French director Clement / SUN 4-9-17 / Tim Robbins mockumentary / Martial art sword way / Bilbo Baggins home / Peevish / Tony World Series Cardinals / Hairy hunter Genesis / Kentucky college / Communication system Thomas Gallaudet / BFG author / Scarlett Johansson Lady Windemere's Fan

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Having Nothing On" — Nothing (O) + ON are added to phrases, making funny new phrases ending with -OON.

Word of the Day: CRONUTS (7D: Hybrid bakery treats) —
Cronut is a croissant-doughnut pastry invented by New York City pastry chef Dominique Ansel and trademarked by Dominique Ansel Bakery. The pastry resembles a doughnut and is made from croissant-like dough which is filled with flavored cream and fried in oil. The flavor of the pastry differs every month. Official Cronut pastries are currently offered only at the Dominique Ansel bakeries in New York City, Tokyo, and London. [Wikipedia]

• • •
Theme answers:
  • 28A: The ladies-only Western-themed bar I own? -- MY GAL SALOON
  • 30A: Inspector Clouseau or Borat? -- MOVIE BUFFOON
  • 39A: Decoration in a deli case? -- SAUSAGE FESTOON
  • 57A: Product of a stable of comic strip artists? -- HORSEDRAWN CARTOON
  • 65A: Scaled-down woodwind? -- SMALLMOUTH BASSOON
  • 85A: Audibly upset Belgian francophone? -- WAILING WALLOON
  • 97A: Satirical depiction of the story of Noah? -- FLOOD LAMPOON
  • 100A: Most important mounted cavalryman? -- MAIN DRAGOON
  • 28D: Something seen at Frankenstein's birthday party? -- MONSTER'S BALLOON

Laura here, guest-hosting for Rex; the Joan Rivers to his Johnny Carson, if you will. (Rex isn't sick or having computer problems tonight, but he does deserve an occasional break.) This was a fine Sunday to be the designated hitter for -- a simple theme, cleanly executed. I took my time starting out, then got a foothold with MY GAL SALOON right off the bat, and then pretty much cruised through the rest of grid by putting OON in the last three squares of every theme entry. The only Down theme entry, MONSTER'S BALLOON (28D: Something seen at Frankenstein's birthday party?) elegantly crosses all eight of the Across themers right through the center of the grid. One quibble with the clue, however: with the typical tired pedantry of CrossWorld, I'll point out that Frankenstein is the name of the monster's creator, not of the creature himself. I doubt that Dr. Frankenstein would have been pleased to have a MONSTER'S BALLOON at his birthday party, given that in pretty much every version of the story (with the noted exceptions of Young Frankenstein, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Franken-Berry cereal), Dr. F's relationship with his creation doesn't work out so well.
Some nice longer fill inhabits the grid as well; I had thought at first that HOBBIT HOLE (22A: Home for Bilbo Baggins) was a themer, and that there would be something to do with synonyms for zero (HOLE?). Almost tried to make BLUE LAGOON fit instead of BLUE LEANING (62D: Apt to go Democratic). And I'm always thrown a little when longer fill entries (i.e. 14D and 62D) are the same length (11 letters) as some of the themers (i.e. 28A and 100A). There was plenty of your standard fill with OTB AIDE OCHO OREO AGAR PSAT ESAU ACNE LEI ANTI ERTE but it held things together well enough.

Bullets -- three proper names for whom I needed all the crosses:
  • 45A: Tony who managed two World Series championships for the Cardinals (LARUSSA) — I would be one of the last (and by "last" I mean in the sense of "most recent" not "unlikely") people to comment on the SAUSAGE FEST-ness of crossword constructing, but this is the sort of thing that makes me go, yeah, this is not the sort of thing I am likely to know. (Have at me, commenters.)
  • 105A: Jean who played Aunt Martha in "Arsenic and Old Lace" (ADAIR) — I just watched this a few weeks ago. It has Cary Grant in it. Still couldn't remember.
  • 93D: Frances who played TV's Aunt Bee (BAVIER) — She's from The Andy Griffith Show, right? And she's crossing 111A: OPIE, clued as Big name among radio shock jocks (i.e. Opie and Anthony) rather than as "93D's TV nephew" or something. Missed opportunity. I've always thought that Aunt Bee should've been a character in some animated kids' movie, like A Bug's Life or Antz or Bee Movie. Missed opportunity!
Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

[Follow Laura on Twitter]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:51 AM  

Yeah, super generic theme. No "aha" moment, it filled itself in after the first reveal. Near-record time thanks to that.

Moly Shu 1:14 AM  

ACT? crossing VACU? Alphabet run didn't even help here. Add that to @LauraB's ADAIR and BAVIER, my LALOIRE, toss in a SPLEENY, and you've got the makings of a DNF. For me anyway. At least we got a CRONE eating a CRONUT crashing a SAUSAGEFESToon. I also thought it odd that OPIE (imus first) got that clue with aunt bee in the neighborhood. I'll say it every time, thanks for the respite @Sorceress, nice write up.

Unknown 1:28 AM  

I had ILLPAY instead of ILLDRY for a long time. That plus VACUA were my two sticking spots. Other than that, I thought this was your typical Sunday xword.

Trombone Tom 1:48 AM  
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jae 1:50 AM  

Medium-tough for me. Not sure why but I kept getting stuck, especially in the NW and SE corners. Got it but it took a while longer than usual.

Mildly amusing goofy theme with a few cringy spots, liked it.

Thanks for HELPing out Laura?

Trombone Tom 1:51 AM  

Worked my way through this without too much trouble but was held up in the SE by several detours: ugGs-->GOGO, runAT-->HAD AT, and tesT-->PSAT.

Great clue for DOA.

Punctuated equilibrium 1:57 AM  

What a slog this was. Just didn't get enough of a foothold anywhere and had to keep hammering away, letter by letter, word by word.

razerx 1:58 AM  

Could not figure out CDT for the life of me. Otherwise pretty straightforward.

smoss11 2:19 AM  

I'm with Razerx. Can someone explain CDT?

Larry Gilstrap 2:29 AM  

It's Sunday and this puzzle has Sunday written all over itself. Maybe it's just me, but I love words that end in -OON. SpitOON, maybe not so much, and Chaucer gives us PaltrOOn, but how about the trendy macarOON?

Of course, a SAUSAGE FEST has very little to do with deli meat items. It's more like a social scene with way too many guys. Not an optimal demographic. Guys get all SPLEENY and then bad stuff happens. The best groups to hang with involve couples. Women are moderators.

I must learn Roman A CLEF, because I'm certain it will appear again as part of its yearly rotation. And, VACUA is plural for vacuum? I'm feeling smarter than I need to be with that tidbit.

Today we get Roald DAHL just on the heels of HUD, starring his wife Patricia NEAL. She says "cool beans"?

Perhaps, if SELMA was known as a butterfly mecca instead of the site of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, wouldn't that be grand? We've got a lot of baggage and it won't just go away unless we work at it.

Punctuated equilibrium 2:37 AM  

I gussed it must be central daylight time.

puzzle hoarder 3:29 AM  

The NW and the SE were knock down down drag outs for me. The NW was partly my fault because I had OCH_ at 1D for way too long. Not being able to recall the 3D movie or the 5D TV show didn't help either. SWINE could be SLIME. I had a hard time recalling CRONUTS. At least it's a debut.
In the SE my troubles were also partly self inflicted. Changing CUP to TUB at 70A cleared up a big logjam. The debut BAVIER crossed with OPIE as a shock jock was tough. Apparently this is the seventh time the radio guy has been used as a clue but it's new to me. The EDWARDS clue is a debut so were the ones for MANNY, DAHL and PSAT. I still have to look up the ETS acronym.
The only themer that caused me hesitation (once I knew the pattern) was 85A. I knew it had to be WALL but I'm unfamiliar with WALLOON. I did get a clean grid in the end but parts were a struggle.

puzzle hoarder 3:32 AM  

The NW and the SE were knock down down drag outs for me. The NW was partly my fault because I had OCH_ at 1D for way too long. Not being able to recall the 3D movie or the 5D TV show didn't help either. SWINE could be SLIME. I had a hard time recalling CRONUTS. At least it's a debut.
In the SE my troubles were also partly self inflicted. Changing CUP to TUB at 70A cleared up a big logjam. The debut BAVIER crossed with OPIE as a shock jock was tough. Apparently this is the seventh time the radio guy has been used as a clue but it's new to me. The EDWARDS clue is a debut so were the ones for MANNY, DAHL and PSAT. I still have to look up the ETS acronym.
The only themer that caused me hesitation (once I knew the pattern) was 85A. I knew it had to be WALL but I'm unfamiliar with WALLOON. I did get a clean grid in the end but parts were a struggle.

puzzle hoarder 3:34 AM  

The NW and the SE were knock down down drag outs for me. The NW was partly my fault because I had OCH_ at 1D for way too long. Not being able to recall the 3D movie or the 5D TV show didn't help either. SWINE could be SLIME. I had a hard time recalling CRONUTS. At least it's a debut.
In the SE my troubles were also partly self inflicted. Changing CUP to TUB at 70A cleared up a big logjam. The debut BAVIER crossed with OPIE as a shock jock was tough. Apparently this is the seventh time the radio guy has been used as a clue but it's new to me. The EDWARDS clue is a debut so were the ones for MANNY, DAHL and PSAT. I still have to look up the ETS acronym.
The only themer that caused me hesitation (once I knew the pattern) was 85A. I knew it had to be WALL but I'm unfamiliar with WALLOON. I did get a clean grid in the end but parts were a struggle.

Robin 3:35 AM  

@smoss11, St. Louis is the Central time zone, and baseball games are pretty much all played during Daylight Savings Time. Hence, CDT.

Not familiar with SAUSAGEFEST(oon), unless that's something that goes on in Wisconsin (although I expect they'd call it a Brat Fest there). Sausage Party I have heard of.

This one was bit of a slog, although I finished a bit faster than my average. Tried to work it through by always requiring that an answer crossed a previous answer, so it wasn't until the very obvious SMALLMOUTHBASS(won) that the gimmick popped out at me. Was a bit confused because 22A was not a theme clue/answer.

chefwen 3:40 AM  

Got the OON's fairly early on and filled all of those puppies in, but it was still slow going. Had a plethora of silly mistakes, like Afro before GALA, uggs before GOGO, hi @ Trombone Tom, Voids before VACUA and Rte before RWY. And so it went...
All in all, pretty much fun, but a slow moving kinda fun. Favorite was HORSE DRAWN CARTOON.

Canon Chasuble 4:23 AM  

Ho-Hum. I wish I could share Laura's enthusiasm for this. Even using a fountain pen, I finished this "puzzle" in record time. Aside from 8D, I thought this the dullest Sunday puzzle published in some time. 65A was a given, since I play the bassoon. The next one I got was 85A. From then on, just writing "oon" at the end of the "?" clued answers gave away everything else. Oh, will someone please explain why egg salad is a vegetarian sandwich filling? No matter how one defines it, an egg is an animal product, unless a chicken (or duck or grouse or plover) is something that grows in the ground.

Zevonfan 4:38 AM  

The "CDT" refers to the time zone where the St. Louis Cardinals play their home games at Busch Stadium.

VACU_ AND ACT_ cross got me. DNF.

Enjoyed the puzzle.

Unknown 5:11 AM  

I was thrown a bit by 55 Down. Isn't the conventional spelling Aaron?

John Child 5:59 AM  
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John Child 6:02 AM  

A lovely and entertaining review. I specially enjoyed the Sausage Factory clip and the chance to remember Young Dr. Fronkensteen and his assistant Eyegore. Laura is absolutely right of course about the name.

SORCERESS = Cross Seer.

Thanks Laura.

Lewis 6:10 AM  

@canon -- "Vegetarian" includes eggs and dairy, as opposed to "vegan", which doesn't.

This was good for keeping the solving chops well oiled. I especially liked the clue for CRIP and the answer ILLDRY. It was very good for those needing to learn or brush up on some classic crosswordese: ECRU, ODEON, CRONE, ARON, ACTA, BEREA, ARGOS, ERTE, VACUA, AEREO, LALOIRE. I don't know if that quirky SPLEENY belongs on this list.

Finally -- KENDO / EGO / SAYSO / OHNO / PIANO / AEREO / OREO / GOGO / POLO / SOSO / OCHO -- Oh my!!!

BarbieBarbie 7:00 AM  

Yes @Charles, but Elvis' mom didn't know that.
I had LEANINGLEFT, then LEFTLEANING, then finally BLUELEANING. There ought to be a federally-mandated word order.

chefbea 7:22 AM  

Caught on to the OONs pretty early. Lots I didn't know so had to google a bit. Did not know aunt Bee's last name (although I do know my own) and never heard of the other Opie!!

Just made egg salad the other day!!!

kitshef 7:23 AM  

I was originally going to post all the things wrong with this terrible puzzle, but have decided to go more upbeat. So, here is a a list of things nicer than this puzzle.

Being yelled at by your boss.
A Transformers movie marathon.
Getting bumped from your flight home because the airline overbooked.
Nail fungus.
Missing the green light because the guy up front is paying more attention to his phone than his driving.
A prostate exam.
Six-putting from three feet.
"Muskrat Love", by the Captain and Tennille.

kitshef 7:26 AM  

Noone else seems to have mentioned it, so I'll throw out my personal Natick of the date, E_TE crossing MI_A, where I went with an L.

Z 8:06 AM  

Sloggy. A theme this transparent in a puzzle this big is almost always going to struggle with avoiding trivial trivia.

Interesting that a lot of previous comments have been about pretty standard ese. Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific plus Standard or Daylight savings (with almost never an S for "savings") yield 10 potential common Time Zones for constructors to use. Learn them. Also of not is GMT/GST. Don't get hung up, just know that either might appear. ERTE and Elvis' middle name are also common. Since no one else famous had a parent misspell Aaron, ARON always seems to get an Elvis clue. Romain de Tirtoff has such a useful pseudonym that one might want to read the wiki article. He will return to a puzzle near you. Probably tomorrow.

As for LA RUSSA - Yeah, a gimme for baseball fans but I can't think of a single reason for a non-fan to know his name.

Loren Muse Smith 8:08 AM  

I’m with @puzzle hoarder about the northwest. I finally threw in the towel ‘cause I just couldn’t see PRECUT/VACUA/ACTA and I was unfamiliar with BOB ROBERTS. Wonder if he’s friends with Bill Williams and Jimmy James. Chuck Charles. Dick Richards. My husband and my son (and my father-in-law) are Gardiner, so in my house we have Big Gardiner and Little Gardiner. I’ll always be glad they weren’t named Richard.

Speaking of SAUSAGE FESTS, I had never heard that expression. Hah. It’s just so, well, graphic.

Liked the clue for SWINE. Ever noticed that we use the Germanic word for the animal but the Frenchic word for the food? SWINE/pork, cow/beef, sheep/mutton. This has been on my mind since a vocabulary word this week was ineffable. Ineffable feels happier than unspeakable.

And, so, speaking of SWINE SAUSAGE FESTS, THIS IS US.

@Moly Shu – I had the same thought on OPIE and BAVIER.

Early mistakes –
“beat” for BEST
“vacupodes” before VACUA
“run at” for HAD AT (hi, @Trombone Tom)
“cds” for LPS
“left-leaning” before BLUE LEANING (hi, @BarbieBarbie)

And I was looking for the LAMPOON one to be with Borat and Inspector Clouseau.

@puzzle hoarder – I admire your restraint in going for “cup” before TUB of ice cream. You’ve probably never had Ben and Jerry’s The Tonight Dough. I’ve dispensed with the notion that I’ll just eat a small serving. Right. I sit there and eat the whole damn thing and then even consider breaking into the tub reserved for the following day. Happily, this is just Saturdays and Sundays.

Yeah, SPLEENY is a new one for me, too. I’ve looked into it, and it seems to mean grumpy in a hypochondriac kind of way. Where has this word been all my life? I won’t mention any names, but it’s not Little Gardiner who does up-to-the minute spleeny ‘splaining of his slight head cold. He thinks it might be a sinus infection or bronchitis. Maybe pneumonia.

@kitshef – I like this one just fine. Nice list, though.

Byron – always a pleasure. Cool that two pairs of themers are stacked and that, like Lena points out, MONSTER’S BALLOON intersects every single themer. Wowser.

Glimmerglass 8:11 AM  

Easy/medium for me. I thought the theme was clever (SMALL MOUTH BASSOON and HORSE-DRAWN CARTOON were excellent), but I was sure @Rex would scorn it as too easy. Well, his pinch hitter did it for him. It was easy, but I had. trouble elsewhere. I knew both BEREA and AEREO -- the trouble was I spelled both with I's instead of E's. Overconfidence cost me a DNF. @Rex would drop a bomb on THE (9D).

Lewis 8:15 AM  

I do not believe Rex would have been fond of this one.

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Showing a little elitism here folks. Elvis had a twin brother with middle name Garon. Still-born 35 minutes before Elvis. Seems reasonable to assume parents gave Elvis the middle name of Aron on purpose for obvious reason, not some spelling mistake. Elitism, much like Trumplsm, hardly impresses.

Nancy 8:47 AM  

I decided a quarter of the way through that I would sooner eat MARMITE than finish this puzzle. I hung around just long enough to uncover the theme at MY GAL SALOON and SAUSAGE FESTOON*, yawned and thought: Is that all there is? Not worth this slog of a trivia fest. *BTW, it would have been better to have had TRIVIA FESTOON at 39A. "Putting tinsel on the Jeopardy board", perhaps? The only thing worse than a sloggy trivia fest is an even longer trivia fest on a Sunday. And, yes, Dear Reader, if the constructor can use the godawful SPLEENY at 33A, I can say sloggy. (As I was filling in SPLEENY, I was saying to myself: Please don't be SPLEENY. Please. Don't. Be.) But it was. And then, feeling pretty SPLEENY myself, I threw the puzzle against the wall.

seanm 9:03 AM  

a little harder than average sunday. theme was relatively easy, but some pockets of gross fill and crosses that belonged on saturday not sunday.

Hartley70 9:08 AM  

I like a Sunday with oodles of theme so this one was on the money. My two "huh?" moments came with SAUSAGEFEST and "rhubarb" FEUD. Neither one made me hungry. Whoever BOBROBERTS is, he can have my portion.

It moved along at a nice clip, Byron, and I didn't get annoyed by a bog of fill. That's what I want on a sunny Sunday. Thanks!

Hungry Mother 9:11 AM  

I had to go to the red letters for a couple of letters that I couldn't get. All the names made this more of a trivia contest than a wordfest.

Nancy 9:11 AM  

Amen, @kitshef. (7:23 a.m.) We really, really agree on this puzzle and I love your list. But you forgot one item: Eating MARMITE.

Gorelick 9:23 AM  
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'mericans in Paris 9:27 AM  

Our solving experience seems to have been similar to many others' -- zooming through a bee-line from the SW to the NE, and then struggling in the NW (where we wanted "The Shire" instead of HOBBIT HOLE) and the SE (changing cUp to TUB helped a lot). DNF because we insterted an "O" at the crossing of VAC_A and LAR_SSA.

Pretty clever of the constructor to have inserted one theme answer vertically, and to have intersected all the other theme answers. But otherwise, not exactly a theme to set the world on fire. What did make this puzzle unusual, however, was not including any answers relating to Hawaii.

Loved @kitshef's list. "Prostate exam" reminded me of a conversation I had at dinner ("High Table") at Oxford University once. I was seated next to a medical student from Austria, and trying to make small talk asked him if he was planning to specialize in a particular medical field eventually.

"Ja," he said, "proctology!" Not exactly a great starter for a dinner conversation, but I perservered.

"Hmm," I said. "I've wondered how men nowadays respond the first time a doctor tells them he is going to give them a digital exam. They're probably thinking computers. But then are they in for a surprise!"

The student thought that one over for a moment, and then sat up, very animated, "Ja, ja. Nothing to do with computers -- except when you type up the report. And of course you have to do it like this!" At that point he mimed as if typing, but with his right index finger lifted upwards. He laughed so hard at his own joke that people at the other tables all looked at us quizzically to see what was going on.

Thanks to Laura Braunstein for giving @Rex a break. If people are in need of a dose of ranting, I recommend highly David Brooks' op-ed in the NYT, "A looming incompetence crisis".

Carola 9:31 AM  

I kept at this one more out of a sense of puzzle-doer's duty than pleasure, managing to finish with a guess at OPIE x BAVIER. For me, the theme answers didn't offer enough pay-off for the laborious piecing together of the proper nouns, mostly arcana to me.

Blue Stater 9:52 AM  

Not up to BW's usual standard, I thought. -ULA crossing DAHL? Huh? Natick of the year, anyway; maybe of the decade.

billocohoes 9:53 AM  

Loren Muse, I remember from history class that after the Norman conquest the German-speaking Saxons raised the animals whose meat was served to the French-speaking nobility. I suppose if they ate horse meat it would be called chevale.

A few unknowns today but the crosses were fair. VACUA made me wince.

Teedmn 10:02 AM  

There was NO LIMIT to the things I was ignorant of in this puzzle: OPIE, BAVIER, LA LOIRE, BEREA, KENDO, A GOOD WOMAN, Elizabeth EDWARDS' book title, how to spell ACHT, who Gloria or MANNY are, BOB ROBERTS, THIS IS US, etc.

So this was a WAILING WALLOON of a puzzle for me. It makes me positively (negatively?) SPLEENY. I'm definitely BLUE LEANING after such a sorry showing.

I did like the themers MY GAL SALOON and SMALL MOUTH BASSOON. I love the cross of WHY NOT? SAY SO! not far from OH NO. Do CRONEs prefer CRONUTS?

When I was a kid, I didn't volunteer but it was always "I'LL DRY" for me because my brother wanted to get done first; he always insisted on washing.

I think I'll GO GO play an ELEGY on my PIANO, TUBA, OBOe and BASSOON for my bruised EGO. Thanks, BW.

And 'Mericans in Paris, thanks for the proctology REFLEX TEST anecdote. I laughed out loud.

RooMonster 10:34 AM  

Hey All !
Well, EGG SALAD to all the commenters so far. :-) I kinda liked this puz. Wasn't wowed by the theme, adding on -OON, but was wowed by the center Down themer crossing each Across themer. Holy cow, that is near ludicrous to attempt to do, construction wise. And for a SunPuz with 9 rhemers and all the constraints, not too bad of dreck. So, bravo Byron.

The -OON did turn some of the phrases fun. Mix Rex's "wacky" analogy. Something like, Add an -OON onto familiar phrases and get wacky sayings. You know what I mean. :-) For some reason that always cracks me up.

SPLEENY, what a great word. Anytime you mention SPLEEN, it's always funny! Had an S at VACUs/ACTs, was going to complain about VACUs, but the A makes a little sense. Wanted Voids there first. Nice to see our friend ECRU BACK. HOBBIT HOLE sounds dirty! Some writeovers, robin-BLOOM, stl-CDT, ODEum-ODEON, ugGs-GOGO, imus-OPIE.

Thought there was only one of me (thank God!) but I'll accept ROOS just fine! And my bros KOALAS.


Crane Poole 11:04 AM  

So there goes the perfect week.
And I'd like you to meet my good pal SPLEENY.

Mr. Fitch 11:12 AM  

Sorry, but this was bad. The ACTA/VACUA cross was a puzzle-breakingly bad bad thing. I groan whenever I see ECRU or ERTE. And ULA?

The theme was nothing beyond slightly cute, and the theme clues/answers weren't at all inviting, clever or funny. Once you get the -OON endings, which came pretty quickly, you get to fill in a lot of squares.

SAUSAGEFEST, with its phallic overtones, was particularly ugh-y.

Dragoncat 11:13 AM  

Enjoyed this one but SPLEENY? Really? Vacu also terrible.

Cyclist227 11:25 AM  

I liked Wailing Walloon. Very doable puzzle.

QuasiMojo 11:52 AM  

I really don't think of black and white as "tones" so the Oreo clue rankled me. I'd love to do just one puzzle without a goddarn Oreo in it! Same with Opie. I was never a fan of talk radio or of the Andy Griffith Show. But I did like Aunt Bee. You'd have to be a real "swine" to not like her.

I usually don't do the Sunday puzzle but this one got me with the Norma clue. I love Bellini. (And Bellinis.)

@Kitschef had me in hysterics today. I would add having to watch Bill O'Reilly to her list. Which reminds me, does anyone else hate this Blue State/Red State thing that has happened to politics? The media seems to have forced that one on us. It's time to say "Scat" to it. Since it is basically, well, you know what I mean.

GILL I. 12:16 PM  

I always read the comments before I post - just to see if anybody can change my enjoyment factor. @Canon Chasuble came in pretty close but @kitshef took the cake with nail fungus.
Yeah, I didn't think this was up to Byron standard. SPLEENY indeed.
Like others, figured out the OON so I went about my business of OONing all the long ones. Didn't like the that ADAIR/MANNY corner in the SW. Didn't know BOB BOBERT and wanted Bilbo to live in a shire. Still didn't care because this was such a slog FESTOON.
I'll tell you a joke:
Two men walk into a Deli. The Deli guy asks "what'll it be?"
First guy say "I'll take the tongue sandwich on rye."
Second guy says "Oh good God, I'd NEVER eat anything that comes out of a cows mouth."
Deli guy asks second guy "what'll it be for you?"
Second guy says "I'll have an EGG SALAD sandwich."
Feel free to get up and move about the cabin....

Mohair Sam 12:24 PM  

Highlight of the puzzle day for me was @Nancy's reaction to SPLEENY which I suggest may have been similar to @Rex's and the real reason he took the day off: Tantrum DNF.

@Kitshef - Fun list, but I take issue with your stand on "Muskrat Love"

I may stand alone among my generation in flat out hating "The Andy Griffith Show", hence all clues from that show are tough for us. Never cared much for Andy himself either for that matter. Probably because I saw him in "A Face in The Crowd" when I was a kid and figured that was the real him.

Played medium for us, and we had a good time with it mostly because it showed more resistance than the typical Sunday. Appreciate the cleverness of the long down themer crossing all others. Would have liked it more without the God awful SPLEENY.

Joseph Michael 12:28 PM  

This one made me feel SPLEENY. Too many proper nouns and crossword junk.

Took me a while to figure out the theme. Given the title "Having Nothing On," I was hoping for something a bit RACEy.

But all we got was OON.

I did like TWEETSTORM, which seems to be the word of the day, and the trick clue for CDT.

But, all in all, I have to say OH NO.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

No one has mentioned this yet, but ONTOE is NOT a thing in ballet. No one says it. NO. Ballet terms are almost exclusively French. So it's en pointe. ONTOE is just wrong. It bugs me to no end to see it in a puzzle.

Alan_S. 12:47 PM  
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Alan_S. 12:56 PM  

Today's posts easily outdid the puzzle, even with the clever 28D dissection of all the other themers. Especially liked Loren, Larry, Nancy, 'mericans and Kitshef. Spleeny indeed!

Hartley70 1:02 PM  

@Anonymous 12:31, Amen! It's like fingernails on a chalk board.

Stanley Hudson 1:13 PM  

Not bad for a Sunday.

Nice write-up @Laura.

LarryTate 1:15 PM  

I love it love it love it love it when Aunt Clara throws a hissy fit.

Tarheeled 1:29 PM  

Sped through the puzzle pretty quickly. Couldn't handle the NW corner. Never heard of cronuts, got Hobbit and died, so forth. Enjoyable contest, however.

Aphid Larue 1:30 PM  

Everything I know about modern slang comes from the big bang theory. Sausagefest was right"in my wheelhouse". Sausage festoon is amusing. Maybe for my next party.

CDilly52 1:40 PM  

Stop start slow speed up put down pick back up. . . My hubris thought this would be easy since I got the "oon" right away. Just wrong. Ultimately got it but it was kind of like a comment made by a soldier after completing loathsome exercises....WHAT A DRAGOON.

old timer 2:02 PM  

I have nothing but praise for the multiple themers, one crossing all the others in the center. And for the identical arithmetic problems, one in Spanish and the other in German. Let me repeat what I wrote a long time ago: It is very, very helpful to know French in order to solve end-of-week puzzles. And to also be able to count to ten in German, Italian, and Spanish. Helpful, too, to know the kind of basic Spanish you would want to know at a Mexican resort.

As it happens I know French pretty well, I'll just say, "a bientot."

Robert Burns 2:08 PM  

Impromptu on Mrs. Riddell’s Birthday

OLD Winter, with his frosty beard,
Thus once to Jove his prayer preferred:
“What have I done of all the year,
To bear this hated doom severe?
My cheerless suns no pleasure know;
Night’s horrid car drags, dreary slow;
My dismal months no joys are crowning,
But spleeny English hanging, drowning.

“Now Jove, for once be mighty civil.
To counterbalance all this evil;
Give me, and I’ve no more to say,
Give me Maria’s natal day!
That brilliant gift shall so enrich me,
Spring, Summer, Autumn, cannot match me.”
“’Tis done!” says Jove; so ends my story,
And Winter once rejoiced in glory.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

There should be a comma there, no?

But spleeny, English hanging, drowning.

Also, Mr. Bobby Buns, care to enlighten the rest of us with a translation?

Andrew Heinegg 3:46 PM  

I had 3 thoughts as I slogged through this puzzle. First, I wish I had the courage to quit doing the puzzle and do something, anything else. Between trite crosswordese only answers and many answers that I didn't know but could figure out but did not care that I could, an unpleasant experience.

Second, I knew Nancy would hate it. I should have figured she would be far more sensible than I and toss it.

Third, I thought I would have to cover my eyes while reading Rex's disembowelling of the constructor's effort. Saved from that. Suspect that Rex saw this one coming and stepped aside for the day.

Isn't there a new country for us to fire missiles at or send warships towards today? Just sayin'.

kitshef 3:57 PM  

@Mohair Sam - I almost left Muskrat Love off the list, fearful that there might be supporters out there. I had no such fears about the Transformers movies, though.

Robert Burns 3:58 PM  

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous spleeny beastie,

Joe in Newfoundland 4:14 PM  

I got ACTA and VACUA but didn't much like it. I did get stuck with the crossing of NASH, ARGOS, ARON, and OHNO. If I had known the movie it might have helped. Generally enjoyable. I like repeated clues, and the linguistic offerings.

Z 4:27 PM  

@LMS - Tee Hee. Vacupodes is obviously correct.

@Anon8:35 - Interesting theory, but I couldn't find any support for the idea. This guy seems to know what he's talking about, though, and it seems Elvis thought someone misspelled his name on the birth certificate.

Joe Bleaux 4:34 PM  

Yeah, well, I'll see your elitism and raise you a trivial trivia (hi, @Z) bit:
"Elvis lives" true believers cite "Aron" on the grave marker at Graceland as an intentional misspelling "proving" that whoever lies to rest there really isn't Elvis.

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

I agree spleeny??? When was that a word? During reign of Henry VII?

Stu 5:43 PM  

Aron was his name. Conventional or not.

Alex 8:01 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle more than many of you, but the Northwest left me high and dry. LAsordA immediately, and then realized that the clue was about Cardinals - duh - so THAT was tough for me. Didn't know THIS IS US, VACUA (But! On the bright side! Something to add to my Insufferable Smarty Pants Lexicon!) ACTA. As I look at that corner now (filled in), it doesn't look as tough as it played for me. Anyway - I liked it. Except for that part that tripped me up.
Also, Stuart at 5:43 beat me to the punch. The clue was not "the conventional spelling of Elvis ___ Presley's middle name." For that matter, I have a last-named Pressley friend. Perhaps that is the conventional spelling of his last name. (Hah! See? I am an insufferable Smarty Pants.)

Jared 8:25 PM  

I really miss Rex's commentary on these puzzles with tons of junk in them because it makes me feel a lot better afterward.

I mean seriously...


And who on god's green earth has heard of a random school in Kentucky named BEREA? That's just the icing on the cake right there.

Interesting theme but all of this yuck made the puzzle unenjoyable.

BarbieBarbie 8:27 PM  

Frank Bruni's column from yesterday used the word "splenetic." Coincidence...?

Larry Gilstrap 8:59 PM  

ARON and BEREA receive immunity from years of service as fill. An attractive pattern of vowels that will appear again in a crossword in your neighborhood soon.

Dennis G. 2:03 AM  

I cannot fathom why someone who work's crossword puzzles for enjoyment and, dare I say, edification, would balk at answers such as Larussa. Surely critics who do are not experts in every area of trivia and esoterica. Why single out clues and answers to things that are very widely known but not necessarily in your wheelhouse for criticism? I have seen "Arsenic and Old Lace" a half a dozen times but I did not know the name of the actress in the puzzle and I don't know her sister's name either. Should I criticize the puzzle creator for broadening my knowledge of actresses from 75 year old movies? You cannot know everything. It is not a puzzle fault to use clues from areas in which you have no knowledge.

Dennis G. 2:04 AM  

Excuse the work's please.

Leapfinger 4:50 AM  

@dennis gallagher, I'll excuse the work's please but not the comma's absence. ;o
Aside from that, I agree with you. In that regard, I've heard of Berea, and am certainly no expert on Kentucky colleges. Think we'll hear from any alums?

Had a hearty laugh at SPLEENY, which can join Frank Bruni's heartfelt splenetic and my cardiac splenic, in a related vein.

I've seen elephant-painted portraits but am now desperate to see a horse-drawn cartoon.

As the Burmese butler quoth, "Sir, you Rangoon?"

Y'all be good, now.

Da Bears 1:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rug Crazy 4:28 PM  

Missed Rex's rant today. Couldn't wait to see what he would say about Spleeny

Christopher Jones 1:44 PM  

Not really sure what 32 down means:
Clue:"Rhubarb with deep roots"?
Answer: Feud?????

Can someone please enlighten me?

Dennis G. 3:57 AM  

Rhubarb is a vegetable with roots; it is also another name for a spat. or brouhaha. or FEUD. A long standing feud, or one with deep roots would be a rhubarb (maybe.)

Nagawicka 4:49 PM  

Lightly wrote in BALLOON for "deli decoration" before seeing it used for the MONSTER. Next came SAUSAGE, but then I could not figure out what SAUSAGE BALLS were.

Burma Shave 10:40 AM  


and PEELSOFF CLOTHes with THE chin up,


BS2 10:44 AM  

The Marilyn Monroe story

rondo 11:44 AM  

Minnesota has an expansion MLS team named after THE state bird. So how about LOONSOCCERBALLOON. Just as LOONey as the others. Maybe more so. Only w/os in the SW with lSAT and rAnAT.

Really starting to wonder about SOSO, if I do SAYSO, Sundays and perhaps not doing them. Nothing here to write home about except yeah babies Scarlett in a clue and MIRA in an answer; each AGOODWOMAN. And OHNO SUPE for you.

I do have this idea for a photograph showing a big brass instrument with some MN state birds, the solid blue billiard ball, and two floating party items, titled “TUBA Loons”. Or “Two-ball Loons”. Or “Two Balloons”. Or combine all three. I just need some duck decoys or soccer players, got the other stuff.

Happy Easter. Now get on with LIFE.

spacecraft 12:34 PM  


Doesn't make a whole lotta sense all by itself, now does it? And that is why, campers, it's a gigantic OHNO! in a grid.

Lot of problems with this one, but getting SMALLMOUTHBASSOON unlocked the theme door and was of great HELP. But what, oh what is a SAUSAGEFEST? Is that supposed to be a thing? No, wrong category, Pat. It is (apparently) an "event." I cannot even imagine...

I'm feeling SPLEENY; feed me a blini. Good lord, it's a WORD! Go figure. I notice that Mr. Walden eschewed bad weather themers MONSOON and TYPHOON. Well, tough finding a TYPH, but how about "What happens when the gods are angry?" -- OLYMPUSMONSOON.

A very political grid: we have our resident president BUFFOON, as well as an "if only!" clue: "_____President" (MADAM).

Can I be there when DOD Mira PEELSOFF her CLOTH? Ah well, with that image and NOLIMIT holdem and my mom Norma, R.I.P., it's gotta be at least a par. Happy Easter--and please, keep that stuff away from the dogs.

rain forest 2:22 PM  

Nice to have a Sunday that I can move through fairly quickly with a smile now and then. Maybe not my fastest time (whatever that may be), but quick. The only place I ran into problems was the NW where I didn't know either of the TV shows.

THE immediately gave me LORAX, so I didn't mind that. I've never been to a SAUSAGE FEST and it's probably wise I steer clear and maybe have an EGG SALAD sandwich instead.

I always admire this type of theme, common as it is, where the constructor takes a common phrase, adds something, and comes up with a new phrase where the addition gives a real word. Actually, I always admire the work of crossword constructors, unlike perhaps some others.

leftcoastTAM 3:20 PM  

This one had a little bit of everything, as well as "nothing[O]ON". The OONs helping a lot in the solving.

It was a bit of a slog, but got some satisfaction from solving it--I thought--until checking out the answers and looking back at the grid.

Had cUp instead of TUB, and two blanks in the S_P_ (SUPE, waiter! where are you?).

Not sure I spent my Easter Sunday morning well at all.

Diana,LIW 3:38 PM  

Another 92.5% completed puzzle. NW did me in today.

Found it punily funny. Now, back to the real Sunday.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

AnonymousPVX 10:38 PM  

When I got 33A SPLEENY, I just stopped right there.

Unknown 11:50 PM  

We got this one OK, but we do the NYT puzzle in the Seattle Times, so this was published on the 16th of April. I mention this because in the ST, the theme was "Having Nothing On B," and the B kept us from ever figuring out what that theme had to do with the puzzle, until we came here. So, thanks.

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Anonymous 11:16 PM  

The only comment new puzzlers should read is Dennis Gallagher’s. It cuts through most of the self-referential crap that passes for comments on this blog.

Not near enough praise for the long central solution touching all the rest. Bravo Byron.

In honor of DGs comment(s) I will sign with my xwd name RLVN

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