Noted 1950s-70s DJ dubbed fifth beatle / TUE 4-16-19 / Flower cluster whose name can also be read as challenge / Hope classic soap opera / Cinch commercial trash bag name / Shurb that might cause rash / Some college participants

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Constructor: Gary Cee

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (4:00) (for a Tuesday) (entirely because of one answer)

THEME: ¿Qué? — themers all end with "kay" sound

Theme answers:
  • COMMUNIQUÉ (18A: Bulletin)
  • TOOTH DECAY (24A: Dental problem)
  • SOBRIQUET (36A: Nickname)
  • MURRAY THE K (52A: Noted 1950s-'70s D.J. dubbed a "fifth Beatle")
  • ARE YOU OKAY? (59A: "Is everything all right?")
Word of the Day: MURRAY THE K (52A) —
Murray Kaufman (February 14, 1922 – February 21, 1982), professionally known as Murray the K, was an influential rock and roll impresario and disc jockey of the 1950s, '60s and '70s. During the early days of Beatlemania, he frequently referred to himself [!??!?!] as the fifth Beatle. (wikipedia) (emph !?!?!? mine)
• • •

Late start, not much time today, sorry. Here's the tl;dr version: No. This is barely a theme, first of all. I'm guessing a bunch of you didn't even know there was a theme. I finished and looked for a revealer, thinking maybe it was ARE YOU OK? ... like, do those letters (R, U, O, K?) all appear in the answers? Maybe in order??? Or are an O and a K involved ... somehow? But no. There is no revealer, and theme is just the final sound. On top of that, the grid is stale, with a cultural center of gravity only a boomer could love. (Note: "RYAN'S HOPE" went off the air *thirty year ago*) (55D: "___ Hope" (classic soap opera)). And the crosswordese? Who would've thought to stack abbreviated directions (ENE over SSW)!?!? What bold anti-art! Actually, it's junk, and why you'd want to paint your junk (!) neon by giving both answers matching "Denver"-containing clues, I have no idea. Spreak your junk out (1) and mask it (2). These are the rules of junk. Ugh. DITS, blargh. I had DATS. Are DATS not a Morse Code thing? Is Morse Code still a thing? But the most baffling and absurd part of the puzzle is obviously MURRAY THE K, Whoever That Is. How is this person a theme answer *on a Tuesday*. I've literally never heard of him. Even after looking him up, I feel like you'd have to be a pretty hard-core early Rock & Roll guy (i.e. an older-than-me white dude) to have any hope at this. Proper nouns are always dangerous, and if you don't know how to handle them, or don't calibrate the difficulty right, they ruin puzzling experiences. Spent most of my time in the MURRAY THE K region of the grid, getting that answer cross by awful cross. The worst thing about it, of course, is the "K," both because it's a cheap way to get the "K" sound into your theme, and because of the cross. My god the cross. Grade "F" for that cross alone. This puzzle is a SAK of something, alright. (46D: Cinch ___ (commercial trash bag name))

Slowed down by ELECTORS, whose clue I just did not get until I was done (4D: Some "college" participants). COMMUNIQUÉ is an unusual enough word that I had a little trouble, needing to come at it from crosses in the NW, which were all too long to be gimmes, so that took some time. The TBS / CBS thing was obnoxious (both those stations air March Madness games) (5A). The weirdest struggle I had was with TV STUDIO, even after getting TV. I just couldn't think of the word that followed. STATION was the only thing coming to mind. Or SET. Ugh, that's on me. Just terrible brainwork. Oh, and RACEME, LOL, I kinda sorta know the word, so a few crosses was all I needed, but the latter part of that clue? (16A: Flower cluster whose name can also be read as a challenge). No help at all. I get it now: you can parse it "RACE ME!" But the clue is kind of a confession that the word doesn't belong in a Tuesday puzzle. Maybe you could've given one of those booster clues to MURRAY THE stupid "K"?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Hungry Mother 7:11 AM  

Very fast again. Nice Tuesday.

kitshef 7:11 AM  

Bonus points awarded for cluing RACEME as a DOOK, but points thrown away for ENE over SSW (UGH!) and O SAY and MIA, which bungle up the theme, and clue for ATHEISM, which is a classic “trying too hard” clue.

Louis GOSSETT Jr. is instantly recognizable to me, and has had a long and fairly prolific career, but I’m pretty sure I have not seen him in anything since an episode of Ellen in the nineties. And before that, a Rockford Files episode from the ‘70s. Never seen any of his movies. Odd.

GHarris 7:14 AM  

I threw down CBS and didn’t realize I had erred because I didn’t go back to read the down answers at the top of the grid. Otherwise I not so difficult workout that I enjoyed.

QuasiMojo 7:22 AM  

I didn’t get the theme because I had Murray the C! And I misread the clue for Rostra as “platforms for sneakers” which seemed very hip so I had no idea what I was looking for. Lol. Otherwise seemed like a decent Tuesday.

Jon Alexander 7:28 AM  

I woke up and it was 1981 apparently. Never saw the “theme” most likely because of the nauseous feeling I was getting slogging through this wreck. Never heard of MURRAYTHEK or RYANS Hope, but at least the crossing R was inferrable.

Should have been a Wed level puzzle (30 years ago)

Joaquin 7:29 AM  

Sorry, Rex, but Murray The K was a VERY big deal back in the day. I've never heard of 90% of the rappers that appear in xwords but at least I learn something new each time. Just be glad you are young enough not to know him (but please be open to learning a bit of pop culture from another era without being so dismissive of it).

Ms. Goldberg 7:33 AM  

Yes, Baby Boomers are still alive and some of us do the Puzzle! Murray the K was a huge part of my childhood and adolescence and yes, in the NYC area, he was forever tied to the Beatles. Sorry he gave you trouble and no, I am not a white male. I still have a program from one of his shows at the Brooklyn Fox Theater. One man's bane is another woman's "gimme"!

Joe R. 7:42 AM  

You have to dig pretty far down to find a Murray the K, and even then, it’s listed as a joke by George Harrison. Many other people are more generally considered to hold that title.

70 in Nampa 7:45 AM  

Very easy.
I didn't think it was horrible.
7.3 on a scale of 1-10

amyyanni 7:46 AM  

Good morning. So so sad about Notre Dame. Cold comfort in that it sounds as if it can be rebuilt. Do you think funding that will be difficult?
Yesterday was my bday so I was celebrating with my nephew, who lives on the V.I. (he's a pilot so the trip wasn't too onerous for him). A bit ironic having a tax day bday when you work for the Department of Revenue.
I liked this one well enough. The Qs are fun. Would if have been better if all the themers were Qs? Maybe b/c I knew both, didn't mind the stacked directional clues.

Twangster 7:49 AM  

In recent days I've been on a Dire Straits binge. At dinner, I realized that Communique was the only Dire Straits CD I don't have (although I do have it on LP) ... so it was eerie to come across that word a few hours later.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

A NYC area puzzle for the 65+ age group. Murray the K was an influential radio DJ on WMCA who introduced, played and championed the Beatles when radio was BIG! He was was a legend in his time.

eanmdphd 7:51 AM  


My brother just texts K when he responds that he got a message.

He could also use


Wm. C. 7:52 AM  

I cry foul on "Murray the K!"

Who the #%~* has ever heard of this dude. And on a Tuesday!

Shame on you, Shortz!

El Gran Jugador 7:54 AM  

I’m an “older than you white dude” and set a personal Tuesday record (4:24). My typical times are Rex x 2. Murray the K was a gimme.

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

Murray the K was the easiest answer in the whole gris for me! For reals!

webwinger 7:56 AM  

Finished this a minute under yesterday's time. Threw in MURRAYTHEK with just a couple crosses. (I'm not proud of that.)

Wondering about the almost daily appearance of TSAR, especially recently it seems. We don't seem to see STAR or RATS or TARS nearly as often. And if you want to get bent out of shape over the associations of a word, there's plenty not to like about Nicholas II and his predecessors. Besides the suffering they imposed directly on their own people and others, they created conditions that led to the Soviet era. Just sayin'...

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

Unlike @Quasimojo, the theme saved me from natticking on MURRAYTHEC and SAC. I did recognize that there was a theme so it had to be K not C.

Lewis 8:14 AM  

This was, IMO, right in the pocket for Tuesday difficulty, and the theme seems tight -- can anyone think of another kay-sounding word end?

I learned RACEME, which, in Wikipedia also introduced me to "catkin" and "spadix". All three words will be difficult to throw into casual conversation today, to embed them in my memory, but here, at least, I've done it once!

GILL I. 8:21 AM  

Ah...I can always count on head exploding Tuesday.
And to think I've been mispronouncing SOBRIQUET all these years. I finish it off with a ket. MURRAY THE K was, and still is, MURRAY THEY. I don't know trash bags.
Let's see....what did I like? NEURONS and AGE GAPS because they sorta go hand in hand. I also liked SUMAC and RACEME because I'm into green things. That ENE SSW YEW was not so cool. I once saw RYAN'S Hope by accident. I wanted to know what he was hoping for. An extramarital affair? An out of wedlock child? All of the above, I think.
Still trying to get over my sadness for the fire in Paris. Such memories of Notre Dame. The French will re-build and hopefully get help from the rest of the world.
PS...@Nancy last night. If you're going to go all can and such LeSueur are absolutely the best. Empty the can of water and saute them in thinly sliced shallots and garlic with olive oil.... :-)

Hartley70 8:25 AM  

I agree with Rex that MURRAY and RYANS make this puzzle feel like it must have been pulled from the bottom of a towering musty pile of submissions on Will’s desk. There will certainly be an AGEGAP among the solvers familiar- with those answers, but what the heck! I’m 70 and they were a piece of cake for me. BTW, I was never a hardened rock and roll fan. I was just a breathing teen in the 60s. I might add that TED Koppel is no spring chicken, and no one I know has called a piece of household furniture a SETTEE since my grandmother passed and she was born in 1889.

The theme was very simple but I thought some of the fill was nicely above Tuesday’s usual level. SOBRIQUET, NEURONS as clued, ELECTORS, RACEME, ROSTRA, DYNAST all qualify. A couple of directions to and from out West are good for the brain cells if one is a New Englander, so no complaint there.

I liked this puzzle. I started out the day glad to be a geriatric and that’s a rare occurrence.

Nancy 8:29 AM  

Hint to novice solvers: Know that in the case of any and all commercial brand names, there is no such thing as "too awful" a misspelling. Misspelling seems to be the sine-qua-non of all commercial brand names these days, the more misspelled, the better. Once you know that, you won't fall into the trap I initially (pun intended) fell into: Cinch SAc crossed with MURRAY THE c. SAC is bad enough, but Cinch SAK is so, so, so much worse. Never mind: Cinch SAK is awful enough never to be forgotten -- which is, I suppose, the whole idea.

It wasn't the "Kay" sounding theme that made me correct from MURRAY THE c to MURRAY THE K. (Though eventually I did notice it, yay me!) It was the fact that while I've never seen MURRAY THE K written in print until now, I have heard it rolling off people's tongues. People seem to like saying MURRAY THE K, even though I never had any idea exactly who he was. It has a very nice sound. So I corrected to the awful SAK, then noticed the theme, then thought: that's kinda kute. Then I came here.

kitshef 8:31 AM  

@Lewis - Nikkei - the Japanese stock market, was the only one that came to mind. I feel like there should be a 'cha' word pronounced with a k sound, similar to archaic, but can't come up with one.

TokyoRacer 8:31 AM  

I knew Murray the K (grew up on Long Island in the 60s) and am still pissed off about that clue. Don't these constructors and editors realize that this puzzle is done by people all across the country, and in fact the world? You CAN'T include a 60s DJ (a DJ!) who only people from the NYC area could possibly know. You can't!!! The editors should be fired.

Louis CK 8:33 AM  

I always thought Pete Best was the "fifth" Beatle? I know Wolfman Jack, Kasey Kasem, Rick Dees, and even Barry Hansen aka Dr. Demento...but no Murray the K. Zero Murray the K. Never heard of him...which is weird given his very close proximity to the Beatles. You'd think he'd be a household name. Not in my household...where I'd heard about all of the above national DJs.

Directional letters are always silly...stacking them is just a middle finger to solvers everywhere. What's entire grid full of roman numerals? 5-letter answers based on playground retorts? Different ways to spell fried Indian bread served with curry?

Why was Louis CK not in this grid?

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

The latest rapper good, musical legends from the 50’s bad??

Do I see some ageism here

mmorgan 8:39 AM  

MURRAY THE K was a gimme for me. Super easy blink of an eye no need to think about it. I very deeply understand how ephemeral and fleeting pop culture is but it’s fascinating how many don’t know him. I used to show my students a film about the first 30 or so years of TV, filled with iconic, classic figures who would have been instantly recognizable. Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, Milton Berle, Ed Sullivan, Donna Reed, Raymond Burr, etc. by the 80s they only knew about a third of them. By the 90s and beyond, hardly any knew any of them. It’s so fleeting. But MURRAY THE K was a gimme!

@amyyanni — my birthday yesterday too! Happy Birthday to us. Tax day, Lincoln was shot, the Titanic sank, the Boston Marathon bombing... and now we have Notre Dame as well. Heartbreaking. But Happy Birthday to us.

Oh, I thought the puzzle was just fine.

Jyqm 8:39 AM  

One of my favorite genres of Rex reviews is “I never heard of this famous person/place/thing, therefore this puzzle is terrible.” Second only to “This puzzle was great because I did it real fast and it contained an obscure answer that was obvious to me.”

Leah712 8:42 AM  

I attended college in the late 70's and have fond memories of watching "Ryan's Hope" in the dorm tv room with a large group of students. It was popular in the day. Thank you to the crossword for reminding me.

QuasiMojo 8:43 AM  

@Lewis “quai” would work.

nyc_lo 8:50 AM  

With reminders of the ELECTORal college, TOOTH DECAY, INCOME tax and MIA soldiers clustered into one corner, this was a depressing way to start a Tuesday.

Sir Hillary 9:04 AM  

Yep, skews old for sure. I'm a tail-end boomer and never heard of MURRAYTHEK. If @Rex is to be believed, I am not old, white or male enough.

-- RiSeRs for ROSTRA. Highly inconvenient to have so many common letters.
-- Saying SO BRICK ETTE all these years.

Clue for ATHEISM is superb.

@Twangster -- It's hard to pick just one, but here's my favorite song from "Communiqué". The outro is fabulous. I could listen to Knopfler playing all day every day.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Ironically,I have never heard of Murray the K or his supposed association with the Beatles because I grew up in Liverpool!!!

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Noticed the theme early on. So when I got to MURRAYTHE_ where the blank was surely C or K, I got it. That said, that was the only good thing in the puzzle.

SJ Austin 9:24 AM  

Well, add me to the list of people sunk by that stupid SAc. But at least it reminded me of this ad:

BobF 9:26 AM  

The Murray The K answer is very generational. I'm almost seventy and I remember him well. He even came to my high school for an exhibition basketball game.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

All boomers should remember Murray the K. Never saw the insignificant theme.

Rug Crazy 9:44 AM  

I'm with Blogger El Gran Jugador. Also put in CBS and never looked back

DavidL 9:59 AM  

@Jyqm 8:39: Amen, and well said.

The most interesting aspect of this blog is reading the comments to see how clues and answers that are completely unknown to me can be slam dunks for other people, and vice versa.

When Rex Parker vehemently trashes a puzzle because it didn't line up well with his personal knowledge base, it sure seems weirdly narcissistic. Type "Murray the K" into Google and you get 299,00,000 results.

pmdm 10:02 AM  

When I was young, I disliked pop music greatly. But then some of the top ten hits that I irritatingly heard all the time over terrible sounding transistor radios started catching my attention: Light My Fire, Whiter Shade of Pale, and Penny Lane. I had never heard of Murray the K, but he began appearing over the FM radio (was it WOR?) when stations on that spectrum began airing a more "esoteric" form of pop music. Murray the K broadcast a pre-release version of Penny Lane (the version that includes the final trumpet phrase missing from the single release). If someone like him promoted your song, it was almost sure to ascend to the top 40 (if I recall right). Interesting how pop icons tend to be unknown to following generations. There is no need for a Classical Music Hame of Fame. But in the Rock and Roll genre ... ?

I'm fairly certain that Mr. Shortz was not a New Yorker originally, and yet he allowed the clue. Seems to me that in the mid 1960s Murray Kaufman transcended the local experience. Comments here suggest otherwise. One way or the other, he was an exceeding well known individual within the rock and roll world, but perhaps very much just a product of his times.

Oh, and the puzzle. I thought it was a perfectly fine Tuesday puzzle, guaranteed to annoy experts but approachable for novices. I'm usually not a fan of this constructor's puzzles, but today's puzzle sat well with me.

RooMonster 10:05 AM  

Hey All !
Add me to the mis-pronouncers of SOBRIQUET as SO-BRA-KET, leading me to saying, "What the heck is this theme?" And leading me to my "NOT YET!" one-letter DNF with the SAc. I was all like, "Who the #@$*! is MURRAY THEC?" Har.

And wanted Beau GEnTE, but BEQUEST saved that. How is the RACEME pronounced? Is it RAY-SEEM? Not up on my florally speakings.

So a simple theme that got past me. The NEURONS not firing on all cylinders, apparently. OSAY my IQS is off.


Hungry Mother 10:06 AM  

I guess that “Geator with the Heater” would also be unfair?

Z 10:07 AM  

I qualify as a boomer, but only barely, and I grew up in the midwest, so MURRAY THE K was a head scratcher. George Martin anyone?

@Jyqm - It’s not that I don’t know him that makes MURRAY bad fill, it is that DJs generally are bad fill for a Tuesday and, combined with the rest of the clues and answers, skew this puzzle to the 65 and older crowd. MURRAY THE K might be OKAY late in the week in a puzzle where the PPP didn’t skew towards those who met the TSARs.

Is O SAY a theme answer?

@Gill I - I see you’re still spreading your capitalist pea propaganda. And now @TeedMN has joined the choir of the deluded. The Stalinist Pea Haters shall prevail!*

*Why are we discussing peas? Why am I a “Stalinist?” Why did I change my nom de blog? Review yesterday’s comments and all will be explained.

The big boss with the hot sauce 10:19 AM  

Hungry Mother,
Are you in or near Philly? I thought Blavat was strictly a Delaware Valley phenomenon. He usually gets on my nerves, but last Saturday i listened to his whole show. Not bad actually.

Murray the K is pretty famous. Anybody who gets the fifth Beatles sobriquet is. I mean, jeez, sure it skews old, but as long as network TV ads use Beatles music, just about anything related to them is part of the culture (for good or ill - I'm personally sick to death of the fab four).

Magpie 10:20 AM  

Huh. There was a theme. Huh.

JC66 10:28 AM  

I fondly remember "snuggling" in my parent's car with my high school steady listening to MURRAY THE K while watching the submarine races.

Hand up for the SOBRI(ket) pronunciation, too.

CDilly52 10:35 AM  

Amen, sister! Nicely said.

Peter P 10:53 AM  

MURRAYTHEK I had to get from the down clues, as well. I'm a later-ish Xer (b. 1975), but most of this puzzle except for that was an easy fill (finished faster than my usual Tuesday). I remember Ryan's Hope, because my mother watched all those soap operas in the 80s (plus it ran to 1989.) But completely stumped on that Fifth Beatle one. I mean, Brian Epstein, Stu Sutcliffe, George Martin, Billy Preston, Pete Best -- all those came to mind, but I somehow missed Murray the K when it comes to Beatles lore.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Surprised Rex's super-calibrated sensitivity meter didn't ping on the clue for CULT that characterizes it as simply as a religious group, not as the dangerous brain washer a cult actually is.

Also, I'm a boomer but I still don't love this puzzle and have never heard of MURRAY THE K.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

From my recollection of studying Morse Code, the dots and dashes can be referred to as "dits" and "dahs." Not that anyone uses Morse any more...strange puzzle, for sure. Murray the K?Right out of my childhood....

CDilly52 11:11 AM  

Happy Tuesday morning everyone, from here on the bridge of the (apparently geriatric) USS Wheelhouse! C’mon Rex, (and thank you @Joaquin-with a “K” sound-7:29) why must you be so dismissive of pop - or other-culture with which you are unfamiliar.? The Beatles are now and will be forever icons of music history. Not just pop music, but music. Period. My undergraduate thesis in music history included a complete ornamentation of a Bach partita using pirated ideas from the Beatles. Their use of modes, rhythm and unusual instrumental textures has been copied across many genres for decades, and any Beatles aficionado should have heard of MURRAY THE K. Whew, glad I got that off my chest.

Clever clues: “college” participant and “non-prophet.” I chuckled at that one. New word: RACEME. Excellent; Gran would have known that one as she was a Master Gardener. If I were actually qualified to offer suggestions for improvement, I would tell Mr. Cee that the clueing and stacking of the directional answers was a bit lame and it looks a tad desperate, as if “I have been promised I will be published in the NYT if only I can fix 65 and 68A!” Oof.

@Leah712 8:42: your comment about the dorm soap opera watchers took me back! Every day early 70s, I took a short cut through the Illini Union TV lounge to get across the quad during the crowded noon hour, and it was packed!! I finally asked someone sitting there what the draw was and and he said, “Shhh! Ryan’s Hope!” HAHAHA. Remember the time, well, . . . BS (before streaming and ear buds)?

Fun-filled easy Tuesday. These days make me so grateful for being introduced to crosswords at an early age and also being encouraged to continue.

Oh, I never checked to see if it had a theme (I never look at the “hint” pre-solve), and didn’t get it. Thought we had an unusual number of qs though.

Dick Veit 11:11 AM  

Don't know Murray the K? Then you probably can't speak Meusurray, as in "Reusx Peusarker eusis theuse Keusing eusof Creusossworld." Kids in my day used this pig-Latinish code that Murray invented to speak to each other without others understanding. (Drop in "eus" before the first vowel of every word.)

Lewis 11:15 AM  

@davidL -- But put quotes around MURRAY THE K and look it up again in Google and you get only 108,000 hits. The quotes means that Google will look for the three words together and in the exact order.

And for all, a piece of trivia regarding the main topic of today's comments: MURRAY THE K, along with his mother and Bobby Darin, co-wrote the song "Splish Splash", Darin's first big hit.

Masked and Anonymous 11:34 AM  

"Spreak your junk out (1) and mask it (2)." har. Words of kwisdom. (1) Like how you snuck an extra "K" sound in. Not sure I'd completely buy your cult-ish advise, here, tho. Cuz (2) M&A is too bashful and (3) then would hafta launder my masks way too often.

Vaguely remembered MURRAYTHEK. Actually, its puzgrid placement, crossin SAK, is pretty darn cool. A lotta people won't know that nat-tick K square, and will not be able to solve it … Unless They First Figure Out the Theme!! Suuuu … double-ahar moment. Like.

staff weeject pick: Tie, between ENE & SSW. M&A could go either way.

A DITSy little Ow de Speration SAK-o-stuff in this cute puppy. But also a lot of neat vertical stacks, in or near the corners. Overall, mostly solid work. Another one of them puzs with all the non-themer fill at length 8 or less … I think @RP tends to crave a few longer balls.

Thanx for sorta gangin up on us, Mr. Cee & Mr. Kay-for-a-day.

Masked & Anonymo9Us
"Mask junkie"


jb129 11:41 AM  

LOVED the Murray the K clue! Next someone has to do a "Submarine Race Watching" puzzle!

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

"pretty hard-core early Rock & Roll guy (i.e. an older-than-me white dude)"

Rex, you do know that Rock & Roll is Ebonics slang (mid-50s) for The Act, don't you? It's far, far, far from being a white dude term. just read the Wiki.

Z 11:56 AM  

@Anon11:42 - There's a difference between slang with roots in African-American urban culture and Ebonics. As you see from the second link, some linguists discount African-American slang as not being truly part of Ebonics. And, of course, the term itself is fraught with baggage (as anything race related tends to become).

jrstocker 11:58 AM  

Yeah, I listened to plenty of Classic Rock growing up, play trivia pretty hardcore 3-4 nights a week, and I've never heard of Murray the K. It's not a Tuesday level answer. My bigger objection however, is with the garbage (no pun intended) cross at the end.

pabloinnh 12:15 PM  

Easy enough for this old white rock and roll fan. Will be out of the loop here for a while as we head across the pond to see crossword-famous Tessa.

Still too much in shock to be breezy today.

Today, nous sommes tous parisiens.

Pam 12:34 PM  

Murray the K and his Swinging Soiree was Murray’s all night radio show. Remember it well! Clue was a gimme!

CDilly52 12:39 PM  

My daughter spoke a similar “language called “Ubby-Dubby.” In which my name would be Cubarubol, and “ub” before every vowel. Spoken quickly it was unintelligible to parents and really funny!

Peter 12:48 PM  

Bless all of you who remembered, knew of, or listened to Murray the K.

When radio determined which songs became hits, Murray led the pack in breaking new releases, supporting new artists, and discovering talent, showcasing many of them at his three- or four-times-a-year rock 'n' roll shows at the Brooklyn Fox Theater. And he did that for years before the Beatles touched down in America at Idlewild Airport (before it became JFK). He was even parodied in a Superman comic featuring Clark the K and in Washington, D.C., where Henry Kissinger (Nixon's Secretary of State) was referred to as Henry the K. The whole story is at

Eddie TK 12:52 PM  

Are you THE louis ck? If so, it has taken me three days to find a way to get Google to play your theme song, which turns out to be named Brother Louie by Stories!

@merican in Paris 12:59 PM  

Late posting here because I spent most of the day with the usual after-holiday chores.

I won't comment on the puzzle itself, except to say that I filled it in quickly, from west to east, until I got to the north-east and south-east corners. Had riverS before TRIBES and secT before CULT, which slowed me down. And I had no idea who LEAH Remini is, so finally Googled her. Also never heard of Cinch SAK (which according to the advertisements looks more like a carry-all than a trash bag), nor MURRAY THE K.

Thanks for all your thoughts about the tragic fire at Notre Dame. The damage is significant, though not total by any means. As it so happens, the 12 large bronze statues of the apostles had been removed from the site only days before, for restoration. And somebody managed to rescue the Crown of Thorns and the Tunic of St. Louis before escaping the conflagration. Of course, there may have been some paintings and tapestries (and woodwork) that did not survive the blaze, which is sad.

I'm confident that enough voluntary contributions will pour in to ensure the cathedral's complete restoration. It will take a decade, I would guess, which in one sense is just a tiny fraction of its 850-year history.

Malsdemare 1:01 PM  

Yup, I've always said pronounced the "T" in SOBRIQUET. Guess I'm not as edumacated as I thought. Mr. Murray was a challenge because I, also, had cinch SAc. But I also had cSO for USO, so sorting out those errors took a while. I'm boomer (my birthday was Thursday so all those April disasters are part of my memory as well), but MURRAY THE K took a while to resurrect. NEURONS firing a bit slowly today. I missed the ENE over SSW; I flew through this puzzle, not screeching to halt until I got McRRAYTHEc. In addition to SOBRIQUET, I really liked ROSTRA, DUPE, COMMUNIQUE, GESTE, and oddly, GOONS.

JC66, are you from Milwaukee? That's where I learned the term "Submarine races." Ah, good times; Emmett Doerr, where are you now?

Goodness! Dorm room soaps! That takes me back. I didn't discover the TV room in Heraty Hall at Marquette until the end of my freshman year; never was much of a TV watcher. I was stunned to discover half the dorm watching one of Bob Hope's CSO events playing at top volume in a packed, tiny room in the basement.

Mr. Mal and I were cruising for three weeks in New Zealand, which is why I've not been around. Did you miss me? Please don't burst my bubble and say "Mals who?"

@pablonh, c'est vrai; aujourd'hui, nous sommes tout Parisiennes. Trés triste.

jberg 1:07 PM  

@Rex, you need to smell the flowers more -- not to mention learning their parts. Botanical clues get by you too often.

Add me to those who got MURRAY THE K because of the theme; SAc did look a lot better on its own. (@Nancy, the odd spellings not only make them memorable, but are helpful in defending a trademark, since you can't trademark ordinary words.) I didn't remember him well, but my mind kinda went "oh, right" as I was writing that final letter in. Up to then I'd been trying to remember Brian Epstein's name, which I luckily failed to so.

Maybe I'm too soft -- but personally I enjoyed the little trip from LA to Albuquerque via Denver; it seemed to make the usual random directions more coherent.

But the best thing today was @pmdm's definition of a Tuesday level puzzle, "guaranteed to annoy experts but approachable for novices."

I think the kay sound for SOBRIQUET is officially correct; but really, it's just a way for people like me to point out that we know French, and you don't.

Teedmn 1:08 PM  

@Lewis, thanks for the botany lesson on racemes, spadices and catkins. I knew the latter - I always look for them on my river birch as a sign of spring - but was unacquainted with the other two terms though I recognize the structures they represent.

Unlike @Nancy, I saved myself from the SAc DNF because of the theme. MURRAY THE whoever never made it to southern MN but I did realize the answer should end in a K sound. I can understand why some might pronounce SOBRIQUET similarly to racquet rather than croquet. Is it that C in front of the Q that makes racquet a racket?

@Hartley70, I, too, rolled my eyes at the clue for SETTEE. My brother is in possession of our great-grandmother's version of that furniture piece, a gilded wrought iron monstrosity with padding on the arms and seat. Brother was not happy to be saddled with it but my Dad showed an uncharacteristic amount of nostalgia for the thing and Patrick succumbed to the pressure.

Thanks, Gary Cee (sounds like cay?) for a Tuesday-ish Tuesday.

ghostoflectricity 1:12 PM  

Always thought Murray the K's "Fifth Beatle" claim was risible at best. He helped promote them in the U.S. in the early days (late '63-early '64) but they would have made it anyway. When The Silver Beatles (previously The Quarrymen, later The Beatles) were a quintet, Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best were the fourth and fifth Beatles. Some would give the title to the Fabs' long-suffering '62-'67 manager Brian Epstein. Most would say that it was studio aural genius George Martin who deserves the sobriquet (sorry!) most of all. An argument could be made that Billy Preston, the African-American keyboard wunderkind who played on most of their late (late '68 to final "Abbey Road" sessions, '69), performed with them on their final, quasi-impromptu live performance ("rooftop concert," central London, 30 Jan. '69), and went on to his own superb career, qualified as a late-Beatles Fifth Beatle. But Murray the K (whom I have a hard time distinguishing in my mind from another notorious '60s celebrity, Jack "Murph the Surf" Murphy, former surf champion, later convicted murderer and thief, now a born-again Christian)? No way.

Me, I've always been a Stones fan more than a Beatles fan. And there is no doubt who the sixth Stone was: Ian "Stu" Stewart (1938-1985).

Frog Prince Kisser 1:18 PM  

@Twangster 7:49
I’m with you! I had just asked my coughing husband, “Are you okay?” when I looked down again and immediately saw . . .

JC66 1:30 PM  


No, I grew up in Mt. Vernon, NY (a Westchester suburb just north of NYC). While in high school ('53-'57), we listened to Alan Freed and later, MURRAY THE K, as pop music morphed into rock 'n roll. Great times.

CLB 1:33 PM  

Another Murray the C here, and I'm an AARP member born in NYC, yet I still missed him by at least a decade.

jae 1:34 PM  

Easy-medium. Not all that smooth.

Add me to those who have been mispronouncing SOBRIQUET for a very long time.

I’m an older white dude who grew up in the midwest. MURRY THE K was a gimme.

jae 1:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 1:38 PM  

@mericans in Paris: yep. The news coverage yesterday of the Notre Dame catastrophe was sure hard to watch. Sorta like watchin a collection of old artistic masters' works go up in flames. Sincere sympathies to all the French folks. Glad that many art treasures could be saved.

First M&A message had a greavous [griefous? greevious? Aww, nutz ... just make it "un-spreak-able" ...] spellin error. The clause:

"Not sure I'd completely buy your cultish advise …"

The Otto Korrect dude changed yer to your. And, of course, "advise" shoulda been "advike".


chasklu 1:45 PM  

Now Rex can see how us older dudes like to see 21st century singers/DJs in Monday/Tuesday puzzles. Reminds me of the NYTimes obituary misattributed Murray's career to WMCA instead of WINS. WMCA didn't have the power to reach the distance that WINS reached

jfpon 1:50 PM  

Wasn't Murray also involved in a payola scandal, playing certain records/artists over others in exchange for $$?

JC66 1:59 PM  


I think that was Alan Freed (see above link).

Mr. Alarm 2:31 PM  

Same here, Joaquin!

Z 2:51 PM  

Merriam-Webster says both SOBRIQUET pronunciations are OKAY> Or is it Oket? And we can spell it SOuBRIQUET, too. Woo Hoo. My SOBRIQUET for peas? PGHASOH (Proof God Has A Sense Of Humor).

Crimson Devil 2:56 PM  

Testing to make sure my comments are still working.

MJT 3:00 PM  

Well, thank the Xword gods that "Pete Best" and "George Martin" have a different number of letters in their names than MURRAY THE K or I'd have never finished this. As it was I had to google to change "SAc" to "SAK" to finish.

Carola 3:27 PM  

The puzzle had me at the rhyme of COMMUNIQUE and TOOTH DECAY. And it enlightened me on SOBRIQUET: I'm among those who thought it was pronounced like charcoal briquets. Hereabouts, within range of Chicago's WLS radio, the DJ was Dick Biondi, but even out here in the hinterlands we knew about MURRAY THE K. I also liked O SAY over ARE YOU OKAY. Nice Tuesday!

jb129 3:48 PM  

For all those who remembered Murray the K - good for you (us) - I guess that made it an easier & more?? pleasurable puzzle for us. He was a fun guy (I guess) -sorry you never got it

(does opera & rap make it more fun?????)

Cassieopia 4:09 PM  

@Lewis 8:14: parquet and risque come to mind immediately...

Joe Dipinto 4:16 PM  

I wondered if anyone outside NYC would have heard of Murray The K. Judging from the comments, it's a resounding "no". That is too esoteric a piece of trivia for a Saturday puzzle, imo, never mind Tuesday. Who can we expect next, Cousin Brucie?

Our choir director told us at practice last night that the organ at Notre Dame had been completely destroyed in the fire. He'd been up in the organ loft several times when he lived in Paris, and, needless to say, he was very emotionally distraught, and made the rest of us feel that way too. He was also wrong. So now I want to kill him. But I'll wait till after Holy Week.

I'm relieved the cathedral's damage wasn't worse. I've no doubt Macron will pull it together and the rebuilding will commence forthwith; they've already received numerous pledges of monetary support. Vive La France!

Unknown 4:17 PM  

His theme "Murray the K and his swinging soiree".
And yes, I'm old and no, I'm not a dude.

Cassieopia 4:17 PM  

Puzzle fill went fast, but no happy music and I scoured the puzz fruitlessly for many minutes before giving up and googling. Turns out Murray Thec is not Murray Thec after all. I'm a boomer and grew up with the Beatles, but in 1960's Fairbanks the radio and TV offerings were scant at best, as the recorded broadcasts had to come up via the proverbial slow boat. Sports fans had to avoid the local paper in fear of spoiling the outcome of a game that they wouldn't see for 2-6 weeks, depending. As a kid it was fun, though, as all the Christmas specials played in January. Sort of an extension of the holiday.

Murray Thec didn't make me angry but I did think it was a tad esoteric. Otherwise, a decent and o-QUE Tuesday offering.

Unknown 4:19 PM  

P.S. I also watched "Ryan's Hope".

JC66 4:41 PM  

Anyone who want's to donate to the Renovation of Notre Dame Fund, here's the link.

Damn, but I hate people 5:06 PM  

@ All"Now Rex knows what it's like to see Rap Singers in the puzzle and not have a clue, when he complains about MURRAYTHEK" folk.

You all are alive now, right? You didn't die a couple of decades ago yet continue to solve the puzzle from the great beyond, no? Then what's your excuse for not knowing what's going on around you now!?" Not knowing ephemera from 50+ years ago is way, way different from not knowing ephemera from 10 years ago. Everyone here was alive 10 years ago, hopefully paying attention to the world around them. Probably less than half were alive 50 years, or at least were teen-agers then. There's an excuse for not knowing Murray the K, less so than for not knowing the artist behind the #1 album of the year last year.

rosebud 5:11 PM  

I loved non-prophet foundation and after our quirky snowstorm on Palm Sunday, I had to laugh at one hanging around a house...we had lots of them!! Good clean fun for a sunny Tuesday.🌷

Peter 5:50 PM  

WINS was what came to be known as a super station because of its 500 watt signal that could carry its broadcasts as far west as Nebraska. So saying that Murray was restricted to New York is, well... wrong.

Besides, in 1965, he did a nationally televised special that ran on CBS. Its bi-racial line-up of performers caused such a stir that it made it into floor debate in Congress. Deep South delegates slammed the show for its integrated cast and had nothing nice to say about any of the black musicians.

Yet Murray's reputation was for color blindness -- he presented acts on the air and at his Brooklyn Fox rock 'n' roll shows that were white, black, and latino -- and that's why the Office of Economic Opportunity picked him as the host of the tv special.

Final Four 6:47 PM  

What would a Scientologist think of 23D on top of 26D?

Lewis 6:49 PM  

@cassieopia -- Those are two terrific examples, but both endings are already in the puzzle. I was asking if anyone could think of other "kay"-sounding endings.

Anonymous 7:43 PM  

It's 50,000 watts (50 Kw). I used to DX at night, and could pick up Chicago in NH without a problem. wiki:

Anonymous 8:05 PM  

@Damn but I hate people. (Perfect choice of SOBRIQUET, btw.) Please don't lecture us on what pop names we're "required" to know. I'm not "required" to know any names I don't want to know and I damn well don't need an "excuse". Why don't you learn those names for me, KAY?

Whitey 8:38 PM  

Crossing ROSTRA with TRESTLE was also pretty brutal. Haven't heard of either of those things tbh. Combined with MURRAY THE K and SAK and that whole area was a big uh oh for me

Teedmn 8:43 PM  

@PHUCO, you surely can guess what the main staple is in the gulag diet....

Regarding AM stations, in far southern MN, just above the IA border, I could get WLS in Chicago, KAAY in Little Rock, AR, WABC in NY occasionally and once I picked up an Omaha station, but I didn’t get my transistor radio until 1970, so I must have missed Murray The K's 5th Beatle heyday.

Final Four 8:56 PM  

Ouch. I meant 23A with 26A.

bswein99 9:12 PM  

All you need to be to have heard of Murray the K is over 60 years old, maybe 55. Not only was he a major DJ but he organized terrific shows at the Loews Fox in downtown Brooklyn. As an adolescent I saw Wilson Pickett, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Patti LaBelle, Cannibal and the Headhunters singing "Land of a Thousand Dances" long before Patti Smith. It was fabulous. But okay, not a Tuesday crossword clue.

Joe Dipinto 10:33 PM  

@bswein -- oooh yeah, Cannibal & the Headhunters...a one-hit wonder of May 1965. They were from East L.A. Naaa na-na-na-naaa...

Runs with Scissors 12:08 AM  

Skipped it. Did the dead-tree syndicated one today.

That's really all the Long Beach Press-Telegram is good for. $2 and I get 4 crosswords to do at lunch.

Outside The Box 12:15 AM  

Totally agree. Who was Murray the K? Gimme a break

Do you think pop culture started in 1995?

Damn, but I hate people 12:41 AM  

@Anon 8:05 Thanks for validating my misanthropy. I made no comment about what you or anyone should specifically know, just that ephemera from when you're actually alive might be better known to you than ephemera from decades cefore you were born.

TomAz 1:03 AM  

Late to the party...

I'm not from NY and not old enough to have heard MURRAY THE K on the radio, yet I dropped him in without hesitation. But rock history is a thing I enjoy reading about, and he's definitely a minor fixture. Plus The Ramones, who are most definitely in my wheelhouse:

Do you remember Murray the K,
Alan Freed, and high energy?
It's the end, the end of the 70's
It's the end, the end of the century

But that's very specific knowledge in a little tiny niche.. doesn't work for a Tuesday.

Mike 4:57 AM  

I actually put in cinch SAC and then SAQ and finally SAK to get the “solved” message.

I’m a lifelong Californian so a DJ from New York popular in my childhood years meant nothing to me. Sorry (not actually sorry).

Jon R 3:41 PM  

Always excited to see a Beatles clue pop up...and oh a 5th Beatle, so it must be George Martin or Pete Best or Brian Epstein or.... MURRAY THEC? Who in god's name is that?

So I failed this one, as well was JESTE instead of GESTSE (JEE/GEE both kind fit). Rip Tuesday.

Burma Shave 9:15 AM  


and uncle RYAN'S not OKAY
that her TRIBE'S DEAL is so adult


rondo 10:03 AM  

23 threes in this puz seems OKAY after yesterday. Yes, OFL, I'm an older-than-you white guy. Don't hate on me for that.The AGEGAP'S not that big either. Maybe you could learn a little history about the biggest band ever. Or go to your closet and celebrate .50 Cent. OKAY?

Speaking of old, does anyone remember Ernie Bushmiller's comic strip 'Nancy'?
Nancy: "Sluggo, say something sweet and soft to me."
Sluggo: "TAPIOCA."
That's about as funny as it got.

To me Billy Preston is Beatle 5.

SUMAC shoulda been clued Yma ___.

LEAH Remini might get a yeah baby, ORE I may REVISE that thought. King of Queens - TRULY not funny.

EZ theme. NAILed it.

s[acecraft 11:45 AM  

How can you do this puzzle and not see the theme? As soon as I had COMMUNIQUE and TOOTHDECAY I knew what was going on. Sure it's a simple one: hey, it's only Tuesday!

Not that I could say I NAILed it; had to change the main airer of the best matchups in the big dance, CBS, to TBS, which got the leftovers. Really not a good clue there. Also had to get down off my RiSeRs for ROSTRA. But the rest? Quite OKAY by me.

I remember MURRAYTHEK, and use the Cinch SAK, so no problem there. WWhile I know RACEME from having worked in the flower industry, I recognize that it's a 75-cent word to shove into a Tuesday grid. SOBRIQUET? I know that's French, and so would never even have thought about pronouncing "-ette" at the end.

The fill leaves something to be desired; stacked RCD's is the sore thumb. And some of it looks kinda crutchy: SEETHED, SETTEE. But there's also good stuff. Corner seven stacks were all good.

LEAH Remini edges out MIA Hamm for DOD. Rate this a medium Tuesday, and a par.

leftcoastTAM 2:19 PM  

Have to go with Rex today, though on a lower key. The puzzle is a bit of a mess ... maybe not just a bit.

Thought SOBRIQUET, in the prominent middle, might be a revealer. Clearly not. So what's the DEAL? They all end with the sound
"kay". Nothing to link or relate them. OY, OY.

Also resisted TBS in place of CBS, which is the premier airer of March Madness.

Overall, not TRULY a good test of solver IQS, if that's any measure.

rainforest 3:25 PM  

Hey, it's a Tuesday puzzle. The theme is a "kay" sound at the end of the themers. Even if you never heard of MURRAY THE K (I did and I'm a Canadian), what else could it be? CINCH SAK is pretty mild commercialese.

Basically this is an easy puzzle with some added twists in the cluing and a serviceable theme. I think the stacked ENE/SSW are a "thumb your nose" type situation. Learn your compass directions, people, but maybe spread them out so they can breathe - crossword rule 7(e).

Dire Straits' COMMUNIQUE is a great album as are all of them. You can't beat Mark Knopfler's lyrics, tunes, and of course his brilliant guitar solos. Liked the puzzle.

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