Dutch treaty city / SUN 1-11-15 / Martin's partner of old TV / Aladdin antagonist / Lee singer with 2011 #1 album Mission Bell / C.S. Lewis's lion / Old orchard spray / Children's author Asquith /

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Personal Statements" — famous people whose last names begin with "S" have their names re-imagined as possessive phrases, with the "S" becoming an apostrophe-S attached to the first name. Clues are lengthy joke set-ups...

Theme answers:
  • 23A: The makeup affected the appearance of all the cast of "Casino," including ___ (SHARON'S TONE)
  • 35A: Afgter the 1946 World Series, the dugout was filled with the Cardinals and their happy sounds, including ___ (ENOS'S LAUGHTER)
  • 51A: She said that when it comes to '60s teen idols, all you need to know is one thing: ___ (BOBBY'S HER MAN)
  • 67A: The bartender poured beers of r all the action movie stars, including ___ (SYLVESTER'S TALL ONE)
  • 85A: The members of the Metropolitan Opera were hit with a host of problems, including ___ (BEVERLY'S ILLS)
  • 99A: At Thanksgiving the Indians were impressed with the Pilgrims and their earth-toned platters, especially ___ (MYLES'S TAN DISH)
  • 116A: While trading barbs during the filming of "M*A*S*H," no one was able to match ___ (LORETTA'S WIT)
Word of the Day: CONNS (65D: Steers, as a ship) —
CONN (also CON) (v) To conduct or superintend the steering of (a ship or airplane): watch the course of (a ship) and direct the helmsman how to steer. (Webster's 3rd Int'l)
• • •

DEAR SYNDICATION-LAND! (if it's Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, that's you—you're well over half my readership!): It's time for my just-once-a-year-I-swear pitch for financial contributions to the blog. If you enjoy (or some other verb) this blog on a regular or fairly regular basis, please consider what the blog is worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for your enjoyment (or some other noun) for at least another calendar year, with a new post up by 9:00am (usually by 12:01am) every day, as usual. I'm in my ninth (!) year of writing about the puzzle every single day, and while there are occasions when the daily grind gets a little wearisome, for the most part I've been surprised by how resilient my passion for solving and talking about crosswords has been. It's energizing to be part of such an enthusiastic and diverse community of solvers, and I'm excited about the coming year (I have reason to be hopeful … mysterious reasons …). Anyway, I appreciate your generosity more than I can say. This year, said generosity allowed me to hire a regular guest blogger, Annabel Thompson, who now brings a fresh, youthful voice to my blog on the first Monday of every month. So thanks for that. As I said last year, I know that some people are opposed to paying for what they can get for free, and still others really don't have money to spare. Both kinds of people are welcome to continue reading my blog, with my compliments. It will always be free. I have no interest in cordoning it off, nor do I have any interest in taking advertising. I value my independence too much. Anyway, if you are so moved, there is a Paypal button in the sidebar, and a mailing address here:

Rex Parker
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905

And here: I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users.

I assume that worked.

For people who send me actual, honest-to-god (i.e. "snail") mail (I love snail mail!), this year my thank-you cards are "Postcards from Penguin"—each card a different vintage Penguin paperback book cover. Who will be the lucky person who gets … let's see … "Kiss, Kiss" by Roald DAHL? Or "The Case of the Careless Kitten" by ERLE Stanley Gardner? Or the Selected Verse of Heinrich HEINE? It could be you. Or give via PayPal and get a thank-you email. That's cool too. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say so. No problem. Anyway, whatever you choose to do, I remain most grateful for your readership. Now on to the puzzle …

• • •

I grimaced my way through most of this puzzle. The theme concept seemed plagued by problems from the outset. First, I've seen this theme before, at least once, most notably in a puzzle by the great Bernice Gordon a few years back (September 2009). I doubt the concept was original to her, but she did it well, and she did it in a 15x15, the size to which it's best suited. The gag wears thin quickly. In addition to the mustiness of the concept, there's the labored quality of the cluing—these exceedingly long, highly contrived clues that make the theme answers (i.e. the punchlines) go Thud. Some of the clues don't even make any sense. The SHARON'S TONE one, for instance. The way that clue is written, the answer should just be her name: SHARON STONE. "… all the cast of 'Casino,' including SHARON STONE." If you make it SHARON'S TONE, then you are asking me to imagine someone's using nearly impossible syntax. I get that the premises of the clues are outlandish, but the basic grammar ought not to be. I was initially bothered by the fact that some re-imaginings asked for sound changes and others didn't, but I'm not bothered by it now. The themers all work as sight gags. That's fine. But the oldness of the theme and the contrived, unfunny nature of the clues—those are less fine.

    Fill is OK (OK), but seemed surprisingly shaky in places, notably the far SE and SW corners, and then in and around LOCKA :( and ALAR (so, toward the upper middle of the grid). I liked BUBBLY and MONOGAMY and WHOLE MILK and EYE LIFT. By far the greatest struggle for me today was figuring out what I had wrong at 58D: High-minded sort? I had POTUSER, so I knew that was wrong. I know what POTUS is, but a POTUSER is clearly not a thing. So I checked every cross. Methodically. And it kept coming up POTUSER (didn't help that the fill through here is generally cruddy and the clue was a "?" clue—both of these added to self-doubt/confusion). Then I had my (big) aha moment. POTUSER isn't one word. It's POT [space] USER. I see that that is a phrase one might use, but [insert drug here] USER feels slippery-slope-ish. DRUG USER seems like a thing. But METH USER? Yeah, OK. Maybe that works too. But that's a phrase one actually says, whereas we're more likely to say "pot smoker" or "pothead" than POT USER (which googles pretty poorly as a phrase). Anyway, I won't gripe too much here, because I realize most of my griping is sour gripes; I just failed to parse it correctly. Full stop.

    Also had real trouble in the BREDA (never heard of it) AFR FENLAND (really never heard of it) LATTER area. Wanting ATL for AFR really, really didn't help (89A: It's east of S.A.). Best error of the day: MAORI for MASAI (20A: People of Kenya) (my wife's from NZ, you'd *think* I'd know the MAORI aren't from Kenya). Biggest laugh of the day: ASS IN, The Sequel! (25A: Guilty ___). Back to back days for that improbable and fun to reparse partial! Good stuff. 

    See you tomorrow.
      Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

      P.S. Yoni Brenner, a student of mine from back when I TA'd in the Great Books program at Michigan (16 years ago), has a funny piece in this week's New Yorker ("The Eight Serious Relationships of Hercules"), and I'm way prouder and more excited than I have any right to be. It's cute and smart. Check it out.


      Unknown 12:11 AM  

      I finished it! not a bad little puzzle, I'd say.

      Norm C. 12:16 AM  

      I'm beginning to think that maybe Sunday puzzles should be 19 x 19. Less filling, better tasting.

      Say, @Rex, do you own a harp? If so, it would be Michael's harp, no?

      Steve J 12:21 AM  

      This is a Sunday that so perfectly encapsulates the problem with so many Sundays: Size doesn't help the puzzle. The theme - one which, for me, would have been ho-hum even in small doses - just isn't interesting enough (and certainly not varied enough) for this many entries (less diplomatically, it's a one-trick pony). It became very repetitive. And then, in order to build up density, you end up with two entries - ENOS'S LAUGHTER and MYLES'S TAN DISH - that break the pattern of the other entries (5 of the 7 themers use the S' form of the possessive). With having to have fewer themes in a 15x15, you could get rid of those outliers, which stuck out like sore thumbs for me.

      Finished this very quickly, despite half-ASSIN' the puzzle by doing it while watching NFL playoffs and despite having to backtrack from things like Hague instead of BREDA and wEtLAND instead of FENLAND. Theme was too easy to get (I sussed it out on the first clue I encountered, where usually on Sundays I have to take at least one lap through the theme clues to figure out the conceit), and there wasn't really anything else that offered up any resistance, other than the couple missteps.

      jae 12:27 AM  

      Easy Sun. for me too @Steve J.   Filled it in about as fast as I read the clues.  Only WOEs were BREDA and TAMLA with the erasures only being a letter here and there, e.g. YOGaS to YOGIS,  ASALoN to ASALAN...

      Kinda with @Rex and Steve J on this one.  A tad meh. 

      Carole Shmurak 12:38 AM  

      But BOBBY'S HER MAN isn't even a possessive. There the BOBBY'S is a contraction of BOBBY IS. I kept reading it as Bobby's Herman and thinking "who's Herman"? Herman's Hermits came to mind. Bad break in the pattern!

      Whirred Whacks 12:42 AM  

      The easiest, fastest Sunday for me in a very long time.

      The theme was OK OK. Peter Collins probably had fun thinking it up -- especially ENOS'S LAUGHTER and LORRETA'S WIT.

      Liked "Beam splitter" for PRISM. Felt smart writing in OLMEC instead of AZTEC.

      Should've clued 25 across as a Hokey Pokey Command as in the following:

      "You put your ASS IN
      You put your ass out
      ASS IN and bang it all about
      Do the hokey pokey
      Turn yourself around
      That's what it's all about."

      MDMA 12:43 AM  

      ROS Asquith has no Wikipedia article. Maybe a bit too obscure to be a clue?

      The clue for NOMAD should have had an "e.g." appended. An "e.g." means that the clue is an example of the entry. For instance, "Think different" is an example of a SLOGAN, "Better safe than sorry" is an example of an ADAGE, and Bedouin is an example of a NOMAD.

      L"OS LO"bos was a bit of a groaner. AFR for Africa was initially confusing. Nice misdirection for ARLO Guthrie. TAMLA seemed way too obscure. Yet another golf entry with SHOOT PAR.

      Carole Shmurak 12:43 AM  

      @Steve J - I don't understand your objection. None of the actual possessives use the S' form. they are all 'S, Sharon's, Enos's, Sylvester's etc.

      Anonymous 12:59 AM  

      @MDMA - May I call you X? Ok, X, Bedouin is Arabic for NOMAD, no e.g. required.

      MDMA 1:01 AM  

      Now that recreational marijuana is all but legalized, I'm sure some future president will have a biography whose title POTUS and POTUSer will reflect their policies and decision-making.

      Steve J 1:16 AM  

      @Carole Shmurak: You're right, I got that wrong. Not looking at things carefully enough I guess, even though I double checked my impression both when I did the puzzle and a few hours later when I commented. I saw the double S's and drew a conclusion that wasn't there to draw.

      You do bring up a good point about BOBBY SHERMAN. I kept trying to figure out what BOBBY'S HERMAN possibly meant, until I realized it was a contraction and not a possessive. So, instead of the two entries I cited, your observation is the better example for how a smaller grid would make it easier not to break the theme pattern.

      chefwen 1:26 AM  

      Kinda sorta worked it from the bottom up and LORETTA'S WIT was the first to fall. I really liked it and laughed at every reveal except for SYLVERTER'S TALL ONE, that produced a groan.
      Speaking of AHA moments 89D, went to a different clinic for a new dentist and when checking in they handed me a patient Information Handbook and under the Values Statement section there was a Hawaiian word Ha'aha'a, now that's an AHA moment. It's got something to do with recognizing diverse talents/skills and contributions. I'll never learn this language.

      Really laughed when I saw ASS IN again.

      Good one Mr. Collins

      JFC 1:56 AM  

      I agree with Rex on this one.

      I also liked his appeal for funding his fun.

      But I think he should take advertising.


      'mericans in Paris 3:42 AM  

      O LORD!, medium difficulty for me. SHOT PAR, I guess one could say.

      Was OK with the theme, but agree with the others that it was not exciting or funny. Solved it starting in the far north, working inward with a PENCIL in a counter-clockwise, increasingly slower motion.

      Regarding the fill, I found it decidedly mixed. On the one hand, there were relatively few proper names from television (except from 45+ years ago!), and no rappers (but RAP'S HEET). I'll give A NOD to PRISM, LIS and ARLO and their cluing, on the other hand.

      Kept wanting to enter coVES instead of EAVES (which crosses with EVE!), as I'm much more familiar with the phenomenon of ice backing up downstream of glaciers than at the bottom of sloped roofs.

      Also noticed several answers that have appeared in recent puzzles, such as LOCKA (a gimmee for me, having lived 10 years next door to that strange little city), TOY SHOP and MEWLS.

      What's with the lame Santa clues (80A and 38D)? Christmas was three weeks ago!

      Knew FEN LAND and BREDA from living in Europe. Hey, not having access to U.S. television shows, we INYT readers should be given some breaks!

      (By the way, besides ASS IN the puzzle also comes close to a Britishism with ARS ON.)

      Learned a new word: SPALL; expected that to be the word of the week. Never heard of NIM. And I don't get at all A MAIN (AMAIN? A'MA IN?) (119A -- "With full force"). Help!

      jae 4:18 AM  
      This comment has been removed by the author.
      jae 4:24 AM  


      Definition of AMAIN: 
      a :  at full speed
      b :  in great haste

      I know this only from crosswords.

      And I should have included SPALL in my WOE list, NIM on the other hand is borderline crosswordese. Look for it again.

      John Child 5:23 AM  

      I didn't find the theme answers particularly interesting and was ready to bail out after about 10 minutes. Then I noticed that I had half the grid already filled in, so I continued. Very easy for a Sunday.

      It's a polished and professional job without much obscurity or ESE, particularly for a Sunday. That's a big part of why it fell so quickly.

      GILL I. 5:35 AM  

      I'm in the @chefwen camp except my groan came at BOBBY'S HER MAN. Wait, that's a contraction not a possessive. I'm so confused now.
      Liked TOYS HOP and NinaS IM ONE which is very true.
      Liked the clue for LISP. Never heard of CONNS nor STOLE used as Nicks.
      IGA NIM GSA made me utter TSKED but other than those minor nits, this seemed easy breezy for a cold foggy Sunday morning.

      GILL I. 5:48 AM  

      Question: Is it IT SPAT or ITS PAT running down ASS IN?
      I can't sleep.

      Danp 6:22 AM  

      1667 Treaty of Breda - Where the Dutch traded Manhattan to England for the right to continue their nutmeg monopoly. Considering they only paid $24 for Manhattan, I guess that was quite a coup.

      Anonymous 6:27 AM  

      Only problem here was the tamla/olmec cross. Spalling I knew from a call to CalTrans once to fix some broken pavement. Actually some missing asphalt but they called it spalling. Otherwise a large, easy, Tuesday-level puzzle. Personally I don't care for themes.


      pmdm 6:31 AM  

      Norm C, congratulations on your comment. I rarely smile before 10 AM but your comment corrected tht quirk today.

      paulsfo 6:34 AM  

      GILL I: It's Pat (1994) - IMDb

      "Neuss"? I spent a total of about 4 months in various parts Germany and have never heard of it. Wouldn't Nuremberg have been a better choice?

      Has anyone heard of BREDA as a treaty city (or otherwise, for that matter)?
      Talk about obscure!: "The Treaty of Breda was signed at the Dutch city of Breda, 31 July (Gregorian calendar), 1667, by England, the United Provinces (Netherlands), France, and Denmark–Norway. It brought a hasty end to the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665–1667)."
      Oh, yeah, *that* Dutch-Anglo war. :)

      Didn't like the TAMLA-UHURA cross; I knew the character but guessed (incorrectly) at the last letter.

      Finally, on the (my?) negative side, I never got the theme till I read the blog.

      Despite all of the above, I enjoyed it, including really liking the clues for OSLO, ARLO, PEI, RAPSHEET, and STREAK,.

      "Streaking seems to have been well-established on some college campuses by the mid-1960s. The magazine of Carleton College* described the phenomenon in negative terms associating it with rock culture, drinking and destruction. At that time, streaking was a tradition on the Minnesota campus during January and February when temperatures hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit."

      Friends of mine streaked a George McGovern appearance at Carleton (the Secret Service was not amused).

      * "In its 2014 edition of college rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Carleton College the seventh-best liberal arts college in the United States and ranked Carleton number one for undergraduate teaching at a national liberal arts college."
      Your kids and grandkids should go there. Seriously.

      paulsfo 6:37 AM  

      Oh, and donate some money.
      Think of the number of hours per year you spend reading this blog (it's the only blog I read), and then cough up some dough.

      Anonymous 7:12 AM  

      Today is Bernice Gordon's 101st birthday. Maybe this puzzle was meant to be a tribute to her.

      Anonymous 7:23 AM  

      First I can't stand when the reveal has to be figured out later...really look forward to Sunday puzzles but couldn't stand this one...just obvious names...old old fill...unhura? Orel? O sole? Come on now!!!! I truly respect the art of creating these puzzles but this one is substandard for nyt...

      chefbea 7:31 AM  

      Got Enos Slaughter right away...and that made the puzzle easy for me. Didn't know Uhura...and why is Nim a game of logic???

      Oscar 7:57 AM  

      I look forward to the day when people here learn how to use Google.

      Unknown 8:13 AM  

      I thought this was great. Fun, silly. It helps to be naive and not over analyze things, I guess, I thought MYLES'S TAN DISH was a riot,

      Dorothy Biggs 8:46 AM  

      The trouble with puns is that there is no real standard for them. They make you laugh because they're clever or they make you groan because they're tortured...it doesn't seem to matter to the person making the pun. With humor, if something isn't funny, you just turn a deaf ear to it until it goes away. With puns there is very little middle ground for deafness...it's either funny or it's terrible...but both responses seem to be a desirable thing for punsters. I dislike puns for this very reason. A punster will say a pun knowing it's tortured and awful, but they think it's great that you think it's terrible. Curious things, puns.

      That said, MYLESSTANDISH is awful. Just awful. The other punny themers, though tortured, are all within the realm of possibility. A "tall one," someone's "tone," "wit," or "ills," etc. But there is no such thing as a "tan dish." Nowhere. Ever. The clue was convoluted and the answer showed why. I will stand corrected if anyone out there has hosted a dinner party or potluck where "earth toned" dishes were featured and someone's dish stood out for its shade of "tan."

      And somewhere punsters are smirking...because you know, puns.

      BTW, what were xwords like before IDI Amin came on the scene?

      Anonymous 9:00 AM  

      Rex's thoughts and the comments here closely match Deb's over at the wordplay blog. Don't usually see such close alignment.

      Anonymous Carole Shmurak said...
      But BOBBY'S HER MAN isn't even a possessive. There the BOBBY'S is a contraction of BOBBY IS

      That is a good catch, and I'm bummed I didn't pick it up myself.

      F.O.G. 9:02 AM  

      Figured out the theme with SHARON'S TONE, and was surprised to learn that Enos Slaughter once played for the Cardinals. That was before my time as I remembered him as a Yankee in the late 50's.

      I have finally accepted adding apostrophe S to proper nouns ending in S, as in ENOS'S, MYLES'S. Is it too early for a TALL ONE from St. James's Gate Brewery?

      Z 9:04 AM  

      ENOS'S LAUGHTER did not cause me an EYELIFT because I would add an extra syllable to ENOS when saying it. MYLES'S TAN DISH, on the other hand, looks very wrong to me. MYLES' TAN DISH is the way I would write it and say it. Okay - which style book says I'm right (if it says I'm wrong I don't want to hear about it).

      @MDMA - That is more an indictment of Wikipedia than a result of ROS Asquith's obscurity. Pick your bias; female, British, children's book authors, ROS Asquith is all three. There has been some spot on criticism of Wikipedia's bias toward women contributors and the effect on its content. (Before someone screams - the bias is a result, not a cause. No one I've read thinks it is intentional, which makes it harder to recognize and change in some ways).

      @paulsfo - not to mention that Carleton fields outstanding Ultimate team. Ultimate - more fun, fewer concussions.

      I think I'm doing a "dime-a-day" donation this year.

      Anonymous 9:08 AM  

      @Steve J--size doesn't matter? That's definitely NOT what she said...

      Glimmerglass 9:14 AM  

      NIM is definitely a game of logic. It's a bar game usually played with match sticks in several rows. The object is not to take the last match stick. I once had a kit that built an analog computer that played NIM (among other projects). The logic is similar to Tic-Tac-Toe. If you can see the whole thing, it stops being a game. I sent Rex $25 via PayPal. Despite his fixation with WS, the blog is often interesting, and I enjoy reading his regulars' comments. I agreed 100% with Rex today.

      Anonymous 9:15 AM  

      Loved this puzzle.
      Theme helped with answers.
      Pot user took me a while to see.
      OK OK was the weak spot for me.
      Always happy to solve Sunday without help.

      Teedmn 9:16 AM  

      I'm with @Rex and others here on the meh-ness of this one. At first I thought the themes were just a bunch of random celeb names. I finally caught on at SYLVESTER'S TALL ONE but going back to the other ones didn't increase my enjoyment. And I'm with @NCA President on what a groaner MYLES'S TAN DISH was.

      I went over to the Wordplay write up to see if the constructor had any comments. He had some alternate theme answers that didn't make the cut, most of which I found funnier than those that did.

      The Los Lobos = OSLO I didn't get until I got here. More of a Cryptic clue than a crossword clue. I've been trying to expand into Cryptics since the Enigma puzzles came out and have not succeeded in twisting my brain into the correct posture yet!

      But thanks, Mr. Collins, for the Sunday puzzle.

      Mohair Sam 9:16 AM  

      This was just too easy for a Sunday, hence we didn't enjoy it very much. That said, we might have naticked at OLMEC - but TAMLA shook out of a brain cell much as cheroot did yesterday and we were saved.

      I'm with @NCA President on the TAN DISH pun, just too strained. Reminded me of an old convoluted joke that lasts about ten minutes and ends with "Where are you going? Oh boy-foot bear with teak of Chan." Puns have never been the same for me.

      I can't believe we got the gift of ASS IN two days in a row.

      @MDMA 1:01 - Like your POT USer reference for a President. Years ago someone espoused a now-debunked theory that Washington and Jefferson had smoked weed. Ya never know.

      jberg 9:24 AM  

      Like @paulsfo, I didn't know TAMLA, and thought UHURA was the familiar word UHURu, so I finished with an error.

      Nevertheless, I liked the puns. And, given the number of theme answers, I thought it was a feature, not a bug, that they varied in form, including one-word and two-word endings and possessive and non-possessive uses of the 'S.

      I remembered ENOS SLAUGHTER, which gave me the theme, but had no idea about BOBBY SHERMAN, so I just had to work that one out. No idea (or NOTION) about SPALL, either, or that there was a place called "Neuss." I vaguely recalled BREDA, but went at first with the non-Dutch BREst (as in the treaty of Brest-Litovsk).

      Anyway, it's nice to be back after 10 days in England, and 110D is reminding me of the other thing I missed, by daily trip to the gym -- so I'm off for that!

      Unknown 9:30 AM  

      Other than being utterly confounded by POTUSER, I thought this was an easy Sunday. How is that pronounced? POT-us-er? po-TOO-ser? Cripes almighty nothing made sense. But LIS made more sense than LIr, so I went with it. Didn't catch on until I read these comments.

      Whirred Whacks 9:39 AM  

      Personal Testimonial

      In early December, I hit the Rex tip jar.

      Since that magic day, I've been riding a 36-day completion streak (all Gold Stars on the iPad app). Coincidence? I don't think so.

      Yeah, baby!

      Anonymous 10:01 AM  

      I wouldn't contribute to Rex's misanthropy and whining if this were the last blog on earth on a deser island in the snow uphill both ways. If this blog died a slow painful death the (cross) world would be a much better place.

      zac 10:12 AM  

      Says the person reading the blog. Isn't the internet wonderful?

      Nancy 10:20 AM  

      So easy that all the famous names were immediately apparent and I didn't have to notice the puns at all. And because the clues were so long and ponderous, I began skimming them; hence I NEVER DID NOTICE A SINGLE PUN. Only aware of them when I came here. I guess I'll go back and re-read the clues now. Or not. This was much too easy for a Sunday, except for UHURA and TAMLA, which is where I naticked. But I don't much care. When I miss a pairing like that, I simply pronounce the puzzle "solved" with a clear conscience. (It wouldn't work for a puzzle competition, but I'm not in a puzzle competition.)
      @Whirred: Please let us know what you finally name your Corgi puppy!

      r.alphbunker 10:21 AM  
      This comment has been removed by the author.
      r.alphbunker 10:23 AM  

      I finished with TAtLu instead of TAMLA
      The ending u was caused by UHURu (the Swahili word for freedom)
      The middle t was caused by OLtEC (close, Toltec is a member of an American Indian people that flourished in Mexico before the Aztecs.)

      Factoid: Gordy originally wanted to name the label "Tammy" Records, after the popular song by Debbie Reynolds from the 1957 film Tammy and the Bachelor also starring Reynolds. When he found the name was already in use, he decided on Tamla instead.

      Charles Flaster 10:23 AM  

      Medium with Aztec for OLMEC and I know I have seen it before!! Ugh!!
      Enjoyed puzzle and theme.
      Favorite themers -BEVERLYS ILLS and ENOSS
      LAUGHTER (lack of apostrophes).
      Slaughter was a terrific ballplayer and had a reputation for being nasty off the field.
      Very little crosswordEASE but I am adding OLMEC to my list.
      Liked cluing for ARLO, RAP SHEET and STREAK.
      REX deserves $ just as a token of appreciation.
      Now I am off to finish George Barany' s
      (" Enigma Variations") puzzle and contest.
      BTW can DIDI CONN a ship?
      Thanks PAC and REX.

      Anonymous 10:40 AM  

      We should have done this puzzle at a different time--maybe Michael's era? There was nowhere to play today so I had to go to Nicholas's parks. I came home late last night and found that someone had parked in my mustang's alley. My fork was broken-- I had to borrow Ben's tine. Etc...

      Maruchka 10:41 AM  

      Well, wha' BOBBY we talkin' 'bout? An' who's she? Guessin' I don't care it's possessive or contractive. Throwin' a bunch'a 'postrophies in the pot an' watchin' 'em roil!

      Doh of the the day - Was primed to write Cindy Sherman...

      Fav of the day - FENLAND. Knew fens from North Country lit, but not with any appendage. Then there is FEN, a smart, dour play by Caryl Churchill.

      TAMLA vis a vis T.A.M.I. Show - Any connection, 50s-60s fans? Speaking of vinyl, just sorted through 100+ records and, hoping to cash in big with the new generation of vinyl mavens, checked my TITLEs' values online. No SOAP, alas.

      @Rex - Yes, I can! Check will be heading your way. As always, many thanks.

      Lewis 10:41 AM  
      This comment has been removed by the author.
      Anonymous 10:45 AM  

      One of my friends growing up was Stu Shyman. Maybe someone should pop it?

      Ludyjynn 10:46 AM  

      Surprised to see so many INASWEAT over this puzz. I thought it was OK and didn't TSK much at the punning.

      But I am still numb and ASHEN, hoarse from YELLS, recovering from the final SCORE of the ill-fated Ravens playoff game, saying OM over and over to get to a happy place, and grateful for not having made any BARBETs on the outcome! OLORD, all I can do is HOPE for next season because neither SHIVA nor PSALMS helped this go-round. Maybe it was the Ray Rice RAPSHEET that did 'em in?

      Thanks, PC and WS for distracting me, esp. w/ ASS IN.

      @Whirred, have any puppy names stuck yet?

      AliasZ 10:47 AM  

      Pun fuzzle today. Not once did it get my ASSIN a sling, and ITSPAT no tobacco juice on my shoes either. I solved it to the sounds of a chorus of angels and the strumming of Michael's harp.

      Clam's charged particle: ABRA'S IONS.
      Mother's household robot: MA'S AI.
      A'S HEN is too arbitrary, as are A'S LAN, P'S ALMS, T'S KED, O'S LO, O'S OLE, or B's sneeze.
      "Ms. Balin's crops" doesn't quite work because "wheat" is misspelled for INA'S WEAT.
      Same can be said for hip-hop's concealed weapon for RAP'S HEET.

      The capital of FENLAND is Helsenke.

      The Carmen is really overdone, so let me entertain you with the light and delightful Children's Games by Georges BIZET. And for those so inclined, this being Sunday, here is an extra bonus: In the FEN LAND by R. Vaughan Williams. I apologize to those who remember that I linked to this piece before.

      Enjoy your Sunday!

      RnRGhost57 10:47 AM  

      Very bland, as are many Sunday puzzles.

      GO BUCKEYES!!!!

      OISK 10:48 AM  

      I love puns, and really liked this puzzle, which completed a perfect (no Googles, no help from the wife) week. After finishing, I did look up Bobby Sherman, watched him sing something, still had no recollection of ever having known who he was. I knew "Breda" not as a treaty city, but as a very good Dutch beer!

      Thanks for the laughs.

      Lewis 10:49 AM  

      I loved the immediate juxtaposition of @Susan Mconnell's " I thought MYLES'S TAN DISH was a riot", and @NCA President"s " MYLESSTANDISH is awful". That's what makes this comment section go round.

      I loved the clues to PRISM, ARLO, PEI, and STREAK. I enjoyed the puzzle, and am grateful for it, but it wasn't a wow. I don't expect all puzzles to be wows, in fact, I don't want them to be, like OFL. If all puzzles were wows, they would soon become less wowwy (!). I feel like the NYT puzzle quality is such that all my solves are either enjoyed-its or wows.

      Anonymous 10:54 AM  

      Fen is a bog...nee Fenway Park (built on marsh land) ironically the first pitch when Fenway Park opened in 1912 was thrown by the mayor of Boston...Honey Fitzgerald whose daughter Rose married Joseph P. Kennedy; the ambassador to the Court of Saint James and the father of two assassinated senators of the United States. Non illigetimus corborundi est.

      Hartley70 10:55 AM  

      Like @Nancy, I didn't pay much attention to the theme possessives, until I came here. It just ticked along fairly quickly for me until I got to BOBBYSHERMAN and then I was completely stymied. Who the heck is Bobby Sherman??? I was a teen in the 60's but he's one idol I didn't worship I guess. I eventually sussed the Sherman, but I kept trying to make Libby fit because of the She in the clue. Rats, I eventually took a DNF.

      Hartley70 11:06 AM  

      I agree and you gave me a chuckle!

      Teedmn 11:12 AM  

      @Lewis, you make me feel like a real Debbie Downer with your cheery acceptance of all levels of puzzles. I guess I'm looking too hard for that "wowwy" factor. Thanks for the attitude adjustment!

      Bobby Sherman was the heartthrob of the late sixties, on "Here Comes the Brides". Watching the show with a friend, I was dumbfounded when she would shriek, crush a pillow to her face and turn away from the screen, overwhelmed by the sight of her idol. We were ten years old!

      Per @Rex's shout out to his former student, Yoni Brenner's piece in the New Yorker is pretty good, though I don't know the Hercules myth well enough to get all the humor. If you like the kind of humor showcased in the magazine's Shouts and Murmurs
      feature, it's worth checking out.

      Lewis 11:13 AM  

      Factoid: Although HERONs resemble birds in some other families, such as the storks, ibises, spoonbills and cranes, they differ from these in flying with their necks retracted, not outstretched.

      Quotoid: "Bigamy is having one wife too many. MONOGAMY is the same." -- Oscar Wilde

      Unknown 11:14 AM  

      Easy here. Near record time in 75 min. But I went with aztEC rather than OLMEC. Indeed, OLMEC is a regular attendee of this daily didactic MELANGE, so I SHOULDA known better, or at least checked the crosses.

      @Rex, I'm good for it! I swear! You're on my short list, just as soon as my 2015 ship comes in and ole Shylock gets his pound of flesh. Sails (read: sales) spotted on the horizon! We'll all eat steak (metaphorically) tonight (metaphorically)!

      Steve M 11:14 AM  

      EZ meh

      chefbea 11:16 AM  

      I saw Enos Slaughter play for the cardinals when I was growing up in St. Louis

      I always enjoy receiving Rex's thank you notes every year. I have saved them all.

      quilter1 11:17 AM  

      Could not see MYLESSTANDISH, but otherwise got it all but that corner. Got the theme but didn't enjoy it much.

      mathguy 11:20 AM  

      I agree with those who think the Sunday's are too big. Some fun, but still a bit of a chore.

      AMAIN, haven't seen that classic for quite a while.

      Not many cute clues except for those @paulsfo cited.

      Liked OSLO. I would welcome the occasional cryptic clue.

      OREL reminded me of a night I spent at Candlestick Park during his record-setting season. He subdued the Giants effortlessly. He's been in the puzzle before, but not his siblings, Anel and Vaginel.

      abstractblueman 11:23 AM  

      I loved seeing CHET Lemon yesterday and Al Kaline (TIGER) today. I have now also decided to refer to ASSIN as ``The Old ASSIN"!

      POTUSER was the last answer in the grid for me, and I wish I could comfortably, publicly elaborate on the thick-as-smoke irony that this created...

      Also, I've only been solving the daily NYT puzzle for a couple of months now, and @Rex's blog and the comments that follow have tremendously enhanced my abilities (and pleasure) in a short period of time. I certainly plan to hit his tip jar!

      Norm 11:40 AM  

      This was just dumb and boring.

      RooMonster 11:56 AM  

      Can you please tell me why they were passing the ball in the final two minutes? I'm a Steelers fan, but absolutely loathe the Patriots (Asstriots). They shoulda been running the ball...

      Anonymous 12:01 PM  

      I think the solving experience might have been more enjoyable if the clues had referred to a different person...

      "The makeup affected the appearance of all the Israeli politicians, including __"

      "She liked all of Will Ferrell's characters, but if she had to pick one, ___"

      "The bartender poured beers for all the Looney Tunes animals, including ___"

      Ya know?

      Carola 12:09 PM  

      I liked it. Caught on with ENOS'S LAUGHTER, after which SHARON'S TONE made sense to me. I enjoyed trying to get the rest with as few crosses as possible, and that made the puzzle challenging for me. Favorites were ENOS and BEVERLY'S ILLS. Me, neither, on BOBBY SHERMAN (@Maruchka, I also thought of Cindy). DNF as I never watched MASH, so my LORETTA was picking a nIT.

      I knew I knew BREDA from art history (Velasquez), but Brabant kept getting in the way.

      @Teedmn - Re: cryptics. Do you know The National Post Cryptic Crossword Forum? The puzzles are on the easy side, and the blog explains all of the answers, which I find very helpful. Also - I hear you on the low-rise pants. Whose idea was that?!

      RooMonster 12:19 PM  

      Hey All !
      Good to see ASSIN again! Awesome.
      I thought this was a decent little theme, sure, it's been done before, but some of these are good, my fav being SYLVESTERS TALL ONE.

      Had a DNF. :-( Had OLdEn for OLMEC, know I've heard that before, but couldn't bring it to mind. Also, beTTER for LATTER. FENbAND sounded good to me!

      Agree with most that is was on the easy side. No Googs today! Some writeovers:
      iDIom -> AXIOM
      OKay -> OKOK
      leWis -> ROWAN
      iSAIah -> PSALMS
      AMAss -> AMAIN
      Also, O to E in OSOLE and U to A in UHURA.

      Overall, fun SunPuz. Puns OKay. Not too much dreck. You know, there's ASSIN in MONOGAMY.


      RooMonster 12:24 PM  

      Oops, that would be iDiom for ADAGE, of course!


      M and A's Hit Commentary 12:26 PM  

      Yo! First ARLO use, of 2015!

      Queryoid: Whose pall is SPALL? y'all?

      Thought it was a fun, kinda easy romp. Good job, Pewit Dude. Like how yer picture at xwordinfo keeps agin backwards, btw. Will it eventually lead to a twinkle in momma's eye?


      Y'all check out xwordinfo.com, right now. A rodeo-load of good stuff, and it's all open to the public, this week. Check out all the constructioneer pictures. One of em looks like Dick Cheney.

      **gruntz [with simulated ACPT distractions]**

      JamesBMac 12:29 PM  

      Anonymous - Per this post of yours...are you serious? If not, I missed the sarcasm; sorry. If so, why are you here?
      Anonymous said...
      I wouldn't contribute to Rex's misanthropy and whining if this were the last blog on earth on a deser island in the snow uphill both ways. If this blog died a slow painful death the (cross) world would be a much better place.

      10:01 AM

      John V 12:29 PM  

      Same problems as @Rex in the South but overall pretty easy, fine for a Sunday.

      M and A Personal Statement 12:39 PM  

      Will personally send a snail mail letter and some small, unmarked bills to @63's home address, if he gives any indication that he read this here comment.

      Rootin for yah, @63!


      Charley 12:50 PM  

      I got all the theme answers without understanding the theme.

      Anonymous 12:57 PM  

      No one in this blog agrees with your vicious and unfounded personal attacks on Rex. Why don't you go somewhere else with your vitriol.

      Anonymous 1:10 PM  

      What is the suggested amount to donate? I only check this blog on Sundays, but I thoroughly enjoy it! I'm thinking in the $20-30 range? Thanks!

      Numinous 1:22 PM  

      I finished this around 10:30 last night in bed. It wasn't until this morning I noticed the incredible density of themers, especially those for people with only initials as per 18th-19th centuries literature:

      O's teo (her Mexican uncle)
      P's alms (spare change gains)
      A's LAN (Wifi in the dugout?)
      T's Ked (amputee's athletic shoe?)

      Some folks' MDMA
      Jes's E
      Den's E

      Ma's AI (which led to an IT spat)

      Toy's hop (why you get a Pogo stick)

      But seriously, folks–I thought the the themers were cute. No laughs or ahas, just plain cute. Oh, and last night, at dinner, I at off MY LESS TAN DISH.

      @Whirred Whacks, I like the idea of Coney the corgi (see my explanation from yesterday).

      Speaking of yesterday: Clues and answers that pair dingos and emus have bothered me for quite a while so I had to check. It seems dingos mostly prefer small mamals for lunch with only the occasional small bird. They mostly hunt alone but will sometimes gang up on a kangaroo. I could find no mention of emus being the prey of dingos.

      Someone complained that POT USER isn't really "in the language" (I'm too lazy to scroll up to figure out who, it's Sunday after all). One of the features of language is its enormous variability. For me (just my opinion only) if any grouping of words in an answer make sense, then the answer is fair. Green paint doesn't bother me. Partials don't concern me particularly. Heck, if every multi word answer had to be a broadly accepted phrase, I feel that crosswords would be boringly constrained. As I've said before, I admire creative use of language and feel that puzzles are an excellent place for that sort of broad-mindedness.

      Susie 1:38 PM  

      one problem (of a grammatical nature) - Myles in the possessive is not Myles's, it is Myles'. Really irritated me.

      Fred Romagnolo 1:44 PM  

      I ENJOYED IT; I'm an inveterate punster - used to team-teach with another one. We bounced off each other, and the brighter kids joined in. It can get very competitive. Lotta fun! I caught on at ENOSS LAUGHTER, and BEVERLYS ILLS. To my shame didn't catch on to BOBBYS HER MAN til this blog. Writeover: MiLES TAN DISH. YOGIS tipped me off. I loved @Math Guys relatives of OREL, and it brought back memories of the late 80's when he was a phenom. I'll try to send something to Rex if I can get my computer and Paypal to co-operate. Guilty of TAMLu and UHURu.

      RAD2626 1:58 PM  

      Fine fun puzzle. The choice of 1946 in the clue for Enos "Country" Slaughter was inspired. Not only did the Cardinals of course win the World Series, but Slaughter made one of the great plays in WS history, scoring the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of Game 7 in a mad dash from first base on a routine single (although the batter was later credited with an RBI double).

      Numinous 2:43 PM  

      @Susie et. al. who complain:
      The very first discussion in Strunk & White's The Elements of Style admonishes e.g. "Do not deprive James of his possessive 's'." Ergo James's "s". Therefore, it should indeed MYLES'S TAN DISH! Many disagree but teachers and editors across the country swear by Strunk & White.

      ghkozen 3:27 PM  

      It's January, and still I have to have four(!!!) baseball clues. Ugh, it makes me want to stop doing crosswords. Seriously, when do I get to escape that blight upon the world that is baseball?

      Hartley70 3:40 PM  

      Very happy to give Rex an honorarium. This is my first pledge Sunday so I must be here nearly a year by now and I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience in Rexworld. It's like cozying up to the bar at Cheers where everybody sorta maybe knows your name.

      Susie 4:19 PM  

      @Numinous - English is a living language, and the use of double s when making possessives of words ending in s is NOT done these days. and the fact is that both "Myles" and "Enos" are not consistent with the other theme answers. Given the possibly 'lame-ish' theme to begin with, these should not have been used.

      RooMonster 4:46 PM  

      Oh, wanted to say (if he even reads this far, or at all for that matter), Nice Picture Rex! Any royalties from Parker Aviary?
      Odd no one else mentioned his pic.


      Leapfinger 4:50 PM  

      COLD WAR? The best thing is to C "OLD" WAR.

      What @ludyjynn said, except substitute Panthers for Ravens, and make Ray Rice the Seahawks's Chancellor. [sigh]

      O Man, sometimes it's hard to tell the Bee's sneeze from the Bee's knees.

      Seems not everyone liked eating off MYLES'S TAN DISH; would y'all prefer to drive LELAND'S TAN FORD?

      Quick, bring the extinguisher! WILLIAMSAFIRE!
      otoh, JOHNSAXON isn't firing at all.

      Can't you see KATEYSAGAL? Some say GUSVANSANT is over the hill, but EVAMARIESAINT.
      That bratty kid is JESSICASIMPSON, the pale one is GLORIASWANSON.

      Need a volunteer? PETESEEGER.
      Don't worry, GARRYSHANDLING it.
      TALIASHIRE was Sly Stallone.
      HANKSNOW has become Our Then.
      GALESAYERS Rock blows no wind good.
      A lay-up right down JOHNSALLEY
      Asleep in SirWALTERSCOTT.
      Use RAYSCHALK at the blacboard.
      GRACESLICK and a promise.
      DICK and TOMSMOTHERS? Most brothers only have one.
      EDSPRAGUE Check is good.
      Hey Mac! I'll trade you an Apple for BRITNEYSPEARS!

      There's more, but among them, the LEOPOLDSTOKOWSKI is too tortured, and the one with LUISSALAZAR is too noir. Besides, this is already long enough for POT-NCA [and other like-mindeds] to skip reading.

      It ain't LORETTASWIT, but what is?
      Enjoy what you can, when you can, while you can. (sez I)

      evil doug 4:57 PM  

      That's actually pretty well done, leap.


      JamesBMac 5:05 PM  

      @ Anonymous - Wow. Cheap and duplicitous.

      Anonymous 6:08 PM  

      I know I'm showing my age (or maybe just pop culture ignorance) but other than Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone, I haven't heard of the names in the theme answers...

      AliasZ 6:27 PM  

      Now that's the @Leapy I've known and admired for years. GRACE'S LICK my fave.

      @ghkozen, never.

      Happy Pencil 6:28 PM  

      Sorry, @Susie, but as a professional book editor, I can confirm that @Numinous, and hence the puzzle, is correct: you form the possessive of names ending in "s" by adding an apostrophe and a second "s." You may not like it, but that doesn't make it wrong.

      Z 6:32 PM  

      @Numinous - I specifically requested that no one cite sources showing me to be wrong. I found this article which actually agrees with me, and one that says I'm not wrong as long as I'm consistent (which seems sorta Rexian), and one that says it depends on whether or not the non-possessive word is singular or plural or proper. I am SOOOOoooo confused. MYLES'S TAN DISH is still wrong looking, though.

      evil doug 6:42 PM  

      Agree with Z. Apostrophe rules are so archaic and contorted that the solution is: Go with what looks right.


      Steve J 6:47 PM  

      @Susie, @Numinous and @Happy Pencil: With the exception of plural nouns ending in -s, both s' and s's constructions are correct. It's simply a matter of which style manual you're adhering to, and being consistent within a publication/book/article. Even then, many style guides have exceptions. For example, in AP style, you use s's. Unless the next word begins in S. Or unless it's a proper name.

      Assuming this summary is correct, AP and MLA prefer s', while Chicago and S&W prefer s's.

      Personally, I prefer s', but I prefer consistency within an article, book or publication even more. Pick one and stick with it. And always recognize it's just preference and nobody's right or wrong on this one.

      Z 6:47 PM  

      @Happy Pencil - I'm thinking that professional book editors sometimes forget that more than one style guide exists and grammar correctness is a lot less definitive than high school English teachers let on. E.B. White has been dead almost 20 years and the rest of the sources cited seem to argue that both ENOS and MYLES would not add the S. Of course, one might then point out that those sources were cited by someone who doesn't like the way MYLES'S TAN DISH looks, to which I reply, "Moi?" Besides, @Evil Doug agrees with me. Quod Erat Demonstrandum. (You can't argue with Latin - it's a rule)

      Happy Pencil 7:08 PM  

      I hate to get in the middle on the rare day when you and @Evil Doug are in agreement, @Z, but I could equally argue that people like to cite style guides when they support their position and denounce them when they do not.

      No insult intended, of course. I'm always game for an argument about grammar, and I'm delighted to have finally said something fiery/controversial enough to provoke so many replies!

      By the way, my source is The Chicago Manual of Style, the style guide of choice among trade book editors -- and of course my twenty years of experience, for what that's worth.

      Pete 7:25 PM  

      @ED - You say you're a centrist politically, but, as always, you default to "Go with what looks right". One more for my list.

      paulsfo 7:34 PM  

      @anonymous at 10:10am: I think that $20-30 sounds perfectly appropriate.

      @quilter1 said "Liked OSLO. I would welcome the occasional cryptic clue."
      I agree. And I'll point out that this was *extremely* easy compared to serious cryptic clues (as in, when i look at a cryptic crossword I often fill in *no* squares). So, I'd call this more of a "clever and tough but reasonable clue" versus a normal cryptic clue.

      @Z: I knew about Carleton's tradition with Ultimate Frisbee (this is a school of 2000 which sometimes wins the NCAA Div I championship (i.e., against schools like Berkeley which have 50,000 students and year-round warm weather) but I was trying not to go too long.

      Since I'm on the subject: regarding "temperatures hovering around zero" (in my previous comment) I was there one day when it hit -38F (that's -39C). Luckily there was no wind. :)

      3 and out.

      Aketi 8:43 PM  

      Hmm, it dawned on me that I did learn a language that wouldn't need apostrophes at all. I wasn't really a written language until missionaries wrote it down. Plurals were the hardest part of the grammar in that language,. There were about 10 different ways to make a plural and the all started at the beginning of the word, Sonce it was a regional and not a local language it was a second language for most of the people in the town where I learned. We all just used the most common form of the plural. The words for yesterday and tomorrow were the same. There wasn't really a word for thank you. They just adopted the French and turned it into melesi. It was so much easier to speak that language than to have to teach chemistry and biology in French and keep track of all the grammar required in that language. French was often the third or fourth language for the local teens I taught. They would copy everything I wrote on the board including my French grammar mistakes which irritated the Belgian nuns who ran the school immensely.

      Finished within my usual range of cheating today with no OKAPIs or ABIDJANs or Mobutu SESE Sekus or KINSHASAs or my fav OUGDOUGOUs to make it easier for me,

      michael 8:46 PM  

      Perhaps my easiest Sunday ever, but I didn't get the theme until I came here. Lots of baseball clues, which are gimmes for me but obviously not for most people.

      D$ 9:43 PM  

      This puzzle reminded me of the most obscure joke I have ever been told, in FENLAND (actually Finland).

      Why are there no mushrooms in the forest?

      Because Sylvester's Tallo Ne. Ahahahahahaha.

      Tallo Ne means 'trampled on them' in Finnish.

      Steve O. 9:48 PM  

      Started off with "Guilty ASpIe" and then down hill from there.

      Anonymous 11:49 PM  

      SPALL and TAMLA were completely new to me, and I had to double-check that BREDA really was a Dutch city and I wasn't making it up.

      Theme clues were dead easy (I was a little girl in 1970, so you bet I knew Bobby Sherman) and kind of boring, though it took me a while to realize the puzzle wanted MYLES and not MiLES STANDISH (I spelled it as Longfellow did).

      Where I got stuck for a bit (besides MiLES): All IN -> AMAIN, and pOlO GAMe -> MONOGAMY.

      Tita 9:38 AM  

      Was making rather merry yesterday, so will come back later to read the comments...

      But I can't resist adding my own entries...

      Many years ago, a friend related bringing her boyfriend homt o meet her father. "Dad, this is Tom Sprick." Her father: "Where's the rest of him?"

      And in the same company, on the same floor, he had a co-worker named John Zwang.

      Now, this was when I worked at Wang Laboratories, before political correctness dampened the inevitable jokes that had to be made (especially if you're a 3rd grader!).

      I did like the puzzle, even though it made me INCENSED that I didn't think of constructing such a one, given my own personal seed entries!!

      Thanks Peter!

      unclejohn 7:03 PM  

      This is what makes reading these comments worthwhile. BTW, I had INCENSED at first as well as I am assuming you did.
      RP, check is in the mail,really!

      Bobbie 7:53 AM  

      It's Pat.
      No one can tell what gender Pat is. Even her/his name is ambiguous. Sweet dreams!

      susan 8:19 AM  

      Factual error in the SW corner: Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) is the cookie selling organization (Boy Scouts of America has the BSA acronym, but Girl Scouts is different).

      pfb 9:08 AM  

      Just got to this last night. I thought this puzzle was very, very easy, and I had solved it before even recognizing the theme; that suggests to me this was not a very clever theme at all. POTUSER was the last (and only) pesky item.

      Maybe this was a make up for the previous Sunday which was DNF for me with BILDUNGSROMAN (but at least I learned something I will undoubtedly would have retained 20-40 years ago, but, alas, not these days.1

      Anonymous 4:52 PM  

      Thought 25A was "guilty AS SIN" not "ASS IN". Wish the clues would hint the # of words required.

      spacecraft 1:23 PM  

      Started out easy at the top; locked onto the trick with the statuesque Ms. STONE. Even if I hadn't, the next one was a laydown gimme. ENOS SLAUGHTER is just one of those names that stick with you once you've heard it.

      One that doesn't is BOBBY SHERMAN. A '60s teen idol, eh? I WAS a teen in the '60s. Well, for the first half of 1960, anyhow. And I HAVE NEVER HEARD of BOBBY SHERMAN. No idea what he (I'm assuming he's a he) was famous for. That section was uber-tough, accordingly. SPALL?? You expect a non-construction worker to know that one? It went in on crosses, and then only by running the alphabet for SOA_ that comes in cakes. The toaster clue made no sense either, till the AHA: oh, THAT kind of one-that-makes-a-toast. Brutal section. Just down from there, more problems arose when I thought that sports games and musical works were both plAyED. Well, aren't they? Then in the SW corner, I forgot about Mr. STANDISH's first name being spelled with an old-fashioned Y instead of MILES; this played hell with the corner before I landed on YOGIS.

      Clue of the year so far: "Woody offshoot?" Great stuff.

      So, difficulty varied widely; I guess it averaged out to a medium. Good punny theme; SYLVESTERSTALLONE was my favorite. Pretty good and interesting fill--so tough to accomplish in a Sunday 21x21. A-.

      9007. Getting warm...

      rondo 1:56 PM  

      ZAG = half of a paper? So a POTUSER can SMOKE.
      YOGIS = Bear and Berra
      DIEGOS = San and our own Ron
      SHANE = comeback man?
      I owned a LLAMA, ITSPAT.
      Some wind-up TOYSHOP.
      OLORD won't ya buy me a Mercedes Benz?
      ASSIN, been covered, heh heh.
      Would love to say I've SCORED with SHARONSTONE, as would a LOTTO guys.
      I could go on, but won't.

      Captcha = nada

      rondo 2:00 PM  

      @Spacey - BOB sang "Judy Do Ya Love Me" and was in a sitcom involving mail-order brides and frontier Seattle.

      rondo 2:02 PM  

      BYSHERMAN disappeared on me

      MM in MN 9:35 PM  

      The official name of the Girl Scouts organization is Girl Scouts of the United States of America, and they abbreviate it GSUSA. "GSA" is not an abbreviation used by that organization. If GSUSA were to even have a three-character abbreviation, it would be GSU, which still isn't used by the organization. It was unfortunate of Peter Collins to assume that Girl Scouts could be represented by the feminized version of the abbreviation for the Boy Scouts of America. And I can't believe such a glaring error got through to be published!

      Z 9:50 PM  
      This comment has been removed by the author.
      Z 9:51 PM  

      Other groups sell cookies. I'm sure Mr Collins was referring to this GSA.

      Anonymous 7:29 PM  

      Old hippie saying;
      Grass, gas, ass
      No one rides for free.
      (grass old slang for pot)

      Anonymous 7:34 PM  

      Go Hawks!

      Anonymous 7:47 PM  

      High larious!!!!
      GO HAWKS!

      Greg 12:57 AM  

      Extremely poor choice for the constructor to clue BEVERLYSILLS with the Metropolitan Opera. Ms Sills racked up an impressive international career, and yet was never hired to sing at the Met until after the notoriously anti-semitic general manager, Rudolph Bing had retired. Far more appropriate would have been to use "City Opera" in the clue; the "2nd-tier" company which which launched her career, and which she later became general director of.

      College Paper Help 9:55 AM  

      Many thanks. For me it was useful.

      how to write a reflective paper 11:36 AM  

      This is very useful information for me. Thank you very much!

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