Squared building stone / SUN 10-21-18 / Rapper with 2017 #1 hit Bodak Yellow / First African American sorority / Manhattan neighborhood next to lower east side / Seventh-year exam in Harry Potter

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Constructor: Finn Vigeland

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (9:06, which is Easy, but ... there were some crosses ...)

THEME: "You're Going Down" — theme answers are all Downs and are all familiar phrases; clues are wacky and make sense only if you take the answer "literally," i.e. mentally supply the word DOWN after the answer in the grid:

Theme answers:
  • BABY STEPS (3D: Headline after a toddler C.E.O. resigns, literally?) (get it: "BABY STEPS *DOWN*")
  • ELEGANTLY PUT (62D: Dissed with flowery language, literally?)
  • LUCKY BREAK (7D: Car failure only a block from the mechanic, literally?)
  • CUTE AS A BUTTON (34D: Like the dress shirt that's just adorable, literally?)
  • PUPPET SHOW (73D: Punch vs. Judy, literally?)
  • THERE'S THE RUB (14D: "For a massage, go that way!," literally?)
  • JAZZ HANDS (77D: One answer to the question "What's your favorite music genre," literally?)
Word of the Day: ASHLAR (55A: Squared building stone)
  1. masonry made of large square-cut stones, typically used as a facing on walls of brick or stone. (google)
• • •

I did not get this. At least not while solving. Tore through it, thinking I was getting the joke, at least a little, because, well, with BABY STEPS, "steps" can mean "leaves" or "takes off" (colloquially), so I was like "ah, repurposed phrase ... for some reason." Same thing with LUCKY BREAK. Your car "breaks" near a garage—that's lucky! OK ... THERE'S THE RUB, again, reimagining the meaning of the word, got it ... still not sure why I'm doing it, but I got it. Then I got to CUTE AS A BUTTON and I honestly didn't get it. But also didn't care. Kept going. Got to PUPPET SHOW and thought "that is ... literally ... what Punch & Judy is ... I do not understand." Only as I was writing in the final themer (which, for me, was ELEGANTLY PUT) did I realize you needed to supply DOWN for the clues to make sense. Only, as I say, several of them "make sense" without the mentally supplied DOWN, so this one felt off and weird. The DOWN just didn't reorient several of the answers enough to be interesting. Also, what is ASHLAR? I mean, it's my Word of the Day, so now I sort of know, but ... Yikes.

[WARNING: PROFANITY, right off the bat and throughout]

Was all set to tell you exactly where this grid's problems were, but then I saw this tweet, and ... it gets right to the point, so I don't have to:

AMARNA (18A: Where cuneiform was discovered) and ASHLAR are easily among the toughest answers in this grid, but that's fine. Crosses are fair, and I actually knew AMARNA from ... well, crosswords, duh. Nothing wrong with tough. There is, however, something wrong with VADUZ (48D: Capital of Liechtenstein). Now you can go on all you want about how "everyone should know every world capital how could you not know blah blah blah?" and that's fine, that's you, you're who you are and god probably loves you, but unless you are a list memorizer (you know who you are, you trivia folks, I see you) then you almost certainly don't know VADUZ. I don't even know how you pronounce that. I can't remember ever seeing it. And its letters are entirely uninferrable. Sooooo the crosses really should be fair. But you've got not one but two proper noun crosses ... and one of them is a rapper, which, you know, she had a #1 hit, and she is legit famous, but only recently so, which means millions of solvers still don't know who the hell she is.

Also, why would anyone know BRATZ is spelled with a "Z" (67A: Popular line of dolls with "Kidz" and "Babyz" spinoffs); I did, for some reason, but it's entirely plausible that a solver would not. I guess the clue is supposed to tip you to the spelling. Not sure how well that's gonna work. So VADUZ is really cruddy because, well, you know going in, if you're the constructor / editor, that you are going to screw some people (a bunch of people) on the crosses. You shouldn't feel that way About Any Of Your Crosses. And I know the constructor knows the rapper cross is dicey 'cause he did a little smiley-face social media post about it. So if you tanked it, just know he's smiling and winking at you.

Saw "Psycho" tonight with live orchestra and it was Great, except ... well, the movie is so phenomenal (I've seen it roughly 845 times) that by the end I totally forgot there was a live orchestra. I was just engrossed in the movie. And then the end came and I was like, "oh, right ... you guys! Right underneath the screen! Good job!" Anyway, film w/ live musical accompaniment is the stuff! Highly recommended.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


GHarris 12:17 AM  

Was all doable and enjoyable until the natick where Cardi B crossed Vaduz . C'mon. Yeah I know her but still. Rex said it all for me this one time.

jae 12:18 AM  

Easy except for the dnf. I knew BRATZ but not VERDUZ and I thought I knew CARDI B but I put a t where the D was supposed to go so....dnf.

I did like it, implied downs, cute.

Anonymous 12:21 AM  

What does the word RENT have to do with “quote from a letter.” 102D?

Anonymous 12:53 AM  

I’m an old guy and CARDIB has been in enough puzzles that she should be known to all. BRATZ is also fairly clued, so VADUZ, even if you don’t know it (which I do) was easily gettable. @Rex is off base on this one. Puzzle was fun and easily doable if one gets the theme early on.

TomAz 1:21 AM  

Rex, the way you know (or, infer) that BRATZ is spelled with a Z on the end is in the clue. "Kidz" "Babyz". It's right there. I didn't know VADUZ, but I didn't not know it either. I mean, I've seen it, I couldn't produce it, but I knew VINE and I'd heard of CARDI B and with V_D_Z I got the rest.

I thought the theme was solid, as far as Sundays go. Rex does make a point in that some of the themers sorta maybe make sense without the "down", but, they make a lot more sense with it, and, we had the puzzle title to clue us in, so I think it was OK as is.

NOLITA I knew (thanks Steve Earle), but SANDRA OH is a complete stranger to me. And never heard of PANEM, so the crossing N was a (logical) guess.

I know some farmers (really, I do) but I have never heard a one say the word HECTARES ever. I suppose that is US-centric of me, and I suppose the clue was trying to confuse the answer with "acres" as a misdirect, but I dunno. Felt weak.

EGAN, BANA, NAENAE.. what's with the recycled answers lately? ASHLAR, though, should never be recycled, and instead safely disposed of in a secure area.

In the end, this was a decent enough puzzle, the theme worked, the Sunday sloggish-ness factor relatively low. B+. Would have been an A- if not for ASHLAR.

Harryp 1:54 AM  

This might be easy if you are up on PPP. My fail was EGAN, SANDRAOH, PANEM down below, and HULOT, ALLA above. I hate to Google while solving, but I was out of touch with these. DNF

Brookboy 1:59 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle, which played about medium for me. Agreed with Rex about the BRATZ and VADUZ crossing, except when I had BRAT_, I cleverly figured out that the last letter might be a Z, given the clue with the words “Kidz” and “Babyz”. I thought the areas that were tough for me had reasonable crosses, so I finished fairly quickly. For me.

Started with Kvetch for 23A, but quickly got straightened out by the crosses to KIBITZ.

Not sure how many are familiar with Eric BANA (103D). My wife and I saw him some years ago in a movie called “Chopper” in which he played a real-life notorious Australian criminal Mark “Chopper” Reade. It is a compelling performance (although not for the squeamish), and I recommend it highly. Mr. BANA has gone on to other things since then, but that particular performance stands out in my mind.

And so the World Series is between the Red Sox and the Dodgers. What is a Yankee fan to do?

chris b 2:11 AM  

Second personal best time of the week for me! (also wednesday. pats self on back)

The clue for BRATZ was a pretty good clue-in that it was a "z"

Randy (Boulder) 2:26 AM  

Didn't get the theme at all 'til I came here. Maybe an in-puzzle revealer would have helped?

Oh, the crosses! Several Natick squares for me. Never heard of NOLITA, HULOT, or OLD VIC, so two squares in NOLITA were blanks. Never heard of CARDI B or VADUZ, and still have no idea what VINE means there, so two squares in VADUZ were blanks. Never heard of BRATZ either, but I thought the Z crossing was fair given the cluing. After 10 minutes of guessing of combinations of those 4 squares, I got the "Congratulations" song without googling anything. Sheesh.

chefwen 3:16 AM  

Had no problem with VADUZ, been there. BRATZ dolls were popular when my friends daughters were growing up, they were a MUST HAVE, so that was also a gimme. I face planted at the T in HULOT NOLITA crossing, guessing at a d instead of a T. Dang.

I was very selfish at 75A where I hade SAVE me, at least I was able to correct that to US.

Took me a while to connect DOWN to the theme answers, at BABY STEPS I was looking for a rebus square to shove DOWN into, finally ran into THERE’S THE RUB and let out a WHOOP. O.K. folks I get it! DOH,

SANDRAOH does not parse well without the space.

Anonymous 4:11 AM  

Whether we "like" a puzzle depends a lot on personal experience - Vaduz is not obscure to anyone who has spent time in Germany, Switzerland or Austria. Unfair to label it a "bad" answer just because it doesn't fit into one's own lexicon...............

Anonymous 4:26 AM  

VADUZ is pronounced pretty much how it looks, but in a Liechtensteiner/Swiss accent it can sound more like “Fah-dootz”. It’s a nice day trip from Zurich.

'merican in Paris 4:28 AM  

I found the puzzle mostly easy, but failed at several PPP crossings. That made it less enjoyable than it might otherwise have been. Like Harryp, I hate to Google while solving, but when PPPs are crossing ...

At least I learned a few things. Never heard of ASHLAR before, but at least it was easily inferable from the crosses. The Texas area was a real PPP fest, however. I didn't know EGAN, and 105D could have been just about anything: aAH! eAH! gAH! yAH! or wAH. SANDRA was inferable, and I suppose OH was, too, but POGO did not jump out at me.

HECTARES was a gimme for me. C'mon folks, the U.S. Congress passed a law, the Metric Conversion Act in 1975(!), subsequently siagned by President Gerald Ford, declaring "a national policy of co-ordinating the increasing use of the metric system in the United States, and to establish a United States Metric Board to co-ordinate the voluntary conversion to the metric system." Even if you're not going to use metric units yourself, I'd say that learning them is more useful than committing to memory the names of capitals of European micro-states.

I saw the implied DOWNers on the first one themer, and it did help me get HANDS in the last one. But I can understand why somebody might assume that the filled in part was all that there was.

Regarding @Rex's write-up, I continue to wonder what he has against the word "or". Such a nice, short, versatile word.

Busy week next week; won't be commenting until the weekend. (Well, maybe on Monday.)


MommaJ 4:32 AM  

Thought was crazy easy even though I didn't get the clever theme until Rex explained it (feel less dumb knowing it took him so long). The Vaduz crosses gave me no problem, even though I'm pretty ancient. Wish this had been more challenging.

Joe Dipinto 4:40 AM  

There I go, there I go, there I go, Sandra Oh
Pretty baby, you are the soul who snaps my crossbow

Isn't this really just a themeless puzzle?

I like Vaduz. I was happy to see Vaduz in the puzzle. Also Anne Sofie Van Otter, who pogo-ed in from Sweden just as Enya was arriving on Aer Lingus.

Ashlar is a portmanteau name made up of Ashley and Skylar. I predict it will become the most popular baby name of 2020.

We have badass pyros committing arson today. They must have knocked over a lamp at the men's shop while they were seizing unitards and tie clips.

I can never remember if "Eminor" is by Dvorak or by the Turtles.

Which is better, "I'm Goin' Down" by Bruce Springsteen or "I'm Going Down" by Mary J. Blige? -- who, incidentally, captained The Bounty, if you didn't know.

Well I think that's it for me, I'm baling. Always remember: "Uber Uber Alla."

James Moody you can come on in man and you can blow now cause it's time for curfew

Anonymous 5:21 AM  

So is SANDRAOH the pharaoh’s underling in charge of desert areas?

- Jim C. in Maine

Lewis 6:26 AM  

Loved the clever theme, theme answers, clean grid, clue for RENT (I thought this type clue would never fake me out again, but this one did), and the cross of JAZZ HANDS and TWITCH.

Two of the six answers out of my wheelhouse were VADUZ and CARDI G, so that cross was an SOS/PUNT.

When I saw the clue for AUSSIE ("Barbie attendee"), my brain saw "attendee" as "attendant", and I got all indignant. What, now this doll not only has a boyfriend Ken and best friend Midge, but she has an attendant as well? Who does she think she is, the Queen?

Music Man 6:40 AM  

Pop music references today:

26A: Popular singer from County Donegal, ENYA; Irish singer/songwriter with 8 studio albums to-date. Her biggest pop single was “Only Time” (#10, 2001).

59A: Rapper with the 2017 #1 hit “Bodak Yellow”, CARDI B; her string of hits continued into 2018 with songs featuring other rappers, including a second #1 single, “I Like It”.

118A: The Chainsmokers or Eurythmics; POP DUO; other top pop duos include Simon & Garfunkel, Hall & Oates, the Everly Brothers, Sonny & Cher, the Captain & Tennille, the Carpenters, the Pet Shop Boys, Daft Punk, Wham!, Ike & Tina Turner, and many others.

Anonymous 6:42 AM  

A letter is someone who rents out a room although I don't think you would see that anywhere besides crossword puzzles. Lessor seems much more common but doesn't give the needed misdirect. Too many proper nouns in this puzzle, enough to trick everyone somewhere. I had to google 'hulot' and 'egan' to finish.

Loren Muse Smith 6:43 AM  

Like Rex, I didn’t *get* it at first, thinking the phrases worked without down. I saw the light with CUTE AS A BUTTON DOWN but even then I stupidly filled in the word down in the black square. It wasn’t ‘til I read Rex that the whole implied DOWN deal came clear. Man, I can be dumb sometimes.

Totally fun to see two phrases married this way:

Midas touch + touch down = Midas touchdown
Banana shake + shake down = banana shakedown

I’m gonna be looking for these all day.

@Randy Doriese, @chefwen – thanks for mentioning the HULOT/NOLITA cross. I didn’t even go back to guess. I’ve watched every single episode of Million Dollar Listing New York and have never seen Fredrick Eklund have a listing appointment in any Nolita place.

Did guess wrong at the VADUZ/CARDIB cross. I had Vanuz/Carnib.

I noticed that “boost” (clue for 7A) is almost a contranym since it can mean both augment and steal. So let me just put it out there that eating almost a full pound of mousse truffée paté on your wedding night can really boost your libido.

SNARKY – we have a new English teacher, and she used the word snarkasm last week. Where has this word been all my life? Dr. G has a PhD in English and was a college professor. She also knows what an interrobang is, interrupted my 2nd period to borrow my OED, and when I asked her if she allowed kids to end sentences with prepositions, she looked like she had smelled a fart and said, “Of course. Why not?” I already have a little crush on her. I made the fixins for Frito Pie tomorrow for lunch and have invited her. It’s my plan to win her over with a discussion of the singular they. Oh, and she cusses. Sigh. My cup runneth over.

Plumber crackdown
Pig knuckles down

I’m telling ya – this is a fun theme to kick around! Thanks, Finn.

'merican in Paris 6:57 AM  

Funny face + face down = funny facedown
Garden hoe + hoedown = garden hoedown
Make a splash + splashdown = make a splashdown

Mike E 7:18 AM  

Thought the whole puzzle was fairly easy. I got the amusing theme by the second down answer and even without ever hearing a single song by CARDI B, I knew her name just from being culturally aware. Same for NAE NAE, whatever the hell that looks like. The BRATZ clue was totally fair with its two Z endings implying the spelling, And I always object to Rex's complaints about never seeing a word/name before in a puzzle. If the crosses are legit, then it's fine. The only clue still giving me a problem is parsing 12 Across after finishing the Cryptic in the print edition. Some sort of brain freeze must be going on......

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

I find it odd that Rex used the tweet from Brian Cross to illustrate "exactly where this grid's problems were" but then didn't make a single mention of one of the two problems he actually mentioned. Yes, the crossing of VADUZ with CARDIB and BRATZ was tough, but the real tough spot that both Brian and I ran into was at the crossing of HELOT and NOLITA. Maybe if you are from the New York area NOLITA is a gimme, but it was unknown and unguessable for me. And HULOT? Never heard of it. As such, the crossing of the two required a random letter to be guessed.

J. Kushner 7:27 AM  

@ Anonymous (12:21 am): a letter is one who lets (leases) a property to another. In doing so the letter quotes (states and offers) the rental fee.

JJ 7:34 AM  

I have a mouth full of feathers after trying GRAY GOOSE DOWN last night! Yes, this could go on all day long.

Anonymous 7:47 AM  

Didn’t appreciate the theme pre-Rex, It would’ve made solving more fun, I bet. Naturally ASHLAR and AMARNA were new to me, and I still don’t like the look of them. Wanted another B in KIBITZ, but that’s KIBbuTZ, isn’t it? Puzzle seemed somehow rather straightforward. Had to think twice to avoid an a-MINOR key.

@Anon 4:26 - “...Pretty much how it looks” wasn’t any help at all! but fah-dootz was enough of a hint.

QuasiMojo 7:49 AM  

Puzz was adorbz!!

Hungry Mother 7:50 AM  

Three Naticks today - GAH!

Kiki 7:56 AM  

Okay, revealing ignorance here, but why is "draftable" ONE-A? Does that mean page one of the newspaper is draftable? I guess so...but that's a stretch for me. And is RENT meaning the amount of money you pay as shown in your lease "letter"? I thought that was quite a stretch as well. Maybe I'm not getting the right meaning of those.

I had to look up ASHLAR.

I never even saw the DOWN theme...from now on, I'll read the name of the puzzle (duh!). As such I thought JAZZHANDS particularly made no sense, but it fit. Now that I see the theme and how you tack DOWN on...it's all even more clever than I thought! Wow!

Did anyone else put PUPPET at 1A for a while?

Kiki 8:01 AM  

I also initially put MESSHALL for the well-suited clue, 41A.

barbara 8:02 AM  

A letter as in someone who lets (rents to a tenant) an apartment

Dawn Urban 8:06 AM  

@QuasiMojo: ROFL

Rex explained it all...i had finished the puzzle without understanding the mental "down".

This puzzle felt more current: BRATZ, CARDIB, SANDRAOH, etc. The next generation of puzzlers should take heart.

American Liberal Elite 8:06 AM  

Never heard of Hulot or Nolita.

Small Town Blogger 8:10 AM  

Letter = someone who “lets”, as in an apartment.

QuasiMojo 8:14 AM  

Good one @Joe D!

mmorgan 8:15 AM  

I had a similar experience to Rex's in that I didn't get the DOWN thing until I was almost done.

I had absolutely no clue as to either VADUZ or CARDIB (never heard of either one), so that left a big fat Natick hole in the middle of the puzzle. Otherwise it was unusually easy and reasonably pleasant.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

OK, but Wow, what a stretch!

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

I was down with it at LUCKYBREAK Down, then happy because BABYSTEPS fit...but didn't make sense with the clue. Like others I only know CARDIB from general knowledge, would not recognize a song of hers if I heard it. Overall thought it was easy.

@LMS sounds like even PhDs need health insurance (or are you in a private school?).

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

I saw him in the NYT puzz 2 days ago. A gimme.

Reasonablewoman 8:29 AM  

I concur with @Rainbow (late yesterday). Please! Nobody wants to read about personal sex habits.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

But "Adorbz" isn't!

michiganman 8:37 AM  

In the military draft, known as the Selective Service System, One-A was (is?) the classification for men who were deemed available for conscription.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

I knew Vaduz from the excellent BBC radio sitcom Cabin Pressure, about a tiny charter airline. Each of the 27 episodes is the name of a city, beginning with Abu Dhabi and ending with Zurich (the finale, so 2 episodes), stopping in at Vaduz near the end. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch around the time his career took off, Roger Allam and Stephanie Cole, it is hilarious and features a lot of the word games the pilots play to kill time ("Titles that are More Interesting with the Last Letter Left Off," e.g.). Check it out!

michiganman 8:54 AM  

00ps, sorry I omitted the n, Kieran

Jay 9:04 AM  

Thanks to Rex for "explaining" the theme. Not much of a theme, if you ask me. With or without the "down" add-on, the answers are not memorable in any way.
I finished the puzzle with a few look-ups towards the end. Some of the proper names were utterly unknown to me. Rex often complains about names like CORELLI or ANATOLE (France) but has no problems with CARDIB or SANDRA OH or ASHLAR.

Tim Aurthur 9:24 AM  

I wouldn't have thought that Liechtenstein needed a capital city. Isn't it a city-state? Apparently not. Still, it's as if New York City seceded from the union (which I'm kind of wishing it would) and declared Brooklyn to be its capital.

Music Damn Critic 9:35 AM  

Probably showing my age...I don't care...but I have no idea how anyone keeps up with the rappers and their "hits" now with radio being as bad as it is and with Spotify or Apple Tunes where you can listen to whatever you want and you don't need a radio anymore.

Even if I wasn't old and even if I listened to radio (which I do, but mostly sports talk), what even constitutes a "hit" these days? Who even buys CDs or LPs now when you have Spotify? Is a hit a hit because of YouTube? or most requested on the local radio station? or most played by commercially syndicated programming companies dictated to stations all over the country (with no DJs or local choices by listeners)?

I am an actively professional musician who works in all kinds of music by programming music or directing or producing. I don't like rap (so I would never have occasion to run into it)...unlike the "better" days of radio or music videos on MTV/VH1 when you were exposed to all kinds of stuff (country, R&B, rock, punk, rap, etc) while waiting to hear your favorite song.

And truly, before I'm dismissed as someone who is just out of touch with the music world, I also know the commercial world pretty well and know that it is very different from the old days. When the term "hit record" was coined it meant one thing (usually a highly requested song that saw a large number of plays in lots of different outlets), but these days it means something else entirely...namely that today's "hit" is bought and paid for and shoved down our throats (mostly by passive means...malls, advertising, movies, etc) until we finally acquiesce and agree, because we've heard it 1000 times and finally have come to "like" it (see: Stockholm Syndrome), that it's call a "hit." Yes, hits back in the day were manufactured too...but there were far more objective ways for those hits to be measured than today's loosey goosey means of measurement.

I don't doubt that people who love rap and keep tabs on it know who CARDIB is...but don't tell me that because her song was a "hit" or even a "HUGE hit" that somehow I/we should know about it.

All of that to say, constructors who wink at me because they've picked some relatively obscure rap artist whose name is completely not inferable, forget that we have Google...and I'm not afraid to use it. Which I did.

::Winking back at Finn Vegeland::

kitshef 9:35 AM  

Two of the themers genuinely tickled me: JAZZ HANDS DOWN and especially CUTE AS A BUTTONDOWN.

@Sanfranman59 – I hope you took my advice earlier this week on NAE NAE.

Is a MENS SHOP an actual thing or green paint?

My sticking points were different from Rex’s. GAH/EGAN cross was a bit of a guess. If you are going with Jennifer as your EGAN, don’t you have to use A Visit from the Goon Squad?

NOLITA/HULOT, on the other hand, was a ‘what letter sounds good’ guess. Between the odd choice of book for Ms. EGAN, and expecting us to know NOLITA, I’m guessing Mr. Vigeland is a New Yorker.

Also, everyone should know every world capital how could Rex not know Vaduz?

Adam Lipkin 9:36 AM  

Kieran, I also had PUPPET instead of FIBBER in 1A, and that threw that entire section out of whack for me for ages.

Z 9:53 AM  

Rex's theme game is severely off, and now he's derailed everyone else it seems. I got it at the first themer, BABY STEPS is "literally" down, which means it now "literally" fits the clue, "Headline after toddler C.E.O. resigns, literally." So, normal phrase reimagined with last word of phrase now a compound ending with "down," only "down" is how the answer is written. Clue wackily and stir.

DNF/DNC at VA-UZ/CAR-I B. Recognize CARDI B now, but no way I was going to wrack my brain coming up with a likely randomly spelt name crossing a capital city (or currency). And for those lamely trying to defend that crossing, please understand, no regular is saying that either is uncrossworthy. There is stuff in puzzles all the times solvers don't know. What makes it a bad crossing is that if you don't know either you can't reasonably infer the letter. It's the same thing with NOLITA/HULOT. Neighborhood names don't have a particular rhyme or reason to them and then you got HULOT. That's two uninferrable crosses in one puzzle. Bah.

I knew someone one would ask about the "letter" as "one who lets" usage. Common CrossWorld misdirect that only tripped me down the first 397 times I saw it.

@Gill I yesterday - I knew you took that phrase at face value. I'm just glad I don't drink my coffee as I read.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Folks, I'm as rap ignorant as anyone, but how could you not know the woman who said the following on national TV?

Asked..if childbirth was easier or harder than she expected, Cardi responded: “It was totally harder. She broke my vagina.”

GILL I. 10:06 AM  

Hey @Joe D.4:40...Thanks for a morning good and funny post. I especially liked your UBER UBER ALLA. I'm still laughing.
Oh...the puZZle. @Quazi said it all.
On a serious note. I lived in NYC for 2 years in the early early 70's and I've never heard of NOLITA. I know "Little Italy" because if you wanted anything resembling good Italian food, you went there. I lived on 98th and Broadway and we called it "Spanish Harlem." Gentrification...and new neighborhoods?
HULOT? My kids called their grandmother Tati. That's the only Tati I know. Got VADUZ with luck. Wanted the "wise" one to be an ACRE. OWLS are cute. Amazing how they can turn their heads around like that girl in the scariest movie I ever saw when I was young, "The Exorcist."
I will say that I enjoyed this one. I will also say that adding DOWN to the clues didn't enter my mind until I read @Rex. My favorite was CUTE AS A BUTTON. I never thought of adding the down. These all make sense sans the reveal. My bad.
@Lewis....I finally had time last night to do your LAT puzzle. I wish you appear more often in the NYT. I rarely do any other puzzles except maybe a WSJ, so I'm glad someone mentioned it. YOU DA BOMB....
No clouds in sight and we're expecting a balmy 82 today. Still shorts and T-shirt weather....Off to buy Halloween candy.

Nancy 10:11 AM  

I also naticked at the CARDIB/VADUZ cross. FWIW, I had CARRIB/VARUZ -- but it could have been anything. I just threw up my hands, closed my eyes, and PUNTed.

Because of the on-the-nose title, the theme answers were much easier than they might have been otherwise. And I thought they were CUTE AS A BUTTON DOWN. (I was only able to get that theme answer after I changed SAVE ME to SAVE US (75A). But the rest of the puzzle was a big NAE NAE as far as I was concerned. I should know what the seventh-year exam in Harry Potter is??? What on earth is an ASHLAR? Would you give your child a doll from a product line called BRATZ? Don't put ideas in their minds, for heaven's sake.

I knew SANDRA OH -- as she came in, not before -- because my niece knows her from college. I was so miffed by all the pop culture that my eye skimmed right over the "TV colleague of Hayes and O'Donnell" at 120A. I was thinking that it was some sort of sitcom or reality show that I was sure I wouldn't know. Only when MADDOW came in did I realize it was the MSNBC trio of commentators that I watch fairly religiously. But that's what "TV's Det. Fin Tutuola", the "Bodak Yellow" rapper, the "Hunger Games" land and Harry Potter exams do to me. They make me go GAH.

Suzie Q 10:11 AM  

This took way too long to see the light but when I did I liked the theme jokes but wasn't sure slogging through the rest of the puzzle was worth it.
@ Joe Dipinto 4:40, I don't recall seeing you post so early but you really had me laughing. Do it more often please.
@ LMS, You're in good form as well. I'm waiting to hear what this woman does to burst your bubble. No doubt she will. Keep us posted.
All of the suggestions for theme answers are very good. Sign of a winning puzzle I'd say.

I would love to find yesterday's Jeopardy! episode but no luck so far on YouTube. Any suggestions?

Cyclist227 10:15 AM  

Fairly easy. Also challanged by a few words. Gotta read Hatt Potter, I guess. Too many clues these days refer to it. Not a bad Sunday puzzles. Is it me, or are Sundays fairly easy lately.

Peter P 10:18 AM  

I had to look up HULOT/NOLITA. Never heard of either and just got frustrated by the T cross. VADUZ was fine but needed a couple letters to jog my memory. Thought BRATZ was easily inferrable by the clue. Totally fair. Otherwise, average time, though included my google cheat for NOLITA.

pbc 10:18 AM  

i didn't remember the name VADUZ -- and i had lunch there in april. driving from zurich to prague, i stopped briefly at liechtenstein's one landmark, the castle in vaduz. but why would i care about the name? i just went to the town of 5,000 people to cross liechtenstein off my list of countries and, as it turned out, to eat some overpriced wienerschnitzel.

QuasiMojo 10:23 AM  

@Music Damn Critic, love your rant. Agree on some points. But if you read the fashion pages in the NYT, and I suspect you don’t, you’d see pics of Cardi B sitting next to Anna Wintour of Vogue fame at the NY Fashion Week or at the Met Gala. She’s a phenomenon bigger than rap.

The same thing about “hits” applies to books. I used to devour the NYT bestseller list each week. I’d even go to the Times building on Wednesdays to get an advance copy. But what is a bestseller now? When page after page of various bestseller lists for ebooks and downloads and how-to books and kiddie books and teen angst romances etc have taken over the Book Review! It’s a total waste of time and basically a meaningless phrase.

Preferred Customer 10:33 AM  

Nolita = NOrth of Little ITAly, similar to Tribeca = TRiangle BElow CAnal. It's a real estate invention. I'm not sure if anyone really uses it. Kind of like Noho.


mmorgan 10:44 AM  

I get it that HULOT is fairly obscure, but if you ever get a chance to see any of those Jacques Tati films (Mon Oncle, Monsieur Hulot's Holiday), you'll probably love them.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Fun puzzle and theme. Challenging answers figured out via crosses - wouldn’t want all gimmes ��

Suum Cuique 11:03 AM  

Wow. I started to watch the Cardi B video. Without the visuals I wonder how entertaining that would be. What I got from the lyrics before I had to turn it off was "I'm rich for doing nothing."

Malsdemare 11:16 AM  

My Waterloo was the VADUZ/CARDIB cross and HULOT/NOLITA. I sort of remembered AMARNA, and ASHLAR fit, so those didn't trip me up. But of course, I totally failed to see that I needed to add DOWN atfter the answers, so my face wore a quizzical expression during the who solve. Very much Rex's experience without the aha at the end. So me!

Escape dog finished his championship yesterday in case you all wanted to know. And even if you don't, well, there it is. Did it despite being a total horse's patooty in the ring. Once AKC confirms the points, he's off to the bet.

@Lewis, Nice puzzle!

Chico Marks 11:17 AM  

Is @Barry Frain really @evil doug? Some similarities.

Nancy 11:21 AM  

@Music Damn Critic (9:35) -- I loved your rant and I agree with all of it -- with one exception. It is not only possible, it's actually ridiculously easy to go through life without any music you don't like and don't want to hear being "shoved down your throat". Case in point: me. The only time any music was ever shoved down my throat was when someone gave me a three-day pass to the 92Y and I took some sort of steps/aerobics class. Not only were women twice my size and half my age coming at me, elbows jutting out (they already knew the step routine, whereas I didn't), but there was the most hideous and nerve-wracking New Age music being piped in at ear-splitting" decibels. I used the next two free passes for swimming only. And I saved about $800 by not joining the Y and doing my own dance routine at home. When I'm iced-in in winter, I turn on some faced-paced music of my own choosing and dance ferociously for 20-30 minutes. Sometimes it's the Beatles, sometimes it's the theme from the "Magnificent Seven", sometimes it's Bob Fosse's dance music from Cabaret. (I tried "Riverdance", but it's much, MUCH too fast and I'm not that nimble.)

Stores sometimes try to subject me to hateful music I can't stand, but I just walk out immediately without buying anything.

@Joe Dipinto -- What a funny post! Especially the most popular baby name. You might just be right!
@kitshef -- MEN'S SHOP is most certainly a thing. It's where they sell TIE CLIPS and HANES underwear.

Mikey from El Prado 11:24 AM  

I assume it took me longer than most since I disliked the first Harry Potter book and ignored the rest, and never watched Grey's Anatomy or The Hunger Games (or read them for that matter). So the south central took a while.

And... what's with all the B's!?!? Like 15 or so!

JC66 11:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
TomAz 11:34 AM  

I saw Joe Mitchell's ghost on a downtown A train
He just rides on forever
Now that the Fulton Fish Market's shut down
He said, "They ain't never going to get that smell out of the water
I don't give a damn how much of that new money they burn"
Now Hell's Kitchen's "Clinton" and The Bowery's "Nolita"
And The East Village is creeping across the Williamsburg Bridge
Hey, whatever happened to Alphabet City?
Ain't no place left in this town that a poor boy can go

Steve Earle, "Down Here Below", 2nd verse

JC66 11:37 AM  

Never heard of VADUZ so I had to run the alphabet to get the happy pencil with "D" for the rapper, which I parsed as CAR DIB. Head smack when @Rex reminded me of CARDI-B, who dwells somewhere in the deep recesses of my 79 year old mind.

jberg 11:42 AM  

I'm kicking myself. Of course I know about CARDI B. I even thought of here when looking at the incomplete answer, but since I was thinking of it as CAR xxx I somehow didn't see that she fit! So, like @Nancy, I went with CARrIB, thinking maybe the name was a tribute to the largely (but not completely) exterminated inhabitants of the eponymous islands. GAH!

And I can see not knowing NOLITA -- I didn't either, I think it was made up much more recently than NOHO or TRIBECA. And now I think about it, it was quite a long time since Tati's movies were all the rage. But I'm with @mmorgan -- to find them and watch them! Mr. Hulot's Holiday to start with. You won't be sorry!

As for the theme, my experience was like @Rex's, except for the part where he got it at the last minute. I never did. I thought it was pretty lame until I came here and saw it explained; now I like it.

Well, THERE I GO, rambling on -- aye, THERE'S THE RUB.

jberg 11:46 AM  

@Z from yesterday. Thanks for the explanation! But is GREEG a thing? I thought it was just something Rex made up, which seems a weak basis for a pun. Oh well, it always pays off to assume there's a method in his madness. Urban Dictionary definition doesn't fit the way he uses it at all; and I can't think of what it could be an acronym for. (great, really extra extra great?)

Carola 11:49 AM  

Easy fun. I saw how things were going DOWN with the delightful BABY STEPS, and enjoyed trying to anticipate the rest. I give the Genius Award to JAZZ, HANDS DOWN.
My bullet points:
- Glad to learn: ASHLAR. It was previously milling around in my brain with other words I "know" but not really (inchoate, synecdochy, atavistic...).
- Favorite fake-out: Like @Lewis - Barbie attendee. I also thought it referred to a minion: AUtumn? No, AUStin? Ohhh!
- Contradictory to @Rex: Not being a list-memorizer and knowing VADUZ.
- Given today's headline, I was glad to learn from 21D that there's a safe haven somewhere on the planet.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Loved all the literature clues, YA and otherwise: Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Jennifer Egan. She won the Pulitzer & Nat'l Book Critics award for A Visit From the Goon Squad, y'all. 2011. Her latest, Manhattan Beach, also selling like hotcakes and will be a movie. I guess as a 50-something I'm in the sweet spot for clues. Know much "old-timey" standard trivia, and exposed to new "cultcha" from having my kids grow up in the 90's/aughts: Bratz dolls were everywhere (but our house), Harry Potter, Hunger Games, nae-nae, Cardi B. Sandra Oh was in a bunch of TV shows & movies you've probably seen before Greys Anatomy (Arliss, The Princess Diaries, Under the Tuscan Sun, Sideways) and now she is star of new BBC hit Killing Eve. But as a half-Jew, I have to call out the clue for kibitz, which does *not* mean giving advice,asked for or not. Small talk, idle chit-chat, passing the time, yes. Advice-giving might come up, but not what it is.

dujyt 12:08 PM  

What does “ppp” stand for in crossword solver jargon. I’m guessing a reference to pop culture, but I don’t quite get it. Thanks!

JC66 12:11 PM  

@ kitshef

As @Nancy pointed out MEN'S SHOP is definitely a thing.

puzzlehoarder 12:14 PM  

Once again the comments I sent in last night did not go through. I mentioned NAENAE, BADASS and BANA all having been in the Friday puzzle as well as Jennifer EGAN being in yesterday's puzzle.

There were some tough crossings today. I thought I was going to dnf on VADUZ until I recognized CARDI B. Being presented as a single word with the D missing really disguised it. Knowing where to break words is something I usually have to do on longer entries. I'm not familiar with the song title but I know the artists name because she was one of the guest artists on SNL last season. She's probably flattered by her connection to BADASS.

Malsdemare 12:15 PM  

Oy! He's off to the VET! Proofread, Mary.

Birchbark 12:15 PM  

GAH humbug! It took a long time to get the "Congratulations" music, after much research/learning about/sometimes tweaking the multiple proper nouns, to wit:

The AMARNA letters were written between 1360-1332 BC, during the reign of Amenhotep III, predecessor to Tutankhamen and my favorite random-Roman-numeral-pharaoh-who-should-be-in-a-crossword.

VARDUZ (not VARbUZ) is the capital of Lichtenstein, which is between Switzerland and Austria.

Alpha Kappa Alpha, a/k/a AKA, was founded in 1908 at Howard University.

The reason NOLITA isn't in any of my oldish atlases is because there wasn't consensus on the name until the mid-1990s. From Nolita's Wikipedia entry, whose "neutrality is disputed": "Most of the longtime residents despise the portmanteau that was forced on the neighborhood by the real estate conglomerates and the media. Many elderly descendants of Italian immigrants continue to be pushed out of the neighborhood by greedy landlords that circumvent the rent control laws."

Jennifer EGAN (not EbAN) wrote "Manhattan Beach." Ergo, GAH not bAH!

JC66 12:24 PM  

I'm 100% Jewish and KIBITZ is absolutely defined as "unsolicited advice" while schmooze means chatting or small talk.

OffTheGrid 12:32 PM  

My blissful ignorance was just destroyed.

TubaDon 12:32 PM  

     I echo Brian Cross's thoughts completely. Subconcious kept urging me to put MADDON at 55A, but I resisted. Didn't get the theme until I realized a dis was a PUT (down). Somehow know ASHLAR and BRATZ which helped a lot.

Outdoor Girl 12:35 PM  

I hope you don't believe owls can turn their heads around. They can't. Think about it.

Masked and Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Liked the theme, becuz it helped me with the solvin. Figured out the theme mcguffin off my first get of LUCKYBREAK[DOWN]. There were a few noteworthy solvequest nanosecond sink-holes, at our house, however …

* AMARNA/ENT. Guessed right, but worried it mighta been EMT.
* VADUZ/CARDIB/BRATZ. Woulda been impossible, but fortunately M&A had immediately looked up the cap of Lickin-Stein, as a defensive research move -- soooo … no problemo.
* ASHLAR. Didn't know, but crosses were friendly.
* SANDRAOH. Didn't know from clue. Got enough crosses to sound it out and eventually say "oh!"
* HULOT/ALLA/NOLITA. This here was like the black hole of all time sink-holes. Totally unmerciful. Nanoseconds plummeted toward its center at an alarmin rate. Many cinnamon rolls were sacrificed, while mullin this puppy over. Actually witnessed a couple lil bugs in the room bein sucked into this part of the puz, violently endin their existence in this space-time continuum. Ended up guessin HUGOT, so only got it half right. SOS, indeed.

staff weeject pick: EST. Always enjoy that there "the dice is jacked" clue, from the Big Ettu-Dude. Honrable mention always guaranteed for MOO, of course.

fave Ow de Speration: GAH. ALLA. But not much else. Nice gridfill job. Other than maybe them sink-holes mentioned up above.

Thanx for the feisty workout, Mr. Vaduzland. [har]

Masked & Anonymo12Us


RooMonster 12:47 PM  

Hey All !
Add me to the DNF list at HUgOn/AgLA/NOLInA. Also had EmT/AMARmA, because EMT is correcter. :-)

Ad a Limousine driver, we had our vehicles at one specific station here in town. They had mini screens that show weather, entertainment news, etc. while you're filling the tank. That's how I knew CARDI B, because they have the Top Music category, and she had had the Top Single for a while now. Grab your info where you can!

Also missed adding a "Down" to the themers, but Rex said it, they sorta make sense without it, so I was OK with them straight. No one's complained about THERES THE RUB & THERE I GO? Surprising.
To the person not understanding 48A clue, VINE crosses Hollywood Ave in LA. SEZ ME.

If they only sold DONUTS at ARBYS, I wouldn't have to go anywhere else. :-)


Anonymous 12:54 PM  

It's OK to miss the theme. I do it often (Happened to see it early today). But don't pretend that the answers make sense without "Down".

DeeJay 1:04 PM  

ONEA is an able-bodied military draftee...

Irishmaineiac 1:10 PM  


Kimberly 1:29 PM  

Things I have learned about crossword puzzles from Rex Parker:

1. Every answer should be something he knows off the top of his head. If he does not know it, it is not worth knowing, and the people who do know it are silly for knowing it. As in, there is something really wrong with them.
2. Every clue/answer should be something that he is very interested in. If it is a subject outside of his interest, see number 1.
3. All themes are stupid. And only stupid people like them.
4. Number 3 is especially true if Rex does not immediately “get” it. And if he does immediately get it, it is overly simple and ridiculous.
5. All clues and answers should be timeless. If they are too modern and fashionable, they are trying too hard to be trendy. If they reference anything culturally older, they are stale and outdated.

CDilly52 1:53 PM  

Wow. This was an odd but quick (for me) solve. I completely agree with OFL today that the theme did not hold up at all. I grokked the “oh the phrase has to relate to the ‘down’ “ but after the first two, it completely, well broke....down. That said, the fill wasn’t obnoxious and ran the gamut from old to new, standard to oddball and crossed enough time periods and genres that it was a solvable Sunday for me. Too bad about the “theme.” Would that editors are as demanding today as were my English teachers throughout my public school career.

suea 1:54 PM  

I finished the puzzle with no mistakes but I totally didn't get the theme until Rex explained it. Meh

Azzurro 1:58 PM  

Almost a great puzzle, but there was no satisfying finish for me because of the two or three Naticks that I had to Google. I got the theme midway through and thought it was clever enough, but I'm not from New York and had never heard of NOLITA, and HULOT was no help. I knew CARDI B and guessed VADUZ, but I've never heard of AMARNA and struggled to see BRIAN ENO. GAH/EGAN just screams lazy editing.

This was a near miss that could have been so much better with a few changes.

JC66 2:01 PM  

@ CDilly52

@Rex didn't grok today theme. Read @Z's 9:53 AM post for a good explanation.

CDilly52 2:01 PM  

Hand up for Amenhotep (any of them) as most underused and fave pharaoh name! Had a cat so named in my youth!

Terry 2:05 PM  

Always enjoy your comments.

IrishCream 2:25 PM  

Speak for yourself...if it’s funny, I’m in!

Barry Frain 2:43 PM  

@Chico Marks, I assure you, sir or madam, that I am not @evil doug. The thought horrifies me, as I am certain it would him.

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

SJ Austin 2:51 PM  

Got VADUZ easily enough from crosses, but got DNFed by having EMT instead of ENT and not having the first clue what AMARNA was. In retrospect, maaaaybe I shoulda known better since "med." is in the clue and is the M of EMT… but that seems like a dirty trick in an otherwise easy-ish puzzle.

Old Robert 3:19 PM  

Just recently discovered this whole world after a gift subscription to the NYTC from my daughter. What makes me laugh is one of the things in this one I got immediately is VADUZ. But CardieB, who is that?

JC66 3:31 PM  

@Old Robert


Lewis 3:32 PM  

@gill and @malsdemare -- Thank you!

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

The Canadian solvers had the advantage today with Sandra Oh and hectares, but we sure had a problem with Nolita and Part B. No HMOs here. Very much enjoyed my visit to Vaduz some years back. Consider checking it out, Rex.

Judson 3:44 PM  

New to the community. What does PPP mean?

pabloinnh 3:48 PM  

I got the theme immediately from BABYSTEPS, as it was going down,top to bottom, and probably that I like to read the titles, especially of the Sunday puzzles. This can be helpful.

I've seen CARDIB's name in the news for some reason lately so that was OK. VADUZ was OK with the z's in the clue. Guessed right at NOLITA/HULOT. My new rule is no googling. If I don't know a cross I take my best guess and read this blog to see how I did. Not looking for happy music or fast times, just wondering how good my linguistic intuition is.

Punch and Judy showdown made me think of Riddley Walker, which I highly recommend. You'll never think of P&J in quite the same way, and the language, which takes some getting used to, is miraculous.

Really good Sunday puzzle, sez me.

mmespeer 3:54 PM  

@SuzieQ This link might help you get to Eric's performance on Jeopardy Friday night. Next stop Monday night. (Saturdays are re-runs).

JC66 3:56 PM  


Welcome to you, too.

PPP is an @Z invention measuring "non-vocabulary" like clues/answers:

Pop Culture, Product Names and other Proper Nouns.

Z 4:43 PM  

Thanks @JC66. Was without wifi (used my iPhone hotspot earlier to post) so I’m just catching up now.

@jberg - I’m pretty sure “Greeg” was just Rex’s wild imagination at work. If I’m remembering correctly, he imagined it as some future version of OMG. But, really, how much more nonsensical is it than OMG or Ase?

Suzie Q 7:31 PM  

@mmespeer, Thank you for replying but I don't see the link. Try again?

One more look at Rex's review and that toy. I think a better name would be Slutz.

Crane Poole 7:33 PM  

Much friendlier than the last two Sundays, but three naticks for me as well. And I got the theme very early. All of my complaints were addressed in the first dozen comments. Foop!

mmespeer 8:06 PM  

@Suzie Q
Doh! I copied but didn't paste! Here's the Jeopardy link:


Unknown 10:53 PM  

I kept looking for the spoiler, it never showed up.

Greg 11:46 AM  

CARDIB x VADUZ = Fail. C'mon Will, you should have caught that. And don't tell me that "Carli B", or whatever, should be inferrable. Especially when it comes to rapper or hip-hop names, any kind of standard spellings are intentionally out the window.

Tom cho 12:59 PM  

I found the grid pretty easy but the NOLITA and ARBYS clues got me. There are no Arby's near me (I live in Canada where they are not very common) and I only know a few areas of NYC that have acronym type names (Tribeca).

I solved the AMARNA and ASHLAR clues pretty easily but only due to some Classical Studies electives I took in university.

Overall, I found it pretty easy but a bit "Meh" in enjoyment.

spacecraft 10:59 AM  

This whole puzzle comes "DOWN" to one square: 114. You cannot--CANNOT--put in a word that takes either A or E (IN_PT) and cross it with a &$%@#* random musical key!! Aficionados of music may get this; the rest of us have NO CHANCE except a blind guess! What did I put? An E, so I guessed right. But that doesn't make this cross right, or fair. If this was a hockey penalty it would be a 5-minute game misconduct. At least. Double-bogey.

Burma Shave 11:46 AM  




rondo 12:01 PM  

I know of CARDIB only because of my subscription to Rolling Stone. PARTB? Only due to mom's situation, must pay attention. NOLITA? NAENAE, no way, crosses only. Did not hesitate with the correct RMK, maybe a LUCKYBREAK per @spacey's comment.

A curious shout out to SWEDEN.


Why does the Sun-puz often put me in a STATE of ENNUI?

AnonymousPVX 2:44 PM  

This was not so tough except some spots were total natiks which have been pointed out. However, NAENAE is almost unfair.

Diana, LIW 3:25 PM  

Well, yes, now that you mention it, there were some names I didn't know. But that didn't deter me. After all, on Sunday the answers are right there on the bottom of the page, upside down. No peeking. No. Never. Well, maybe to check...

Silly Mr. W went to the Stanford/WSU game yesterday, and of course he had left his seat (for the parking lot) by the time of the last play, which I watched on TV. Not that I care, but just wanted to be able to speak knowledgably of the game.

Speaking of checking, Mr. Shortz today, on NPR, mentioned the upcoming World puzzle contest to be held in Prague. Anyone going?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 3:28 PM  

HULOT, ASHLAR, and AMARNA were unknowns and only obtained through crosses. I actually remembered VADUZ by watching the Winter Olympics and hearing background of the only skier from Liechenstein. Lucky. CARDIB, eh? If you say so.

I thought the theme was kind of obvious and non-tricky until JAZZ, HANDS and realized that 'down' finished it off. Checked the other themers and yep. Given that, not a bad idea. Spent too much time on 58D until I finally got the sense of "bore". Good one.

Overall I made slow and steady progress throughout and ended up thinking this was a pretty good puzzle.

rainforest 3:31 PM  

Forgot to mention that SANDRA OH is a Canadian (yay), and she was memorable in the movie Sideways. You gotta watch Killing Eve.

M C Tangora 6:20 PM  

Hulot, no problem. Ashlar, no problem. (In the 50s and 60s, buildings trying to look classical were often built with walls of "random ashlar." Look it up.

But this puzzle is full of weird stuff. How are we supposed to know that "Barbie" is an Australian barbecue?! even after racking my brain for trick meanings of "Barbie." -- Seventh year Harry Potter? Hunger Games?

Monsta 7:00 PM  

Totally agree Anonymous

Diana, LIW 9:08 PM  

"Barbie" is Aussie for BBQ - Paul Hogan used to have tv ads saying "put another shrimp on the Barbie." (Hogan was crocodile Dundee - from the 90's I believe.

Lady Di

Joe 12:43 PM  

Gah...how I hated this puzzle! I kept hoping for some entity wearing unitards to save me. But, nae! Nae! It never happened.

Phillip Blackerby 4:54 PM  

It used to be said that if you hang around on the corner of Hollywood (Blvd.) and Vine (St.) in Hollywood (CA), you would soon see someone you know.

Phillip Blackerby 5:13 PM  

I wanted "Wise ones" to be Magi.

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