Long-eared lagomorphs / TUE 6-11-19 / British singer Lewis with 2008 #1 album Spirit / Repeated Survivor setting / One of Bobbseys in children's literature

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: wide variation: Medium-Challenging (4:14) for me, but it's very early and I've literally never seen any version of the movie in question. Possibly easier for you.

THEME: THE LION KING (23D: Discney movie released in June 1994) — roughly 25th anniversary of this movie's release. A mid-grid CIRCLE OF LIFE (i.e. L, I, F, E, arranged in a kind of circular pattern) gives the puzzle added thematic interest :

Other theme answers:
  • "HAKUNA MATATA" (56A: Song from 23-Down)
  • NO WORRIES (16A: 56-Across, roughly translated)
  • PRIDE ROCK (61A: 23-Down setting)
  • JULIE TAYMOR (10D: Director of 23-Down on Broadway)
  • NALA (1A: Simba's mate in 23-Down)
  • SCAR (70A: 23-Down villain)
Word of the Day: LEONA Lewis (37D: British singer Lewis with the 2008 #1 album spirit) —
Leona Louise Lewis (born 3 April 1985) is a British singer, songwriter, actress, model and activist. She was born and raised in the London Borough of Islington in London, where she attended the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology. Lewis achieved national recognition when she won the third series of The X Factor in 2006, winning a £1 million recording contract with Simon Cowell's record label, Syco Music. Her winner's single, a cover of Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This", peaked at number one for four weeks on the UK Singles Chart and it broke a world record for reaching 50,000 digital downloads within 30 minutes. In February 2007, Lewis signed a five-album contract in the United States with Clive Davis's record label, J Records.
Lewis's success continued with the release of her debut album, Spirit, in 2007; it was certified 10× platinum in the United Kingdom and became the fourth best-selling album of the 2000s. It is one of the best-selling albums in UK chart history. In the US, Lewis became the first UK solo artist to debut at number one with a debut album, with Spirit. The lead single, "Bleeding Love", spent seven weeks at number one in the UK where it became the best-selling single of 2007. She achieved international recognition with the album in 2008 when it topped charts around the world. Spirit has sold more than eight million copies worldwide, and "Bleeding Love" peaked at number one in over 30 countries, including the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming the best-selling single of 2008. (this is one of worst wikipedia pages I've ever read, in that its intro is exceedingly long and feels like it was written entirely by a promoter or agent) (186 footnotes? Really?) (wikipedia)
• • •

Lots going on here. This is a theme that will make it very easy (or easyish) for hardcore fans of the franchise and less so for people who don't care. That's how pop culture / proper nouns generally work: gimmes or mysteries. Actually, for me—a person who has never seen "THE LION KING" in any incarnation and is not about to start this weekend (when a new "live-action" (?) version will open in theaters and break all kinds of records and I will continue not to be interested)—the answers were not mysteries, for the most part, since that movie saturated the culture when it came out, via music, and has continued to do, so via crosswords. The one thing I had trouble with was PRIDE ROCK (had no idea it had a name—sidenote: happy PRIDE Month everybody!) and then the spelling of JULIE TAYMOR's last name (thanks a lot, Jeffrey TAMBOR). Tried to parse "NO WORRIES" before I had other themers and couldn't shake idea that the answer was NOW OR ___ ("... Now Or ... Then?"). The construction is pretty intricate—the theme is dense, with intersecting long themers, and a visual theme element in the middle of the grid. Consequently (I mean, probably consequently) the fill is Less Than Great in places (see stuff like OTIC, KER, EYER, and esp. IS FOR (!!), which slowed me down badly). But given the pressure put on the grid by the themers, the fill is honestly reasonably clean. If it weren't a Very dense theme, I would Not be saying this. Anyway, this one was not for me, but it was maybe for you, so happy Tuesday, however you feel.

I loved "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast" but when "The Lion King" came out in 1994, I was deep into grad school and less aware of / interested in Disney movies. Plus, it looked somber and dull and platitudinous. Monarchy, shmonarchy. Patrimony, shmatrimony. Also, the music, wow. Just ... horrendous. Nadir Elton John. "CIRCLE OF LIFE" makes me want to murder things, ironically. I guess I just don't like patriarchal morality tales with heavy-handed self-important preachy songs. Just me. I also thought SCAR had to be SKAR because why would you just use the word SCAR when you could change it to something cool like SKAR, but thankfully I knew it was ORC, not ORK (thanks, D&D), so I survived. Center section up to the ISFOR section was the toughest part for me. Though FAVA or SOYA, not LIMA (35D: Bean type). Also thought RERUN, not REAIR (40A: Show again). OFFER was weirdly hard for me, given the clue (20D: Job seeker's success). Too long to get FRAT (30A: Greek group that's not in Greece) (I was looking for a group of things, plural, not one thing that is itself a group). Those are all my ILLS. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Hungry Mother 7:13 AM  

Loved the show I thought was called “Lion King” when I saw it on Broadway. The costumes blew my mind with their optical illusions. For some reason EMPTY came slowly, but most everything else just flowed smoothly.

Lewis 7:16 AM  

This is David's 182nd puzzle in the NYT! His skill is evident here, with theme answers stacked on top of each other (i.e. see rows 3 and 4) and crossing theme answers (HAKUNA/KING, LIFE/JULIE). And, as @Rex says, all things considered, pretty clean.

I learned, (via Wikipedia) regarding the musical itself, "The franchise, lead by the musical's box office at $8.1 billion (as of December 2017), is the highest-grossing entertainment property. The franchise as a whole has EGOT-ed, meaning it has won the four biggest awards of American show business."

Many years ago, when our youngest was still young, we saw TLK on Broadway. We had cheap seats in the stratosphere, and watching it was like being at the eye doctor, where you look through the lenses at the eye chart, and everything except one row is blocked out.

The solve was smooth with some choppiness in the SE (hooray for said choppiness), and it coaxed out some heart warming memories, and for that I'm grateful.

I will be far away (Barcelona) on vacation and will return in just shy of two weeks. Wishing loveliness to all!

amyyanni 7:20 AM  

I really appreciate the Family Circle cover, referencing the DIETS clue. OK, 'bye.

Tom Taylor 7:23 AM  

Nice puzzle. But I disagree with Rex ... you don’t have to be a hardcore fan of the movie to find it very easy. It’s more about time of life. I was 12 in 1994 and thus this movie hit me right where I lived at the time. Just as Rex points out, where you are in life contributes to how “sticky” certain pop culture phenomena are.
Almost pr’ed on this puzzle because every theme clue came right away.
I agree ... dense and not problematically so.

Hungry Mother 7:30 AM  

@Lewis: if you haven’t already seen them, search out all of the Gaudi works in the city. I think being a mathematician helped me to deeply appreciate their beauty.

Roberto 7:31 AM  

I didn't really care. I didn't see the lion king. I did finish the puzzle but I almost felt why bother. The circle of life was the best thing here.

Jack 7:36 AM  

Mmmm because movies that retell a woman renouncing her culture for a man and a particular sadistic case of Stockholm syndrome are definitely far better than the “monarchy smonarchy” of the Lion King - at least be consistent in your moral grandstanding Rex...

M. Spark 7:50 AM  

Hate anything that has been involved and complicit in the Disneyfication of Broadway and Times Square over the past few decades. On principle.

As for the puzzle, its craftsmanship was fine. As for the theme, to quote the late great (fictional) Jean Brodie, "For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like."

Ann 7:58 AM  

Circle if life becomes a circular file (for "trash"?) in the other direction...

Irene 8:14 AM  

For once I'm with you, Rex. Never saw the movie or the show that seems to have been playing on Broadway forever. Ergo I plodded my way through what should have been an easy Tuesday puzzle.

mmorgan 8:19 AM  

I generally have a very high tolerance level for whatever people want to put in a puzzle. I’m sure some will disagree, but devoting an entire puzzle to a Disney movie just seems wrong.

chefbea 8:22 AM  

never saw the show or the movie!!!

Nancy 8:22 AM  

An unusually satisfying Tuesday. Enough challenge to keep most of my gray cells working much of the time and really, really impressive puzzle construction. A very dense theme that's included in both the Acrosses and Downs and that incorporates the literal CIRCLE OF LIFE in the center. How hard this must be to do!

The NO WORRIES = HAKUNA MATATA completely NAILS it for me. I also liked seeing JULIE TAYMOR included. I didn't know PRIDE ROCK and EMPTY for "evacuate" was slow coming. So I had some trouble there.

I saw the show many moons ago and like you, @Lewis, I was seated far, far away -- in the last row of the rear balcony. (I think the ticket cost $25). I could practically touch the ceiling. Unlike you, I sneaked down to a really good seat in the orchestra at the intermission -- from where I enjoyed the show much more. I was younger then; I would never buy a seat that bad now. If I can't afford decent seats in the orchestra, I just don't go to theater at all. It's not just the seeing and the hearing and all that climbing (which gets harder with every passing year); it's the greed of theater owners who have added extra rows of seats to virtually every theater in NYC, making sitting in the balcony or even the lower mezzanine an experience of unendurable physical torture.

(End of present-day theater rant). THE LION KING is a terrific show and this is a terrific puzzle.

Clueless 8:23 AM  

Isn’t Circle of Life from Sweet Charity?

pabloinnh 8:30 AM  

@Lewis-Could you find out if they've finished La Sagrada Familia yet? Thank you.

For once I agreed with everything OFL said, until he gave a D&D credit to ORC. We LOTR fans cry foul. Flagrant foul, in fact. I someday will have to watch THELIONKING with the granddaughters, but it will be like meeting distant relatives that you saw in the old photo albums.

Fun Tuesdecito, in spite of being a Disney ignoramus. Thanks DJK.

albatross shell 8:32 AM  

Wow. This was so out of my wheelhouse I wasn't in the same ballpark or railyard or where ever that metaphor comes from. Broadway directors, Tony winners, opera singers, the Lion King. Saw the movie once w on TV long ago. SCAR hmm pirate movie?
SIMBA? Tarzan again? LION? Ahha, The LION KING. So I dug in, since it was a Tuesday. ATE gave me RASTA and EMPTY (nice cluing on those) which completed HAKUNAMATATA and PRIDEROCK. Had AbOve before ALOFT, so my CIRCLE was LovE for awhile. And you folks did not help by drumming into me that the same word should not appear twice in the same puzzle, and LIFE was in those circled letters, but then again, the clue implied it should be LIFE. So it was JoLoEsAYMOR until I got who the Greeks were which also gave me what the job hunter wanted which gave me the air hub which gave ISFOR and then IRULE and finally ALOFT and JULIETAYMOR. More like a hard Wednesday or a real easy Thursday for me.
I would like to point out:
If they have frats in Greece the clue is wrong.
And people diet for other reasons than to lose weight, and try to lose weight by other means than dieting
And not all QB tackles are sacks.
I point this out because I believe all these are good clues and answers, but there have been many people making these types of complaints who then whine about the poor CLUING or editing. The Venn diagrams do not have to be identical to be accurate. I include in my whining about their whining, people who do a simple word substitution of clue and answer, and claim inaccuracy. If you can find one example where substitution works, I guess that means it's OK.

I'm sorry I missed yesterday's wonderful discussion with many highlights. I did the puzzle early, but did not get back to read the blog until 4 hours after the last comment. So much one could say. I'll just mention I am a Christopher Robin, named for the Christopher Robin. I never thought much of my namesake but liked all the other characters. EEYORE wasn't my favorite until I grew up - as much as I did anyhow. Liked his Now We are Six, too. The knight whose armor did not squeak.

The same thing happen to me on Sunday - got to the blog late. I'm almost cranky enough after working so hard on a Tuesday to give you my semi-defense of Paterno, but alas I'm too sleepy and I fear you'd never forgive me.
Wrote the above last night. Never suspected my experience to be so much like Rex's. HAR!.

Unknown 8:33 AM  

This would have been my pick for Puzzle of the **Decade** if Mr. Kahn could have placed KIMBA somewhere in the grid!

Bruce R 8:35 AM  

When I saw the first Lion King clue I thought this sucks (kind of like Game of Thrones clues) then when the theme became apparent I hated it even more.

7 1/2 year old kid 8:36 AM  

I don’t know whether you enjoy Broadway plays, but the costumes and the puppetry of this show make it worth the trip. if you find the theme trite, I encourage you to borrow a seven-year-old child to take the show And watch the wonder in their face as you introduce them to live theatre.

Timon 8:41 AM  

"I guess I just don't like patriarchal morality tales with heavy-handed self-important preachy songs."

How would you know that if you never saw it? Is it just this or everything in the bildungsroman genre? How about anything involving the hero's journey? Star Wars? Some pretty heavy handed background music there. Is it all patriarchal morality tales (lots of superhero stuff there, lookin' at you Superman and your lost father), or just those set to music.

These write-ups must be schtick.

Kids were obsessed with this movie when it came out and I was surrounded by it. Disney hijacked their childhoods in the '90s. So it was easy. But I don't see how I would've even sussed through it if that weren't the case.

davidm 8:45 AM  

Ugh. I threw down my pen with only two-thirds of this done. I had no interest in finishing it. I got THE LION KING right off, but like Rex and others I’ve never seen any incarnation of it. Unlike them, its references somehow never rubbed off on me from the wider culture. Very well, I thought grimly, I’ll back my way into the clues. What do I see? More pop culture, and proper names! Actress Fanning … Repeated “Survivors” setting (never watched it) … Best Picture winner … British singer … 2015 Tony winner … ugh! Stop it!! Pop culture is not my bag. Also, for someone who has seen The Lion King, the puzzle strikes me as a gimme, and a puzzle in which all the theme clues are transparent is just as boring as one in which the clues are all opaque. I’d like to see, at least once in awhile, more high-brow stuff from Times puzzles. How about themes devoted to science, literature, religion, or philosophy, instead of pop culture?

webwinger 8:46 AM  

I wasn’t particularly fond of this puzzle, but the construction was certainly impressive. Played on the easy side for me, very familiar with the thematic material.

Reading @Rex’s comments has provided me with a real education in leftish academic bias. Today he casually dismisses one of the true jewels of the Disney canon because of its “patrimoniousness”. Can’t muster an ounce of respect, and yet admits he has virtually no familiarity with the work itself! “Hakuna matata”, both the song and the movie sequence, was Disney gold IMO. Father-son issues were dealt with in a remarkably thoughtful way for mass market entertainment.

Speaking of leftish academic bias, my alma mater Oberlin College is in the news again (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/us/oberlin-bakery-lawsuit.html) after a jury found the college administration guilty of libel and awarded a sizable sum of money to a bakery in the community (much beloved during my undergraduate days) because of actions taken by students, with apparent support from college employees, following an episode of alleged racist behavior by the business. It’s a sad complicated story, and my sympathies are divided, but it certainly highlights the danger of rushing to judgment based on tribal identification when deliberation and open-minded consideration of differing perspectives is called for.

L. Companys 8:48 AM  

@Hungry Mother & @Lewis; You don't really have to search out Gaudí's Sagrada Família in Barcelona; it has a way of finding YOU. But agree that it cannot be missed. And breaking news: 138 years after construction began, the city of Barcelona finally issued a building permit for the unfinished structure this past week!

Do be cautious about scam street crime - especially around the Basilica. One common scam is getting hit with an unidentifiable liquid from an open window above the sidewalk, followed by an appalled and helpful bystander who offers to wipe the liquid off your jacket - for which you are grateful until you find, after he moves on, that your jacket (or back pocket) is light one wallet.

Have fun. And do ay hi to Leo Messi for me if you run into him.

Sir Hillary 9:00 AM  

Wait, Disney has produced entertainment with themes that don't play so well in today's woke world? Shocking, positively shocking! Hey Rex, @Jack has it right -- your Disney faves are just as "bad" as TLK, but I guess you needed to burnish your virtuous credentials. I think you touched on the real reason you're unfamiliar with TLK -- it was released at a time in your life when pop culture took a backseat to other priorities, grad school in your case. Can't that be enough of a reason? Also, you do realize Elton doesn't write lyrics, right? Tim Rice did that.

Anyhoo...TLK came out just after the birth of my oldest. Soon after, Disney started re-releasing all their animated films, first on VHS, then DVD. As such, I've seen TLK more times than I can count, and this puzzle practically filled itself in.

I'll echo others who laud the puppetry of the stage version. This is JULIETAYMOR at her finest. The hyenas in particular blew me away.

Funny, but while I enjoyed the theme, the filled annoyed me. ISFOR, EYER, OLAFS, IRULE, REAIR, OTIC, ONS, KER -- yikes!

One error: I was reading too quickly, saw "Runnin'", and dropped in Unlv.

Asante sana, Mr. Kahn.

Gen X-er 9:11 AM  

I’m Rex’s age and I didn’t see The Lion King when it came out either. I wasn’t into cartoons in my twenties. I did see the play and the movie with my kids a few years later, I don’t know how I could have avoided seeing it had I wanted to. Amazed that Rex didn’t see it with his kids.

Whatsername 9:14 AM  

Everything I know about The Lion King I learned from doing crosswords. On the other hand, it’s pretty hard to be completely unaware of the nature of something that has been so prevalent in our culture over the past 25 years. Therefore, I didn’t find this one particularly hard or easy, just a clean well-balanced Tuesday with a nice little feel-good bonus in the center. Enjoyed it. Thanks DJK.

@M Spark: Love the quote from Miss Brodie, quite apropos.

Wm. C. 9:18 AM  

Hardest Tuesday ever for me. The puzzle is pretty simple for those who have seen TLK, and too hard (Julie Taymor, Pride Rock, Hakuga ..???) for those who haven't, like me. Seems like a bad premise, Mr. Shortz.

BTW, the "Put a tiger in your tank" clue is only for USA oldies, like me. They've been Exxon or something else here for about 50 years, though they remain ESSO in Canada (and elsewhere, I think).

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Can we add ESSO to the list of crosswordese to delete?

RooMonster 9:29 AM  

Hey All !
I don't RULE! Got stuck in the East Center. The SAMOA/LEONA/TAYMOR conflagration. As not up on my Broadway Directors, wouldn't have come up with TAYMOR if I stared at it forever. Had TAYLOR in, as that is a common name. Wanted LEeNA, leaving Survivor place SAleA. So a two-letter DNF.

Did enjoy the theme. Saw the original movie many moons ago. The hyenas were the best part. "Mufasa!" "Ooooh, do it again." Wasn't PRIDE ROCK also the place in "The Blair Witch Project"? That movie was quite weird, however, Part 2 was great! If you've never seen it, and enjoy mystery/mind games movies, you need to watch it. It's not horror/gory either.

Anyway, lots of theme, which I like, and even Rex gave the fill a pass! Wow! RAH RAH indeed.

Have to go to the DMV today, but NO WORRIES, if you show up about 45 minutes before they open, you can usually not wait inside. (Of course, you wait outside, but you're gonna wait somewhere at the DMV!)


rickterp 9:32 AM  

I loved the comment I saw on the official NYT crossword blog: "This isn't a crossword puzzle. It's a trivia contest."

Even not being a Lion King fan, this was pretty easy to get through...until...some really brutal pop culture crosses that turned this into a complete nightmare. NALA crossing with NAN -- if you know neither The Lion King and the Bobbsey Twins, you're sunk getting that N. And the SAMOA/LEONA/JULIETAYMOR zone was the Bermuda Triangle for me. I'm proud of never having witnessed more than five minutes of any reality show and never heard of either the director or the musician.

I hope you all enjoyed this, but this was the hardest Tuesday ever for me.

OffTheGrid 9:35 AM  

I enjoyed this very much. Somehow I got 23D THELIONKING early, but I could not have put in any other theme entry without crosses. It was fun to figure it all out. This was a well-crafted movie theme puzz. I have no problem with Disney.



Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Was watching a food porn competition on the Food Network and was disgusted to see that both challenges required the contestants to make desserts with a "Toy Story" theme--because "Toy Story 4" is coming out soon. So let's make an hour-long program that's supposed to show expert bakers at work into a big freakin' ad for a movie.

So imagine how much more disgusted I was when I saw that Will Shortz et al. did exactly the same thing today.

Everything in the world is ads ads ads. I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Hating on the lion king because of "monarchy" and Elton John is not an opinion I realized anyone had, but I guess I shouldn't be shocked seeing it here.

WhatDoing 9:57 AM  

Oh please. If you have a pulse you’ve heard Hakuna Matata and could suss out much of the themed clues. Pop culture has a way of sticking whether you’ve deliberately engaged with it or not. I hated The Macarena but could probably join in the dance by the second verse. I despise Old Town Road but know it exists. The good, the bad and the ugly are what makes our world so rich.

Conrad 10:05 AM  

@clueless: "Circle of Life" is from The Lion King. The song from Sweet Charity is "Rhythm of Life." https://youtu.be/uQSAIBD0gbE

Andrew B 10:05 AM  

Pretty fun. I have to take slight issue with the cluing on "Runnin' college team". I'm a fairly big college sports fan and have never heard of Utah referred to as the "Runnin' Utes". According to Wikipedia its a nickname specific to their basketball team. Felt a bit obscure for what is ultimately a common piece of crosswordese.

3.5 Rexes

Aketi 10:09 AM  

When my son was little his nursery school offered child development chats. The child development specialist had freshly completed her Masters Degree and was pregnant with her first. She had analyzed all the Disney movies from the lens of why they were inappropriate for children under five. I attained my bad mom street cred by admitting that I took my son to watch Jurassic Park III at age two. The look on her face was priceless. The other moms looked relieved since they had already confessed to lesser mom sins in the movie watching department,

I must admit I’d like to Arya Stark the Little Mermaid. That has to be the rock bottom most insipid Disney movie I’ve ever watched.
The Lion King was far superior.

Newboy 10:16 AM  

I came, I saw (the show),and I conquered (the puzzle). Pretty easy as Rex predicted since I always included Taymor in our Humanities 101 drama unit. 40 down made the joint (and me giggle).

The Circle of Life 10:19 AM  

My first child was born in 1995, so the TLK is engrained in my head. It was when VCRs were at their height and we parents had to struggle with the temptation/need to prop our kid up, turn on the VCR, and walk away for a moment's peace. We started with something innocuous like Winnie the Pooh, then as he got older, onto shows like TLK, B and the B, The Little Mermaid, and the rest...basically Disney's second golden era before Pixar replaced actual animation. Anastasia, from yesterday's puzzle, was also one of those. We had another daughter 5 years later, so the Disney/Pixar hits just kept coming only in DVD form by then.

Both kids are gone now so I remember fondly movies like TLK...not for content, but for all those nights we huddled up with popcorn or nachos or pizza and watched movies that WE chose to watch...very much unlike my own childhood. So it was just as fun for my wife and I as it was for my kids.

Yet, as someone mentioned above, I have a certain disdain for what Bway has become...a crass money grab, pandering to the lowest hanging fruit -- overly produced box-office movie adaptations -- replacing any kind of thoughtful theater with pablum. It's a very well noted problem in the industry. Midtown Manhattan is just another Disneyworld-esque amusement park. It's not just Disney of course, and who can blame companies like Disney for not literally capitalizing on the trend? But serious theater, non-musicals and shows like "Cabaret" or "Caroline or Change" or "Parade" or even some of the more challenging Sondheim shows...they just don't last long, so they are not only not produced, but not written much anymore. Chicago seems to be the only American city that is at least trying. Kudos to Chicago and its vision for keeping live theater going and not trying to compete head to head with Hollywood or Disney.

I guess it's the circle of life incarnate...one dies, another is born.

QuasiMojo 10:19 AM  

I had no idea what the theme was. I never saw "The Lion King" or heard it, on screen or in a theater, etc. I know I'm an old grouch but I just don't enjoy Disney fare. Too heartfelt. The "Circles of Life" answer had me thinking this was about Judy Collins or is it Joni Mitchell. I guess my Me Generation roots are showing. I've been on the road or among the Clouds most of this week and last. So I have not been able to follow most of you-alls witty posts. I'll have to try and catch up later.

Airymom 10:22 AM  

Random "Lion King" memories--my kids, now 25 and 20, watched the video countless times from about age 4 to 8. I liked the movie, but not that much. When my son was 5 and I was 6 months pregnant, our family went to Disney world. Since it was October, the weather was supposed to be 80'ish and pleasant. It was 95, very humid, and I could barely walk around. When we got to the "Lion King" show, the line was an hour long. The Disney staffer took one look at me and let my son, husband and I sit in the theater and even got me a big glass of cold water. Only time in my life I milked a pregnancy for all it was worth!

I took my son to see the Broadway show at the end of September 2001. It was a very sad trip to NYC to see my parents and to support my hometown. The city was still in shock. No tourists. We got center orchestra seats for next to nothing. My Dad was 88. When the show began and the 20 ft. tall characters appeared on stage, he jumped out of his seat. My son did too. A bittersweet day.

Finally, about 12 years ago, one of my son's classmates had her Bat Mitzvah. At that synagogue, the parents make a short speech about their child. The father said nothing. The mother sang B'way songs to her daughter...she started off by calling her "one singular sensation", and then sang part of the song. I've never seen anything like it, and I've been to hundreds of Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. If the floor could have swallowed up the mom, the daughter would have been thrilled. The mother ended her tribute by saying that the best quality of her daughter is her easy going nature, and then sang "Hakuna Matata". I had to run out of the sanctuary, I was afraid I would yell out, "are you f--ing kidding me?!?". The girl almost started to cry of embarrassment.

Yesterday I saw "Rocketman" and there was a preview for the new "Lion King". I promised to take my 13 year old niece.

Hartley70 10:22 AM  

The Bobbsey Twins clue made me hoot with laughter! Good Grief, who under 80 would have read those books, and even I, a mere 70, only read a few because I was a childhood readaholic and the back of a cereal box wasn’t readily available. I filled NAN in with no trouble.

The remainder of the puzzle was a total gimme. I saw the movie in ‘94, not the Broadway show, but that was enough. I watched it with the kids while my husband sat in the lobby overcome with grief at the demise of the wildebeests. These kiddie movies were brutal. “All Dogs Go to Heaven” destroyed us all for the entire weekend.

JULIETAYMOR should have been difficult but I must have absorbed it at some point by Sunday’s OSMOSIS.

It was a cute enough theme, but perhaps not for this audience. I’d go with “Pulp Fiction” next time.

@merican in Paris 10:31 AM  

I liked this puzzle -- dense theme, mostly good fill -- even though I'm not a great fan of THE LION KING. I do like the comic-relief characters, Timor and Pumba, and it is no surprise that Disney went on to feature them in subsequent cartoons.

I completed today's puzzle on paper, and DNF because I Naticked at the crossing of three PPPs: JULIE TAY_OR (I assumed it could only be TAYLOR), SA__A, and LE_NA. I do not pay attention to directors of Broadway plays, live abroad and so have never seen a single episode of "Survivor", and never heard of LEONA Lewis. That whole south-Atlantic section could have been made more Tuesday-appropriate, including by replacing EYER with something less cringe-worthy.

One near crossing I liked was (the) CRADLE (will) ROCK. And then there's NA[a]N just above INDIA.

Some of the clues and answers invariably made me think about our current and perhaps future politics: 50A -- Dominate (OWN), 3D -- Martial LAW; and 15A -- "Call me the greatest!" (I RULE!) and 54A (RAH-RAH). If I were a to make a WAGER, I would give it a 35% chance that the USA will see Martial LAW declared before the next presidential election, or (slightly more likely) between the November 2020 election and Inauguration Day in January 2021.

'TILL I post SAMOA again, I remain an AGING ESSO BORE.

Amelia 10:32 AM  

@nancy I'm with you. The photos in the newspaper of plays are taken from the 5th row center, at worst. People go to the plays thinking I'm going to see THAT. They don't usually. And they pay through the nose for the privilege of bringing binoculars. It has to be SOME kind of play/musical for me to sit in the balcony and enjoy it. I'm over that completely. I'll get my closeups from film.

That said, I got a TDF ticket (cheap) for INK recently and I realized when I got to my seat, that I was in one of the best seats in the house. Especially for a short human. Front row mezzanine, center seat.

Same here about the Lion King. Never seen any of it. But I knew everything but the setting. Something about reading a newspaper every day.....

GILL I. 11:00 AM  

AH....THE LION KING. Maybe you needed children to appreciate it? Grandkids help as well....
I loved the movie and so did my kids. Every character except SCAR. He got his due in the end...!!!!
Having said that, I didn't really enjoy the puzzle. Lots of names...that'll always get a meh from me.
@Lewis.....Do me a favor and stop at "Bar del Pla" for the best tapas you will EVER eat (Well, at least in Barcelona)....If you can, go around 10:00 pm. The locals will be there and they will be speaking in Catalan. The tourists (who are everywhere) will have left after 7 or 8 and you will be left with the pleasantry of some beautiful and colorful people. If you dare, bring up Franco's regime. You'll get an interesting earful. Also, @L.Companys is so right. Unfortunately there are pick-pockets galore in all of Spain. The gypsies taught them well. Wear a fanny pack in front of you and you might want a lock on it!
You will have a great time....so much to see and do. My mom lived in a tiny pueblo outside of Bilbao called Algorta. We'd always ended up in Barcelona for at least two days - just to get our fill of beauty. Gaudi rocks!

David 11:06 AM  

In today's "woke" world? Hardly. When I was a kid "Disney" was WALT Disney in all his glory every Sunday evening. And movies. And Disneyland (world? which came first?). My mother wouldn't allow him in the house, nor would she take us to see his movies. Not, as one may surmise, due to his Antisemitism, rather because of the way he'd exploit little girls into young womanhood and then toss them aside. Nothing much changed there (see Brittany Spears). Disney isn't out of my wheelhouse, they're out of my universe. That said, I'd go see the Broadway show if someone bought me a ticket. Our neighbor in Brooklyn way back when was a sculptor who got a job building the super-light aluminum rigging which undergirds those costumes. That's some complicated stuff hidden from view. Fascinating.

1A, which I had no clue about other than recognizing Simba, made me plop in 23D, but after that it was a horrid slog for me, especially with Survivor, Fanning, Bobbseys, etc. I knew Julie Taymor more for the disaster that was the first "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" though, and had "Tannor" for quite a while.

I did not know "otic" was the suffix. Learned something new again. That's always a plus.

With all this light and fluffy stuff how did Argo sneak in? Strange. Pretty tight puzzle for the Disney fans out there, the saving grace of this puzzle for me is the inclusion of Renée.

Zwhatever 11:13 AM  

5 Across.

Not surprisingly, the PPP* came in at 40%. Besides all the themers we get gems like ARGO and ERIE and UTES.

Always surprised when people get upset about simple observations of one’s likes. Not being particularly interested in a disneyfied Hamlet
in grad school isn’t a “leftist bias,” it’s a matter of taste. As is thinking the 1990’s was Sir Elton’s creative nadir (hardly a radical position). And THE LION KING (and Hamlet) is patriarchal and monarchical. It’s other things as well. So what? Here’s a nice summary of criticisms from 1994. Rex was gentle compared to “racist” and “homophobic” accusations leveled back then.

*Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns as a percentage of the puzzle answers. Today it is 31 of 78.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

My God, man. It's one thing if you've never seen The Lion King - that's fantastic, especially if it's because you think it looks bad. But to try and entrench that in some kind of ethical resistance against patriarchy/monarchy/whatever other bones you tore through sinew to pick with it? Sheesh. That kind of claim is so embarrassing for you, and you're not fooling anyone with it; it's like a sweater in July, Rex. I mean it is just so pretentious and silly. Don't you teach Shakespeare to your students? Need I explain the hypocrisy? I just want to point out that that kind of high-and-mighty, self-proclaimed intellectual or moral superiority is exactly the stuff that is brewing so much resentment in the US and around the world toward academia and the intellectual left. And that is having large-scale implications that exceed this blog. I too teach English at a college in upstate NY. Stop scaring away our students you self-important bozo! Go see The Lion King! Or don't! But don't strut around about it like it makes you better or keener or holier than anyone else in the world. You're not. You're just a dude who hasn't seen a movie.

Kath320 11:26 AM  

I would never have seen the Lion King movie by choice, but young granddaughter at the time had to watch the DVD at least 3x a day, so, yeah, I knew every reference...

jae 11:29 AM  

Tough. Lots of problems with this one. I thought UNLV was “runnin” but apparently so are the UTES, I wasn’t sure about JULIE’s last name, I had Tibet next to Nepal, AbOve before ALOFT, and I’ve never seen the LION KING. All my knowledge of the movie comes from xwords. So, tough. That said, sorta liked it.

albatross shell 11:33 AM  

@z 11:13
There are times I really appreciate your levelheadedness. Yes, this was one.

Ethan Taliesin 11:44 AM  

Dislike those Disney movies, although was certainly impressed by how much Lion King stuff was crammed into this puzzle. The circle of life thing in the middle flew under my radar.

Not an area of interest, but better than "superheroes," I guess.

Pretty much right on the same page as Rex with his review.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

In the US, universities are extremely left wing. Grad school included. No one disputes this.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

Clue for 14 across is wrong. Runnin Rebels ,yes, Runnin' Utes , no.

jb129 11:52 AM  

This didn't require any skill - just knowledge of The Lion King. Disappointing.

Masked and Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Only show the M&A's ever saw on Broadway [Sept. 1999]. So, that definitely helped with the solvequest, at our house. Don't believe we ever viewed the cartoon version, tho. Would have, if they'da had minions in it.

staff weeject pick: KER. I can't help wonder how it became a lead-in to "plop". Or "ching"; or "splat". Primo weeject stacks, in the NW & SE, btw. Can kinda see "ker-ching", as a 2-part cash register mechanical sound, or somesuch. Does the "ker-plop" sorta denote a bounce effect, on impact, maybe …? … or a 2-part landing …?

Pretty much everything long that moved in here was a themer. Liked BURROS the most, of the semi-longballs. Best Ow de Speration: OTIC & KER. ISFOR seemed a step above those other two, in viability outside a puzgrid.

Nice touch, with The Circles of Life. Or, alternately, The Circles of Olaf's Re-air. har

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Kahn. Good job.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Andrew 11:57 AM  

Is the Times getting paid for product placement now? This is a Lion King promo pretending to be a puzzle. FAIL.

Also NATICK on NALA/NAN. Sorry, never heard of either. Kind of a bummer way to start the NW corner.


And KER for plop is just plain bad.

Gettaclue 12:06 PM  

Um @Z, you're joking right? "Patriarchal morality tales," is sooo left leaning. And I'm a left leaner! You ever gonna hear @Rex use the phrase "Matriarchal morality tale" to disparage anything?

Crimson Devil 12:07 PM  

Never had any desire to see any iteration of TLK, but found puz Tues-easy due to crosses.
Lots of PPP however.

Zwhatever 12:18 PM  

@Anon11:50 - Har. Here’s one counter example of someone disputing it. I would agree that any good college leans left.

@albatross - That “level-headed” compliment makes me nervous. 😂

Nancy 12:20 PM  

To all the LION KING pooh-pooh-ers: Yes, it's Disney, but it's also a very good show. I had a "show me" attitude about it before I saw it -- which is probably why I only spent $25 for it; how can you turn down a ticket that cheap? But the show ended up really getting to me. Look, animals that are unhappy make me cry. Animals that are triumphant also make me cry. I just go all gloppy inside for animals. A show that might be much too sentimental when it's about people almost can't be too sentimental when it's about animals. Also the music is enormously melodic and infectious. The costumes and scenery are great, but you don't walk out singing either the costumes or the scenery.

No, it's not "Carousel" or "My Fair Lady" or "Guys and Dolls" or "Porgy and Bess".. But it's not generic, touristy grist for the mill, either. I thought it would be before I saw it; I am, after all, something of a Golden Age of Musicals snob. But I was very happy in this instance to be proven wrong.

Zwhatever 12:34 PM  

@Gettaclue - Are you saying it isn’t a “patriarchal morality play?” Or are you saying using that phrase makes one inherently left-leaning? Or that if one is right-leaning one always loves “patriarchal morality tales with heavy-handed self-important preachy songs.” Seriously, I am saying that people are taking “I was in grad school, over Disney, and it looked like a crap movie” and taking that as evidence of left of center politics. Rex is politically left of center. TLK is the Budweiser of animated motion pictures. Those two things are not necessarily related. And conservatives are allowed to find TLK preachy and patriarchal. Or not.

Nancy 12:35 PM  

To all the LION KING pooh-pooh-ers: Yes, it's Disney, but it's also a very good show. I had a "show me" attitude about it before I saw it -- which is probably why I only spent $25 for it; how can you turn down a ticket that cheap? But the show ended up really getting to me. Look, animals that are unhappy make me cry. Animals that are triumphant also make me cry. I just go all gloppy inside for animals. A show that might be much too sentimental when it's about people almost can't be too sentimental when it's about animals. Also the music is enormously melodic and infectious. The costumes and scenery are great, but you don't walk out singing either the costumes or the scenery.

No, it's not "Carousel" or "My Fair Lady" or "Guys and Dolls" or "Porgy and Bess".. But it's not generic, touristy grist for the mill, either. I thought it would be before I saw it; I am, after all, something of a Golden Age of Musicals snob. But I was very happy in this instance to be proven wrong.

Anoa Bob 12:40 PM  

I know zilch about TLK but was able to piece the themers together from crosses. JULIET AYMORE was the toughest.

Yes, ESSES (8D) are valuable tiles in Scrabble, very valuable indeed. That's why there are only four of them out of the 100 total tiles.

ESSES are equally, if not more valuable in xword construction. But there is no set limit on their use in grids and often appear much more frequently than in Scrabble (4%) or in standard English text (6%). Today's grid is actually modest as typical grids go, coming in at around 9% of the total letters being ESSES. A sizable chunk occurred just in ESSES and ESSO. Most of the others are of the POC variety.

Happy KER OTIC ORC to all.

Teedmn 12:47 PM  

PRIDE ROCK - is that the genre of music found in THE LION KING? Everything I know about the movie/musical I have learned from crosswords. That's quite a lot, actually. I knew all of the theme answers except 61A, though they all came slowly so this was slow for a Tuesday solve.

Even with CIRCLE OF LIFE in at 19A, when it came to parsing the circles in the center, I first saw @Ann 7:58's "round FILE", oops, that's LIFE.

Other than that, 46D, BANGS, reminds me that I need to trim mine.

I have to go look up "lagomorphs" now.

Joe Dipinto 12:48 PM  

I pretty much don't care about Disney musicals. I think I might have seen the film of "The Lion King", but I can't imagine under what circumstances. I feel like I remember parts of it, which is weird. I definitely did not and would not see it on Broadway.

All of which is to say that the puzzle didn't do anything for me. I knew all the theme answers except Pride Rock, but that was easy to figure out.

There's a cookbook author named Marian Burros -- I think she's written food columns for the Times. And 15d could have been clued "Phrase in Sue Grafton's 'Alphabet' series titles." You know, anything to help mollify Rex's patriarchal antipathy.

Fred Romagnolo 1:30 PM  

I thought the movie sloppily sentimental, like much of Disney. Didn't help much in remembering, but acrosses saved the day. Certainly Gaudi is the chief attraction of Barcelona. I'm not sure if Rex teaches Shakespeare or not, unless it's in comic book form. As to college faculties, try being a moderate and not squirming at faculty meetings. But Rex and @Z are completely predictable in their opinions, so what's to be surprised about? Even if you don't agree, you get some insight into that field of thinking.

Unknown 2:46 PM  

I never saw the movie, but seeing the Broadway show will change anyone's opinion of the music and the story. The great Julie Taymor created a masterpiece that has lasted for 20 years, and the voice of Tsidi Le Loka will take your breath away every time you hear it. Loved this theme although, I was also slowed-down by spelling Scar with a "K". I am going to play the CD now.

john towle 2:50 PM  

The music in The Lion King shines brightly as one of Sir Elton John’s magnificent creations. It works as well on the concert stage as on the Silver Screen. I speak from experience here; I was privileged to be the principal oboist the time our concert band played it & gladly soaked up the audience’s standing ovation. Sir Elton is unquestionably a Master; he had me at Philadelphia Freedom.

Lewis, check out Los Caracoles in Barcelona…marvelous restaurant. Also remember that it’s Barthe, not Barsah.



Anonymous 3:29 PM  

Saw the Lion King years ago when my college soph and high school junior were little. We got great seats in the 6th row, right on one of the aisles, and could practically touch the animals as they paraded by up to the stage. Costuming and staging were truly inspired. It was a very memorable experience for all of us.


KevCo 3:36 PM  

Pretty hilarious to see an English professor trashing the plot of the Lion King, since it's based on Hamlet.

I was like 10 when the movie came out, so I knew all the answers, but I think the puzzle would have been better served had some of the answers been clued in ways that don't necessarily invoke the Lion King. Maybe "Don't stress over it" for NO WORRIES, or "genre for LGBTQ bands?" or something for PRIDE ROCK, although that isn't really Tuesday cluing. I do sympathize with those who either don't like or don't know the movie. Probably ruins the puzzle.

I watch a lot of college sports, and I've never heard anyone preface UTES with "runnin'." Runnin' Rebs -- I know that one.

OffTheGrid 4:04 PM  

(With apologies to Bill Maher),

NEW RULE! If you have to rip on @Rex you must carefully read his puzzle critique at least twice. Today he was not all self righteous or overly negative. He simply stated he was not interested in TLK and explained why. Some of you are so extreme (like Anon. 11:22) it is clear that you just can't wait to dump on him and you don't care what he really wrote.

Amark 4:08 PM  

Sagrada Familia is still not complete, but after 130ish years, they’ve acquired a building permit!

bauskern 4:30 PM  

I never saw the Lion King, so this was a tough Tuesday for me. I put down Julie TAYLOR (never would have guessed TAYMOR), so SAL_A became an unsolvable mystery for me. I have mixed feelings about the puzzle: lots of theme based answers and I liked the circle of life, but the combination of 10-down, 44-across and 37-down seemed a little unfair. And the NALA/NAN was a total guess on my part. Since the movie was released roughly 25 years ago, I guess I appreciate the timing of the puzzle.

tea73 4:30 PM  

I didn't think of this as an ode to Disney as I first became aware of TLK from the huge buzz about the Broadway production. It won six Tony's including Best Musical. I always meant to see it, but never got around to it. Despite having kids the right age we saw very few of the Disney musical movies - Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast seem to be the only ones. My older son did see TLK at the movies with my boss, who was dying to have grandchildren, and her kids had not yet obliged, so she borrowed my kid. Despite not having seen it, I thought it was quite easy except for the name of that rock and having a hard time seeing EMPTY. Fun puzzle. And yes it was based on Hamlet and the songs are very catchy.

iamjess 4:41 PM  

Ended it the exact same way that @Roo did-- thinking "um SAleA??"

That aside, I was in middle school when the movie came out and so, yes, I knew every theme answer immediately. I am also singing Hakuna Matata in my head and it's a shame OFL didn't post the video.

I also want to point out that I grew up in Utah, went to Utah State University, which is a rival of the University of Utah, and have never once heard "Runnin' Utes'.

GILL I. 5:11 PM  

OK, @Lewis...Do me another favor: Order at least these two things while in Barcelona: Bomba and patatas bravas. If you hate potatoes then don't If you LOVE them, do. The Bomba is a Barcelona specialty - it's a potatoes croquette. Ask your waiter to tell you the story behind the name.
Enjoy......and remember Barcelona is a foodie town!

Lewis 5:28 PM  

Thanks to those who have offered Barcelona tips! I have noted them with gratitude!

Doug 5:53 PM  

If you haven’t heard this. Enjoy Barcelona!


Anonymous 6:18 PM  

I've never watched Survivor. All I know is that they put people into tropical wildernesses and see if they can survive. I guess tropical so that they don't get deaths from hypothermia.

But I guessed SAMOA once I had a few letters. It's not exactly an unknown place.

Lurker 6:44 PM  

I don’t know Lewis, but he seems like a happy, upbeat guy. Total opposite of Rex, and me, LOL. Enjoy your vacation Lewis. I would say I’d substitute for you re: favorite clue/answer, but I’d never contend. Bon voyage.

Anonymous 8:19 PM  

Bon Voyage!!!! We'll miss you.

ghkozen 8:42 PM  

Like his comments about Game of Thrones, Rex seems to mistake knowledge only available to “hardcore fans of the franchise” with absolutely basic facts knowable to anyone who is even remotely familiar with the (very) popular cultural phenomenon. It’s sad, really

Seth Romero 8:54 PM  

Haha no self-righteousness?

"I guess I just don't like patriarchal morality tales with heavy-handed self-important preachy songs. Just me."

I can't say I expected anything less from Rex, but the passive-aggressive pretension in his write-up is undeniable. A reasonable person might recognize that there's a variety of reasons to appreciate TLK. But a reasonable person who appreciates perspective probably writes a less entertaining blog. It is what it is, but let's not lie to ourselves.

Anonymous 8:57 PM  

In the US, universities are extremely left wing. Grad school included. No one disputes this.

And there's no dispute that more education means more smarts, and thus the ability to see through right wing stupidity.

Shza 9:16 PM  

Worst puzzle in a while for reasons many have already shared. And as someone in my early 40s (40 exactly), I’m exactly the right age to never have seen any iteration of TLK. A teenager when it came out so obviously not interested; and there were much better kids movies when my kids would have been the appropriate age, so they’ve seen very few of the “classic” Disney movies (and I haven’t been forced to suffer or re-suffer them).

That said, most of the themers had bubbled through culture enough for me to get them. But that doesn’t make them remotely interesting — if anything, the opposite. And, as others have pointed out, that TAYMOR/LEONA/SAMOA cross, with the eyesore that is EYER on top . . . Yuck.

sara 9:24 PM  

evidently no Survivor superfans on this blog -- to comment on the idea that "Samoa" is a repeated setting. Maybe... a little...they might have gone there maybe twice in the 36 seasons so afar -- but Fiji is The place, again and again, in fact it's the only place they go any more. Just saying...

Joe Dipinto 11:16 PM  

Ooh, @Nancy is on deck for tomorrow! Can't wait!

@sara -- well if Survivor took place in Samoa twice, it's a repeated setting. Btw, the season that just aired was #38.

They ran out of ideas a long time ago, as witnessed by the fact that they keep bringing back contestants who've played already. And not just once, but several times. Season 40's cast is rumored to be all previous winners.

kitshef 6:19 PM  

I get that it’s a Broadway puzzle, and I know almost nothing about Broadway, so impossible names like RENEE, OHARA and JULIE TAYMOR (or JULIET AYMOR?) are just not going to be gettable for me.

But to throw in somebody named LEONA Lewis, too, was unnecessary and cruel. And having three of those WoEs in the NE, only one necessary for the theme, on a Tuesday no less?


Burma Shave 10:01 AM  




spacecraft 10:56 AM  

Elton John's songs horrible? Dude, you are one tough critic. Obviously, you can't feel the love tonight.

While I never actually sat through a whole showing of TLK, I did see parts of it--enough to know about 16/56 across and all, but not enough to recognize PRIDEROCK, or the director's name. Which led to a genuine Natick. It was either gonna be TAYMOR or SALOA. I really thought the square should have the L going down and the M across. So I had to ask myself, which was more likely? Result? Had to go with SAMOA. Whew! TAYMOR, what a weird name!

The DOD stage is crowded today, with several past winners (RENEE Russo, Maureen OHARA, ELLE MacPherson--even INDIA Arie! But why not welcome a newcomer? LEONA Lewis, don the sash!

I do agree with OFC that the fill, for as dense a theme as this, stayed remarkably well-behaved. Props to an experienced wordsmith. HAKUNAMATATA, dude! Birdie.

Diana,LIW 1:27 PM  

I saw TLK at our local "Best of Broadway" theater. It was quite memorable, but, of course, do I remember names? Names? NAH

So a Natick or two made me stumble and fall. But I'm still loved at home in my own LAIR.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoast 3:01 PM  

Have of course heard of THE LION KING, but that's about all I knew of it.

Didn't pay much attention to the CIRCLE circles in the middle referring to the CIRCLE OF LIFE. Also in the middle is REAIR, which "reairs", or roughly translates, HAKUNA MATATA as NO WORRIES. That was something of an unintended surprise, presumably. It also kinda confused things. But it made some sense, too.

Almost went for OmARA instead of OHARA, while SAMOA helpfully made JULIE's surname TAYMOR instead of TAyLOR.

All a bit more than expected on Tuesday, but welcome and fun.

rainforest 3:22 PM  

Hmm, I found this and yesterday's puzzle to be easy. Like, zero problems, unless you take PRIDE ROCK where I had to rely on two crosses. I also enjoyed both of these puzzles.

I can't say I'm familiar with TLK(never saw the movie or the show), but I seem to have picked up osmotically the names of characters and songs. I think one day I may watch a video of it. Love me some patriarchal monarchy. Even matriarchal monarchy, probably.

Anyhoo, even though trivia abounded, this puzzle was elegantly put together, and had little, if anything, to complain about, though of course others may disagree with my opinion. However, I will defend to the death their right to do so.

rondo 4:57 PM  

My daughter was a pre-teen when THELIONKING came out. Saw it first in the theater. Then it played about a hundred times after buying the video. And then there was the cassette with all the tunes. HAKUNAMATATA indeed. Hard as I tried I couldn’t avoid it.

As clued or not as clued as @spacey improvised those are all the good ones. So going not as clued is the anti-yeah baby, The Queen of Mean, LEONA Helmsley.

This puz was no BORE.

wcutler 5:59 PM  

Thanks, @Z 11:13 AM, for posting the PPP count (40%). It was definitely high enough that I groused to myself about this thing being so little about words and so much about trivia, and I could understand why others complain about that, high enough that I'm complaining here. I did not know the song (did get CIRCLE OF LIFE from the crosses), the singer, the director, the Tony winner, and some words that crossed these. There must be other kinds of puzzles or games for people who want to test their PPP knowledge.

I do understand that it's a matter of personal preference that I could only watch 43 seconds of Hakuna Matata | The Lion King 1994 before stopping it.

wcutler 6:02 PM  

Man, I got the reCaptcha third degree today, even though I'm logged on with a blogger ID. Is that because I had the nerve to read the Wikipedia article about it last week? And it's doing it again.

Diana,LIW 6:08 PM  

@wcutler - I agree with your 'plaint about the PPP and trivia - especially when based on one sole play/movie. Tis not a wordplay, IMHO.

Lady Di of SyndieCatLand

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