Greek-born New Age musician / WED 12-26-18 / 1950s Project Blue Book subject for short / Opening of classic Langston Hughes poem

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Constructor: Howard Barkin

Relative difficulty: Easy (Easy-Medium by the clock, but I have Holiday Hangover—mostly non-alcoholic, but still... it's clearly affecting my brain and hand agility) (3:52)

THEME: Actors who *should've* been in movies...  — all clues start [Movie that really should have featured...] followed by an actor's name, which seems fitting given the movie's title:

Theme answers:
  • "ROBIN HOOD" (Movie that really should have featured Anne Archer?)
  • "ANIMAL HOUSE" (Movie that really should have featured Nicolas Cage?)
  • "FANTASTIC VOYAGE" (Movie that really should have featured Tom Cruise?)
  • "BEETLEJUICE" (Movie that really should have featured Vin Diesel?)
  • "SPIDER-MAN" (Movie that really should have featured Sigourney Weaver?)
Word of the Day: JESSE Williams (53D: Williams of "Grey's Anatomy") —
Jesse Wesley Williams (born August 5, 1981) is an American actor, director, producer and activist, best known for his role as Jackson Avery on the ABC series Grey's Anatomy. He has also appeared in the films The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008), Brooklyn's Finest (2009), The Cabin in the Woods (2012) and as James Lawson in The Butler (2013). He provided voice acting and motion capture for the character Markus in the video game Detroit: Become Human (2018). (wikipedia)
• • •

Well, this was the first time I've ever had a puzzle spoiled for me because the constructor sent me a letter of apology. I've known Howard for a long time, so it was not (I hope) an earnest apology. But since I lit into ADULTING several days ago, saying it was the world's worst word and needed to crawl away and die (or words to that effect), Howard wanted to get out ahead of my inevitable gripe-storm. I actually think the reADULTINGening of the puzzle is more funny than anything else. The thing is ... it remains a valid term. I despise it, but I can't very well say it's pejorative, or offensive (except to my sensibilities). Grown-ups wanna use language to infantilize themselves, I can't stop them (sadly). So now y'all know my Kryptonite. It's ADULTING. Put it in all your puzzles if you want to irritate me. I'm powerless to stop you.

As for the theme, I think this is awfully clever. Do Beetles run on diesel? I did not know that. But I think all the themers work well, ROBIN HOOD is in fact an "archer," a "cage" is a kind of ANIMAL HOUSE, and if you're lucky, your "cruise" will end up being a FANTASTIC VOYAGE. It's a good theme concept with a fine execution. Is Anne Archer as famous to others as she is to me? I know precisely who she is, but I feel like maybe she's slightly-to-a-lot less well known than the others. I always think of her as the "why would you sleep with the insane bunny-killer lady when your actual wife is so gorgeous and wonderful" character in "Fatal Attraction." Whereas I don't know if I've ever seen a Vin Diesel movie. No, seriously. He's been in like 38 "Fast and Furious" movies, right? He's just out of my cinematic area code is all. But then so is JESSE Williams. Never heard of him. Looked him up and was like "oh he's very familiar." But I've never seen a second of "Grey's Anatomy," so ... I'm vaguely aware of a handful of actors who have been on that show. But his name didn't register. And yet YANNI, tick, TOMEI, tick, REESE, tick ... even NAOMI Osaka somehow came back to me (she beat Serena in that U.S. Open victory, which was the main reason I was paying attention). OK I have to go drink coffee and stare at my beautiful Christmas tree. I enjoyed this puzzle. Happy Boxing Day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 7:35 AM  

I get to post the first comment at 7:30?! Too bad I have nothing to say...

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

Easiest ever.

Irene 7:46 AM  

And how about the great Langston Hughes citation: I, too, sing America!!

Howard B 7:47 AM  

Just trying to give you a bit of a chuckle this holiday season, Rex.
That said, the timing of that fill was a little unfortunate.
Hope everyone else either enjoys the puzzle, or dislikes it enough to enjoy complaining about it :).
P.S. I don't know who that JESSE is either. It's an edited clue that's probably fresher than my original. :).

michiganman 7:50 AM  

I share Rex's disdain for Adul____. I can't even write it. I left it blank in the puzzle and it cost me a 3 day streak. So there! While we're on the subject of grown-ups using language to infantilize themselves, can ADORBS be banned from the Blog? Pleeeze? I enjoyed the puzzle.

mooretep 7:57 AM  

Scrooge has left the building.

chefbea 8:03 AM  

Fun puzzle!!! Hope everyone had a merry Christmas.
This Bee gave her puzzle-husband a chia pet!!! One from the golden seen on TV

Suzie Q 8:07 AM  

Thanks Howard B. I did enjoy this. I liked the Beetlejuice theme answer the best.
My margin notes included a big ? when I saw adulting again.
Pokey and Pee Wee sound like the two dwarves who didn't make the cut.
I have found the Ted X Talks to be generally more interesting than the regular Ted Talks.
The crossing of "Is it I" and "I, Too" caught my eye.
It sure feels like a Monday today but the puzzle felt about right for a Wed. Friday will be here before we know it.

Aketi 8:10 AM  

Haha, @Rex, seems like there are enough words that bother you for someone to be able to construct an entire crossword puzzle out of them even without having to deploy the politically incorrect ones. I could see a strip of MOIST ADULTING crossing the middle ruining your day.

I’m surprised you didn’t see the gender role reversal in the choice of actors for two of the clues today. ROBIN is bigender name, but MAN is unisex.

My UGH moment was when I had all the letters for 9d except the O and read it as SAY S*** and then SAYS.HIT before adding the O.

mooretep 8:11 AM  

Fantastic Voyage was one the most inspirational films that I saw as a child.

Always thought it was written by one of my sci-fi heroes, Isaac Asimov, but no.

Nonetheless, I still find it to be an excellent tour of the human body with Raquel Welch to boot.
Donald Pleasance though, steals the show and meets a most excellent fate with white blood cells.

Art Cruickshank won the Oscar for his work.
He also worked on "Tron", another one of my favorites, if for nothing else than the question:
"Do you believe in the Users?"

PS. The New Yorker is running a series of crossword puzzles and contest this week:

Z 8:12 AM  

Personally, I find ADULTING adorbs.

Rex apparently missed the whole clean diesel scandal over at VW. I have a friend (who works in the fuel industry) who has two new vehicles because of VW’s criminal (figuratively and literally) behavior. We also, long ago, had a VW Rabbit with a diesel engine. Top speed downhill with a tail wind was 80 mph, but it got 60 mpg, which was pretty awesome for my underemployed ADULTING years.*

In case you missed it @Gareth Bain made an appearance late yesterday (actually early this morning) and I posted a link to @Evan Birnholz’s White Christmas, a truly wonderful holiday puzzle despite having a title and being 21x21.

*I know, but it could conceivably be used this way.

Aketi 8:13 AM  

@michiganman, if you are going to ban ADULTING, you should ban parenting and babying too. If you’re going to be a grammar nag then at least be consistent.

Z 8:20 AM  

@Aketi - I don’t think it is a grammar thing. Also, now I’ve got some NSFW imagery going through my head as I visualize MOIST ADULTING. Thanks.

Aketi 8:21 AM  

I know ROBINS ear worms, but do they also eat BEETLES and SPIDERS? I know SPIDERS do eat BEETLES. FANTASTIC VOYAGE is the only non ANIMAL inclusive themer.

Aketi 8:29 AM  

@z, I blame Rex for putting that image in my head. But I’m scrubbing it out of my head with images from the British Baking show where all the cakes are MOIST, none of the pies have soggy bottoms, judges eat huge quantities of sugar and fat without collapsing in a deabetic coma and all the bakers are above average.

gfrpeace 8:39 AM  

Cheese made from cow's milk was a clue worth a smile. The ASIAGO region of northern Italy was a region so full of sheep that bovine dairy products were considered quite exotic till modern transportation of goods homogenized things, so to speak.

'mericans in Paris 8:46 AM  

ALOHA, @chefwen! Nice to see two Hawai'i-related clues.

Cute puzzle, but not the easy romp I was expecting. Didn't break my previous time for a Wednesday, but came close. Manly got slowed down for awhile in the NW and SW.

Finally got BANDS for 50D, but reluctantly. There are of course BANDS that call themselves "Africa", just perhaps not as well-known as AMERICA. Picking up on a reference from yesterday's puzzle, here's a link to a really, really ICY ... er, I mean cool ... performance of Toto's iconic song, "Africa", by the ANGEL City Chorale.

The theme itself could be done with a lot of names. How about "Movie that really should have featured Imogene Coca, with 'The'." (Answer: SEVEN-PER-CENT-SOLUTION). In any case, one didn't need to know the actor or actress to arrive at the answer.

I, TOO, wondered whether any Volkswagen BEETLEs were powered by Diesel engines. Apparently, a few models are.

As for EELERS ... UGH.

'mericans in Paris 9:06 AM  

Er, what I meant was: The puzzle was an easy romp, not what I was expecting.

tommydif 9:08 AM  

I have to agree with dislike of ADULTING. The Fairway Markets here in New York recently put up signs all over the stores, saying that they are "The Place for Fooding." Annoys me every time I see it.

Elle54 9:10 AM  

Yep, knew who Anne Archer is. Had trouble in the southwest

QuasiMojo 9:12 AM  

Huh? Ok. This one got a pass from OFL. Personally I thought it had too many names and the themes were groaners. Why not Emma for archer? The rationale for all of them seemed stretched. How is juice related to diesel? To me it refers to steroids. Maybe I’m getting spoiled by the New Yorker puzzles (hi Amelia) in particular the latest Berry ones. But this felt flat to me. The Spider-Man one was particularly silly. And aren’t Ginsu knives still around? The clue made it sound like they are extinct.

michiganman 9:13 AM  

I don't propose banning it. I just don't like it.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

Boy, this is challenging for a Tuesday, I thought. Until I finally looked at the top of the page and saw it was a Wednesday. That explains it, I thought. Because the clue/answer connections were vague enough to require both some thinking and some crosses, I found the puzzle very enjoyable. All the theme answers were right on target (ROBIN HOOD again!), but none sprang to mind as I read the clues. So while the Aha moments were rather mild ones, they did exist and there were five (!) of them.

Kudos to Howard Barkin for choosing movies with very familiar titles, whether you've seen them or not. This always serves to make a puzzle less pop-culture-y. Of the five, I saw the original 1938 ROBIN HOOD, which was brought back every single year of my childhood, it seemed, all through the '40s and clear into the '50s. I'm sure there have been remakes, and that may be what younger bloggers have seen. I also saw ANIMAL HOUSE -- very funny, but a bit too broad is my appraisal. The others I missed -- but I've heard of all of them.

In spite of ADULTING again (when once was too much), I thought this was a fun puzzle.

ArtO 9:23 AM  

Expected a lot of "my fastest time ever" claims to come thundering through this morning. Astonished to find E-M rating - even with the apology.

That said, a really clever puzzle. Well done Howard B.

John H 9:24 AM  

I want to thank @gfrpeace for a lovely bit of culinary trivia.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

3:26 after a couple of stumbles (1A: gImme for CINCH; 43A: pondered dRago for CREED; 58A wanted cpa for ATM); missed my Wednesday record by a mere 10 seconds. Happy to have beat Rex by a country mile on this one.

pmdm 9:31 AM  

I, too, also owned a rabbit diesel, although it top out at 50 MPG. Unfortunately, the engine used the same type of metal as the gas engine, and the incresedpressure required in diesel engines caused the engine to blow a little after 100,000 miles. A wonderful car, with no troughble starting it in Chicago at -10 F.

And this was a wonderful puzzle. I didn't see any of the movies, but all were famous enough for me to buess their names. Hope all of you enjoyed the holiday as mush as I enjoyed this puzzle.

Teedmn 9:41 AM  

A cute theme and mostly straightforward cluing make this a pretty easy Wednesday puzzle. I had one write-over when I had to change ICe to ICY at 65D.

Another day of ADULTING. Boy, being a grown-up gets old in a hurry!

I liked "Clear the boards" for ERASE, 56D, and I was glad 35D was E. COLI, and not EbOLa as the latter is much worse than "unpleasant", I would say. And what is a formal greeting, as compared to 9D? "How do you do"? "Good evening"? "Pleased to meet you"?

Thanks, Howard Barkin, nice job.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

If ever there were a write up that proved Rex has one set of standards for friends and another for everyone else this it. My God, I hope he is able to untangle himself from the fantastic contortions he had to make to accommodate adulating.

Hungry Mother 9:50 AM  

Super fast today. Fun theme. Unlike Rex, I’m full of pep today after a great vegan meal last evening.

Banana Diaquiri 9:51 AM  

near as I can recall, there never was a Beetle with a diesel engine. the wiki says that they built a prototype in 1951, but never produced any. the clue/answer are sorta, kinda OK, since a Diesel is an internal combustion engine, so to that extent...

there have been, of course, diesel volkswagens...

Buffster 9:53 AM  

Rex would have nit-picked this one ad nauseum if he didn’t know the constructor.

GILL I. 9:55 AM  

What a pleasant puzzle to tackle on a (finally) quiet morning.
It felt like it was a bit of a CINCH for Wed. and I was hoping for some difficulties. The only area where I came to a complete stop was the NW. ATM and NAOMI took me a tad longer than the names of the movies featured here.
My favorite: Robin Hood (Men in Tights). My brother and I watched it on a flight from NYC to Cancun. You had to have known him to appreciate his very deep, loud giggly laughter. The attendant asked which movie we were watching - I guess wanting to know what was so amusing. You put Mel Brooks and Cary Elwes together in a movie and you get some darn good hilarity.
YANNI.....on the other hand, has that goofy smile that looks like he's trying to do something naughty while playing the piano. His music reminds me of the soundtracks you hear in movies like "Love Story." UGH.
I started to watch ANIMAL HOUSE but for some reasonI have never thought John Belushi was funny. Also, watching something about socially inept college students who needed lessons in ADULTING, never
has amused me.
Nary and UGH here (except you know who) This was a finely honed GINSU of a puzzle.

Amelia 9:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
RAD2626 9:58 AM  

I am with ArtO. Fastest Wednesday for me, helped by remembering the imo acceptable ADULTING from the earlier puzzle. Terrific theme well-executed fill and all around really fun mid-week puzzle. Very clever.

M'olding 10:05 AM  

@Aketi, I remember the widespread growth of Parenting. It's worse than adulting. At 63 I spose I'm post aging and now merely olding.

astroman 10:08 AM  

Good dog!

OldCarFudd 10:13 AM  

The original, air-cooled, rear-engine beetles all had gasoline engines. But diesel was an option in the more recent cars that were supposed to be reminiscent of old beetles (but, in my opinion, weren’t).

My present wife and I were married in 1979, during the second big gas crunch. We sold our compact station wagons and bought a big Ford van, that would hold our joint 5 kids and all our skis or all our bicycles. And we bought a VW Rabbit diesel, since Joan was commuting 50 miles one way to the Bronx for her PhD. The little VW was a pretty good car that got over 50 mpg.

Once in a while we went (without kids) to our ski club in Vermont for the weekend. Cars in those days were hard to start in temperatures of minus 30, and diesels were impossible. Not to worry. Since it had no plugs to foul, we just let our diesel idle all night, at the cost of 1.3 gallons. We emerged in the morning, got into a warm car, and went skiing, while most of our clubmates tried every trick in the book to get their gas cars to start.

We were also glider pilots in those days, and Joan had a little Schweizer glider she kept at our house on an open trailer. Once we took the glider on its trailer to Sugarbush Soaring in Vermont, with our bicycles tied on the back of the trailer, and hauled it with the VW. Climbing the pass out of Rutland, we were wide open in second gear, going 27 mph, blowing smoke like a tramp steamer. Diesels didn’t pretend to be clean in those days, and they weren’t peppy, but they sure were economical. Even with that load in that terrain, we got 28 mpg.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

In all fairness all engines ( for practical purposes) use the same metal. It's either aluminum or cast iron. Not sure what year your rabbit was, but be assured it had many engine parts that were redesigned for the diesel application. Among them: a stronger crankshaft, more robust connecting rods and wrist pins, beefier pistons, slightly different heads and of course stronger ancillary parts like the timing belt.

None of which makes the Vin Diesel/ beetle clue any more sensible.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Had to chuckle at 9D. True story: during my career I played golf several times with Japanese business associates. If they hit a bat shot, 9D is what they would do.

Amelia 10:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 10:30 AM  

I loved 46 across. A shout out to the fact that some of us still get our newspaper in the morning, read the news, and then pull out a pencil and do the puzzle. thank you!

Tim 10:31 AM  

The I too clue made me think of the also famous Marianne Moore poem on poetry which, I think,begins I too dislike it

pabloinnh 10:32 AM  

Fun enough puzzle, but pretty easy for a Wednesday.

My favorite part of this was seeing the name Howard Barkin (to whom thanks for the fun) and being reminded of my Uncle Howard who shared almost entirely the same name, except for the final two letters of the surname. He had lots of kids and on at least one Christmas we slept three to a bed, in a single bed, all waiting for Santa. Sure is the time of the year for memories.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Apparently there was TDI New Beetle so I guess the clue works.

David 10:51 AM  

Hey Z,

I, too, had a diesel VW (Jetta Wagon) which my government forced me to abandon. Why? Because it put out more N02 than allowed; perhaps, at times, as much as American made diesel pickup trucks are legally allowed to. MSM kept calling NO2 a "greenhouse gas", which it is not, the problem with it is it may trigger asthma in people. With only 500,000 vehicles throughout the entire United States that reaction seemed a bit much without revisiting all the other vehicles spewing (MSM's favorite word during the "scandal")NO2 at much higher levels. So I got rid of my car and replaced it with a similar auto (Golf Wagon) which burns twice the petrol and puts out twice as much CO2, an actual greenhouse gas. Yay!

I liked this puzzle, even with "adulting".

Z 10:55 AM  

HEY EVERYBODY. @‘mericans posted a link to the wiki page about diesel powered VW Beetles at 8:46 this morning. The clue is fine and it always pays to ask uncle google before assuming that your memory and knowledge are infallible.

Howard B 10:59 AM  

It's a necessity for me to make the films as widely acceptable as possible. Never been a pop culture vulture here :)

jberg 11:01 AM  

@Rex was right, I had no idea who Anne Archer is -- but so what? The beauty of the theme is that you don't need to know who the actor is, and you don't need to know what the movie is about. Except you have to know that ROBIN HOOD shot arrows, and everyone knows that. Otherwise, it's pure wordplay -- much better that way, IMO.

I know where Boise is, and I know where Missoula is, but for some reason I read the clue wrong and thought we were starting our VOYAGE in Missouri, so put in NNw. I almost went with CRwED for the Balboa foe (I take it this doesn't refer to the guy who would have been gazing at the Pacific with a wild surmise if only Pope had a better command of his conquistadors), but fortunately I checked the crosses one more time.

Gotta run now -- time to go so dome eldering (or is it old-manning?)

Pamela 11:03 AM  

Super easy, brief slowdown in the SE. I had to chuckle at adulting after the big kerfuffle the other day (agree that it’s ridiculous, but what can you do?!). This one made me feel smart, unlike most Sundays. It’s been decades since I’ve done any of the weekly puzzles, just focused on the big one, then stopped everything for a few years. Now I’m back, and have to get my game up again. I was still avoiding the easy days, but these discussions are so much fun to read, including the rants of OFL, that I just have to stop in. And of course I had to do the puzzle first so I would know what it’s all about.
So thank you Rex and everyone else for the entertainment. I’m hooked.

Unknown 11:08 AM  

I had to check the calendar thought it was Monday

Joe Bleaux 11:09 AM  

Kinda easy for midweek, but hey ... Cool of Mr. Barkin to comment (as it always is when constructors drop by). I, TOO am olding (good one, @M’olding!), which might explain why “parenting” doesn’t grate as intensely as it did when it usaged its way into the vernacular. If so, I’m gonna have to old a few more years before any verbing of “adult” goes unyeched by me. (Meanwhile,@Rex, damn you for doing, and for don’ting.)

GHarris 11:10 AM  

Agree today was relatively easy and enjoyable. Don't know why Rex spent so much time on the familiarity of names in the clues since one didn't need to know the person in order to apply the theme.. Agree that Ann Archer was a lot more appealing than Glenn Close's character but that's just the nature of many men; they're just drawn to adulterying.

Z 11:13 AM  

@David - I’m not an expert on the topic, but I think it was as much the lying as the emissions from the tailpipe. At least that’s the sense I got from articles like this from Auto Week. And you’re not going to find me disagreeing that emission standards are wonky, although I strongly suspect our preferred solutions would be wildly different. I’d strongly support removal of price supports that would drive up gas prices by 200-300 percent and force car users to personally shoulder the costs of auto pollution. Ain’t gonna happen.

I can’t believe you people only managed 50mpg out of your Rabbits. I know our car’s top speed because, well, i reached it more than once. So it is not as if I was frugally driving at posted speed limits and braking responsibly and I still consistently got 60 mpg. And, yes, I tracked it pretty faithfully. Driving such a car in Michigan required defending.

Okay, my last post put me at my limit, so, until tomorrow.

Nancy 11:15 AM  

@tommydif -- After decades of living in *the boonies* as a NYC Upper Eastsider, our nabe finally acquired a Fairways of our very own. It's the one to which @Amelia alludes. Since I live a half mile away and generally don't do Destination Food Shopping, I'm only in it when I'm on, or near, E. 86th St. But I've never seen a sign that says "The Place for Fooding." If I ever did, I would be just as put off as you, but I haven't. There are two possible explanations for this:

1) The place opened fairly recently and they haven't gotten around to putting up the sign...or 2) It's there, but I just haven't noticed it.

Based on my exceptional powers of non-observation, it's probably 2. If so, I am really grateful for my exceptional powers of non-observation.

RooMonster 11:21 AM  

Hey All !
This puz was a CINCH. Seems it could've been a TuesPuz, but that was Christmas Day, so this one got slotted a day back. Just my two cents.

Cute theme. 6 @M&A's weejects in the middle, 5 are Abbrs. Lots of Double E's in the bottom half. Do have three F's, and a ROO hiding in GROOM.

Since I VOICED my opinion, I guess it's time to go and start ADULTING with HONORS. ALOHA!


FrankStein 11:23 AM  

Let’s not forget the traditional courtesy here of keeping one’s comments to no more than theee a day. Merci buttercups.

amyyanni 11:24 AM  

Super theme, some baseball clues, and, well, loved 19 across for obvious reasons!

Rainbow 11:43 AM  

I would become the biggest fan of ADULTING if the Republicans would do it.

oldactor 12:09 PM  

I completely missed the point on the Vin Diesel/ Beetle Juice clue, even though having once owned a VW Beetle. I thought VIN=WINE=JUICE. I think I like that better.

Contrition 12:16 PM  

The thing about adulting is that it carries an irritating implication. If you haven't been growing toward adulthood naturally since the age of 18, there's a problem.

The way it used to work was you went off to college or into a job and had to learn to do certain things your parents had been doing for you (money management, laundry, etc.). You learned through your own struggles or difficulties to be a stronger and more empathetic person, etc. That's becoming an adult. There isn't need for a verb any more than you might someday find yourself wanting to shout orgasming! It just happens.

But maybe you were over PARENTED (and this is why that word is so abhorrent) and they continued to do everything for you as they helicoptered around. Or maybe it was the crappy economy that forced you to live with your parents past a certain age and it really isn't your fault at all.

Having written this, I suddenly accept the word. You're our kids and we did it to you. Adult on.

ghostoflectricity 12:18 PM  

Love Anne Archer except for the fact that she's a Scientologist, one of the biggest "religious" scams in America. I don't say the biggest because I believe much of Evangelical "Christianity" is an even bigger scam. Look at who the latter support for president.

Dara 12:25 PM  

Wow, very surprised (and a little dismayed!) to see no wrath for the IMO unacceptable cluing of "EL TORO" as something found in "un corrido" as opposed to "el corrido." (I flubbed it by writing in "TORERO" which made more sense as a six-letter clue anyway, before realizing that the use of "un corrido" as opposed to "a corrido" was probably a hint, but I still don't particularly respect the move.)

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Ha ha Z temporarily forgot that proud ignorance is the raisin of etter hereabouts

Masked and Anonymous 12:46 PM  

@RP: Cute tree and cute doggy. Cute puztheme, also. Vin Diesel also did a schlock flick [gifted a DVD of it to bro-in-law Zeke just yesterday] called "The Last Witch Hunter". Letsee … who could that flick have featured … ?

staff weeject pick-X-ers: UFO/UGH. Very attractive weeject stacks in the middle W & E, also.

Admired the desperate attempt at deja-vuosity, with ADULTING. Best Ow de Speration goes to the mighty EELERS, tho; has yer -ER and -S double-threat endin that we desperation con-noise-sirs [sp.?] so enjoy.
OTOH, most of the puzfill was nice and runty and solid. Lost few precious nanoseconds. Finished on a mere single large slice of banana bread.

fave themer by far: BEETLEJUICE. Several primo schlock flick themers, tho. thUmbsUp.

Thanx the fun, Mr. Barkin.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

p.s. M&A's fave gift: a 100-pack of schlock-ish, so-called "cult" flicks, on the DVD. Intriguin titles include:
* Moon of the Wolf.
* Brain Twisters.
* Prisoners of the Lost Universe.
… But, I digress.


Lynx 12:46 PM  

@aketi: it would be tricky to follow your recommendation for consistency around the word, ADULTING. Yes, 'parenting' and 'babying' work, as do 'mothering' and 'fathering'. But consider:
- brothering?
- sistering?
- siblinging?

The list goes on, we could extend the verbification of nouns to cousins, aunts, uncles, step families, etc. If we don't stand united in eradicating 'adulting' right now, imagine the potential havoc!

jae 12:48 PM  

Easium. Cute, liked it. ADULTING is not a bad characterization of what my 20 yr. old granddaughter and her friends are experiencing.

Joseph M 12:49 PM  

I, TOO, must express my amazement. ADULTING? Again? Really?

I liked the puzzle more than I didn’t like it. Good choice of themers and clues. However, I must object to the clue for VOICED. I used to do VOICE OVER work and never once heard anyone in the industry say that they “voiced” a film or commercial.

Had the most trouble in the SE thanks to thinking that a “balance shower” was a CPA. And 69A had me thinking about understudies instead of broken arms. Enjoyed the riddle posed by the clue for 50D.

Nice bit of trivia that “cruciverbalist” became an official word in 2006.

JC66 12:50 PM  


Years ago a neighbor kept meticulous records of his car's MPG, which he freely shared with anyone who would listen. As a prank, another neighbor started sneaking into his garage and adding gas to the car's tank. #1 went wild, bragging to one and all about the great mileage he was getting. After about a month, neighbor #2 then began siphoning gas out of the car. After numerous trips to the dealership to try to find out what the problem was, #2 owned up to the joke. They're still friends.


I've lived near and have shopped at the Broadway Fairway for over 25 years and have never noticed that sign, either.

Doug Garr 1:13 PM  

As long as we're complaining about words we can't stand let me nominate "curating" and "tasking." Not even sure how tasking got to be a verb, but I hate, hate, hate it. And let's stop curating every damn thing. The word was invented for those who care for fine art and put together exhibitions. They are curators. Everyone else is just doing something, and not tasking.

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

I was not a fan of the unfortunate sub word of saySHITo.

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

Very nice puzzle. Thanks very much Mr. Barkin. Great way to start the countdown to next Christmas. (364 days,...)

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

@Nancy. "Fooding" bothers you but "Nabe" is OK?

Fs4569 2:10 PM  

My clothing store advertises “bespoke shirting.”

TCProf 2:49 PM  

Re: Vin Diesel and Beetlejuice: Vin = French for "wine" = juice.

Howard B 2:58 PM  

Thank you Z. I did research this before cluing as well. Remember puzzlers, the clue and answer can partially match and still remain valid. Just because not all Beetles ran on diesel does not negate the clue. Thanks and carry on :).

Joe Dipinto 3:21 PM  

I shop at the Fairway in Red Hook and occasionally the one in Chelsea, and have never noticed a "The Place for Fooding" sign. Better than "The Place For Drinking", I guess. I do see on their online Specials page that they publish a monthly flyer titled FAIRWAY FOODING.

***Helpful hint: sale prices are always at least a dollar less in Red Hook than in any of the Manhattan stores. Should you be inclined to travel...***

Bax'N'Nex 3:26 PM  

This review is Mike in a nutshell. When a "friend" (can you imagine...*shudders*)of his constructs, it's delightful and not much criticism to be found.

What do you suppose the review would have been if Bruce Haight had done this exact puzzle? "Yes, Cage could be an actual animal house so, fine, but who refers to diesel as juice?" "BTW, can we stop caging animals?" "Any voyage can be fantastic, not just cruises. Things like spaceships or submarines can also be fantastic, IMO" "FIB and LIED in the same grid???...OMG!"

Such a phony, sad little man. What a reputation to have as a miserable world hater that even his friend has to apologize and, if it was in jest, has to even have the thought of Mike's snarkiness enter his mind. (Come to think of it, he never said Howard was his friend, just that he's known him "for a long time". I'm pretty sure if that's true, Howard probably can't stand him by now.

I thought this was a really fun, Monday type puzzle and thank you, Howard, for entertaining me this morning. But had to get this off my chest.

Cheers, all!

Victor S 3:28 PM  

As the father of two teenage daughters I suggest perhaps some more modern terms might help attract the next generation of cruciverbalists. My 15 year old uses both adorbs and adulting in ordinary conversation. She has started doing the mini puzzles but to “graduate” surely a mix of older and newer terms is not unreasonable

Bax'N'Nex 3:30 PM  

And, BTW, (dating myself here) my parents hated when I started saying things like "far out" and "bitchen". Every generation has their own vernacular, maybe just to get old people (or people like Mike that think old and grumpy) tee'd off.

If MIKE doesn't like it IT'S WRONG!!

Such a dick.

Banana Diaquiri 3:51 PM  

@Howard B
Just because not all Beetles ran on diesel

well... no Beetle ran on diesel. a few New Beetles did. they're not the same car. if the New Beetle were a Beetle, VW would have just called it the "1997 Beetle". they didn't. they were both in production at the same time, from 1997 to 2003 (well... German production wound up in 1978); how could they be the same car? that's another conundrum: either they were twin brothers born 19 years apart, or they distant cousins. there were no diesel Beetles.

Blue Stater 3:56 PM  

A grotesque Natick at CHIA and ASIAGO, neither of which I've never heard before. Otherwise, I agree with OFL: nice puzzle.

QuasiMojo 3:59 PM  

@Doug, if I may add my own newish word to the hate list, I’d nominate “unpack” as a verb meaning to interpret or perhaps parse a political message. How about just “describe”? Or “characterize”?

Sigmund 4:28 PM  

You have an unhealthy obsession.

Just Us Volks 4:40 PM  

That's a good poi.........well no, it really isn't. A New Beetle is still a Beetle.

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

Two things:

1. It's not about Vin.

2. ADULTING is recommended for those who felt clever in pointing out the naughty word hidden in 9D.

Joe Dipinto 5:09 PM  

@Doug Garr -- yes! This rampant curating must be stopped.

"I'm curating the guest list for next month's gala."

"The school has asked me to curate a bake sale."

"The CSI curated the contents of the medicine cabinet: a box of Curad band aids, a bottle of Curacil tablets, and an arrow dipped in curare. 'Curious...', he thought. 'Are we done curating?' shouted his partner from the bedroom. 'In a minute' he said curtly. 'I still have to curate these post-it notes that are written in cursive.' 'Oh, curate schmurate! Well, hurry up, I'm jonesing for some curried goat and a curaçao cocktail.'"

Nancy 5:17 PM  

@Anon (1:49) -- I hate, hate, hate "nabe". I think that everyone should write out "neighborhood" every single time. (Unless, of course, I'm the one doing all that tedious typing.) In conversation, though, I have never, ever said "nabe", and never would. "Neighborhood" is only a pain in the neck to type, not to say.

The difference between "fooding" which is cutesy and "nabe" which is lazy is that I don't think anyone would ever accuse me of being cutesy.:)

Stanley Hudson 6:08 PM  

Not sure who is more beautiful, @Gill I or Anne ARCHER

Suzie Q 6:15 PM  

So much nit-picking over the Beetlejuice clue. I just saw the cleverness of diesel as a fuel(juice) for a car(any car will do). It worked for me.
I don't think Vin was part of the joke.

While I might agree with some of the comments re: personal bias in the reviews I do not believe it serves us well to bite the hand that feeds us. He feeds us a forum and if he finally walks away from it because of such harsh personal attacks I will be very angry and lonely. I look forward to coming here every day.

Elton John Wesley 6:18 PM  

I’m curating a list of all the hateful comments on this blog.


Beetle Juice Newton 6:21 PM  

Does anyone remember unpacking curating?

GILL I. 7:20 PM  

@Stanley H......Betty Lou Gerson: "You don't mess with a broad with a gun" likes to thank you... ;-)

kitshef 11:50 PM  

Two varieties of anti-ADULTING critics. Some (like Rex) object to the concept. Others object to the verbing of nouns. This is addressed only to the latter group. When you consider the noun 'proposal' and the verb 'to propose', do you imagine that the two words originated simultaneously, springing forth fully formed from the head of Zeus?

Never happens. Either the noun or the verb will be first (in the case of propose, it was the verb). Then some clever person extends the existing word in a new way. Thus we get new nouns like "proposal" and verbs like "table".

What She Said 12:43 AM  

The “verbing” of nouns also has a generational component. People just a tad older than Rex remeber a time when “impact” was used almost exclusively as a noun, and had not yet morphed into a verb (impacting) in the mouths of anyone other than dentists. A similar transformation took place for the noun “contact” a few generations earlier — check out the Google Ngrams for “impacting” and “contacting” to see those historical shifts.

And don’t even get me started on the abuse of the c-word: Those who cannot do, “curate”.
Kirk Varnedoe is probably rolling over in his grave.

thefogman 10:09 AM  

This one was a CINCH. It took me about three Rexes and for a Wednesday. That's a quick TEMPO. It was fun, but UGH! I can't FIB. ILOSE because I had ICe and EDe. EGADS, now ICY but it's too late to ERASE so I must SAYHITO yet another DNF...

spacecraft 11:28 AM  

I believe I may have broken a time record today; at least for a Wednesday it was my fastest ever. I have to thank ADULTING's earlier appearance for some of that speed. I just did another puzzle (Observer) titled "Vocations" in which famous people had joblike surnames. This seems an extension of that. ANIMALHOUSE certainly could have used a "Cage" or two, har. So a "har" theme, no revealer needed, and straightforward fill/cluing. This is essentially a good MONday puzzle. Uninspired crosswordese like ISITI, ECOLI, ETAIL and EELERS knock it down a bit. Some DOD contenders here; Marisa TOMEI winds up on top. Wait, that didn't come out right...nevermind. Par.

Diana, LIW 12:43 PM  

Well, all right. I see we are Googling (noun to verb, there!) the grown up concept.

Not sure why, but SPIDERMAN seemed odd for Ms. Weaver - a gender-a-tional thing to my ears. Otherwise, fun getting the themers, well after finishing the pzzle.

So @Rainy - how's your fridge? Aren't you glad you stayed here, where you have so much refrigerational help?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

I, TOO think ADULTING is an adulteration of the language, but so is much else in modern lingo. Need to get used to it.

NE corner, with its three-stack PPPs, and SW, with its three clued BANDS, were slow-downs. The themer that seemed off-the-mark was BEETLEJUICE. Many different kinds of vehicles use diesel, but Beetles aren't prominent among them. The other themers were pretty straightforward.

CHIA pet? Okay, I guess.

Not bad at all for Wednesday.

Burma Shave 2:00 PM  


about the ANIMALHOUSE Cafe's MENUS,
"EGAD, it's a CINCH he'll become a BEE


leftcoastTAM 2:26 PM  

Anonymous 1:45 PM was me. Don't know why my usual moniker didn't take. As for BEETLEJUICE, I had forgotten about the controversy over the VW corp cheating on the exhaust system reports. Does that make a difference? Not sure.

Wooody2004 2:31 PM  

Straw Dogs really should have featured Christian Bale.

Learned from Blog: Everybody has a cinematic area code. The last four themers were in my area code but ROBINHOOD is long distance.

**Mueller Alert** Left turn ahead:

There was a mini Trump theme with FIB, "LIED" TED, ELF-VOICED Jeff Sessions, and Donald "nonADULTING MON" UMPED.

rondo 2:39 PM  

Flew through this puz so fast it woulda made my eyes (ILOSE ISITI ITOO) water, which could have been dangerous at 31 degrees below zero. There are no SKIERs out today since they closed down the hills. Doesn't SPIDERMAN kinda SLING his web around rather than Weave it? I see it's been noted above, but be careful parsing SAYSHITO.

Pretty sure that YANNI lives here in the Twin Cities area.

@spacey, I think you got it just right with Marisa TOMEI. Yeah baby.

GOOD enough puz. 30 below again tonight. EGAD!

thefogman 5:54 PM  

@Rainy: Just out of curiosity, how goes the fridge issue? Did you turn the screw on your thermostat/defrost timer?

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