Deposits of glacial debris / WED 1-20-16 / Pitch-correcting audio processor / Charles who wrote Peg Woffington / Clearly Different eye care chain / Cross-dressing Streisand character

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Constructor: Herre Schouwerwou

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: DRY MARTINI (49A: Cocktail made by combining the ends of 17-, 26- and 38-Across) — theme answers end in GIN, VERMOUTH, and ICE ... there's also a tacked-on answer that's supposed to be a martini-related pun: OLIVER TWIST (60A: Dickens classic ... and, phonetically, two garnishes for a 49-Across)

Theme answers:
  • EXTRA VIRGIN (17A: Like some top-quality kitchen oil)
  • RIVER MOUTH (26A: Delta locale)
  • DIAPER SERVICE (38A: Exchange program for preschoolers?)
Word of the Day: Joe ORTON (29A: "Loot" playwright Joe) —
John Kingsley "Joe" Orton (1 January 1933 – 9 August 1967) was an English playwright and author. His public career was short but prolific, lasting from 1964 until his death three years later. During this brief period he shocked, outraged, and amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies. The adjective Ortonesque is sometimes used to refer to work characterised by a similarly dark yet farcical cynicism. (wikipedia)
• • •

I drink martinis from time to time, so I like the way this puzzle thinks. I just ... don't like the way this puzzle executes. At all. First of all, there is nothing, nada, zero about this particular set of ingredients (GIN, VERMOUTH, ICE) that makes a *DRY* MARTINI. It's just a martini. Those are the basic ingredients of a martini. A martini martini. There is nothing—I repeat, Nothing—"DRY" about the martini recipe hidden at the ends of the theme answers. "DRY"ness has to do with the amount of vermouth. The less vermouth, the more "DRY" (you use "dry" vermouth, but more vermouth actually means a wetter martini ...) But, again, without ratios to guide us, who knows what kind of martini we're dealing with? So the whole puzzle is a lie, or at least a misrepresentation. It's important to get these things straight.  Your ingredients say martini, your revealer says a specific kind of martini. Boo. Second, that OLIVER TWIST pun, yikes. Tacked-on and groan-worthy. Also, it's clued Terribly. "Olive or twist?" is a question, not "two garnishes." The "or" makes the clue flat-out wrong. "Olive or twist" is, grammatically, one garnish. "I can't decide if an olive or twist works best in this drink." See, singular. Then there's the ICE answer. I mean ... All the gin in the world won't make the taste of diaper go away. Was there no other ICE-ending answer? A diaper-free one? (A: there were, and are, millions).

The fill has its moments—the one I liked best was the POP MUSIC / AUTOTUNE juxtaposition. Nice. Apt. Other places, not so great. I was grimacing and kind of listing to one side as I worked through the IEVER / NAE / READE section down there. Nothing says "I give up" quite like that clue on PART V (7D: Fifth installment  of a miniseries). And when's the last time anyone drank Sanka, let alone multiple SANKAS (!?!)? A couple answers stunned me, though not in bad ways. I would not have thought MORAINES a common enough word to be in a Wednesday puzzle (23D: Deposits of glacial debris). Can't remember why I know it. Maybe some scary documentary about the impending end of the planet due to ice melt-off? I was also surprised to see AMA, as clued (59A: Online Q&A session). Are there AMAs outside of Reddit? And what does it even stand for? Ask ... Me ... Another? Hang on, I'll look it up... ah, it's Ask Me Anything, and the internet is telling me it's basically *exclusive* to Reddit, so ugh to that. I mean ugh to "online" when you mean "Reddit and only Reddit." "Online" does not equal Reddit, though Reddit is a subset of "Online." This is basically my point about martini / DRY MARTINI, by the way.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:30 AM  

Easy Wed. except for the center where I had ell before TEE for too long, and ASK in that context was a WOE. I guessed that AMA means Ask Me Anything, no idea @Rex about Reddit.

MORAINES I knew from crosswords, but it's been a while since I've seen it.

Clever and delightful, liked it quite a bit more than Rex did.

George Barany 12:32 AM  

As one who does not drink, not even socially, I would like to begin by thanking @Rex for his scholarly discourse on the nature and composition of a DRY_MARTINI. It helped clarify several nuances that were quite a bit over my head.

I do note with admiration that this is @Herre Schouwerwou's fifth New York Times puzzle in just a shade over a year, and I do appreciate being reminded of the wonderful novel, later made into a musical, OLIVER_TWIST, but ...

If I_EVER see PIA ZADORA in a puzzle again ... time to trot out a couple of stories previously buried here.

My friend Paul Luftig, a retired banker, had to do business with Pia's sugar daddy of an ex-husband, über-businessman Meshulum Riklis. At their very first meeting, an arranged luncheon, the first words from Meshulum to Paul were "I don't know why I'm having lunch with you; I usually get laid at lunch." Years later, when Riklis was recovering from some prostate treatment, he confided in Paul that Pia would not sleep with him because she thought it was contagious.

CerintheM 1:21 AM  

I was wondering what VIRGINs had to do with DRY MARTINIs for an embarrassingly long time.

I only knew MORAINES because I grew up on Long Island, which is a terminal moraine (and, in one of those bizarro coincidences, I was just explaining to my 8yo tonight how it differed from volcanic islands, such as Hawaii.

The OLIVER TWIST thing was irritatingly clued. Not a puzzle that made me smile at its cleverness, and one that made me scratch my head a couple of times.

Lee Coller 2:10 AM  

Reade crossed with Idris got me, never heard of either of them, and the names aren't easily inferred. Never heard of AMA in this context though the crosses made it a non-issue.

Mark M, 2:57 AM  

I liked the Olive r Twist extra but that clue for Deaf (Refusing to listen) seemed odd, or offensive, unless I am missing something.

phil phil 3:17 AM  

Agree with rex
Maybe this:
7D. What 41A is to the theme
HINT of vermouth

Anonymous 3:21 AM  

Kinda enjoyed it. I think OFL's major gripes would be overcome with some subtle clue tweaks. Garnish question for 60A drinker. Cocktail made using particular proportions.... I'm hoping some other commenter agrees and restates more effectively.

chefwen 3:44 AM  

For a while I couldn't let go of a "V" theme, with Virgin, vermouth, versus, vice. Then I hit upon Dry Martini and had to redo my thinking. It still took me a while to recognize GIN, the only Martinis I have ever consumed were with Vodka. Can't seem to get Gin past my nose, it's so floral it makes me sneeze. I'll have to give it another go, one of these days.

Never watched The Wire so I didn't know the IDRIS fellow, turns out I didn't need to as it self filled.

OLIVER TWIST brought a chuckle, cute.

The Kettle MORAINE area is a very beautiful part of Wisconsin, it's worth a visit.

Anonymous 4:08 AM  

I'm not a martini drinker but I knew the ingredients. Oliver Twist and martini took me to Bond, James Bond, and to that train scene after dinner with Vesper Lynd.

I found the puzzle surprisingly easy and filled in most of it from the acrosses. Fill-wise, not as good as yesterday.


Loren Muse Smith 4:56 AM  

Rex – I couldn't disagree more with you about the reveal. "Tacked on and groan worthy?" No way! I loved it! I used to use this pun all the time when I was a cocktail waitress – the third "question" I had to ask whenever someone ordered simply, a MARTINI.

1. Vodka or gin?
2. On the rocks or straight up? (Back then we never asked, "shaken or stirred?")
3. OLIVER TWIST? (No one, to my knowledge ever caught the joke)

Ok, so it wasn't clued as a question. I concede that point. Either way, though, I thought it was, well, perfect. (Oh wait. That's a Manhattan.)

Funny how talk of a proper martini can bring out the snob in any martinian. I agree a little on your take on the DRY part. And that's one way the snobbery presents.

"Put some vermouth on your finger, and then rub the cork around the lip of the glass."
"Show the vermouth label to the glass."
"Put some vermouth in the glass, swish it around, dump it out, and then add the gin."
"Whisper the word "vermouth" over the ice."

Everyone has a secret.

I've decided that bartenders who can truly do the vermouth right are few and far between, but if you can find one who can do it right, it's like drinking a cloud. I gave up long ago and just order Bombay on the rocks with olives.

Needless to say, I'm thrilled that no phrase ends in "_ _ vodka" because the Only martini is a GIN martini.

Loved the clue for LAV.

When I changed "basin" to MOUTH to fit HST, the word VERMOUTH just jumped out and popped me on the nose. So I laughed when I saw the trick a few moments later. Cool. Really.

I actually had a dnf because I had no idea about AMA. Or AJA. That A could have been anything for me, even though it was totally spelled out for me at 35D. Sheesh.

A TALE of Two Cities on Monday and now OLIVER TWIST today. I have great expectations for the rest of the week.

Conrad 5:35 AM  

@LMS: When you order a martini today, the first question you're asked is, "What flavor?" Sit transit gloria martini.

George Barany 5:44 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith, I just love your bottom line today!

@Rex-ites who wonder what the Dickens is going on should check out this buzzle by one @Michael Sharp, and yesterday's Los Angeles Times puzzle by @Tom Pepper.

Also, with respect to @Rex's opening gambit in today's review, Wit by @Steve Bachman is rather relevant, as explained further (with spoilers) here. Prepare to laugh!

DBlock 6:00 AM  

I also found clue for Deaf offensive and not knowing moraine had arms for ammo for way too long
But the drinking theme was useful to solving

Z 6:28 AM  

@anon3:21 - I think you said it quite well and succinctly.

@Mark M - besides the literal meaning, DEAF is sometimes used with an intentional connotation. Perhaps you've never had teenagers in your house?

@Rex - I think AMA started and is still primarily a REDDIT thing, but I've seen it in other contexts, including Facebook (which is amazing because I don't Facebook).

I think my feelings about RRNs are quite well known. Hiding one behind PART does not improve it in any way. It seems awhile since ST. LO has made an appearance, joining other ese names, ETTA, PIA, PAAR, and the newer IDRIS. My only writeover was YENTa to YENTL. (Speaking of Babs, hearing her cover Life on Mars followed by Bowie covering See Emily Play was one of the odder moments in my weeklong mourning obsession with Ziggy Stardust. Barbara Streisand to Syd Barrett in one step is quite the musical leap.)

The late comment last night about bated vis à vis baited is one argument in the prescriptivist column. When things aren't standardized it's hard to know when someone is making an homophonic error or making an homophonic spree. I'm still not a tweedy pop prescriptivist, but they have some valid points.

GILL I. 7:04 AM  

@Rex....I read your post twice so that I could re-laugh out loud.
@CerintheM...As someone who does drink, socially or otherwise, I too stared at VIRGIN. It took me ages to see the GIN.
I rather enjoyed this puzzle. Well, DIAPER SERVICE, right smack in the middle, did put a bit of a damper on the drinking mood.
DIORAMAS...! I remember my first! It was in a Keds shoe box from Sears Havana. I had to make a little nativity scene for my school. I couldn't find any hay so I gathered up some grass and weeds and thought I'd just put them in the oven for awhile to make them kind of dry looking and all. They caught on fire. I still used them and had to elaborate on how black weeds were the norm in Bethlehem and that baby Jesus (made from Q-tips) didn't mind at all.
AJA/AMA/READE/IDRIS were my Huhs? But I guessed right!
PIA ZADORA....just saying her name is fun......

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

i'm offended by excessive literal-mindedness.

Magyar Arschhut 7:57 AM  

I thought this was a little tricky at first, with many proper names, which I don't usually like in a puzzle.

Regarding dry martinis, I think people have gone overboard on the "dry" aspect, thinking perhaps that dryness = sophistication. That is to say, their taste is so rarefied that they can detect the vermouth at a molecular level. I like to drink martinis also, and I would urge anyone who likes martinis to try one with a ration of 3:1. Of course, you must use vermouth of a very high quality. Try it. You might be surprised at how good it is. And it is closer to the original version of the martini. After all, it is the vermouth which turns gin into a martini.

I also liked OLIVERTWIST.

@George Barany. I see you haven't yet taken either Gasx or Beano. And also @George, Pia's father, "Skippy" Schipani was a Broadway musical orchestra contractor. I knew him, but I don't usually mention it because I'm a gentleman.

Hungry Mother 7:58 AM  

I take my time on Wednesdays, expecting difficulty, but today was quick.

Glimmerglass 8:12 AM  

@LMS: My father used to tell the same jokes over and over, on the principle that if a joke was funny once, it was always funny. One of his favorites was about a kit explorers should carry into the forest ( or the jungle or the arctic). If you become lost, you open the kit and take out a cocktail shaker and small bottles of vermouth and gin. You begin to mix a martini. Someone will miraculously step out of the forest and say, "Not too much vermouth!" Rex is of course, technically correct about the DRY in the revealer. However, even a dry martini has *some* vermouth. So in my mind, the constructor gets a pass.

David Weiser 8:13 AM  

Gotta disagree, Rex. A dry martini has a drop of vermouth. A traditional martini has a splash. With no vermouth, it's just chilled gin!

Roo Monster 8:20 AM  

Hey All !
Kind of a strange puz with two revealer clues. Or maybe one with a tacked on "extra" themer. Not sure. DRY MARTINI is 10 letter, so had to get something else in the last 11 spot? Maybe rework entire theme with only four themers and make the reveal a POC, ala DRY MARTINIS? Just sayin. Of course, who am I to talk when Herre keeps getting his puzs accepted, whereas I don't...

Know IDRIS from puzs, PAP a WOE, had ArMs for AMMO, which made AUTO TUNE into oUTsTUNE(!),and having PoP for 11A, even though had POP at 11D. Ugh.

Rest of puz good. clue-HINT, raceCARS-INDYCARS, ell-TEE. RAKE had cool clue. CLASS A odd looking.

Wear a SPEEDO and get a RAW ASS

Arlene 8:25 AM  

I have to agree about the clue for DEAF being offensive. I am deaf - and believe me, it's not because I refuse to listen. Trying to participate in conversation is enormously difficult, if not impossible, without sound. Thankfully, I now have cochlear implants, and they are a miracle.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

For people who are unfamiliar with Idris Elba, I highly recommend the BBC detective series "Luther." It's very dark, but brilliant.

AliasZ 8:28 AM  

@MarkM, you must have heard and used the phrase "the warning fell on DEAF ears."

Once I had a martini with ice from a diaper service. Couldn't get the taste out of my mouth for days.

-- I thought AMA stood for "ASK medical anything" on the AMA website. What's Reddit?
-- Great run on Dickens titles @LMS, tonight I'll attempt the cryptic in the Pickwick papers.
-- DIORAMAS and INDYCARS start with DIAPER and end with ASS. Is that significant in any way?
-- Is an extra virgin more virginal than a common, run-of-the-mill, everyday virgin?

Enjoy this virginal Byrd dropping.

L 8:32 AM  

You wanna know what's really groan-worthy? It's remembering those Dubbonet TV ads with Pia Zadora singing away. Ugh.

PMDM 8:36 AM  

If someone tries to convince me 4 + 1 = 6, I don't bother to argue. If I were to ask someone "What are the ingredients of a dry martini" what would be the response? Oh.

The SE corner had some irritating crosses. If you know the names, you're OK. If you don't, you're dead. I'm not so sure this corner should have been cleaned up before being accepted.

Patrick Riley 9:01 AM  

Can't remember who said it but always liked this explanation of the proper way to make a DRY martini: "Pour the gin over ice, stir and wave the shaker in the general direction of Italy."

Ryan 9:09 AM  

Didn't mind the theme once I realized I was making martinis correctly after all by using GIN and not VIRGINs.

I wanted WED for 62D (WIN? Really?) so that messed up my SE for a hot minute.

The clues for RAKE and LAV made me chuckle. CLASS A for sure.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:18 AM  

One w/o: 47 D, CLASSY >> CLASS A.

The 1977 Boy Scout Jamboree was held at MORAINE State park, Pennsylvania. Due to the prevailing weather conditions, everyone called it "More Rain" state park.

Matt Williams 9:19 AM  

I found this challenging--43.31% over my Wednesday average today. Not quite sure why, but based Rex's and the commenters' experiences, it must be a subjective knowledge misalignment.

Tita 9:20 AM  

Cape Cod and Long Island are glacial MORAINES. I've always been fascinated by geology. That's me in the bookstore buying the touristy geology books at places like Crater Lake, Mt. St. Helens, Cape Cod National Seashore.

Lots of beverages,,,STEEPed tea, PEACH schnapps, SANKAS....

I did feel some of the offness while solving, but overall, liked it fine.

@Nancy...yes, I was accusing you of being techno-challenged, which is easy to do, since you do it so well and regularly yourself ;)
but the lazy accusation was directed directly at moi...

Oh...italics... Put the cursor anywhere in the targeted word, and hit Ctrl-i. Or ctrl-b to embolden the text. I got a million of 'em.
HINT - the ctrl key is your friend.
@ChuckMcG...If there is a keyboard shortcut to be found, I will find it. I would much rather keep my hands on the keyboard than mouse around.
(Bad thing is, not all these work in I just open a word doc or an email, type there, then copy the whole thing in...)

But overall, I like my method because it is the most "natural", in the context of how the need for all this hooey shines a spotlight on really terrible and thoughtless design. Hope you find it helpful

Ludyjynn 9:25 AM  

Very easy mid-week solve, IMO. Liked it more than Rex, but maybe because I'm not a MARTINI drinker and wasn't irked by the details. I take my poison plain and simple: pour me a Jack on the rocks, please!

@GeorgeB, TMI re PIA ZADORA's ex-hubby. But...speaking of the nether region, my Mom would yell at Dad for doing the Sunday NYT puzzle in the LAV. It's bad for your ASS, FYI. He never listened, BTW.

DEAF did not offend me for the reason @Z AVERed. Liked DIORAMAS and EXTRA VIRGIN. For a moment I thought the 'Lassie' clue was about the four-legged canine star and was stumped. T thought, is 'grr' a turndown? But it filled itself in later on.

Thanks, HS and WS.

Sir Hillary 9:25 AM  

Nope, didn't do it for me. @Rex covered most of my reasons.

The SEVER/RVERS/IEVER/AVER/LAV extravaganza annoyed me no end. Why not just go whole hog:
7D What each of the sucky 67A, 6D, 27D, 51D and 61D answers are
45A With 51D, star athlete in elem. school


chefbea 9:38 AM  

Great puzzle...lots I didn't know so DNF. Have heard the Oliver Twist pun relating to martinis.

Brrr 22 degrees here this morning

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Friend had virgin mouth and service ... Hmmmm

Steve M 9:43 AM  

AMA wtf?

quilter1 9:45 AM  

Very easy until the end when in the SW I did not know either the online answer or the album so DNF with one letter missing. Very disappointed. Otherwise I thought this was OK. I feel @Rex was overthinking.

Dave Wilson 9:51 AM  

I always liked the line: "Why don't you slip out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini?" Credited to Charles Butterworth

Hartley70 9:57 AM  

I was annoyed by the AMA/AJA crossing. I hadn't heard of either or REDDIT so I didn't know the initial A. And since I'm starting with a complaint, I'd like to continue the whine by saying that DIORAMAS brings back horrid memories of the 2nd grade diorama due Monday and forgotten by my child until Sunday night. I can't be alone. It makes me long for the 1950's when all we kids had to do was memorize and write about a summer vacation!

To be current IDRIS should have been clued with Luther, a smashing character and television show.

Otherwise, the puzzle was non-traumatic and cute. I had the same thought as Rex when I saw that the MARTINI was DRY, but it wasn't a hold up. The OLIVE R TWIST was the best of the themers for me. I had been looking for the OLIVE as I worked my way south.

Nancy 9:59 AM  

My first thought was that whether a martini is dry or not depends on the ratio of the ingredients and not on the ingredients itself --but I was beaten to the punch (no pun intended) by Rex. I skimmed @lms's waitress story, but will go back and re-read it, as it looked pretty funny. I actually DNF this mostly easy Wed puzzle, because I Naticked on the AMA/AJA cross (never heard of a Q & A session called an AMA) and I never heard of MORAINES, either. I had 'SIN'T, instead of AIN'T at 37A. I sort of made it up, as I just didn't think of AIN'T.

I was bored with the top part of the puzzle, but hit some trouble in the south. Had DUG before HID at 41D, which gave me GIN MARTINI. I didn't know DIORAMAS, until it came in from the crosses. Liked the clues for DIAPER SERVICE and LAV and I thought OLIVER TWIST was quite clever. Over all, though, I found most of this to be a pretty watered-down drink.

Suzanne 10:05 AM  

Michael,I read a while back that you and your family visited Estes Park. Perhaps 'moraine' rings a bell because one of the main streets here (my home for 45 years) is Moraine Avenue.

Mikey From ABQ 10:10 AM  

READE crossed with IDRIS was too obscure for Wednesday.
Clung for AMA was a bit much.
Why not clue OLIVERTWIST with 'xxx across garnish CHOICE or a Dickens classic.

Nancy 10:12 AM  

Only 28 comments so far, and they're almost all highly entertaining. What a great blog this morning. Guess a few MARTINIS turns everyone into a great wit. I never knew that there were so many, many jokes for how to make a very dry martini. I always heard it as: "Wave the vermouth bottle over the glass," but most of the ones mentioned here are much funnier. I do, however, disagree with you @Loren. I believe a vodka martini to be far preferable to a gin one, gin being one of the few alcoholic libations I don't have a taste for. (Although I do think a gin and tonic is far superior to a vodka and tonic, but that's because the tonic softens the ginni-ness of the gin.) Anyway, so far the blog has been more fun than the puzzle.

DJG 10:18 AM  

"Also, it's clued Terribly. 'Olive or twist?' is a question, not 'two garnishes.' The 'or' makes the clue flat-out wrong. 'Olive or twist' is, grammatically, one garnish."

Since we are getting technical, I disagree that the "or" makes the clue grammatically incorrect. We use the word "or" in two subtly different ways in the English language. Sometimes it is an "exclusive or" -- one or the other, but not both (soup or salad). Sometimes it an "inclusive or" -- one or the other or both (cream or sugar). Either one is correct in the proper context.

In the case of garnishing a martini, the implication, to me, is that the "or" is inclusive, thus making "olive or twist" two garnishes, if that's what the martini imbiber wants.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

I won't believe that all DEAF people are DEAF to metaphor. Do you actually think offense was intended? Would you really have intent be beside the point?

Ben Briarst 10:26 AM  

I negotiated through the martinis part v and moraine and all the other stuff only to be stymied by "auto tune" because I used arms instead of ammo - it seems as though auto should have presented itself even if I'd never heard of it. Oh tis a curse to be both genius and moron. I

Pete 10:30 AM  

My contribution to the GIN/Vodka martini controversy - There's an outdoor art installation I visit about once a year, usually in the winter. They have a significant flock of peafowl. Last year in the dead of of a brutal winter, the peafowl were foraging under juniper bushes and were quite appreciative of my relative height as I pulled hands-full of juniper berries and scattered them about. This year around XMas, in the mildest winter on record, the peafowl were foraging in a grove of crab apple trees, eating the crab apples as they fell, or had fallen. Remembering their fondness for juniper berries I walked 100 yards to get some and dutifully returned to feed these tasty morsels to the fowl. Their disdain for the juniper berries was obvious - frankly I feared for my safety after having insulted them so.

This verified that my take on the Gin/Vodka option is shared by all cognizant beings - Gin is OK if the alternative is dying, otherwise Vodka.

AliasZ 10:32 AM  

Sorry about that,

Here is the virginal Byrd dropping, with the link this time.

As you were.

Wednesday's Child 10:44 AM  

Huge natick at the READE and IDRIS cross. Therefore, DNF.

Back when Ronnie Lott played for the 49ers the joke was this: if Ronnie Lott married Pia Zadora she would become Pia Lott. Ha ha. Ho ho. It's funnier when you say it.

Leapfinger 10:44 AM  

@Rex and @philphil, the problem is the clue was Nat Hentoff VERMOUTH.

My first entry was EXTRAVIRGIN. I spose it would've have been non-PC to clue it as 'Number 73'.

Herre today... Well, I always like a twist, olive-eye.

Masked and Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Believe I took a taste of a martini, one time. Not quite sure. Had no idea at all, that martinis are served on the rocks. Despite my totally vodka/beer-oriented ignorance, I did kinda like the extra virgins and the OLIVERTWIST garnish, tho. Ain't "shaken, not stirred" also an important factor?

DIAPERSERVICE gets the M&A lifetime achievement award as the funniest effort ever to hide ICE. Goes well with LAV TRIKE, too.

Didn't have much trouble on my solvequest, but also had no earthly notion what {Online Q&A session} = AMA was talkin about. Looks closer to an online M&A session to me, but maybe that's ergo = AQA. Just registers nothin -- flat needle on my ergo-meter.

Full disclosure: not a big fan of OLIVEs. Throwin one in a beverage sounds ill-advised.

Knew MORAINES without hardly any cross-fill help. Also had heard of IDRIS dude from some fri-night schlock flick, probably "Pacific Rim". Good thing, since didn't know READE and am martini-challenged.

Fun crossword. Thanx, Herre. Gotta say, tho -- DRY's MARTINI sounds kinda like one of them oxymoron dealies.

Masked & Anonymo3Us
"Slightly dry U count"

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

I'm getting a little tired of the parade of proper names of people I've never heard of, much of them crossing and in a manner in which you can't even guess. This turns a puzzle into a trivia test. Pia Nadora? james? Orton? Reade? Idrus Elba? And I had never heard of Reddit, so I had no idea what that Q & A thing was until I saw Rex's comments. And thanks from the attachment parenting community for "diaper service." I think we were the last ones here in Natick to ever use a diaper service with cloth diapers, which is somewhat akin to riding in a covered wagon along the Oregon Trail. by 2000, we had to wash our own, so this clue 15 years on was weird. Strange, strange puzzle.

ArtO 10:53 AM  

As a traditionalist, a gin martini is, to me, the only true martini. And, to Rex's point, a dry martini is the only way to serve it. Which means, often, that vermouth is simply an afterthought (or optional). I remember my dad's martini (DRY) days most fondly. Especially, when after my post-graduattion ceremony, we went to lunch and he asked me to get him one stressing the dry aspect. I therefore watched the bartender prepare the beverage after my strict instructions. He simply poured Beefeater gin over the rocks, shook it (no fruit added!) and poured it into the tall martini glass. Brought it back to my dad and asked how he liked it. Perfect was the response.

Enjoyed the puzzle.

Roo Monster 10:54 AM  

Random Nonsense...
Graded harshly? SANK A'S
Golf channel? PAR TV
Idled after dinner? EAT, SAT
Q&A's with Christian? DIOR AMAS
Book that @Anoa Bob would hate? S EVER
Fancy French fruit? PEAR LE
Provided air? AC-ED

Oh, and I also came here to tell @M&A about the new OREO flavor coming out... Cinnamon bun!!
At least there'll be a new way to clue it.


Lewis 10:55 AM  

Coincidentally, it was just yesterday when the thought popped into my head that Oliver Twist included the the two martini garnishes, something I may never have thought of before. Seeing it in the puzzle today made my jaw drop. Is God trying to tell me something?

Clever theme! The puzzle felt easy for a Wednesday, and I loved the clue for RAKE, but would have like a few more like that, as a Wednesday should have. When I saw AUTOTUNE and POPMUSIC next to each other, I was hoping the lower symmetrical pair would be equally connected, but the best I could do was picture an INDYCAR DIORAMA, which is actually fun to imagine.

Masked and Anonymous 10:56 AM  

RIVERMOUTH sorta sounds like it oughta be RIVER'S MOUTH or MOUTHOFTHERIVER.
RIVERMOUTH might make a pretty good insult phrase, tho. Example:

"Wrong again, river mouth!"


A blog regular 11:05 AM  

Re: 61D. So now at last, it all comes out. The behind-the-scenes truth about crossword solvers, that is.

old timer 11:13 AM  

I loves my martinis. If you don't have a shaker, my advice us to use Plymouth "Navy Strength" gin -- the melting ice will bring the alcohol down to 86 or 92 proof when you stir the gin and vermouth. And to me, a martini is not a martini without dry vermouth -- I've tried several and think Dolin makes the best one for a martini.

Gotta say, i wanted the drink to be a Negroni -- properly made, it's fantastic. Gin, red vermouth and Campari, often with a twist of lemon. The best Negronis have more red (Italian) vermouth than Campari.

My AJA moment in this puzzle was when I wrote in ASK, thus finding that the online abbreviation was AMA, presumably standing for "ask me anything". Not being a Redditor, I was not familiar with AMA. It surprises me that anyone Naticked there, thanks to the splendid ASK HINT.

kozmikvoid 11:20 AM  

I don't get the argument. The ingredients of a dry martini are the same as a martini martini, so there's nothing incorrect about the clue. Is the complaint, then, that the clue is too specific? I don't see it.

There is a martini bar in Asheville, NC, called Oliver Twist and I thought it was a brilliant name. Almost as brilliant as the tequila bar in New Canaan, CT, called Tequila Mockingbird, but not quite. The clue for Oliver Twist in this puzzle, however, was like a really good joke ruined by awful delivery. It's a clever answer to a terribly worded clue. So, swing and a miss on that one.

This is the third themed Wednesday in a row. Is that a thing now? Themed Wednesday's and Thursday's? Or is it just a coincidence?

Stupefyin Jones 11:21 AM  

I am offended at the possibility of borrowing a writing instrument from someone who does the crosswords on the LAV.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

Woo Hoo! says Homer send me a extraVIRGIN with a riverMOUTH whose ready for diaperSERVICE.

nick 11:42 AM  

Easy and fun, particularly the 'olive or twist' punning. But what with Paar, Sanka, Zadora and the ama fail, this felt like a trip to the 1980s.

Da Bears 11:45 AM  

Alas, Rex has panned a perfectly fine puzzle. As one who makes a martini for the Wife every night, I know a few things about how to make one. In the order Rex makes his points:

1. The ingredients make a martini and whether it is a dry martini depends upon the amount of vermouth in relation to the amount of gin. I agree. But, the clue for 49A: “Cocktail made by combining the ends of …” works for both a martini and a dry martini. Nobody ever orders a sweet martini (the vermouth for martinis is dry, not sweet like the vermouth for Manhattans, so there is no such thing). There are only two choices when ordering: a martini and a dry martini (for the Wife I usually order very dry), and the clue works for both because the same ingredients go into both.

2. Grammatically, Rex is correct about the clue for 60A (he’s an English professor, so that shouldn’t surprise anyone). But the clue has a question mark, so the editor took some license for the sake of effect and left out the words “choice of” in the clue. I give it a pass. Why ruin a good pun?

Gregory Schmidt 11:56 AM  

I knew MORAINES from living in southern Wisconsin, where they are a known geologic feature.

READE/IDRIS = Natick for me. Just guessed consonants until the music played.

MattG 12:04 PM  

It's not often that a puzzle makes me as cranky as it does Rex. Aside from his same problems with the theme, I'm with the group that found the clue on DEAF to be a little... tone-deaf. I understand this use of the word, but I feel like it would need something else to connote intentionality. I think you need DEAF TO, or something like that, to fit the given clue. The word DEAF by itself in no way connotes a refusal to listen, even colloquially.

Martel Moopsbane 12:30 PM  

@Nancy: While a few MARTINIs may result in great wit, I'd observe that only a DRYMARTINI will yield dry wit.

@Z: I think the difference between "baited" and "bated" breath is the overpowering smell of anchovies.

Martel Moopsbane 12:39 PM  

Isn't MO RAINES Claude's younger brother?

Chuck McGregor 12:45 PM  

@Tita 9:20 AM “I just open a word doc….type there, then copy the whole thing in.” Precisely how this and most of my posts are crafted.

@ chefwen 3:44 AM: I can relate, except that while the smell (I won’t dignify it by calling it an aroma) makes you sneeze, it makes me want to….well up-[insert my name….as in, “What’s up , Chuck?” People just love to ask me that, speaking of jokes that are funny…once: hi @ Glimmerglass 8:12 AM.]. I’ve had some gin I believe literally twice in my life The first time it went down and pretty much came right back up. The second time I ordered a martini in my early 20s, on the @chefwen premise, “I'll have to give it another go, one of these days.” I had one sip, heartily chased with water, and that was the last any has ever passed my lips. No, I doubt it’s the juniper berries as some have conjectured. I used to drink the tea and even ate some just last night as part of the seasoning in a crock-pot sauerkraut and brats meal. I would liken gin to something like swallowing gasoline. I’ve done that in my youth while siphoning gas. If you’ve never siphoned gas, trust me, it just comes with the territory. I actually think gin less pleasant. But I digress….

‘Nuff of my gin woes.

I do marvel at the heights of what appears to be “snobbery” that martinis can bring forth. The first reference for the James Bond catchphrase was in the 1953 “Casino Royale” book. “'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet….Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.’” (Wiki) This sounds similar to the orders of the die-hard coffee drinkers of today, like, “Iced caramel grande, quad, nonfat, one-pump, no-whip, mocha.” Wonder if they said please?

I know olive oil has grades, like dry and extra dry for wines. So does my clothes dryer. As a “concept” or stand-alone phrase I just have never liked it. To wit (and I am not being funny) it’s like saying she was EXTRA VIRGIN so she only got half-pregnant. Sorry olive oil lovers, just saying what I think.

Continuing with complaints. AUTOTUNE. A friend’s wife was making a CD and I was present for the mixing of her vocal track with the instruments. The “engineer” used AUTOTUNE on her voice. He applied other what I thought obnoxious processing to her voice as well, but the AUTOTUNE was the worst As he worked. it was amazing to hear her vocals gradually transition from making music to sterile perfection. Imagine hearing something like Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” with AUTOTUNE.

@ Roo Monster 10:54 AM – A couple of similar finds with different takes (before I read yours) --

I’m still wondering what PAR TV might be….HINT, TAKE SIN. (don’t know what that means either, but like it.)

PEAR LEANNE (try it sometime as a snack or a painting by ___ -Rule)

TEXTER DIORAMAS of the world around them is called limited vision. After bumping into you: “ ‘Scuse me. Didn’t see you there where you’ve been standing completely still and visible while I’ve been walking towards you for the last 30 seconds. I was just being a TEXTER.“

EAT SAT (some new military satellite – Eavesdrop Around Terra-firma)

Keep wanting to see POPMUSIC as POMPUSIC: tending towards pompousness.

I wonder if anyone STEEPS SANKAS?


A Listener 12:55 PM  

Sanka is not "decaf." It is comprised up of roasted grains which never contained caffeine

Tarzana 12:57 PM  

Tarzana said....
@Arlene @ 8:25, nice to hear from a fellow C.I. wearer. You took the words right out of my ear.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

I finished with AMA---I didn't think the clue was fair, given the cross was an album I'd never known the name of. Why not "doctor's group" or anything but a shot at "Ask Me Anything?"

Teedmn 1:26 PM  

A fun Wednesday theme. My (bad) habit of not reading clues all the way through early in the week led me to pop in DRaMA at the beginning of the 49A revealer and I had DEfER before DETER but all was fixed so otherwise a very smooth solve today. I stick to beer or wine so I'm no more likely to drink a DRY MARTINI than PEACH schnapps. I will confess to loving GIN and grapefruit juice but I can't handle my strong drink. If you ever see me drinking one, just walk away, it won't be pretty!

IDRIS Elba was all over the on-line version of the NYTimes last week. Apparently there is a group of his fans who want him as the next James Bond so that is a great tie in to today's theme. He was so great in 'The Wire' which I watched in its entirety last fall - nearly ten years since it was on, and it sounds like Baltimore is still much the same.

After finishing the puzzle and going back to find the theme, I stared at SERVICE for more than a couple of nano-seconds trying to parse it. VICE didn't cut it. Oh, surely they're not talking about the wait staff with SERVICE? Finally ICE broke through my brain-freeze.

So thanks, HS, for another good entry.

thfenn 1:27 PM  

I'm usually thrilled enough just to finish a Wednesday, meaning any completed Wednesday is a good puzzle, but I didn't like this one much. I'm with Rex on the martini issue, particularly given many comments to the effect that a dry martini has no vermouth...that combined with the fact that in my book you don't serve a martini on the rocks threw me. Thought something was going on with Vs, that didn't pan out. No idea what AMA was, but luckily actually still listen to AJA every now and then. Liked ARMS more than AMMO and had FORMULAI and RACECARS before INDYCARS. Don't do crosswords in the LAV. Didn't really think ITISSO and AINT paired very elegantly. PARR before PAAR (my bad). Lots of Vs and INs to go with the titillating VIRGIN MOUTH SERVICE before having a Martini but MORAINES and DIORAMAS were about the only fun spots for me.

puzzle hoarder 1:28 PM  

First entry for me. Yesterday's didn't make it in. Typical effort for a Wednesday. Classy before class A slowed down the SE. Had a hunch moraine would stump some people. What I know of mixed drinks comes from puzzles. Recently learned Long Island iced tea has no tea.

Jim 1:28 PM  

What Rex said x10. Awful and groan-worthy, even if easy. Hated it.

archaeoprof 1:43 PM  

Enjoyable puzzle. Students in my crossword class solved it very smoothly as a group. They're learning how important it is to check the crosses.

I liked the theme, quite a bit. Right clever.

@ChefBea: 21 here early this morning. Brrrrrr...

Joe Revesz 1:48 PM  

Good luck to the millennial's coming up with Pia Zadora and Sanka.

dick swart 2:16 PM  

I know 'moraine' and couldn't figure out why I couldn't get it in until I saw I had written in 'arms' instead of 'ammo'. I need a martini, straight up!

Hartley70 2:20 PM  

As a roasted grain beverage connoisseur, I believe you are thinking of Postum, not Sanka, @A Listener. Postum, in it's original formula, is no longer manufactured by Post. The best approximation available now is Roma, made in Switzerland, IMHO.

Also, to set the record straight, I do not, nor ever will, do the NYT crossword in the LAV. Eew! That's where we keep the Suduko books.

Martel Moopsbane 2:41 PM  

@ A Listener:

SANKA is instant decaffeinated coffee (

Perhaps you are thinking of Postum (

Z 2:57 PM  

- Just in case all of you who "naticked" skipped @oldtimer's comment like you skipped the clue for 35D, The first "A" of 59-Across. AJA should go in your ese file. That middle J seems very constructor friendly, especially in the SW quadrant, or really any time a constructor wants a little more scrabbliness in a bank of threes. The album ain't half bad either.

On the other hand, IDRIS/READE is a legit natick, especially if you think The Wire is over-rated*.

@Steve M - I think Rex answered that, but feel free to Ask Me Anything.

@DJG - If you're one to use the inclusive or in this regard I strongly suspect that no self-respecting bartender will serve you. However, others with more martini expertise may prove me wrong.
@PMDM - What is in a martini?
@kosmikvoid - I think the criticism is that if the answer is "dry" you have to do more than just list gin, vermouth, and ice.

@Lewis - If the message is "more martinis less yoga" it's probably not God sending the message.

@MattG - There is a difference between "I'm not familiar with" or "don't recall" and "in no way." What is a little surprising is you actually give a counter example, tone deaf, right in your post. If @Arlene says using "deaf" with an intentional connotation bothers her I understand. To say it's not used in the language that way, though, is not accurate. Easiest example, "Are you DEAF?" Is almost never asked because one thinks one's child (or spouse) is actually DEAF.

*One of those shows which inspires cultish adoration. You know who you are. Someday when the news isn't depressing enough I may actually watch it.

Masked and Anonymous 3:12 PM  

yo, @Roo. Thanx for the info. I checked it out, at Us Weekly:

"We're getting hungry! Oreo unveiled its newest flavor on Tuesday, January 19, and it's perfectly suited for the frigid temps outside. The cookie giant announced the addition of the Cinnamon Bun Oreo, which joins a mouthwatering range of flavors including Birthday Cake, Marshmallow Crispy and S'mores.

Featuring frosting-flavored creme and cinnamon-flavored cookies, the Cinnamon Bun Oreo is the first-ever of its kind to be released by the popular brand. The company also released a clip from its so-called Wonder Vault."

This is the best news story since the premiere of "Guardians of the Galaxy"! Must do a runtpuz about it.

While I'm back and down to my last silver bullet, I'd like to gush a little more about today's great NYTPuz …

* AUTOTUNE. Not a tool I have used personally, but sounds good. If it's anything like autocorrect, hey -- what could go wrong?!

* Nice weeject stacks, in the NE and SW. Weejects warely get enough wespect. Today's personal fave: INI. Most common 3-letter Italian dish ending, other than URP.

* ITISSO/AINT combo: Actually, the M&A Help Desk ruling would be that TAINT is the proper equivalent slangy rebuttal to ITISSO. But, I got the drift, so no harm, no foul-out.

* IEVER. Well, now. Herre's yer desperation rodeo! U gotta constructioneer at least one of these lil jewels into any self-respecting grid, just for entertainment value. It don't have Patrick Berry Usage Immunity, of course. Can't help wonderin, what the most knee-slappinly desperate PB1 answer of all time might be, tho…?*

* Rare M&A Retraction: Up there in earlier Comment Gallery ramblings, M&A claimed not to know about READE. To his current shock & horror, M&A finds that READE has Double M&A Runtpuz Usage Immunity. Those READEs had better fightin-chance clues, tho:
{19th century novelist with an appropriate name}
{Beginning eye chart task, for completists??}


*p.s. PB1 don't do many SatPuzs anymore, but his last few had some choice desperado beauties: INTERLINED. FLINTIER. INMOST. BITTS. SAPSAGO. (Had to dig quite a day-um bit, to find these, tho.)

**M&A Q&A gruntz**

Arlene 4:47 PM  

@Tarzana @12:57 Nice to meet a fellow CI wearer too! I guess some folks don't understand what a silent world is like, or how people yell at you, or get annoyed, for not understanding them (as if it's your fault), etc. etc.
Just click on my name to get to my website - and info about my two books on hearing loss and cochlear implants.

Penna Resident 5:17 PM  

i disagree with the rant on what makes a dry martini. i have one every evening and do call it an extra dry martini when i order it, and use about 100:1 when i make it, but the term dry does not refer to the ratios even though many people interpret it this way. a dry martini is made with london DRY gin and DRY vermouth. the existence of only those 2 ingredients make it a DRY martini. there are gins that are not dry and there are vermouths that are not dry and each are used to make drinks that are not dry martinis.

Suzy 5:52 PM  

@glimmerglass: One of my father's favorite corny jokes: Do you know what a Dickins martini is? No olive or twist!!
(He had many others!) So I rathered enjoyed today's puzzle, not at all offended by "dry" martini-- is there any other kind??

Nancy 6:25 PM  

@Chuck McG -- I love that you provided the Wiki description of James Bond's perfect MARTINI. It's a gin martini, but it evidently has a fair dash of vodka as one of the ingredients. And that reminds me why I haven't been getting the "kick" I used to get when I now mix a vodka MARTINI. (In all the years I've been mostly a Very Good Girl and drinking red wine instead of hard liquor, I forgot the secret of making a great vodka martini.) It's the reverse of the James Bond gin martini: You make it with a fair splash of gin, along with the tiny soupcon of vermouth. I'm glad you reminded me, Chuck, because I've invited a male friend and his wife for drinks before dinner. He's a big vodka martini drinker and we compete with each other to see who makes the better one. (I shake; he stirs; we both prefer a twist). But, Steve, I bet you don't know the splash of gin trick and boy am I going to wow you when next you come! You won't know what hit you. (If any of you know Steve, please don't give me away.)

@lms -- I never did it professionally, but I'm a damn good amateur bartender. It makes up for the fact I don't cook. Often my guests don't even notice. BTW, do you know the stale beer trick for a Bloody Mary?

@Teedmn -- If you ever come to NY, I have a lovely bottle of wine waiting for you. Or beer, if you prefer.

@Hartley 70-- Thanks for your offer of the suduko books, but I think I'll pass.

John Hoffman 9:01 PM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. I hope to get this kind of fun from NYTimes, and this puzzle delivered! I might have tried to rewrite the SE corner to get rid of SANKAS. I enjoyed the lively blog, too.

OISK 9:51 PM  

I agree with others that Reade with IDRIS ((??) is a bad crossing. I guessed right. Always preferred Gimlets to martinis. Other than the one near-Natick, enjoyed the puzzle, but really enjoyed "Where many people solve the puzzle," since at the moment I read it...

Z 11:50 PM  

@Penna Resident - A little looking through the interwebs doesn't produce a lot of support for your definition of a DRY MARTINI. I offer the Wiki page as a fairly typical example (with citations) of what I found. That's not to say there is no support for your version, only that I couldn't find a single definitive authority or even much consensus, other than there are martinis and vodka martinis. Perhaps a better question would be, "what tastes good?"

Which raises another issue... @LMS - Tweedy Pop Cocktail Drinking Prescriptivist?

kitshef 12:00 AM  

Finished, but it put up a fight. Had ArMs for AMMO, and held on for far too long, even though AUTOTUNE seemed like it had to fit. Then CLASSy for CLASSA, and with IDRIS a WoE it was hANKys and pANKyS until finally SANKAS came to me. Finally IDRIS crossed with another WoE, READE. Fortunately, D was the only thing that seemed to fit both.

One other WoE, not noticed as I had the crosses, at AMA. Clue for PLAY - is that real?

Diana,LIW 12:30 AM  

OK. My very dear husband is tres, tres hard of hearing. Looked for some info in these posts. ????


Anthony Palmer 11:06 AM  

I thought the same thing. Offensive !

Anthony Palmer 11:08 AM  

Refusing to listen. Deaf.? Seriously?! That is offensive!!!

robert.yumul 3:40 AM  

The martini and its dryness has evolved over the century of its existence. The current meaning, related more to the vodka-tini counterpart refers to the amount of vermouth. The original meaning referred to the TYPE of vermouth as even in the category of white (read French) vermouth (even if there are now French sweet vermouths), there are dry styles and sweeter styles. So a dry martini referred to a martini with gin and dry vermouth. Silly me, I wondered how the puzzle would include "orange bitters" instead of the actual ICE because that's part of the original formulation.

My martini preference is as such:

2 oz. London dry gin
1 oz. dry vermouth
3-4 dashes orange bitters

Always a healthy swathe of lemon peel. Olives belong nowhere near this sublime beverage.

Side note: vermouths are almost always (99.9%) made from a white wine base. "Red"
Vermouths (which are most dark Amber or brown) and just aromatized/steeped with stronger colored botanicals.

Harvey 8:25 PM  

STLO? A little liberty there, as there's no abbr in the clue.

spacecraft 9:47 AM  

Gotta give props: great theme with an EXTRA "TWIST" at the end. But the fill? Well, it AINT CLASSA. My favorite martini joke, old but still good, is the one where the customer tells the barkeep to whisper "VERMOUTH" over the glass. He does so, the guy TAKESIN a sip--and declares, "LoudMOUTH!"

Despite several ugly entries in the fill involving single letters, I basically ACED this one. Easy-medium, at worst. It wasn't that I didn't know some was just that I resisted putting them in. RVERS? Oh no you ditten! For the longest time I kept seeing this strange word on billboards. I'd ASK whoever I was with, "What does 'gorving' mean?" They went "Huh?" I said, "Gorving. I've never gorved. What does it mean, to gorve?" I got shrugs. Finally one day, somebody--I think it was my dad--parsed it for me, and I let out a huge groan. I've been groaning at RVing ever since.

@rondo has his yeah baby today in PIA ZADORA. If that's your taste.

The DEAF thing: yes, we all know about teens' DEAF ears; it's just that the clue was so unnecessary. Perhaps the constructor sought to soften the word, but it didn't work. Just say "Like a Gallaudet student" and move on.

FORATIME seems a little off center for temporary. "For a while," "for the moment," or simply "for now" are phrases much more in the language.

AMA clued that way was a definite WOE, but to the rescue came one of the VERY few non-Beatle album titles that I know: the brilliant AJA.

Though much of the fill EATSAT me (present example included), I have to drink a PEACH schnapps to the theme. B-.

Burma Shave 9:57 AM  


Her ANGLE? ITISSO like a YENTL: “Don’t TAKESIN!” , she is urgin’,


rondo 11:33 AM  

Yeah, so the cocktail is a subset of MARTINI, but so many xword answers that are nouns are in a subset of a larger set, SO WHAT!! But I do think that the final themer should have been “garnish choice”;” two garnishes” would have to be OLIVEandTWIST, which obviously AINT gonna work.

We get both parts of yeah baby PIA ZADORA’s name today. Somewhere in a box I may still have that 1980s edition of Penthouse that featured PIA ZADORA. In that same box would be issues featuring Vanessa Williams, and the one with the Madonna poster insert. More likely that an ex-girlfriend burned it all while I was away on vacation.

For 40 years I’ve gotten all my spectacles at PEARLE, but there must be a less expensive option. Last time around even the 2 for 1 cost me +/- $800. I need new bifocals and sunglasses. Help!

Eight years ago this summer, a group of twenty-something female CANOEISTs (one of yesterday’s answers), who must also have been TEXTERs, were about 20 feet from the RIVER shore and had their flip-phones out , pretending to take photos of each other, from one canoe to another. They were actually maneuvering in order to take photos of me in my SPEEDO. And yes, I still looked pretty darn good in the SPEEDO. And they had sent the photos to friends. Back at the boat landing they explained that they were impressed with my banana hammock. I didn’t tell them that I was at least twice as old as they were.

Clever way to get VERMOUTH in there. Maybe not CLASSA, but I didn’t mind this puz at all. Better than PAAR.

BS2 12:26 PM  


If IEVER ASK to wear a SPEEDO I’ll be hyper-nervous,
and be ATRISK of needing a DIAPERSERVICE.


rondo 12:59 PM  

And the name of the cocktail should rhyme with snow job, since we need VIRGIN MOUTH SERVICE.

leftcoastTAM 1:50 PM  

Curious combination of odd, oblique, obvious, and some obscure clues and answers, as well as a few clever ones, which made it tougher than usual for me.

I'll only note the obscure pair where I Naticked: the AMA/AJA cross. Instead of that first A, I guessed O. not knowing what it was supposed to mean. Nor do I know what AMA means for an online Q and A session or what AJA is or means as an album title.

I'll find out later. I won't care FORATIME.

rain forest 2:15 PM  

I never expect a crossword puzzle to present an intricately detailed recipe for anything. If this puzzle prompted some to get on their pedantic horse and proclaim pompous pronouncements about "how to make a dry martini", well at least it promoted discourse.

The puzzle was very entertaining in my opinion (well, it HAS to be MY opinion, because I am writing this comment). I love martinis made with the puzzle's ingredients (olive over twist for me). Whether one makes them in a 3:1 ratio, or simply using straight gin while staring at a bottle of vermouth, they are a wonderfully elevating beverage. I don't much like vodka "martinis", but others do, and of course, they are not dry ones.

Outside of the theme, the puzzle had a number of nice clue/answer combos, maybe somewhat easy, but that isn't a drawback for me. I very much liked it.

leftcoastTAM 2:32 PM  

Okay, it may have been ASSinine of me not to read the clue for 35D, which would have solved my O instead of A problem in the far SW.

I don't like cross-reference clues as a general rule.

Cathy 2:40 PM  

Cute puzzle. How could I not know MORAINES? Learned something new.

Once while bartending a large event, I ran out of VERMOUTH. Boss said put water in the bottle. Got compliments all around!

Diana,LIW 3:26 PM  

All these martinis must have gone to my head. I thought I'd dnf because of the unknown names, but finished. Oh no! I didn't! Forgot to fill in my guess for the READE/IDRIS D.

Enjoyed the solve. Liked the puns. Wouldn't put my knickers in a TWIST.

Rondo, you think glasses are bad, hearing aids - especially the kind my otherwise deaf husband wears - cost thousands of dollars each. And insurance won't cover a cent. Know what insurance policies call hearing aids? Cosmetic devices. Grrrrrr.

So many people who become deaf as adults don't want anyone to know (the ads all emphasize how small and unnoticeable their hearing aids are). So even tho over 10% of the population has some hearing loss, very few are willing to speak up and right this wrong. @Arlene does so for Cochlear Implants (CI) and my hat is off to her! Uh oh, if I don't watch out I'll be on my soapbox.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, but not quietly

Cathy 10:47 PM  

Hello Mr. Moderator. Yeah, it's late 8pm PCT. Sigh, gotta give this a try. Thank you if I get posted.

Was whisked away by my hubby earlier to go to the lake. (Are you done yet? Let's go!) Awesome day, yet my brain wasn't done about the overly comments about the MARTINI. And here to add:)

Rex you are correct sir. @rain forest- this is my opinion (ha ha) The MARTINI is mostly about the glass. After 30+ years in all venues, DRY, gin, vodka, apple, ICE crystals etc. It is the glass that looks classy(?) Funny that no one mentioned that. Remember saucers for champagne? Now it's all about the flute. Yes, connoisseurs know the reasons. Yet drink up, relax, enjoy!

@Diana, LIW - I'm listening to you! Look forward to all your comments:)

@Burma shave- SPEEDO- DIAPER SERVICE? Funny as all hell

@Rondo- Snow job. Another funny not too much mentioned.


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