 AM  

    I believe that a FACTOTUM was the chief aide to a Roman general, hence "general servant."

    Unknown 6:39 AM  

    The NW corner was the last area filled in for me also, but i have to say, I absolutely LOVED this puzzle. Yes, it was easy. Yes, the info about the anthem is fairly well-known (and talked sbout quite a bit at this time of year). But I was honestly so blown away by the musical representation of the notes that I didn't even notice any of the bad fill (except for the NW corner that I struggled with).

    I hope I never become such an elite cruciverbalist that I lose the capacity to enjoy a fun puzzle like this one.

    Sir Hillary 7:42 AM  

    There are some really bad POCs in here (ADINS, OTTS, ADOBES, DELTAS, etc.), at least one laughably horrible partial (AON) and some other unfortunate bits (ULT next to BES, both crossing ILLER). Still, I enjoyed this one. The notes on the STAFF are wonderful, and the long fill is really good. I like how IVYLEAGUE is symmetrical to an entry featuring one of its members. Dumbest writeover: "Old Nick" was originally SAnta, rather than the anagram SATAN.

    AliasZ 7:44 AM  

    I think Will Shortz approved this puzzle starting with ADINS at 1A only to IRRITATE Rex and make him UNHAPPY.

    There is just too much good stuff in this one not to like it: ESCAROLE, ORIOLE (the BALTIMORE connection), NEOPHYTE, FACTOTUM, and for one who does not appreciate comic opera, E-I-E-I-O will do, or just INTONE to HIS OR HER best ability THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER for some COLD CASH, as WHITNEY HOUSTON did so memorably. SOL-MO-DO-MI-SOL-DO placed appropriately on the STAFF was the icing on the cake.

    If BLIST is second-rate, then blister must be even more so.

    Besides the less than ideal plurals of convenience ADINS and OTTS, we also have DISCI, STRETTI, UTERI. TITI doesn't count because it's singular. The plural for TITI is titis.

    Largo al FACTOTUM della città.
    Presto a bottega che l'alba è già.
    Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere
    per un barbiere di qualità! di qualità!

    Thank you Daniel C. Bryant for this PLEASER.

    Glimmerglass 7:50 AM  

    "First impressions often [seem] right" because one tends to find what one expects to find. I think this is often true about "Rex Parker." This curmudgeonly persona, once on a negative blood scent, cannot be denied flaying that day's constructor. This is not, however, the way good critics (and good minds) work. That said, I didn't care much for today's puzzle either. Luckily, today's cryptic crossword will fill my morning.

    chefbea 7:59 AM  

    Tough Sunday puzzle but learned a lot.

    @Chefwen thanks for the info

    Glad the holiday is over. I can put all my red white and blue stuff away!!

    Arlene 8:12 AM  

    I enjoyed this puzzle - I like filling in relatively easy long theme answers like that.

    I also enjoyed the solfege syllables. I've taken music theory classes - years ago, having to sightsing music using those syllables. Since then, I sing EVERY song using those syllables (either aloud or just in my head). Interesting how the brain latches onto that system. Seeing SOL MI DO MI SOL DO just set off the theme in my head - I'm programmed that way! A fun solve for me!

    RAD2626 8:44 AM  

    Easy theme answers/ medium rest of puzzle. Loved notes, esoteric facts about theme, and IVYLEAGUE clue as well as crossing the ORIOLE with the city. Would give a D to AON.

    Suppose I should know the Summer Triangle stars but I do not and did not know BAI either so guessed wrong on that cross which was not helped by the aforementioned AON leading in.

    Weird to breeze through theme and struggle through the rest. Off to see if Federer can take advantage of his ADINS.

    jberg 8:58 AM  

    Darn, I seem to have been the only one to have gone for TITy/ySERE. Other than that, a fun puzzle.

    As everyone said, once I got the theme I could write in all the notes, plus most of the long theme answers. Two of them held me up a bit; I wanted "To Anacreon in Heaven" at 40A, and when that wouldn't fit wasn't sure what kind of SONG it was (wanted 'bar'). And at 88D I confidently put in CHEERED, noting to myself that if it was the other kind of fan I could say it chirred, which I ended up with after IRT. So it took me a long time to see WHITNEY HOUSTON there.

    @James F, that's a neat idea -- but since the Latin FACTOTUM translates as something like "do everything" I'm going for the simpler meaning of 'general' here.

    Maruchka 9:15 AM  

    The SSB theme didn't bother me. 7/4 is chock-a-block with Old Glory(s). What I don't see is the DO-SOL-MI-DO sequencing. Shouldn't it be SOL-MI-DO-LA?

    No googles, smooth solve. I did want 113A to be Fort McHenry (plus 4) for a bit. Well, here's to the ORIOLES and Key's alma mater, St. John's - Mega Biblion, Mega Kakon (sp).

    Dorothy Biggs 9:16 AM  

    @jberg: I had TITy/ySERE.

    @Ernest Nathan: Rex doesn't "beat the heck out of the puzzle creators" as much as he calls WS on the carpet for (what Rex considers) poor editing.

    Read through the comments of any entry and you'll see a huge swath of opinions on the puzzles...Rex's opinion is just one of many. Sure, he can be surly and elitist, but it's easily overlooked since it happens so often.

    I never used to read the comments until I realized that, like a place like reddit, the comments are simultaneously amusing and educational. If you want to find a balance to Rex's opinion, you'll see it in the comments section.

    That said, leaving doesn't do anyone any good. It won't change Rex's opinion and the loss of a differing opinion doesn't do much for those of us interested in the nuances of puzzle analysis and construction.

    I have no problem with Rex and his opinion...I have no problem with you or your opinion...I do have problems with folks who do "drive-by" posts that call Rex names and do nothing to add to the conversation. So leave if you must, but in the end you're really not affecting much change at all.

    That said, I have no opinion about *most* puzzles. Except for yesterday's puzzle (and generally all of that constructor's puzzles), I just do the puzzle because it's what I do in the morning with my first cup of coffee and enjoy the process. Then I come here and match my internal review with Rex's. Sometimes it lines up and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes he words it strongly, sometimes he sort of skirts the issue and gets out the kid gloves. Either way, it's just a puzzle and Rex is just a blogger. Hardly worth getting worked up about.

    (Except for DS puzzles...they piss me off.)


    Maruchka 9:22 AM  

    And what are ADINS, please? Is this a tennis word?

    Anonymous 9:31 AM  

    That's some ruddy good kippling @ 1:07 a.m.

    Dorothy Biggs 9:40 AM  

    @Maruchka: ADIN (a tennis term) is when the ADvantage is to the server at game point (40-40) since you have to win by two. So two players are tied at 40, the server wins the next serve and they are now one serve away from winning the game...ADIN. If the server *loses* the serve then the advantage goes to the other player (ADout).

    That is kind of a clumsy explanation, but I'm sure you can google it as well.

    joho 9:51 AM  

    @Rex, I LOL at your opening remark. You are in rare form today. I don't agree with your overall take on thus puzzle but I always look for the 1A/1D opening corner to be strong so your point (ADIN?) is well taken.

    My biggest complaint about this is it's too easy. My only writeover was cOW to SOW. But still I enjoyed the theme and was happy we got a 4th of July puzzle after all ... a couple of days late doesn't bother me a bit. And like @chefwen I learned something: BRITISHPUBSONG and PRISONEREXCHANGE.

    Favorite clue: "It's bound to be turned" for PAGE.

    Thanks, Daniel!

    Unknown 9:51 AM  

    1:27. Easy medium. Lucky guess at TITI/ISERE cross. 20 minutes on NW corner as I had melOn SOnaTTI masking DISCI, which made ADINS unseeable. Finally, I channeled @jae and ripped out all but NEOPHYTE and EIGHTEEN.... Then ADINS appeared, which allowed DISCI, and I finished with BIDET. (Aha!) Could not have done it without you guys, day in, day out. :)

    AMBIT is new. DeO for DIO slowed me down.

    Mohair Sam 9:57 AM  

    @susan Mcconnell - "I hope I never become such and elite cruciverbalist that I lose the capacity to enjoy a fun puzzle like this one."

    Well said. I think Will Shortz's strength is that he remembers he's editing for a much broader public - this puzzle was indeed fun.

    Anybody else have SAnta before SATAN? Talk about polar opposites. And I thought the PUBSONG was stolen from the BANNER, live and learn.

    Lots of words we don't normally see in crosswords (NEOPHYTE, FACTOTUM, ESCAROLE, i.e.) added to the enjoyment.

    Thanks Daniel Bryant.

    Anonymous 10:14 AM  

    Would have found a way to include VANESSA WILLIAMS and RENEE FLEMING. The two best ever renditions, in my opinion.

    OISK 10:36 AM  

    Best renditions for me, Robert Merrill, and Michael Amonte - Renee Fleming is great, but I prefer a male rendition of that song. Didn't mention earlier while I was grousing about my Natick, that this was really a very cute, clever puzzle despite my own DNF.

    Leapfinger 10:47 AM  

    Loved the muito elegante solfege, filled them all in after the second one, and sang them through a few times. A great gAMBIT. Also learned about the anthem's source; the original Anacreontic Song itself is on YouTube, pretty wild, and not what you'd expect aPEERIN in a PUB SONG.

    Must say I'll have a new appreciation next time I approach Fort McHenry when driving north on 1-95. As it is, I always move over two lanes to the right, so I can slow down a bit, sneke a peke at what's docked in the shipyards.

    Favourite entry came in at 12A; my first summer job in the Genetics Dept at McGill, they couldn't pay me much, so made it up with a fancy title: General FACTOTUM. The duties? Developing film and making prints, field trips to Mt. Royal to catch grasshoppers (females only) and flies, assorted errandry and lots and lots of washing glassware. Throw in some trips to Smuggler's Notch to go shrooming, and it adds up to an excellent summer.

    I also have a very old BIDET story, but really don't know all of you well enough.

    BLISTer and ORIOLE crossing BALTIMORE, me too.

    Enjoyed the ESCAROLE after the recent ESCARGOT {"Look at that S-CAR ROLL!"), but ENRON Hubbard, not so much. I keep looking at NOIRON and making it NOIR-ON-
    blanc. Thought 'money in hand would tend to be warm rather than COLD CASH, but maybe I'm not grasping something.

    Only write-over was HEMAL --> HEMIC, and thought Dr. Dan's training also shone through with 'birth places' being UTERI...'E must 'ave 'AD OB in his background, 'ad to be thinking Caesareans.

    My WHIRRED, maybe RNC-UNC-GNC WHIRR a bit much, esp with the SOL-GASOL-CLAIROL folderOL, but they added to the humour and overOL ECLAT.

    Thanks, Dr. Dan!

    chefbea 10:52 AM  

    @Mohair Sam I had santa at first

    JenCT 10:53 AM  

    @NCA President 9:16 - Well said!

    Many, many years ago, my Mom broke her leg at Val d'ISERE; she enjoyed telling us about her frustration at trying to communicate her injury to the other skiers that just schussed by her.

    Off to finish watching Federer/Djokovic.

    Anonymous 10:57 AM  

    Yser is a river in Belgium, the ISERE is in France. You know it makes Belgians sadder BudYser to be mistaken for French.

    Anonymous 10:57 AM  

    Enjoyed the puzzle, esp the notes on the staff- it was fun and clever.

    Although I do agree with OFL on some of his points, it didn't bother me as much...or that it appeared on July 6.

    There seems to be a hidden message in 99A, but I hope he doesn't! He's the reason we come here.

    JFC 10:59 AM  

    I think @Rex has a reasonable complaint about the fill. The timing, less so, since this is a long patriotic weekend.

    So, I'm not put off by his review, at least any more than I often am.

    What is troubling is his statement: "I was done in well under 10 despite knowing nothing about the national anthem besides FRANCIS SCOTT KEY."

    I'm not as troubled by his lack of knowledge of fundamental American history as his attitude. It's as though he is proud about being so ignorant about US heritage. That is IMO the truly sad part of his review....


    Norm 11:00 AM  

    22A is all this puzzle did for me. Easy and boring at the same time.

    GILL I. 11:11 AM  

    @Rex: Johnny Cash looks like he's giving the middle finger!
    I enjoyed this puzzle lots. It felt easy and pleasurable at the same time.
    Learned about PRISONER EXCHANGE which took the longest time for me to get because I spelled the sherry town Jerez...
    ADINS doesn't bother but HEMIC sound like something you'd use the BIDET for. Oh, and DISCI sound yummy.
    @Mohair Sam: hand up for SANTA. Doesn't seem right to have St Nick all SATAN like.
    We're leaving in about an hour to travel the long, dry, boring I-5 to a very hot Sacramento. We've been spoiled by balmy San Diego weather, good food, happy rich people....[sigh] I must play the lottery
    See you back home.

    r.alphbunker 11:17 AM  

    I respectfully disagree with @RP on the puzzle of the week. There was something dull-normalish about the Berry puzzle. I thought yesterday's Saturday Stumper deserved the honor. There were two answers that were clued so brilliantly that even though I had them right I was not able to understand why until I knew they were correct. Sort of a psychological DNF.

    Anyway this gave me an idea for a runtpuz. What if I were to inject those two answers into a runtpuz like genetic engineers do with genes and organisms. The result is here:


    The material from the Saturday Stumper is marked (SS).

    @M and A
    Do you think a runtpuz will ever get Puzzle of the Week?

    Ludyjynn 11:21 AM  

    @GeorgeB is correct re the puzzle's timeliness; @Rex is not.

    FYI, everyone, September 13 is Defenders Day in Maryland, at which time a spectacular fireworks display is scheduled to take place over Ft. McHenry and the Baltimore Harbor. In honor of the battle and the Anthem, a 10 day festival of special events at the Fort will run from 9/10-9/16/14. Should be fabulous!

    Thanks, DCB and WS.

    Z 11:25 AM  

    The July 3rd rendition at the Tiger game was pretty darn good, but the best rendition I ever saw was years ago, also at Comerica Park, when the Jazz Festival was in town. Four horns doing a jazz influenced version... so good that words fail me. I also remember that WOOD-TV used to sign-off (remember when stations used to sign-off?) with Jimi's version.

    Theme - Good, Fill - Ugh. I didn't find this particularly easy because of the fill. FACTOTUM? ASTOR (read clue as five letter rich guy), Cross Rivers ISERE and EBOLA, the foreign language SE (YENTA, POSTE, NISAN, and ESCAROLE (Canadian for endive)), the inside joke cluing of ILLER. There were two crossings I found amusing, ARIEL/ELENA and BALTIMORE/ORIOLE. Cute.

    @George Barany - I am generally agnostic on celebration puzzles - close is good enough for me and Sunday of the long weekend is plenty close enough - so no need for such a streeeetccched justification.

    As for OFL bashing constructors - please read more carefully what the man actually writes. He is tough on puzzles and he is often tough on editing, but he rarely even obliquely bashes constructors. My own hypothesis on why people often feel as though he is bashing constructors is that we are not very good at separating the person from the work. And yes, I, too, had bad feelings towards this puzzle as I wrote in AD INS.

    chefbea 11:27 AM  

    @Mohair Sam I had santa at first

    Anonymous 11:44 AM  

    I frankly don't give a rat's patootie what Rex says about the puzzle. I aced it and that's what counts in my HS educated mind. You can take your crazy rebus themes and flush them, just let me use the knowledge I've gained over 76 years and enjoy the occasional success.
    That said, I appreciate having this site to visit each Sunday morn and learn something.

    Fred Romagnolo 12:06 PM  

    @Casco: think of DIO as rhyming with "mio" as in O Sole Mio, that makes it Italian rather than Latin. @Anon 10:14: Fleming's finale is overwhelming. @Marushka: you put the "do" first because it appears in the puzzle first, but looking at it visually as sheet-music the SOL comes first. ALTAIR was used recently, and it was pointed out that that was the name of the heroine in "Forbidden Planet."@Leapfinger: my address is fromagnolo@att.net; tell me your BIDET story. I thought today's was a brilliant themed puzzle; especially with the sheet-music touch. My many years teaching American history allowed me to race through it, but I naticked at GASOL/ESL.

    JenCT 12:22 PM  

    @Gill I.P. - Your HEMIC comment made me LOL

    jdv 12:33 PM  

    Easy. I thought the fill was a little below average and the theme a little above average for a Sunday. The NW was the most difficult. Like @Kerfuffle, I had DISCS and was unsure if 1d was ABASE or ABASH, which made EIGHTEENFOURTEEN difficult to see. STRETTI didn't help either. I wouldn't mind seeing a ban on all 57a clues. It's hard enough recalling a celebrity's name; his or her birth name is a bridge too far.

    Hartley70 12:39 PM  

    I liked Friday, but my puzzle of the week goes to that Saturday torture chamber. Hours and hours of deliciousness!

    I really got a pleasant kick out of this puzzle. PAGE had a charming clue. The notes were a great bonus and I learned that there was to be a prisoner exchange...all good. In the vocal department, Whitney was fantastic, but Renee Fleming gave me goosebumps! All in all a perfect Sunday, designed to entertain and instruct in a chaise without taking over the whole day. Thanks!

    Leapfinger 1:03 PM  

    @jdv, 57A-type clues aren't *really* clues; they're arcane enough trivia to function more like a mere hint. After you fill the entry via the crosses, you get to check back and say, "Yeah, that works".

    The only things I knew about LENO were his chin, his many cars, and the Conan O'Brian dust-up.

    @Fred Roma, lol, I may do, but hope you won't be disappointed; the story is 100% RATEDG.

    Leapfinger 1:22 PM  

    @r.alph, did fine, until it took me about 3 minutes to fill in the last letter @3. [I don't buy a car that often.] Guess it's curtains for me, will need to take a taxi home.

    Elegantly devious, I agree

    Ludyjynn 1:56 PM  

    Typo alert: MD Defenders Day is 9/12, but there will be a weekend's worth of related activities, including the fireworks extravaganza I mentioned on 9/13.

    Tall ships arrive on 9/10 and depart on 9/16 from the Inner Harbor and environs. I believe you can board many of them, as during previous visits to town.

    Major flag-raising ceremony w/ dignitaries is at the Fort on the 200th anniversary, 9/14.

    And lots of other cool activities.
    Check out numerous websites.

    mac 1:58 PM  

    Not too easy for me, just too big, as most Sunday puzzles are.

    Love Oriole crossing Baltimore and for once noticed it myself; cow before saw.

    I got B-list because of the crosses, but I had read Rex's write-up and some of the comments before I parsed "blist" right. Really thought here was a verb I hadn't heard of.

    Masked and UnonymoUs 2:03 PM  

    @63: DISCI Fever -- U gotta catch it, dude. NW corner was at the end of the path of least resistance, for m&e. It was the last area to fall, in the puz's upper latitudes.

    Tense moments...
    1. ?NC x ?ASOL. Guessed the good G guess.
    2. ?AAR x ?OW. Guessed C. Ow.
    3. Spellin YOKOHAMA and ESCAROLE. The stress definitely left me with some major HEMIC GASOL.

    fave weejects: AON. BAI. EDA. EOS.

    I'd tend to give the M&A NYT puz of the week award to this one. Seems like a lotta work, to get somethin like this to work, at all. Can see why it took em a coupla extra days, to whup it into shape. Better late than never, man. Just Oh Sayin...

    @r.alph: Two things:
    1. TITI! License to go nuts, mon amigo.
    2. To answer your Q: maybe. Once PB1, BEQ, Jeff Chen and CC all start contributin runtpuzs, it could happen.

    Off on the big vacation trip, for a while. Some things for y'all to contemplate, in M&A's absence...
    1. Potential for a Runtpuz of the Week, awarded by @63. (Assumin he ever deigns to lay eyepits on em, that is. There may be a fear of addiction, happenin, there.)
    2. navel.
    3. Have each of U done everything U can, as a citizen of our planet, to keep up with the Kardashians?

    Food for thaut.


    r.alphbunker 3:34 PM  

    @M and A

    TI {Breast reduction?}

    TI {Tiny Tim?}

    Z 3:40 PM  

    @Masked Man - It's an easy pneumatic device - if it's a cross river it is SAAR, if it is what a cow drives it is a CAAR (double wide for proper bovine ergonomics).

    M and Also 3:51 PM  

    High Quality stumpy stumper = today's r.untpuz, btw.
    Keep up them runtwork standards. Dare to be desperate.

    Re: SunPuz. Hey, it's a holiday weekend -- so really, the theme still works for me, as published today. It's a mainly patriotic theme, more than an Independence Day-based theme, in any case. Shoot. What could be more patriotic than British pub songs, after all?

    O, the eyepits' red glare...
    The darts partin yer hair...
    Gave proof thru the night,
    That our flagon'd gone bare...

    Miss U folks, already.


    Benko 4:01 PM  

    Like@rex, this puzzle lost me right away. ADINS and DISCI to start made me groan. Least favorite NYT in quite a while.

    Numinous 4:42 PM  

    This one left me kind of cold, Yeah, I learned a bit and I liked some of the entries pretty much in keeping with @Rex.

    With the LAT gone missing from Cruciverb.com, I decided to make another runt. Should be pretty easy:


    So now it's on to Monday.

    AliasZ 4:44 PM  

    @JFC, the public display of patriotic feelings or outwardly expression of interest in our country's history are not everyone's strong suit, and in fact may be considered uncool by some.

    No one can fully appreciate THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER until hearing this moving rendition by the world famous baritone Enrico Pallazzo.

    Anonymous 5:25 PM  

    Mah Momma din't raise no dummies. Ah kin tail wen Ah bin led dahn tha garding path.

    Anonymous 5:31 PM  

    I tried singing the entire song in solfege but I can't find the 11th note - the "ly" of early.

    Anonymous 5:36 PM  

    Thought 3D would be spelt like 'day-um'

    jae 5:39 PM  

    @r.ralph - I respectfully agree with your comment on the Fri. puzzle. "Dull-normalish" -- well put.

    Norm 6:03 PM  

    Anonymous@5:31 -- Isn't it a "fi"? The grid wasn't big enough for it.

    Norm 6:09 PM  

    Oh ... and it's at 12D -- which is what I was trying to say about the grid. And, I forgot to express my amazement earlier today at Rex's "praise" for "titi" -- which I would think is an example of old crosswordese that I love and that usually calls down his wrath. I am verily confused.

    Mohair Sam 6:31 PM  

    I rank somewhere beneath a NEOPHYTE (is that possible?) concerning puzzle construction.

    I was surprised that Patrick Berry's Friday was puzzle of the week, but I feared stating so. But I've drawn a little courage from @jae and @r.alph. Yeah, the great (not being facetious) Patrick Berry had an off day (for him) on Friday - that weren't the puzz of the week. Rex is a baseball nut - he gave Babe Ruth player of the week for going 9 for 30 with 3 doubles and 4 RBI's.

    Lori S 6:44 PM  

    My problem with this puzzle was with the title (and forgive me if someone else has mentioned this; I skimmed the other comments but did not read each in detail.) I think the title completely gave away the theme. I was able to fill in waaaay too much right off the bat, and that made it just not as much fun as it could have been with a theme that was tougher to catch onto. Just my two cents!

    RAD2626 6:55 PM  

    Renee Fleming did a masterful job at the Super Bowl this year. That was not, however, her first public anthem. She sang the anthem in the 2003 World Series and - despite being able to perform entire operas in who knows how many languages - flubbed a line. It was stunning but she quickly recovered and finished brilliantly.

    Roger Ebert 7:20 PM  

    I hope I never become such an elite cinephile that I lose my capacity to enjoy a movie like "Ishtar".

    Anonymous 7:43 PM  

    I'm betting that @Roger Ebert is OFL in disguise. Any takers?

    Mohair Sam 7:51 PM  

    @Anon 7:43 - I had the same thought. Tell OFL that Ebert, like most elite cinefiles, hated the wonderful "Snatch" too.

    NYer 8:36 PM  

    Can someone explain 79D (AON) to me?

    chefbea 9:13 PM  

    @NYer 79D get an A on is 77D Ace

    Mohair Sam 9:17 PM  

    @NYer: Get an "A on" a test. A grade, related to 77d "ACE".

    LaneB 9:29 PM  

    Agree with Rex save the "easy" designation. The puzzle and clues just irritated me, and I labored much too long over the effing thing despite the STARSPANGLEDBANNER stuff being pretty easy. Too much 3-letter junk. Sorry. I know how hard it is to do the construction, having been rejected a few times.

    lawprof 9:30 PM  

    For those of you who do the puzzle in ink, do you sometimes see a spreading ink blob on the page? or a randomly scrawled line across the grid? That's where you fell asleep, right? I got to this one late in the day after a long bike ride, and found myself dozing off from time to time. If there was a way of timing myself during my waking moments, this was probably a pretty fast Sunday. But including the naps, my time was on the slow side. Not sayin' this one was boring; just not sayin' nothin'.

    My initial "general servant" was adjutant (which fits!). Took a long time, a few crosses and a couple of doze-offs (dozes off?) to see FACTOTUM.

    Also got hung up for a while on the year the SSB was composed (had thirTEENTH) and its source (had englISH), which made me nod off (again).

    'Nother writeover: BlackBELT before BROWNBELT. Isn't the former the higher level?

    Anyway, [yawn]....zzzzzzz.....

    Steve J 11:48 PM  

    @AliasZ: Fantastic link to the great Enrico Palazzo. One of my favorites.

    @r.alphbunker/@jae/@Mohair Sam: No argument here. As I commented Friday: "But let's not get carried away here. This was simply an average Berry, not an amazing one (granted, average Berry is a cut above most everything else)."

    @Anon 7:43/@Mohair Sam: Rex has never been afraid to dish out the snark under his own name in the past. It's unlikely he'd hide behind a (further) pseudonym.

    @George Barany: Missed your comment last night on the timing of the puzzle. With the 200th anniversary still two months away, it's a real stretch to think that this puzzle is an early tribute. Rather, it's one of the two nearest theme-puzzle days to the holiday, and part of the Independence Day weekend. As such, it fits (and I don't agree with @Rex's comment that it's late). The simpler explanation is usually the better one.

    Anonymous 3:47 PM  

    Contrary to 40-Across, the tune of the SSB is NOT NOT NOT borrowed from a “British Pub Song”. That’s a myth created by 19th Century writers who hadn’t done any research. The primary evidence is readily available, even on the Internet. The Anacreon Club held their meetings in a pub, but it was a cultural club and they didn’t get together to booze up. Moreover, they weren't singing “To Anacreon in Heaven” together, but a professional vocal soloist did it. After dinner the entertainment would include a renowned professional singer would sing a classical solo – that’s the context in which the song was sung. A fairly accurate description is in an article on the SSB in the Sunday Times of the last weekend of June. My only issue with that article is that Lichtenwanger’s ascription of the tune to Smith refers to a print in which it was blatantly called an "arrangement", which Lichtenwanger knew but ignored. In reality, the composer of the tune remains unknown. Back to the point, the clue is false: it's not a "pub song", in the sense of being a singalong, just the opposite.

    Z 6:48 PM  

    @Anonymous 3:47 - Hmmm - it looks The Anacreon Club had drinking on their minds, at least according to The Colonial Music Institute and Straight Dope. The latter source even gives The Crown Anchor Tavern as the site of the tune's premier. Sure sounds like a BRITISH PUB SONG to me. Funny how the meaning of "Gentlemen's Club" hasn't really changed much in 230 years. Of course, these days mud wrestling and midget tossing have replaced singing about wanting to get drunk and screw. Or maybe I'm just not understanding "And besides I'll instruct you like me, to intwine,
    The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine."

    Darby 7:54 PM  

    I feel the same way and will act accordingly. Thanks for saying it.

    Darby 7:58 PM  

    What I am amazed at is what Rex gets stumped on! Anyway, I guess as it's his blog he can rant any way he wants. I'm, as they say, "outie".

    fatima 7:15 AM  

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    Dr. E. G. McK 8:28 AM  

    I almost never agree with Rex (it took me 3 days to solve this puzzle – typical for me– but I usually finish!). But I love seeing his point of view and those of the other commentators. I agree about Fox – but hey, democracy isn't at stake here. Keep it up, Rex!

    Anonymous 4:06 PM  

    generally annoying, relatively easy

    Diana 8:20 PM  

    unlike Rex, I liked the easy theme fill. I thought the solfeggio very clever, I guess because Although I knew it was going to be the opening notes, it didn't seem to fit the melody because I was looking at it the wrong way (ie. top to bottom - do sol sol mi mi do, when I should have been looking at it as though it were on a STAFF) When it clicked - that brought a smile. The crossword was pretty easy but for some reason I got stuck on Ivyleague which made me question the British portion of Britishpubsong. And yes adins was stupid as was iller.

    JenCT 9:04 PM  

    Well, @miss fatima pretty much covered everything....

    Anonymous 5:47 PM  

    Factotum: There's a good example in "Only Lovers Left Alive" (recent highbrow vampire movie).

    Anonymous 6:10 PM  

    Rex is about as stingy with praise as flinty old miser. Must have been childhood trauma.

    spacecraft 12:14 PM  

    Solving this puzzle was an ordeal not unlike that of Old Glory during the battle night of Key's poem. ADINS? AON? NOIRON? ONKP? This stuff is gettable, but the clues sure don't help much.

    That's the problem. Theme material is all a given (well, except maybe the PRISONEREXCHANGE bit, a fact I never knew), but the fill. Ye gods, the fill! XERES??? Are you serious? And who besides investor nuts--who never get their noses out of MSNBC to lead an actual life--would know RONAN?

    The only cutesy thing about the whole grid is BALTIMORE crossing ORIOLE. The notes? big deal. How hard is it to insert two- and three-letter segments?

    The off-date doesn't bother me; it's a 21x21, so Sunday it must be. I guess he could have just waited three years...yeah, right. But I would like a bit more of a PLEASER for this tribute.

    HISORHER? Please tell me you're kidding.

    6417: a winner!

    Dirigonzo 3:41 PM  

    Curiosity led me to PEEkIN earl-on and by the time I came back around to that section to fill in a few blank squares I wound up with SMEAkY mascara. I spent a while staring at that non-word before I came here to see what it meant. Oh, SMEARY - never mind.

    Can't match @spacy's natural.

    Anonymous 9:17 PM  

    Critiques are more interesting than praise, and Rex does praise constructors fairly often. Also, when pointing out natives, etc. it gives those of us who struggle the ability to save a bit of face in knowing the problems aren't wholly our own lack of intelligence or mental agility.
    Keep the Kvetch Alive!

    Anonymous 9:18 PM  

    Oops naticks, that is!
    Spellcheck, schmellcheck!

    Anonymous 9:20 PM  

    Hehe! Kudos!

    Anonymous 9:25 PM  

    Byeeee! Don't let the door hitcha
    Where yo momma splitcha!

    Anonymous 9:30 PM  


    Unknown 9:55 AM  

    Can someone fill me in on what "natick" means? I'm new here and curious..is this some kind of cool crossword-people term? Thanks! (Also having trouble signing in with my Google account so please forgive if this comment, or a similar one, got posted twice.:/)

    FAQ 10:03 AM  

    @Gloria Fontayne - You should visit the FAQ page for the answer to your question and many others.

    michael 9:57 AM  

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    Unknown 5:17 AM  

    Thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family?

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    Are you passing through any of these problems,




























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    Unknown 11:27 AM  

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