Theme song of Milton Berle / SUN 3-11-18 / One-named Swedish singer with grammy-nominated song Dancing on My Own / Hebrew for My God My God / Start of Yale's motto / Alternative to boeuf jambon / 2000s corporate scandal subject / Modest two-piece swimsuit

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Constructor: Matthew Sewell

Relative difficulty: Challenging (my time was really high, I don't exactly know why)

THEME: "If Found, Call ..." — a LOST DOG puzzle (1A: Heading on a neighborhood poster). Half the theme answers are imagined LOST DOG poster messages from fictional people, with a hint to where the LOST DOG can be found in brackets at the end. Other half of the theme answers contain the LOST DOG names, i.e. the names of the dogs are embedded inside the answers (in circled squares):

Theme answers:
  • DOROTHY GALE (28A: Last seen riding in a basket. If found, call ___ [see 106-Across]) / 106A: Proceed enthusiastically (GO TO TOWN)
  • THE DARLINGS (44A: Last seen in the nursery. If found, call ___ [see 84-Across]) / 84A:  Pretend (PUT ON AN ACT)
  • LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE (64A: Last seen with a red-haired girl. If found, call ___ [see 119-Across]) / 119A: Algebraic variables (XS AND YS)
  • NICK AND NORA (86A: Last seen chasing down clues. If found, call ___ [see 24-Across]) / 24A: "1984" superstate (EAST ASIA)
  • JON ARBUCKLE (100A: Last seen being mocked by a cat. If found, call ___ [see 46-Across]) / 46A: One who can't keep weight off for long (YO-YO DIETER)
Word of the Day: BANNS (72D: Marriage announcement) —
  1. a notice read out on three successive Sundays in a parish church, announcing an intended marriage and giving the opportunity for objections. (google) ["objections," LOL]
• • •

This is definitely one of the cleverer Sunday themes I've seen in a while, but for whatever reason, I could not find the handle. It took me a dog's age to finally understand the theme. I moved through the grid without getting a single theme answer for the longest time. Eventually stumbled into LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE because I got the back end of it, and the clue had "red-haired girl" in it. At that point, I had No Idea that 1A: LOST DOG was theme material. Even after that, I still flailed. Eventually got PUT ON AN ACT, and then XS AND YS, which gave me the connection to LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE, and thank god it did—this is one of the rare times that I actually had to *use* my knowledge of the theme to solve the damned puzzle. I wrote in ODIE and ASTA because I already had their owners somewhere in the grid, so I knew those dogs were "missing." And man did I need that help, because YO-YO DIETER and EAST ASIA were not about to fall on their own. I had so much trouble all around those answers—around YO-YO-DIETER because of so many wrong answers in the crosses, and around EAST ASIA because ... I just couldn't get anything in there. I had TSA in the NE, and (tentatively) SEND on the west side of that NE section, and a whole lotta nothing in between. PEI? LOL, like I know what or where Charlottetown is. ONT seemed so much more likely. [High land] was way too generic for me to get NEPAL, [Snares] too vague for me to get ENTANGLES, and PHAEDRA!? Ha, I have read the damn Racine play (Phèdre) and still had no memory of her being the [Sister of Ariadne]. EMOTE, no shot (51A: Scream or bawl, e.g.). BIG TOE, no shot (34D: Hallux, more familiarly). ELI ELI (!?!?!), no shot (9D: Hebrew for "My God! My God!"). I still don't think I get ELECT (26A: Power up?). Somehow that phrase relates to giving someone power by electing them? Too clever by 3/4. Still, again, theme = good.

Deadly mistakes. NECK TIE for SILK TIE (43D: Dressy accessory). BUSH I for DUBYA (28D: 43)—that damned "U" from UNO'S (36A: Pizzeria chain, casually) was the only letter I had ... but I realize now that GWB is BUSH II, not BUSH I. Ugh. STOP BY for STOP AT (75D: Visit during a trip). Wanted CINEMA for SCREEN (96D: Moviedom). Totally baffled by 87D: Love all around? (NO SCORE). And "A TALE"?? OK, I'm supposed to know that? (79D: Subtitle of Hawthorne's "Fanshawe"). I barely even know what "Fanshawe" is. I have an English Ph.D. If A TALE were at all good fill, this kind of insanely obscure cluing wouldn't bother me quite so much. Not much to like in the puzzle besides the theme, but the theme is undeniably solid. I wish I'd enjoyed myself more, but I at least respect this puzzle's concept, which (again) is much more than I can say for recent Sunday offerings.

[this is soooo weird, but in a great way—a cover of The Roches]

My "good thing" recommendation* this week is an app for sports fans called The Athletic. My crossword friend, baseball writer Diane Firstman, turned me onto The Athletic as a place where a sports fan could get insightful articles without all of the clickbait / advertising nonsense that often comes with sports sites on line. The layout / organization of the site is clean and clear, and the writing is strong and informative. You can customize it easily so that it will show you the news you want, by sport, team, or region. It's a very convenient, non-shouty, non-stupid way to get my sports info. This is especially important during baseball season, when I need to stay informed but don't want to enter the dumb, hype-driven, male-dominated egofest that is so much sports reporting (did I mention that two of the primary Detroit Tigers writers for The Athletic are women?). Anyway, there's this beautiful little "A" on my phone and I punch it every time I have a few minutes to spare and don't want to get sucked into social media. It's a subscription app (you get what you pay for!), and so far it has been Beyond worth it. I really read them and they're really good. OK, bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*genuine Rex opinion / not a paid ad

P.S. holy moly, I know BANNS very well because I studied medieval / Renaissance English literature, but it's not exactly well known now, and Who The Hell Knows "NEAR YOU"? What I am saying is, my condolences to the very many of you who undoubtedly went with BANDS / "DEAR YOU," which is a completely reasonable guess, what with, you know, wedding BANDS being actual things and all...

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Owen 12:16 AM  

Took me forever to figure out NOSCORE until I remembered love is 0 in tennis =). Actually managed to finish this one without looking up any answers, which is a first for a Sunday! I’m with you though on actually using the theme to figure out the answers, but for me it was thinking of fictional dogs and then getting the owners.

Brian 12:16 AM  

1A LOSTDOG kinda hints at the theme but seems to have no tie in?

Anonymous 12:19 AM  

Love all around—think tennis. No score. This one took me a while too!

Canon Chasuble 12:21 AM  

This is one of the finest Sunday Puzzles to run in the past couple of years. In fact, I would say it's bordering on brilliant. What a great idea to combine classic novels, iconic films, comic strips and a wonderful play in one wonderfully clued puzzle. Just having "The Darlings" and "Nick and Nora" in the same puzzle makes the purchase of the Sunday Times well worth it. It was not easy, and like Rex, it took me a while to figure out the dog theme, but it was well worth it. Once again, the Times has come up with a puzzle that requires thinking, not just a knowledge of popular culture. To find Phaedra and Odyssey and Oedipal in one puzzle, makes up for clunkers like Lost Dog and Teaser Ad. Thanks, Matthew Swell (& Will) for making this a nice start to Sunday.

Z 12:23 AM  

Gah! DNF at BANdS/dEAR YOU. Wedding BANdS as a wedding announcement makes sense and Milton Berle’s theme song was always going to be inferred from the crosses. Natick.

I got the theme right away with DOROTHY GALE. No real challenge after that other than having no idea who THE DARLINGS are or that NANA is their dog.

My only complaint is the BECK clue. This BECK is far more interesting.

David Stone 12:23 AM  

Didn’t love the puzzle as much by the end as I thought I would because my first ‘found’ dogs were ASTA, then ODIE (I keep confusing him with OPIE) and TOTO and SANDY, but then I ended on NANA from The Darlings‽ No idea who these characters are. The fill didn’t seem much more up-to-date than that entry, so I am surprised to see such a warm review of the puzzle (and who says TEASER AD?). But I’m glad you mentioned my Scrabble pal Diane — she’s a terrific player and a lovely person.

ColoradoCog 12:52 AM  

@Z. @David Stone, The Darlings are the family in Peter Pan.

Trombone Tom 1:00 AM  

I can truly sympathize with OFL as I, too, made practically every one of the missteps he listed. Add to that lei=>BIB.

Nevertheless I thought it was one of the best Sundays we have seen in recent months. The theme was interesting, even if not so current (not a lot of dog stars these days).

Why, Oh Why, do I not know Dorothy's last name after all these many years?

And I had a devil of a time trying to cram Bush into DUBYA.

Thank you Mr. Sewell for a crunchy Sunday.

Harryp 1:05 AM  

I think the theme is lost dogs by different movie and cartoon characters, embedded in other words are the names of the dogs. I am surely not the only one who just found out Dorothy of the Wizard of OZ last name is Gale! Jonah Arbuckle was another complete unknown. Also the Darling's and Nana. Didn't know them, or their pooch. Got er done anyways in normal Sunday time. Good puzzle.

Dave C. Jones 1:11 AM  

Does no one have a problem with EASTASIA for “‘1984’ superstate”? OCEANIA was the superstate in 1984. Not sure where East Asia fits in...

Dolgo 1:20 AM  

Although it's still debated by some, most Biblical scholars think that "ELI, ELI lama sabacthani" (i.e., "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me") is Aramaic not Hebrew.

Dolgo 1:22 AM  

PS For you pagans, that is one of Jesus's Seven Last "Words" on the cross.

Robin 1:36 AM  

I figure out the theme early enough, having filled in LOSTDOG and spotting ASTA in the middle EASTASIA, but the biggest problem there was working out who some of the owners were. I sort of knew ODIE's owner was JON somebody or other. And NICKANDNORA takes as many squares as THECHARLESES.

In any event the last section to work out was the DUBYA, ONION, ROBYN bit. I figured the 43 was a president, having seen somewhere that the Bushes used these numbers. But DUBYA came a bit too slowly. And having stopped paying attention to popular music in about 1987, I had no idea who ROBYN is. (If it was "Dancing by Myself", I could have answered that.)

So overall, an okay puzzle. Gave me some trouble in some spots, but finishing time was not embarrassing.

Wondering if some of the youngsters around here will ask who IMELDA Marcos is.

crh 1:37 AM  

@Dave C. Jones, EASTASIA is one of the other two superstates (along with Eurasia) that Oceania is constantly either warring or allying with.

Robin 1:37 AM  

@Dave C. Jones, The three superstates of 1984 were Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia

Phil 1:38 AM  

had —TO and tried OTTO first. Sarge's dog in Beetle Bailey

puzzlehoarder 1:50 AM  

This was a good puzzle. I mostly solved it as a big themeless. I knew the theme concerned movies and books etc., that included dogs and at times this helped to recognize the theme entries but mostly I stuck with the fill.

BANNS really intrigued me because I got it off the B and I can't figure out why. It felt like something I'd learned recently from a puzzle but xwordinfo doesn't bear that out. Maybe it's something I just knew.

After solving I did find all the dogs. ASTA was the only one who's shading showed up in my printout. I drew a blank on who THEDARLINGS were. NANA is a very common entry and xwordinfo shows that it's been clued this way 29 times! Those clues have included the authors name along with the family's name and the dog's breed. Somehow I missed all that but I still got a clean grid today.

@ lms, SNL gave the WV teachers a shout out tonight. That was cool of them. I just hope you don't actually drive a Frigidaire.

Sincerely your fellow union member.

jae 3:33 AM  

Tough, very clever and fun! Definitely an improvement over recent Sunday puzzles.

Loren Muse Smith 3:39 AM  

Like @Robin, I got the theme early, but with NANA and THE DARLINGS. I’m obsessed with newfies. And I read somewhere that in Victorian England, families would use a newfie as a kind of nanny for their kids. I just went spelunking in google, secured the dates for the Victorian era (1837-1901), and then found that Peter Pan premiered in 1904. I bet Barrie started writing it before Victoria died. And he owned a newfie. So there’s that. You got all this?

@puzzlehoarder – thanks for the heads-up! I’ll try to find it on YouTube. (I drive a nasty old ’98 Ford Ranger to and from school.)

SEND. I’m so glad that this wasn’t clued as “elate.” Can’t we all just agree that this meaning is about as old as “odd” for queer and “crazy” for mad? As old as spelling PREEMPT preëmpt? Maybe it’s just me, but I think using SEND to mean “elate” would be every bit as confusing, nay- more confusing, used outside crossworld.

Because the judge declared a mistrial, Lizzy Borden avoided prison, so she was sent.

98A “What’s left on tv?” This took me For Ever to get. And I had Hardball with Chris Matthews on in the background. Oops. (Hey – I know it’s really liberal. I actually tried to watch Fox for a while to get The Other Side, but I gave up.)

I know ASTA only from crosswords. NICK AND NORA lives in some reptilian part of my brain. But I had “Richard NORA” for a while. Dumb.

A couple of more recent theme possibilities:


I love dogs. I love puzzles. My bowl runneth over. Thanks for the fun, Matthew.

Unknown 3:53 AM  

@ Dolgo,

As someone familiar with Barnett Newman's "Stations of the Cross," I'd always known it as "Lema Sabachthani." And being familiar with the language, I knew that it was the Aramaic of the Hebrew "lama," which I'd always thought to mean "why." So I did some digging and found this:

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani (Ἠλί, Ἠλί, λιμὰ σαβαχθανί)-

Matthew 27:46
Around the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, saying "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" which is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Mark 15:34
And at the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God, for what have you forsaken me?"

Anonymous 3:55 AM  

@Dolgo - Christ was quoting the opening of Psalm 22, of course.

MommaJ 4:09 AM  

Feeling mighty pleased with myself for finishing a "challenging" puzzle for the first time, and one that gave Rex a hard time to boot! It's always fun to complete a puzzle that seems impossibly hard at first blush. This was a winner all around.

Anonymous 6:36 AM  

The Darlings are the family in Peter Pan, and Nana is their dog who serves as a nanny. :-)

Unknown 6:42 AM  

Tough one. I was done in by BANNS and my complete inability to spell ODYSSEY

Roberta 7:01 AM  

Finally an easy puzzle for those of us who know nothing about sports but know our children's books. Dorothy "Gale" is easy to remember if you think about the storm. And I thought everyone knew Peter Pan the way most of you probably think everyone knows who (Insert famous athlete's name) is 😊

Matthew G. 7:06 AM  

High time for me, too, but I loved the theme. In fact, a sign of how much I loved the theme is that I stopped worrying about my time and decided to just try to puzzle out all off the theme entries without the crosses.

Initially tried PUT ON AN AIR instead of PUT ON AN ACT, and had to go error hunting at the end. Then I realized AIR was its own entry just a short distance away and the potential dupe clued me in.

Anonymous 7:06 AM  

totally agree with all the positive comments. a zippy sunday puzzle. certainly makes up for all the duds, imho. sunday puzzles are like a grain harvest - some wheat, lots of chaff.

started slowly, ignored the circled clues and the cross references, but once i saw Odie and Asia the theme came together. did not know Nana and The Darlings and had "wanted" for 1A (lost dog) and "riot act" then "RICO act" for 22A (tear gas).

speaking of the bush fam, likewise, had the dan quayle approved "leantoes" for 21A (shanties).

less positive about banns/near you since "banns" is not common and "near you" could have been any of ten or more choices. bear you, dear you, fear you, gear you, hear you, etc.

oy, vey, another shout out to yale 110D (lux) which reminded me of the LTMC and was hoping Rex had the JASC on board to review the last tuesday of the month crossword. just sayin'

Moly Shu 7:06 AM  

3 letter word that goes around the neck? Well of course they’re trying to come up with a new clue for lei. Nope Moly, you idiot, it’s BIB. That and not knowing BANNS/NEARYOU (hi @Z, agreed:natick) held me up forever. This seemed stickier than most recent Sunday’s, which is good.
@LMS, my sentiments exactly, as in exactly opposite. I know Fox is really conservative, I tried to watch MSNBC.....

TomAz 7:15 AM  

There have been puzzles where I get giddy and excited and knock the ball out of the park.. only to find a rash of complaints on here or elsewhere that seem strange or foreign to me. Well today that shoe is most definitely on the other foot. To this sole solver, this was puzzle was ugly, unfriendly, and unpleasant. This puzzle feels like it came from some parallel universe where Charles Lindbergh won the 1940 presidential election and all the subsequent fun was sucked out of life.

I do not know SANDY or NANA. I do not know THE DARLINGS or JON ARBUCKLE. I barely know LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE and NICK AND NORA, but not well and only from afar. I do not know BANNS and YO YO DIETER or how to type the EURO symbol on a Mac. I am a serious home cook, and have been cooking for 30+ years, and I have never seen or heard of ORACH, not have I ever seen it called for in any recipe ever. I know who Paula ABDUL is, but not so much as an American Idol (which I have never watched) judge. I do not know the song "NEAR YOU" nor do I care to. I did not recall that DOROTHY even had a last name.

The theme concept is clever enough, I suppose, though the execution is so Maleskan it ruined any fun there was to be had here.

Lewis 7:38 AM  

As a dog and crossword lover, I came away from this puzzle with much fondness for this ode to crossword dogs (minus Otto), despite the fits it put me through. The bumps for me seemed spread through every area, where I had to root through my brain for shreds of words and meaning to make sense of clues and answers. The toughest for me was the BANNS/NEARYOU, because in my brain there was an echo of NEAR YOU, a song my mother played on the piano and sang often when I was a youngster, but I never heard of BANNS -- never! So, of course, "BANDS" made the most sense to me, even though the "NEAR YOU" was shouting, "No, you idiot!" It was my last square; I went with logic rather than my gut, and it was fatal. Trust me, I will remember BANNS, which has actually shown up five times in the Shortz era.

But again, great fondness for the theme, coupled with the fondness that floods me after a thinking person's puzzle, which this was, so I was left bloodied but unbowed, bruised but not broken, and filled with respect and gratitude toward Matthew Sewell.

Ando 7:46 AM  

Why is BOND "My word, maybe"?

Crossed with the alternate spelling of MACAU/MACAO that killed me.

Glimmerglass 8:07 AM  

Wow! For the second time this week, I found a NYT crossword easier than @Rex. However, anyone knows that his “slow” time was probably some minutes faster than my “easy.” The theme was clever and for me (for a change) a big help. ODIE told me that we were looking for 1A LOST DOGS (how often is the “revealer” unlabeled?). This allowed me to work the pairs backwards and forwards. E.g. NA suggested NANA, which told me that THED was going to be THE DARLINGS. DOROTHY GALE gave me TOTO, which revealed the otherwise obscure GO TO TOWN. A fun romp.

BarbieBarbie 8:08 AM  

BANNS was a gimme for me, I have no idea why, but “proclaiming the banns” seems like a thing. Maybe I’ve just read a lot of British literature. Speaking of which, a mental image I’ve carried since childhood is Mr. Darling banished to NANAs doghouse. I have no idea whether Barrie intended that as a joke, or “in the doghouse” came from Peter Pan. So anyway, once I saw ASTA, the 5 plus 5 plus 1 themers were easy, but the fill was crunchy enough to make this a normal Sunday time for me. And a very fun puzzle. Lots of things I didn’t know (spinach whaaa...?) but all gettable from crosses. Thanks and more please.

Glimmerglass 8:12 AM  

@Ando. from the expression, “My word is my bond.”

sf27shirley 8:24 AM  

Please watch The Thin Man! A smart spoiled dog, smart snappy dialogue, and more martini consumption than seem humanly possible.

sf27shirley 8:26 AM  

Because of the saying "my word is my bond."

JJ 8:34 AM  

This past week we've had some good trivia answers related to The a Wizard of Oz. Dorothy's last name, and earlier we had the " hand on the farm". Hunk, Zeke and Hickory. Love hat movie. I somehow solved this 10 minutes faster than average while semi inebriated. I think I enjoyed the puzzle- but I don't really remember.

Marty Sue 8:44 AM  

Perhaps I’m showing my age, but growing up in the Episcopal church I heard BANNS read out frequently, so I knew that one right away. (Not to mention ELIELI).

Ruth F 8:45 AM  

Loved this puzzle! Started out slow last night, but thought that was because of the tequila and nachos. Now I see I wasn’t alone in being slow to get a purchase. Woke up this morning and went through it quickly. Banns gave me no problem after 12 years of Catholic school. As another Newfie fan, delighted to see Nana in the puzzle. Dogs rule!

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

I too am mildly surprised but pleased that I found this way easier than Rex .... got Little Orphan Annie and Dorothy Gale early and thereby the theme was obvious to me. Had a few hiccups with "Near You" and a couple other unknowns so took some time filling in the stragglers but I don't time myself so whatever.

Love having a nice meaty Sunday puzzle!

-- CS

P-Pants 8:58 AM  

Not sure how a litany of personal trouble spots constitutes much of a review.

Birchbark 9:05 AM  

And the gold medal for non-value-added subtitle goes to A TALE. It signifies nothing, as they say -- except a correct prediction that @Rex would invoke the Ph.D./never-heard-it gambit. I like Hawthorne a lot and had the same reaction.

@Rex reviews this week have sustained a sort of sparkle not seen in a long time. Right down to today's note on BANNS, where I indeed DNF after triple checking the grid. Three weeks of announcements a BANN may be, but the BANd plays on to a wider audience ad infinitum.

bluesman 9:07 AM  

Growing up Catholic in the fifties and sixties, banns was a gimme.The Banns of Marriage were a part of the weekly bulletin in church, the purpose being to announce upcoming nuptials.

pmdm 9:13 AM  

I was born in 1950 and am Catholic. I remember the wedding BANNS being printed in the church bulletin for three weeks before a marriage ceremony. I don't remember when that practice went away. (A few years ago I was organist at a church whose only priest was extremely conservative - he even wanted permission to say the Mass in Latin. I was surprised to see he brought back the practice of publishing the BANNS in the church bulletin.) So I would think that a person who was Catholic (and, based on a comment above, Episcopalian) and is old enough is familiar with the turn BANN.

I very much agree with the many here who found this puzzle to be a very fine Sunday puzzle. And I also found it a bit more difficult than usual.

Interesting that the constructor relates that Mr. Shortz usually changes many of the Sunday clues that are submitted. He stated that Mr. Shortz is responsible for the clue for PLAYMATES and that he finds the clue a bit offensive. I see his point but am not that bothered. I wonder how many here, especially those women who comment, are bothered by this type of cluing. (By the way, I believe that Shortz used to edit Games magazine which had a connection, if I remember correctly, to the Playboy empire.)

QuasiMojo 9:13 AM  

As a former society page scrutinizer, BANNS was one of my first entries. (Although I tried typing the word BANNS in a letter recently and my autocorrect refused to recognize it.)

And I got the theme right off the bat from LOST DOG and then DOROTHY GALE (a gimme to this WIZ freak who used to have all the OZ books and who seems to be the only person in crosswordland who saw the movie "Ozma of Oz" since no one here yet has answered my query from a while back if anyone else had seen it.)

Rex, you left out ODIE in the theme section and forgive me but we all know you have a Ph.D in English so there is no need to keep mentioning it.

The "casually" in the UNO'S clue threw me since I have never ever heard anyone say "I am going to UNO." (Not that I know anyone who would go there.)

My neck ties are SILK TIEs. I was hoping for cummerbund or some equally fancy thing. (Same with that SASH clue. I wanted epaulet or diamond pin or something a bit more amusing than SILL.)

And yet, this was a totally satisfying Sunday puzzle. Not too groaningly punny and not too insiderish. Something for everyone, unless, like my brother, you don't like dogs.

Z 9:41 AM  

@sf27shirley - Perfect synopsis. I swear I get drunk just watching that movie.

@MommaJ - Congrats.

I’ve never read Peter Pan and it’s been centuries since I’ve seen the movie, I guess I don’t feel bad not knowing Wendy’s last name.

Apparently BANNS didn’t make it to the Calvinist tradition. While my mom’s side of the family was Catholic, I was raised in the Dutch Reformed tradition. That tradition including arguing over every theological point imaginable. Two Dutchmen. A Church. Three Dutchmen. A schism.

@Moly Shu - If you were going to find any MSNBC talking head palatable it would be Chris Matthews. He is, at best, a Reagan Democrat. He’s probably at least as conservative as Joe Scarborough. I doubt that you’d agree much with Ari Melber, but you might like his style. I’d argue those are the only two true conservatives on cable news (Scarborough and Mattthews, that is).

I’ve mentioned before that it really takes something special to prevent a 21x21 Sunday from turning into a slog for me. This one wasn’t all that sloggy, but I still didn’t like this as much as most it seems. I wonder if grokking the theme so early mitigated my enjoyment. I will say, from a visual interest perspective, the gray squares in the Sunday Magazine are far far FAR superior to those awful circles some of you online solvers were stuck with.

BarbieBarbie 9:51 AM  

My iPad squares were gray, and it was distracting, because they disappeared when the word got highlighting. Some algorithm work to do there.
I am having all kinds of trouble with the 7x7 KenKen. Anybody get it?

Teedmn 9:51 AM  

I liked the CONCEPT of this puzzle but the theme answers skew so old that I'm sure there will be complaints (I'm only whining a bit. DNF due to no idea about Peter Pan (I had the meRLINGS in the nursery) and my oft-made misspelling ODossEY. It looks goofy as hell here but it was fine in the grid). And another dupe today, of USSR (clue for UKR) and SSR as an answer.

Although I knew immediately from reading the clue that 19A was ARMOIRE, for some reason the clue "Standing closet" made me smile. As opposed to a supine or prone closet? It made me think of a grizzly bear, going from all fours to upright, ack, it's a standing closet, run!! Perhaps stand-alone closet would work better, or maybe it's just my sleep-deprived imagination GOing TO TOWN.

I noted some nice clues: "A bit cracked" for 56D's AJAR, the "around the neck" clues for BIB (I had Boa first) and YOKE, cluing MOUNT as "increase", the "War loser" misdirection for TREY.

I don't remember seeing the UINTA mountains before, which is a great addition to crosswordese, though Xwordinfo shows it has been in 8 puzzles in my solving era, the last time in 2013. I'll need a couple more sightings before it sinks in. UNOS pizzeria (why do I keep trying to spell that as pizzAria, which looks like an opera song), the chain is only 130 links long and nothing west of the Mississippi from what I could tell on their map. Closest to me is 208 miles in Appleton, WI. You West-coasters will have to travel a bit farther.

Thanks, Matthew Sewell.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Why has no one mentioned that "USSR" is in 81 down and "SSR" is the answer to 97 across? Is this not not-ok?!

I was depending on Rex to complain about this. My morning is now ruined.

mmorgan 9:55 AM  

Wow. This was reminiscent of an old-fashioned Sunday when the puzzle took all week instead of half an hour. Challenging, difficult, rewarding, and gratifying with lots of a-ha moments. Loved it! Thank you Matthew!

kitshef 10:01 AM  

Half expected Rex to feature a picture of Virna Lisi when I saw that NICK AND NORA answer.

That was actually a good Sunday puzzle, though I surely expected Rex to go ape about the themers being old. Didn’t remember NANA or THE DARLINGS, but that’s on me.

Bogged down a bit down at the bottom with at various times STOP in before STOP AT, TOok in before TOURED, ANgerS before ANNOYS, banS before ENDS, and bOost before MOUNT, plus flirting with but not entering like before EURO.

I’m with Rex not getting Power up for ELECT.

Wasted a goodly amount of time post-solve trying to find anatomical names for the other toes. Was unsuccessful, but learned some fun words like thrapple for throat and oxter for armpit.

Andrea 10:10 AM  

I grew up in a different country, with different books and all, and still I know all these dogs and their owners, just because of their presence IN CROSSWORDS, mostly, but anywhere else too (especially if one has kids).
Just saying.

Dolgo 10:13 AM  

Of course.

Martin 10:14 AM  

Ugh, I DNFd at BANNS too. Really nice puzzle otherwise though.

Matt 10:42 AM  

I only finished this because I mistyped bands as badns and, in fixing the typo, I changed the d -> n first and was shocked to see the gold star. Never heard of banns, never would have figured it out otherwise. What luck!

Nancy 10:44 AM  

A gorgeous, clever and elaborate piece of construction. And a real slog to solve.

Look, it had the two things I most hate in a puzzle: cross-referencing (I'm lazy), and lots of proper names. I was about to fling it across the room -- less than halfway finished -- when I suddenly spied LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE. (I hadn't seen SANDY yet, but no matter.) Thought I: If I can recognize all the theme names through letter pattern recognition, I won't have to do any more jumping around. Soon I saw DOROTHY GALE. (Still didn't spot TOTO, but no matter.) But I hung around and I finished. And since some of the embedded dogs actually did help me solve (I'm looking at you, SANDY and ASTA), and were not extraneous or "after the fact", I'll have to call this a quite good puzzle.

DITCH before DUBYA at 28D. (Think I was confusing "46" with "43"). Great clue/answer. TIE before BOA before BIB at 41A. TANK TOP before TANKINI (57D). DIS before MIS at 16D. SKY before SEA at 91A. STOP BY before STOP AT at 75D. These were some of the writeovers that made this puzzle a real bear for me. But I'm glad I hung around and finished.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

I had a hard time figuring out the theme as well. Once I realized it, I went a lot faster and wound up doing the puzzle in my usual time which is about an hour on Sunday.
I also knew banns from growing up Catholic where they were printed in the bulletin every Sunday.

Unknown 10:47 AM  

Weird, Tom. I'm kind of with you. Week after week, I'm reasonably comfortable here with Sunday puzzles that others hate. Today I found it rather painful, kind of lame, and expected to see Rex and others trash it. So naturally there's a fair amount of acclaim here. I was actually quite comfortable with all the theme answers, other than a brain cramp on Garfield's owner's last name. But I still didn't enjoy it. I can only imagine your pain.

Karma Chameleon 10:47 AM  

Man, I finished in 10 under my Sunday average, including it taking several min to find my spelling error: Macau for Macao. Am I the only one who found it easy??

Teedmn 10:53 AM  

And did anyone else put in hIps for 96A, "Sash supporter"? I figured if hips can be slow-dancing handles, why not use them to support a sash?(no, not a window sash :-) ).

Roberto Escobar 10:54 AM  

Thought the puzzle was good fun, and, for me, pretty easy. Did it in less than normal time(which is usually about double or triple Rex’s). Plus I’m a dog person and had my doggies sitting around me when I solved it. All in all a perfect way to start a sunny Sunday morning

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

To defend the Charlottetown clue, there have been two new adaptations of "Anne of Green Gables," which is a fairly pan-generational referent.

Unknown 11:00 AM  

It's hard to believe that most people would describe Chris Matthews as conservative, Z. I'm a bleeding edge liberal, and his views never manage to ruffle my feather. He DOES bug me more than almost anyone else on TV, though. Not the policies… the personality. I find the man incredibly rude. He asks one of his guests a question, and he never ever lets them answer it. He can't stop interrupting and injecting his own little comments. I find him very tiresome.

webwinger 11:03 AM  

This seemed hard while I was doing it, but I kept getting questionable answers right, grokked the theme early, knew all the dog-owner pairs and “finished” under my average time—except for DNF because of having confidently entered Lex instead of Lux for Yale’s motto. Unlike most here, it seems, including @Rex (shocking for a Sunday!) I didn’t get much of a charge from the puzzle overall. Did appreciate the clever clueing for some of the fill.

Kathy 11:06 AM  

Banns are still required for Church of England weddings in the UK. By law, apparently. They don't only show up in medieval literature.

Two Ponies 11:10 AM  

Best Sunday in ages. Well done Mr. Sewell.
Toto was the only character that had any smarts in that movie. He was the one who pulled back the curtain to expose the fake Wizard.
My avatar is a Cairn Terrier as well. The biggest little dog you'll ever meet.

Illustrations and cartoons of Peter Pan that I think of were St. Bernards.

Again the wonderful and funny Myrna Loy appears. A perfect balance with William Powell.

I did not know Uno's was short for anything.

Nice to learn banns. Interesting history.

Tucker Carlson is worth a look at Fox.
A news site that gathers from lots of different sources is Whatfinger.

A code phrase in the world of alternative sexual preferences is
"Are you a friend of Dorothy?".

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Took almost twice normal Sunday time.
Loved it.

TubaDon 11:17 AM  

Finally aced a puzzle that challenged Rex! Started with ARMOIRE, ORACH (which I've actually grown) and TORSOS and got the theme right away from LOSTDOG and DOROTHYGALE. All the theme answers were gimmies so was able to work contiguously down the grid with only a minor holdup at MSNBC and MACAO. For a change we were given a weekend puzzle without lots of unknown (to me) singers or rappers in it.

ArtO 11:22 AM  

LIke many others, thought this a superbly clever puzzle. Got the theme with LITTLEORPHANANNIE. Needed to Google ARBUCKLE's first name. Had the middle O and tried Tom and Don but never considered Jon.

A good workout and totally satisfying solve. Kudos to Matthew Sewell.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Rex, you forgot JON ARBUCKLE's ODIE ("Garfield").

GILL I. 11:25 AM  

What a terrific puzzle. Put me in a good mood. I started this last night and didn't want to put it down. Figured I'd want something to work on in the morning since I'm losing an hour anyway.
ODIE and his YO YO DIET made me revisit EAST ASIA and sweet ASTA. that's it! DOGS everywhere and their owners. I knew them all so that made it even more interesting for me.
BANNS was my bugaboo. Yay, I learned a new word. Had a few writeovers because I can't spell. OEDIPus/pos/pil?/whatever. I suppose if I didn't know BANNS, I wouldn't know that AsES were in stock at the Inn.
@TomAz...Your ORACH comment made me laugh. I, too, have never heard of that herb. Sounds like a vacuum cleaner brand.
Don't eat pizza because I've never met one that wasn't greasy so UNOS was hard to come by. Wanted the only one I know....PAPA. Everything else was just fun and enjoyable.
So dislike DST. I wish we'd just stay on it. My pups are like LOST DOGs when I wake them up an hour early to go to the park. Trying to keep the same schedule. At least it won't get dark until 7 or so.
Wonderful Sunday Mathew Sewell. Thanks...

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Great puzzle that gave me an hour of fun. Didn’t really notice dog names until after i finihed. Superb clues. Nothing not to like.

JC66 11:35 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike E 11:38 AM  

Wow, disappointed reading Rex's take on the puzzle. Expected him to complain about it being too easy - instead saw the word "challenging" and was really taken aback. Guess that's what makes the world. On the whole, it was the fastest Sunday puzzle I'd done in months. I thought it would have been more challenging if the lost dogs hadn't been circled - the clues where they were lost were already identified anyway. I thought the same thing for the daily puzzle earlier in the week with the parallel parked cars.

Only thing that slowed me down a bit was putting in "tank top" at first. After being forced to put in "tankini", I still wasn't sure it wasn't some hybrid mixed drink or just a martini served in a large beer mug

JC66 11:38 AM  


Eighty-six = ditch, so you were half right. 😃

Rob 11:39 AM  

Lovely puzzle. BANNS/NEAR YOU was definitely a problem for me, but everything else was quite nice and a pretty smooth solve. I had the advantage of my wife assisting, and her knowledge of classic film is much better than mine. I know the Thin Man, but not the names Nick and Nora. Luckily she's got me covered.

JamieP 11:46 AM  

Elect is a real head scratcher. I'm hoping against hope that the constructor is not using the first part of electricity as a verb, as in short for electrify. "My new house is still dark, I hope the power company elects is soon." Nah.

The Hermit Philosopher 11:48 AM  

Loved this! Thought it was relatively easy. EASTASIA revealed ASTA which immediately led to NICKANDNORA and ... bingo! Theme solved! 😄

cwf 11:52 AM  

I winced a bit at 73 down (PLAYMATES), but the constructor attributes the clue to Shortz et al and eloquently demurs.

Hilariously Jeff Chen briefly confuses The Darlings with these Darlings. (Yes, I'm easily amused).

Nancy 11:58 AM  

Now that's funny, @JC66 (11:38)! Thanks!

@GILL (11:25) -- "Don't eat pizza because I've never met one that wasn't greasy." Of course you haven't! Greasy is what makes pizza delicious. Just like it's what makes cheese delicious. (I know you've said you're a cheese lover like me.) Greasy is also what makes pate delicious. And chopped chicken liver. And sour cream dips. And all those other lovely things that send cholesterol soaring. (And that I should never, ever eat, but sometimes do.) But for heaven's sake don't go to Papa's!!!! That's like going to Pizza Hut. If you come to NYC, I'll treat you to a slice at Famiglia's in the nabe -- family owned, with the best ingredients. Greasy as hell, of course -- but I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

clk 12:04 PM  

The plot of many a Regency romance turns on getting a special license because an interfering stepbrother/uncle/guardian means there’s not enough time to read the banns for 3 weeks, so that was a gimme for me.

old timer 12:09 PM  

"It's a favorite place, that. It's where NICK asked NORA if he could put up the BANNS. (A slightly altered quote from one of the Miss Marple stories). I think the Catholics have a similar rule, but BANNS of marriage are very much an Anglican thing. Any objection is made by someone standing up and saying, "I forbid this marriage" and giving a reason, such as "She is underage and I am her father," or "I happen to know that NICK is already married" -- the reason must be one that could justify an annulment if the wedding ceremony took place, and not simply, "I know the bride still loves me" or "They would be an unsuitable couple."

The puzzle like many Sunday puzzles was slow for me, and like OFL, the themers really helped with the solve. Especially with LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE.

jberg 12:12 PM  

The puzzle was a challenge, mostly in a good way. The only themer surname I knew was NICK AND NORA Charles, so naturally that was the only one I didn't need to know. (Well, LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE --does she have a surname?) I finally came up with GALE and ARBUCKLE (after I had STOP in/iRBUCKLE), but never remembered who THE DARLINGS were, and didn't know the boxer, so the D was a guess.

I had ONION, so I would have gone with tIe except that I already had my SILK TIE on. At least that saved me from boa or lei.

@Loren, $sf27shirley knows what she's talking about! You should see that movie right away. As for me, I'm going to look for Ozma of Oz as soon as I get home from Florida. Thanks for the tip, @quasimojo, I hadn't known it existed.

BANNS actually crop up in literature a fair amount -- more than "churching," for example. Of course the idea lingers on in "speak now or forever hold your peace."

Almost DNF because of the aforementioned BIB and UNO sitting right atop of it. The thing is, I probably eat at a local UNO Ristorante 3 or 4 times a year (it's next to one theatre and two concert halls), and stop in for a pre-performance glass of wine many more times. But I've never had the pizza, so it didn't come to mind -- I was thinking more of the Domino's/Papa John's type of place, so I was stuck there. Plus, one I had the two Os I figured I was dealing with someone like me: a sO-sO DIETER.

GHarris 12:17 PM  

Brilliant concept. Though I never grokked the theme (despite immediately getting lost dog) I managed, much to my delight, to finish almost all of the puzzle correctly. My undoing was due to such insignificant answers as ales, ahas. That's because I started with Oedipus for Oedipal. Didn't know Arbuckle and crossing uinta was lethal. I too fell victim to bands for banns. Oh well, much to be proud of.

FrankStein 12:18 PM  

There was a musical on Broadway based on “The Thin Man” called “Nick and Nora.” It was a turkey. Asta, played by Riley, even had an understudy.

GHarris 12:22 PM  

Btw, I'd love to see Chris Matthews debate Tucker Carlson. Neither one would be able to get a word in or finish a thought.

Maruchka 12:22 PM  

Really nice theme clues and answers, yet ..

Most of the non-theme clues and/or answers felt overdone, here, as if twisting for twisting's sake. Wish I felt otherwise.

Anyone remember UNO bars?

Joseph Michael 12:42 PM  

Doggone it! Where have you been all this time?
One of the best Sunday puzzles in ages.

Masked and Anonymous 12:45 PM  

" … that damned 'U' … " [?!?!] Blog write-up gets a "D-".
Now @RP also has an English Ph(ooey) D. snort

The SunPuz done real good, tho. Doggies are the best.
Anyone who can think to hide a dog in X'S AND Y'S is a masterful cruciverbalist. arf!

Didn't know THEDARLINGS as bein from Peter Pan. Just figured THEDARLINS referred to @muse, @Teedmn, @Nancy, @Aketi, the @chef gals, @Two Ponies, @Q, etc. But NANA dog helped clear that up, eventually. Them other gals is still darlin, tho.

Are there any 4-letter doggies that didn't make the themer cut? Of course! SPOT! [Call DICKANDJANE. This is more M&A's level of literature.]

staff weeject pick: SIC.

Thanx, Mr. Sewell. U didn't hide two TINs and a RIN in there, somewhere, did U?

Masked & Anonymo11Us


snowmaiden 1:12 PM  

Can someone explain "War loser" = TREY?

GILL I. 1:14 PM  

@INancy...See, here's the difference. I LOVE anything fatty. Give me pork belly, bacon, chitlins, hell, I'd probably spoon a mouthful of pig lard into my mouth. I HATE greasy, though. Pepperoni swimming in grease or fried chicken swimming in grease is exactly how it sounds . Like greasy hair!
I'll take you up on Famiglia's, though. But first, a stop at Tavern On the Green for a Manhattan. My treat!

Malsdemare 1:18 PM  

Catholics and genealogists know about BANNS. In genealogy, wedding BANNS will tell you who the couple’s parents are (at least in French and German Church records) so they are a treasure. I was totally thrown by ELIELI; I sped-read the clue and wanted ELIjah or ELohim, neither of which work and when ELIEnI, fell, (see next whine) I shrugged it off as some obscure variation. SIxteen years of Catholic school, down the drain. I also brain-farted on DOROTHY, giving her a middle name of jAnE. That gave EjEsts a new spelling (though phonetically it works) and the mysterious ELIEnI. What an ENTANGLEment! I also had STOPby for a few minutes, until the K in ARBUCKLE appeared and I remembered JON’s name.

I thought the theme was terrific; I caught it early-ish so the solve became an Easter egg hunt.

@Dan Steele, I absolutely agree with your point about Chris Matthews. I wish he and Ari Melber would exchange time slots. Ari’s on too early here in the midwest and I really dislike Hardball. I purchased a Dammit Doll last week (looks suspiciously like the current occupant of the White House) for releasing strong emotions during the nightly news. But to watch Hardball, I’d need a doll that looks like Matthews.

Bob Mills 1:19 PM  

Bravo! Wonderful concept. My compliments to Mr. Sewell. Never heard of "BANNS," but otherwise everything fit beautifully. I loved the clue "43" for Dubya (George W. Biush).

Masked and Anonymous 1:19 PM  

@snowmaiden darlin…
I figured it was the card game WAR, where yer TREY is a real low, "loser" card value.

M&A Help Desk

Malsdemare 1:24 PM  

A couple times a year, I see a neurosurgeon at Northwestern in downtown Chicago. The absolute highlight is dinner at Pizzaria Uno’s, yes, familiarly known as UON’s, the best deep dish pizza on the planet. We go to the original UNO’s, where nothing has changed in the 40-some years since we worked downtown (US Steel for hubby, Reliance Insurance for me) and joined friends and colleagues for drinks and pizza at Sewell’s restaurant. There was then and is now always a line.

TJS 1:27 PM  

First time commenter. I think there are three or four Thin Man movies, the first being the best, but the follow-ups having some hysterical set pieces as well.Also, you might be interested in the career of Myrna Loy, who basically abandoned her career at its height to devote herself to the war bond project.
"Banns" reminded me of an article I read recently about a couple who held there wedding at a Whole Foods. When the official asked if anyone present had any objections, some guy in the back yelled "Twelve dollars for milk".

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

There was plenty of material in this one that was pre-1960, and very, very little that would be specific to anyone in the under-50 (or even under-70) crowd. I have a feeling there’s a generational gap with this one in terms of who found it easy/challenging.

QuasiMojo 1:32 PM  

@M&A, you got a LOL out of me today. Who was it who said "Kill your darlings?"

TJS 1:34 PM  

Forgot to mention, I thought this was one of the best Sunday puzzles in years. Thanks, Mr. Sewell.

Chicago Chica 1:34 PM  

Loved the puzzle. Filled in quickly except the the NE. In seventh grade I wore a giant doggie costume to play NANA in Peter Pan, but could not figure out how to put Peter, Wendy, Tinkerbell or any other names I recalled into 44-Across. The Darlings! Who knew! Studied Ancient Greek in college too but Phaedra, you lost me. Cheers!

Mother Pence 1:36 PM  

I have watched all of the Andy Griffith shows many times (so wholesome!) and never realized that the Darlings have a dog named Nana!

EdFromHackensack 1:44 PM  

Got the theme early, but still a struggle. I didn't know JONARBUCKLE at all, got it on the crosses. I thought it had to do w Fatty Arbuckle. I was undone by BANdS/dEARME. And I am a practicing Catholic born 1959. Everything else I got. Loved this puzzle.

Stanley Hudson 1:44 PM  

Obnoxious, shouting “journalists” like Tucker Carlson and Chris Matthews are one big reason why I stopped watching news on television some 25 years ago. A decision I’ve never regretted.

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

Enjoyed the made my head hurt but won the battle since I did finish even though it took almost two hours. Got hung up on soso dieter rather than yo-yo dieter ....

Lewis 1:57 PM  

Coincidence, I'm sure, that the founder of Uno Chicago Grill, and constructor of this puzzle share the same name.

RJ 1:58 PM  

It took me a while to finish this puzzle...not sure how long due to multiple interruptions. When I can spend an hour and get the vast majority of the puzzle done I consider it a win - I really enjoy the time I spent with this one. Now I have to admit that I had no idea that the comic dogs' names were in the answers. I guess it made no difference to me.

I started out with wow! because I filled int he NW corner quickly...but then came the themers. Technically was a DNF due to the SE corner due to a pile of errors: JONARBUNKLE instead of JONARBUCLE so no SCREEN, YDS instead of TDS, did not know ORD, LINEFLY instead of LINEOUT, etc. Never heard of UINTAs.

The rest of the puzzle was just a matter of working through and drinking enough coffee.

cwf 2:06 PM  

@Lewis Neat catch! N.B. They share the same last name.

WTR 2:10 PM  

Much more interesting Beck is Jeff Beck, and better in tune with puzzle theme.
Or look for him with Eric Clapton and YardBirds.

WTR 2:16 PM  

Must say, I had a great time with this, even if I did fail on the BANN BAND. The joy of the solve outweighed that one loss. Would have much preferred clueing BECK as YardBirds Guitarist (Jeff Beck) - a much more talented person than Glen Beck, and closer to time frame of other references.

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

I found this quite easy. My normal Sunday time actually. I got the theme with Dorothy Gale and the dog (Toto) last seen in the basket. Apparently I'm one of the few people who knows Jon's last name in Garfield (whether that's a good thing or a bad thing I leave for others to judge). Wanted Wendy Darling but it wouldn't fit, and wanted Nick (or Nora) Charles, which did but didn't cross. I thought everyone knew Peter Pan and the Darlings. My only major hangup was a brain f**t on Little Orphan Annie's dog. I did like the puzzle and the theme, just wish it weren't so easy (even knew or inferred Uncle Miltie's theme song, and who doesn't know you put up the banns for marriage). No Natick there!

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

Even in the 1970s, the small Catholic church I attended printed "Banns of Marriage" announcements 3 times before a wedding.

If you read the Anne of Green Gables series, you would know that Charlottetown is the capital of Prince Edward Island, and PEI seems to be a regular bit of crossword-ese these days.

sixtyni yogini 2:43 PM  

Thought this was going to be a fast, easy one after Asta and lost dog. Not easy but enjoyable. Loved the clues, mind flexors.
Good one.

Kimberly 2:59 PM  

Great theme. Great on many levels.

But the constructor’s brain is so completely different from mine that I could never get into his mindflow, and every answer was pulling teeth. Usually I can kind of settle in to how a constructor is thinking and the associations start coming smoothly but this was rough for me from start to finish. Even the last few answers I filled took a second to parse: “How does that....oh. Ok.”

My fault, not his. But it’s rare for me to encounter a constructor so inscrutable to me. Perhaps I’m growing stupid in my old age.

Maddiegail 3:12 PM  

Because I am o-l-d, the banns of my upcoming marriage were announced at Mass, and I am one of the "WTH" who knows Near You from watching Milton Berle every week. So there!

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

JON ARBUCKLE owns both Garfield and Odie

Harry 3:13 PM  

Count me in on the Great theme, great puzzle side. one of my better Sunday times. I got "lost dog" to help with the theme and got yoyo dieter quickly, so I was off and running in a way that I usually don't on a Sunday.

GeezerJackYale48 3:15 PM  

His rudeness was why I stopped watching him also.

Horace S. Patoot 3:19 PM  

Jambon is porc !

Newfie Joe 3:26 PM  

BANNS should be familiar to a sophisticated New Yorker. It was by announcing banns that Rev, Brent Hawke in Toronto (Ont, not PEI) circumvented the law and snuck in same-sex marriage. The US followed suit several years later.

Mike Rees 3:46 PM  

Hand up for DNF due to natick at BANNS/NEARYOU. Sonofabitch. Everything else landed me right at medium difficulty, and I wandered well over my usual Sunday time trying to find my mistake.

Mike Rees 3:47 PM  

Nice catch, Horace. They probably meant poulet and just missed it.

Mohair Sam 4:06 PM  

Well we found it challenging, and loved it. Best Sunday puzzle in ages. Haven't had to work this hard on a Sunpuzz in ages. Oddly, BANNS/NEARYOU was a snap for us, but ARBUCKLE, THEDARLINGS, and the clever cluing tortured us. Great fun.

Learned DOROTHY's last name today. No problem with the ELECT clue, especially with the power government officials have over the rest of us these days.

@Newfie Joe - So he used the BANNS to perform a BANNed wedding. Makes sense. Cool.

Phipps44 4:13 PM  


Phipps44 4:16 PM  

Absolutely delightful books, and good movies!

Carola 4:27 PM  

Such a clever and enjoyable theme - AND the toughest Sunday I can remember. Appropriately, I myself was LOST a good number of times as I tried to match up owners and their pets. Seeing the LOST DOG theme early on, with DOROTHY GALE and TOTO was definitely a big help, e.g. with SANDY getting me those XS AND YS, but I couldn't remember who owned ASTA and had no idea who might be searching for a lost ODIE. Many opaque clues repeatedly blocked my path to the finish line (was a "war loser" a "TeEn"? - perhaps fighting to get the car on a Saturday night?). But finally, all the correct letters were found and put in place. Big thanks to Matthew Sewell for the challenge and fun.

IrishCream 4:56 PM  

I’m not (quite) 40, but this was a fast Sunday for me. I know Peter Pan well enough that I got the theme right away, which helped.

Hungry Mother 4:56 PM  

Great puzzle, but it took me quite a while. Growing up Catholic gave me BANNS, as it did many others here. Back in the 70s, when I was a long-haired professor, I played Jesus in the yearly reading of the passion, so I knew ELIELI very well. I caught on to the dogs when I saw “Sandy”. I don’t mind dogs if they don’t bother me while I’m running or riding my bike. I do mind dog owners who don’t obey leash and litter laws. I agree that this puzzle was the kind that would be solved in front of the fireplace while being snowed in. Solving it here in Naples didn’t have exactly that flavor, but I had fun for a long time.

sanfranman59 5:01 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:15 4:09 1.03 60.3% Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:03 5:26 0.74 3.4% Very Easy
Wed 6:48 6:07 1.11 67.8% Medium-Challenging
Thu 7:39 9:51 0.78 17.9% Easy
Fri 11:12 11:42 0.96 44.1% Medium
Sat 15:59 17:21 0.92 43.5% Medium
Sun 26:05 21:22 1.22 80.1% Challenging

I'm a little surprised that this took me as long as it did, but I think the cluing was pretty obscure in places and it was difficult to jump around the puzzle to associate the dogs with their owners. Also, I was interrupted part way through for about 20-30 second, so my time is a little bit inflated and it was probably enough to nudge it over my threshold from a Medium-Challenging to a Challenging Sunday. I can't say that I enjoyed this solve much, but it may just be because I was hoping for a quickie so I can get out for a hike on this beautiful day. I probably should have held off until this evening.

Z 5:31 PM  

@Stuart Showalter - Two thumbs up.

“That’s not pizza. That’s a lasagna.” I love deep dish and thin crust, but I have to admit Jon Stewart’s line about deep dish Chicago style is funny and not far from the truth. I’ve had UNOS at the original and at the franchised off-shoots. Go to the original. If you’re in West Michigan go to Skile’s in Holland for thin crust or Fricano’s in Grand Haven for that good greasy pizza. In Detroit Supino’s in Eastern Market or Buddy’s (for Detroit style) are your best pizza bets.

@Dan Steele - I most definitely do not qualify as “most people.” I agree with you and the rest of the gang on Matthews unbearable rudeness. I wonder if new guests are ever warned. Anyway, anyone who publishes odes to Reagan can never be considered a liberal. Reagan Democrat is probably the most apt description of Matthews, but he would not have been out of place in Eisenhower’s party. Of course, I’d argue there aren’t that many Eisenhower Republicans left in the Republican party since it has been overrun by southern Democrats. But that’s a whole other discussion.

Z 5:35 PM  
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Stanley Hudson 6:33 PM  

From Wikipedia on Chris Matthews:
"Matthews has said, 'I'm more conservative than people think I am.... I voted for George W. in 2000.' has called him the 'most conservative voice' on MSNBC's primetime lineup. Matthews has been accused by Media Matters for America of having panels of guests that skew to the right and of supporting Republicans in his own questions and comments.

So Matthews might agree with @Z's assessment. Interestingly, Matthews was Tip O'Neill's chief of staff when the late Speaker did almost daily battle with the Reagan administration.

Uncle Alvarez 6:37 PM  
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Robert Berardi 6:51 PM  

Loved it, except... If Sandy was last seen with Annie, why are we calling Annie?

Joe Dipinto 7:20 PM  

@Robert Berardi 6:55 -- Exactly.

I found this puzzle to be the most convolutedly insufferable slog to get through. The cluing was unreasonably obtuse for a Sunday and the payoff pathetically weak. I hated every minute of solving it. I want to gouge my brain out for having wasted so much time on it.

Joe Dipinto 7:40 PM  

@TJS 1:27 -- actually there were six Thin Man movies: the original, followed by After The Thin Man (with a young James Stewart as the villain!), Another Thin Man, Shadow Of The Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home, and Song Of The Thin Man. I wish I'd spent the time I did solving this turkey of a puzzle watching all six of them instead.

Anonymous 7:40 PM  
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Anonymous 7:45 PM  
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Matt 7:48 PM  

Loved this puzzle. I’m always a slogger but I love dogs and I completed it without help and I’m beaming. We’ve had many furry canine children in our lives and they have made me a better person. I even knew Jon Arbuckle was the owner of Odie and Garfield right off the bat. And I just saw Gromit in a recent puzzle. Of course I thought of Charlie Brown and Snoopy when I saw red haired girl as a clue as he always wanted to talk to her but was too shy, but finally got Little Orphan Andy from xSANDYs. Look forward to seeing Scooby Doo, Dogbert, Otto, Lassie, Brian, Pluto, Goofy, Benji and my all time favorite, Mr Peabody, as he made history fun, if not true!

Ferlin Dusky 8:22 PM  

Once again, a vanilla puzzle and a vanilla blog.

Z 9:32 PM  

A Bowie Wedding Picture made for xword solvers

Fatflappy 10:05 PM  

I hate the moderation on this blog!

Anonymous 10:05 PM  

Allow me to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dick Swart 10:15 PM  

AAARGHHH! Pen in hand so long without writing, the ink dried up!

Mohair Sam 10:24 PM  

@Z - LMAO. Your best link ever.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:29 PM  

Here is what I generally want from a Sunday puzzle: A theme that's properly executed (it doesn't have to be super outside-the-box or anything, just something that works), some sparkly clues, but most importantly, a clean fill. A shitty fill on a 20x20 or so puzzle grid becomes dreadful quite quickly.

Boy, this wasn't a clean fill by any means. Plural interjections (AHAS), weird abbreviations (TPKS), repetitions (UKR/SSR crossing), UEY PEI ORD HAI GTO ASU BAA ATALE BANNS MACAO ORACH UINTA... Just a ton of bizarre stuff.

The theme is also not the friendliest, but it's OK. Most of the answers are gettable from the crosses, and nothing wrong with a little brain exercise on a Sunday. But again, that SE region and the short answers really turned me off. Oh well. I still appreciate the effort with the theme and the clues, but this is a puzzle that's slightly above average at best.

GRADE: B-, 3.1 stars.

David W 2:12 AM  

BANNS might have been fine if it crossed something else less obscure. BANDS I thought was a very clever answer. How better to announce you are married than with a wedding BAND?

Clearly I'm not catholic. Naticked.

AdamW 2:39 AM  

There are 3 states in the novel, alternately at war with each other.

salty 10:59 AM  

what's an "option" key? I can only guess that it's on a non-standard keyboard used by the same company that inexplicably gets a free ad in almost every single grid.

Anonymous 11:43 PM  

Nope Karma Chameleon you are not...I agree one of the best in a long time but not overly difficult

Sara Frederic 10:35 AM  
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Unknown 11:53 AM  
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Unknown 3:36 PM  

It took a long time but I finally got it. 59 across toll roads was my break. I originally had tpke then saw it was plural and was able to get sloe.87 down and 98 across had me stumped for a while, until I got 99 down. Tough puzzle, I don't think Rex got this one.

Truthteller 10:33 AM  

I think Rex Parker needs to stop calling himself the "greatest crossword solver in the world". This one, like many others that stump him, was very very easy.

LBEE 10:23 AM  

What does dubya mean in relation to Bush 2?

spacecraft 12:06 PM  

During this solve I had one of those moments when my brain surprises me. Starting in the SW I had GO[TOTO]WN, so went to 28 across and wrote DOROTHY, which left me with four squares. From somewhere I thought ?GALE? but knew perfectly well that I did not "know" the girl's last name. I didn't fill anything in until, much later as I was finishing in ELNORTE (not "el este," where that entry's located), I saw that it was indeed GALE. Weird. Ever have a moment like that?

I seemed to get the CONCEPT earlier than OFL did, and would actually rate this easy-medium. There were only two super-states in Orwell's classic: EASTASIA and Oceania. There sits a dog in the former: "plusgood" for me. BTW, I had shaded areas, more aesthetically pleasing than circles, IMHO.

Good, clever theme well executed, and fill that maintained a reasonably high standard until we get to the SE. Was this the constructor's last area to work on? It just looks like he got tired. DCELL, ATALE, XSANDYS (necessary, I guess, for the theme, but EGADS!) and the dreaded UEY spoil what could have been an eagle.

I don't know if DOD Faye DUNAWAY was ever one of Hef's PLAYMATES, but she certainly could've been. Yesterday NOSCORE; today birdie.

Time to ADJOURN.

Eric Selje 12:49 PM  

Cured porc, but still porc

Eric Selje 12:55 PM  

Interesting to see the widespread variance of difficulty level related here. This 49 year old finished about as quickly as he ever has for a Sunday, with the requisite error on Near You/Banns.

There was a lot of stuff hanging around your neck in this puzzle: bibs, yokes, and silk ties.

Burma Shave 1:24 PM  




rondo 2:04 PM  

No problem with BANNS, they still do that in Sweden. Biggest issue was finishing 28, 29, and 30d because of UNOS. Like @teedmn mentioned the nearest is hundreds of miles away. There is a Pizzeria UNO just a couple blocks away from where we stay when in Chicago, but I had no idea UNO'S was a chain.

For one of the yeah BABIES I'll nominate ROBYN Carlsson who was writing songs for the Eurovision competition at age 17. ORE any of the BOND girls ORE PLAYMATES.

Even with all of the cross-referencing this puz was better than most Sundays. Small subtraction for USSR in a clue and an SSR answer.

AnonymousPVX 2:13 PM  

All due respect, but with all the political news for the last 20 years, who doesn’t know that President George W Bush is known as DUBYA?

I liked this Sunday puzzle, first time in weeks I can say that. It was tough, but at least you could build answers.

Diana, LIW 2:16 PM  

After what seems like weeks of puzzles I struggled with, I got the concept of this one very quickly. And that helped with the solve. And the other answers came fairly easily to me too. Who know why one puz is hard and another is EZ? The only bit I didn't know was Yale's motto. I mean, really.

Loved all of those fictional doggies - my favorite "actors" whilst growing up.

So this puzzle's constructor hit it straight to me - the shortstop. And a short stop it was for a Sunday bit of fun.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 2:23 PM  

This was one of the most enjoyable Sunday puzzles in quite a while. I was fortunate to know all the "dog owners" except for DOROTHY's last name. Good to learn that.

So, I didn't find this uber challenging; more medium tending to challenging. Excellent clues abounded and for the Big Sunday, very little dreck. Two w/o's: Boa before BIB, and STOP in before STOP AT.

Hardest section for me was the SE where LUX, SCREEN, and those Utah mountains caused the loss of several of M&A's nanoseconds.

But, the theme was hugely clever, and the fill lived up to the theme's standard. I guess 1A was the revealer, but hard to see that immediately.

Anonymous 2:54 PM  

This was a really fun puzzle to do - no asst until I could NOT get the lower right corner, kept trying to fit Garfield in there, what the heck is trey??. I had bans for ends wanted anything but sills. The clues were clever and I really had to think outside the box. 1A was a giveaway and I got little orphan annie from the annie like rex. but didnt know her dogs name. Got nana early on but kept thinking tink or peter or wendy - none of which worked at all, but all and all the best puzzle in a dogs year. Again week after as I live upstate. After 3 nor'easters and tons of snow and dodgy commutes etc. The sun is out - still here it is single digits at night. Might as well be January. so greetings from snow country all you downstaters.

Anonymous 5:51 PM  

Can someone please explain “trey” for 115A ?

rondo 7:15 PM  

@anon 5:51 - a TREY, or a three, is often a loser in the card game War. It only beats a deuce.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

Ah.... thanks !

Phillip Blackerby 10:19 PM  

XS AND YS gave me SANDY, which gave me the theme. But the X led me to paX instead of LUX, so the rest of the SE corner was a problem, especially AT_ERED. Of course, I went to Brown ("In Deo Speramus") instead of Yale (had to look it up, "LUX et Veritas").
As a young'un, I had to read the entire Catholic church bulletin aloud on the way home from Mass every Sunday. BANNS were always listed there.

Steven J. St. John 10:02 AM  

Painful puzzle. I know Dorothy and Toto, but didn't know Gale; I know Arbuckle and Odie, but didn't know Jon; I know Little Oprhan Annie, but not that she had a dog; and I don't know who the other pairs are. Add to that the difficult cluing in places and I wish I had that hour back.

Unknown 12:13 PM  

Rex,regarding Charlottetown, there is a whole world outside of the US border.

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