Double in baseball lingo / TUE 4-19-16 / Veil material / North America's largest alpine lake / George ___, longtime maestro of the Cleveland Orchestra / Cleveland cager for short / High-tech 1982 Disney movie

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: HEADS UP (36A: Warning appropriate for this puzzle?) — circled squares are words that can precede "head" in common words/phrases:

Theme answers:
  • NIPS
  • ARIA
Word of the Day: RENATA Tebaldi (54A: Opera's Tebaldi) —
Renata Tebaldi (pronounced [reˈnaːta teˈbaldi]; 1 February 1922 – 19 December 2004) was an Italian lirico-spinto soprano popular in the post-war period. Among the most beloved opera singers, she has been said to have possessed one of the most beautiful voices of the 20th century which was focused primarily on the verismo roles of the lyric and dramatic repertoires. (wikipedia)
• • •

This one seems to be trying to get by on sheer density of theme. Seems like a find concept, but wasn't much fun to solve—cultural frame of reference that's a half-century old, and fill that is just too rough around the edges. It's like the good ole (read: bad ol') days today with cameos by I, TINA and SDS, and also names that were likely very familiar once but aren't anymore, like George SZELL (26D: George ___, longtime maestro of the Cleveland Orchestra) (I wanted SOLTI ... that's Georg, not George, and he conducted in Chicago, not Cleveland, stupid me) and RENATA whoever. Again, if you look for *balance* in cultural / historical coverage, you won't find any. Old and white and crosswordesey, with slightly off stuff like SOPPY (not SAPPY!), and painful partials like "I SHOT" and "TO BAT." There are definitely an impressive lot of "HEADS" going "UP" in these answers, and the idea to put two into each of the long Downs in the NE/SW is pretty bold. But there are a million heads in the world (hot, bed, etc.—I'm looking at TAHOE (31D: North America's largest alpine lake) and thinking "hat head" is probably a thing (it is)) and "RED" is so common (or, rather, "DER" is so common) that you've got not only the authorized one in STOP ORDER, but an unintentional one in MURDER ONE, and you could've had another if PROVIDER had been running Down. From AREA to ARIA, from MAES to RIS, I found this one just OK.

Got very hung up in the whole SZELL area, not surprisingly. SAPPY also slowed me down. In all other respects, difficulty felt pretty normal for a Tuesday, but those two patches were enough to put me significantly (say, 20-30 seconds) over my Tuesday average.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


chefwen 12:29 AM  

DAMN! Never fixed SaPPY. Didn't even notice that aUTEREAR made no sense. Do. Not. Like. SOPPY!

George Barany 12:54 AM  

Interesting viewpoints, @Rex, and thanks for pointing out the accidental theme entries. Of course, @David Kahn is one of the all-time great New York Times constructors, with several crossword books in addition. His trademark high theme density and allusions to American politics, classical opera, and baseball are all very much in evidence here. Go FIGARO!

I personally never heard of BOWhead, but certainly knew Hungarian-born George SZELL. Click here for a Rossini overture, albeit not from "The Barber of Seville," that the maestro conducted half a century ago. Next, Bugs Bunny himself can be seen/heard here, singing the famous ARIA referred to in today's puzzle, and wait, there's even more musical hilarity right OVER here!

Today, @David Kahn is bipartisan, referring to a GOP Senator (LAMAR Alexander of Tennessee) and a Democrat former Speaker (Nancy PELOSI of California). But HEADS-UP, in honor of the New York primary coming up today, I make no such pretense with An Embarrassment of Riches and Green Eggs and Canadian Bacon, the latter a collaboration with the remarkable @Craig Mazin.

Ellen S 2:57 AM  

Amazing - - I liked this less than @Rex! I'm old and a classical music fan, so George SZELL and RENATA TEBALDI and all the Largo Al Factotum stuff was fine by me, but I'm really tired of Sue Grafton clues. Since all of her titles have the form "Letter-of-the-alphabet Is For Word-starting-with-that-letter", the answers might as well be pre-printed. Maybe I'm just getting old and grouchy.

Anonymous 3:38 AM  

Wondering if I were black (HEAD!) and of a certain class and age and, having enjoyed this little ditty, if, having come here, I would appreciate being told by a little pipsqueak that it was too white (HEAD).

Loren Muse Smith 4:36 AM  

Man – tons of HEADS here. And to find two entries with two heads – cool. Also, three theme entries cross the reveal - nice.

Rex – good catch on the other RED HEAD. And I noticed the TAHOE deal, but I instantly decided I say "hat hair" instead. In fact, I complained about "hat hair" yesterday when I had to do a dance with some faculty on stage as one of the many things we're trying to do to drum up some enthusiasm for the standardized testing that is upon us now. Right. That dance sure did the trick.

Yeah – me, too on "sappy" first. Bet there are a bajillion of us this morning.

And, still smarting from an earlier ACPT, I immediately thought of "Ozawa" before SZELL.

Someone posted this short clip of a HIPPO yesterday on Facebook. Hey, Gareth – have at it, buddy!

On early weeks, I like having the trick slowly materialize, and this one was perfect. Had no idea what was going on until I allowed myself to look at the reveal – and a spot-on reveal it is. Shameless theme-poacher that I am, I kept thinking of other _ _ UP phrases that could work just like this one. (BOTTOMS UP -GROSS ANATOMY, ERROR MESSAGE, PRESS AGENTS, KISS AND TELL)

I really enjoyed this one, David. Fun theme.

Z 5:58 AM  

Paper has gray cells instead of circles in the cells. I normally prefer the gray, but today's grid features such a dark gray that it became a little distracting. Maybe if I used blue ink instead of black the words would stand out a little better.

Lots for the the classical music lovers in the crowd, all WOEs needing all or most of the crosses (FIGARO needed only 66% of the crosses). I'm sure SAND BANK is legit, maybe even more accurate, but SAND BAr is what I wanted. The only other hang-up I had was pronouncing BOW correctly to figure out how BOWHEAD fit the theme.

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Product Names, and Proper Nouns as a percentage of the puzzle. When it hits 33% someone will be unHIPPO
An * indicates the PPPness comes from the cluing

27/76, 36% - But it's Tuesday so it's all good, right?

Dr. DRE (a DRE Head not a RED HEAD?)
*St. Louis CARDS
Wyatt EARP
RENATA Tebaldi (I wonder if she wore wigs)
*European ECONOMIC Community

R IS for Ricochet
Fannie MAES
George SZELL
I SHOT the Sheriff
LAMAR Alexander

Lewis 6:33 AM  

A Tuesday with some bite, a good contrast to yesterday's lovely walk in the park. Clever theme which might have helped the solve of some, but not me. Still, figuring out the theme gave me a nice aha. There's a double-L mini-theme (6) and I like the FIGARO/ARIA crossing, as well as the answer TWOBAGGER. Because I had SaPPY, I kept wondering what an aUTEREAR was, until, with a flash, I slapped my


and changed that a to O.

Unknown 7:35 AM  

My take of the theme was that there were some random words within the answers where their spelling HEADS UP(ward). Huh? So, I tried combining them, per se (the odd number needing one repetition), to see what that yielded:

Over Bow (where you might go if the boat stops suddenly)
Red Pot (aka Panama Red)
Air Drum (cf. air guitar)
Egg War (a messy battle)
Acid War (LSD competition)
Bone Pin (used to attach a guitar string to the bridge or used to hold a fracture together)

This proves I did not have the slightest clue what this theme was really all about. @Rex brought the sorta “Aha” and a definite “Duh!”

Ignoring the theme I didn’t get, the puzzle seemed OK for the most part, though somewhat straightforward for me making it a fairly easy solve. There were some answers, filled with the crosses, which I have never heard of: BURSA, TULLE, RENATA.

There were some clever clues, such as that for ATOLL...well...make that one clever clue.

To infuse some more wordplay fun into the grid for myself, I looked for answers that could be weirdly (or lamely, if you will) parsed:

OUTE REAR (Plumber’s butt)

ICE DIN (Sound of a disintegrating glacier)

MID DIE (What you wish for your spare tire)

MIN TED (A small talk)

LA MAR (Spelling ERR for a Debussy title)

BALL ADS (Often seen on the Golf Channel)

HEAD ‘SUP (“What’s happening?” query from a stoner)

RE: VOLT (Concerning electricity)

PUR-EE (Kitty in a good mood My cat gets PUR-EE when petted)

RIS (Little Rhody citizens)

IS HOT (TINA Turner, of course)

F.I.B. (Coulda been the original name: Federal Investigative Bureau. If so, what were they thinking?)

I C U (Text-eze for eyeballing)


HIP PO (Pronounced as “pu,” I’ll leave this to your imagination)


Rach 7:55 AM  

Way too much opera for me.

Hungry Mother 7:57 AM  

Seemed more like a Wednesday to me, but my time was OK. I ignored the theme even after the reveal, didn't need it.

Lobster11 8:04 AM  

Solved as a themeless because the theme was literally invisible to me: The version I printed used shaded squares instead of circles, and the shading was too subtle for me to see while solving on paper. But no matter: It's one of those $%^&! themes that you can't see until you're finished, so I don't give a rat's behind anyway.

That said, I mostly liked it except for a handful of really ugly stuff, e.g. SZELL, RENATA, and SOPPY instead of "sappy."

Ludyjynn 8:28 AM  

@Chefwen, Amen re SaPPY. Also dislike the clue for NIPS.

That said, very nice clue for the ever present ELIS.

Coincidentally, the NYT just had a big article about brides foregoing veils, TULLE, lace or whatever.

Hand up, Rex, for 'Solti' before SZELL. Why do I know one but not the other?

Took the longest time to get I, TINA. Kept thinking about the slave, Nat Turner.

My oldest friend is visiting. We met at age seven. She and her husband have been sailing around the world aboard their 37 footer for eighteen years! Laughed out loud when I saw the SAIL clue.

Okay for a Tuesday, I guess.

Generic Solver 8:30 AM  

The letters for SZELL were easy to infer from the crosses, so while I was really surprised to see that in a Tuesday and had never heard of him, it didn't end up hampering my solve at all.

Blue Stater 8:31 AM  

I finished this (it was in my age demographic -- yay!), but still don't get the theme, even with Rex's explanation (to be fair, I rarely do get a theme, but solve without one). Would a kind soul be willing to try again for me? TIA.

chefbea 8:34 AM  

Couple of things I didn't know, and didn't realize the gray squares followed head. Of course knew CARDS. Loved aprons and puree

Nik 8:36 AM  

I had DEN for father's study, then REC (as in recroom, or even rectory). Opera is a weak area for me, so SZELC. Strangely, Figario came easily. I kept picturing Elmer Fudd, except that is a different opera. (The Rabbit of Seville)

Nancy 8:45 AM  

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, FIGARO would have been clued "Mozart's 'Marriage of ------'". Look at 56A today: "Name repeatedly sung in Rossini's 'Largo al factotum'". Wow!

This one was pretty challenging for a Tuesday and required some thought. I also learned some things: Jodie Foster and Meryl Streep are ELIS; Hippos are sort of related to whales. The theme is completely after-the-fact and pretty useless in solving, though cute to look at once you've finished. One slight quibble: I can think of thousands of BALLADS that are a lot more ballad-y than "Oh Susanna". Pretty up-tempo, if you ask me. An odd choice.

I liked this puzzle -- especially after yesterday's mindless bore.

kitshef 9:06 AM  

2nd day in a row for printer problems. If you use the ink-saver setting, the black squares are indistinguishable from the shaded squares. So, had the added challenge of figuring out which 'black' squares were real.

I liked it, and I've always said I'll accept some bad fill in exchange for theme density. And it has some nice longs such as TWOBAGGER (a strong cup of tea), STOPORDER (oxymoronic market move) and SANDBANK (where to protect your silica assets).

Would happily have gone a year - or foreever - before seeing RIS again. Oh, well.

Hand up for SaPPY before SOPPY.

Four classical music/opera clues, tow of which were WoEs and so required every cross, and the other two required most of the crosses as the words were known but not from the clues.

jberg 9:26 AM  

I'm with @Chuck -- didn't understand the 'HEADS' part, so I thought this was just a simplified word search. I tried to put them all into a sentence, but failed.

@Ellen S., it's not just another Sue Grafton clue, it's the SAME Sue Grafton clue, only 2 or 3 days after the last one.

But the Bugs Bunny made up for it all. Thanks, @George Barany!

p.s. @Loren, is there a video of you and your fellow teachers dance to standardized tests?

Bob Kerfuffle 9:48 AM  

Nice Tuesday.

Apparently differently from everyone else who has posted so far, and possibly influenced by thinking of "soap opera," my write-over at 1 D was SOAPY >> SOPPY.

xyz 9:50 AM  

Careless construction and editing, agreed

RooMonster 10:12 AM  

Hey All !
Lots of un-TuesPuz words. East center brutal. Only nit for themers is BOW HEAD, huh? NYT App has Green shaded squares (green paint! har).

Agree with off-ness of SOPPY, but my aUTE REAR didn't make sense, even though I don't know what an Auricle is. Hoping it wasn't something in the REAR! :-D

Mixed feelings on this puz. Lets just leave it as DNF, and cheated in East center.


aging soprano 10:21 AM  

Maybe the gray squares symbolize the gray matter inside the heads.

jae 10:33 AM  

Tough Tues. Played more like Wed. for me.


Almost a WOE: SZELL was very vaguely familiar.

Minor dilemma: ToiLE vs. TULLE

Erasures: duNe before BANK and, of course, SaPPY before SOPPY.

Fun dense theme off sets the MAES, RAE, IRAS, ELL, took to get there. Liked it.

Z 10:36 AM  

@Blue Stater - Let me be one of the half dozen responses to your question. The revealer is HEADS UP, so the theme answers are all words that combine with the word "HEAD." The theme answers are "hidden" by having to read them upwards in the down answers. For example, 4D is REVOLT. REVO is the word OVER when read upwards instead of downwards. combine OVER with HEAD to get OVERHEAD.

Hartley70 10:43 AM  

This was a sweet little Tuesday for me and the theme density was impressive. It played very fast but I enjoyed our brief time together. The clues were perfectly written for a Tuesday beginner and not too dull for the rest of us. The reveal made me stop for a moment before I read up and that gets extra Tuesday points. Applause for Mr. Kahn!

Carola 10:48 AM  

Liked it a lot. After the first few theme chunks, I paused fo see if I could figure out what the concept was - nope, only saw the two drugs, ACID and POT. It took the reveal to show me how OVER and PIN fit. Fun to try getting the rest of the HEADS with as few crosses as possible.

I took a look at how the HEADS UP fit within their longer words - some seemed to fit nicely: REVOLT - OVER(throw), ARIA containing AIR (you need a lot of it), WAR definitely being a RAW DEAL. Just can't see Obi-Wan as a BONEHEAD, though.

Nice cross of TWOBAGGER with BAT and FIGARO crossing his ARIA.

Memory of a lifetime: George Szell in one of his last concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra conducting Mozart's Requiem.

Unknown 10:50 AM  

A quibble: the OUTER EAR is not the auricle's site; it is the auricle.

AliasZ 10:55 AM  

@LMS, great avatar! My only question is, is it HEADBUTT or BUTTHEAD?

Nice heads-up puzzle today. The BOW HEAD I'm more familiar with is this one. This magnificent creature had escaped my attention until now. Time to catch up.

"Too sentimental": SeePY, SoaPY, SouPY? Nah... it must be SaPPY.

BEAT[NIKS], CIGA[RETTEL]IGHTER, PRODUC[TSAM]PLE, AARDVAR[KCARC]ASS, CHERR[YPEELS], SCA[REDNUD]IST, TUA[REGGOL]FER, IM[NOTTUM]BLING!, [ELKCUNK]ER and a few other silly heads-up theme answers also occurred to me, but I doubt Will would accept most of them.

Loved the Rossini sub-theme, George SZELL and RENATA Tebaldi. These were all gimmes for me. I took a bow and arrow, and ISHOT ITINA fit of rage in the direction of MAES.

Let us now BOWHEADS in prayer.

old timer 11:18 AM  

I have two friends who retired early, bought or commissioned a boat and have been sailing with their wife/girlfriend for many years now. It must make for a pleasant life, though I am happy to stay in the old house we bought almost 40 years ago and not quite be retired.

I thought the puzzle was crunchy, but because of a few words not very Tuesdayish like BURSA and SANDBANK (I too wanted SAND Bars). I wonder how many solvers are not in the stock market and would not know a STOP ORDER from a STOP sign. OTOH, SOPPY went right in, Its very definition is "too sentimental" while "sappy is to me more like "cheesy".

I only sort of got the theme. At first, i thought it was all about drugs, because acid and pot and reds. But after the solve I wondered what drum and war were doing in their shaded squares. It never occurred to me that each word, read bottom to top, can precede HEAD.

Sheryl 11:30 AM  

I finished the puzzle without realizing that the words read "up" were more than random, that they all could preceed "head". Missed that part. I read "HEADS UP" as meaning only that the words were to be read in an upward direction.

It's not the first time I've finished the puzzle yet missed some aspect of the theme. That's one of the reasons I like your blog. Thanks.

Unknown 11:54 AM  

Probably no one cares, but Meryl Streep collegiately went to Vassar. Jodie Foster went to Yale College, the undergraduate component of Yale University, but Miss Streep went to the graduate/professional School of Drama at Yale. (44 Across)

AZPETE 11:55 AM  

War head is a thing?

AZPETE 11:56 AM  

Also bow head?

Unclear80 12:02 PM  

Meryl Streep went to Vassar College. Yale was Grad School.

Masked and Anonymous 12:16 PM  

The desperation force is strong, in this one, Obi-bonehead-Wan. But so is the theme. Luv the theme idea. And 8 themers, two of which are double-dippers? No wonder the fill has a few SOPPY moments. Embrace the desperation, my son, as it helped build a real fun puz.


* SOPPY. Was pretty sure SAPPY wasn't gonna fly, when AUTEREAR went in. Only fear was that this was French for AUTEUR EAR, or somesuch. Or maybe that AUTEREAR was the flip side of DERRIERE. [har! ANTE-REAR!] "Auricle" sounded mighty ear-like, howsoever.
* SZELL. CAV. Cleveland double-dipper. Had to kinda work around SZELL, but pieced him together ok.
* TOBAT. ISHOT. M&A actually approves of this stuff, when used in moderation. They just seem so … puzzly. You're lookin for a one-word answer, and U get two; a nice twist, now and then.
* Abbreviations like SDS. Now we're talkin ultimate desperation. SDS was fave weeject. APPTS was fave long-ball abbr.
* REN?TA/L?MAR. Moment of decision. Two folks I've never met, meetin each other plumb in the middle of my crossword solvequest. Tense. Thought "A", but worried about "E". Guessed right, so … ok.

Thanx, Kahn. FUNky TuesPuz, with minimal wrath.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Masked and Anonymous 12:54 PM  

I'm with the Baranymeister: BOW head? M&A Research Desk says it's a kind of whale.




RAJ head*** [gimme.]

M&Also [TOP head]

@#$! -- Head Spoiler Alert -- %$@!

Hey! No peekin!

* EDITH head.
** HOT head.
*** JAR head.

kitshef 12:54 PM  

@Roo Monster - bowhead is a type of whale. It's the one whose mouth looks like an upside-down smile.

@Nancy - still not easy enough for the Philistines (like me). Possibly "Mozart's 'Marriage of ------' (anagram of fair go)" would have gotten me there.

Doc John 1:09 PM  

This is the SZELL I know.

Teedmn 1:11 PM  

Yep, SOPPY is what happens to bread in soup, and I have yet to get sentimental about it. But otherwise a fun puzzle with some bite. A nice theme and I had no trouble seeing SAND BANK once I took BArs out.

@Nancy, I agree on your comment on "Oh! Susanna". As BALLADS go, I would be looking for something like "Greensleeves".

Unknown 1:24 PM  

Probably no one cares, but collegiately Meryl Streep went to Vassar. Jodie Foster went to Yale College, the undergraduate component of Yale University. Meryl Streep went to the graduate/professional School of Drama at Yale. (44 Across)

Aketi 1:29 PM  

Had a little conceptual difficulty with all the possibilities for BOW and HEAD since it can be
1) a mammal related to a HIPPO,
2) or an action that denotes respect before you SPAR,
3) or the former attached to the latter.

Of course their is also a BOW and arrow choke that involves your opponent's HEAD.

I don't think anyone noticed the solution to the gluten intolerant in yesterday's puzzle was hidden in the southwest corner and I found recipes that use it to make all of yesterday's theme answers.

puzzle hoarder 2:00 PM  

What are the odds of the same Sue Grafton clue showing up twice within two days? Blame the editor. This was a step up in difficulty from Monday. I had the SAPPY/SOPPY write over and was not familiar with the word auricle(the phone doesn't know it either.) I actually thought it was oracle. Until I changed that A to O 13A really looked like gibberish. The clue for STEW is wrong, so is the one for NIPS. I needed the U as well as the T to come up with TULLE. RENATA and SZELL were new to me but the crosses took care of that .
I was surprised to see this puzzle score easier than yesterday's. The reason was the disproportionate number of three character entries. Monday had 6, today there were 16! That throws the numbers off. Take the 3s out of both scores and all is well.
I found out the Shortz era uses 12 different people to clue RAE.
The two debut words were STOPORDER and PROVIDER. The first one isn't surprising as it's part of the theme but the latter is just an ordinary word.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

SZELL, IRAS, FIGARO, TULLE, (E.E.C.), STOPORDER, sally MAE, and I guess you "trim" a SAIL on your big 'ol boat?

I know the theme to this puzzle. "Old and white" is an understatement... this puzzle is

Leapfinger 2:11 PM  

Hmm. Conflating SZELL (Cleveland) and Solti (Chicago) is summat like coming up with Bing Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young 'Un.

@GeorgeB, I enjoyed your musical hillarity.

For BOTTOMS UP, wouldn't it be GROSS UNATOMY? No tilde-N required, in this case...

@loren, at one time, when I was between jobs, I did some work for one of those outfits that scores the standardized tests. In some cases, it was obvious that the student was bagging it, and just filled in circles in some pattern of choice (one even circled in a Bugs Bunny cartoon head!). Given what all hung in the balance, it was something of a heart-break to read the teachers' attached notes, begging forebearance. Unfortunately, the rules were clear on that point: what we saw was what you got.

Thanks to @all of you who came up with AUTER_EAR; I'd thought of film-making more as a question of having an EYE, so the AUTEUR_EAR is an interesting new concept.

@Aketi, a belated appreciation for your Sunday's avatar: the wrestling pics of BUNS were a good anticipation of Monday's BREAD theme!

Liked today's offering, especially the symmetrical double-HEADers. Would have been way cool to work in a HYDRA somewhere.

Time to head down the road.

Blackbird 2:45 PM  

I really am put off when Rex gets all snarky about what he considers old stuff. Renata whatever, really? Renata Tebaldi, a terrific opera singer, is unfamiliar to Rex, and therefore not worth knowing about? Wow, Rex wanted Solti, but the answer was Szell. Yeah, well.... At least these two conductors are acceptable to Rex. But the two singers?

Too old, oh, so bad, shame on anyone for being old, or remembering old things. Too white? Oh, I see, "I, Tina", is white because it is old? Only references to rap performers are Black enough for Rex? Oh, "I Shot the Sheriff" is from 1973, so Bob Marley isn't Black enough for Rex? Black is only Black enough when Black Is Hot, i.e. newer than new, not I Shot? Forget the classics, all ye who create crossword puzzles for the NY Times, everything has to be totally 21st century? Tina Turner, Renata Tebaldi, two great singers, are too old or obscure for Rex?

Medium/Challenging? I found the puzzle an Easy/Medium romp, very enjoyable. Must be because I am too old for the 21st century.

Headstrong, not in Seattle 3:27 PM  

@Roomie, you have two auricles up side the HEAD as aural (not oral) appendages, as well as two auricles in the heart that travel under the alias of atria.

The Zika virus makes PINHEAD sadly current. Between that and AIRHEAD as well as BONEHEAD (not to mention the borderline EGGHEAD), it strikes me as too much bad HEAD, especially considering that we're all in favour of good HEAD.

Leapfinger 4:41 PM  

@AliasZ, it's a pleasure to read your inventive HEADstrong comments, though I admit I was expecting a poem. Nothing in the way of DOGgerel about a traineD LABrador, nothing treacly as soft TAFfy, but something rather special that could've been penned for a GUJarati RAJah in an altiplaNO GARDen by his favourite haREM MAHout.

Please be confident that there is no faTAL Flaw in what you wrote: that some of us hELD DIFferent views just complements your BOWHEAD. Just keep in mind that a few are waiting for those finely tuNED IAMbs.

Leapfinger 6:29 PM  

Well warbled, @Blackbird!!

Tim Pierce 7:03 PM  

@Blackbird: ISHOT is clued as "___ the Sheriff" (1974 #1 hit). The version of "I Shot The Sheriff" that reached #1 on the U.S. pop charts wasn't Bob Marley's, it was Eric Clapton's. And really now, you don't get any whiter than Eric Clapton.

Other clues and answers in this puzzle that owe their prominence to white people or white culture include:

18A: Former House leader Nancy PELOSI
27A: Pageant winners' wear (TIARAS)
48A: Jodie Foster and Meryl Streep, collegiately (ELIS)
54A: Opera's Tebaldi (RENATA)
56A: Name repeatedly sung in Rossini's "Largo al factotum" (FIGARO)
26D: George ___, longtime maestro of the Cleveland Orchestra (SZELL)
31D: North America's largest alpine lake (TAHOE)
40D: "Oh! Susanna" and others (BALLADS)
45D: Obi-Wan ____ KENOBI
47D: High-tech 1982 Disney movie (TRON)
49D: Tennessee senator ____ Alexander (LAMAR)

So, yeah. Really old, really white. It's a fair cop.

Unknown 7:57 PM  

George Szell used to conduct occasionally at the Metropolitan Opera back when Rudolf Bing was the general manager. He was famously difficult always insisting on more rehearsal time than he was entitled to. At one point Bing and his associates were discussing this issue and one of them said, "George Szell is his own worst enemy." Bing replied, "Not while I'm alive!"

old timer 8:34 PM  

I was too hurried-feeling this morning to mention the horrible clue for BALLAD. I know a lot about BALLADS, I love to hear the old English ones, and own a complete set of the reprinted-in-hardback Child ballads. I also know that in the 20th Century, "ballad" was basically another way to describe a slow song, usually romantic, like ""Love Me Tender". But "Oh Susannah" is not a ballad in either sense. It's a minstrel song, once sometimes called a "coon song". And one many of us know from childhood. But not a ballad in any sense.

Oh, and I can't resist adding one more reversed word to precede HEAD: EVIG

Chronic dnfer 8:39 PM  

Good puzz. No dnf. So easy medium at best.

Z 9:26 PM  

@Blackbird - Hmm. Tina Turner is closer to 80 than to 70 and last put out an album 17 years ago. Crosswordese Dr. Dre is 51 and is probably most famous to the under 30 crowd for his headphones. You are correct that Bob Marley wrote and first recorded I SHOT the Sheriff, but the clue specifically references the Eric Clapton version, not the Bob Marley version. Look at my PPP list. Sorry. It's a list tailored for old white people. The only person/thing on the list that couldn't be in a puzzle before 1991 is 76 year old Nancy PELOSI, and only because she became Speaker in 2007. Then there is "non-whites mostly likely to be known by old white people." DRE, TINA, and even Bob Marley all make the short list.

My question for you is why are you "put off" by Rex's objectively accurate observation? You seem especially put off by, "likely very familiar once but aren't anymore," which I find especially ironic. Classical music has been a mere eddy in American pop culture currents for over a century. Derek and the Dominoes was and is familiar to more people than RENATA Tebaldi. That Bud Lite sells a couple of magnitudes more barrels of beer than my beloved Bell's does not put me off, so why do Rex's observations bother you?

Anonymous 12:12 AM  

What chefwen said. Couldn't find the energy to give a shit about my error. Thanks for mentioning it early on so I could maintain my bullshit "streak"!

Also, yeah, this puzzle is white af and mentioning one incredibly famous & beloved by white people black person doesn't change that. Sorry @blackbird. While I'm picking on you, @blackbird, "I Shot the Sherrif" was a #1 hit in 1974 for Eric Clapton, famously fucking brilliant & white & probably racist. Sorry, baby. Bob Marley & The Wailers released in '73. Actually, citing a white man's cover version of a black man's song as a reason this puzzle isn't too white seems totally 100% what we should all expect.

ANON B 4:52 PM  

Fortunately I didn't analyze the definition of "play".
As soon as I saw hockey I put in hat trick. I also
wondered what a picture of Bob Cousy was for. When
I finally got the theme it became clear.

Michael 10:11 AM  

Easy puzzle - except for the terrible "soppy" answer. Never looked at the across clues; only the downs. Without knowing the theme was "heads up", I saw only that the grayed square held words going up. Thus, "bowhead" never bothered me.

spacecraft 11:49 AM  

Is it safe?

Obviously, I'm with @Doc John. To clue that name as some obscure conductor instead of one of the most chilling characterizations ever to be filmed, at the hands of the supreme master of his craft Sir Laurence Olivier, is a travesty. The role underscores just how evil evil can get.

I too wondered what BOWHEAD was. Another obscurity. It's not as if this creature ever entered everyday conversation: "Hey, did you read about the BOWHEAD whale?" Nah. I missed that one. This is not to say that I'm not impressed with the density here; I am. Understandably, it brings about some rough patches, like APPTS and (ugh!) ENROBED, but all in all I found it very clever. Hand up for SaPPY--and for not liking the correct answer--but luckily I caught the error with the across entry.

Surprisingly, I found this puzzle easy. That single-letter correction in the NW was the only glitch. For DOD, I could go to one of several MAES, notably Ms. West, but I think I'll opt for that (at the time) cinematic sensation, Hedy LAMARr. I know the spelling isn't quite there, but it's skin-close enough for me! Par.

Burma Shave 12:18 PM  


but YELLed, “STOP!ORDER me a PROVIDER of fun.”
The SACK’S no place ATOLL to nag her,
when her HEADSUP she’s a TWOBAGGER,
it HERTZ, but TEN times ISHOT (with no gun).


rondo 12:51 PM  

ISHOT through the top half quickly, save for SaPPY, and didn’t see the connection until the revealer. Bunch of musical stuff in the puz, which I usually like, and at least LAMAR wasn’t clued Kendrick; that stuff just HERTZ.

I had to google, but I’ll give RENATA Tebaldi a posthumous yeah baby : I suppose if you’re an opera fan you could say she IS HOT.

Though it HERTZ to write in ENROBED it’s probably correct usage, hard to use IT IN A sentence. This puz kinda OK, but not a TEN. The END.

leftcoastTAM 1:29 PM  

Amusing and clever theme. Had to look at it for a bit after finishing to see the upside down spelling of the different types of HEADSUP.

Mix of nasty and neutral epithets. Liked the Bowhead whale, but not the menacing warhead so much.

Brief pauses at crosses: ARIA/BURSA, RENATA/KENOBI, even at the harmonious DRE/RAE.

Fun outing.

rain forest 3:30 PM  

Absent yesterday. Holiday here in Canada (Victoria Day), hence no paper.
Late today. Breakfast with my retired crew.

Have to say that this puzzle tickled my fancy, and I don't let just anyone do that. I have standards. Once again I ask, what is the problem with partials, especially when they are clearly the missing words? I don't understand.

Like everyone else, w/o's SaPPY and Solti, but nice to learn about another conductor. Hey @Spacecraft, as soon as I read "Is is safe?", I knew the reference. It's one of those lines, like "We're walkin' here!" that just sticks with you. Didn't realize that the evil one was named Szell. Must watch that movie again. Note that both quotes above are heard in Dustin Hoffman movies.

I got the theme after the first four shaded areas, and thought the revealer was spot on.

Once you get to 'N", KENOBI far behind?

Diana,LIW 4:03 PM  

Pretty smooth solve for me - sappy SOPPY only erasure. Gonna get SOPPY if I biddle too much wine. The revealer helped confirm some answers - like I didn't know how to spell KENOBI with an e. Originally read the Foster/Streep clue wrong - collegially.

@Spacey - were you kidding about G SZELL? Obscure? Kinda like saying Beethoven was a pretty good but long forgotten song writer. OTOH, I never saw Marathon Man. Looks like a queasiness-inducing film.

Gotta go run errands before it starts raining again.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

VCarlson 4:14 PM  

Me, too. I checked this to see what it was, as the puzzle itself was a nice, pleasant solve. Though I had SOuPY, before I changed it to SOPPY, a word I already knew.

Those of us in syndication-land lose whatever hint there might be in the puzzle's title, as it's not printed, so I wondered.

VCarlson 4:16 PM  

Often used wrt to nukes.

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