Four of 12 imams of Shia / WED 6-7-15 / Red Lobster freebie / Amused singer of Raise Your Glass / Coke Zero alternative / Nickname for high-achieving couple

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty:Very very easy

THEME: Mononymous singers — familiar phrases that contain words that are also the names of one-named singers; answers are clued wackily, as if they had something to do w/ said singers...

Theme answers:
  • TICKLED PINK (17A: Amused the singer of "Raise Your Glass"?) (I do not know that song)
  • PRINCE CHARMING (25A: Enchantment of the singer of "Raspberry Beret"?)
  • PRO BONO (35A: Favoring the singer of "Sunday Bloody Sunday"?)
  • STING OPERATION (42A: Medical procedure for the singer of "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free"?)
  • TRAINED SEAL (57A: Coached the singer of "Kiss From a Rose"?) 
Word of the Day: Kevin DURANT (5A: Kevin who was the 2014 N.B.A. M.V.P.) —
Kevin Wayne Durant (born September 29, 1988) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays with the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has played the small forward position for the Thunder, formerly the Seattle SuperSonics. Durant has won an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and an Olympic gold medal. He has also been selected to five All-NBA teams and six All-Star teams. (wikipedia)
• • •

Solved this faster than both the Tuesday and the Monday puzzles, so ... not sure what happened there, but I think this one's clued Much too easily. I was getting theme answers just by looking at the answers w/ a handful of crosses in place. Never saw clue for DYNAMIC DUO because I had the tail end and just wrote in the rest—what else was ...-ICD-O gonna be? I like Chagall's work so MARC = gimme. I watched a lot of "Friends" so MATT = gimme. I do a lot of crosswords so TEK = gimme. Etc. This thing didn't push back At All. Took me a little while to see exactly what the theme was, but that's just because I didn't have much time to think about it—I was too busy filling in answers as fast as I could type them. I wrote in DARN for DAMN (23D: "Aw, hell!").  I think that is literally the only "mistake" I made all puzzle. I'm kind of on the fence about the theme. It's just one-named singers whose names are in familiar phrases. That doesn't strike me as that interesting or ambitious. But it's probably just playful enough to pass muster. But (but!) the fill was a little south of good. My mood never quite recovered after I got DIETRC :( and LRON :( :( one after the other. ABMS OOP ORSO ALGA ULAN. It's just a bit clanky. First rate Scrabble-f*cking in the SW. So it's a mild negative from me today, I think. But very, very mild.

Gotta get back to baseball now. When I came up here, it was the 6th inning and Houston was up 2-0 on the Yankees. Let's see what it is now ... whoa, looks like Houston increased its lead to 3-0. Still, that could disappear in a hurry. Gotta get back to watching it live. I've got picture from ESPN and audio from Astros radio. Best of both worlds (if I mute the commercials). Later...

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Tyler 12:04 AM  

Found it fairly easy as well, though took me longer than both Monday and Tuesday.
Still can't figure out what DVDS have to do with easter eggs...any help here?

wreck 12:10 AM  

I agree it was very easy. We are going in reverse this week...... Wednesday was easier than Tuesday, Tuesday was easier than Monday, and Wednesday was easier than Monday as well.

George Barany 12:21 AM  

You're right, @Rex, easy puzzle, and this from someone who went 0 for 5 in terms of knowing the specific songs invoked in the theme entries. @Kevin DURANT has been creating some buzz lately, with ESPN analyst @Stephen Smith claiming that KD will leave Oklahoma for the LA Lakers once he becomes a free agent, which KD is angrily denying.

Fun to be reminded of the great MAD_MEN series that recently ended; but JEEZ (clued "Oh, man!"), I don't recall a similar series for T-MEN. DADS as soccer coaches conjured up images of soccer moms ... not sure what their roles are. RABBITHOLE shares its 3rd and 4th letters with another word frequently associated with @Lewis Carroll, albeit one with one more letter. Finally, I can't see @David NIVEN in a puzzle without thinking of this (1 minute).


What's wrong with DIET RC?

chefwen 12:33 AM  

Said to BIL "Rex is going to rate this EASY" wasn't counting on VERY VERY EASY, but as usual, he's right.

My biggest hang up was thinking that SEAL's name was soul, I have no idea how that got in my brain. I've seen him in concert, almost within sweating range of the stage. He was very high on my list of "heart throbs" at one time and I forget his name, JEEZ! HELM set me straight and I was done.

Too easy perhaps, but fun.

Da Bears 12:49 AM  

The fact that Rex is a Yankee fan and the Yankees lost is enough to make my evening. As to the puzzle, yes, for me, it was easier than many Wednesdays, so I agree with Rex there, but tired, stale, corny, lousy punning clues made me feel like I wanted the Yankees to lose. Go Cubs!!!

jae 1:05 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Had trouble with the middle section.  CABLE and ABMS were not all that obvious, and DAMN could have been DArN.  So,  I can see ABrS as a likely error.  Also, @lms I had gEEZ before JEEZ.

This one had more fill issues than yesterday's and solvers who don't follow rock and roll may have problems? That said, liked it.

Steve J 1:15 AM  

Yep, insanely easy for a Wednesday, but I had fun with it. The quickness of things let me blow by the subpar fill without much notice. I found the theme to be pleasantly playful, and I definitely liked that allow the phrases were in the language and not force-fit with awkward variations, as happens too often for these sorts of themes (the clues got to be a little awkward, but once you pick up on the theme, you realize you really only need to look for the artist).

The only better October baseball sight than one of my two teams winning the World Series (which I've gotten to see a lot in recent years) is watching the Yankees walk off the field dejectedly (or not even be on the field). I don't care at all what the Astros do the rest of the way; they've done their part for this year.

Ellen S 2:54 AM  

@Tyler, I've never been observant enough to find an EASTER EGG, but DVDs, some DVDs contain special content that you reveal by watching for, I don't know, something subliminal flashing on the screen. You hit the Play button or some button when you see the indicator and it goes into a digression of some kind, often I think it's a blooper, or material that was cut from the final version. Unlike the Extras on the DVD, this material is embedded in the main feature.

This stuff is even more common in games and since I don't play video games, I can tell you even less about those.

I enjoyed the puzzle but (or "and") agree it was very easy. My knowledge of pop culture is on a par with my knowledge of video games, but I had no trouble.

SmartJanitor 3:38 AM  

I submit the following respectfully. 1. If you're a professor of English, don't make the its/it's mistake. 2. If you're a writer over age 15, lose your enchantment with Capitalizing For Cutesy Emphasis. It's fine to do it occasionally. Not twice in the same post, though. OTOH, thanks for the baseball update and the Beck video.

John Child 6:50 AM  

@Tyler once upon a time software came on DVDs. Software often has EASTER EGGS, hidden little jokes or goodies that appealed to the developers. I groaned loudly at that one. Two MEN, MAD and T, but we have seen things like this dozens of times recently. I guess it's the new rule.

A little harder than average for Wednesday here. I suspect someone who recognized most of the songs and other names would find it very, very easy.

Anonymous 7:03 AM  

Agree on that question, "Easter egg container?" = DVD? What's the connection?

Rex Parker 7:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 7:32 AM  

I agree this was easy, but I liked the theme and its wordplay. And how cool to have PRO BONO right there in the middle.

Rex - I had "darn," too, and never changed it. So maybe I had anti-ballistic rifles instead of missiles.

My only other trip-up was a ridiculous "in here" for INSERT. Creepy talking slot. In a trench coat. Psst. Buddy. You with the quarters looking for a DIET RC. Put'em in here. Hurry.

@jae – I know, right? Sheesh, geez, JEEZ. Gotta get that spelling straight, for Christ’s sake!

C’mon, y’all – with CAKE MIX, TATER TOTS, DRIVE THRU, DYNAMIC DUO, RABBIT HOLE, MAD MEN in addition to the themers….. I can overlook the ULAN and OR SO.

Bright, twinkly little puzzle. Bravo!

The Rhino 7:41 AM  

I'm an idiot. I had gEEZ and gOHN. Kept looking through the puzzle (I thought my problem was ALGA-related) but I could not see the gOHN problem (I thought it was some british toilet company or something - again, I'm an idiot.) So a stupid DNF for me.

Besides that, ridiculously easy.

Lobster11 7:48 AM  

Liked the theme and many long entries, but not sure if they were worth the price of some of the fill. I almost quit after encountering ALIS/NIN/TEK running side-by-side in the North.

Did anyone else find the clue for INALIE ("One way to be caught") a bit off? It seems to me that a lie is a thing you get caught doing, not a "way" to be caught doing it. "Red-handed" would be a "way" to get caught -- i.e., by someone seeing you in the act of doing whatever you don't want to be caught at. A lie is one of those things you don't want to get caught at, not a "way" of being caught doing it. Is there something wrong about that clue, or am I just starting to come down with a case of Rexosis?

Wednesday's Child 7:55 AM  

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Went to bed with their stockings on
Yeah, that's how I remember the Gospel writers.

We have MATT, MARC and JOHN but no Luke. We have BIB for Bible and EDEN and maybe even ST. ING.

Other than that, what can I say?

Is there nothing more inane?

AliasZ 7:56 AM  

I am proud to say I did not know any of the song titles. I also did not know Kevin DURANT, but knew MARC Chagall, MATT LeBlanc, David NIVEN and Carl REINER, heard of LRON Hubbard, YAO Ming, TOM tom, and JOHN. Thus --except for the five theme entries -- today's trivia puzzle was easy for me, if overly boring. I learned nothing new from it worthy of knowing. Solving it gave me no joy, little entertainment, and certainly left no lasting impression. Trivia games usually don't -- I consider them empty time fillers for the shallow, or memory exercise for the aging. But at least the Gospels were represented: MATT, MARC, ROOK and JOHN.

Quotes of the day:
"Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance."
"The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority."
"It may be true that you can't fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country."
-- Will DURANT (1885-1981), historian and philosopher, half of the DYNAMIC DUO -- the other half being Ariel DURANT (1898-1981) -- who wrote "The Story of Philosophy" and "The Story of Civilization." Will married Ariel in 1913 when she was 15 years old, and died two weeks after Ariel.

Let me part now with this lovely Cantata by DIETRC Buxtehude (1637-1707).


"A car hit my dog in the ass." "You mean RECTum?" "RECTum? It DAMN near killed him!"
-- The Artist Formerly Known as Paw Prints.

joho 7:59 AM  

I was TICKLEDPINK by this utterly CHARMING puzzle.

It was thought provoking, too. Made me wonder if the TMEN were TEED off at the MADMEN or the MADMEN were MAD at the TMEN. Either way I see a fight brewing.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, thank you, Julian Lim!

RAD2626 8:03 AM  

I would agree that the theme was easy for a Wednesday puzzle especially if you knew all the songs - and I would rank them all as pretty common except for SEAL's offering. But couple of dead ends if you did not know a lot of crosswordese. NIN and TEK side by side and ULAN and ALGA cross could get you at the A. So I would rank as Medium based in those two. Liked all the long fill a lot. Nice puzzle.

John V 8:22 AM  

DURANT/TEK crossing was unfair.

GeezerJackYale48 8:27 AM  

I am high on the list of those who don't follow rock and roll, but I have vaguely heard of - if not heard - the names, so everything fell into place pretty easily. I am also on the list of those wondering about the DVD Easter Egg connection. I am probably on a list of my very own in entering "darn" instead of "damn" and walking away without giving a thought to what the heck an ABR defense might be.

quilter1 8:30 AM  

I was pleased to finish since I knew none of the songs, but because of the ease of the puzzle could fill in the themers at a glance. Enjoyable if too easy for Wed.

austin 8:46 AM  

pretty sure a yankees fan wouldn't be listening to astros radio

steveo 8:50 AM  

Durant/Tek slowed me down a bit, but still way under my Wednesday average (have I mentioned that I love the newish NYT stats?)

The Shatner thing is spelled "TekWar", and if you pay attention, you'll see that there's no space after the ___ in the clue. I can't recall ever seeing a spaceless blank like that. Hopefully next time I'll notice it.

Roo Monster 8:52 AM  

Hey All !
Must've been easy, as I only had one writeover, led-> RAN. However, had my famous one letter DNF with DArN. DAMN! I suppose DArN would've been clued as "Aw, heck!" So what the heck are ABMS? Air Ballistic Missiles, maybe?

Agree on the too-easy for a WedsPuz. Felt more Tuesdayish. Did think the themers were cool, normal phrases with singers names. And clued, as Rex eloquently (and always-cracks-me-upily) put, wackily.

DIET RC is a thing, but looks odd, and I think RC Cola not available everywhere? Maybe, maybe not. Lots of O's in the center. With all the Scrabbly letters strewn about, was looking for the Pangram, but actually there's no F, Q, or W.

Overall, a good 'un, Julian. CHARMING, and dare I say, I was TICKLED PINK!


Alicia Stetson 8:54 AM  

@SteveJ: The Yankees not only "walked off the field dejectedly," but they were booed off the field by their "fans" as they left. Music to my ears.
In most other cities, a team that made the playoffs after they were projected to end near the bottom of their division would have gotten some applause at the end of their season. The Yankees, and their fans, showed their true colors yesterday.

Jim M 9:02 AM  

Do you type "f*cking" because we are too delicate to see the actual word in print?

Z 9:06 AM  

All I can imagine is that the surfeit of pop culture was imagined to be Wednesdayish? yArn to TALE and DArN to DAMN slowed me momentarily, otherwise I wish I had timed myself because it felt like I might have broken my 6 minute barrier.

Interestingly, the youngest of these pop icons hit the top ten 16 years age, so not really all that modern. I was 2 1/2 for 5 on the songs (I think I know the STING reference) only because they picked one of the two best songs from the only U2 album I have ever owned.

@Da Bears - I believe Rex is a Tigers fan, since he has mentioned that often. I don't know who he was rooting for last night, but the fact that he was listening to the Astros radio feed suggests that it wasn't the DAMN Yankees.

@Wednesday's Child - I noticed Luke's absence as well. The Jeopardy question next to the puzzle is close to Luke, but I'm pretty sure it is Han's alter ego. The answer is, "Charlton Heston's wardrobe in 1954's 'Secret if the Incas' inspired the clothes worn by this adventurous character 27 years later."

Jennifer Freeman 9:09 AM  

Sorry but Rex said yesterday that he's rooting for the Astros.

Mike D 9:20 AM  

I am always taken aback when people here are proud of their ignorance, like @AliasZ above. From my perspective, all knowledge is a good thing.

chefbea 9:25 AM  

Easy puzzle except for top middle. Never heard of Durant or Tek. Loved tater tots crossing cake mix!!

jberg 9:28 AM  

When I saw JEEZ crossing ZEE, I thought the constructor must be going for a pangram - but there's no F, of all things. Maybe other letters as well, I stopped checking after the F. I'd have gone with JEEP and PEE.

My first PDA was a Palm Pilot where if you dragged two fingers on the right diagonal (if I remember right) a camel would dance across the screen. I didn't know DVDs had EASTER EGGs too, but got it by extension.

@Lobster, that's just a crossword convention sort of a pun, I guess. If you can fill in the phrase with an adverb, then you can use any other was that you can fill it in. Ie., "caught quickly" => caught IN A LIE. Lots of crossword clues are not literally correct.

Ludyjynn 9:31 AM  

Weird that as I filled in Carl REINER in the puzzle, he showed up on my tv screen in a PBS documentary about the evolution of women on television. As the creator of "The Dick Van Dyke Show", he admitted that in retrospect he regrets the story line where Mary Tyler Moore's character, Laura Petrie, considers returning to work as a dancer, but ends up staying at home as the happy housewife, "unable" to fulfill both roles. Interesting. At age 93, he remains a triple threat as writer, director and actor. An amazing career.

I POSIT that this was a very pleasant mid-week puzzle. Thanks, JL and WS.

The Ear Worm 9:35 AM  

Fast week so far out here. Liked the long downs. Not as blazing fast as OFL, but fast for a Wed.

Almost makes up for last Saturday, which I'm still plugging through in my spare time.

Agreed with most comments, though I think, @Lobster11 that you are trying to parse the 'caught' clue semantically rather than literally or maybe word playee. "Caught in a lie" is a common phrase, hence the clue. Read literally, you could fill in "out" "red handed" "with your pants down" "between a rock and a hard place" "in a sting", etc. as long as it sounds like a part of speech when you add "caught".

GILL I. 9:43 AM  

Worth the 10 boring minutes on this puzzle just to read @AliasZ. I've learned to put my coffee cup down before reading you...
Like @G.B. I too didn't know any of the songs but I knew all the singers. I guess one would have to be practically dead if you hadn't heard of them.
I think the reason I found this so tedious is that the cluing felt so out-dated. The answers did too! MARC MATT TOM JOHN sounds like a sitcom airing after MADMEN. Hey MOMS also coach soccer and, well, DAng that held me up more than I wanted.
@chefwen...are you crossing your fingers for a rebus manana?

Bob Kerfuffle 9:57 AM  

One write-over: 21 D, TAMbefore TOM.

Gracie H 10:04 AM  

Disagree on Rex's very very easy assessment. Didn't know DURANT/TEK . Winced at CABLE and HBO. But it's a beautiful morning in Massachusetts!

Masked and Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Dang, @009 -- U tough grader.
I suspect the clues were ratcheted down a few ratchets, becuz many of the AARP-affiliated solvers might not know much about PINK, SEAL, the artist formerly known as, etc. STING probably qualifies for AARP, so that themer might be the easiest of the pack.

Some survival-mode fill: PKGS, DIETRC (premiere!), fave weeject DJS, RECT, ABMS. DJS has PB1 Usage Immunity, tho.
Crossword-eazy-e clue: { ___ Bator} = ULAN.

M&A had at least heard of all the theme performers, altho would've been hard-pressed to name any tunes by most of em. But that was enough to keep things movin steadily thru this WedPuz. Lost a couple of nanosecs on DIETR? [moment of French soft drink fear], but nothing even the slightlyest unfair.

Thanx, Mr. Lim. Fun time. Keep on comin back. Bring the hard stuff, next time.


**nearly consonantz**

Andrew Heinegg 10:24 AM  

Maybe but, I know nothing about the Kardashians, e.g., and I do not think I am missing anything that I want to know about, would enrich my life, etc.

Nancy 10:45 AM  

So I'm as proud of not knowing any of the theme songs as is @Alias, even though he's obviously a musician and I'm not. I predict that @OISK won't know them either. But a riddle: When are pop singer, songs, bands et al clues least objectionable in a puzzle? When they are part of cute, easy puns and you can suss them out without knowing anything about them. Because of my lack of knowledge of pop songs, basketball players and "Friends", I didn't find this as "very, very, very easy" as others. But it was easy enough, considering everything.

Patricia Markert 10:53 AM  

So so sorry about the Yankees.

Wednesday's Child 11:07 AM  

@The Ear Worm: IMO there is a moment when spending more time on a puzzle is spending too much time on a puzzle. I limit my time on the later-in-the-week puzzles and post a DNF if it crosses my personal threshold. I can 'feel' when it's time. What do other solvers think?

Carola 11:09 AM  

Add me to those who knew nuthin about the song titles but have heard of the singers. I thought it was a clever idea and enjoyed seeing the phrases materialize. Nice Downs, too.

@Alias Z, your seeing Buxtehude in DIETRC made my day.

Joseph Michael 11:10 AM  

Knew all of the singers but not their song titles, so this was not quite as easy for me.

Liked the theme, but would have liked it more if all of the themers were parallel. For example, TICKLED PINK and TRAINED SEAL worked best for me because they were both clued as verb phrases. PRINCE CHARMING felt the most strained.

Lots of good fill. Especially liked RABBIT HOLE, DYNAMIC DUO, and TATER TOTS.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Well, @Andrew, it might help you solve crossword puzzles, or maybe understand a cultural phenomenon, or read the newspaper with better comprehension, no?

Lewis 11:31 AM  

@wednesday's child and @aliasz (The Earl of Erudition), and @Z -- You have a backward LOOK at 40A.
@aliasz -- your P.S. was priceless!

Not Julian's fault that this Tuesday puzzle played today. I liked how the name part of the theme answers alternated -- 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd. I like ARIA crossing AREA, and loved RABBITHOLE. The cluing was certainly Tuesdayish, very direct. But for a Tuesdayish puzzle it was lotsa fun. Julian has 19 NYT puzzles, and his two favorite days, with five each, are Wednesday and Saturday. HIs Saturday puzzles have been very hard for me, so between that and the easiness of a puzzle like today's, it shows his great range.

Numinous 11:34 AM  

Cute but uninspiring! My memory may be off but I seem to recal Julian Lim's puzzles generally being a bit harder than this one. I finished in half my usual time for a Wednesday. Hands up, y'all who say Wensday. Wedensday? Wed ness day?
I had to wonder at SEAL as the name revealed itself. I've never heard of him but that's because I don't do R&B (interesting that that name comes up the day ISiS threatens the life of the SEAL who killed Bin Ladin). STING, PRINCE, BONO and PINK: seems like one would have to have been locked away in an ivory tower not to have, at least, heard of them.
So far, this week has been a bit disappointing and I'm not holding out much hope for the rest of the week because yesterday's C. C. effort was Jeff Chen's POW. DAMN!

old timer 11:38 AM  

When you win three World Series in five years, your fans show up for the last game and love the team as much as ever, and pay respect to those heroes who will not come back next year. Difference between SF and NY, maybe, but also I think the difference between a team that truly is a band of brothers and a team that is just a "team", especially now Jeter's gone. Of course the Sabathia disaster may have made the Yankee fans a little TEED off, too. Go Cubs!

Put this geezer in the ranks of those who found Naticks everywhere and needed to look up some of the answers. Other than Jeopardy, I haven't watched much TV since my college days. And I stopped paying attention to rock music in the late 70's for the most part. So: tougher than M or T for me. I thought the fill was subpar, too, except for the themers that were kind of cute and definitely easy to get. I still don't get the DVD answer, but figured NIVEN had to be right, so I put it in.

Looking forward to a better Thursday puzzle, though last week's might be hard to top.

Janet Halbert, LCSW 11:39 AM  

@Alias Z: "I am proud to say I did not know any of the song titles". I can't speak to the other songs or artists, but as a licensed therapist treating mainly teen-aged girls, Pink from TICKLEDPINK has an enormous corrective effect on many of my patients. So much so that I make sure that I am current with her work, as it is informative of a significant portion of our population. With this knowledge I can't help but read your "pride" as a huge "I don't give a damn" about the problems and issues that the young ladies, your children, your nieces, currently experience in our society.

efrex 12:34 PM  

Enjoyed the theme quite a bit, especially since there's at least one song by each artist that I really like (not necessarily the ones clued, though). Guess I'm starting to show my age. The fill was, as noted, quite a bit too easy for a Wednesday, but I'll take an easy puzzle after a two-day hiatus.

Malsdemare 12:38 PM  

Hey, I'm an AARP person and I knew all the artists; Seal is a favorite. Now I will have Raspberry Beret as an earworm all day.

Yup, it was easy but fun. Bring on Thursday. The Niven clip was priceless, "all his shortcomings" indeed!

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Here you go. Your world will never be the same now.

Masked and Anonymous 1:07 PM  

For those who religiously keep track of this sorta thing…

28 of 76 answers in this WedPuz have Patrick Berry (PB1) NYTPuz Usage Immunity. (Includes JEEZ.)
26 of 76 answers have M&A Runtpuz Usage Immunity. (Does not include any TRAINEDSEALs.)

This, despite the fact that M&A has made more examples to choose from.
On the other hand, PB1 usually:
a) has more words per puz.
b) has better taste.
c) has a (good) reputation to protect.

M&A Get Help Desk.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

Also had trouble with DVD and Easter egg, and came up with "gohn" to go with "geez." But now it all makes sense!

Teedmn 1:46 PM  

No easier than an average Wednesday for me. The themers were easy enough, but the Midwest baffled me for some time. I had put in ZEd in at 62A and was blank on 31A, 34A (needed an abbrev. prompt?) and 39A. Also was thinking of Peter Pan rather than Alice so it took me some time to see RABBIT HOLE. And the DArN DNF. Thanks, Ellen S, for the DVD explanation, never heard of it.

I was lucky that 60A was clued with "Kiss From a Rose" because it is the only song I know by Seal.

Thanks, Julian Lim, I'm TICKLED PINK with this puzzle.

woolf 1:50 PM  

I also blew through this one, despite enjoying a RECT MORN -- too much wine last night.

Theme was cute, despite the persons being a little dated. Appreciated the consistency in re: not changing the spelling, thus avoiding any number of ONE'S FAIR CHER variants, though at the cost of DUDE YOURE GETTING ADELE. Howzabout: "Photo evidence of singer of 'Hot in Herre?'" (NEGATIVE NELLY).

Broaden this beyond singers, you could get SLASH FICTION. Not that anyone should ever get slash fiction.

Not many nits to pic, other than the aforementioned RECT, MORN, ELL atop ZEE, and that misbegotten SE corner (ALGA - Abbr., border where Phenix City is located). Some cuteness, too -- like USB crossing HUBS (and, I suppose if you charge your electric marital aid via you laptop, a USB port could be a "rabbit hole").

ANON B 2:16 PM  

I still don't understand the relationship between
Easter egg container and DVD. Will someone
please explain?

Matt C 3:06 PM  

While I couldn't match all of the artists to the songs, it wasn't hard to figure out. The crosses were more than easy and the phrases were pretty normal. I blew through this puzzle in record time for a Wednesday, faster than both Monday and Tuesday, so I agree with Rex on the difficulty level.

DVD: Easter egg container. From Wikipedia, since it's accurate. "An Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, hidden message, or feature in an interactive work such as a computer program, video game or DVD menu screen. The name has been said to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt.[1]"

[1] Wolf, Mark J. P. (2012). Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming. ABC-CLIO. p. 177. ISBN 9780313379369.

Billy C. 3:22 PM  

@Wednesday's Child --

Re: When should one resign for a DNF-stop.?

I never do. I google to get restarted. I know that this means I didn't finish cleanly, but I still enjoy the remaining puzzle. On the (few) occasions where googling doesn't work, I'll even go to rexblog to get something to restart me.

So call me a cheater ....

Pete 3:47 PM  

@Alias Z comment and @Janet Halbert's rejoinder reminded me of some sage advice my grandfather gave me - Your ignorance is like your penis, the less you actively show it off the fewer people will point at you laughing.

Z 4:19 PM  

@Wednesday's Child - For me it has a lot to do with my sense of "doability." I've done enough real tricky puzzles where they went from "impossible" to "D'oh, Now I get it" that I will stick with a tough puzzle longer. But if the toughness is from trivial trivia (obscure rivers, little known operas. Sanskrit crossing Hindi) I'm more likely to cut my losses. Still, if I DNF I still try to work through the puzzle with whatever reference resources necessary. That's how alb and Oise become gimmes instead of gotchas.

Leapfinger 4:25 PM  

@Janet Halbert, Ms P!NK may well provide a voice and some framework for the subset of the population you're concerned with, but fortunately she's not the only entree into awareness of young girls' problems. I haven't knowingly heard any of her work, so aren't aware what issues in particular she addresses. Does she sing about the obesity associated with drinking DIETRC Cola et alia? How about the osteoporosis prevalent among teenage girls who've replaced milk with soft drinks? Early puberty associated with soft drinks in general? Plenty of impact there, bien sur.

I really doubt pop culture is the best determinant of awareness and caring about issues of the times. Most people in a position to do something effective get there by other avenues. It only serves those who lack other means.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

Easter egg is a hidden extra

The Beatles Help - 2007 Two Disc Restoration

Insert the 2nd Disc. When at the "Play All" selection press the "UP" menu key and light the cymbal in the lower left picture. Press "Enter" for an audio version by "Cousin Brucie" of WABC of a 1965 Radio Spot # 5.

Wednesday's Child 4:52 PM  

Hey @Janet, you came down a little hard on @AliasZ, dontcha think? Me thinks he meant no offense to young girls by his comment. Of course I shouldn't speak for him, but he is a regular, intelligent, inoffensive contributor and your attack seemed unwarranted.

Wensday is a lot easier to write than Wed nes day.

chefwen 5:03 PM  

@Gill I -You Betcha!
@Numinous - Liked your Wens Day, think I'll adopt that.

Diana,LIW 5:14 PM  

Had band for KOOL, grade for CABLE, and was going to put in "gas" for 28d, but decided the puz was having a HOAX with me, and I caught it INALIE. PKGS and ROOK bailed me out. I don't know these songs by name, either, tho I'm sure I've heard them. So my earworm is now the lovely and memorable Alley OOP.

I guess it was easy, since I finished it. And here I thought I was progressing... Back to practicing in my Tues/Wed puzzle books.

Diana, Lady in Waiting (in syndication land) of CrossWords

The Ear Worm 6:26 PM  

Saturday suffered from my having a busy weekend and thus not looking at it until Monday. With the removal of the motivation to keep a streak alive, I tend to work on it in small chunks rather than pushing to completion in one sitting.

I solve on my phone on the bus or at my desk, so I tend to pick it up and put it down as I get inspired or frustrated respectively.

Since Saturdays take me from 30 minutes to an hour normally, the 40 minutes I've put into the most recent is still short of my exasperation threshold (after which I either Google or just put it down for good).

Diana,LIW 7:19 PM  

@Wed - I love almost all the puzzles, so I'm not a "rexie" kinda critiquer. Hvr, when I've done cross, down, cross, down, (lather, repeat) I will google or blog the answers of the "King Solomon's mother-in-law's maiden name" clues, aka, ones not anywhere near my wheelhouse. Then I go on to finish the rest. Works for me, and it's still fun. Kinda like drinking - stop while it's still fun.

Re Alias and Janet. I do think Alias was being fanciful - "oh golly gee whiz, I didn't know..." and not truly "proud" of lack of knowledge in certain areas. We all have trivial places we know zippo about, IMHO. (See above Solomon clue - "Urdu for Go Eat a Lemon" type of clue.)

OTOH, Janet, as a mental health therapist (myself), I agree that Pink has a fantastic message for girls and women in her songs and especially videos. While not being a pill, she grandly skewers videos that make females looks like dumb objects of sexploitation. With verve and musicality. Brava!

So Leap (and I love, love, love your posts) - take a gander at Pink, you might be surprised.

BTW - I think I may soon be (after a 40-year hiatus) graduating from Xword Kindergarten.

Diana, Lady in Waiting of CrossWords

Charlie Mitchell 8:10 PM  

Easter eggs made me think of dr who and weeping angels. Never a bad thing.

Nancy 8:19 PM  

@Janet Halbert LCSW -- Your putdown of @Alias Z may be the most (inadvertantly) funny comment I've yet read on this blog. If you say that Pink helps your teenage girl patients deal better with their problems, I have no reason to doubt you. I wouldn't know why that's true and I don't much care. Like me, @Alias Z doesn't HAVE psychologically troubled teenage girls as patients. @Alias Z doesn't have ANY patients. @Alias Z is not a therapist. @Alias Z is a musician who, I'm sure, has valid musical reasons for eschewing popular rock stars. His knowing who Pink is and what she sings or NOT knowing who Pink is and what she sings WILL NOT HELP A SINGLE TEENAGE GIRL IN TROUBLE. Why should HE be obligated to acquire knowledge that helps you in YOUR job? Should you be obligated to learn how to transpose a piece of music from the key of F to the key of B flat? Every single person on this site is entitled to have both the interests and the LACK of interests that they choose. And, thanks for your comment, @Andrew. A lack of interest in and curiosity about the Kardashians seems to me like a very admirable thing.

Lets see 9:24 PM  

AliasZ is proud of his ignorance of pop culture and also apparently proud of his knowledge of classical music. He goes on to imply that those who may not agree with him are "shallow" filling "empty time" or are battling "aging" memories. This is inoffensive?

Janet Halbert 10:10 PM  

@Wednesday's Child - Consider @AZ's opening sentence: "I am proud to say I did not know any of the song titles." How can someone be proud of not doing, or knowing, something unless doing it, or knowing it, would demean them somehow. Hence, @AZ's "pride" can only come from his implicit assertion that listening to Pink would be demeaning. Sure, Pink's music is mediocre at best, in a hundred years minstrels will not be traveling from city to city reciting her poetry, but to assert it is demeaning is an offensive narcissism on @AZ's part - it's not to his liking, ergo it is demeaning. So, how exactly did I come down too hard on @AZ? By pointing out how his self-professed ignorance led him to miss some very important info?

kitshef 11:19 PM  

First of all, Pink is awesome. And so is much of this puzzle, including all the themers plus RABBITHOLE, DYNAMICDUO, TATERTOTS. I'm more than willing to put up with LRON, TMEN PKGS and RECT for those.

The thing that almost pushed me over the edge to 'dislike' was JEEZ, but I got over it.

Anonymous 12:16 AM  

I get that some people on this blog have become friends, but I wish that didn't make them think they have to rush to defend every offensive remark their pals make. And yes, boasting about your ignorance and dismissing as shallow people who don't share your interests is hugely offensive.

It's enough to make you miss the trolls.

Burma Shave 10:09 AM  


because his PROBONO lawyer was UNDONE INALIE
about a CIA HOAX the DAMN judge wouldn’t buy.


rondo 10:31 AM  

For no reason I decided to time myself this MORN – 13 minutes scribbling as fast as possible with my superfast Sarasa Zebra 0.7 pen while still keeping it legible. One write-over at DArN. And OFL cries “Very very easy” and probably does it in 3 minutes. Speed solvers must be MADMEN. No more timing for me.

I knew the PRINCE, BONO, and STING tunes; have heard of the other artists, but wouldn’t know them if I heard them, although I recall PINK as a rather fetching yeah baby whom I’d like to TICKLE.

Lotsa other first and last names and potential names, like KOOL (without his Gang) and JOHN without his Fogerty. And letter things happening like ELL ZEE LRON and TMEN. Also lotsa abbr.s.

But I’m not TEED off. The musicality of the theme was a real CAKEMIX.

spacecraft 11:24 AM  

The unquestioned DYNAMICDUO of this piece are the two long downs; unfortunately they chased each other down a RABBITHOLE and left us with the remainder--a puzzle that belongs in JAIL.

First, I echo many who say this was way too easy for a Wed. Though I had no trouble with DAMN vs. darn (clue for the latter would be "Aw, heck!", no?), I did, and will always, have a fit with clue words like "put," which don't change from present to past tense. Accordingly, I had a writeover at POSed/POSIT. Can't believe no one else tripped over this.

The theme was kinda cute, but short of scintillating--and WAY short of worth the price for that fill. In each RECTangle (UGH) I was doing the longer direction, so didn't even read the clue for DVD: good thing, too, because I'd have been totally mystifies at that clue. I learned something new today about "Easter eggs," albeit something I have never used or ever will.

Time to DRIVETHRU this one and on to tomorrow. C-.

Longbeachlee 1:27 PM  

In defense of AliasZ, it's not necessarily arrogance. I assume AZ is a geezer, and as a geezer myself, I can identify. If you were brought up on big band, it really is hard to accept what followed as "real" music, getting harder and harder in the evolution from Soft Rock to Rap. I'm not proud of all that though, and would not brag about it, but I can identify.

leftcoastTAM 4:58 PM  

Let's make it unanimous: Very easy.

This "Easter egg" thing is new to me, as it apparently is to many others.

I don't expect (or want) an easy walk-through tomorrow.

rondo 7:16 PM  

Maybe Syndies will come back to read this? Maybe even @teedMN. I am 60+ so am probably also considered a geezer. I played Dixieland jazz on my trumpet in H.S. and even some Bert Kaempfert, as well as classical and some of what was then pop music. I played rock music on bass guitar for a time.

I appreciate almost all genres (no rap). But I do refuse to listen to the Twin Cities classic rock station because it is dreadfully boring and the AM morning show host is far too right for me. I’ve heard all those tunes hundreds of times and don’t want to get stuck in the past. Our public radio service here (of which I’ve been a member for +/- 35 years) has a great station for modern music, but they also toss us geezers bones, as far back as the ‘30s, but some classic rock and even classic country, and some Americana. So I am easily able to keep up with trends. You can stream it at

Point being, yeah, I know and appreciate music from the past. But just like your 1957 Chevy, ALL OF THAT MUSIC WAS BETTER WHEN IT WAS NEW.

Stay young,live long, love like nobody's watchin'.

leftcoastTAM 11:45 PM  

I guess I missed the RP train. I was at the station early afternoon. So I end up hiking in, assuming I'll get here.

Longbeachlee 12:12 PM  

Hey Rondo, give it some time. Rap will no doubt improve with age like the rest, although it's hard to believe. Dixieland, yeah, that's real jazz.

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