Fluffy neckwear / SUN 11-3-2019 / Egg on / Spoil, as a Parade

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Constructor: Kristian House

Relative difficulty: easyish - medium

THEME: ALL THE RIGHT MOVES — An "e" sound is added to the name of movies in the form of "ie", "y", and "ee":

Theme answers:
  • A ROOM(IE) WITH A VIEW (23A: Your apartment-mate, if you don't close the door before showering?)
  • ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK(IE) (31A: Your wish, maybe, when a rambunctious terrier puppy is first brought home?) 
  • RAGING BULL(Y) (50A: Tyrannic sort?)
  • IRON(Y) MAN (54A: O. Henry?)
  • JOHN WIK(I) (80A: Online reference about toilets?) (this one doesn't work b/c the movie is "John Wick" not "John Wik" so you're no longer just adding an "e" sound)
  • GOOD(Y)FELLAS (82A: Guys who pass out Halloween treats?)
  • STRANGERS ON A TRAIN(EE) (96A: What outsiders think about the new hire?)
  • A HARD DAYS NIGHT(IE) (110A: What the exhausted working woman wears to bed?)
Word of the Day: SLUSH PILE (Editor's stack of unsolicited manuscripts) —
In publishing, a Slush Pile is a set of unsolicited query letters or manuscripts that have either been directly sent to a publisher by an author, or which have been delivered via a literary agent representing the author who may or may not be familiar to the publisher. (wikipedia). 
 ... so exactly what the clue says...
• • •
Back by unpopular demand, it is I, Jeff Lin, the guy who railed on David Steinberg that one time.  I didn't read the comments last time so I assume it was an EPIC FAIL.  Quick aside before getting to it.  So, since I started doing crosswords, I had a bit of an EGO and have been quite VAIN and elitist about only doing the Times (that brief period where I also did the USA Today puzzle aside).  But, based on recommendations from Rex, the commenters, and the NYTXW Twitter community, my friends and I (shout out to EB, LA, JB, and TW) gave the American Values Club Xword a shot (on top of, not in LIEU of, the Times) and have not been disappointed.  Their puzzles are refreshing and fun in all the ways the Times is old and stodgy, so I also highly recommend everyone check them out.

Anyways... The reason I wanted to highlight how refreshing the AVCXW puzzles are is because good lord were there a lot of gluey proper nouns in this one.  WOPAT, HOREB, KIRI, YGOR, OMARR, ZAK, READE, TOD, ISAAK, AACHEN, and OSCAN?  I knew a grand total of zero of THESE references.  Also not the usual URIS clue.  Non proper nouns like CHUBS, TABSET, and MAIS also whooshed over my head.  There were just so many of these crossing each other and slowing me down before I could pick up the theme.  Took a lot of BRUTE strength to get through all of them.  Just couldn't TORE through it (yes, I know the grammar is off, but I wanted to get another answer in the write up so just work with me here).

The RESTE of the puzzle was fine.  Didn't expect the YANG Gang to be the first 2020 ELECT(s)ion related answer, but Buttigieg is really hard to spell and pronounce (I had to double check myself to make sure I didn't go AMISS with the spelling; I still have no idea how to correctly pronounce it).  Overall, maybe this puzzle should have stayed in Will Shortz's SLUSH PILE.

  • 28A: Expensive (PRICY) — I prefer "pricey" spelled with an E which would have kind of worked with the theme but fine
  • 41A: Early Human (CROMAGNON) — Don't know why I thought it was cro-magnum like the P.I. or the wine as I don't really partake in either
One last aside before I go.  In light of the recent tragic end of Deadspin, one of my favorite sites to read, I just wanted to put in writing how grateful I am that Rex has this forum and that he (and idiots like me) can use it to not just "stick to crosswords".  Nothing in this world happens in a vacuum, crosswords included, and I hope sites like this and what Deadspin used to be continue to speak truth to power and get the support they deserve.  If you disagree, feel free to EAT ME.

Signed, Jeff Lin, The Antipope of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook] [I also have a Pierre Delecto-esque Twitter, but I only use it to follow Rex and others so no need to follow me]


Lewis 5:41 AM  

Terrific title! This puzzle exercised my work ethic with some knotty cluing and the inclusion of seven names I didn't know. It also gave me some fun trying to figure out the theme answers with as few letters in as possible. So thank you, Kristian, and kudos on hitting the cycle!

Possible themer: [Brute locales?]. Answer a bit later.

This puzzle had me thinking about doing the theme in reverse: TAX DRIVER? ROCK?

Hungry Mother 6:37 AM  

Took just two cups of coffee. Lots of fun guessing the films. A very solid Sunday offering.

pmdm 7:14 AM  

I like the "reverse thene" suggestion by Lewis. I would not mind it the theme entries were other than movies. I wonder if that's ever been done.

The constructor makes a point of saying he wanted this puzzle to get solvers to chuckle. I think I did a little, but I also winced at some of the PPP trivia. THE NYT puzzle often has complaints aimed at it for being "old" but loading up a puzzle the contemporary esoteric (to me) PPP isn't much of an improvement for me.

So for me, this puzzle was not that enjoyable or that irritating, but just a challenge to complete. And I guess that's what a puzzle is supposed to do if you take the icing off the cake.

It's going to get dark early today. Happy standard time. How long before daylight tie comes back? Not soon enough for me.

Nick D 7:21 AM  

With all due respect to Jeff, I did wonder as I was doing this puzzle what Rex would have had to say about it. Yet again, the Times trots out a theme (add a vowel sound to familiar titles and wackiness ensues) that probably needs to be retired, or at least given a lengthy sabbatical. Having said that, I did find a couple of these actually amusing, particularly “A Hard Days Nightie” and especially “John Wiki”, which actually made me lol when I finally got it.

webwinger 7:27 AM  

Up at 4 am b/o the @$#&ing time change, so getting into the queue way early today. I thought the theme, though somewhat musty, was quite well executed, giving me a number of chuckles. (I especially liked IRONY MAN.) And was this ever in my wheelhouse—flew through the puzzle, nary a google. No problem with HOREB, KIRI, YGOR, OMARR, TOD, URIS.

Then, then—the horror!—no happy music at the end. Spent almost as much time finding my errors as I had on the whole initial completion. Problem one, the extreme SW corner. Absolutely could not imagine THROb was wrong. SCUZo seemed not unreasonable, and obST, it turns out, is in fact a word, meaning, roughly, fruit, which seemed fine for “drink flavorer”. The situation was compounded by problem two, A MeSS for 70D. Since, as our moderator today pointed out, WIK wasn't quite accurate for the base phrase, I figured WIKe could be an imperfect substitute for WIKI. Thus, my efforts in the SW were doomed, until I recognized the second error, then somehow hit on the correct solution, though the clue for ZEST still struck me as pretty far off, and THROE no better than my first answer. Interesting how that change in the final letter yields a word that seems completely different but has such similar meaning.

Dawn Urban 7:33 AM  

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORKIE-- hilarious and true! Great puzzle! Kudos!

Anonymous 7:44 AM  

If you don't read ours, why should we read your comments?

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

To pmdm; what is PPP?

CDilly52 7:54 AM  

Count me among the folks who relish the return to “real time!” My circadian rhythms never quite adjust to that hour and I wholly resent the world trying to trick me into believing that 5:30 a.m is actually 6:30. Not going to happen.

That said, this was an unusual experience really choppy solve-wise. Like our Antipope, Mr. Lin, I didn’t feel a smooth rhythm to the solve as I constantly had to stop to suss out one of the way too many proper nouns. But finish I did. And that’s about all I can say.

Uncle Mookie 8:09 AM  

Quite the kicker, Jeff.

Unknown 8:17 AM  

MAIS is not a noun

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

The theme was clever but the inconsistency of the theme endings tripped me up quite a bit. (Some ending in “ie” while others ended in “y”). In fact, I didn’t even realize “John Wiki” was one of the theme answers until I read one of the above comments! So, yeah. I didn’t love today’s puzzle.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

"If you disagree, feel free to EAT ME."

Have a great Sunday, Jeff Lin. Stay classy.

feinstee 8:26 AM  

First few I got all had 'ie' and threw me off when that combo didn't work for other theme answers. Found it a bit disappointing as a result.

pmdm 8:45 AM  

To the person who asked me what PPP is, I recognize that you must not have been reading this blog for a long time. The person who post comments under the name "Z" invented it some time ago. He used it to describe a crossword entry that is a proper name and that has other characteristics that many solvers could find "esoteric." I don't wish to steal Z's thunder, and I don't wish to bore others here who are familiar with the term. (Like "natick" it is perhaps itself somewhat esoteric. So I would suggest educating yourself by reading the comments posted for past puzzle, concentrating on Z's comments. Unless someone more intrepid than myself explains the term more completely.

Teedmn 8:48 AM  

Kristian DID THE JOB in picking recognizable movies - although I've only seen one of them, (GOODY FELLAS), I was able to figure out the rest. Only JOHN WIKI elicited a "huh?"

Some tough spots for me - the unexpected pluralization of CHUBS, because I was looking for a five letter bait fish (and failing). IDOL because I couldn't think of any early AD__ humans, d'oh.

It's a good thing I couldn't come up with "gauche", as "What's left, in Paris" (though it wouldn't fit so...) I had the natural syrup of 93A as maplE but AVATARS cured that.

IRONY MAN and RAGING BULLY were my favorite theme answers. Nice job, Kristian House.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

It is pronounced "boot-edge-edge" said quickly.

Birchbark 8:54 AM  

OSCAN, that bygone sister of a bygone language. OSCAN nestled quietly next to AACHEN, the twin-A'd Teutonic town so far in the west of Germany that many call it Aix-la-Chapelle. AACHEN 'twixt double-R'd OMARR and GNARL, a word I am content merely to look at and admire.

You fine words DID THE JOB today.

Joe Dipinto 9:05 AM  

@Jeff Lin -- it's Boot-Edge-Edge, haven't you seen all the paraphernalia? I'm pretty sure I, and others here, liked your last write-up – I remember trying to be annoying by asking if you were related to Jeremy Lin. How will we find out if you don't tell us when it was?

In general I enjoyed this puzzle. Not taxing, and most of the theme answers were amusing. The only one I don't really like is STRANGERS ON A TRAINEE, which doesn't register as a "thing" without being explained by a clue. All the others make some sense as potential "things" on their own. Add to that the fact the movie is at least 30 years older than all of the other films utilized, and it really sticks out like a tennis racket.

@Nancy – apropos of your Harold Arlen comments the other day, here's Tom Wopat singing "Dissertation on the State of Bliss"
originally from the film "The Country Girl", where it was done as a duet by Bing Crosby and a female singer. And, sorry, it's in a major key. ;-)

kitshef 9:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
kitshef 9:11 AM  

Were it not for JOHN WIKI, I would have seen all of the movies. I’ve seen A ROOM WITH A VIEW three times, but I could not tell you a single thing about it. I’ve seen ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK only once, and remember much of it vividly. That and the fact that I hated GOODFELLAS probably says all you need to know about my taste in movies.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

A cute and quite pleasant puzzle to solve. My favorite answers were ESCAPE FROM NEW YORKIE and A HARD DAY'S NIGHTIE. Once again, I've rarely met a pun I didn't like -- although I know from experience that my response is far from universal. I'll go back and read y'all now.

Ellen S 9:31 AM  

Hi, @Nancy, those were my two favorite answers also. Anyone who has ever had a puppy can relate to the first.

Nancy 9:36 AM  

Joe DiPinto -- Thanks. I'll listen to it later today and let you know what I think. Meanwhile, I want to get into the park ahead of the marathon -- which completely blocks the entering and the leaving unless you're prepared to be trampled. I can get in now. But how will I get out? Always a problem. I'll probably have to walk from the tennis courts all the way down to 79th and use the tunnel under the road the runners are on. Then of course I have to walk back up to 94th.

Been there, done that. But it's a beautiful, if cold, day, so I guess I'll do it again.

Carola 9:43 AM  

I'm fine with hoary old theme types - they're that way for a reason, I guess. I thought this was a fun one; I especially liked the literary nod to O. Henry and the solver's moment of triumph at writing in A HARD DAY'S NIGHTIE with no crosses.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

I had stopped reading Deadspin because of its politicization . Will give it a shot again. Thanks!

Bax'N'Nex 10:01 AM  

BTW...that meme of André the Giant’s quote should be “I AM the brute squad...SMH.

ColoradoCog 10:04 AM  

@Anonymous Z (who mentioned he would be away for a couple weeks, so I don’t think I’m stealing thunder) coined PPP as “Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns”. Generally, the more PPP fill, the worse the puzzle.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Pop Culture, Product Names and other Proper Nouns.

JC66 10:25 AM  

For those interest today's Evan Birnholz Washington Post Puzzle has a similar theme.

Stew 10:26 AM  

Who doesn’t turn into a cooking show to hear the chef’s takes on the current political climate ?

David 10:41 AM  

Just wondering, it’s been ages since I’ve seen a Patrick Barry puzzle. Anyone know why that is?

Bill 10:58 AM  

Jeff, you were great with ELO.

Newboy 10:59 AM  

Puzzle was fine (look that one up in Louise Penny) but named to death. Liked all the movies with wacky clueing. Enjoyed Jeff’s guest ending mini-rant and will have to look into his recommendation as it has occurred often in other postings. Too bad @Z is off disking as his response might amuse. More coffee and back to read previous posters.

What? 11:00 AM  

Jeff Lin, I’m guessing, is young and has been schooled in ways that once were mainstays of a “liberal” education but are now relegated to the wastebasket icon, to wit, at least a smattering of foreign languages. Not knowing “mais”?
Ce n’est pas bon.
The puzzle? Clever and fun but too easy. I don’t like Sunday puzzles I finish before my coffee. Fortunately, in the Magazine, there’s a “Marching Bands” puzzle by Brendon Quigley which promises to keep me busy for a while.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

"If you disagree, feel free to EAT ME."

Have a great Sunday, Jeff Lin. Stay classy.

well... any ref to 'Animal House' is classy to me

and it went like a Monday, rather than the canonical Wednesday.

jberg 11:03 AM  

nTH seemed so right for "ordinal suffix" that I took out THESE (well, mentally took out, since I solve in ink.) Then I started to notice that all the other crosses worked with THESE, and finally saw that it could be ETH, once you got into the higher numbers. So that slowed me down, as did thinking that lab assistant was iGOR. I almost went with IRONi MAN, after having sorta thought of 'ironic man.' But it all sorted out.

My sister lives in Mt. HOREB (famous for all the dead trees that have been carved into trolls), Wisconsin, so that one was easier than it might have been. And I grew up in a fishing community, where smoked CHUBS were all the rage; tasty, but annoying to eat because they're full of tiny bones.

Jeff, thanks for the writeup. I don't mind the previously-used theme, and disagree with some of your points (cluing URIS with a different book is a plus, not a minus), but I agree there is too much gluey stuff.

But OSCAN! I never heard of it before, and I'm so glad that I have! We've been going to Italy recently, and it's nice to know some older history.

Solverinserbia 11:18 AM  

Ridiculous number of ridiculous proper nouns no one could know (at least I knew NEKO Case.) I can't believe I went golden. I can believe it was a record (bad) of 47:45 versus my average of 33:57.

puzzlehoarder 11:30 AM  

I enjoyed this solve inspite of its inane theme. JOHNWIKI? Just drivel. What I liked was the wealth of obscure names spread throughout that provided plenty of unknown entries to be worked around and sussed out. YANG alongside of HOREB was a highlight. That segued with the AACHEN and GNARL area. There is a GNARR which caused me to wonder if KNAR could also have two Rs like the nearby double R OMARR. HRH sat there by it's lonesome for some time. Recognizing RAGINGBULLY played some part but only as a last resort.

WOPAT, KIRI, GAMERA and ZAK all contributed their respective speed bumps. I finished in the SE corner by correcting my THROB/THROE write over.

A good Sunday inspite of its dad humor theme.

GILL I. 11:40 AM  

I despise having to set my clock back an hour. It gets dark at 5 and that is the time I enjoy taking my pups for a walk in the park. They don't understand time change and neither do I. Maybe that put me in a grumpy mood because I thought this was incredibly tedious. PLEASE constructors, don't fill your puzzle at the git go with the likes of HOWIE WOPAT NEKO ASHE ISAAK OMARR YANG HOREB. I'm sure there are some people who are familiar with these names so GODDY for them. Jeff said it for me.
I've always enjoyed good puns just like I can laugh at a good Dad joke. This was a lot of hard work just to get groan after groan.
What did I like? Just one: A ROOMIE WITH A VIEW. but only because like @kitshef, I loved that movie. Anything with Maggie Smith is worth watching. If you have Netflix or Amazon Prime, make yourself a little drinkie poo, sit in your favorite chair and watch it. I think I will do so myself.
Before I get all comfy I'm going to try Evan Birholz's puzzle. Thanks @JC66 - I can always count on you.

RooMonster 11:44 AM  

Hey All !
Me on a lake house balcony?

That one and GOODY FELLAS were my faves. Could've tied in the recent Halloween with the clue on that one. STRANGERS ON A TRAINEE sounds like a #MeToo offense.

Got a chuckle out of DANE today. No "Man's name that anagrams to a woman's name?" clue today? Is that what Rex rails about?

Enjoyed the theme. Simple, but resulting funness. That's what it's all about, right?

Had some writeovers, dog-CAT (har on that), aNaT-UNIT, LOde-LOAD, MONEYBAgs-MONEYBALL (another har), TeLl-TALK, oui-AYE (technical vowel foul on that one), sped-TORE, ISAAc-ISAAK.

SCUZZ a fun word. Wanted SleaZe, but one too many letters.

Did seem like puz had lots of PPP. But managed to take breaks from puz, and able to fill as the ole brain refreshed itself. Weird how that happens.


jae 11:49 AM  

Easy-medium. Amusing and cute. Liked it.

sixtyni yogini 11:55 AM  

Good one. Fast and fun. 👍🏽😎👍🏽

Aphid Larue 12:02 PM  

Before I realized that all were movie titles I thought that John wik must be a product for de-scenting the bathroom.

Chums and tamset kept me from perfection.

Disrespecting Jurists 12:06 PM  

My preferred pneumatic (I like that word better than mnemonic) aid to remember how to pronounce his name is "boo da judge."

JC66 12:06 PM  

No one has pointed out to @Jeff Lin that the them is "ALL THE RIGHT MOVIES" not "MOVES'"

Fred Romagnolo 12:34 PM  

I plead guilty to THROb; plus I till don't get ZONE as a man to man alternative; anybody? Although I did it, I sure don't like PRICY without an e. Is it Ygor in the credits of the movie, not Igor; I thought the Ygor thing was a Young Frankenstein joke.

JC66 12:52 PM  

@Fred R

In basketball & football, defenses can play either man to man or ZONE.

Anoa Bob 12:52 PM  

I'm sensing a meta theme of sorts in recent puzzles, to wit, Thursday's DOUBLE BLIND "Kind of experiment", and today's T TEST "Statistical tool for checking a hypothesis". The T TEST, and others of that ilk are used to analyze the results of DOUBLE BLIND experiments, are based on properties of the "Bell (shaped) curve", which showed up in yesterday's offering.

Xwordinfo.com shows PPP has appeared in the NYT xword six times during the Shortz era and twenty-two times previously, always clued as a variation of "very, very soft, in music".

And Dr. Frankenstein's assistant YGOR (55D) makes a very, very rare appearance, only six times ever in the NYT xword, while IGOR has shown up over a gazillion times. Wiki has YGOR Santiago, Brazilian footballer born 1984, as its first entry for that name.

Masked and Anonymous 1:01 PM  

Tough SunPuz solvequest. Everyothertime I tried to verify an answer from a crosser, the crosser ended up bein someone's name that I didn't know. Lost precious nanoseconds, all over the puzplace.

fave answer, hands down: GAMERA. Epic schlock flick reference. Giant flyin turtle monster! Also a movie title, tho … so could be confusin to some; don't have no "ee" sounds tho, sooo … may be ok.
staff weeject pick: GAI. Sooo … I can sorta see why a Chinese menu entry of General Tso's Gai might not sound as appetizin. Ergo, M&A was maybe not as familiar with GAI as he needed to be.

OK theme … had a little humor [good] … consistent movie puns … but shouldn't MONEYBALL maybe be disqualified from participatin? [Might be willing to let AIMEE, CHILI, EMMY, and HOWIE go, on account of general runtiness and non-movieness.]

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Movie House.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


OffTheGrid 1:13 PM  

Today's Green Paint award goes to.................................................WOODSTAIN!

Really liked this Sunday treat.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

I really wanted “President Pro QUO” in there, but alas.... (I also really want “President Pro Quo” OUT of there, but alas....)

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

What’s DBA?

JC66 2:13 PM  

Doing Business As

Lili 2:18 PM  

HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) is for princes and princesses, not monarchs, who use the style His/Her Majesty or His/Her Royal Majesty.

gregg 2:23 PM  

Great reference to Ruth Zardo book "I am FINE." Won't give it away.

gregg 2:27 PM  

Doing Business As

nenesix 3:00 PM  

Like Fred R, I was clueless about ZONE (114A) being a man to man alternative. So thanks, JC66. I am clearly not a sports fan!

Wick 3:50 PM  

This puzzle is garbage for anyone born after 1962.

Woke Millenial 3:58 PM  

Glad to see Rex’s proxies are just as PC as he is. Keep it real.

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

Jeff (who doesn't read the comments) you are obviously a pathetic rex sycophant, doing the obligatory Shortz-bashing. Yeah .. it really registers with the NY Times, as it has forvthe last umpteen years. Sad

Brenda Brennan 4:59 PM  

It’s very important that we understand the political positions of our sportscasters and our cruciverbalists. How else can we make informed decisions?

Jyqm 5:05 PM  

Like Rex, I like themes like this when they swing for the fences and produce theme answers that are extremely wacky but also sensible in and of themselves. AROOMIEWITHAVIEW, IRONYMAN, and JOHNWIKI all get big thumbs up from me, the others not so much. RAGINGBULLY and GOODYFELLAS seem a tad pedestrian, while ESCAPEFROMNEWYORKIE, STRANGERSONATRAINEE, and AHARDDAYSNIGHTIE are just a bit too tortured to really get a chuckle out of me.

I have enjoyed coming up with other potential clues and answers, though:

Recent hire at the track? (GREEN BOOKIE)

Ominous Sales forecast? (DUCK, SOUPY!)

Funeral attire? (MANY IN BLACK)

Six degrees of Didi Cohn? (THE FRENCHY CONNECTION)

Give up on being a southpaw? (DO THE RIGHTY THING)

Call to a lolly-gagging Affleck? (BEN, HURRY!)

90210 reboot? (BEVERLY HILLS COPY)

Damned easy, to a Brit? (BLOODY SIMPLE)

Fall attire that's for the birds? (ROBIN HOODIE)

What to find in a vacuum-sealed bag? (THE JERKY)

Bill Blythe 5:33 PM  

Hey Jeff, speaking of vacuums, “SUCK IT”

BenM 6:12 PM  

This is one of the worst crosswords ive ever done. How on Earth did it get published??? I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

Nancy 6:30 PM  

Obviously you knew, @Joe Dipinto (9:05), that I would think the "Dissertation" song you posted was in a minor key. And I surely did think that. Yet you say it's in a major key. So I guess I need a crash course in what I'm hearing and why I'm hearing it that way. I didn't like the song especially and would call it "music to slit your wrists by".

So it must have something to do with the chords, right? Or the relationship of one chord to another? Suppose I tell you that with "Over the Rainbow" here's what I hear. Both notes of "Somewhere" sound happy. All 5 notes of "over the rainbow" sound sad or wistful or melancholy. All 3 notes of "way up high" sound happy. "There's" sounds sort of unhappy and "a" sounds very unhappy. But "land" sounds happy again. I could go on...but I won't. Can you figure out why I'm reacting the way I am? Can anyone else on the blog?

But "Rainbow" really isn't all that sad-sounding for an Arlen song. As I say, more wistful or melancholy. For really unhappy-sounding Arlen, I'd turn to "The Man That Got Away." And "Dissertation" even more. It's not well known and I'd say for very good reason. I saw "The Country Girl" -- which I loved -- back in the 50s and I don't remember the song.

Teedmn 6:53 PM  

@Jyqm, great additions to the puzzle theme. My personal favorite, as a lefty, is DO THE RIGHTY THING. MANY IN BLACK, BEN, HURRY, and THE JERKY also gave me a chuckle!!

Birchbark 7:06 PM  

@Nancy (6:30) -- I think the mood of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" is driven by the story's context rather than the musical details. Dorothy wants to protect Toto from a powerful force she can't control. No one is taking her seriously. Angst aplenty. So she sings about something besides what she and we see: the gloomy landscape of a farm in the middle of nowhere in the daytime-twilight of an approaching tornado. In this context, whether the key is major or minor is of secondary concern (and possibly more tension-creating for being major).

The Vikings lost today, so I think I know what I'm talking about.

mmorgan 7:27 PM  

@Nancy — if this puzzle can bring us to The Man That Got Away, then I absolutely love it. Actually, I found it kinda okay, kinda fun, kinda not, and nothing personal, but the write-up did not thrill me. But The Man That Got Away is the most amazing three or four minutes ever put on film. Ever.

tb 7:47 PM  

I absolutely cannot parse JOHN WIKI.

Joe Dipinto 7:59 PM  

@Nancy – I didn't remember the song either; it's on an all-Harold Arlen album Tom Wopat did – which, coincidentally, also includes "Over The Rainbow". "Over The Rainbow" starts on a major chord for the word "somewhere", moves to a minor chord for "over the rainbow", then to a major chord for "way up"...to a sort of weak major chord on "...high". So the major/minor transitions do correspond to how you say the phrases sound to you. It's definitely a melancholy song, but it's tonic key is major. "Man That Got Away" is the same. Arlen used a lot of flatted sevenths in his harmonies, which sound bluesy – and work well for torch songs.

Anyway, I don't want to ramble on about technicalities...it can't really be reduced to a set formula. But the lyrics do their share of the work too, of course. "It Never Entered My Mind", by your fave Richard Rodgers, is built almost entirely on major chords but still manages to come across as pretty darn sad.

Perry 9:21 PM  

I was quite thrown by the lower left corner (i guess you people call it the SW corner). Everybody under a certain age is going to say 'what's a typewriter?' in response to 92d. And TABSET? I am over a certain agen and I actually learned to type on a typewriter (albeit a semi-computerized electric one) and I completely failed to recall TABSET as being an 'Adjustable feature of a typewriter.' I also had THROB instead of THROE for 97 down, which didn't help with my SW problem. I found the rest to be enjoyable and relatively easy.

Nancy 9:31 PM  

@Joe Dipinto: I am pleased and relieved that my emotional response actually corresponds correctly with whether the chord is major or minor. Whew!

But here's the real IRONY. I'm a lyricist, and yet my emotional response to a song is always determined almost completely by the music. The lyrics will add to the emotion of the music when the two are in sync, but when they're not, it's the music that invariably gets the last word. Some examples:

"Loch Lomond" -- Hearing it or singing it always makes me feel happy. Even though "me and my true love will never meet again." Ditto "One for my Baby". The melody and chords of "We're drinking my friend to the end of a brief episode" raises my spirits, actually.

On the other hand, take "I've Got the World on a String". Can there be a happier lyric that's ever been written ("sitting on a rainbow...lucky me, I'm in love") and yet the song depresses the hell out of me. Of course it does. It's because of the music, and, guess what, it's Harold Arlen again :)

kitshef 7:13 AM  

@tb - There was a movie called John Wick. 'John' is slang for a toilet. A 'wiki' is a website that allows user edits, the most famous example being Wikipedia.

Nancy 9:16 AM  

So I'm back here though it's now Monday, wondering where Rex is today? Could it be that he assigned the same guy he had cover for him yesterday (Sunday) and the guy decided to take his marbles and go home because people on the blog were mean to him yesterday? Just a thought. But a Rexblog that isn't there at all is highly unusual.

JC66 9:18 AM  


@Annabelle usually does the 1st Monday write-ups, so maybe that's the problem.

Nancy 9:54 AM  

Aha. Right. Thanks, @JC66.

Nick 1:11 PM  

Why is 114 across "zone"?

Also, interesting how the majority of those ripping today's guest blogger are anonymous.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Booty Judge instead of Boot Edge Edge. You heard ig here first.

PatKS 5:12 PM  


Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Completely agree, WAY too many obscure proper names. I DNF'd which is rare.

Completely agree with your last paragraph, Jeff.

And as a bonus, EAT ME was the sought-after special postcard in Rex's thank-yous for donations. Sadly, I didn't get that one, but I liked the one I did get nonetheless...

spacecraft 12:56 PM  

Welcome, @jqym. A prodigious themer list indeed. You must construct someday.

I had fun with this one; it certainly wasn't gimme easy, but I DIDTHEJOB without too much tooth-gnashing. So, say, medium? Fill-wise, I curled my lip at TTEST, and learned about OSCAN and a few other tidbits.

Sorry, I have to go out-of-puzzle for today's DOD: daughter-in-law Nicole is running in the Rock 'N' Roll Half-marathon today. You go, girl!! And oh yeah, she qualifies.

STRANGERSONATRAINEE may be a kooky theme entry, but the movie was one of Hitchcock's best ever. Robert Walker's Bruno remains one of the scariest psychopaths ever. Birdie (on a wire?)

Burma Shave 2:15 PM  


When AIMEE meets a JOHN for a MONEYBALL,
She's AMISS who went ASTRAY to EARN it all,


rondo 3:05 PM  

Thurston Howell III returning from Moscow? - "From Russia with Lovey"
Johnny and Edgar are thin - "Winters Boney"
Black Sabbath magician - "The Wizard of Ozzy"
Near limitless options on this theme.

OLE'S here, but not Sven.

As a Mann I could make a Case for either AIMEE or NEKO. Yeah baby.

This was OK, a little wackier (see above?) woulda been better.

rainforest 3:29 PM  

Medium difficulty, but hardly fast, for me. I ran into a lot of places where I had to do a lot of sussing. Hate that. Then I would race through a section until I hit another roadblock and more sussing.

Got the theme right off the bat, and that helped with a couple of themers (RAGING BULLY, A HARD DAY'S NIGHTIE), but there were some movies I didn't know (was JOHN WIK a movie?). Also, MONEYBALL confused me for a bit until I realized it wasn't a themer.

Toughest section for me was the SW corner which was a bit of a gnarl. Other than that, and some obscure names, puzzle flowed reasonably smoothly overall.


Anonymous 8:00 PM  

First time posting. Does anyone else think it's curious the last two days include both a serious abundance of punnage as well as clues involving James Joyce?

rondo 8:46 PM  

@anon 8:00 - Will Shortz does the editing and the scheduling. When things look familiar a day or two (or somewhat close) apart, that's in the editing. For instance, today the clue was 'all vowel avowal' and the answer was AYE. Recently for the exact same clue the answer was OUI. Editing is not at all random. Some of THESE puzzles have been in the queue for a coupla years. Will and staff decide when they get printed.

Dude 4:05 AM  

Born in 1963 and loved it.

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