Hoppy drink / SUN 5-15-16 / Stomach stuff / Hand makeup / Head locks / Wild and wooly? / Internal pump

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Exhibit A — Wacky clues for wacky homophones of real phrases/things, made wacky by pulling out and highlighting (exhibiting) the letter A to create new nouns, new meanings.

Theme answers:
  • AGGRAVATED A SALT [assault] (23A: Repeatedly cried "Land ho!" with no land in sight, maybe?)
  • RESISTING A REST [arrest] (28A: Fighting off drowsiness?)
  • THATS A MORAY [amore] (46A: "Conger eel? Au contraire!")
  • UNDER A TACK [attack] (50A: Stuck to the corkboard?)
  • A PATCHY [Apache] HELICOPTER (65A: Whirlybird whose paint job is flaking off?)
  • A RIVAL [arrival] DATE (85A: Adversary who shows up at romantic dinners?)
  • A LOAN [alone] AT LAST (87A: "Finally, I can buy that house!")
  • CHANGE OF A DRESS [address] (107A: What Carrie needed after the prom?)
  • YOU CANT WIN A MALL ['em all] (114: "Major shopping centers aren't among the prizes!")

Word of the Day: EUDORA (37A: "Peanuts" girl) —
Eudora is a female character in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. She was the last major character to join the Peanuts world. She has long, straight black hair and usually wears a knitted hat. Eudora moved to Charlie Brown's neighborhood from another state, though which state was never specified. (wikipedia)

• • •
Lena here, covering a big old Sunday puzz for Rex. So far it's worked out that I've mainly covered Saturdays, sacrificing my Friday nights doing... exactly what I would be doing anyway: drinking and solving the puzzle. Anyway, the idea of writing up a themed puzzle, THE themed puzzle, had me a little worried. What if the theme was nutso, inconsistent, lost-on-me, impossible to describe? Well I lucked out with this one-- a nice smooth Berry delight. There's really almost nothing to harp on, fillwise. TESTEE (95D: Experimental subject) is not great and SABER SAWS (80D: Tools used for cutting curves) is pretty dull as far as longer fill goes, but overwhelmingly it's just so clean.

THATS A MORAY was the first theme answer I got, and it wasn't immediately obvious to me what the "Exhibit A" deal was because of the eel's tail AY. In the end I'm not the biggest fan of the title in relation to the theme mechanics, but I ultimately ignored it and enjoyed the easy ride.

Though [Tired runner?] (CAR) is a pretty devilish clue for 1A, and was actually the last thing I filled in. Also in the "ooooo" clue category I have [Colonial home, you might say] for HIVE (108D) and [Take heat from?] for DISARM (86D). I got a laugh out of MAUNA as fill, clued [Start of several Hawaiian place names]. It's pretty much always KEA and LOA in the grid and "Mauna" in the clue. It's the little things.
The Maunas

When the theme is as straight-forward as this, weak spots become more apparent-- CHANGE OF A DRESS now sounds awkward to me. "Carrie needed a change of a dress." I feel like "change of dress" is more natural-- British-sounding, maybe-- but of course that doesn't work with the theme. Remember: YOU CANT WIN A MALL.

Always happy to see a little next-level nucleic acid trivia make its way in, with RNA (43A: Codon carrier). I had to memorize which amino acids the codons called for and how to draw their chemical structures, but I've forgotten now thank goodness. I also once knew RAMEN only as [Food sometimes sold with a flavor packet] and not the oft-instagrammed steamy bowlfuls of my adulthood. But you will only find me drinking coke in the context of a Cuba LIBRE-- it tastes so much better when you call it that instead of a Rum & Coke.

And that's all I've got-- this was a fun puzzle, and the most enjoyable Sunday for me in a while.

Oh, I believe Rex has brought this up here before, but BEATON (63A: Pound) needs to start being clued in reference to the smart, talented and hilarious Kate Beaton, STAT. ASAP. NSEC. ETC.

Signed, Lena Webb, Court Jester of CrossWorld

[Follow Lena on Twitter]


jae 12:08 AM  

Easy-medium, but it seemed harder while I was solving. Smooth with some amusing theme answers or about what you'd hope for on a Sun. Liked it. Thanks for helping out Lena.

Mr. Robot with Christian SLATER is major departure from the USA network's typical offerings (think Royal Pains or White Collar) and is definitely worth a look. You should be able to binge the first season if you have USA on demand.

George Barany 12:31 AM  

Thanks @Lena for your review of @Patrick Berry's Sunday puzzle. I had the same experience as you, filling in the C in the square marked 1 last. In fact, both the 1-Across and the 1-Down clues are tricky, as indicated by the ? convention. Therefore, just running the alphabet was not enough; two puns had to be deconstructed concurrently.

The RNA clue is fine, though it could have worked for DNA too. It was amusing to see both ONO and ELLE, though not AVA, clued as palindromes.

There was quite a bit of politics in @PB's puzzle. I had hoped we could be done with 42-Across by now [see 1-Across in Green Eggs and Canadian Bacon]. 53-Down was my Congressman in the Silk Stockings district of Manhattan before he became Mayor, and 106-Down's decision to upgrade his initially temporary appointment as baseball commissioner had serious national consequences. You see, a certain managing partner of the Texas Rangers also coveted that job, but with his prospects thwarted, elected to run instead for Governor of Texas [click here for more].

Deep Mac 12:39 AM  

OK, I'm dumb. I still don't get "tired runner" as a clue for CAR.

Unknown 1:27 AM  

Missed chance here, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3HUGeA2lur4

Unknown 2:04 AM  

Patrick Berry makes it all look so easy. The theme answers were funny. The clues were clever. The fill is clean as a whistle.

But even when you're Patrick Berry, YOU CAN'T WIN A MALL. That answer is a clear outlier. All the other theme answers take a word that starts with the letter A and break it into two words:


But this isn't the case with 'EM ALL --> A MALL. This pun is not as clean as the others. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining here. It's a funny pun, and I loved this puzzle. I just find this outlier odd.

My favorite theme answers were THAT'S A MORAY, UNDER A TACK, A PATCHY HELICOPTER, and A LOAN AT LAST. Each one of those gave me a HEARTy chuckle.

I <3 the clue for EPITAPH (It often contains "lies"). I also liked the clues for OCEANS (Continental divides?), CLAY (Body, metaphorically), and OVINE (Wild and woolly?).

I'm always happy to see poetry appear in clues, and today we were served a double helping. I was unfamiliar with the PLATH quotation: "I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am." Then I got my end-of-the-world quotations mixed up and wanted FROST for ELIOT. Note to self...

T.S. Eliot:
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Robert Frost:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

'mericans in Paris 2:56 AM  

Thanks, also, @Lena for your review. Not as TERSE as we would get from OFL, who can get quite TESTEE, but a nice change.

WII would LEAN more to giving this puz an easy-medium rating, however. For one, for a Patrick Berry construction it had many more proper NAMEs than usual, which did GIVE us several WOES. The square at 12, where 10A crosses 12D was a Natick for us. Furtunately we guessed "A". Then there was 60A ("Erwin of 1950s TV") and our word for the day, EUDORA. Entered "dan rather" for 3D before Mrs. 'mericans corrected the answer to "ROGER MUD". SNAP!

First entry was MINSK. I had always assumed that the capital of Belarus was a dreadful, dreary place. Turns out ITS central city is very clean (as one would expect in a dictatorship), with beautiful buildings and lots of lively cafes and TAVERNs. It's neighbor, Ukraine, is still negotiating with the IMF. I BET it can't wait to be able to announce A LOAN AT LAST!

Figured out the theme quickly at "RESISTING A REST", but guffawed at the excruciating pun of "THAT'S A MORAY". Would I get arrested for AGGRAVATED A SALT if I SLAM a TAR or one of his MATES?

Great juxtaposition of DEADEN [the] SENSES just to the west of the answer to 123A: "Lose rigidity" (SAG).

I'm OUST 'a here!

pmdm 6:54 AM  

Seems to me there were more proper nouns than usual in a PB puzzle, which lowered the solving experience for me. Especially in the center east section. I will be looking forward to Z's proper name analysis.

For me, the variety in the themed answers was actually a good thing. But the theme density seemed to restrict the elegance of most PB puzzles. At least, that's how I reacted.

Lewis 6:54 AM  

@lena: SABERSAW being pretty dull -- good one!

Simply a lovely weekend of puzzles. Friday's word-playful Davids offering, yesterday's solid-in-every-department-clean-and-classic piece by Jeff Chen, and today's keep-the-head-spinning PB word rodeo. This was a lineup to remember. Thank you Will.

It's clear by now that Patrick places a high bar on what he allows in a puzzle, and there is always very little room for junk. And it's clear that the cluing will induce Puzzle Solver's Euphoria of "wha?s" and "oh!s" and "what's going to happen next?s" -- a natural high of brain stimulation. Clues like this today included those for EPITAPH, CAR, NAME, COAST, HAIR, DISARM, TIARA, HIVE, and especially the brilliant CARDS ("Hand makeup"). I also loved the theme answers, which felt unforced, and which were fun to figure out. I don't think they were easy to come up with (I've tried to make up more).

And so I'm left feeling Berry well. Thank you Patrick!

Marty Van B 7:00 AM  

This is the type of puzzle I like on a Sunday. The theme was rewarding and often funny. The fill made me think but didn't put up overly staunch resistance. Sundays can often feel tedious but this all came together naturally and was bound together by a fun concept.

Lise 7:18 AM  

I loved the poets, palindromes and puns, which were really fun. THATSAMORAY made me choke on my coffee. I said it out loud and my son said "You mean the eel, right?" and we both lost it for a while.

It is indeed the little things. Thank you, Patrick Berry.

paulsfo 7:32 AM  

I thought that the theme answers were great. Far above average. After RESISTINGAREST and AGGRAVATEDASALT i thought that maybe they would all also fit a legal theme (thus a double meaning for Exhibit A).

chefbea 7:58 AM  

Finally a fun Sunday puzzle which I almost finished. Cute theme!!!

Why? 8:04 AM  

How soon is too soon to reuse a theme? Here's a Sunday from five and a half years ago by Will Nediger: http://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=11/7/2010

RESISTING A REST Trying to staying awake
UNDER A TACK Pinned down
LOVE A FAIR Really enjoy going to carnivals?
UPON A RIVAL Straddling an opponent
CHECKING A COUNT Frisking Dracula?
EVENING A TIRE Mechanic's task?
RETURN A DRESS What a dissatisfied female gifted might do after Christmas

Arrest, arrival, attack, address. Hmmm.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

After reading the write up I had forgotten to fill in the first letter in 1 across, so I too filled that letter in last. Loved the puzzle and it was fairly easy for a Sunday which is always nice.

Unknown 8:34 AM  

Relatively easy - and very easy theme answers. A few too many proper names (that I didn't know) for my taste. Otherwise fun and quick!

Andrew Goodridge 8:41 AM  

Hate to be "that guy," but the clue for 10A [Production Code org.] is incorrect. The Production Code / Hays Code was formed in something like 1930 or 1931, when the MPAA was still known by its original name, the MPPDA. They did not change the name to the MPAA until shortly after WWII.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Wow, no way was this "Easy". The theme was not too difficult, I would agree with that, but so much of the fill was random trivia of the worst annoying sort.
Medium is more like it.

Didn't mind the theme, didn't love the clueing for them.

too much time spent on this one, oh well..... looking forward to next week!


Unknown 8:58 AM  

I found it enjoyable.

Dorothy Biggs 9:09 AM  

I liked it...actually a decent solve for a Sunday. First time in a while.

My last entry was that very devilishly cross clued Square One hinging on "Land line" and "Tired runner"...I ran the alphabet trying to find the one letter that would satisfy both of those crazy clues. I landed on T, of course. Which was wrong, of course. Clearly. I then proceeded to just add letters and started with B. Nope. C...ding, ding, ding! Ahhhhh....COAST and CAR! I get it now.

In defense of me liking this puzzle despite the presence of literally 100s of puns...I can't explain it, except there were no groans. I'm not a fan of the fangirl attraction to PB and his puzzles...I don't like them all...but this one was good, smooth, challenging in ways that were fair, and full of good surprises.

A great start to a Sunday.

Sheffield 9:11 AM  

Thank you Lena. Also felt difficult at first, but became easier when I decided to try going from bottom up. Finished pretty quickly. NW was also my last fill. Sheffield

Suzy 9:18 AM  

@Lena-- surely 'change of a dress' makes perfect sense as a pun on 'change of address?'. At least, it did for me! Thank you,
Patrick Berry, for another perfect Sunday morning puzzle!

Maruchka 9:21 AM  

A delightfully clever PB, as usual, but more an easy-medium here. 23A and 26A combined with 'Exhibit A' meant all answers would twist legalese, right?

Credos/CREEDS. epithet(?)/EPITAPH only do-overs.

Fav of the day 'A LOAN AT LAST. Know the feeling.

ROGER MUDD was another favorite broadcaster during the Cronkite years (Uncle Walter!). His (more distant than originally thought) relative, Dr. Samuel Mudd, treated John Wilkes Booth's broken leg after the Lincoln assassination. Roger is a fine journalist, and handsome, too. Doesn't hurt.

Nancy 9:44 AM  

I've seldom met a pun I didn't like, but this collection was especially adorable. I was going to list my favorites, but there are too many to list. I began the puzzle last night, on the late side, with the intention of leaving most of it for this morning. But like those potato chips where "you can't eat just one" or that old-time Alka Seltzer ad: "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!", I finished it all in one gulp. Nothing left for today, sob. Easy though it may have been, I found it great fun to solve.

Teedmn 9:49 AM  

More PPP in this puzzle than I am used to seeing from Patrick Berry. PLATH next to ALLIE crossing ELLE; LILA next to IVOR crossing two themers; TIA next to SORBO crossing ELIOT. DELIA next to SELIG crossing KERSEE. And EUDORA clued as a Peanuts character I've never heard of (yes, a rant a la @Rex there) instead of as EUDORA Welty has me scratching my head.

I liked the theme. My favorite was THAT'S A MORAY, which was also the first one I got. YOU CAN'T WIN A MALL is an outlier because it doesn't involve changing a word that starts with A so that one bothers me a bit. On the other hand RESISTING A REST is what I find myself doing most nights so I can relate to that.

I had to laugh at "Spoke horsely?" and SIDLE was fun to see. EPITAPH was cleverly clued. I can't believe there's a Beatles song I didn't know but "IT'S ALL TOO MUCH" is that song, which I now know is off the "Yellow Submarine" album, one not in my collection. I considered "henna" for "Hand makeup" but OCEANS gave me CARDS. I shouldn't nitpick at this puzzle because I only had one writeover, and that was wHEW changing to PHEW.

So thanks, Patrick Berry, for the Sunday entertainment.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Apparently I watched too much Thomas the Tank Engine with my son, and didn't read enough Bible to him, because I went with SODOr instead of SODOM (31A), which resulted in my salt being aggravated.

Loved this puzzle. Most of it was right in my childish wheelhouse (KENNER, MATTEL, WII), but EUDORA, wow. A few minutes off my best Sunday, but several minutes below average.

Leapfinger 10:04 AM  

Great theme today, and I laughed at all of them. Only THAT'S A MORAY wasn't a novelty, and it was saved by a great clue:'Au contraire'? LOL! CHANGE OF A DRESS seemed perfectly put a moi, and I felt sorry for Sissy Spacek all covered in pig's blood, thought it perfectly appropriate for her to flame out. 'You go, Girl!!'

Apparently, some people think there ARNO silly comments (even unto the 23rd repeat), to which I'd only add:
Should any hot dog among us think to ask "What's A MORAY?" or even "What's A MAYO-R?" today, I may personally come over and BEATON you, and see toit that you're mustered out of here and ronion out of town.

Still suffering here from Miracle Whiplash.

jberg 10:05 AM  

If you have to have an eel in your puzzle, this is definitely the way to do it! I got CAR relatively early, after realizing that "kids in Africa who can't afford running shoes" wouldn't fit. (I looked for images, but apparently this idea has been commercialized). My bigger problem was that I just figured to wacky phrase at 65A would have to end with A 'COPTER, which made it impossible to remember IVOR NOVELLO. That was one of several places I almost got stuck, but somehow there was always a way out -- part of what makes PB great.

We're planning a trip to Italy this fall, I've been reading the guidebook for Tuscany, or I wouldn't have known where the Ligurian Sea is. But no matter, my old rule of 4-letter Italian river = ARNO was all I needed.

Kate isn't the only famous BEATON; there is also Cecil.

Sir Hillary 10:05 AM  

Pretty breezy Sunday from the master of smooth. I enjoyed the themers a lot, especially at the equator and north. More proper nouns than I expect from PB1, but that may just be in my imagination. Sorry folks, Ted is going to displace Penelope in crossword clues for a while, but that won't last forever.

jberg 10:07 AM  

Also, SABER saw right after SAWZALL. We're going to fill up that tool case/box/chest/belt pretty fast. I wanted SABre, but I was wrong.

ArtO 10:33 AM  

@Deep Mac, cars have tires and run, so...."tired runner."

Loved the theme. Would have rated medium due to clever by half clues such as the one noted here. At first thought they would all involve crime (aggravated assault, resisting arrest) but that soon passed.

chefbea 10:39 AM  

@Deep Mac...a car runs, and it has tires therefore...a tired runner

Hartley70 10:56 AM  

A perfect Sunday confection, light, breezy, amusing. It just doesn't get much better than this.

cwf 11:00 AM  

@Why?: Nice find! I, too, was kind of surprised to find RESISTINGAREST wasn't unique to this puzzle.

Otherwise a nice finale for a nice weekend trio of puzzles. Thanks for the review, @Lena! Cheeky as always. (Also for the Kate Beaton shoutout. She's the bee's knees.)

cwf 11:01 AM  

Not only that, but Patrick Berry himself has used this pun before: http://www.xwordinfo.com/Finder?word=RESISTINGAREST

(Yes, it was 15 years ago, but still...)

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

I am usually successful with pb's puzzles and this one went down smooth. Too often I resort to Google on a Sunday but not today. I rely too heavily on google. Before I had the Internet I would work on a puzzle put it down pick it up and have a little aha moment and do this for a day or even into the early week and often it would coalesce.i plan to eschew Google next Sunday if I can.

Steve M 11:13 AM  

Berry berry good to me.......

JD 11:16 AM  

My dear husband, who passed away last year, was a Viet Nam vet and a helicopter pilot, who briefly worked at a paint store upon retirement from the California National Guard (he flew Jerry Brown and Linda Ronstadt around a few times). I would have gotten to "a patchy helicopter" and "under a tack" a lot quicker if he'd been here. Here's to ya darling.

Churlish Nabob 11:27 AM  

A rare Sunday that wasn't a tiresome slog. Thank you PB.

Aketi 11:30 AM  

@Marttin Abresch, I felt the same about "em all".
@Paulsbo, I was right there with you on the legal them. Words like STATUTE and AVOWS led me to a very sketchy imagined sequence from:
--> someone UNDER A TACK
--> retaliating with AGGRAVATED A SALT
--> possibly leading to that person's RESISTING A REST
---> and fleeing the scene in an A PATCHY HELICOPTER
---> to a place where they would be sufficiently A LOAN that their pursuers would find it difficult to
LOCATE them and they might feel LIBRE AT LAST

Of course this huge stretch of a very week rubber band snapped when faced with the A RIVAL DATE with THATS A MORAY

I blame it all on watching Spectre recently.

Unknown 11:45 AM  

Proper nouns in the mid-Atlantic region nearly did me in.

The first themer that fell for me was 46A and I let out an audible chuckle.

Final letter was also the C in square 1.

Finished within 2 seconds of my average Sunday time so I agree with just about everything said here.

Delightful Subday and a great write-up.

chefbea 11:56 AM  

@Jberg e-mail me and I'll give you some pointers for your trip to Italy

old timer 12:00 PM  

I've always loved that "THAT'S A MORAY" joke.

Smooth, relaxing solve thanks to the GREAT Patrick Berry. I got the AGGRAVATED part early but not the SALT, because it took a while to suss out thew theme. Which came soon after, with UNDER A TACK. I moved smoothly down to the SE. In the SW, I wrote in RICOH but was not at all sure I was right. The "Carrie" clue had me wondering if "Nation" would be part of the answer. But I decided CHANGE OF A DRESS fit, and that allowed me to find the tricky HIVE and ACID.

I wrote CAR in on crosses and had no idea why it fit the clue. Coming here, I finally figured it out: CARs run on tires and are therefore "tired".

I think what is brilliant about a PB puzzle is often that you can get a proper name you don't know like STU Erwin or Kevin SORBO or KENNER from the well-designed and fair crosses. In fact, the R in KENNER was the last letter I filled in.

Kimberly 12:02 PM  

AGGRAVATED A SALT felt like a reach, particularly as clued. Having it as the first theme answer for a poorly titled puzzle hung me up. THATS A MORAY finally tuned me in, but the inappropriate use of French in the clue combined with the implied Italian in the answer confused the heck out of me. After that I just felt curmudgeonly about the whole dang thing. Don't care if there was genius in there somewhere, they totally lost me with that crap.

Andrew Heinegg 12:03 PM  

Any assessment of this type of a puzzle, for me, is whether the themed answers have puns that qualify as groaners. If they are, I am all in. And, as you might expect from PB, not only are they groaners but, it is hard to pick the best. My personal favorite is 86a, a loan at last (!). Nice way to start a day puzzle.

BTW,Deep Mac, a car has tires so it is a'tired runner'. Another pun in a punny and amusing puzzle.

RAD2626 12:11 PM  

Such a relief to open the puzzle and see PB byline and know it will be a fun and clean puzzle with theme answers and clues that will make you want to tell someone about them. A LOAN AT LAST was terrific and while it might be an outlier, YOU CAN'T WIN A MALL made me actually laugh. Had eat for ATE and IVOR and SORBO were new to me but gettable from crosses. Dopily filled in PLATo at first but got that fixed pretty quickly. Just a very fun solve. Fine way to end or begin the week depending on your perspective.

RooMonster 12:15 PM  

Hey All !
Berr-ay nice theme. (Doesn't work? Yeah, I know.) Thinking he got the idea from THATS A MORAY. Haven't checked out xwordinfo yet.


Some very good cluing in this here puz. Lots of "third meaning" type clues. Misdirectional in a way, but valid. Had a major writeover spot in upper SW corner. Had mitERSAW, eat, tho originally in 80 81 82D's, Isto for 91A, leading to jibberish at the end of A RIVAL DATE. Had ___V_LDiah there! Said, oh, somethings wrong! But, managed to get everything correct there. But, alas, had an E at BEATeN/ORATeR. One letter DNF! Hasn't happened in a while, hoping it went away, but no. :-)

Speaking of ORATOR, as clued a WOE. Other WOEs, ALBION, RALPH (as clued), LILA, IVOR, and a few more. But WOES wasn't a WOE! And the ole brain had a hard time coming up with NONE! Couldn't get off Nill or Nein! Wrote in zero lightly at first. One other writeover, AbOut-AFORE.

Overall, very nice. 9 themers. Clean fill. Good old Berry, a?

SIDLEs away...

Vermonster 12:26 PM  

"That's a moray" made me LOL. Loved the whole puzzle, but a medium for me, not easy.

puzzle hoarder 12:40 PM  

@why? 8:04 had an interesting comment about theme recycling. Someone else did use RESISTINGAREST in a previous puzzle but PB originated it in a 4/22/01 Sunday puzzle. The theme was similar to today's except that it adjusted common phrases to make them read as crimes. It seems like Mr Nediger borrowed one from PB not vice versa.
On a similar note that 30D EPITAPH clue has been used before in another constructors puzzle but it could have been created by the editor.
As for this puzzles difficulty it's hard for me to say. I did it on my Kindle last night and since Sundays are bigger this makes the squares as small as those of a weekly when I use my phone. In other words a real pain in the ass. With figuring out where the themes were going and the at times challenging fill I favor a medium rating.

Leapfinger 1:43 PM  

@Anony0951, lol at your SODOr!! When the Grandboy was just a sprat, almost anything turned into an occasion for buying another piece of Thomas the Tank Engine paraphernalia. Half the basement floor was given over to the intricate rail system, complete with Sir Topham and Lady Hatt etc, but he'd spend hours making up stories, having derailments, and so on. Given that components ranged from $8-80, there were probably a few grand strewn over the floor. We shoulda bought stock. Super videos, too, narrated by Ringo Starr, Michael Angelis,George Carlin...

@'mericans, love it when IMF (ImMoralFinancing) enters the discussion! It's not that they won't leave you A LOAN, it's the stipulations they attach.

@jberg, Cecil's my original BEATON also; seeing the two side by side, all I can say is Cute, but no comparison.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

"Tired" doesn't mean "weary" here but "having tires."

Carola 2:28 PM  

Man, I loved this puzzle. So funny!

Anonymous 3:01 PM  


Izzie 3:51 PM  

I also had interference from Frost, but Eliot came first and stuck.

Ludyjynn 4:19 PM  

@Lena, Funnily enough, as I filled in BEATON, I thought, "this really should be clued for Sir Cecil Beaton, the multi-talented, award-winning, photographer an costume designer." A small nit in an otherwise stellar puzzle, PACKed w/ gold nuggets.

@Hartley, the flowers are still beautiful (and so thoughtful).

Thanks, PB and WS.

GILL I. 4:40 PM  

Today is my kinda Sunday. Full, fat and fantastico. Chilaquiles with fried eggs and a side of corn pudding, a dash of AGGRAVATED A SALT and a dash of Berry delicious hot sauce.
@Leapster mad finger: By any chance do you happen to know what Mayo's doing to poor ERIN? I really want to find out..
@jeberg: By chance have you read "Under the Tuscan Sun?" The movie was crappy but the book made me want to go to Tuscany...and I did! Have fun and eat, eat eat!

lg 5:08 PM  

A car has tires and it also runs. So it is technically a "tired runner".

Señora 5:22 PM  

It runs and has tires.

Greg 5:42 PM  

Was liking it all until KERSEE/DELIA. An un-Berry-like Natick.

Jane 5:46 PM  

A car has ties therefore "tired". Lena Carrie needed a change of address because she burned her house down.

Unknown 6:43 PM  

So late to the party, but I wanted to say I loved Heart crossing Plath in the context. I agree that A Mall was a misfit. Other than that, I thought the theme answers were great fun. Both of my kids go to Wagner College so that was squeal worthy. Disarm was my fave :). Clever clue.

Michelle Turner 8:49 PM  

A car has tires.

Anonymous 9:49 PM  

Yes, it was not a hard puzzle. But the theme was hackneyed (variations on multisyllabic words punned with the indefinite article ("a") and another noun which, when said with the "a," are homonyms of the multisyllabic words- I've seen puzzles like this about a thousand times in approximately 40 years of Times puzzle-solving), and Berry's intended-to-be-humorous (over)use of punning clues framed as questions ("tired runner?" right off the bat in 1-A through "continental divides" in 97-D) in the fill started as annoying, grew to nerve-racking, and ending up being teeth-grindingly aggravating after about the seventh or eighth iteration. Yes, the puzzle was easy, but non enjoyable. Just annoying, annoying, annoying...

Z 10:07 PM  

14 hours from start to finish. It's Commencement Weekend so the in-laws are here so lots of interruptions this morning and then a 13 hour break before I could suss out the A RIVAL DATE section (I had EPIThet there when I put the magazine down this morning).

@ Why? - Well, we had three years earlier this week, so five seems long enough. Seems as though there are significant differences between the puzzles.

@pmdm - Your reaction is born out by the numbers, as is your feeling about the center east. Look at HELICOPTER's crosses, KOCH, LILA, IVOR(?) CECIL, SORBO, MATTEL. That's a ten letter word with six PPP crosses. Definitely crunchier than we've come to expect from PuzzleMaster Berry.

Pop Culture, Product Names, and Proper Noun Analysis

45/138, 33% of the clue/answers were PPP. The PPP were equally split between acrosses and downs (22/23), but tended to cluster. For example, 3, 4, 5, & 6D; four of the six across clues from 31 to 42A; and 10 of the 17 crosses for the central theme answer A PATCHY HELICOPTER. The PPP was on the high side, and specific areas have especially high PPP density so this puzzle will play tough for some solvers.

Z 10:11 PM  

Speaking of Commencement - #2 was last to cross the stage (something about the alphabet and a last name starting with Z) so got to lead his class in tassel flipping.

Anonymous 11:14 PM  

A Cuba Libre also has a Lemon wedge,not so for a Rum and Coke.

Leapfinger 12:26 AM  

Today's theme gave me A BOUT of the giggles although I had A CUTE sense of deja vu for THAT'S A MORAY. The cool thing is how many of PBerry's clues turn A DROIT while the solver's mind turn a gauche.

So anyway, A ISLE of Man native, A ERIE PA resident, and A KILTER walked into a bar. The kilter ordered a Scotch (of course), but when the bartender asked the Erie guy if he wanted a soda, he answered "Umm, no, I think I'll just keep A FLOAT". (It was also an ice cream bar, you see.) This was (of course) a bad idea, since he'd been packing on the pounds, and just recently a friend who hadn't seen him in a while had blurted out "What A GAIN!" So to work off all those calories our friends left for a party to dance A HORA.

Can I get A "JA!" for that, just for working in a couple of Spanglish LOANWORDS?

@Jane, Christine burnt Carrie's house down, cause it/she was tired of Mayo.

@McGILLicuddy, seems there's a bit of A MORAL to the Mayo/ ERIN story cuz she ended up in the Clinic. Something about a 'Lemon wedgie'...

Y'all be good now.

'mericans in Paris 4:57 AM  

Hi Leapy! Indeed, the IMF's conditions are reported here:


I have some sympathies for both sides: Ukraine is in a tough spot, but corruption in high places, especially among politician-oligarchs, remains rife. Of course it's the mass of citizens who suffer from both the delay and the corruption.

kitshef 2:32 PM  

Three beauts in a row. Not quite at the level of Friday and Saturday, but really, really good. Sunday's are tough to make interesting so a job well done.

Diana,LIW 8:06 PM  

@Rondo, Rainy et al(ia)

See what I did again? Took the deLorean out, put it in a low gear, drove forward one week (for the Sunday puz), and have captured your audience. Is this the best way to post and get responses?

It's not like I need constant attention, but sometimes I feel like I'm in the "Alien" movie where, in space, no one hears you scream. (Not that I scream regarding crosswords. I'm a lady, doncha know?)

So, what else can I tell you? On "Wait, wait, don't tell me!" (NPR) today, they discussed a Finnish Burger King that has a spa/sauna. As I've said before, Finnish eating habits leave much to be desired. Ugh. A burger in a sauna (pronounced "sow nah.") Apparently you can reserve said sauna for your GROUP, work or otherwise. I come from a strange people.

Hope today's puz (Sunday) is fun we shall see.

Diana, Not Waiting for You Before I got Here, haha

Burma Shave 11:50 AM  


In a TAVERN with two men? ITS TABOO, and I’d SAY a MESS.
WHOSE gonna win her HEART while she’s RESISTINGAREST?
IBET IT’S THE one she SENSES MATES and ORATOR the best.


rondo 12:17 PM  

I wouldn’t SAY easy due to obtuse clues, starting with 1a, at least a medium. Biggest prob was the prayer cHAin. Don’t think I know of a prayer SHAWL, though in Russian churches women usually do cover their heads.


If I was going to cut curves I’d use a jigsaw not a SABERSAW, ITS too heavy-duty isn’t it?

TIA Carrere and Eartha KITT will have to share classic yeah baby status today.

@D,LIW, you'll usually have no prob getting a response from me.

I’m not wasting this gorgeous day, I’ll re-LOCATE outdoors.

spacecraft 1:25 PM  

My "how about that!" moment today came when I realized that PLATo and PLATH differ by only the last letter. In life, of course, they differed very much more GREATly.

For today's DOD, I call upon Jorja Fox, portrayer of Sarah SIDLE on CSI. What, spellcheck? "Portrayer" isn't a word??? Well here, vent your stupid red ink: portrayer portrayer portrayer! Anyway, Fox...certainly is one.

Not much else to say; there never is with PB1. He's like Tiger Woods in the '90s and '00s. Start with birdie and go low from there. Today? Not his most sparkling, but he survived a side trip into themedom well enough that he CARDS a bird.

Anonymous 4:29 PM  

Clueing ONO as a "singer" is what's known as misdirection. Slows me down every time.

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

Q: Why cant bikes keep up with cars?
A: Because they're two-tired.

Diana,LIW 4:37 PM  

I happened to see the "easy" rating yesterday when I drove over here, and them's was fightin' words. My first go thru I had little corners done, then added more, got the theme, and had some fun. Almost gave up, but instead took a break, came back, and finished. Yeah, yeah I had some errors. Hey instead of "SAY," - don't look at those downs, I know they don't make sense.

I caught on to the 1A clue right away (it's PB) and wanted atv instead of the more pedestrian (har) CAR - one of my final answers.

Gee - puzzle Fourth Grade is lasting longer than I thought it would.

Happy Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 6:03 PM  

Was glad to see Berry's name on this puzzle, and he didn't disappoint.

Didn't see how "A" was consistently used in theme answers until I checked Bill Butler's blog.

A couple of hold-ups: EUDORA/RAMEN cross and CLAY/PACK cross.

Stumbled at ALBION, which I failed to dredge up from dim depths of memory. This led to MESSing up the ALOANATLAST theme answer, settling dumbly for ALlANATLAST (see second paragraph above).

AnonymousPVX 6:09 PM  

I liked this puzzle. I thought it fairly clued and the long answers were funny.

I did think it a bit crunchy, but not frustrating. Harder than Easy but not a Medium so I think the rating accurate. But like one of the first posters today, it sure seemed harder as the solve progressed.

Anonymous 9:17 PM  

Totally agree

Anonymous 9:18 PM  


rain forest 3:55 AM  

I can't join in the knee jerk Berry lovefest for this puzzle. Of course, it was fine, but tended toward the usual Sunday sloggish towards the end. Am I speaking heresy? Well, I don't care.

As I said it was a fine puzzle. Many are. I just don't think it hit any highlights in its easy-medium mode. My God. I am actually being critical here. Possibly because I had to do some painting for my daughter and then rush home and make a brilliant pot roast for my girlfriend. Ah, well, that's the life one leads, I guess.

@BS wonderful poem today.

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