Detroit debut of 1903 / MON 8-24-15 / Wrinkly-faced Chinese dog / Directive to Kate in Cole Porter musical / Preceder of Brown Robinson in 1960s #1 hits / Shape-shifting Norse trickster

Monday, August 24, 2015

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium-ish (maybe *slightly* harder than avg *for a Monday*)

THEME: IT'S UP TO YOU (28D: "I'll defer on this one" ... or a hint for what's found in 3-, 9-, 21- and 24-Down)  — circled (or perhaps shaded) squares in theme answers (all Downs) read USTI, which is "IT'S" running UP TO the letter "U"

Theme answers:
  • EXHAUSTIVE (3D: Leaving no stone unturned)
  • PETER USTINOV (21D: Actor with Oscars for "Spartacus" and "Topkapi")
  • CAUSTIC (24D: Acid, as criticism)
  • CHIEF JUSTICE (9D: John Roberts, for one)
Word of the Day: ROMANESQUE (57A: Architectural style of medieval Europe) —
adjective: Romanesque
  1. 1.
    of or relating to a style of architecture that prevailed in Europe circa 900–1200, although sometimes dated back to the end of the Roman Empire (5th century).
noun: Romanesque
  1. 1.
    Romanesque architecture. (google)
• • •

This is a loopy idea that somehow I'm OK with. It took me a few beats to figure out what was up (so to speak!). I was wondering why the circles, read upwards, said "ITSU" and not "ITSUP," while simultaneously wondering why "UP" would going "up" since, presumably, "UP" was already being represented in the grid by the fact that the letter string was traveling "up." But then my cornball wordplay detector kicked in, and I got that the "U" was a pun on "YOU." Really should've noticed that "?" at the end of the revealer clue. Anyway, once I figured it out, I thought about it a second, and shrugged, and said "sure, why not?" It's Monday—better loopy and clean than boring and stale (which is always an early-week possibility). I came in with a pretty normal Monday time, but I can see PETER USTINOV giving some (esp. younger solvers) trouble, and I can see someone making the mistake of putting in EXHAUSTING instead of EXHAUSTIVE (I can see it because I did it). Also, I was a medievalist once and ROMANESQUE was not a gimme for me, so that could take some work. Monday work. So, "work." You know what I mean.

Would be better if "USTI" spanned two-word phrases/names, but that would be virtually impossible, I think, so these are all non-spanners, which is its own kind of consistency. There were a couple of interesting "Whaaa?" moments, the first being THE DOLE (56A: Government assistance), first because "look out, it's a definite article!" and second because I don't live in the UK. Do people say THE DOLE here, non-twee-ish-ly? It's a fine phrase, but not a US phrase, in my experience. The other "Whaaa?" answer was JUICE for 27A: Apple product. That clue has been used hundreds of times, almost always in computer-related contexts. I had SANE for CALM (29D: Unruffled) and had real trouble coming up with the icky ENGR (13D: One who pulls a train whistle: Abbr.), which I always think of in terms of building, not train-driving, possibly because I'm not a kid any more and honestly when's the last time you actually *saw* your train's ENGR?

OK, that's all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:13 AM  

Medium-toughish for me too.  Liked it for the same reasons Rex did.  Smooth and quirky works just fine on a Mon.

Z 12:21 AM  

Never saw THE DOLE. "On THE DOLE" does sound like something out of my youth, so it wouldn't have been hard to suss if that had been necessary.

I almost majored in Art History, so ROMANESQUE was easy, especially with ROMAN in place.

I liked this, slightly on the challenging side. The shading seemed unnecessary, but hey, it's Monday.

Music man 12:31 AM  

Another "meh" for me with a few personal naticks. Theme is stupid to me but sure, the revealer made it better after the fact. Just one of those "who cares?" moments for me. Just discovered BEQs puzzles on his own site. I like those. A lot. So, I'm on a kick of those instead of my nyt books. Had the clue "Yellow river?" That hooked me...

chefwen 12:36 AM  

ADAGIOS may be a little tricky on Monday as was ROMANESQUE, other than those two, it was a pretty clean, problem free puzzle. I also had EXHAUSTIng first, my only write over. As Rex stated the the reveal was a HUH at first and then O.K. cute.

I prefer Yukon Golds for French fries 37A, they come out a little shorter, but tastier. Russets tend to be a little mealy.

Anonymous 12:57 AM  

Fun puzzle, great Lempel Monday! THE DOLE is definitely used in the U.S.

Anonymous 1:18 AM  

Isn't there an error for 47D? The Model A didn't come out until the 1920s. And I believe Ford didn't sell the Model T until 1908.

bwalker 1:48 AM  

I flew through this puzzle and enjoyed it. The theme answers were excellent, though I didn't catch the theme until the reveal. Liked PETER USTINOV in the puzzle and in everything he ever did, but especially remember his performance in Viva Max filmed here in San Antonio at the Alamo. CHIEF JUSTICE made me work. Fat fingers made MRS a MeS. Cider before JUICE. I developed a taste for SCOTCH the first time I drank it, but prefer Johnny Walker to Chivas because Walkers should loyally support an enterprise of the clan.

Loren Muse Smith 4:34 AM  

NIT – how 'bout those "super lice" recently all over the headlines?

I found SUNTAN as a verb surprising. After staring into space trying out a few sentences, I guess I'll take it, but I'd never use it that way.

I didn't put "exhausting," but I did fill in "roman gothi." Oops.

"Amount a washing machine holds" – there's a huge difference between what I consider a LOAD and what my husband considers a LOAD. If he can just get the top to close flat, then he's good to go. A few weeks ago I went to move some clothes he had washed to the dryer, and it was so jam-packed that the clothes on top were not even wet and I'm not making that up. Off that second O, he may have lead with "tOns" or "fOurteen towels, the king size SHEETs, all six placemats, and some sweatpants."

Rex – I hadn't even noticed that all the IT'S Us are non-spanners. Agree that to come up with symmetrical entries that span words would be tough -NERVOUS TICK, THIS JUST IN, ANONYMOUS TIP - nah.

I enjoyed this one with its literal theme and its 12 Us. (But who's counting, right?) I have to add that I like the U used this way for the theme trick, but if I get a text from someone with "ur" for "you're," I feel disappointed and, well, dirty for some reason. What a hypocrite. I'm constantly running my mouth, celebrating language change, and yet this phenomenon just leaves me cold. I can't figure it out.

LL – as always- i luv ur puzzles. (See? I can't even stand to look at that.)

Lewis 6:18 AM  

In Lynn's comments to her last puzzle she said she refused to make all her Monday cluing simple definitions, as the Monday cluing usually is, and I think she's right on the money. Let the Monday newbies see a little trickiness because isn't that one of the joys of solving? Here we have the terrific clues for JUICE and SHEET, and a fun clue for STU. Also some not-so-simple but fair and beautiful answers SHARPEI, THEDOLE, ROMANESQUE, HEDDA, CAUSTIC, and ELEGANT.

Plus a mini theme of words ending in I (6), a high SIERRA, PLUG up, CLEAR crossing EYED, and a southEAST. And a clean grid. Lively and lovely, Lynn. You seem to have our best interests as solvers at heart, Lynn, and thank you for that!

RooMonster 7:11 AM  

Hey All !
Nice MonPuz. Just a B from a pangram. Thinking one could have been inserted where NIT is, rework that small section and throw a B in there! Just sayin.

Very cute theme, something a bit different than your normal circle fare. Nice fill, even the threes are dreck free. Nice misdirectional clue for JUICE. Also the MODEL A. I was tempted to complain about that as well, saying Model T was first, MODEL A in the thirties, but went to good ole Goog, and lo and behold, there was Ford's first car, the 1903-1904 MODEL A! What'd ya know!

Thanks Lynn, for the ELEGANT Monday!


joho 7:51 AM  

Very clever theme that took some time to figure even after all squares were properly filled in. I love that, especially on a Monday.

Did anybody else get thrown by the USTI in USTINOV take a right turn at the U to form the word UP? That only confused me for a moment, though, and I when I saw that the U = YOU I had my AHA! Love that ITSUs all go up in the verticals dropping down.

ADAGIOS and ROMANESQUE added a little more elegance to an already classy creation by the ever-classy Lynn Lempel.


AliasZ 8:04 AM  

Did you HAVE FUN with this puzzle? I sure did. Very ELEGANT, Lynn. Straightforward yet elegant. I mean, straightupward. As Frank Sinatra says:

If I can make it there
I'll make it anywhere.
IT'S up to U,
New York, New York.

I wonder if KISS ME GENTLY was a not-so-hidden message directed at someone.

I liked the letter rotation in IMAX and MAXI, perhaps a mini sub-theme that could continue with AXIM, XIMA. I also noticed the MODEL-A hang a right and turn into LAURA. All sorts of interesting stuff is hiding in this one. I am sure if you look hard enough, you will even find Leo Tolstoy.

Favorites: ROMANESQUE, and SKINDIVING off a CLIFF when one HAS ON nothing except a perfect uninterrupted SUNTAN. However the Apple misdirection takes the cake as best clue of the day.

Here is the romantic rUSTIc Wedding Symphony by Karl Goldmark (1830-1915). A brief excerpt from it, anyway.

Happy Monday!

fargoboy 8:34 AM  

I at first thought the model A clue was wrong as well as I had restored a 1929 model a coupe which was the second year of production following the venerable model T. Then I remembered that Ford's first car built in 1903 was also called the Model A. Different car, same name. A bit of trivia trickery.

Carola 8:36 AM  

HAVE FUN! could be a label for Lynn Lempel Monday puzzles. I thought this one was great - cute theme that resisted parsing until the reveal plus a little resistance in other areas that yielded such ELEGANT answers.

I especially liked "ITS up to U" within CHIEF JUSTICE: it reminded me of all the pre-ACA-ruling discussions - which side of history would he decide to be on?

One do-over: I went SnorkelING before SKINDIVING.

aging soprano 8:51 AM  

My first xword in a while, having just returned from Salzburrg, Austria, the home of ROMANESQUE and other churches. Mostly went to A MASS of operas, though, and paid homage to Wolfgang Amadeus. Lots of hugely famous singers performing, but often the best singers are the less known ones. Sarah Caldwell used to say: by the time they are celebrities they are over the hill vocally. Saw six productions, some excellent, others mediocre. Lots of ELEGANT MAXIs at the premier of Rosenkavalier. Got to meet tenor Piotr Beczala at an interview session. He was intelligent, animated and delightful. Also heard a really good master class with pianist, recitalist, coach Malcolm Martinue. The whole experience was immensely enjoyable but sometimes EXHAUSTIVE. My feet still ACHE. Did HAVE FUN.
Zipped through today's puzzle; guess I'm refreshed from vacationing. Didn't get the significance of USTI until Rex explained it. I'm not THAT refreshed.

jberg 9:13 AM  

You know you've done too many crosswords when you consider it a trick for "apple" to refer to an apple! Fortunately, I already had the JU, and I still found myself wondering if there was some electronic think named after the JUNCO.

@Roo Monster - wow, I hadn't even noticed the missing B! Just assumed it must be a pangram when I saw that Q squeezed in near the bottom. Yeah, BIT/BAJA, and JANE UP ("What Tarzan said when he saw his future wife in a tree.")

@Loren, I felt the same way about SUNTAN. If I catch some rays, I may get a suntan, or I may get a burn. I don't know until later.

Of course, once you've got 2 USTIs you've got them all, but I think that's OK on a Monday -- and the revealer really saved it for me. Nice start to the week!

Also nice: AXLE yesterday (I think), AXELS today.

Fun fact: In England, they don't say ROMANESQUE, they say NORMAN. Took me awhile to figure that one out.

Wm. C. 9:18 AM  

Re: Ford Model A

There were two entirely different ford Model A cars. The first was Henry Ford's original automobile, built it 1903-1904. Some 1,750 were made, at a base price of $750. It was followed by the Models C, And then T.

The second Model A was built from 1927 to 1931. It was an entirely different vehicle, of course, taking advantage of the huge advances in technology and manufacturing, as well as in roads and consumer income and employment demographics, over the previous quarter-century. Nearly 5 million of these Model As were sold, at a base price of only $500. Apart from his other attributes (not all praiseworthy), Henry Ford was on a " mission" to make automobiles' price in reach of nearly everyone.

PuzzleNut 9:20 AM  

My mother used the expression "on the dole" frequently. She is happy that none of her kids are in prison or on the dole (in fact we all turned out quite a bit better than that fairly low standard).

Bob Kerfuffle 9:24 AM  


Paging M&A . . . . paging M&A . . . . A theme worthy of a runt!

Until I got to the reveal, I was expecting something horribly boring, like "United States Tennis Institute"!

A friend of mine from the UK once said of his somewhat shiftless older brother, "He's on the dole, and on the fiddle."

Nancy 9:29 AM  

Not a single entry here that caused me any trouble or gave me any pleasure.

Ludyjynn 9:33 AM  

Pleasant, easy Monday solve. Esp. like ROMANESQUE, which I became aware of as a college student. At the University of Vermont, my favorite building, Billings, originally the library, but utilized as the student center during my years there, was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson, who specialized in Romanesque revival designs. His most famous work is Boston's Trinity Church. His style was so influential that it became known as Richardsonian Romanesque. Many public buildings across the country exemplify it. It remains one of my favorite styles and I love identifying his works in every city I visit.

Will WS ever retire UMA? Every time I fill it in, I am reminded of David Letterman's disastrous 1995 Oscars hosting gaffe: "Uma, Oprah, Uma, Oprah" as he introduced the two. Ugh.

Thanks, LL and WS. I am now "sufficiently cooked".

chefbea 9:33 AM  

Fun puzzle which I agree was a little tough for a Monday. Got it all but did not understand the dole.
I prefer russets for fries..I don't fry them I roast them in the oven. and of course I love my scotch!!!

Rivers 9:35 AM  

It was a fine puzzle, though as usual I forgot to check the circles and catch the theme.

One NIT. A rapscallion is the Irish rogue who seduced my grandmother and then ran off to drink and the big city, leaving her to take in laundry to raise the infant boys he left behind. An IMP is my granddaughter telling me "I washed my hair, Mimi," when it is not only not wet, or damp, but still sticky from chlorine. Said rapscallion missed out on two successful sons, one a lawyer, the other a well-known doctor, and nine terrific grandchildren. Said IMP will grow up to be President or a go-go dancer.

Liked JUICE replacing the constant iWHATEVERS, got EXHAUSTIVE without even considering the participle. Nice puzzle, nice write-up; thanks, all.

John V 10:05 AM  

Pretty typical Lynn Lempel Monday. This older solver just breezed through it, Easy MOnday

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

I thought it was dead easy. Some nice clues and answers such as THE DOLE. This is quilter1 on a strange computer.

mac 10:12 AM  

Very nice puzzle, cute trick. Not an aha moment, but an ok.

It had to be, but I have never heard "is it soup yet?",

A beautiful day in New York as we get ready for our son's wedding next Saturday!

Dorothy Biggs 10:22 AM  

USTI = It's up to you. Cornball wordplay isn't exactly what I think of when I see this...I'm not sure what it is, but there is something about it that seems overly elementary. The three letters I-T-S are going "up" in the direction of the letter U. ITS "up" to U. Get it? Maybe if USTI was a thing in and of itself. This just seems arbitrary and convoluted to me. I don't know. I keep looking at it hoping that I'll like it...but no. I might have liked it better had the U been separated from the ITS. As though the ITS were an arrow pointing upward to a U a few letters later. But the fact I have to get all jiggy with some kind of explanation kinda proves to me this theme was "interesting."

Too bad Cavalleria Rusticana didn't fit.

The good news for me was that this theme wasn't necessary to solving the I didn't even give it a second thought. I just saw the circled letters, figured out the "theme," and sort of rolled my eyes. Monday. Done.

Ellen S 10:33 AM  

I thought it was a fun puzzle but the theme left me cold (I should save it and rework it next time the temp goes up in the solid 100s. I know Arizona and Iraq have hotter summers, but really 109 is plenty too hot enough.

I thought the clues and answers were fun and fresh, or maybe retro, in a good way: now that we've all been trained that any clue involving "Apple" is going to be computer related, Ms. Lempel fools us with fruit. Nice work!

Indypuzzler 10:41 AM  

I agree with @Nancy...for me it was one of my fastest times (sipping coffee and not trying to hurry) and it was a "meh" solving experience. Imagine my surprise when Rex called it "medium challenging for a Monday" AND had nothing terrible to say about it. As usual, even with my "meh" proclamation I truly prize the fact that there are constructors out there that provide this entertainment. We are a tough group to please every day.

Indypuzzler 10:54 AM  

Oops, I think I had Rex's "medium-ish" and JAE's medium tough conflated. My bad but still was surprised at the review.

Nancy 10:58 AM  

Since the puzzle today took no time at all, I've been spending the morning getting to "know" Merl Reagle, whom I never had the pleasure of meeting. There are several clips on YouTube where he shows off his punning and anagramming skills. He seems to have been a very clever, very funny guy and the clips are quite entertaining.

Joseph Michael 11:04 AM  

A pleasant Monday with a cute theme and a couple of tricky clues.

On to Tuesday...

weingolb 11:15 AM  

I thought this was an excellent puzzle.

Apple product for JUICE crossing ENYA was a breath of fresh air, at least in terms of the usual crosswordese you see coming from miles away (I thought for sure this was going to be another MACOS SADE)

The longer fill was ELEGANT, the theme was fun, even if it didn't go for the spanning...

jUSTIntime, joyoUSTIdings, generoUSTIpper...?

mathgent 11:17 AM  

The Closer did it alone last night. I was still fighting the Acrostic from that morning's Magazine. (I finally gave up and had to Google three definitions. I haven't whiffed on the Acrostic for ages.). She finished it in short order and gave it back to me to figure out the significance of the circled letters. Circled letters are an annoyance to her.

Andrew Heinegg 11:19 AM  

I was going to say the same thing about the Yukon Gold but, every dish that includes fried potatoes in it seems to inevitably direct the use of Russet potatoes. I just use the Yukon anyway.

Lewis 11:31 AM  

@aliasz -- Well, LEO certainly is, at least twice in the SE if you hunt for it Boggle style.
@mrivers -- Great post!

Nancy 11:47 AM  

@mathgent: I love it! Your wife, The Closer, finds tiny circles an annoyance. I've been saying at nearly every opportunity (though I didn't today) that I find tiny circles an annoyance. I was beginning to think I was the only such person with such a strong and idiosyncratic reaction. Glad to find out I'm not.

old timer 11:50 AM  

"OH!" I said to myself, "OFL is going to rip Shortz a new one today! Hoo boy, will he!" Uh, no. Although the Model A I grew up with replaced the venerable Model T, it turns out Ford's first car was, logically, a Model A, as many have noticed.

It was medium Monday for me because although I have heard of PETER USTINOV, I did not know he was in those movies. So, 10 minutes instead of7 or 8.

I did not get the theme, and finding out what it is, am not sorry to have missed it. Other than that, a pretty good Monday puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:08 PM  


1. @009: Excellent pic of giant red U-ball.

2. Is there a Crossword Puz Hall of Fame? Surely there oughta be one, somewhere. Could build its walls outta black and white cinder blocks. Have black/white checkered vinyl floors inside. Have a ginormous facsimile of this here MonPuz greet U, as U enter the main foyur. Maybe put the building in Cleveland.

3. fave moo-cow eazy-e MonPuz clue: {Whole ___ and caboodle} = KIT.
fave moo-cow stampeder MonPuz clue: {Apple product} = JUICE.

4. One dozen extra large dairy fresh U's. [@muse: who's countin? who's U daddy?!]

5. B-less pangram. Possible fixer-upper:*
26. What someone bet on, at the Camptown Races (doo dah)
33. Biblical birthright vendor
26. Relief follows directly after it, in the sculpting business
34. "How's it all hangin, bro?"

6. A positive Lock for an "I Fink U Freaky" award.

7. Enough with the UMA-bashin, already. She co-stars with Bradley Cooper in a major flick, releasin on U this October. Called "Burnt". She is cur-rent, dude.

8. @BobK.: yep. Cannot. believe. The runtpuzs didn't beat em to this one. They Are plannin the sequel, however …

9. Great write-up, by the Double-O-Ninemeister.

10. fave weeject: QUA. Possible moo-cow-patty clue: {3/5 of a quart??}


** gruntz **

* Alternate fixer-upper, more suitable for a Trump Rally:
39. Fart acronym
43. How navy dudes start up the Enterprise?
29. Uber haters
30. So part of a speedo??

Unknown 12:28 PM  

Strange, seeing some of the comments above. Maybe because I'm 81, this was the easiest Times puzzle I've ever done.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

I thought this one was fairly easy, but the Model A answer is wrong- the Model A was 20 years after the Model T

Masked and Anonymous 1:10 PM  

Additional, tho thoroughly unnecessary, support for UMA:

* Spells "U, M&A". Just in case Ms. Thurman ever wishes to get out of the spotlight, this would be the natural clue replacement of choice.
* She has Patrick Berry 2014 NYTPuz Usage Immunity.
* Is also a "fringe-toed" lizard, of California/Arizona deserts.
* Is also a Hindu goddess name.
* University of Maine at Augusta, dude.
* Uma is a wrestling game in Hawaii. Conducted inside a circle of giant red U-balls.

M and A Help Desk.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Anyone else have DUI instead of DWI?

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

I threw down eleGIeS before ADAGIOS for "slow compositions," and I still think it's a better answer. Elegies are a type of composition. Adagios can be names or tempos of compositions (or movements). And I can't remember any fast elegies.

OISK 2:34 PM  

Easy, but it is Monday. Nice, breezy puzzle. When I got "UST" in the first three circles I was SURE the next letter would make it USTA, and there would be a timely reference to the U.S. open next week.

NOTE: If you didn't solve Sunday's puzzle yet, do not read any further.

@Nancy - Aerosmith and Gunsnroses, I found out via Google, are in fact groups. In that case, how can they be the answer to the clue " # 1 selling artist..." Doesn't artist have to be singular? Did someone address this yesterday, and I missed it?

Bronxdoc 2:42 PM  

I believe you are correct, Anon 1:18. Model A came out in the 1920s.

Malsdemare 2:47 PM  

@aonnymous 1:29. Yup, one DUI here. Is that a regional thing?

Z 3:15 PM  

@Bronxdoc and @Anon1:18 - @fargoboy8:34 said I at first thought the model A clue was wrong as well as I had restored a 1929 model a coupe which was the second year of production following the venerable model T. Then I remembered that Ford's first car built in 1903 was also called the Model A. Different car, same name. A bit of trivia trickery.
@Wm.C.9:18 said There were two entirely different ford Model A cars. The first was Henry Ford's original automobile, built it 1903-1904. Some 1,750 were made, at a base price of $750. It was followed by the Models C, And then T.

@Masked and Anonymous - I thought you were making that last one up. Some of the videos are fascinating.

Z 3:23 PM  

Look at the comments here for some DWI/DUI edification. Google "Rex Parker DUI DWI" and you will see that every time one or the other appears someone comments about it.

Ludyjynn 4:17 PM  

@Anon. 1:29 and @Malsdemare, DUI and DWI are two separate criminal offenses w/ different penalties. In MD, a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .04 to .08% constitutes the charge of DWI; BAC of .08% or more constitutes a DUI. Penalties for conviction follow--

DWI: 8 points on record, up to 2 mos. jail, up to $500. fine
DUI: 12 points on record, up to 1 year in jail, up to $1,000. fine

Minimum 6 months license suspension for either offense.
Drivers under 21 are judged even more harshly; anything over .02 BAC is considered a DWI.

You're welcome.

RooMonster 4:20 PM  

You're both incorrect. Either see my 7:11AM post, or Google Model A.


RooMonster 4:21 PM  

Answered many times above. However, for clarification, see my 7:11AM post, or Google Model A.


aging soprano 4:33 PM  

Hey @Mac. Congratulations. HAVE FUN.
@AliasZ. Great post.

Music man 5:19 PM  

Or how bout the countless upon countless compositions titled "adagio in 'name your key'"

Leapfinger 5:49 PM  

Thought this was a typically limpid, IMPish Lempel.

SLY that she HAS ON a MAXI, but has us SKINDIVING. (Is that very different from SKINny-dipping?)

When we ask "IS IT soup yet?", she gives us a CUP of STU to EAT.

She makes a whiskey SOUR with lemon JUICE, but drinks her own SCOTCH with JUSTICE

In place of THE Donald, she offers THE DOLE. (IS IT Bob or Liddy we're getting here?)

Then she asks the imponderable question: How many crows can roost on a CAU_STIC?

Muito ELEGANTe, Ms Lempel!!

I HEDDA great time with this solve, only messed UP going for the SHih tzu, till I remembered it's not the one with the wrinkly SKIN. Pretty SHARP, EI? Did not figure out the theme trickery till the reveal, then I smiled from ear to ear to ear. Can't understand how anyone find it less than delightful spatial wordplay.

There was Yust Enough USTINOV in this puzzle to make me a happy solver.

[apres wiki] Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov was an English actor, writer and dramatist, also renowned as a filmmaker, theatre and opera director, stage designer, screenwriter, comedian/humorist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radio broadcaster, and television presenter. He was a respected intellectual and diplomat who, in addition to various academic posts, served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and President of the World Federalist Movement. His gift as a wit and raconteur made him a fixture on television talk shows and lecture circuits for much of his career. [YouTube has a good selection for your viewing pleasure.] His family tree, going back two generations. spans at least 4 continents and is probably the most convoluted one I've ever become hopelessly lost in.

Miklós Rózsa [ no relation to Sandor] dedicated his String Quartet No. 1, Op. 22 (1950) to Ustinov.

Appropriately for this puzzle, Ustinov was a guest on the Letterman Late Night show that had the camera revolve 360 degrees over the 1-hour course of the show. Appearing halfway through the show, IT'S Up Side was Down to him.

I've read several of his books, enjoyed each of them immensely, with "Add a Dash of Pity" being one favourite. "The Old Man and Mr. Smith" has God and Satan as travelling companions in [relatively] modern times, discussing and analyzing what they see. It dresses up depth with wit and should not be missed. I have Peter Alexander von Ustinow on my short list of Men Who Have Never Disappointed.

EXHAUSTIVE research has TAUT me that KISS ME Kate never asked for GENTLY. There is an outside chance that the original was KISS MEt KATE. As opposed to Aerosmith or Guns'n'Roses tangling with Kismet Kate.

DO ME [all of us] a favour and let's have s'more of Limpid Lempel.

Malsdemare 5:58 PM  

@ Ludyjyne. Thanks for the edification about DUI vs. DWI. Having managed to dodge both, I just thought it was one of those soda / pop things.

Teedmn 7:09 PM  

Cute Monday. I made most of the mentioned writeovers but it played around my Monday average.

Usually I ignore the circles until after I've finished but today I peeked at them and noticed they anagrammed to SUIT so I was pretty sure the theme was going to be about shuffling cards. So the actual theme was a nice surprise. 'Purchase for a king or queen' was a nice clue as was the Apple misdirect.

Thanks, Lynn Lempel!

Teedmn 7:14 PM  

And @LMS, I'll agree with your dislike of ur for your. When I read your sentence using the term, my brain said, "Ancient Sumerian city-state", not "your". It just makes a hitch in the flow, and not a poetic one.

Leapfinger 8:38 PM  

@Loren, I think SUNTAN works best as a gerund, Lord Zonker decided he would make competitive SUNTANning his life's priority.

@aging soprano, sounds like a great experience, and well worth the transient aches.

@weingolb, good group of bridging USTIs.

@jberg, thanks for the ROMANESQUE:Norman identity. Most definitely. Romanesque Rockwell sounds extra elegant.

Thanks to all who supplied interesting comments, awa those who fed the roiling waters of Models A-1/T/A-2, without which we would never have come to need DUI and/or DWI.

If you see it OOZE JUICE, it's ZAFTIG. I wish you all zaftig.

Steve J 10:53 PM  

@OISK: A recording artist can be a band or an individual. For example, the Grammy Awards category is Best New Artist, and it's been won by bands and individuals.

spacecraft 11:58 AM  

Wait a minute--we already have The Donald--and he's enough (some say too much). We don't need THEDOLE. Even in the final scene of "The Birdcage," when we hear "Bob Dole is gorgeous!" he still isn't THE Dole. It passes, I guess, because it IS in the language.

Hand up for the -ing end to 3-down. Otherwise, pretty smooth sailing. Our LL (lovely lady) slipped an un-Monday clue in there with "Purchase for a king or queen," which I liked. I can say I "got" the theme, but not completely. I was disturbed about that P not appearing in the answers. Thought it should have been "ITSU UP"...etc. I missed the part where "you" was used as the U. At any rate, this one made M&A's day.

My day? Well, I wouldn't say it's made, but it is off to a good start. A-.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

I rate this an absolutely delightful Easy Monday puzzle. It always stuns and amazes me how the constructors can layout a grid, with a gimmick, in a balanced way. The revealer is a hoot and my hat, wig, scalp is off to Lynn Lempel. Rondo said More from L.L. and I agree.

It's always a banner day when I don't have any write-overs or lookups. I have a fairly good reference library which includes an OED, Webster's College Dict., Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies, The World Almanac, and Leonard Maltin's latest Movie Guide. And sometimes Natl. Geographic Atlases help.

My position is this: Life is a continual learning process and when one loses their intellectual curiosity they may as well lay down and give it up. Also, I doubt very much that any one constructor has all his information on the tip of his tongue. I'm certain the constructors have to resort to reference sources at all times. Enough said.

IMHO, the answer to Rondo's question is YES you finished the puzzle.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA
(Where Hollywood & Media "Celebrities" are not given access to our portals). We do honor poets, serious musicians, composers, writers, inventors, large & small businessmen, artists, etc. In fact, we're snobs.

rondo 12:34 PM  

HAVEFUN today? A little for me after the revealer. After the first set of shaded squares were filled I thought maybe that SUITs would be scrambled for some unknown reason.

When I was a kid there was a local kid’s show called AXEL’S Treehouse. The host played a Scandahoovian ex-sailor whose clubhouse was up in a tree. What on earth LEDTV to do something like that? He drew hundreds of kids at live appearances, though. Different ETHIC back then I guess.

Another CUP of SCOTCH and you’ll get a DWI. And too bad the EAST is in the south.

What would xwords ever have been like without yeah baby UMA? And the poor ARAL Sea.

ITSUPTOYOU how enjoyable this was. Not ELEGANT, but now Monday’s DONE.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Ed AMES will always have the funniest tomahawk throw, classic Tonight Show bit.

Can you get autographs with a SHARPEI?
You’ve got ENYA and UMA and HEDDA all grouped in the ESE. As I EYED the finished puzzle UZI OOZE and MAXI IMAX are AMID the answers. What an odd theme. Or ISIT just me?


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