Variety of pasture grass / WED 5-11-16 / Speedsters of old autodom / Bibliophile's prize

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Constructor: Pawel Fludzinski

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: dos and bes and please don't make me explain it

Theme answers:
  • TO BE OR NOT TO BE (20A: Words from Shakespeare)
  • TO BE IS TO DO (28A: Words from Socrates)
  • TO DO IS TO BE (41A: Words from Sartre)
  • DOOBY DOOBY DOO (52A: Words from Sinatra)
Word of the Day: REDTOP (1D: Variety of pasture grass) —
Agrostis gigantea, known by its common names black bent and redtop, is a perennial grass of the Agrostis genus. // It is native to Europe, but in the cooler areas of North America was widely used as a pasture grass until the 1940s. Although it has largely been replaced by soybeans and more palatable grasses, it still gets some use in poor soils. It was one of the grasses planted in areas disturbed by the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. It generally does well in response to fires, due to survival of rhizomes and seeds.
It can be found in open woodland, rough grassland, hedgerows, roadsides and waste ground, and as a weed on arable land. (wikipedia)
• • •
This is unacceptable on many levels. First, this is a tired, pre-existing, non-original bit of wordplay, i.e. NOT a product of constructor cleverness, wit, thoughtfulness, etc. If anything, the whole gag is botched by the constructor's addition of TO BE OR NOT TO BE, which is some which-of-these-four-is-not-like-the-others nonsense. Leaving that answer aside, the others are part of a sequence that you can find on plaques and mugs and, I don't know, cross-stitches or whatever, at any of your finest novelty gift shops. Here look:

And so forth. Not sure how "Nietzsche" and "Kant" came to be "Sartre" and "Socrates" in today's gag, but I'm guessing the creation of an all-S cast was thought to a choice bit of cleverness.

And if that's not bad enough (and it is), the fill, hoo boy. Unless you are literally Merl Reagle and you are literally in the movie "Wordplay,"* REDTOP = no. No no. ENTR' crossing a single ARREAR? ON LATE crossing ONE ONE? ... note that I haven't even left the NW yet. STLO ABED! It's ruff. Not bottom-of-the-barrel rough, but down there. After two nice puzzles to open the week ... this. AGEE? GEES-us H! I want to fault this one for being way too easy as well (nearly broke the 3 min. mark???), but considering how little I liked it, I'm actually pretty grateful it took no effort. OSSO STET! SSTS and REOS in my OLEO! If you tore absolutely everything out of this puzzle except the longer Downs, you'd have ... not much, but you'd be sort of on your way to a decent themeless (seriously, this thing has only 72 words, which is themeless territory). I don't know what's going on here. I'll see you back here tomorrow, where hopefully I'll get a puzzle that at least *aspires* to be NYT-worthy.

["...shot down in May ... back on top in June"]

*Merl put REDTOP in a puzzle he constructed on camera in "Wordplay." Worth nothing—it bugged him so much that by the time that puzzle actually appeared in finished form, he had replaced REDTOP with PILEUP (the movie doesn't bother to tell you that :). This is all to say that constructors are supposed to agonize over their weak fill—not make it the leader of a bad fill parade.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS here's an article by my student, Clare Gilroy, about the Independent Study she did with me this semester re: crosswords.

PPS of course the attributions in today's theme clues are all b.s.—here's more than you'd ever want to know about the actual origins of this dooby-do gag, which dates to 1968 (h/t Ben Zimmer).

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George Barany 12:04 AM  

I think that I first heard the enabling joke for today's puzzle by @Pawel Fludzinski when I was still in graduate school in the '70s. After completing the puzzle, Google led to this fascinating essay, which confirms my suspicions. And now, having read @Rex's just-posted review, I see that he has taken the scholarship to even further heights.

More jokes, not as easily found on the internet. Do you know the difference between deuterium and tritium? ISOTOPE (singular) so. What did the chemist say when she heard the joke about two ISOTOPES of helium? HeHe. When I started dating my future wife, also a chemist, I told her "I've got my ION you."

I did appreciate the shoutout to my adopted state and our junior Senator, who recently quipped that presidential candidate Ted Cruz was the lovechild of Joe McCarthy and Dracula. Also, the clue for STATUE brought back fond memories of trips to Central Park during my youth

Unfinished business from yesterday. This search engine will clarify what year becomes associated with any particular Academy Award nominee or winner. In particular, BIRDMAN was released before the end of calendar year 2014, and won the 2014 Best Picture in the ceremony broadcast in February 2015.

Diana,LIW 12:24 AM  

Just a blast from the past here, as a Syndieland poster. Wanted to acclaim LMS's posts about the ACPT tourney 5 weeks ago, and invite any and all to the Minn. Tourney in June (12) this year. Several Synderallas as well as folks like G Baraney (sp?) will be there.

Should be fun. See ya'

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and fellow Solvers

Unknown 12:56 AM  

Thank you, Rex.

When I reached the second theme answer, I saw that this was headed to the Sinatra "punchline" and groaned. I remember this joke from junior high in the late 80s. This is the kind of kitsch I associate with those Elvis clocks with the tick-tocking hips and coffee mugs with variations on Carpe Diem.

And then adding Hamlet? Dear god, why?

In case I haven't been clear, I *loathed* this puzzle.

Norman Bates 12:57 AM  

Row 5 pretty much sums up the beginning of my descent into insanity. Even so, good times.

Anonymous 1:02 AM  

This would have been an easy Monday puzzle and easier to make excuses for then. A Wednesday puzzle should have more crunch and be more interesting.

Oh well, my arrear is abed. And I bid you good night, good night, good night.

Anonymous 1:12 AM  

The theme is literally bathroom graffiti. Ick.

Jeremy Mercer 2:43 AM  

Being one of the rare few to have never seen the gag before today, I admit to being utterly delighted by it... though also very disappointed to learn the quotes are misattributed.

jae 2:44 AM  

Easy-medium with the bottom half slightly tougher than the top. The theme did seem a tad deja vuish. Ah well, on to Thurs.

Franciscus van Munster 3:02 AM  

I think the respelling of Do Be Do Be Do to DOOBYDOOBYDOO is another problem. At least the original spelling made it kinda funny when it was first invented (several decades ago)

Aketi 3:46 AM  

I liked
ATMS on top of CASINOS
ALIST on top of TO DO.
HOPE TO on top of an embedded DO

Although I thought HOPE TO was the wimpiest of possible responses to "Gonna Win?" I initially wrote in HELL YA with confidence because I thought it fit with my perception of thr flow of the themers as going from a wimpy "Can I (should I) be?" to a typical coach's response of "Yes, you can." It also fit with ROSA's having taken that same confident "just do it" approach to sitting in that bus seat.

Of course the encouragement to "DOO BY! DOO BY! DOO!," is menacingly crossed by NOOSES. What a total downer! Reminds me of Bambi meets Godzilla, or the add on pack to the Dead Space video game called Severed, or the end of the Black hole movie in the Rose Center of the Americann Museum of Natural History,

Loren Muse Smith 4:28 AM  

Yeah, I knew the joke (sans Shakespeare part) and went right on in filling in the themers. I don't object to taking a famous saying, song lyric, or joke and putting it in a grid. "Quip" themes aren't among my favorite, but I really liked this one because this joke has always amused me. Switching around the verbs, messing with the semantics – it just floats my boat. I've actually sat around and tried to grasp the TO BE IS TO DO and the TO DO IS TO BE parts. I want to be able to nod my head knowingly, all philosophically chic. I always end up thinking about I eat to live vs I live to eat. And then I go grab an ice cream sandwich.

As for the fill, I didn't notice, as usual, a lot of the things Rex objects to. Honestly, I was just weak with relief to change my "wide door" to SIDE DOOR – both crossing "elite." I did notice the nice non-themers: CIABATTA, CALL SIGNS, HOPE TO, RARE BOOK, DEAR SANTA, AMARETTO, WEDGIE…

Funny having Larry BIRD in the grid today on the heels of yesterday's puzzle. SWAN, too. And I appreciated the slight ambiguity of the clue for TORSO. Michelangelo sculpted many a torso (I guess), but so do a lot of gym rats. (Note – "many a torso" gets you out of committing to some plural form.)

@Diana – MINN is even in the grid today. Sure wish I could go to your tournament.

@Airymom – hey! Thanks for the tip – I'll ask if he's checked out BG&E. He's been sending out so many feelers, resumes - whatever you do these days – that I bet he already has.

@George – nice science jokes. I think I told you my favorite – a photon walks into a hotel lobby and the bellman asks if he needs help with his luggage. The photon replies, "No thanks. I'm traveling light." I could add that Helium observed the entire exchange but didn't react.

Pawel – thanks for taking this joke and gridifiying it. I liked it.

Lewis 6:29 AM  

Definitely placed in the wrong day; I'm guessing Will put it here because it is a 72-worder. That is not Pawel's fault, but I felt cheated, as the Wednesday puzzle gets the difficulty-juices flowing as we head into the harder half of the week. This was a maintenance puzzle, nothing particularly memorable, and based on an old joke. But the crossword angel in my head -- who looks like Glinda the Good Witch, by the way -- says, "DOOBY polite to constructors, for they work so hard for so little", and they do. So thank you for this Powel, you gave my brain a wakeup, kept my CHOPS honed, and brought me some fun.

tb 8:02 AM  

I had not seen the "joke" before, but I didn't like upon seeing it now for the first time. The attributions might be BS, but at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter.

I've never seen ARREAR in singular form.

@George Barany: You are from Minnesota?! I didn't know that!! How interesting!!!!

Bronxdoc 8:31 AM  

Ok. It should have been a Tues. or a Mon. And there were misattributions. But so far, it was the most fun I've had all morning. That's not horrible.

Z 8:31 AM  

On a T-shirt sometime in the 70's. Sinatra was still alive and pop culturally relevant. I think I smiled.

@LMS - The teacher version of TO BE IS TO DO is "If you've stopped learning you're dead," or (more positively) "If you're alive you're learning." Or how I liked to put it to staff, "It is not a matter of 'if,' it is only a matter of 'what.'"

Quickie PPP

Just 19 of 72, 26%, including all four themers. Having low Pop Culture/Product Names/Proper Nouns does not guarantee an engaging puzzle.

Nancy 8:42 AM  

So are Socrates and Sartre saying the same thing? Are they saying similar but slightly different things? Or are they saying the exact opposite thing? Questions like these are why I decided not to major in Philosophy.

And now I find out neither of them said any such thing. It was two entirely different philosophers! Maybe it's time to go back to bed.

Leapfinger 8:50 AM  


Two and a half doobies should have helped. Didn't.
What's next? A TORSO like a horse-o only more-so? CIABATTA CHEWBACCA?
@lms' avatar was a better Do Bee.

@George: You really said "I've got my ION you" and she still married you? That's true love, at a MINN MUM. Tried to come up with a STOIChiometry joke but it made my molars hurt.

Opening the door for a Double STUF Thursday.

Churlish Nabob 9:06 AM  

Always appreciate your gracious generosity.

jberg 9:13 AM  

I first saw the Sartre/Camus version in a men's room in Harvard's Widener Library, but I guess it was after 1968. Only in that version Sartre was saying TO BE IS TO DO, not the other way around. Existentialism, you know.

Then we have ARREAR, ABED, ENTOMBS, and enough cuts of veal to bring down the wrath of PETA on the NYT. I did have RED rye before TOP, REmAKE before TAKE, COn before COT, and DOOBie before DOOBY -- so it wasn't totally easy!

And then -- CALL SIGNS? I've never heard them called anything but CALL LETTERS.

It was nice to remember the joke though. I really liked it on first encounter.

p.s. OLEO resin? Aah, I see -- another chemical thing. Hayley Gold will like it, at least!

Nik 9:25 AM  

Que sera sera.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Changing DO BE DO BE DO to DOOBY DOOBY DO takes an old tired pun and renders it old, tired, and inappropriate. If it needed to be changed to make the fill DOO BE DO BE DOO would have been acceptable - at least that's how Sinatra sings it phonetically and its in keeping with the BEs

chefbea 9:42 AM  

Hand up for never heard of this!!! Did like ciabatta and amaretto and of course osso buco....we just had that a few days ago
Off to the farmers market.

kitshef 9:44 AM  

Lotta discussion this week about how a good theme can make you overlook the bad in a puzzle. Here we have the reverse. A lame, tired, never-funny-in-the-first-place, hackneyed theme casts a pall over the whole puzzle, so that we miss the cools stuff.

ISOTOPES, ENTOMBS, DEARSANTA, CIABATTA and BONDAGE are all nice to see in a puzzle. Also the clue for GEES is a good one, as is that for MUM.

However, categorizing NOOSE as a 'device' is quite the stretch. Ditto DOOBYDOOBYDOO as "words".

Perfectly happy to have REDTOP in my puzzle, just not this early in the week.

Hartley70 9:57 AM  

@Jeremy Mercer, I too was in blissful ignorance of the somewhat tainted history of this quip and therefore found it delightful. I don't care about the accuracy of the attributions because they won't sue, and I got a good laugh at the Sinatra contribution, which we all know is correct. There must be lots of other solvers who were oblivious to the bathroom walls around us in the 70's.

Thanks Pawel, it was a great start to the day!

Gerald Harris 10:11 AM  

All of these philosophers predicate existence on doing, i.e.physical activity. I prefer to subscribe to Descartes definition, I think therefore I am.

Dorothy Biggs 10:12 AM  

I've read the joke before (probably on a bathroom stall...which is the only place it really works) and I also thought that the Shakespeare addition was out of place. I did enjoy the link about the origins of the tripartite...and I kinda wonder if this might be better in a Sunday puzzle where all the various incarnations and riffs could be entered...then the Shakespeare quote would fit. "Yabba dabba do," "Scooby doo be doo," "Hey Boo-Boo," "Do be a Do-bee," etc. Probably pretty repetitive to all of them in there...but it does go to show how arbitrary the Shakespeare quote is given the number of other "closer" quotes.

I roared through this one and then got hung up in the south...I got cocky and just started filling stuff in and thinking it was a Monday, so I threw in loinS in place of CHOPS and felt pretty sure about it which slowed me down considerably. I also got stuck on CALLSIGNS knowing them as CALL letters and having to do with radio somethings, so I balked at putting anything in there and that slowed me down too. I guessed yawS in place of GEES, again, my roaring start became much more mid-week-like. HOPEsO didn't help either.

Just finished a production of CATS. So recent, in fact, I've still got it running through my head. That's not a thing you want to happen to you.

Do you all consider ONLATE and DEARSANTA to be green paint, or partials, or both?

mac 10:41 AM  

I never saw this joke before, so I laughed when Frank Sinatra's line showed up! While solving I did notice the huge amount of old 'dese. This one belongs on Monday.

On to a tough Thursday I hope. I have many hours as a passenger on the way to Richmond, VA., tomorrow.

AliasZ 10:54 AM  

Of all the alleged sources of today's wordplay gag (TO BE OR NOT TO BE doesn't count) including Lao-Tse, Aristotle, Socrates, Dale Carnegie, Kant, Hegel, Sartre, Camus etc., the only constant is Sinatra. He did it his way.

While traipsing along my disastrous career
I've never run into a single ARREAR --
Except once, on the bus,
The driver has urged us
To move along lively, and toward ARREAR.

old timer 11:03 AM  

Note that the attributions to Sartre and Socrates appear in the oldest version of the joke. And if you Google "Sartre" "faire" and "etre" you'll find that Sartre pretty much did posit that the essence of human existence is doing things. I assume someone on this blog can figure out what Socrates/Plato had to say on the subject.

I thought it was a pretty amusing puzzle, myself, and much prefer this version of Sinatra (DOOBY DOOBY DO). Way to easy for a Wednesday, though. If the NY Times website had a box on their subscriber complaint that said, "although my paper was delivered on time, I didn't like today's crossword," I'd be asking for a refund.

orangeblossomspecial 11:25 AM  

Here's the butt of the joke: 'Strangers in the Night'

A 1914 hit was recorded by several artists in the 1950s. This version is by Hoagy Carmichael and Cass Daley: 'Aba Daba Honeymoon'

Joseph Michael 11:41 AM  

GEES, I have to AGEE with Rex. This tired old joke doesn't justify the painful fill, including green paint like ON LATE, SIDE DOOR, and HOPE TO.

As soon as I filled in TO BE OR NOT TO BE, I lost all hope for an enjoyable solve and it was downhill from there.

RooMonster 11:42 AM  

Hey All !
To Be Is To Do Is To Be Or Not To Be, is that the question? Makes the ole brain hurt enough to want a Doobie Doobie puff-puff-pass.

Not sure if the saying is familiar, or if I've seen it in another puz. Whatevs, as the kids say these days. (Or do they?)

Only had 33 Blocks, which is on the low side. The other long Acrosses and the double 8 Downs were more interesting then the theme. (Also interesting, that last sentence ended with three words starting with The [random thoughts as I'm typing!]) (Oops, an Update: should've been thAn the theme. [Right? Grammarians?] Where's that Doobie?)

Anyway, fill didn't bother me that much, didn't really notice its dreckness til Rex pointed it out. EYEHOLES is interesting. Almost sounds like a insult. Hey, you eyehole, what's your problem? More A-words, seems we've been getting a rash of them lately.

And now, a little Random Nonsense:
What a pirate hears with? ARR EAR
Amen's sister? TIA RA
Whata governmenta spy whacks ya wtha? CIA BATTA
One urinating? PEER
What doesn't quite change for 007? BOND AGE


Masked and Anonymous 12:07 PM  

@indie009: har. Good mornin, sunshine! Only one U in the whole WedPuz? No wonder U R upset. And 30 O's! TMO.

Seems like an original theme, NYTPuz-wise, so … ok.
Kant and Sartre seem like the unoriginal dudes, in this rodeo. Socrates and Nietzsche beat em to it. Not sure if Sinatra's doobies have an official spellin -- researchin the "Strangers in the Night" lyric didn't turn much up, here at the M&A Help Desk. Did resurrect these lil jewels, tho ...

BE BOP ALULA, SHE'S MY BAY-BE. (Gene Vincent, 1956)
BE I BICKEY BI BO BO GO. (Gene Vincent, 1957)

72-worder grid is indeed kinda ambitious for a themed puz, and such ambition can eventually tend to bite one in the ARREAR or possibly on the REDTOP. But, if one dares to embrace the desperation, there is still a lot to enjoy, here. Did seem, as @indie009 indicated, that it was a pretty breezy solve. Had heard of the themers before, so the only challenge here was the doobie-spellin controversy.

fave weeject: MUM. [Finally, a nod to Mum's Day.]

Thanx, Mr. Fludzinski.

Masked & AnonymoUs

This just in to the Help Desk: Dooby Dooby Doo is Scooby-Doo's cousin. There is also a Yabba-dabba-doo gorilla doo-dooin in the room, but I digress.


RAD2626 12:59 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle but not the odd Sinatra spelling which really seemed forced. Some of the longer fill and clung worked for Wednesday.

@George Barany and @lms. Thanks for the jokes. All Big Bang Theory worthy.

Mohair Sam 1:11 PM  

Doublin' down on what @Rex said. Felt like the play on the old joke needed a "Get it?" in about three places.

Thought this might be the puzzle that stopped @LMS's loved-the-puzzle streak at about a thousand. But nope, it floated her boat. She finds the good in everything. Those of you who are even remotely acquainted with Loren and do not have her on the very top of your resume reference list are fools.

Owned a small commercial finance company for the better part of a decade. We never had an account in ARREAR. Maybe if somebody fell behind by exactly one dollar we would have. We had entirely too many in ARREARs however.

Why in this age of anti-bullying do we still consider WEDGIES funny? And don't tell me I'm too PC, or it's personal. They only happen to little people (I'm well over 6 feet), and the victims are humiliated.

Teedmn 1:12 PM  

Yup, saw most of this theme (but no "authors" credited) on the bathroom wall in college in the late 70's which enabled possibly a record Wednesday time today. But the non-theme fill doesn't annoy me anywhere close to @Rex's level. My writeover was at 28A where I had the ARREAR TO DO written in and thought it would be similar to 20A which begins and ends with TO BE so I started 28A with TO DO, mentally scratching my head as to the meaning of TO do IS TO DO. I quickly ENTOMBS that answer thanks to 7D and 8D.

A bit clunky but it is only Wednesday. Thanks, PF.

OldCarFudd 1:17 PM  

I think the clue for 68A is wrong. A speedster was a generic name for a stripped, sporty two-seater, often home made. I've never heard of REO building a car with that name. REO did build a TRUCK, not a car, called the Speedwagon. That's where the musical group got its name.

Martel Moopsbane 1:38 PM  

Missed opportunity for a gridspanner, DooDooDooDooDoo ("Rolling Stones' song, ____________ (Heartbreaker)".

puzzle hoarder 2:16 PM  

I'm not familiar with the theme.
I imagine it seemed novel to the constructor when he came across it at some kind of craft fair. This is taken from his own comments. To his credit he assumed he was making a Monday or a Tuesday puzzle. He said the editor worked on the clues to bring it up to Wednesday level. I really don't see the evidence of that. This would have been easy even for a Monday. Other than an AREARS/ARREAR and the double DOOBE/DOOBY write overs just about everything flew in as fast as I could write it. I don't understand the objection to REDTOP it was one of the few things that actually puzzled me. This is only it's second appearance.

Carola 2:53 PM  

I don't recall every setting EYE on the DO + BE joke before, and got a kick out of it. I also liked RED x ROSA, STATUE and TORSO, and the Italian pair AMARETTO and CIABATTA. The Hamlet question seems to be answered "NOT," with CHOPS, NOOSES, and ENTOMBS.

QuasiMojo 4:00 PM  

Am surprised no one has mentioned the old Romper Room song "Do be a Do bee."

Anonymous 4:15 PM  

Hi Scooby-Doo Scooby-Doo don't!

David in CA 4:18 PM  

A fun simple solve. Should have been earlier in the week, but what the hey. So what if is an old joke?

Sure was infinitely better for me than yesterday's PPP trivia slog/Nattick fest.

TomAz 5:27 PM  

I did not originally see this joke on a bathroom wall. Nope. Freshman year 1979 -- it was on the wall of the laundry room in my residential college.

My time today was freak-weird low (by my standards). New Wednesday record. Considerably faster than Monday or Tuesday this week.

ZenMonkey 5:53 PM  

Filled in the theme clues to make sure I wasn't missing a twist or something, then dropped it. Second puzzle I haven't bothered finishing in as many weeks. Really bad.

LaurieG in Connecticut 6:49 PM  

same here.

Chaos344 2:50 PM  

Pretty much agree with Rex. Didn't see the gimmick until I was almost done, so it didn't affect my solve. Puzzle was on the easy side for a Thursday, but people are going to moan about the SE quadrant.

@Anonymous 12:20AM Whoa! You'd never get away with that at Wordplay my friend. LOL. Those Emus would peck the living shit out of you! Your post reminded me of the old riddle:

How do you tell if your girlfriend is ticklish?

@madchickenlittle: With all due respect, DOREMI has been used in crossword puzzles forever. In the cruciverbalist world, it goes right along with CABBAGE, MOOLA, MOOLAH and many others. What do all these words have in common? With the exception of CABBAGE, they all have as many or more vowels than consonants. People who aspire to become expert puzzlers have to understand that constant. Many words used in puzzles on a regular basis, are not chosen because of their obscurity or difficulty. They are used because of vowel count or arrangement. If you're really interested in becoming an elite solver, A crossword puzzle dictionary is still a good investment. Many times, its easier that using a search engine. Hope this answers your question.

@LMS: LMAO! AMENRA? That's "coffee through the nose" funny! I can understand that you thought 56A might have been ELANA, but if you were Naticked at 62A, a very short alphabet run would have given you AMENDA. At that point, you should have had your DOH! moment. AMANDA is a pretty comment name!

I'm beginning to think that you don't give a rat's ass weather you DNF or not? So many times you've commented that you DNF'ed because you had an entry that you knew couldn't possibly be right, and yet you went with it anyway? There is so much divergence, vis-a-vis how people on this blog view a DNF. I'd rather have a root canal than a DNF, but that's probably due to my Taurean nature.

So, SWEATER SETS is a real thing that you've never owned? I'll admit to never having heard of them either, but knowing your fiendish affinity for our furry four-legged friends, I thought you might be referring to SWEATER PUPPIES? I know what they are! Don't ever change Loren. This blog would never be the same without you!

@ George Barany: LOL! Surely you jest? Nuclear Overhauser Effect? I loves me some extreme Saturday Tim Croce bullshit cluing, but your suggestion might be just a tad over the top? I do agree that NOE is a tough clue for anyone not familiar with the San Francisco Bay area. For those unfamiliar with the district, its pronounced NO-E! Once again, crosswordese junk fill with one consonant and two vowels.

@Carola: Good catch on FARMERS crossing SEACOW. I didn't really like the clue for SEACOW much. I understand that Mr. Tuttle or Mr. Shortz might have been looking for Thursday level difficulty, but behemoth is too much of a stretch to use when describing that creature. An aquatic behemoth would be more like a whale shark, sperm or blue whale. I would have clued the entry as aquatic bovine, but that might have been a more Tuesday type clue? Just sayin?

Larry 3:13 PM  

Talk about INANER (from the other day). The "joke" was ridiculous and DEAR SANTA in May?

I wasn't even going to post about this one because it was so bad until I saw the folded NYT page this morning next to my computer and got peeved all over again.


Burma Shave 9:53 AM  


ROSA made the ALIST, BOYS, and I HOPETO, too,
she gets her MINN ABED, for there TOBE,ISTODO,
she tries BONDAGE ALOT,
that’s what I CALLSIGNS she’ll turn a NICE SCREW.


spacecraft 11:08 AM  

The Descartes quote is incomplete; it should be "I think therefore I am [9-across]ed." Yeah, this guy lost me when the Sartre quote wasn't "Hell is other people." I am in agreement with OFL again today--a mental WEDGIE if ever there was one. Keep those NICE long downs and build a whole new puzzle around them.

We very proudly salute ROSA Parks, beautiful of soul, as today's DOD.

Stranger (in the night, heh heh) than fiction is the cluing today: straight out of Monday. TO BE sure, yesterday's clue set should have appeared later in the week than today's.

Oh, all right, if we MUST have a more physically appealing DOD, we have a character in "Rear Window" nicknamed by Jeffries as "Miss TORSO." Hitchcock went for a cheap joke when at the end, her boyfriend comes home from the army--and he's a head shorter than she is. The actress' name, for those who care, is Georgine Darcy.

Basically, we got humped on humpday. Double bogey.

rondo 11:34 AM  

In the late 1950s Miss Betty on the Twin Cities version of Romper Room would urge all the kids “Do be a Do-Bee” – like be industrious or something. Of course, by the ‘70s it became do a doobie for some of us, which had nothing to do with industriousness. And after Michael McDonald joined the Doobie Brothers they became entirely unlistenable. Feels like time for a smoke.

In MN if you just put the words “Bud Grant” in as a clue, the automatic answer would be STOIC.

For a brief moment I wondered if Bert Parks’ pageant had sparked a boycott, perhaps feminists or some such. Maybe a result of doobies? Even before that I was thinking nilnil for ONEONE.

Watched enough Sopranos to know that EDIE Falco’s character Carmela needs a yeah baby pat on the back. Bada-bing.

Not much to say after starting the week much better. I guess today’s word is MUM. MUM is the word.

leftcoastTAM 1:33 PM  

Completely with Rex today.

I hate to say it about any puzzle, but this one is just plain dumb.

Sorry, PF and WS.

rain forest 1:34 PM  

If the joke wasn't so hackneyed, this would have been a pretty good puzzle. Like everyone else I knew it from years ago. Joke aide, it was a very easy puzzle, but even so, it did allow for knee jerk reactions to the clue about veal, so there's that. In the "how come?" vein, why was CHOPS vilified, but not OSSOBUCO?
A propos of nothing, I consider AMARETTO an excellent emetic. But I like veal.

BS2 2:57 PM  

Bebe Neuwirth had a big todo because of doodoo in her tutu due to too much vitamin B2. Do you do B2, too?

Diana,LIW 3:46 PM  

I love a bad joke as much as the next guy, but hadn't heard this string before. So, that allowed me a laugh at the Sinatra entry. Which I had to respell. Wanted it to joins all the other "bes" that were buzzing around the puzzle. TOeCAR - I was trying to imagine what that would look like. Little piggy toe cars, sure.

I knew that since I finished and solved that it would get at least some razzing here.

Gotta go read the last 4 days' worth of newspapers.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Sailor 12:37 AM  

Later than usual getting to the puzzle today. I don't share @Rex's outrage at REDTOP, a very familiar range and pasture grass to anyone who pays attention to such things. I agree with just about everything else he wrote, however. By far the easiest Wednesday in a while.

Re 57A: Any ham or military radio operator knows that US CALLSIGNS can also start with A or N.

Really weird to see @Diana’s invitation to the MN puzzle tourney, sent a month ahead of time but appearing here after it’s already over. I marvel at your mastery of the DeLorean. That was more entertaining than today’s puzzle.

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