Eponymous Israeli gun designer / SUN 10-29-17 / Defib locales / Some looping online animations / Where Samson slew Philistines / Daring thing to wear with polka dots / Harry's wizarding foe

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Constructor: Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Going Off Script" — four lines from movies are clued simply by their movie title, and then corresponding answers are ordinary two-word phrases ending in LINE where the first word is also the name of the actor who said the LINE from the movie. Thus:

Theme answers:
  • "HAKUNA MATATA!" (22A: "The Lion King") is a LANE LINE (24A: Pool divider, or a further hint to 22-Across) because Nathan *Lane* is the "Lion King" actor who says it
  • "SHOW ME THE MONEY!" (42A: "Jerry Maguire") is a (Tom) CRUISE LINE
  • "WHY SO SERIOUS?" (101A: "The Dark Knight") is a (Heath) LEDGER LINE
  •  "CHEWIE, WE'RE HOME" (76A: "The Force Awakens") is a (Harrison) FORD LINE
Word of the Day: Ad VALOREM tax (10D: Ad ___ tax) —
An ad valorem tax (Latin for "according to value") is a tax whose amount is based on the value of a transaction or of property. It is typically imposed at the time of a transaction, as in the case of a sales tax or value-added tax (VAT). An ad valorem tax may also be imposed annually, as in the case of a real or personal property tax, or in connection with another significant event (e.g. inheritance tax, expatriation tax, or tariff). In some countries a stamp duty is imposed as an ad valorem tax. (wikipedia)
• • •

Did you know Harrison Ford was Joan Didion's carpenter? That Didion documentary on Netflix is wild...

This is one of those themes that probably sounded good in the constructor's head (probably originated with noting the possible dual meaning of CRUISE LINE), but then ... oof. Where to start? How about with the fact that "SHOW ME THE MONEY!?" isn't really a Cruise line. I mean, he says it, sure, but he's just repeating the line that Cuba Gooding, Jr. already said (and made famous). Then there's the unbelievable inclusion of "CHEWIE, WE'RE HOME," which ... what? Since when is that a famous line? The others are very, very famous. Iconic, even. "CHEWIE, WE'RE HOME?" OK, I saw "Force Awakens" only once, so maybe the importance of that line got by me somehow, but ... no. Not even close. You can't throw that dumb, utterly non-iconic line out there as the fourth in a set where the other three are classics. Absurd. If you want to pull off a theme like this, wait til you have collected a suitable set of themers. That is the Merl Reagle rule of themes: don't take it out of the damned oven before it's done. Don't force it. Just because you can work up *a* list of themers that fit doesn't mean you're there yet. Stunned that this passed muster. "CHEWIE, WE'RE HOME," dear lord. "Laugh it up, Fuzzball" is a more famous FORD LINE by far than "CHEWIE, WE'RE HOME," and even that line isn't that famous. I feel like the whole world of ____ LINE options has not been fully explored / exploited, and so we get ... this—this tepid expression of what might've been a reasonably interesting theme.

[a looping online animation]
(see 6A)

The fill in this one is more forgettable than bad, but it's definitely got more than enough KER ESE ADA ADES to go around. I winced dramatically when I threw down SENESCE ... and then immediately crossed it with BANC. It was a SENESCE/BANC kind of puzzle. Couple of names that were new(ish) to me; McCoy TYNER and UZI GAL, the latter of which sounds more like an arms-loving woman's Twitter handle than a human name. I knew GOTYE, but there's really no reason why most of humanity should (6D: Singer with the 2012 #1 hit "Somebody That I Used to Know"). I'm guessing he gave many people more than a little trouble. Luckily, the crosses seem fair. Also, luckily, this puzzle was Super-Easy, so there wasn't a lot of time to build up a good head of grumpy.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I enjoyed remembering "Friday I'm in Love" and THE CURE (106A) is easily the best answer in this grid

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:10 AM  

Technical foul: ...HOME crossing HOMIEST.

Z 12:19 AM  

The iconic FORD LINE is “I know.”

a.corn 12:19 AM  

This was my best Sunday time in history. Got SHOW ME THE MONEY/CRUISE LINE almost immediately, and it was off to the races. I actually enjoyed senesce because it’s autumn, and in the botanic world leaves don’t “die” when they fall, it’s called senescence. #themoreyouknow oh, and all the yes for singing The Cure while solving.

a.corn 12:23 AM  

I think any Star Wars iconic clueing should answer “i’ve Got a bad feeling about this” Hell, you could even create an entire puzzle with THIS being the themer.

Unknown 12:31 AM  

Congratulations to @Ross Trudeau for your second New York Times puzzle, and thanks to @Rex for the insightful review.

Yesterday, we were told that puzzles should be done in one's SPARE TIME, while today we learn that getting excited about crosswords is to "NERD out." Hmmmm ...

I recently read this New Yorker piece, which noted that Chester Arthur became a widower in January 1880 well prior to the election of the Garfield-Arthur ticket in November of the same year. So, after Garfield's assassination in July 1881 and Arthur's ascendancy to the Presidency following Garfield's death a few months later, who would have constituted the first family (see plural answer to 80-Down)?

Trombone Tom 12:41 AM  

So I've been NERDing out. OK, I can't object too strongly to that.

This was a pleasant stroll. Very easy, but not a lot of aha! moments. I rarely find myself so totally in agreement with OFL. Especially on his criticism of the Star Wars themer.

GOTYE was definitely not in my wheelhouse. We weren't even on the same boat!

Only hiccup was port->ASTI. ALAKAZAM right back at you!

Graham 12:52 AM  

Chester Arthur was famously a widower president... making the ARTHURS answer a bit insensitive.

Ricky G 1:27 AM  

I've been doing the puzzle on paper for years, and only recently signed on for the digital version. This was my first Sunday puzzle without pen in hand. Which I still enjoy more, but nothing beats getting the puzzle on Saturday evening.

Chet Artie 1:32 AM  

What does this constructor have against our President Arthur? He had no family or friends, as you all know; 80D seems to mock this.

Al Chester 1:35 AM  

WTF is up with 80D? That's raw, man!

Arthur Alan 1:56 AM  

I quite agree with Rex on some of these answers in the grid. GOTYE almost "GOT ME" if you catch my humorous remark there. Oh that's a panic! I thought it meant something different but that's GOATSE. You should Google GOATSE during breakfast.

BANC is always a dumb word. Just use a K already French people. And crossing SENESCE with it that was pretty cruel. Even now that I know the word SENESCE, the absolute newest word in my vocabulary, I have already made the decision to never use it ever again.

Oh I had WHYSOcuRIOUS for the Dark Knight quote. I even saw that movie and thought Heath Ledger was astonishing and he was also dead so that made it James Deansian. I think his Joker would ask that question. So I totally DNF'd this baby, and I never ever DNF except on the scattered occasions that I do.

But what really shocked me about this puzzle was the dig at President Arthur in 80D. Come on, I mean some things are off limits, and we all know he didn't have a family so there was no need to go there. It's like insinuating that he was a homo. He was a widower.

I need to get back upstairs. Thanks for the smoke.

Mike in Mountain View 1:57 AM  

Naticked by HAKUNAMATATA crossing GOTYE, which was not at all inferable. Otherwise, a fine puzzle.

TomAz 1:58 AM  

I'm sitting here thinking about all the iconic Star Wars things that could have been included instead of this. I suppose YOUREOURONLYHOPE would have caused symmetry problems and FISHERLINE way too much of a stretch. But it only took me two minutes to come up with those.

This puzzle was readily solvable. I'll give it that. Dumb as a Sarah Sanders soundbite, but solvable.

I was gonna argue about THECURE being the most interesting answer, cuz it's not actually very interesting, but I can't find a better one. When the puzzle opens with PODIA, you gotta set the bar real, real low.

Unknown 2:33 AM  

Funny Rex should mention Didion in his write up. I just watched that Netflix doc on her last night. Well done. Her books are worth checking out if you haven't read her. You'll notice I'm not saying anything about the puzzle, because....meh....

Dave Hogg 3:06 AM  

The reason that CHEWIEWEREHOME is memorable isn't because of the actual movie. The first trailer for The Force Awakens didn't show any of the original cast members, and while the second one included Luke's voice, it kept everyone hanging until the final shot of the trailer.

Then the screen goes dark before you hear Harrison Ford's raspy voice say "Chewie, we're home" as they appear on the Falcon. They weren't the only ones who were home.

Jim Garfield 3:28 AM  

Star Wars always confuses me: is that the one with Doctor Spock or is it the one with Bigfoot as a co-pilot?

chefwen 3:32 AM  

This one was totally confusing to me. Don’t watch many new or semi new movies, have no idea who’s in them, but it was so easy I managed to piece it all together.

When I saw HAKUNAMATATA, whatever that means, I knew I was in for an interesting ride.

Got her done, but I have no idea how.

Not my favorite puzzle,

@mericans, when are you going to be here?

Mark 5:32 AM  

I don't care if Tom Cruise actually repeated the line some how. It's clearly a Cuba Gooding Jr line. That's how it's referred to inWikipedia, of example. So I consider the clue wrong.

MaryLou 5:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
TokyoRacer 5:56 AM  

Coincidentally, I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark last night. And wrote down this Harrison Ford line because it's so good (especially for us of a certain age):

Marion: You're not the man I knew ten years ago.
Indiana Jones: It's not the years, it's the mileage.

Lewis 6:11 AM  

GESSO dropped right in, having shown up on Monday. In fact very little fooled me this time around, except for a couple of short hiccups at TEE UP and WWI (I kept trying to think of an organization that the U.S. joined). Yesterday's TAPELINES was perhaps an hors d'oeuvre to today's theme? I'm guessing this theme is tapped out now -- it's a clever idea with not many answer possibilities. On another front, the word VAPID sounds to me just like what it means.

When I came to EPEE I thought it must be in the top ten list of crossword answers, but no, it's #58, according to Jeff Chen's site. The first five, by the way, are ERA, AREA, ERE, ONE, and ELI.

Thank you for keeping my brain tuned up, Ross, and I look forward to seeing you another day!

Mike Morton 6:44 AM  

I yield to y’all’s impressive knowledge of the Arthur White House, but am surprised that nobody’s groused yet at the clue for PODIA. A lectern is not a podium. See for example https://mannerofspeaking.org/2012/03/10/podium-vs-lectern/

Clif 7:09 AM  

Iconic Ford line: "I hate snakes!"

'mericans in Paris 7:11 AM  


We wouldn't go as far as characterizing his puzzle as VAPID, but we found the theme of only medium interest. Didn't catch the additional trick of actors' names combined with LINE until coming here, but ... OK. YUP.

We did like the fill, for the most part. Gotta HAND it to Ross Trudeau for that. We did have several WOES, however.

-- We did not know the answer to 30A ("Hocky feint": DEKE), for example, so got 23D wrong by entering ASnEW instead of ASKEW. In our paper edition, 23D was clued just as "23" followed by an empty space. To us it SEEMS that ASnEW would be a much WISEr answer to that than ASKEW, which means "crooked" or "awry". Could somebody please explain that one?

-- Also, since when do judges sit on a BANC, or a BANk? We thought they sat on "BeNCh".

Anybody else think first of BMS before VPS at 10A ("No. 2s")? Chalk that up to having an RN as a mother. If you don't know what BM stands for, think about having a CREPE.

Learned about GOTYE through one of those serendipitous offerings from iTunes. Some of their stuff is pretty good. Up there with THE CURE.

Regarding past presidents, did any of you notice that, if you look at the answers above, you can make ARTHUR's MANAGEd ALONE?

Seeing CHEWIE in today's puz brought back some fond memories. Our son dog sat for an American couple in Paris during his last year in Lycée. The dog, named CHEWIE (after Chewbacca) was actually a coydog (half coyote, half German Shepard). Sounds ferocious, but she was actually very sweet. I went along with him on a few occasions when he took CHEWIE to the park, and as soon as the other, usually smaller, dogs (Yorkies, little poodles, and suchlike) would catch sight or smell of her they would go berserk, displaying various combinations of fear and anger. CHEWIE would just gaze on them with a look of pity and disdain and continue walking.

I'll end with the question of our century: who of you pronounce GIF with a hard "G", and who with a soft, as in "jIF"?

@chefwen: Not for awhile: we put off our trip until May. Too much going on here in October. We'll keep you posted. This evening we're headed to Trieste, Italy, followed by five days in northern Croatia.

RAD2626 7:26 AM  

Totally agree that CRUISE LINE was the only category that worked so it would have been nice to have a real CRUISE LINE to accompany it. Too bad there were not famous actors named Hem, Concession, or Maginot. Or maybe just do all Cruise lines, even though he may be the most VAPID actor ever, playing the same role essentially in every movie.

Agree with Rex' axiom. If 1A is problematic,... PODIA is problematic.

THE CURE is the best clue? Really? Damnation by faint praise.

chefbea 7:59 AM  

Too complicated for me!!!

Lindandc 7:59 AM  

��“Dumb as a Sarah Sanders soundbite”

QuasiMojo 8:12 AM  

This was more a BOO HOO experience for me than a BOO. Lots of BOO BOOs. Because I've never seen any of these movies and had no idea what was going on today. DNF bigtime. So many people I've never heard of (except MAO of course.) I did MANAGE to fill out 90 per cent of it though. I need to go do a LINE.

I thought it's been proven that the Druids could not have built Stonehenge. So that clue seems a bit off to me. Lots of people have used it, including the Druids but it is not a Druid monument.

Crêpes are eaten at all times of day so to call it a brunch dish is ridiculous.

Hungry Mother 8:19 AM  

Played very fast for me too, but I’m not sure why. I seemed to struggle over many of the answers, but didn’t take as long as it seemed as I was doing it. Cute theme, but I’m not so good at remembering movie dialogue.

Maruchka 8:38 AM  

'Bon jour, mes avocates! Ou-est le justice SENESCENCE ce matin? Endormi sur le BANC?

'Non. Elle est sur le pont d'Avignon, pour le dansant. C'est la MEME chose, chaque dimanche. Helas.'

Pardon my French, but BANC is perfectly respectable. As is this Sunday puzzle. Agree that could be more there here, tho.

Thanks, M. Trudeau. BTW: Jesse Winchester's ode to FDR, Lester B. and Pierre Trudeau is worth a listen.

GeezerJackYale48 8:39 AM  

Didn’t see any of the referenced shows or movies, wondered if the Ford line hinted towards Henry or maybe Director John, yet somehow managed to infer everything except the “t” in 22A, 6D. Fair enough.

Twangster 8:52 AM  

As many of you I'm sure know, McCoy Tyner is the jazz pianist who plays on John Coltrane's version of "My Favorite Things." I encourage anyone who's not familiar with him to spend a few minutes looking him up.

Here's a video of him leading his own group:


BarbieBarbie 9:07 AM  

DNFd at the cross of GOTYE and DEKE. OTOH the rest of it took me from seatbelt demo to airplane mode, so either really easy or impossibly hard, depending on your point of view.

Ahhh, @Maruchka, voici la plume de ma tante! Bien sir, Michele est dans le jardin.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Todayś puzzle had a mild, but noticeable science fiction
theme - consider: phasers, The Force Awakens, and Lt. Sulu.
So, I was not surprised to learn that the Ur Science Fiction
Action Hero (William Shatner), also hosted a short-lived tv
game show called: Show Me the Money.

Thereś always something between the lines, or, in this cases,
the boxes.


Joe 9:13 AM  

Actually, iconic Ford line, "Why'd it have to be snakes..."

Also, is it just me, but this started badly. A lecturn (a stand for papers and books during lecturing) is not the same thing as a podium (a platform for standing on).

RL 9:15 AM  

Can’t decide if I love or hate ROYALWE.

Teedmn 9:16 AM  

This was a pretty easy Sunday romp. I only knew two lines - I have never seen "The Lion King" and can a 2015 movie (The Force Awakens) have a classic line? But the rest were gettable by implication or by crosses.

I liked the clue for ROYAL WE, and SENESCE and ALAKAZAM in a puzzle is pretty nice. FATHERTIME and MAKE MUCH OF were good long answers. HOMIEST crossing HOME? A bit weird.

Nice NYT sophomore puzzle, thanks, Ross Trudeau.

Bax'N'Nex 9:22 AM  

Arthur’s sister also lived in the White House, so beyond his son there was other “family” there. Man, there are a lot of angry people out there. But considering this blog is authored by the angriest pompous ass out there, it follows that he would attract others of his ilk.

The puzzle a good use of my “spare time” and I, as always, appreciate and thank the constructor for his efforts towards my entertainment.


kitshef 9:23 AM  

Overall, a snoozer.

Seen all the movies except Jerry Maguire. Not having seen Jerry Maguire, CRUISE LINE made perfect sense to me from endless commercial repetition.

Knew all the lines except the one from The Force Awakens.

Knew who said all the lines except the one from The Lion King. Not remembering what character said it, I assumed the LANE was Diane LANE until I came here.

99A should have been clued as Tracers or LeSabres.

DRACO was the only plausible answer of five letters, but would not really consider him to be a foe.

Hartley70 9:25 AM  

I enjoyed this more than the average Sunday puzzle. The theme held my attention since I've seen the referenced movies and I never felt bogged down in three letter fill. I thought the quotes followed by the speakers' names plus LINE was darn clever. Well done, Ross!

GOTYE was a given because I would have had to spend a year under a rock to have avoided "Somebody I Used To Know". It's a catchy tune and the lyrics are seared in my brain, but it's the stuff of nightmares by now.

Aren't we all sufficiently outraged on every imaginable topic to overlook Presidents Garfield and ARTHUR's feelings today? There pretty much not a drop of outrage left in my reservoir.

VALOREM made me yawn, so my word of the day is ALAKAZAM that made me smile.

kitshef 9:32 AM  

Never tell me the odds.
Get off my plane.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

Boy this puzzle was easy. I mean really, really, really, easy. At least for me. Just wanted sll you people out there to know. EASY! I finished it in well less than my usual time of under three seconds. Then I got right on here to let all you people out there know. I, for one, found this puzzle extraordinarily easy.

Oh, did I mention? I'm really, really, really smart.

Two Ponies 9:40 AM  

Not having seen any of these movies made it hard to muster much excitement.

@'mericans, Didn't think of BMs but did chuckle at the improbable poo.

I guess I've done too many puzzles but the once clever attempt at misdirection by using drive and canine to imply golf and teeth has grown very tiresome.

Interesting clue/answer at 110A re: Scotland.

I read that the man who invented gifs pronounces it Jif. He gets to have final say since he created it.

Lastly, nothing says cheap and lazy like an e-card.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Ford Line : I didn’t kill my wife.

Unknown 10:09 AM  

@'mericans i have read that the correct pronunciation is "jif" but i haven't been able to convince myself that saying it that way is right, and so i either avoid saying the word or pronounce it with a hard G.

i will say that i did not NERD out about this puzzle, and the red flag of PODIA was an accurate omen.

Art F 10:20 AM  

The clue for 97D seems defective, inasmuch as the plural of "loaf" is "loaves", not "loafs".

Anybody else get led astray by putting DEA rather than FAA as the "Traffic-monitoring org."?

retired guy 10:37 AM  

what's wrong with "banc"? It's a perfectly good word... when a whole bunch of lower court judges hear a case, they are sitting "en banc"

a jazz listener's thoughts 10:40 AM  

Excellent puzzle and fun to work. Enjoyed figuring out what the clues meant. Fairly easy. McCoy Tyner is an alltimer. I still don’t get it that people want to know every answer rather than figuring out new things, but so it goes. Enjoyable

Tita 10:45 AM  

@'mericans...lol...that was my older sister's favorite euphemism. Haven't heard it in years. Haven't heard #2 in that context in even longer. Seems like we don't need "polite" terms for bodily functions or parts anymore.

This puzzle was a huge slog for me. I won't blame the puzzle. It's just that I need to have a vested interest in the theme. And it happens that these are movies that I haven't seen. Or even heard of. (I'm lookin' at you, The Black Knight.)
Sure I know Star Wars, and have seen (and enjoyed) the first few. But haven't seen this one.
Harrison FORD is one of my favorite actors of all times, so for me, the best thing about the puzzle is everyone else's nomination for great FORDLINEs.

My middle eastern geography is only slightly deeper than my hockey knowledge, and having misspelled EMPoROR left me staring at _OK_...Never heard of that singer either, though the E shoulda been obvious. Double-natick, double-DNF.

Unknown 10:46 AM  

I thought "nerd out" was kind of harsh, before I came on here and witnessed people questioning the validity of Chester A. Arthur having a family. And then...holy sh!t...the sorry spectacle of people suggesting the constructor actually had some kind of axe to grind against Arthur. Man, I'm as hypersensitive as anyone in this bifurcated era...but speaking of fake news.

I spent several moments trying to turn "Cuba's Line" into a carnival ride. I'm nerdy enough to agree that this one was just wrong. Surely one of my least favorite films, the moronic Top Gun, had something to offer us here.

Nancy 10:51 AM  

CHEWIE, WE'RE HOME???? I figured CHEWIE had to be a dog, but what an hysterical line. How do you deliver it with a straight face? This is from a Star Wars sequel, right? How many of these movies are out there, anyway? Is LT SULU from another such sequel? The same sequel? The original? Or is it from Star Trek? I never know the difference between the two franchises.

GOTYE is a real name? A last name, I hope. Although you never know with modern rappers and modern bands. This #1 song doesn't sound like rap, though.

I found the puzzle very easy most of the way through, with some aforementioned problems in the *starry* sections. I commend the construction, however, which took imagination and is quite clever in conception and execution. My favorite clue/answer: ROYAL WE (71A).

Joe Dipinto 11:03 AM  

Eccch-- this puzzle was an epic fail, to borrow a Friday answer.

First of all, when I saw the title Going *Off* Script and then saw names of films in the clues, I expected the gimmick to be that a famous quote from the film would be changed in some clever way. (I immediately assumed the Jerry Maguire quote to be changed would be "Show me the money.")

As it happened the first theme-related answer I got was LANE LINE. I was simultaneously getting the letters of HAKUNA MATATA and trying to figure out what needed to be changed and how LANE LINE connected to it -- maybe an "A" changes to an "I"?

Oh -- nothing gets changed, I finally realized. It's just that Nathan Lane said the line. How is that going *off* script? It's staying *on* script.

So the boredom quotient was immediately upped. Add in the fact that, as Rex noted, "Show me the money" is really Cuba Gooding Jr.'s line (I didn't even remember Tom Cruise repeating it), and the abominable "Chewie we're home" and its anemic Ford line clue...well, just yuck all around.

boomer54 11:10 AM  

Ford line ...DROP DEAD NEW YORK ...

F. 11:12 AM  

Your edition had a mistake. The clue for 23D was "Out of whack."

Nancy 11:14 AM  

@'mericans (7:11) -- Answer to "the question of the century": I don't pronounce "gif" with either a hard or soft "g". I don't pronounce it at all, since I don't know what it is.

People on this blog often come to the defense of people and groups they believe to have been unfairly maligned in the puzzle. This is a first for our beloved Chester A. ARTHUR. I can't help but believe that he would be deeply grateful. And surprised.

Robert A. Simon 11:21 AM  

@Two Ponies: Totally agree. I always thought the tag line for Hallmark e-cards should be, "When you care enough to do the very least." I sent them a letter suggesting it, but they never wrote back. Similarly, I had the idea that whenever Xerox builds "The Xerox Building" in various cities, they should put up an exact copy of the building next to it. How amazing would that be? Wrote them a letter, too. No answer from them, either.

Ungrateful. That's what they are. Ungrateful.

Joe Dipinto 11:22 AM  

I will, however, applaud the inclusion of McCoy Tyner in the puzzle. He played with John Coltrane, as Twangster observed, and has many recordings of his own. His album "Echoes Of A Friend" is a beautiful solo piano tribute to Trane.

RooMonster 11:27 AM  

Hey All !
First off, I always thought it was Chewy, no Chewie. Humpf.

Good theme concept, no one has complained about the cross references, which is a plus. A good amount of dreck, though. ROES, e.g.

@kitshef 9:23
Um, you know Tracers are Mercurys and LeSabres are Buicks, right? Or were you being funny with your Light Sabers and Tracers (ammo)? If that's the case, then Har! :-)

Ford: Pirates!
Heche: Pirates? As in, Argh?!


Crocodillo 11:28 AM  

Man, the over sensitive are really digging deep today to find something to be offended by. By the time we dumb down and sanitize these puzzle for every thin-skinned moron out there we will be doing crosswords with crayons while we suck our thumbs under our widdle blankies.

Nancy 11:28 AM  

@Robert A. Simon (11:21) -- Your tag line for Hallmark: Just perfect and extremely funny! Wish I'd thought of it.

kitshef 11:35 AM  

@Nancy - it's a first name -- sort of. The singer's first name translates to Gauthier in French. Imagine someone pronouncing Gauthier in an Australian accent, and you'll have it.

And most definitely not rap. Too lazy to do the link properly, but if you are interested, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY

Joe Dipinto 11:35 AM  

@'mericans 7:11 -- in my paper edition 23a is clued "Like this clue" -- the text slopes downward, as if it had been cut and pasted incorrectly.

kitshef 11:37 AM  

@Roo Monster - no, I'm just really bad at cars - thought they were both Mercurys.

Charley 11:46 AM  

OKay, so I’m not a cinephile. Other than “Show me the money I never heard of the rest. So no chance to finish this.

Unknown 11:55 AM  

Other than the very beginning in the NW corner this puzzle was kind of a blur. GOTYE did stand out and as I guessed it turned out to be unfamiliar to some of the older solvers. With so much routine fill to knock out I actually forgot what the theme was while solving.

The stair step design of the puzzle seemed to facilitate what was already an easy solve. Once you get a section like that going they fall like dominos.

There's been discussion in the past about the dumbing down of the NYT puzzles. I'm currently redoing the Friday and Saturday puzzles from '94 and a couple of days ago I made a comparison of the averaged times from both years. It wasn't a full year of either of course but enough to confirm my suspicion. The old Saturdays took about 5 minutes longer and the difference between the Fridays was 10 minutes.

Another thing which stood out was a much higher rate of dnf on the old puzzles. Of the 17 Fridays I sampled from this year I had only one single square dnf. Of the 25 Fridays from'94 I had 9 that I dnfed on two of those were doubles and one puzzle even had 5 incorrect squares. That's 10 entries in one puzzle I got wrong. I can't remember the last time I had an epic fail like that on a current puzzle.

I've got 30 years of seniority with the CFD so the house I'm in is very slow. Lots of SPARETIME.

semioticus (shelbyl) 12:00 PM  

The Force Awakens is new, so even though that franchise is Pop Culture 101, I can understand people not seeing it. "Why so serious" was a super popular meme for a very long time, but yeah, I can understand not seeing that movie too. Jerry Maguire is a meh movie despite producing very frequently referenced moments and lines, so yeah, I can also understand not seeing that.


puzzlehoarder 12:01 PM  

Major technical foul up the 11:55 comment is mine my computer put a different name on it. Obviously I don't know what I'm doing.

Churlish Nabob 12:09 PM  

Of course you don’t know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek. Now revel in your ignorance

Joseph Michael 12:14 PM  

Enjoyed this puzzle, which was in my wheelhouse even though I only saw the stage version of "Lion King" which did not feature Nathan LANE saying any lines.

Clever theme and SOLID construction overall. Well done, Ross.

Did have the same unhappy reaction to attributing SHOW ME THE MONEY to Tom Cruise when it was Cuba Gooding Jr. who made the LINE iconic. But chalk it up to the limitations of punnery. What's a crossword constructor to do? GOODINGJR LINE doesn't quite cut it.

Got a chuckle out of CHEWIE, WE'RE HOME. My favorite non-themer was ROYAL WE as clued (hi, @Nancy). Also liked the quaint clue for BASIL. But the WOES of ROES were less welcome. I'm not used to seeing an "S" on the latter.

And, just for the record, I'm not NERDing out when I do a crossword puzzle. I'm trying not to let my brain SENESCE.

Stanley Hudson 12:15 PM  

I actually enjoyed this one, so perhaps that makes me a DOLT.

Nancy 12:38 PM  

@kitshef (11:35) -- Thanks for the GOTYE link to the "Somebody That I Used To Know" song. My eyeballs nearly fell out of my head as I saw that the link has had more than 954 million viewings! How can 954-plus million people be wrong? Surely, I'll like this one, I thought. I'll surprise absolutely everyone here by how much I like it. But what I saw and heard was a mostly naked man who looked severely depressed and depressive (to the point of requiring psychiatric intervention), singing in an extremely pinched and constrained monotone a song that I can only describe as underwhelming and forgettable. Damn -- I can't surprise you all by loving this song. Better luck next time, perhaps. Keep your fingers crossed.

mathgent 12:41 PM  

@Robert A. Simon (11:21): Great post!

I don't do the Sunday unless Nancy tells me it's worth doing. She liked it but not enough to motivate me print it up. My print edition of NYT hasn't arrived. I called and they promised to bring me a copy in the near future. I hope that there are some puzzles in it to keep me company during football today.

Carola 12:56 PM  

Well, I located some gaps in my knowledge: classic lines from The Lion King and The Dark Knight, GOTYE, MOLINA, TYNER, LEHI, THE CURE. I did know "Chewie...," total Star Wars NERD that I am.

I liked the DRUIDS next to their sacred OAK TREE, PSYCH over DEKE, EAT WELL x CHEW. Enjoyed writing in CHARADE, ALAKAZAM, CALICO, SENESCE, and those fine center Downs.

Georges Jenny 1:09 PM  

I disagree with Rex. The Chewie line is very famous. Google reveals articles from the Huffington Post, Cnet, Hollywood Reporter and other outlets talking about the line and its significance.

Unknown 1:15 PM  

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Press Secretary. Great line.

QuasiMojo 1:20 PM  

@Nancy, you left out his dirty toenails. Yikes, what a painfully dull song and video. I guess there's no accounting for taste.

thefogman 1:22 PM  

DNF for me. And I did not find it easy either. I got stumped on the CHEWIEIMHOME line. Had a T where the C should have been assuming wrongly the line began with THE------. Had HALn instead of HALS and ALPEn instead of ALPS. Blanked out at the one square containing the V at 10A and 10D. Tricky and tough. This puz was not very enjoyable.

thefogman 1:27 PM  

While trying to solve this one, I said to myself: "I have a bad feeling about this." And sure enough, it ended badly.


CDilly52 1:34 PM  

Couldn’t agree more. My mother was a botany major/science teacher and taught us about autumnal senescence as we collected beautiful leaves from the maple trees. I threw that one down instantly.

Phil 1:36 PM  

From past puzzles i know there's an actor or actress named Lane but don't know anything about lion king and that line has no inferanble letters.

Constructor must be
Puritan of evil mind
To stick in GOT YE

Adam 1:40 PM  

NERD out isn't as much a thing as GEEK out, which made me question DRUIDS. But sure enough, it turned out to be NERD out, although if you Google "Nerd out" you get a bunch of music videos on the #nerdout channel, and an Urban Dictionary listing at position 12 or 13, whereas if you Google "Geek out" you get the Wikipedia definition on top of the results.

That, combined with SHOW ME THE MONEY most emphatically not being a CRUISE LINE - 8 theme answers with two of them being "wrong" (plus @Rex's takedown of CHEWIE, WE'RE HOME, with which I wholeheartedlyl agree) - made me really not like this puzzle. It did have the advantage of being easy, but sloppy. I mean, Tom Cruise has been in dozens of movies; you really can have your pick. I mean, if you have to use Jerry Mcguire, how about YOU COMPLETE ME? Or I WANT THE TRUTH! How about THE NEED FOR SPEED (a partial, but still worlds better than SHOW ME THE MONEY)? PORSCHE. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE. Something from Rain Man. So many choices - and this is what we get. *sigh*

Two Ponies 1:46 PM  

Cuba Gooding might speak that line but somewhere there must be a clip of Tom Cruise saying it because a close-up of him saying it came to mind when I filled it in.

Based on the opinions of @Nancy and @ QuasiMojo I am going to have to suffer through the rest of my life without ever seeing or hearing Gotye. Somehow I will find the strength to survive.

old timer 1:49 PM  

Hands up for wanting BMS instead of VPS. I see few movies, and ended up with "Chewbe we're home" instead of CHEWIE. So a Sunday DNF here.

The California Supreme Court used to sit as two separate 4-justice courts, with the Chief part of each panel. It has been many decades since that practice was ended -- going back I suppose to the creation of the intermediate Courts of Appeal over a century ago. But even now, the opinions of our 7-person Supreme Court carry the heading EN BANC.

HAKUNA MATATA was easy because I went to Kenya on safari once, Our guide, a white man born there, was fluent in Swahili. Also our drivers were pretty fluent in English, being for the most part college students or graduates. Almost all Kenyans are trilingual, having a tribal language, and at least some knowledge of English, but using Swahili as a lingua franca. (I understand that on the Coast, Arabic is spoken too).

sixtyni yogini 1:50 PM  

This was easy with a yawn rather than easy with a fun twist (in theme answers.) I expected Rex to really trash it, haha then we don’t have to. Give me clever fun and difficult over everything else.

Phil 2:03 PM  

G in GIF stands for 'graphic'

Unknown 2:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave 2:20 PM  

One stands BEHIND a lectern to speak. One speaks UPON a podium. Two entirely different things. Common usage be damned.

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

@Joe, Correct. Thank you.

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

Not a writer in the bunch.
None of the lines cited are Ford's. It's a he'll of a lot easier to say them then write an.
So thank you George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan and if I recall correctly someone cited Air Force One, so, let's give Andy Marlowe is due as well.
Call me pedantic, it's annoying when an acor, or narrator bets credit for a line. I can only imagine what it must be like to have an iconic one constantly misattributed.

EdTech@mjbha 2:49 PM  

UZI GAL sounds plenty human to anyone who speaks Hebrew.

Blogger 2:59 PM  

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Joe Dipinto 3:04 PM  

@Adam Frank 1:40-- exactly, and from Jerry Maguire, HELP ME HELP YOU would also have been a better choice for a Cruise Line.

Anoa Bob 3:10 PM  

Here's the Ford line that immediately came to mind, but, alas, I couldn't get it to fit the allotted slot:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

Is there any way to turn off those damned GIFS? They are enormously distracting. Our visual system is designed to notice any movement in our peripheral field of view, so focusing on other parts of the page is difficult because our (or at least my) eyes are naturally, instinctively drawn to their constant, repetitive motion.

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

I'm cracking up at the President Arthur faux-outrage. Is this Don from Accounting? Well done!

Fred Romagnolo 3:28 PM  

@Arthur Alan: (if that's really your name) assuming Arthur was a "homo" (your word) as an insult goes directly against our Supreme Court which says they're just like everybody else, so it can't be an insult (but surely a better term could have been used by you). I pointed out in a recent blog critique that the DRUIDS didn't build Stonehenge. Surely Arthur's son and sister count as family (even in Trump's opinion). BANC has been in many NYT crosswords, so it shouldn't have thrown anyone. I agree on the ROYAL WE being the best clued answer. And, yes, HAKUNA MATATA & GOTYE was a mean cross. Since I've been SENESCEing for quite some time now, I had no problem there.

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

Actually, too easy puzzles where I don't have to use my brain make me especially grumpy. I quit this one about half way through.

Suzie Q 4:02 PM  

@Anon 2:26,
Evidently no typists in the bunch either, including you!

Anonymous 5:20 PM  

Could someone explain CSPOTS?

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

C as in the Roman numeral

Trombone Tom 5:52 PM  

Anon (5:20)

Long before C-SPOTS acquired any sexual connotation it was a common way of referring to $100 bills (C=100)

One can readily get this information on Google.

Mike 5:58 PM  

Sorry, Rex and all, you’re clearly not true Star Wars fans. People freaked out over that “Chewie, we’re home” line in the trailer for Force Awakens. All the dorks in my office were quoting that line.

Anonymous 6:02 PM  

Yes, typically g is soft (Like j) before e and i: gentle, gin. For some reason, tho, I think "gif" is usually pronounced with a hard g (like go), possibly because it is one letter short of "gift". Language is fun!

Girish 6:10 PM  

David, what's the formal name of the logical fallacy Mr. Jones does it (assuming, of course, he does), thus, i can do it, too?

Blogger 6:17 PM  

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Girish 6:27 PM  

Perhaps, I meant the ad hominem fallacy. It's one thing to not agree and another entirely to say someone is wrong because you feel you don't like him. Example: ("Who cares if the French oppose invading Iraq, they haven't won a war in centuries.")

OISK 6:37 PM  

Since I've seen only one of the movies, this was no fun at all. But I STILL would have finished, if not for Gotye. Gotye got me, and it is awful. You just can't cross a nonsense word like "Matata," that is uninferable with a "Gotye." I had Matana, which sounded right. Bah.

evil doug 6:57 PM  

GEORGE: Well, Jerry, I've been thinking. I've gotten as far as I can go with George Costanza.
JERRY: Is this the suicide talk, or the nickname talk?
GEORGE: The nickname. 'George' . What is that? It's nothing. It's got no snap, no zip. I need a nickname that makes people light up.
JERRY: You mean like...'Liza!'
GEORGE: But I was thinking...'T-bone'.
JERRY: But there's no "t" in your name. What about G-bone?
GEORGE: There's no G-bone.
JERRY: There's a g-spot.
GEORGE: That's a myth!

Anonymous 6:59 PM  

@Joe Dipinto (11:03), my thoughts exactly. The themers were all *on* script, but would have been more entertaining if they had wandered *off* script. The cross-reference answers could even be retained (though I thought they were kinda boring):

KAHUNA MATATA (24-across in a Hawaii-themed remake of "The Lion King"?)
SHOW ME THE MONET (59-across in an Impressionist-themed remake of "Jerry Maguire"?)
CHEWIE, WE'RE DONE (99-across in a gay-themed remake of "The Force Awakens"?)
WHY SO CURIOUS (61-across in a cat-themed remake of "The Dark Knight"?) [Thanks, @Arthur Alan!]

Tom 7:33 PM  

C is the Roman numeral for 100, so a hundred dollars is called a C spot.

Anonymous 7:34 PM  

@Anon 6:59 You win the prize!

Anonymous 7:48 PM  

A google search for CSPOTS yields only results relating the other, dirtier c spot!
I figured the C part was the roman numeral, but I've never heard 'spots' to refer to money or bills.. I guess it's an old timey thing?

Larry Gilstrap 8:12 PM  

Tricky enough themers for a Sunday, but not in my wheelhouse, by any stretch of the imagination.

The BONOBO is an endangered ape. I resemble that remark.

The SAN Gabriel Mountains form the northern barrier of the Los Angeles Basin and will be prominent on Tuesday viewed from Dodgers Stadium and on New Year's Day from the Rose Parade in Pasadena. My home turf.

Fred Romagnolo 9:04 PM  

I thought the big song in the Lion King was medulla oblongata, guess I just didn't have the brains to see that was illogical

Tita 10:30 PM  

@non @6:59 - priceless!! And yes - just what I thought about "Going off-script." In fact, I thought that "CHEWIEWEREHOME *was* the zany version of something else.

@Fred R - lol.

And thanks for the tongue-in-cheek ARTHURS defenders.
Very entertaining.

Joe Dipinto 11:48 PM  

@Anon 6:59 -- YES! Yes yes YES! So much better! Great altered quotations, and great clues to boot. Exactly what this puzzle *should* have been, and unfortunately wasn't. I salute you!

Bob Mills 1:27 PM  

Chester Arthur's wife Ellen died in 1880, just before he was nominated for vice president. But he did have children, so it isn't wrong to say the :"ARTHURS" occupied the White House after the "GARFIELDS." Because his daughter was too young, Arthur had his sister act as White House hostess and (substitute) First Lady.

A better clue would have been "GODFREY AND TREACHER, FOR TWO." Even better, "CHESTER AND BEA, FOR TWO."

Unknown 5:13 PM  

The crossing of random "2012 singer" GOTYE with !sport! term DEKE = death by lack of interest in popular culture. Could have gotten it by entering every letter, one by one, at the cross with capital of Quatar, until the app called me winner, but: didn't.

Edit: looked up the GOTYE song. This song sucks. It uses two and a half chords. Not creatively. Pah. I remember the days when songs were fun. And by THECURE.

Outside The Box 8:33 PM  

What’s up with all the 80D complaints? Clue is straightforward—who followed the Garfields?

If the clue was “First family after the Kennedys”
And the answer was “Johnsons,” would everyone freak out? Would that be “insensitive?” Gimme a break.

Rube 11:23 AM  

And incredibly people on this blog readily admit to being stumped by it. I have no idea what a gotye is but so what? Make much of? Does anyone actually say that? But so what? Cspots instead of Cnotes? Please. But so what? It took me 4 seconds because I wrote yep instead of yup.

Anonymous 6:22 PM  

you guys are too critical . I loved the puzzle

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

I solved ROYAL WE but still don't get it. Feeling left out since everyone else seems to love clue.

fakt chekker 10:49 AM  

roy·al “we”
the use of “we” instead of “I” by an individual person, as traditionally used by a sovereign:
"Queen Victoria once remarked, with British understatement, “we are not amused"

spacecraft 10:49 AM  

@anon 9:20: Recall Queen Victoria's "We are not amused." It's like the "editorial we."

I'm forced--forced, I say--to agree with OFL today. The first two LINEs were iconic, even though, as he said, 42-across really belongs to Gooding. They're not only in the language, but point directly to those movies. The last two...not so much.

Typical amount of fill groaners in a big grid, including a RPA (random play act). I'd call this a half-baked theme and a so-so fill. It does have a primo--or should I say PRIMA--DOD in the smokin' hot RENE Russo. Still, this OBSERVER can score no more than a bogey.

Burma Shave 11:39 AM  


my REFLEX is to HAND him his AMEXCARD


rondo 12:20 PM  

I guess I knew those LINEs, and YUP, gotta mostly agree with OFL. Shudder.
Several w/os at CnoteS, tePID, and YeP.

A soft spot here for HARPO since it was my dad's nickname. Kinda led to me being called Rondo.

Probably no more TEEUP and drive around here since it snowed this week.

Saw THECURE live last year. The clued song may not be their best, but probably their most popular.

GOTYE a gimme for me. The missus heard the first playing of "Somebody That I Used to Know" on 89.3 The Current (Dec. 2011) and immediately said it would be big. YUP. We travelled most of the U.S. in the summer of 2012 and it SEEMS like it was on *every* radio station everywhere (along with Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me, Maybe"). GOTYE's song features yeah baby Kimbra, whose crystalline voice and good looks steal the show in both the recording and the video, IMHO. Yeah baby. When you've been in as many relationships as I have that song resonates.

Wouldn't call this puz that SOLID, nor would I say it SMELT.

Diana, LIW 12:37 PM  

Saw the Lion King on stage, but not the movie. Only line I "knew" was SHOWMETHEMONEY. So the theme went right over my head. I just vaguely wondered what was going on, but didn't really pay attention.

But the puz wuz still fun to solve, for me.

now on to see what the LA Times has to offer this fine Sunday.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

FoleyFan 12:51 PM  

His sister moved into the white house with him and his daughter joined him there in 1882.

BS2 1:05 PM  


THECURE's a GRIN, IFSO you'll be fine."

"I don't MAKEMUCH of DOLTs delirous,
I ADVISE you, this ship is no CRUISELINE."


AnonymousPVX 4:09 PM  

I got the solve sans any fun or satisfaction.

What’s the kerfluffle over the Arthur clue? Everybody is so sensitive. Yikes.

The Best Star Wars quote: “It's a trap!”. I use it all the time. People crack up.

ChrisB 4:52 PM  


sharonak 5:11 PM  

I was worry to read that the line "Show me the money" actually belonged to another character, because the Cruise line" answer was the one that most resonated with me as a pun and made me smile.
On the whole I thought the puzzle fun, and easier than usual (tho I didn't think so to begin)
Was very glad to see several of you pointed out that there was more than one Arthur in the white house as I found the early complainers annoying (to put it mildly) and bewildering. First off, why would they assume everyone knows Arthur was a widower? Secondly, why would that mean he had no other family with him?
And why get so aggressive about it ?

Eric Selje 5:33 PM  

Yes, started with DEA.

Also Port for 25a, and Yep for 95a.

Eric Selje 5:38 PM  

Great song, if a bit overplayed. Great video. I agree you'd have to have cloistered yourself pretty well to have avoided it.

Eric Selje 5:40 PM  

If this commenting system had a HaHa 😆 button I'd have pushed it right there. I felt the same way.

Eric Selje 5:42 PM  

Give it a couple hundred more listens. It'll grow on ya.

Eric Selje 5:51 PM  

I don't think "deke" is only used in sports. I've heard it in other contexts.

Which is the half chord?

Eric Selje 5:53 PM  

+1 for plugging The Current. Best station out there.

Phillip Blackerby 1:08 AM  

Hard "G."

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