Old-time Price Is Right announcer Johnny / SUN 3-17-19 / Quad glute exercise / Stereotypical High Times reader

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Constructor: Sophia Maymudes and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium (10:50)

THEME: "That's Another Story" — fiction titles clued as if they were biographies:

Theme answers:
  • GONE GIRL (31A: Biography of Amelia Earhart?)
  • A GAME OF THRONES (4D: Biography of Thomas Crapper?)
  • MARLEY AND ME (23A: Biography of Ebenezer Scrooge?)
  • LIFE OF PI (34A: Biography of Archimedes?)
  • OF MICE / AND MEN (43D: with 44-Down, biography of Walt Disney?)
  • LORD OF THE FLIES (13D: Biography of Willie Mays?)
  • A FAREWELL TO ARMS (110A: With 112-Across, biography of Elvis?)
  • THE ONCE AND / FUTURE KING (112A: See 110-Across)
Word of the Day: Johnny OLSON (18A: Old-time "The Price is Right" announcer Johnny) —
John Leonard Olson (May 22, 1910 – October 12, 1985) was an American radio personality and television announcer. Olson is perhaps best known for his work as an announcer for game shows, particularly the work he did for Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions. Olson was the longtime announcer for the original To Tell the Truth and What's My Line? early in his career and spent over a decade as the announcer for both Match Game and The Price Is Right, and he had been working on the latter series at the time of his death. (wikipedia)
• • •

This theme is an arbitrary jumble of book titles. The end. Why "Willie Mays" for LORD OF THE FLIES? That could be [Biography of [any famous outfielder]?). And why aren't these just funnier, or at least more audacious? [Biography of Conan O'Brien?] => THE GINGER MAN. [Biography of Rip Van Winkle?] => THE BIG SLEEP. [Biography of the president?] => WHITE NOISE ... or HEART OF DARKNESS ... you've got options here. My point is you can do this with lots of book titles, and the examples in this puzzle aren't that funny. A FAREWELL TO ARMS is a groaner (literally a dad joke)—so tired that the biography subject (Venus de Milo) is obvious w/o even seeing the clue. Same with THE ONCE AND / FUTURE KING. King, Elvis, yup, not exactly surprise there. The clues are transparent, not trying hard enough. Plus the grid is choppy as heck so there's too much short stuff / not enough interesting stuff. Too segmented. Too many black squares. And then there's the obvious "word list" stuff like ICE CORES and SILENT E'S, stuff that no one would think of and that actually aren't that interesting.

I thought I was going to die in the SE corner. I had FUTURE and couldn't think of any title with that word in it (hilarious side note: I've taught Arthurian literature for two decades). But I could not get LUNGE or ELF or FREES or SAGES (??) or TINGE (thought maybe TINCT?), but worst of all was SHAKUR. I can't stop laughing at the idea of anyone's just referring to him as SHAKUR. In case you don't know, the person in question is legendary rapper TUPAC SHAKUR, whom (almost) literally everyone calls TUPAC (or just 'PAC). So I had SHA--- for 95D: Artist with seven posthumous platinum albums and just ... nothing. Ravi SHANKAR wouldn't fit. SHAKIRA also wouldn't fit, and is still alive (to the best of my knowledge). "The artist is ... SHAKUR." Nope, can't hear it. I had to exit that corner, get THE ONCE AND, then come back, put in KING, and even then it was dicey. Also, ELF is not not not not not not a [Giant's opposite]. What the hell? Are we talking size? Then it's dwarf. I mean, if we're staying in the realm of fantasy literature. Halfling, maybe, if we're going the D&D route. ELF??? Elves aren't (necessarily) small! Did no one see "Lord of the Rings"!? Which, by the way, was *absolutely* the thing I had in the grid before amending it to LORD OF THE FLIES. Further, SCARY is a pretty weak answer for [Lovecraftian], which suggests EERIE and unCANNY for more than mere SCARY. Here you go. Read up. Oh, I did very much like one thing about this puzzle, and here it is:

[12D: Elvis Costello hit that starts "I've been on tenterhooks / Ending in dirty looks"]

Congratulations to Jesse Lansner on winning the Finger Lakes Crossword Competition for the second year in a row. I had a great time there as judge and introductory speaker. It's a nice local charity tournament to benefit Tompkins County Learning Partners, an adult literacy organization. If you live anywhere near the central NY area, you should consider coming next year (roughly same time). OK, bye.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


puzzlehoarder 12:31 AM  

Does SPANDEX really make a RHESUS FASTER or do they just look that way? Either way this puzzle was strictly for fun. It was appropriate that after yesterday's shellfish/TREF fiasco the word shellfish should reappear in the clue for ETOUFFEE. If it doesn't rhyme with "new to me" it ought to. Unlike yesterday the crosses came through and no harm done.

Isn't a "corrigenda" where they hold bullfights? There were a number of things I had to work around. I'm just glad SEATTLE is a space longer than SEATAC. That's probably the reason for the name.

Kudos to Jeff Chen for coaching a young female constructor. I wonder how much her parents bribed him?

Joaquin 12:50 AM  

Well ... I knew Rex would hate it but I rather enjoyed this puzzle. It was Natick-free for me (well, 'cept for ROAG) and I enjoyed the relatively easy hunt for titles.

Joe Dipinto 1:02 AM  

Jessica 59d, I mean 117a, I mean Lange, might take issue with 3d.

I want to go to Nola and (present tense of 82d) étouffée, right now.

Yeah the themers were kind of... not happening. MARLEY AND ME only served to remind me of the bonkers Bob Marley clue the other day. I didn't dislike solving this, I just wish the themers had been snappier.

Carola 1:09 AM  

Nice job on the repurposing of ARMS from weapons to limbs, of FLIES from flying critters to flying baseballs, of THRONES from the seat of KINGs to the seat for the rest of us, of MARLEY from dog to banker, and of PI from fictional character to Greek character. It would have been neat if the last couple had also undergone such a transformation but I'm sure that's a tall order.

Casimir 1:21 AM  

Largely agree with OFL, though I have no knowledge of the proper way to refer to the late Mr. Shakur.

I do gently disagree with Rex regarding the Willie Mays clue. After all, he did make "The Catch" in the 1954 World Series, perhaps the most famous catch ever by an outfielder. There's a Wiki page which explains that Mays's glove is displayed in the Hall, and he himself doesn't believe it's his greatest catch.

Then again, I might be biased -- I go around wearing a NY (baseball) Giants cap which totally befuddles people!

Pat 1:55 AM  

SHAKUR was the final hold out in this puzzle, and I was underwhelmed. Maybe that's because I just don't like that music that much. It's the kind of ghetto music that never did anything for me. I'd much rather listen to psychedelic rock.

Anonymous 1:58 AM  

Biography of Michael Sharp: WHITE NOISE

chefwen 2:46 AM  

I’m sure I’m not the first to point out that you kinda messed up on 92A which was my favorite one. Dear Old Dad would tell me every time he saw me biting my nails, “your going to end up like the Venus de Milo if you keep that up”. Ha Ha, very funny, Dad.

Loved the puzzle, but had a whee of a time in the SE. Straightening up that little corner took me almost as much time as the rest of the puzzle. Puzzle partner had BUD at 107D which I know wasn’t going to fly so I changed it to BRO which didn’t get off the ground either, BLast before BLARE. Didn’t know the book THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING which would have solved all my woes down there. Got it done, slowly, but we got it done.

GONE GIRL was a little spooky, wasn’t crazy about that one.

Anonymous 3:32 AM  

A Room of One's Own killed me for the longest time. (Thomas Crapper bio) A Game of Thrones was better, although no one ever says the "A."

Loren Muse Smith 5:37 AM  

Rex, I tell ya – recently your write-ups have been so surprising that I’m thinking you’re seriously just winding us up. OF MICE AND MEN was the first themer I got, and I was delighted. A FAREWELL TO ARMS is a must in this list, I don’t care what you say. A GAME OF THRONES is hysterical. MARLEY AND ME – terrific.

I don’t understand your “arbitrary” complaint. What. You want some kind of underlying thread that connects all the books? Why? [Picture my face; it’s all screwed up like I just smelled a fart.]

Obviously I disagree – duh, what else is new, but today, I HOTLY disagree. I had a great time uncovering all the titles. And, as Rex has shown – it’s impossible not to think of others:

Biography of the president – Things Fall Apart, An American Tragedy, The Human Stain
Autobiography of the president – Much Ado About Nothing

Biography of. . .
. . .OJ Simpson – The Trial
. . .Robert Mueller – Invisible Man, Great Expectations, The Quiet American
. . .Tom Brady – Pump it Up
. . .Octomom – Madame Ovary
. . .Mohammed Ali – Lord of the Rings
. . .Bob Marley – Leaves of Grass
. . .Shirley McClaine – Remembrance of Things Past

3D - “. . .stuff that no one would think of and that actually aren't that interesting.” Be careful there, Rex. You can’t be the boss of what we think is interesting. That the E in some words renders G and C soft interests the hell out of me.

sags/SAGES, lung/LUNGE, mic/mice. (We’ll save licorice for another treatise.)

And don’t we have an H after the G in spaghetti to make sure the G is pronounced hard (or at least al dente)? And AND, I went back and admired the apostrophe plural makers in the clue. So the entire experience of 3D gave me a ton of pleasure.

“Verb that’s a homophone for a letter”: are, see, pee, eye, cue. I went with “see” first.

“Bosom buddy” – Well, a push-up bra, if you really wanna know.

Sophia, Jeff – this was so much fun. Don’t listen to any Whiney the Pooh.

Anonymous 6:07 AM  

I find GONE GIRL distasteful. Can’t put my finger on it - maybe it’s the flippancy with which her tragic story is presented, or maybe it’s referring to a groundbreaking 39-year-old woman as a “girl”.

John Child 6:31 AM  

My word play funny bone is rudimentary, and tortured answers are apt to annoy me. So hurrah for a Sunday puzzle where the theme answers are real things. And I crushed the puzzle (< 2xRex), which adds to the pleasure. I want to work hard on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but my attention span for any puzzle is no longer than half an hour.

Too bad SHRUB didn’t get a POTUS 43 clue.


Brookboy 7:02 AM  

@LMS: I could not agree more regarding Rex and his overly critical review, and there is no way I could have said it as well. As usual, you are spot on. I too enjoyed the gentle whimsy of the theme answers, even if they fell a little too easily.

I had a hard time getting started, but once I did it went pretty fast, at least for me. The big AHA! for me came with 31A: GONE GIRL. The southeast corner was the last and the toughest. All in all, it was an enjoyable puzzle.

I do wish that OFL would scale back some of the criticism, although I’m sure that he feels the need to maintain his reputation as the curmudgeon of crossword reviewers.

Lewis 7:06 AM  

@lms -- For Trump, add "The Sound and the Fury" and "A Confederacy of Dunces". For Rex, add "Raging Bull".

Did anyone else notice the heart in the upper middle of the grid? Or the plethora of F's (8) in the SE quadrant?

I really liked the clue for ETDS [Gate expectations, briefly]. The themers brought me smiles, and some of the other answers could have doubled for themers:

FASTER -- Biography of Mahatma Ghandi
LOOPY -- Biography of the eighth Dwarf
STONER -- Biography of David

Lljones 7:46 AM  

Gotta love a puzzle that opens with my own name.

David 8:17 AM  

Yeah. No. Ameiia Earhart=Gone Girl? Ouch. No empathy here.

Then there's Leon Hess. Who??? Johnny Olson. Who??? Nicolas Roeg. Who??? Shakur. What???

Once I saw the gag in, and gagged on, the aforementioned Gone Girl, I rarely even looked at the clues, which is why I had Lord of the Rings before Lord of the Flies. All the answers stood out like neon lights off a few letters: A Farewell to Arms off llt, The Once and Future King off the f__ure. But The Life of Pi for Archimedes? Nay. Try A Turn of the Screw. I mean, Pi is okay and a topical answer, but the Archimedes Screw is what he's most known for. I did get Of Mice and Men from the obvious clue though (and it's in the center of what looks sort of like Mickey).

Pretty shallow take on Lovecraft too.


Eric NC 8:21 AM  

@LMS. Thanks for octomom. Coffee up my nose did not feel good. Stopped me in my tracks.

pmdm 8:25 AM  

Mike Sharp simply does not understand that the only unifying characteristic a puzle needs is something that unifies all the theme answers. Beyond that, considerations determine which theme entries one can choose. His psychological need to go a step further is not shared by everybody else, especially it seems by people who comment here early on a Sunday puzzle.

I don't solve a puzzle to make me laugh. Sometimes an entry will cause a chuckle, and I consider that a bonus, not a necessity. Interestingly enough, the comments posted here are usually more likely to tickle my funny bone than the entries. Sadly, it is also true that a number of them are apt to annoy me. I guess it's a positive thing to take the bad with the good.

The rant about ELF is kind of loopy. The world of crossword clues allows for a broad rance of approximations. ELFIN can be defined as a small and delicate person. A gigantic person would have opposite characteristics. So why complain that such an apt entry on Saint Patrick's Day has a bad clue. I prefer a celebration of the positive to tortuous complaints. Which is complaining about the complaint, not the person making the complaint.

This is the second Chen Sunday puzzle (only half his, actually) that has troubled me more so than most Sunday puzzles. I admit to solving it without loving it. I don't really care. Today, it's the lean corned beef and stout I am looking forward to. Hope you all have a happy day.

Jeff 8:56 AM  

DIJON in the Cote d'or? Am I missing something?

Agree with above on GONE GIRL and ELF. But otherwise a fun puzzle.

FrankStein 8:59 AM  

Props to Rex for pointing out the puffed up pretensions of this lackluster puzzle. Why is Crapper’s life story a GAME? Why is Elvis a Future King? Who would write a biography of a statue? Who would make light of someone’s tragic death, presumed, with a flippant pun? These are just not in any way clever or amusing. Forced humor just isn’t funny. It’s groan material. Banal. A parody of wit.

John H 9:07 AM  

@lauren muse smith, your alternatives were really goo. Made me chuckle.

Is there an editor out there somewhere? Shortz pretends to be a language maven, right? Didn't anyone else notice (I haven't read all the comments) that 120A, "ere," is a preposition, not a conjunction? If something is supposed to be the greatest in the world it should be perfection. This is just plain sloppy.

Shaggy 9:07 AM  

I liked this one though I agree with the Shakur comment. Took me forever. Would be akin to Arist known as Queen of Pop and have the answer be Ciccone.

CS 9:12 AM  

Agree with @LMS and @Brookboy! Fun puzzle.

Also wanted to add snaps to newcomer Sophia Maymudes with support from Jeff Chen and thanks to the NYT for supporting upcoming new talent. I enjoy the background stories like this. Very telling about Rex that he makes zero mention of that and zero acknowledgment of NYT supporting more women.
Sophia: if you are reading this, pay no attention to Rex the crank! Keep up the excellent work!


ghthree 9:12 AM  

I will never forget my first actual encounter with the Venus de Milo.
I was immediately struck by her size: almost seven feet tall!
Of course, she's not human; she's a goddess, so human scale does not apply.
Michaelangelo's David is even bigger.

I immediately made a bi-lingual pun of her most noticeable features:
She has no arms (pas de bras).
She's bare-chested (no bra).

Did anybody else put in "A GAME OF TOILETS" for 4 Down? My only major overwrite.
About halfway through the solve, I noticed that most (probably all) of the titles
were actual books, pulled out the toilets, and it was smooth sailing.

Lljones 9:19 AM  

@puzzlehoarder: SeaTac airport is midway between Seattle and Tacoma, hence the name.

CDilly52 9:28 AM  

And Willie Mays was called “Liod of the Flies” by sportswriters after that catch!

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

I thought the theme answers were pretty good groaners.

GONEGIRL is not in the best of taste, making fun of a tragedy, but neither is the use of "heater" as a euphemism for a gun used to kill people, nor is the frequently used "anal." The Times obviously allows a moderate amount of mildly bad taste in the puzzle, and if we want to do the puzzle we have to accept that.

CDilly52 9:37 AM  

Same here!

DeeJay 9:38 AM  

Good puz.

Preferred Customer 9:43 AM  

@puzzlehoarder gratuitous insult as first comment. Maybe you need to work on your self esteem.


clk 9:45 AM  

Exactly right!

CDilly52 9:50 AM  

This was such fun. Maybe it was the theme that is the type of old school humor that I remember enjoying as a youngster “helping” my grandmothe with her daily NYT puzzle. Thankfully all of the themers fell easily because some of the other clues and names were out of my wheelhouse. . Hope Rex gets over this very negative streak. This was fun!

Teedmn 10:00 AM  

In my small town in the '60s, Lori was a much more common name than LISA. So guess what held up my NW for 35 minutes? A GAME OF THRONES finally knocked that out of the grid, and all I could think was, "LISA, Lisa? Really?" I'm not questioning the clue; it just doesn't jive with my anecdotal evidence.

I laughed when I saw the goddess NIKE in the grid, which meant I could take Nike out of 109A as the Adidas rival.

RHESUS monkey rears its cute and/or ugly head again today.

At 110A, I had TH_ON and thought the Elvis biography was going to have THrONe in it - I felt rather sad for poor Elvis until 4D reared its ugly head. (Har, Thomas Crapper and POOP, sorry, no rimshots here.)

I really like the theme. I knew all the book titles and thought FAREWELL TO ARMS was really good. The cluing was tough - I had a hard time with things like SCROLL for "Go through a window" as defenestration was obviously not the point.

Thanks, Sophia and Jeff, and nice job, Sophia, on your sophomore puzzle and first Sunday.

@Carola, thanks for pointing out the changes the themes make from the originals. Perhaps GONE GIRL (I agree that one made me wince) could have had a Lassie clue, a change from "girl" to "girl dog"?

@LMS, fun avatar.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

"Ghetto music?" Thanks for outing yourself

Dan Steele 10:09 AM  

Hmm, I have to say that I’m impressed by the diversity of comments here. I thought that it would be pretty much unanimous. “Nice try for a youngster, keep up the good work. Maybe the next one won’t be so bland, so generic.”
Instead… Wow, people enjoyed these themers? My eyes scanned over the puzzle early, I saw something about a biography of Venus de Milo, and I groaned. Seriously… It can’t be a farewell to arms. Can it? It was. That was the worst, but all the theme answers were in the same neighborhood. Nice try, way better than I can do, good luck with your next one.

Z 10:17 AM  

@puzzlehoarder - Spoiler much? Sunday Reminder - The syndicated solvers haven’t solved the Saturday puzzle, yet. Not to mention that lots of other people don’t solve sequentially for all kinds of reasons. For those who don’t know, Monday - Saturday syndicated puzzles are 5 weeks behind, but the Sunday puzzle is only a week behind in syndication.

@Casimir - Respect. I love that you have that baseball cap.

@LMS - LOL. Good one.

@LMS and @pmdm - When examples are so easy to come up with why doesn’t Shortz demand a unifying concept? These are fine, but why not expect great? I liked these more than Rex did, but I take his point that it could have been better with an actual theme rather than a mere conceit.

Here is your occasional reminder that the guy singing in that Pump It Up video is married to Diana Krall. A fact that crushes the fantasies a few guys here. “I’ve been on tenterhooks/Ending in dirty looks” will never be “white guy music” - discuss.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Left the puzzle after Gone Girl. Just found it humorless and inappropriate

Suzie Q 10:22 AM  

Tough crowd today.
I thought this was a great Sunday. They have been so lame lately but today was lots of fun. I couldn't believe how many theme entries were woven throughout it. I suppose it helps to have read these books but even so, they are famous titles. I even learned a few new words so I'm glad for a good start to my day. Congrats on the debut Sophia and kudos to Jeff for being the mentor.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

If you visit St Lawrence Church in Hatfield, Yorkshire, England you cab use one of Thomas Crapper's original fixtures. I's in a separate room at the back of the church. Works like a charm.

BarbieBarbie 10:34 AM  

Would have been nice to have a PB puzz on St.Patrick’s Day. But I enjoyed the one we got! Happy SPD, all, and once again I post a 6 year old ad that I never get tired of...

pmdm 10:37 AM  

Z: You king of answered your own question. They're fine. Why not demand more? I suppose you'll never get rich from a living based on puzzle construction income. At least that's what Eric implied when he was talking with Alex on jeopardy! Will should certainly encourage what you would prefer, but given the current payout (whatever it would be per hour) I'm not sure at this time it's appropriate to demand it. As long as the better puzzles go to the top of the queue, I'm happy.

GILL I. 10:39 AM  

@Anony 1:58. Yup. WHITE NOISE indeed. Is there also a book titled Curmudgeon?
So disagree with Mr. Sad Sack. I thought this was clever and different and fun. GONE GIRL and all. I mean that one was a tad misfortunate and the book was pretty bad but, well, she was GONE.
Thomas Crapper also invented the ballcock. I'm trying to think of a book title for that one. Anyone?
My favorite was A FAREWELL TO ARMS. I'm looking at you @chefwen.
A lot of thought went into this puzzle. Nothing seemed forced to me. The only huh was SHAKUR. I had to look that answer up. I remember him more as an actor since I'm not into hip hop rap. I also remember he was shot and killed at a very young age. How else could you clue him? Maybe by his bandana tied into rabbit ears?
ALITO TITO ALOU. Fun names for your attorney firm. Why do Americans say fageeta? And yes, DIJON is most definitely the capital of the Gold Coast of France. I think they invented chocolate.
Congrats on our debut, Sophia. This was fun.

Cynical Sam 10:42 AM  

Ever rigid with his Rex hates Will campaign, (and an automatic dishonorable mention for Jeff), our Blog-meister trashes the best NY Times Sunday puzzle in years.

Biography of Rex Parker-- "Turn of the Screw".

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Lol! I'm with you!!

Séamus O’ 10:47 AM  

As a middle aged white guy who has seen the artist born Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus many times, I think it’s clear that Pump it Up is definitely white PEOPLE music, not that there’s anything wrong with that, That would apply to any number of psychedelic bands as I’ve seen as well. There were plenty of ladies at the shows.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

We liked it -- we had FUN doing it. Fun, Rex, is what one is supposed to feel when doing these puzzles. If you don't have fun, why do them? Why blog them?

Strange you didn't think étouffée was the word of the day. It would have been our choice, especially compared with Johnny Olson. We thought that was old-timer lame.

I agree with the comments about Willie Mays, who is arguably the greatest baseball player of all time, or certainly among the very best of the modern era. As terrific as he was as a hitter, we was even a better outfielder. If you never saw "The Say Hey Kid" play, you missed out on watching a man who was electric on the field. I'm 70; I grew up as a fan of the Yankees and Mickey Mantle. But you have to recognize greatness. I don't think I've ever seen a greater baseball player than Willie Mays. There was no one like him. And he definitely WAS the Lord of the Flies in the outfield, with his signature basket catch. Get the picture?

David Plass 11:00 AM  

Don't be a jerk.

Knitwit 11:09 AM  

I read Rex and immediately scrolled for your take!

Dan 11:10 AM  

A Sunday PR for me today at 9:49 ; just about every speculation-fill I entered turned out to be right. And I giggled at the answer for 92A :)

nyc_lo 11:11 AM  

Not normally one to worry too much about being P.C., but yeah, GONE GIRL was a bit hard to take. Might have been a knee-slappper in 1965, but pretty demeaning in this day and age, not to mention in poor taste. Figured that would be the first gauntlet thrown down by Rex, but maybe he was just overwhelmed by the rest of the tired clueing and fill.

Nancy 11:15 AM  

Enjoyable and fairly challenging. Until I got the trick, it was very challenging. And then, knowing the trick made the puzzle easier, without making it too easy. That's the best type of theme.

What I liked most about the puzzle was the familiarity to the theme titles. It's hard enough to attach an X clue to a Y answer. But if you've never heard of the Y answer... Here, every single title here is extremely well known, which makes the puzzle very fair and solvable.

I'm on my initial impulse kick again. I think I've spotted the clue/answer that was the impetus for the puzzle. A FAREWELL TO ARMS for the Venus de Milo. AMIRITE? In any event, it's very cute.

I may have to disappear from the blog for a very long while, except for weekends. A major renovation is going to begin this week right over my head. I don't yet know how many months. I was given 72 hours notice -- which is beyond outrageous. Getting out of the house very early will be challenge enough without adding commenting on the puzzle to my morning routine. I haven't slept in nights thinking about it. I'm a basket case. My feeling: You might as well send me to Guantanamo and torture me there. And the irony is: I got this news one day after my Thursday puzzle debut -- one of the happiest days of my life. It's a happiness that right now I can barely remember.

davidm 11:18 AM  

Literary themes/clues are right up my alley, so this was a blowout for. Got A FAREWELL TO ARMS and LORD OF THE FLIES almost before my first sip of coffee. I do wish the clues/answers had been a little wittier or offbeat. Bio of Donald Trump: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. Chronicles of the southern secession: A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. Or maybe punned: A history of calamine: SOMETIMES A GREAT LOTION. OK, that probably sucks. :-D

nyc_lo 11:21 AM  

And is that supposed to be a teddy bear in the grid? Seems like it must be something with the symmetry, and I think I see one peering out at me, sort of. Or maybe I just need more coffee. Or less.

@mericans in Paris 11:22 AM  

Mrs. 'mericans and I finished Saturday's together, but too late to bother posting. Took us until this morning to put this one to bed. As seems to have been the case for several others, we got stuck in the extreme south-east, as well as in the NW, with ROEG.

If it weren't for those areas, I'd have rated this Sunday puzzles as an easy. Not much to say: the titles were familiar, and the fill was typical for a Sunday.

I'm not offended by GONE GIRL for Amelia Earhart. I spent the ages of 8-18 in Hialeah, Florida (a suburb west of Miami), and my older brother -- who has always been crazy about aviation -- and I used to ride our bicycles over to what is now called Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, but which back in the mid-1960s was just "Opa Locka", to admire the DC3s, Lockheed Electras, Cessnas, Piper Cubs, and even a few P51 Mustangs. I learned from an early age the important association of Amelia Earhart with that airport. As described on this website:

When Amelia Earhart attempted to be the first woman pilot to fly around the world in 1937, she launched her fateful trip from the Miami Municipal Airport in Opa-locka. This was her second attempt at flying around the world. ... On June 1st she and Fred Noonan lifted off [in their Lockheed Electra] and, soaring at 3,500 feet and speeds of up to 150 miles per hour, the plane reached its first stop, San Juan. From then on, for a month, the flight continued more or less on schedule. On July 2, 1937, Earhart and Noonan took off from Lae airstrip in Papua New Guinea at 10:30 a.m. and were never seen again.

Thanks to that airport, and devouring articles about the pilot, Ms. Earhart's mysterious disappearance was something that remained lodged in a corner of my brain for years. She was, indeed, a "Gone Girl", and until the 1980s I held out hope that somehow she had managed to make it alive to a remote South Pacific island and would eventually be rescued.

Fin Greenall (a.k.a., FINK), is one of my favorite musical artists. A few years ago his group did a series of concerts with Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Here they are performing "Yesterday Was Hard on All of Us". The part where the strings come in, at about 03:40, gives me goosebumps every time.

@chefwen -- Loved your story about your Dad and Venus de Milo!

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

I enjoyed it. Thought the book clues were quite good.

JustMarci 11:27 AM  

@pat - “ghetto music”? Wow...just...wow.

@LMS - snaps for Octomom!

PUMP IT UP - one of the most driving opening riffs ever. And props to the man himself for honoring a picket line when stagehands were on strike here in Pittsburgh last year. Worth the wait.

I am always amazed at how quickly you folks whip through these puzzles.

GHarris 11:29 AM  

What a spiteful, undeserving rant by Rex. This was a fine enjoyable Sunday workout.Brava to Ms Maymudes.

ArtO 11:32 AM  

Loved the theme entries but agree with those who felt GONEGIRL lacking in taste. So, where was OFL on that one? Too busy with his own nattering negativisms, I guess.

Congrats to Sophia Maymudes on a great debut with, apparently, very patient (100 emails!!) assist from Jeff Chen.

Suzie 11:36 AM  

I don't like GONE GIRL or SHAKUR, either, though I did enjoy the theme in general.

If you're unfamiliar with Nicolas ROEG, though, you're missing out. I took a bit to get that answer because I don't know that particular movie, but Don't Look Now? Walkabout? The Man Who Fell to Earth? Love them. Particularly Don't Look Now.

Bryan 11:41 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Loved the theme. Loved the clues. Loved everything about it. One of my favorite Sunday puzzles I've done in a while. I thought Rex might actually like this one, but I'm not surprised he didn't. Nonetheless, he's not going to sour my enjoyment of this puzzle. I come here primarily looking for @Loren Muse Smith's comments after shaking my head and rolling my eyes at whatever has Rex in a lather. Yes, some puzzles are better constructed than others. But a puzzle is a game. It's play. @LMS understands that and comments on the puzzles from that perspective, and that's what makes her reviews such a joy to read (and by contrast, it's what makes Rex's comments so eye-rolling). So thank you, Loren Muse Smith. Without you here, I would have abandoned this blog a long time ago.

Amelia 11:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malsdemare 11:48 AM  

I loved it! The book titles were fun and helped me get the other clues. I haven't read Rex or y'all, "cuz I don't want my bubble burst. AGAME OF THRONES might be my favorite, although FAREWELL TO ARMS, LIFE OF PI, and MARLEY AND ME were really good. I loved seeing POOP in there; I had dOpe first, figuring the Grey Lady wouldn't go for POOP and then, she did! I had GOgoGIRL at first, before I knew it was book titles, and I like that better for poor Amelia. But other than a pause to honor the missing aviator, I did this one in 15 minutes faster than my average and I do not race the clock.

Fun times. Now to see what everyone else says. Please don't burst my little happy bubble.

T.H. White 11:55 AM  

I am on the bandwagon with @LMS and @Brookboy and feel sometimes @Rex comments are just meant to whip people up because if his mind works the way his blog indicates he is one angry dude. In one sentence he says the King aspect is too obvious for Elvis, yet struggled with Once and Future King. As he says in parens (hilarious) since he taught Arthurian lit. Wow. The oh so hip take on Tupac Shakur was also interesting. Interesting that a woman in her mid-sixties got that right away. I’m lucky I didn’t know that those in the know refer to him as Tupac or ‘Pac because that would have obviously added precious thought seconds to my solve. In closing, I am very happy that I find pleasure in working what Rex determines to be sub-par, not thematically tied together with ioniic bonds.

Suzafish 12:02 PM  

Thank you Loren! Spot on. I’m also a bit weary of His Majesty’s haughty negativity. Especially in response to a budding constructor who shows great promise.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

A quick dictionary lookup shows ere as both a preposition and a conjunction.

sixtyni yogini 12:06 PM  

Fast and fun! 👍🏽

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

As I was doing this puzzle I started humming The Sundays Here's Where the Story Ends and I had no idea why. It cracked me up to visit the blog post-solve and see Rex apparently had the same thought!

arnie k 12:18 PM  

Sour grapes? When was the last time Rex got a puzzle in the NYT? I agree totally with GHarris, Malsdemar, Suzafish, Brian, Gill and Cynical Sam -- his negativity is undeserved by this talented newcomer. Ignore him, Sofia -- you appear to have twice his talent. Jeff -- I'm sure it ain't gonna bother you.

Birchbark 12:19 PM  

Trying to come up with a themer clue for "The Big Lebowski," so far without success.

I struggle with the obvious sometimes, thinking I don't know some obscure term, when in fact the answer is STACHE. I misspelled ReESUS and thought maybe a STACEE was some advanced goatee terminology, maybe the pointy part of a VanDyke. Then tried STACiE. Finally, the AHA STACHE moment and "Congratulations" music ensued.

@pmdm 8:25 -- We had houseguests last night so celebrated St. Patrick's Day early -- braised corned beef in stout with root vegetables, mushrooms and herbs. Breakfast this morning was granola, yogurt and fruit. But after the guests left, I made one of the best sandwiches ever for "dessert" -- good bread, mayo, dijon mustard and that cold corned beef. I could live on it.

Nieto 12:28 PM  

I knew all of the books in the puzzle except Gone Girl. I see many objections to it so I did a brief Google and I see it is a work of fiction in the crime thriller genre. Why the uproar? This is an innocent question.

Master Melvin 12:30 PM  

Because he wasn't just "any famous outfielder". If you never saw him play you probably wouldn't understand.

Masked and Anonymous 12:37 PM  

Cool ew-symmetry SunPuz grid design. Lets em pose the Venus de Milo biography on a little pedestal.

fave themer: AGAMEOFTHRONES/w. Thomas Crapper. The Breakfast Test, summarily flushed down the olde WC. POOP triumphantly hovers at the puztop, cementin the deal. Like.

As almost all the smart folks here at the Comment Gallery have pointed out, this theme is pretty darn prodigious with candidates. Pick a title. Come up with a related yet unrelated person. Presto. A theme meant to be.

Sorta agree with @RP: an all-crapper-related set of themers woulda really been somethin extra-amazin to come up with -- but I bet the well woulda run dry on U, before U could develop yer potty-full of themer list items.

Hey, @Roo: Total F-O.D., today.

Thanx for the fun and for gangin up on us, Sophia darlin and Jeff dude.

Masked & Anonym8Us


Frederic Henry 12:39 PM  

I liked the answer back in 1976.

Joe Dipinto 12:46 PM  

@Anon 10:08 and @Amelia -- the "ghetto music" commenter (@Pat 1:55) was snarking on Rex's "white boy music" remark of yesterday. As for Tupac Shakur, his full name was used on a vast number of the products he released, so even if people call him Tupac (or "just 'Pac!") it in no way makes SHAKUR a wrong or inappropriate or laughable answer. Just "in case you don't know."

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

What he said

Jeff 12:57 PM  

Ha, never mind. For some reason, I read it as Cote d'Azur.

Still, I can think of a dozen better ways to clue that.

RooMonster 1:00 PM  

Hey All !
F-tastic puz today! There are 16 F's! Wow, That's Another Story, indeed!

Cool puz, movie titles as bios. Lots of themers, too, Across and Down, and light on the dreck. Way to go Sophia and Jeff.

Not sure (haven't read any of y'all yet) if anyone saw the note with the puz. It wasn't directions or anything, just a blurb to say how puz was made. Neat. It wasn't in the one printable type link, but was in the Newspaper link one. Odd.

RHESUS again. What's the odds of having that twice in a week? Weird clue for AAS, though. What happened to the batteries? FINK POOP on top row got a chuckle.

Ended up with three wrong letters/six wrong words. No reason for a BLARE GLARE.

Enjoyable romp, enjoyable F's. What OTHER is there? :-)


Pam Fletcher 1:05 PM  

Loved it. Love anything with book references. Rex go back to paper solving. Sunday morning in bed with a latte. Very chill.

Amelia 1:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Newboy 1:08 PM  

Cute can be either a virtue or a sin depending on one’s mindset. I liked today’s since my Pollyanna overruled my Darkness at Noon. Wish I would remember that Sunday has a title unlike the daily as that would have been a definite boost. Didn’t take long to trip over the gimmick at any rate. Thought I would post a first reaction before reading the comments above for a change; besides that leaves the delight of wit and wisdom which I so enjoy to go with a second cuppa coffee with Irish Cream. Top o the morning indeed☘️

shari 1:11 PM  

My thoughts, too. Especially since the “girl” title character is a murderous narcissistic partner in a nightmare marrige atrocity. The reference to Amelia Earhart is grossly off the mark

Joe in Canada 1:11 PM  

As FrankStein asked, why is Presley also a FUTURE KING?
Silent es do not necessarily make a soft c or g: bang, banged. ps trivia question: one word in English, one specific to British English, where a soft g is followed not by an i or an e.
ps yay! only had to click 9 images on 2 different scenes on recaptcha today!

QuasiMojo 1:45 PM  

@Nancy, I am planning a hiatus from the blog too, not due to any lofty reasons such as a gut-job overhead, but because I am going to be off-line for a while working on some long-neglected projects. And traveling. If I make it up to NYC at any point in the summer, I will seek you out, via the usual suspects. We can outdo Larry Hart and Sylvia Kay together over a pousse cafe somewhere chic. Congrats again on the fine puzzle. It was the highlight of my solving experience so far this year.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

Joyless one for me. The Gone Girl answer I find to be in poor taste. For me, the least enjoyable Sunday of the year so far.

Anoa Bob 2:17 PM  

@Nancy, I can empathize with your predicament. They recently did some major renovation on the building where I live. They completely removed and replaced the outer wall, two windows and the front door. The noise was deafening at times. I tried to stay away as much as possible, but when I was at home I used hearing protection ear muffs, these 3M ones, that made the sound level tolerable. At around $25, they were well worth it. I think even Walmart has them. I also have some Bose head phones that I would use when listening to music or watching the tube.

old timer 2:27 PM  

Folks, if OFL was not a hypercritical curmudgeon, he probably would not have the most-read blog devoted to crosswords. Or one of them, but the only one with a reliably great comments section.

I enjoyed the puzzle, and especially liked the fact that getting the trick and then guessing the obvious ones like A FAREWELL TO ARMS. They really helped with the solve.

My complaint about GONE GIRL is not the bad taste, it is that Amelia E was not a girl, not even "one of the girls" who can be old and still call themselves GIRLs. She was a woman, and referred to as such.

In 1966 I spent some time in England and used many a THRONE with Thomas Crapper's name on it. His name lived on for decades after he went to sit at that Great Commode in the sky. I bet his company had a royal warrant and their toilets were to be found at Buck House. Whst made them work so well in institutional settings was the tank was mounted high above the toilet and gravity was able to produce a powerful flush.

John 2:38 PM  

I liked it a lot. Then again, I'm a dad and like dad jokes too. So there's that.

Sharon K. Yntema 2:39 PM  

Rex, It was great to see you in Ithaca again for the Crossword Puzzle event; thanks for joining in!

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

@Shari (1:11) - I'm with you on the Amelia thing: " . . . the "Girl" title character is a murderous narcissistic partner in a nightmare marriage atrocity. the reference to Amelia Earhart is grossly off the mark. "

Given that, the obvious clue for "Gone Girl" would be "Hillary" (and good riddance).

@mericans in Paris 2:44 PM  

@shari 1:11 PM wrote "[T]he “girl” title character is a murderous narcissistic partner in a nightmare marrige atrocity.

I don't get it. Lighten up, people. Most of the plots of the books don't match the characters referred to in the clues at all. They aren't supposed to!!

A GAME OF THRONES -- A fantasy of palace intrigue, with many violent and duplicitous characters.

Thomas Crapper -- A manufacturer of the modern porcelain flush toilet.

MARLEY AND ME -- An autobiographical account about a family and their rambunctious dog.

Ebenezer Scrooge -- a fictional miser of the mid-19th century.

LIFE OF PI -- A fantastical tale that involves a guy adrift at sea with a hungry tiger.

Archimedes -- a Greek citizen who hardly ever strayed from his native Syracuse (Sicily), generally considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time. Among other things, he developed an approximation of the value of pi (π).

OF MICE AND MEN -- A novella about two displaced migrant ranch workers that doesn't end well for one of them (nor the innocent woman that he accidentally kills).

Walt Disney -- A pioneer in cinematic cartoons, who went on to build an entertainment empire.

LORD OF THE FLIES -- A dark book set in the near future about a group of boys who get stranded on an island who descend into a savage state of clannish warfare.

Willie Mays -- Possibly the greatest all-around offensive baseball player of all time.

A FAREWELL TO ARMS -- Ernest Hemingway's semi-autobiographical novel about a lieutenant in the ambulance corps of the Italian Army during the First World War.

Venus de Milo -- A statue purported to be of the Greek goddess, Aphrodite, found on the Greek island of Milos. Part of an arm and the original plinth were lost following its discovery.

THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING -- A loose interpretation of the legend of King Author that ends with the eventual downfall of Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the entire ideal kingdom of Camelot.

Elvis Presley -- Once "The King", and always "The King".

Joe Dipinto 2:45 PM  

@Joe in Canada -- soft g is followed not by an i or an e: "gyro" and "gyroscope" apply.

OISK 2:47 PM  

@anonymous 10:48 - I have to admire a Yankee fan who saw both Mays and Mantle play, and recognizes that Mays was the greater player. I rooted for the Dodgers and Duke Snider, but I also knew that Mays was best.

(warning - reference to Friday's puzzle to follow..)

I finished this one easily, having trouble only with Roeg crossing etouffee, but didn't care for the theme entries, and some bad fill (ecig - how many of us know the brand names?). However, cluing "ere" incorrectly as a conjunction is still MUCH better than cluing it as ___little darlin...(Friday)

Someone called this a "great Sunday puzzle." For me, it doesn't get beyond OK.

Joe Dipinto 2:49 PM  

...and "gymnastics", "gymnasium", "gypsum", "Gyllenhaal"...

puzzlehoarder 2:57 PM  

@Lljones, thank you for the explanation on SEATAC but I have to admit I was being facetious. Initially I only had the vowels for the 80D entry and I was trying to make an Alaskan city out of it. When RHESUS gave me the S I simultaneously came up with SEATTLE and SEATAC. It took a second to think of how many spaces there were and wonder if SEATTLE had either one or two Ts. Just too much boring detail to get into.

To whom it may concern of course monkeys don't wear spandex and who in their right mind would think anyone would bribe Jeff Chen to do anything. That's the problem with being facetious in writing, it looks very literal.

@Z, I know you read these late comments. What would a person who does the NYTXWP in syndicated form be doing coming to a blog that caters to people who not only do the current puzzle but often do it the night before?

davidm 3:00 PM  

The history of spitting? GREAT EXPECTORATIONS. The New Testament? THE SON ALSO RISES. Giving up making charitable contributions? A FAREWELL TO ALMS. History of an oft-lethal disease? TOPIC OF CANCER. History’s greatest insults? WITHERING SLIGHTS. Memoir of two master insulters? DR HECKLE AND MR GIBE

OK, I promise to stop now. ;-)

AS 3:07 PM  

This was a strange one for me, because of the fact that guesses I had in the back of my head on the first pass were wrong, but they appeared elsewhere in the puzzle. EG I thought Home of Girls was NYC instead of HBO, but of course that popped up as 76 across. Similarly, I considered NIKE as the competitor to Adidas (even though I should know by now that it's always AVIA. But then NIKE popped up anyways!

Odd coincidence, but maybe the crosswordese is just too deeply embedded in my brain.

Sonoma Badger 3:52 PM  

I agree @LMS on the C and G issue. That's why I find words like "get" and "give" (and for that matter, gone GIRL), especially perplexing...

chefwen 3:57 PM  

@mericans Your and Jon’s paths may have crossed earlier, he was down in Opa-Locka attending flying school in the 60’s.

OffTheGrid 3:59 PM  

Nothing at all wrong with GONEGIRL from my POV. In fact, it was clever and I even chuckled. Sue me.

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

Please, people, look up the definition of the word before declaring the clue incorrect. "Ere" can be both a preposition and a conjunction.

A guy with a dictionary.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  


I think @Z's point was:

"The syndicated solvers haven’t solved the Saturday puzzle, yet. Not to mention that lots of other people don’t solve sequentially for all kinds of reasons. For those who don’t know, Monday - Saturday syndicated puzzles are 5 weeks behind, but the Sunday puzzle is only a week behind in syndication."

So some syndicated solvers* will read your comment about yesterday's puzzle a month before it's available to them.

Also, some other people solve the puzzles out of sequence.

*As a moderator, I can attest to the fact that syndicated solvers read this blog and represent about 10% of the comments on Sundays.

tea73 4:44 PM  

I had never really noticed that French uses the same word CÔTE for both sides of hills and seasides. But Dijon was easy to figure out without knowing it's department's name. Southeast fell slowly for us to. I knew there was something not quite right about SHAKUR as an answer and never heard of RIMSHOTS in this connection either. Loved the themers.

Tin Foil Hat 4:44 PM  

I travel to the future so I can do today's puzzle next week. I just have to remember to come back to today to read the blog. Same thing with the weekdays. The logistics are a nightmare.

pabloinnh 4:45 PM  

Liked this one quite a lot,probably because I've read all of the books. OK, most of them. Some of them. Anyway, I've heard of all of them, mostly.

Late to the party because we went to our favorite Irish pub for lunch and music which is always tons of fun, except for today, when our live musicians played such St.P's day favorites as "Riders on the Storm", "Whiter Shade of Pale", "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu", and the absolutely worst version of "The Unicorn Song" that it has ever been my misfortune to listen to. The food was mediocre, but I at least had a great IPA, not a signal accomplishment, because they're all great. We'll have our own corned beef and cabbage tonight at home and I'll put on some Clancy Brothers or John McCormack or something. We're not really Irish, but jeez, attention must be paid.
wee really Irish, but, jeez, attention must be paid.

Thanks for a fun Sunday to S and J, and hope to see more.

Hungry Mother 4:59 PM  

Pretty fast today when I finally got to it late this afternoon after returning to Naples from Delray Beach. I only got half of yesterday’s puzzle finished before having to leave my hotel room at 5:30am for my 10 mile reace in Lake Worth. I liked the theme and knew all of the cited works.

Hartley70 5:32 PM  

This puzzle was quick and easy but I found it perfectly charming. It wasn’t hard to figure out the book titles and I’ve read them all. I can’t get worked up over GONEGIRL because it’s a puzzle conceit that worked. Let’s face it. One day before our time she was there, and then she was GONE, who knew where. Sigh. So many bigger issues in this world. It’s hard to believe that people found outrage in this simple Sunday amusement. Nice job, constructors!

kitshef 6:18 PM  

Funny that Rex says no one thinks of ICE CORES, when just yesterday I wanted it at 1A (well ICE CORE actually), but waited on the crosses. I enjoyed the puzzle thouroughly, and knew Rex would not.

Northwest Runner 7:00 PM  

I had to think about this ere it made since, but when a word connects clauses, it is indeed a conjunction.

Anonymous 7:30 PM  

To puzzlehoarder:

I automatically assumed your bribery comment was a joke, but I have found that the internet is dangerous that way. Always emphasize your jokes with a smiley face or "j/k."

Anonymous 7:32 PM  

Rex and many of his followers seek outrage wherever they can find it. In Rex's case, I suspect he just does it to wind people up. If he was serious, he would direct his energy toward something worthwhile.

If I felt obligated to write something interesting about the puzzle every single night, I think I would come to resent puzzles as much as Rex seems to. I think he needs an extended vacation.

GILL I. 8:32 PM  

@jae....Ozark just came out with a new season.....but you probably already know that....Happy watching!

jberg 9:04 PM  

I'm not as negative as Rex, but I was really bothered by the article thing. If it's A GAME OF THRONES and A FAREWELL TO ARMS, then why isn't it "[the]LIFE OF PI?"

And for some reason, probably because I had 'cleave' before CEMENT, I was looking for book titles that varied slightly from the actual ones. I would have liked that better.

For Lovecraft, I really wanted "eldritch," but I couldn't remember the word -- just that it started with E. Fortunately, SCARY eventually came to mind -- very weak, I agree.

My biggest problem, actually, was just assuming that Euclid must have calculate PI. I put it in, but unhappily -- only to look it up post-solve and discover I was wrong.

@Loren-- I love you, but that's a little unsettling. Have a niece and a stepdaughter who each nearly died of anorexia; hard to joke about it. Not your intention, I know, but it did get to me.

And for all those questioning it -- duh! Elvis is the FUTURE KIND because Elvis Lives!

Nancy 9:33 PM  

@Anoa Bob -- I have those 3M ear protectors. They were a present from a dear tennis friend and I consider them the most valuable present I have ever received. Truly. They work miracles for construction noise that's not all that close to you. But right over your head? They'll prevent me from going deaf but not necessarily from going mad. But if I didn't already own them, this would be a hell of a good, nay vital recommendation and I thank you for it.

@Quasi -- Thank you for your lovely words about my puzzle. And you know how much I would enjoy seeing you if you're in NY this summer. Where did you have in mind, exactly? Cafe Carlyle? The Algonquin?

@GILL -- Thank you for putting such (off-blog) time and thought into where I can go to escape. I very much doubt I'll be dashing off to Spain at the eleventh hour, but I haven't completely ruled it out either. And @Hartley, thanks for the empathetic phone call tonight. It was much appreciated.

Dan Steele 9:55 PM  

I think it’s fair to say that most of the Gone Girl complaints have nothing to do with the plot of the book or the movie. People think it’s in poor taste to joke about the famous lost aviatrix being a ”gone girl”. I have to say I admire the scruples of anyone, in this exhausting, frequently abhorrent era, who can find the moral energy to be outraged by irreverence to a historical figure dead (just a hunch) decades before their births. Jeesh, every once in a while I hear someone joke about the Lincoln assassination.

Anonymous 10:47 PM  

@ jberg—-The names of the novels are Life of Pi, A Game of Thrones, and A Farewell to Arms. The Times got it right this time.

Unknown 11:41 AM  

How is rimshots the answer to 'sound effects after some one-liners? I got it from the crosses but not from anything else

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Are is not a verb. Just sayin'.

Anonymous 6:19 PM  

115A - What is ETDS?

Donald H 4:17 PM  

Etds is estimated time of departure, anybody try Selena at 95dm

Turalura 6:51 PM  

Please explain 54D. Thanks

Fred 3:26 PM  

I enjoyed this one. Sophia & Jeff: please return soon!

A minor quibble: The clue to 23 across (Marley and Me) should have been autobiography, not biography

spacecraft 12:32 PM  

Best part of the puzzle greeted me right away: DOD SELA Ward right up there in the NW. Worst thing was, as OFL said, SHAKUR in the SE--though not for the same reason. Why anyone would spend a nickel on that POOP is beyond me, let alone that many platinum albums. I felt dirty just printing the letters.

"Who's the mark?"
"Doyle Lonegan."

An enjoyable romp through the bio shelves. Got hung up in the SW for a bit, having difficulty with the start of the Elvis one...when the answer finally hit, it was an aha! moment of considerable impact. "DUH!" I yelled at myself.

Tough in spots but overall medium-ish for Sunday. It seemed a GIMME would surface when needed, which allowed me to GOTHE distance (cue the FOD whisperer). Birdie.

Burma Shave 1:18 PM  


LORD_THEFLIES were LUREd to THE stoop,


this LOOPY stream of unconsciousnees brought to you by STONER CONMEN

NancyOak 3:06 PM  

Uncalled for.

NancyOak 3:11 PM  

I'm guessing puzzle makers hadn't read the book...

rainforest 3:36 PM  

@Burma Shave - belated congratulations on the 1500!
You know, of course, that THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING died on the throne.

Very enjoyable Sunday puzzle. The themers were just right, and there were enough tricky clues to combat. Very little of the fill was of the -ese variety, and the solve just sort of flowed. SHAKUR was tough until I remembered he had a first name - Tupac.

Elvis Costello is brilliant and had the good sense to marry Canadian Diana Krall who almost, but not quite, edged out the redoubtable SELA Ward.

Excellent end to the week.

BS2 6:01 PM  


Graceland tour guide: "That was the Jungle Room. Now, this is the bathroom."
Smart aleck tourist: " Ewww, who died in here??"

What . . . too soon?

rondo 8:37 PM  

OK, OFL, pick another 8 titles and it will also be a 'random jumble', so you do it then. Or pick a specific category and make it work. We will all applaud you. And Willie Mays was regarded as THE best ever. That's why. I thought it was kinda fun.

Hard to believe nobody mentioned NAPPY FROS. I used to have one.

Both Elvi in the clues. Rare indeed.

@rainy - for as much as I have always thought of SELA, I would dump her in a second FOR yeah baby Diana Krall. The living Elvis is one lucky man.

Nothing in particular STOODOUT, except a good Sun-puz.

Anonymous 3:15 PM  

Any New York NFL football fan knows Leon Hess, longtime owner of the Jets. Willie Mays -- legendary defensive center-fielder. Agreed "Gone girl" in very bad taste. I do agree with Rex that "scary" is far too weak for Lovecraft. The term he himself preferred over "eerie" was "outre". Cluing was awfully bland -- not one example of a clue that made me laugh when I solved it. Still, nowhere near as bad as Rex has it.

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

@FrankStein -- Props for pointing out that Rex pointed out the puffed up pretensions of this lackluster puzzle.

Chen is so frikkin *withering* in his assessments of other people's puzzles, yet his own fall short in myriad ways. Yes, he does some very interesting grids, and some of his themes have been better than this dead one. But much of his fill is lackluster, in every puzzle; he relies on wordlist garbage that defeats the objective of bringing lively, fresh, conversational language to xwp; and some of his theme sets aren't tight.

He needs someone to consistently critique his work as he critiques others, but of course no one will. Steinberg and Agard are far superior constructors, and far far nicer human beings (who offer *constructive* criticism).

Anonymous 3:24 PM  

@Z, in case you get an alert when follow-ups are posted: I'm a syndie solver, and every puzzle is on a 6-week delay; can't say for sure whether that's so for all syndie solvers.

Also, we syndies know that spoilers might be present -- that we're taking a chance when we read comments. But thank you for being concerned.

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

@nieto, if you read the comments before you post, you'll probably find the answers to whatever questions you have. Today many who posted earlier noted that GONE GIRL was problematic because
1. it makes light of a tragedy (AE's disappearance), and
2. it's profoundly offensive to refer to an accomplished adult woman -- esp. one who was a pioneer in breaking free from gender-role expectations -- as a "girl."

Many of the problems that women face on a daily basis -- inadequate pay, harassment at work, harassment from strangers, violence from strangers, domestic violence -- are 100% related to the failure of many in society to see women as full-fledged people who deserve autonomy just as men do. So what they're called matters, big time.

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