Title hunter of 1922 film / SUN 12-14-14 / Full complement for Quidditch team / Closest friend slangily / Korda who directed Sahara / Flux 2005 sci-fi film

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Constructor: Jim Peredo

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Well, Golly!" — "Gee" sound added to familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, clued wackily ("?"-style)

Theme answers:
  • KITTY LITURGY (23A: Religious rituals for cats?)
  • KANJI ARTIST (42A: Master of Japanese writing?)
  • WEIRD ALGAE (52A: Strange pond scum?)
  • GENIE JERK REACTION (67A: "Grant your own damn wishes," e.g.?)
  • BEE GEE LINE (87A: "How deep is your love?" or "You should be dancing"?)
  • GPS, I LOVE YOU (93A: Comment from a driver who finally reached his destination?)
  • OH, DARJEELING (115A: Surprised comment upon rummaging through a tea chest?)

Word of the Day: ZOLTAN Korda (26D: Korda who directed "Sahara") —
Zoltan Korda (3 June 1895 – 13 October 1961) was a Hungarian-born motion picturescreenwriterdirector and producer. He made his first film in Hungary in 1918, and worked with his brother Alexander Korda on filmmaking there and in London. They both moved to the United States in 1940 to Hollywood and the American film industry. […]  In 1940, Zoltan Korda joined his brother Alexander in HollywoodLos Angeles, California. Working through United Artists, he served as executive producer of The Thief of Bagdad. Zoltan Korda spent the rest of his life in southern California. He made another seven films, including the acclaimed 1943 World War II drama, Sahara (1943), for which he wrote the screenplay. It starred Humphrey Bogart. His films included A Woman's Vengeance (1947) with Charles Boyer and Jessica Tandy. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is the oldest theme in the book—or one of them—but it's mostly redeemed by a couple of features: genuinely funny theme answers, and a fairly wide open, fairly clean grid. I have to say that just this week, the overall fill quality of the puzzles appears to have taken at least a slight upturn. I haven't seen an avalanche of crud all week, that I can recall. I don't know if this is an anomaly, but I hope not. Perhaps there will be a renewed sense of commitment to polish. One can hope.

This is not the most contemporary of grids. Most of the fill feels like it could've come straight out of the era in which one might've said "Well, Golly" unironically. Even the internet slang (NETIZENS) feels dated. Still, though, we're not talking about bad dated. We're just talking about a lack of contemporary reference, which is fine if most of the answers are well-known words or phrases, one that people of any generation might know and use. I do want to give props to BESTIE, though—a nice little modern flourish. There's only one teensy glitch in the theme, and that's that you have to change the stress of the phrase pronunciation when you add the "gee" sound in GENIE JERK REACTION. "Knee" goes from stressed to unstressed syllable. This (admittedly minor) change doesn't happen with the others. It almost happens with DARJEELING, but I think of that word as (oddly) having three equally stressed syllables. Am I in the woods here, in the minutiae, chasing fireflies as they (don't) say? But it's true, none of those other added "gee" sounds change the stress of the original phrase. Consider it an observation rather than a criticism.

[Two of the base phrases are Beatles songs—can you find the other?]

Trouble? Some. Not much. ZOLTAN and JALAPA (exotic proper nouns both) were unknown to me, so there was some effort required in the NE. I had to scan the whole grid to find my error at DIPS / DOODLER. I had TIPS / TOODLER. I couldn't make any sense of the DOODLER clue (66D: Many a bored student). I had TODDLER at one point. I also couldn't process 103A: Arsenal workers (ARMORERS), as I now know Arsenal primarily / exclusively as an English Premiere League football team, and thus briefly couldn't remember what "arsenal" even meant. Even picturing the damn cannon logo of the football team, I couldn't remember. I had ARBORERS at one point, that's how far I'd lost the thread. Also, 121A: "Just ___" left me blank. And I had AS-. "Just a se-"? "Just as I…"? Not (for me) an easy FITB. Anyway, overall, nice little diversion. Simple theme, pleasantly executed. Nothing stunning, but not a faceplant, either.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Whirred Whacks 12:03 AM  

    Good, fun puzzle. Liked the theme a lot -- especially WEIRD ALGAE and KANJI ARTIST.

    The saddest answer, for me, was SONY (106D: "Electronics giant").
    Of course, the computer hack of Sony Pictures has been in the news for the past 10 days or so. I'll let others comment on the violation of employees' private health records and the contents of the execs' emails (will any of them receive the Paula DEEN treatment?).

    What saddens me is a report in today's WSJ that Sony may be getting out of the business of manufacturing television sets. Sony has lost over $7.1 billion in the past decade selling TVs, and their world market share has DIPped below 8%. I remember the first Trinitron I (proudly) purchased back I the mid-1970s. "It's a Sony!"

    I wonder if Sony will be an answer for "Electronics giant" in 2020. As Peter Drucker put it: "Every right idea is eventually the wrong idea."


    @wreck @jae @Horace @Hartley70 @MohairSam @Teedmn @Fred R and others:
    Thanks for your kind remarks yesterday about my entering into grandparent-hood. Should be fun!

    George NYC 12:16 AM  

    Was bothered a bit by KITTYLITURGY as KITTY keeps the same meaning and makes sense in both answers.

    Steve J 12:18 AM  

    On a 1-10 scale with excellent on one end and terrible on the other, this was about as firm a 5 as I can recall. Literally nothing bugged me, and literally nothing wowed me. Average difficulty, too.

    Anonymous 12:20 AM  

    kinda cute....one wrong letter.....c-oltan stead of z-oltan...that's irksome.

    Colby 12:30 AM  

    Anyone else put in DONNE instead of DANTE making STOOP become SNOOP instead?

    Questinia 12:35 AM  

    I did.

    jae 12:36 AM  

    Easy-medium for me except for the DNF.  Did not KANJI nor JALAPA and went with the theme and guessed G.  Been a while since my last one.

    Mostly liked it, but the theme answers seem a bit ragged with some sounding like the original phrase when the G is subtracted...KITTY LITURGYand others literally the original phrase minus the G...GPS I LOVE YOU, OH DARJEELING. 

    Tear up before TATTER and duvet before LINEN. 

    WOEs: LEAL and the aforementioned DNF cross.

    Anonymous 12:42 AM  

    Yeah, me too with DONNE, SNOOP (which made sense), and ZOLTON (which is just as familiar to me as ZOLTAN).

    I guess that makes it DNF. Most of the puzzle was done quickly, but then I got stuck for a while around BEEGEELINE. Then when I thought I was finished it wasn't correct, and I couldn't for the life of me find anything wrong until Rex posted and I saw the DONNE/DANTE error.

    paulsfo 1:22 AM  

    Loved the clue for SOOT.

    paulsfo 1:27 AM  

    oh, I've been meaning to pose this question. Which movie shows the word "Natick" on screen for several seconds (no fair Googling!)?
    And no, it's not a crossword movie.

    chefwen 2:28 AM  

    Loved this one and had quite a few giggles as the long ones revealed themselves. As one who has a hard time finding her way out of a paper bag "GPS I LOVE YOU" was the winner.

    OH DARJELING was my tripping up point and the last to fill, but I really enjoyed the whole puzzle.
    Thanks Jim Peredo and Will.

    Brian B 3:06 AM  

    I was surprised not to see a comment on a feature of the theme answers: The added "gee" sound is spelled differently in each one (GY, JI, GAE, GE, GEE, G, JEE). That couldn't have been easy to pull off, and it shows a commitment to craftsmanship.

    Thomas808 3:35 AM  

    Pretty great to clue WEIRDALGAE with "Strange pond scum". That's exactly the gross kind of stuff he uses for lyrics. His song "Livin' in the Fridge" (a parody of "Livin' on the Edge" by Aerosmith) is described by Wikipedia as "a cautionary tale about expired food gaining sentience." I'm thinking Weird Al wrote the Wiki entry himself. Haha!

    I really enjoyed the puzzle. Solved BEEGEELINES and with the puzzle title figured to be looking for a GEE in every theme. Then tackled OHDARJEELING but resisted because I thought I needed a GEE not JEE. Went outside to go mow the lawn and had an aha. Great theme.

    I really like that the "gee" sound is accomplished with seven different spellings in the seven different themes, GY, GAE, JI, GE, GEE, G, and JEE. That's pretty cool.

    'mericans in Paris 3:50 AM  

    Easy to medium for us, with lots of over-writes.

    Agree with Whirred Whacks' assessment (congratulations, by the way). Loved WEIRD ALGAE, but had to explain that to Mrs. 'mericans, who also, like jae, wanted duvet before LINEN.

    Unlike some of the recent Sundays, the theme answers weren't give-aways. Because the G sounds were spelled differently in each case, and appeared in different places in the phrases, one had to work at them.

    Like Whirred Whacks, I too felt a pang entering SONY. The giant is aging. We still have a Trinitron, but it cuts off the sides when playing DVDs (or reduces the film to a narrow band), so we'll have to replace it eventually.

    Finally, in answer to @paulsfo challenge, could the film be "Jaws"?

    Ellen S 4:04 AM  

    @paulsfo, is it "Next Stop Wonderland"?

    I enjoyed the puzzle. Good fun, even though I also had DoNnE instead of DANTE. Still, felt like my brain was getting a proper workout, and really liked the theme answers.

    paulsfo 4:17 AM  

    @'Mericans in Paris and @Ellen S.
    Not 'Jaws', not "Next Stop, Wonderland" (as far as I know, anyway. I know of one film; I can't guarentee there aren't others).
    Rather than go way over the three-and-out rule, I'll do this. If someone answers correctly, as a reply to today column, then I'll respond (note that I'm on the West Coast so it might be afternoon in the East before I see the next big batch of comments).
    Otherwise I'll post the answer (and try to figure out how to make a link to a picture) next Sunday.

    John Child 4:24 AM  

    Tougher than the average Sunday for me, and more fun too. I had interconnecting answers and clusters all over the grid before I found Darjeeling by pattern and then the OH on the front. "What's that?" sez I to I.

    It cleared up when I went back to other themes and saw the kitty cat. But I pick a wee nit with the sound in Darjeeling. @Rex is exactly right that the word has three equally-stressed syllables, but the middle one isn't GEE, quite. It's like a French G, as in the name Gigi. A couple of (US) online dictionaries with audio give it as a GEE sound, so no foul.

    Carrental looks like a place on the Mediterranean coast, and dialaride belongs in a chemical formula.

    Questinia 5:32 AM  

    I did manage to detect the DANTE/DoNnE error but like @ jae DNF but with an *x*.


    It doesn't even conform to the theme.

    I have to blame it on the infamous Fish House Punch I liberally libated. But dang. It was worth it.

    Danp 5:47 AM  

    Agree with @I to I above:) Tough but fun. The theme clues sounded like plausible things rather than the usual forced nonsense. And the answers were quite clever.

    @paulsfo - Mystic River?

    I have never heard ANALOGUE used in the "Tofurky to turkey" sense, but if the dictionary says it's so, it must be so.

    Unknown 6:06 AM  

    I think the answer "BEEGEELINE" is weak because the group was called "The BeeGees", not "The BeeGee". You could tortuously rationalize that an individual member was a BeeGee and sang the line, but that is what makes it weak.

    GILL I. 6:12 AM  

    Just finished watching "Jersey Boys" and then I'm doing the puzzle and PATTI PAGE is jumpin at me with her How Much is that Dogee in the Window... and I got as excited as my first visit to an A AND P.
    Loved it...I don't care how many times or how old this theme may be but when you have ANTIPASTO and GOOP in it, I'll love it!
    JALAPA is just plain cruel though...You need that X in there up at the top - like when you sign your name...
    Good fun, Jim...!

    Bob Kerfuffle 6:35 AM  

    Very good, fun puzzle.

    24 D, LEAL, was an unknown to me, though gettable from crosses. Over at Amy's, Jim Peredo says he would like to have changed it but couldn't.

    chefbea 7:37 AM  

    Good puzzle. Several googles needed. Couldn't remember how to spell darjeeling.

    Leapfinger 8:23 AM  

    @JChild, dialaride is not far from telluride.

    Am thinking 'tofurkey to turkey' is more digital than analogue.

    Are we Dante The Wire -or- Donne to The Wire? oops, sorry, that was yesterday.

    I began with 1A wondering if the 'bed cover' was MULCH or SHEET at first. Then later, in that BeeGees clue, I saw that as HITS instead of LINES, but 'or' needed it singular, so that turned it to BEEGEES' HIT. So you see, that SHEET came back to haunt me.

    Started the theme slightly awry, thinking of Kiddie Liter-ature, but the memory of the Many Litter Boxes I've scooped soon put me right. Thought the array was Gee-Whiz Bang, and most made me laugh. I LOVE my GPS so much, sometimes I wind her up just for her company, and Oh yes, DarJEEling was just my cup of tea. Could I ever tell you stories about WEIRD ALGAE...!!

    Elsewhere,aMUNG others, I enjoyed the naughty little Pen TAD crossing his venerable Tetra GRAM. @WWhacks, you'll soon have that pleasure, and you'll love it! Fun also to run the cordon of Kordas, all talented.

    Did everyone notice the DIPSy DOODLER?

    Joe Pee, I won't write you any PROEMS for this one, but just say Thanks for NANOOK and OTTAWA, and for a fun solve with not ONE IOTA of GOOP. Could I ASK for anything more?

    Leapfinger 8:38 AM  

    @Bob K, didn't Evan B just give us some fill about 'keeping it LEAL, Bro'?

    I had to look up the Ovitz one about John le CARRE 'N' TAL.

    allan 8:39 AM  

    I liked this one a lot. I think the title is off though, having a hard 'G', while all the themers had a soft 'G'. Unless the title was meant as a pun on Well, Olly from Laurel and Hardy. Any thoughts on that?

    Z 9:06 AM  

    @Leapy - I went from sheet to water at 1A, so I went from the right bed to the wrong bed.

    @Colby - Yep.

    @GeorgeNYC - Litter doesn't though, and that's the word sense that needs to change. This was my last themer because the "-GY" wasn't registering as a Gee sound alteration for some reason.

    @Whirred Whacks - I recall seeing a list of the Top 10 corporations (by stock price or capitalization I think) by decade. What was most surprising to me at the time was how much turnover there was and how many no longer existed.

    As for the email thing, at one of the earliest administrators' meeting I ever attended, back in my assistant principal days, my superintendent made the emphatic point, "NEVER put anything in an email that you don't want to appear on the front page of the Press and Guide" (the local newspaper).

    No one is answer Rex's question? @paulsfo - @Lewis got sent to his room for similar activities.

    As for the puzzle, pretty much what Rex said. Decent themers, cleanish fill (MUNG beans?) fine Sunday. Now, to go check out the KITTY LITURGY on Twitter.

    Dorothy Biggs 9:09 AM  

    Is there a cultural memo I'm missing that I should know what KANJI is? I know "noh," "kabuki," and a handful of other Japanese words, but somehow I missed out on the kanji reference. Anyone? How/why are we supposed to know this?

    There are lots of things to know Jim Henson by, but children's TV (at least for me) is way down on the list. Sure, Sesame Street was a huge deal, but the franchise of the Muppets became much larger than that. His creations were entertaining for people of all ages...it just so happens that the creations got their start on children's TV.

    INVAIN and VANES?...from the redundant redundancy department. Along with (possibly) ONEIOTA, NITS and ATOM together in the same puzzle.

    Agree that the BEEGEEs should always be plural. The name means the "Brothers GIbb." While that is a bit unwieldy as a name, you wouldn't say a "Brother Gibb" unless he was a friar or something like that. There is no such thing as a BEEGEE. Think a singular Chicago White Sock or a Boston Red Sock...it's just...wrong.

    Z 9:11 AM  

    BTW - When I post with my Google Account I can skip the captcha.

    Davidph 9:13 AM  

    Kan artist? Like Andy Warhol? Please enlighten.

    Never call it 'wrong' Z 9:23 AM  

    @NCA President - By that logic wouldn't it be BeeSGee? I googled the last bee gee because it seems like I've seen that phrase a lot. Yep. Not just CBS, but the BBC used the singular BEEGEE.

    John Child 9:25 AM  

    Try "con artist"

    Carola 9:38 AM  

    InGEEnious is what I thought - all those different ways of getting the "gee" sound and used in funny phrases. KITTY LITURGY particularly tickled me - can you imagine them all sitting still in church?

    Add me to the DoNnE crowd: having the D in place, I didn't pay attention to the quote. Shoulda.

    I also had trouble with the bored student: with ?OODL?? all I could think of was hOODLum, remembering the so-called hoods in my high school. Almost believed it could be right.

    @John Child - I was thinking that the Carrental could be a valley on the French-German border.

    LeahK 9:40 AM  

    Worth it all for GENIE JERK REACTION.

    Had to google the last 5 squares, but google gave me XALAPA, so I still needed brainpower to do the final solve. Luckily, my daughter talks about Japanese language terms a lot, so I know about kanji, but @NCA President, I wouldn't know otherwise.

    George Barany 10:00 AM  

    Fun puzzle by @Jim Peredo, and I don't have a lot to add to what has already been posited by @Rex and the commentariat. It may have just been a regional story, but check this out! Some GENII(us)-not! objected to the use of the word JERK in a PSA about safe driving techniques. Oy!

    Charles Flaster 10:03 AM  

    DNF as proper names got me. Theme seemed shaky because of Golly with a hard G in the title. ARMORERS and LEAL were ?
    Did anyone think Gomer Pyle from title?
    Thanks JP.

    Lewis 10:03 AM  

    @Z -- Yes, I was thinking the same thing (regarding the PPPs).

    I found this to be a good blue collar puzzle. The theme answers must have been tough to come up with, though I'll withhold judgement until @aliasz chimes in. And while we're at it, @aliasz, is there a story behind that name????

    I had the hardest time coming up with LINEN, of all things, because I was stuck on duvEt. I also kept thinking of "off the hook" as meaning "not in trouble any more", so that corner gave me trouble.

    Well done theme, Jim -- thanks!

    Lewis 10:04 AM  

    @charles -- I think the Golly in the title refers to the expression golly gee.

    jburgs 10:09 AM  

    "Hey, which Bee Gee is singing lead on 'You should be dancing'?


    "Oh yeah, and I love how he harmonizes with the other Bee Gees on that line in the song."

    The cluing and answer seem perfectly reasonable.

    Lewis 10:13 AM  

    Factoid: The word DOODLE was first seen in the 17th century, meaning a fool or simpleton, and that was the meaning intended in the song Yankee Doodle, originally sung by British colonial troops prior to the Revolutionary War. The verb doodle either emerged from this meaning or from the verb "to dawdle". (Wikipedia)

    Quotoid: "To keep your marriage brimming, With love in the loving cup, Whenever you're wrong, ADMIT it; Whenever you're right, shut up." -- Ogden Nash

    OISK 10:14 AM  

    Another victim of Donne and Zolton, gives me 3 DNF this week! These things seem to come in streaks, since I had 5 perfect weeks last month. However, I am familiar with the first name "Zoltan" from the composer Zoltan Kodaly. I knew "Zolton" looked wrong, but didn't look for an alternate poet to Donne. As we say at Belmont Park, "Shudda haddit."

    Teedmn 10:18 AM  

    KITTY LITURGY was definitely my fave themer today. Got my foothold on the theme at WEIRD ALGAE and was off!

    Hand up for never having heard of KANJI so the J was a DNF as I,too, went with theme guess of G at that cross. Figured the capital was named after the Galapagos Islands...?

    I managed to put in DuNne so wrong on two counts. And DImS rather than DIPS gave me SnOOm. Hmmm, rethink, methinks.

    @Leapy, the BeeGee's disco era was arguably crappy but would you say BEEGEE Sh@t? :-)

    Nice clue for eel, snappy fill but mostly sussable (auto-correct just made that "sis able").

    Very nice Sunday puzzle, thanks Mr. Period!

    Mohair Sam 10:20 AM  

    Great Sunday workout. We got hung up forever because I thought it was spelled DARgEELING tea which fit with the theme. Hence we thought the letter had to be "G" in all theme answers and therefore had the @questinia problem with KANJI/JALAPA. JDS finally lit the light, we rechecked all those G's and something in the back of the brain remembered JALAPA. Phew.

    Hand up for DoNnE before DANTE.

    Only small complaint - Ain't it cattle PUNCHER? Don't recall ever hearing it as cow.

    Agree with @Rex that it has been a week of higher quality puzzles.

    @paulsfo - "Good Will Hunting" seemed to have more than a few road signs at the finish, I think I remember a Natick sign on I-90, maybe it made the movie.

    SandySolver 10:22 AM  


    Teedmn 10:24 AM  

    Dagnabit, that's Peredo!

    joho 10:29 AM  

    @Rex, did anybody answer GPSILOVEYOU?

    Thank you, Jim Peredo! You have created truly clever answers with special detail on making the GEE sounds visually different and therefore more difficult to find...GEEnius!

    I did manage to fix DoNne to DANTE but DNF with KANgI/ gAlapa.

    Each brother was a BEEGEE so I have no problem there.


    Norm 10:44 AM  

    This was fun, although I thought ARTISAN was a bit of dupe with KANJI ARTIST, so it took a while to work that area.

    mathguy 10:45 AM  

    I can't remember another puzzle so universally praised in this room. Count me in.

    Do they really make EEL pies in London? I had EE__ and thought that the word might be a Cockney pronunciation.


    Leapfinger 10:51 AM  

    Hey, @Teedmn, I have no complaints! I Loved Saturday Night Fever!! The young Travolta in that white suit?? Yum.

    @Lewis, I thought as you did: 'off the hook' was I'M SAFE at first.

    Nancy 11:10 AM  

    Wonderful droll puzzle. For me, a real challenge. My favorite answers were GPS I LOVE YOU; GENIE JERK REACTION; BEEGEE LINE; and OH DARJEELING. (I had My DARJEELING, for awhile.)
    What threw me off at the top was UnENDS for UPENDS, so for the longest time, I wanted NAT KING COLE (who didn't fit, was this a rebus?) for PATTI PAGE. Also thrown off in the middle by 56A. I had TEAR UP instead of TATTER.
    I never heard of LEAL. Has anyone else?

    Ellen S 11:11 AM  

    @mathguy, I had _E_ and thought of Sweeney Todd -- some London pies are made with MEN? Dunno, which is ickier, that or EELs.

    As to the question of one BEEGEE, I recall many years ago David Letterman (pretty sure - the humor just isn't Leno) had the Nine Inch Nails on as the guest act. At one point he remarked, "I was talking to a Nine Inch Nail before the show and he ..." Works for me!

    Bookdeb 11:13 AM  

    @paulafo. Labor Day?

    Steve M 11:13 AM  


    Ellen S 11:15 AM  

    Last word - I was signed in to my Google acct, and also could skip the Captcha. Someone now has to try it who isn't on Google.

    Ludyjynn 11:16 AM  

    @CharlesFlaster, hand up for Gomer Pyle at the start. "Off the hook"/INSANE reminds me of the annoying, over-exposed Food Network 'personality', Guy Fieri, who constantly uses both terms to describe cuisine. NOTA fan. He makes Paula DEEN look a lot more palatable, IMO.

    I enjoyed this puzz. a lot, esp. the theme implementation. I'll ADMIT to a DNF in the NE corner, where I had 'neticons' crossing 'drop' and my word creation, 'analopue'. Well, Golly, it sounded as reasonable to me as ANALOGUE!

    Anyone else notice a large number of 'V' letters in the answers? Interesting. PROEMS is new to me; must Google its ETYM.

    Thanks, JP and WS.

    Anonymous 11:22 AM  

    Another hand up for thinking it had to be a G- therefore DNF and head banging for KANgIARTIST/gALAPA and OHDARgEELING/gDS!!

    So mad at myself! Knew it looked like GOOP but left it in...

    Must ADMIT I liked the theme anyway!

    AliasZ 11:27 AM  

    The following comment is rated CG (CARRENTAL Guidance suggested).

    Geez, this was so much fun. Loved all the theme entries, about which one could find tons of nits to pick if so inclined. I am not. It is ingenious indeed that all the GEE sounds are spelled differently in each of the theme heptad. The only thing I wasn't immediately familiar with was KANJI, but I know Kenji Mizoguchi (1898-1956), director of the historic movie "The 47 Ronin". I enjoyed the dyad of Beatles songs "P.S. I Love You" and "Oh, Darling" getting geezed up.

    At 119A I INSTINCTIVEly started entering QUINTET but it didn't fit.
    The dyad of PENTAD and TETRAGRAM crossing was cute.
    After yesterday's BAD EMS today we have PRO EMS. I wonder how many other types of EMS live in the wild. More than the colors in a bag of M&Ms, I am sure.
    ARMORERS looks weird to me. Has anyone ever used this word before? And in the plural?
    The TOENAIL clue missed the obvious 'painted' option.
    Speaking of options, TO BE was one for Hamlet. We had the other option NOT TO BE a week ago.
    If you have the chance, you must watch the Sergei Eisenstein movie "INVAIN the Terrible" (1944, 1958). Music composed by Sergei Prokofiev.
    Does DIALARIDE belong to the saccharide family?

    The Korda brothers, director Alexander (1893-1956), screenwriter/director/producer ZOLTÁN (1895-1961) and art director Vincent (1897-1979) bringing up the REAIR, were a supremely talented triad in the motion picture industry starting in the silent era in Hungary, then in England and Hollywood. ZOLTÁN directed "Sahara" (1943) as well as "Jungle Book" the year before, the latter produced by Alexander, production designed by Vincent, the score for both movies composed by another displaced Hungarian, Miklós Rózsa (1907-1997).

    Thanks Jim Peredo, for a fun Sunday romp.

    SenorLynn 11:32 AM  

    Some odd-looking combinations: EIO (AEIOU, ONEIOTA), EAI (REAIR), IACO (IACOCCA). All gettable, but visually jarring.
    EUR is a little close to the clue, no?
    DNF because of KANJI/JALAPA Natick

    brbtmb 11:38 AM  

    When did they change the spelling of the capital of Veracruz to Jalapa from Xalapa?

    crossvine 11:40 AM  

    I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't even see the puns till I came here. I thought the theme was different ways to spell a "gee" sound, which was kind of a weak theme. Now, I have a little more respect for the puzzle, though didn't love it.

    I had Donne before DANTE.
    Had Odin and Thor before LOKI.

    Knew JALAPA because I lived in Mexico and once visited the city. But the more accepted spelling is Xalapa. I went back and forth between and "x" and a "j" for the kind of artist in the cross (since I didn't know the word KANJI). Luckily I had the "j" in when I finished, so I got the song.

    Don't know what DEKED is.

    Like that we had NANU and NANOOK in the same puzzle. And liked that NANU was clued as a tribute to Robin Williams. Nice.

    cfxk 11:55 AM  

    @paulsfo, I'm guessing "Good Will Hunting" in the final scene driving out the Mass Turnpike (which passes through Natick on the shores of Lake Cochituate).

    Anonymous 11:59 AM  

    One of my favorite Family Guy episodes is the 1999 post Y2K apocalyptic "Da Boom," in which Peter's instincts for survival lead the family to the Twinkie factory in . . . Natick. Properly clued, I would always get that word!

    old timer 12:32 PM  

    I found the puzzle very frustrating because I never grokked the theme. Not even after I put down WEIRDALGAE. My final answer was the Darjeeling one, and even then I did not get it. Had to come to Rex to be told the trick.

    So it was a slog, but not a bad slog; I did not have to Google once, so I'd give it a 5 out of 10.

    I like the Divine Comedy and like old folk songs, so DANTE and LEAL were gimmes.

    mac 12:33 PM  

    Good, medium Sunday.

    I learned leal and armorers. Had to move cs and os in Iacocca to get it right....

    Masked and Anonym007Us 12:34 PM  

    Wow. This jumbopuz had me at KITTYLITTERGEE. GEEPSILOVEU was also quite excellent. Themers really made this puppy fly by. gollygeethUmbsUp.

    @paulsfo: I'm a wee bit late, but I woulda also hafta bet on "Good Will Hunting". "U like apples?" ... "Well, I got her phone numbah -- how'bout them apples?" har

    Nice thing about jumbopuzs: the 4-letter words (and word-like things) also become weejects. (Erststein's Unwritten Law of Relativity)

    Weeject cafe employee of the week:
    DREG. Was thrilled to hear that, after years of study and bazillions of taxpayer dollars, scientists had finally isolated the single dreg! I am told it closely resembles a MUNG, btw.

    Hichaechiccup: PROEMS. Bad. Bad ems.


    ** gruntz with art **

    Charlene 12:51 PM  

    What got me was KANJIARTIST, because in my accent the first syllable of "kanji" is pronounced like "can", not "con". I couldn't figure out what "can artist" was supposed to refer to (Warhol?), especially given that I thought the capital of Veracruz was spelled "Xalapa".

    pwoodfin 1:04 PM  

    Here too!

    Anonymous 1:33 PM  

    I agree that the fill is pretty clean and it's nice and open, but there are still some stinkers.


    Also, potential Natick at JALAPA/KANJI crossing. The J could easily be a G - GALAPA / KANGI. Change JALAPA to JICAMA and redo the fill.

    RooMonster 1:51 PM  

    Hey All !
    Gee, had gALArA for JALAPA! Fairly steady filling in puz, the big problem was the S center, don't think I ever heard of a MUNG bean. PROEMS and NATE were quesses. Got em right!

    Had sheEt for LINEN, siloS for VANES, maMBa for RUMBA, SOdS for SOWS, but corrected them all and got em right.

    Neat SunPuz, (as Rex says) wacky themers. Just watch out for that GENIE JERK!

    GEE whiz, ASK LANDO

    Jon 1:58 PM  

    I got Oh Darling and PS I Love You first, which made me suppose there was a Beatles theme here. And Kanji artist really only works with a New York accent. I resisted Bee Gee line to the bitter end as being impossibly trite.

    DANNY 2:01 PM  


    “Sweet Spirit,
    What souls are these who run through this black haze?”
    And he to me: “These are the nearly soulless
    Whose lives concluded neither blame nor praise.

    They are mixed here with that despicable corps
    Of angels who were neither for God nor Satan,
    But only for themselves. The High Creator
    Scourged them from Heaven for its perfect beauty,
    And Hell will not receive them since the wicked
    Might feel some glory over them.” And I:

    “Master, what gnaws at them so hideously
    Their lamentation stuns the very air?”
    “They have no hope of death,” he answered me,
    “and in their blind and unattaining state
    Their miserable lives have sunk so low
    That they must envy every other fate.”

    No word of them survives their living season.
    Mercy and Justice deny them even a name.
    Let us not speak of them: look, and pass on.”

    Fred Romagnolo 2:40 PM  

    @Chefwan: the exact opposite from you, I didn't get the theme until OHDARJEELING; I'm a "tea over coffee " nut. I've never heard of duvet, learned something. I think DEKED is a Canadian hockey term, which I also think I learned from this blog. I grew up knowing Mejico as an alternative spelling for Mexico, so JALAPA didn't faze me. My son is a professor of Japanese so I knew KANJI as a system of writing (there are others). Fun puzzle!

    Fred Romagnolo 2:59 PM  

    @Charles Flaster: I left a comment for you in yesterday's blog; food for thought.

    billocohoes 3:20 PM  

    chefvine to DEKE is I think mainly a hockey term, to fake one way and then go the other.

    Another hand up for DONNE

    LOKI was a gimmee because it's the name of my daughter's cat.

    okanaganer 3:54 PM  

    I finished with A AND A crossing GAS, I LOVE YOU.

    Anonymous 4:27 PM  

    Not only do we have eel pies in London, but in the middle of the Thames near Twickenham you'll find Eel Pie Island, famous as a venue for jazz and rock gigs.
    No Beatles, but The Who, the Rolling Stones, and the late Acker Bilk.

    MichGirl 7:52 PM  


    jberg 10:10 PM  

    KANJI is Japanese for "Chinese characters," which is what the Hapanese mostly write with. I think thee KAN part is the Chinese Han, and the ki is the characters. I wouldn't know this if my son had not lived in Japan for 6 years. Anyway it's a transliteration, so an X for the J isn't really wrong.

    I got Dante right off because the quoted passage is clearly about Hell. Not much Donne's thing.

    Loved the theme with all the variations in spelling and gee-placement. Nice work!

    Mohair Sam 10:26 PM  

    @jberg - The quoted passage is not at all clearly about Hell, that's why so many of us guessed Donne.

    Hartley70 10:41 PM  

    @paulsfo Is this a multiple choice exam? I like The Departed or The Fighter or The Town. Hmmm which one could it be?

    I never really got into the Gee theme but I liked the puzzle anyway...except for the J/X thing of course.

    paulsfo 11:05 PM  

    Natick question answer: In the movie Grosse Pointe Blank (John Cusack, Minnie Driver), the radio station is on the same street as Natick's Hobby Shop (which is a real place located at 405 South Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia, California, where these outdoor scenes were shot.
    It's shown at around 50 minutes in, if you're really interested and have Netflix streaming.
    Okay, well, that's all folks. :)

    BTW, I've never studied Japanese but I knew that Kanji and Katakana are two of the multiple writing systems used in that language. Maybe this is from living in California for quite a while but I don't think this would be considered an obscure question, out here.

    jae 11:20 PM  

    @paulsfo - Hey, I've been in CA for 40 years and it was a DNF for me.

    Unknown 11:25 PM  

    Late to the party. easy-medium co-solve with Mrs. Kid, @SamMohair style on a long drive to DC. KANgIARTIST/gALAPA and PUNCHEs/PsOEMS were the only errors. Taxing solve, but not particularly hard. Love the Dante. Always do. night-night.

    Anonymous 2:01 PM  

    I would think that "off the hook" for "insane" qualifies for contemporary - that meaning was the first one I thought of

    xyz 2:31 PM  

    Day Late

    OK, I guess. I thought it groaned in too many places, oh well.

    Anonymous 3:20 PM  

    Aren't you a professor? And you didn't catch on to bored students doodling? Wow, I guess that means you are a really good professor! (But then why would I have ever doubted that?)

    Unknown 11:42 AM  

    This is the fourth crossword puzzle I've ever tackled. It's interesting to see the kinds of problems the "experts" run into vs. the newbies like me. So far, I've never guessed a theme, so that's never helped. I mean, I can make all sorts of guesses, but none that are right. For instance, I thought maybe this had something to do with Gomer Pyle (maybe all the answers had the letters G & P in them?) or old TV sitcoms or something. Never guessed that it was a sound, even though I got many of the theme answers.

    I had no problem with Kanji, but then I worked in the computer field and specifically had to deal with character sets and input methods. But the capital of Veracruz is Xalapa, not Jalapa, even if the X is sounded like a J. What, we're going to start writing Mejico? I put both X and J in the common square as I thought maybe there was more than one transliteration for Kanji (although the X is usually used for a "ch" sound in Chinese, as in Xi/Chi).

    I also had problems with BEEGEE being singular. It seems to me that the name of a band is the name of a band. When naming a single member of the band, the band name can be used as an adjective, but it doesn't automatically have singular/plural versions—this is more obvious with band names such as "Lynyrd Skynyrd" or "Alien Sex Fiend". Of course, many band names are created in the plural form because it feels more natural and the singular is used to refer to a single member, again because it feels natural; e.g. Beatles and Beatle. I don't really know if there is a grammar ruling for this.

    As for ACHOO, I wrote it in at one point and then erased it. Isn't it the sound during a big blow, not before? The idea might be that you blow your nose after sneezing, but I don't find that to be common for me. I sneeze, I go on.

    Anyway, I had about 85% completed.

    paulsfo 11:52 AM  

    @Tony: 85% on your fourth puzzle ever is *amazing*. Congrats!

    BTW, for much discussion on BEEGEE, see earlier comments.

    Unknown 6:42 PM  

    @paulsfo: Thanks for the kind words. Actually, I think the first one I tried I got all but two letters. The second one was a disaster as it involved a complicated theme whereby you put two letters in one box, ignored those letters horizontally but used them both vertically. The next one I got most but again missed out a few letters. This last puzzle, I had a couple of blank regions.

    So, what's my secret? I've only done the Sunday puzzles (which aren't supposed to be the hardest). I may spend all week on it. And I use the Internet the way some people might have used reference books in the past, except that I also used word finder tools (find all words with certain letters missing). Research and the word finder help fill out enough of the puzzle to allow me to figure out the ones for which these tools don't work. I figure experienced crossword solvers essentially have these tools and more built in (e.g. figuring out themes and knowing more about how the clues work), so I'm just leveling the playing field until I have more experience. I also review the discussions on the solution, as it helps me to pick up the tricks and have checked sites for tips on solving crosswords in general.

    I did see all the discussion on BEEGEE vs BEEGEES. But I didn't see any discussion on ACHOO, where the clue seems not only lame, but wrong. What am I missing?

    Z 7:58 PM  

    @Tony Freixas - There is increasing difficulty during the week, Monday is easiest and Saturday the hardest. Sunday puzzles are set at about Thursday level of difficulty. Doing M - W puzzles would help you pick up lots of the conventions.

    Unknown 8:27 PM  

    @Z: I actually researched this and knew about the difficulty levels, but I appreciate the tip on doing Monday - Wednesday puzzles. We only subscribe to the NY Times Sunday and we started about 4 weeks ago, which strangely enough matches the number of puzzles I've attempted. :-) It looks like I can go online and print out the daily puzzles.

    Anonymous 10:33 AM  

    Finally after months of utter crap, we get a fun, solid puzzle, full of beautiful misleading-but-justifiable clues -- AND REX COMPLAINS IT'S NOT CONTEMPORARY ENOUGH!! Sorry, no rappers or pop culture references known only to people who live in DUMBO. Rex, you are so off-base in your concept of what a crossword puzzle is. You just a puzzle that enables you to pat yourself on the back for being so hip. Back to the puzzle itself, I don't recall any previous by Jim Peredo, but let's have many more -- this was worthy of Patrick Berry.

    spacecraft 11:43 AM  

    OK, it's official: Sunday is now Uber-Saturday. And FL, you erase that "medium" right now! Any rating other than challenging is unacceptable.

    This puzzle was difficult in every area, and that eastern pyramid looks like a box of used 23a (minus the "G"). Those disco numbers appeared atop the second column of clues, so of course I started with BEEGEESHIT. Well, that didn't look so good, but... Anyway, it went from there to BEEGEEsoNg to BEEGEEtuNE before finally arriving at BEEGEELINE. I'm in the plural camp. They're the BEEGEES. Having Edda before EPIC and AVow before AVER added to the mess.

    The whole thing was a slog through molasses. Every clue was just "off" enough to give pause. I mean, PROEMS?? GOD, NO! That's one of many that went in on crosses--and I still wondered if it was right.

    Right up to the last corner--the NW, where I slipped again with NIKE instead of LOKI, the difficulty was INSANE. You CAN'T call this medium; you just can't.

    Grading? TOBE honest, I admired the theme entries (had to come here to get the meaning of "kan" artist, but that's my fault). The unique spellings of all the "G"s made for enhanced enjoyment; kudos to Jim Peredo for pulling it off. Fill was interesting, though I could have done without ETYM and NACL. Plus, of course, if you want to use AND for the A&P, then you should have to write out

    The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company

    ten times on the blackboard. These NITS notwithstanding, I have to say the fill is good. In the end, finishing a toughie correctly deserves...an A.

    252: "WELL GOLLY!"

    Eric Selje 12:51 PM  

    Let's make it more contemporary:

    115d "Are you down with ____?"

    Ray - O - Sunshine 7:31 PM  

    Never heard of deke or proem. Wordcross and learn I guess. Store them in that tiny cerebral cortex that has evolved for puzzles for next timeI'm

    rain forest 1:00 AM  

    Way late today (had to drive to the airport to pick up son coming home from Nairobi), but Golly Gee! I had to post because I loved this puzzle. The theme is brilliantly executed with all those different ways to say
    "G", and no dreck. So much fun, and so many great clues.

    I really don't understand why Rex was lukewarm on this one. Gosh, the stress in the phrase differs from the stress in speaking, or whatever he was trying to say. Who cares? Oh yeah, liked seeing Ottawa in there.

    Great puzzle, great wacky, great fill.

    Damn, another check. You'd think I'd be rich by now, except here in Canada, we write cheque.

    Unknown 5:09 AM  

    Hey I really liked reading your post and I just wanted to know about best of family guy series that you have seen in your life. Well mine is “The Simpsons Guy”. What’s your?

    Unknown 1:05 PM  

    Me too.

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