Pilgrimage destination in central Italy / TUE 9-8-20 / Pluto's Egyptian counterpart / acid aqua fortis

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Constructor: Kevin Christian and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Easy (3:11)

THEME: PSY / CHO (4D: "Gangnam Style" performer / 60D: Comic Margaret) — a puzzle containing basic trivia about "Psycho," which was released 60 years ago today:

Theme answers:
  • "A BOY'S BEST FRIEND / IS HIS MOTHER" (17A: With 26-Across, quote from 4-/60-Down)
  • ANTHONY / PERKINS (34A: With 38-Across, star of 4-/60-Down)
  • NORMAN BATES (44A: Main character in 4-/60-Down)
  • ALFRED HITCHCOCK (58A: Director of 4-/60-Down, which was released on 9/8/60)
Word of the Day: Duchess of ALBA (2D: Duchess of ___ (Goya subject)) —
María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva-Álvarez de Toledo y Silva, 13th duchess of AlbaGE (full name, see infobox; 10 June 1762 – 23 July 1802), was a Spanish aristocrat and a popular subject of the painter Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. [...] The duchess' relationship with famed Spanish painter Francisco Goya and her somewhat eccentric personality have contributed greatly to a continuing interest in her life during the two centuries since her death. Goya executed several well-known portraits of the duchess, most of them during his stay at Sanlúcar de Barrameda (one of the Andalusian country seats of the House of Medina-Sidonia), shortly after the death of her husband, the Duke of Alba, who was also Duke of Medina Sidonia, in 1796. // Goya's accompaniment of the recently widowed duchess combined with certain innuendo expressed in his portraits of her have exacerbated rumors that the two were lovers. Although this has never been confirmed, the sheer number of portraits the artist painted of the duchess certainly suggests, at the very least, a close platonic relationship between the two. (wikipedia)
• • •

I know this movie well. Very well. I watch it every year on Halloween. I've watched it more than any other movie except "Dazed & Confused," which I think I watched every week for two years in the mid-'90s. I've read books about this movie. So it's weird to me that I actually don't get why PSY and CHO are broken up like that. I mean, I have educated guesses. He's a split personality, of a sort, part NORMAN BATES, part his mother (until the very end, when he is entirely his mother) ("she wouldn't even harm a fly"). So that's my guess. But it also seems like it's maybe related to the movie's famous opening credits, with the jagged strings of the Bernard Hermann score playing over the austere linear text that occasionally, as when the actual title "PSYCHO" is on the screen, breaks up:

But since the title doesn't literally snap in half, I'm guessing, but only guessing, that the PSY / CHO break is about the mother / son thing, especially since that's the topic of the TAGLINE included in the grid (42D: Quotable bit on a movie poster). I just wish the PSY/CHO chopped--in-half thing had more spot-on resonance. Also, the rest of the theme is just trivia, very basic trivia, with nothing terribly interesting going on. So even though this is one of my very favorite movies, I'm kinda lukewarm on the puzzle as a whole. Filled in the themers without even having to think. The PSY/CHO thing was an interesting twist, but since I can't definitively say why it's presented the way it's presented, I found it slightly disappointing. Tuesday revealers shouldn't require a "constructor's notes" explanation.

Fill-wise, TOOTLE, why does this word exist? It seems so informal and dumb and ye oldey and honestly, fifers, is this how you describe your music? Lots and lots of crosswordese in this one, and not a lot of interesting longer non-theme fill. Cool that TAGLINE is in here, since "A BOY'S BEST FRIEND / IS HIS MOTHER" feels like a TAGLINE (even if it wasn't on any "poster" I've seen). But most of the fill feels a little dated and rough to me. I didn't know ALBA. I didn't know NITRIC ("aqua fortis"?). I had TAILOR before TANNER (22A: Leather processing professional), and had no idea there was a "law" of SINES (12D: Trigonometry's law of ___). Never very sure about IONE v. IONA (26D: College in New Rochelle, N.Y.). Dumbest thing I did today was (off the -OR) write in HORROR before AUTHOR (47D: Stephen King or Ellery Queen). That's what happens when you just do word association with the first words you see in the clue instead of reading the clue in its entirety. So all that hassle was probably why my time was not a record time, because, as I say, this theme stuff was like asking me to fill out my name, age, date of birth. All second nature.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:03 AM  

Not crazy about cross-referenced clues to start with, but I think I would have liked this puzzle better if the “4-/60-Down” had not been mentioned as we went along. Then 60D could have provided a nice “aha” moment.

Robin 12:10 AM  

PSY/CHO is a movie about psychological horror, but I still think Rex is over-analyzing things a wee bit too much.

And regarding his nits, I filled in ALBA with no crosses, TANNER on maybe the T, and SINES and AUTHOR without trouble either. NITRIC gave me a pause as I tried VITRIC but quickly figured out the V was a no-go.

I don't know. Is it one's edu background, one's accumulation of trivia? This one flowed for me.

Okay, TOOTLE kind of sucked.

Pamela 12:45 AM  

Yep, easy, like Rex said, but not a fast start. Right away, not remembering where the Busch gardens are, I goofed. I put pole at 1D for the skier’s aid, then got stuck. So I skipped down the grid, not bothering with any but the most obvious. I got ALFREDHITCHCOCK off the CO_C and only the D in the middle to make me certain. That got me excited and looking forward to a little tussle, because although I’ve seen many of his movies I don’t remember much from most of them. But then, when I looked a little farther up the puzzle where I had been considering Morgan as a possibility, NORMAN jumped in and I knew the game would soon be over. And it was.

I liked it, though, for a Tuesday. Scenes from the movie ran through my head as the crosswordese filled itself in without my noticing. I worried a little about a DNF at _ROC, but then old standby ATARI came to the rescue. I liked ART and PASSION side by side, as they should be- especially with the Duchess of Alba in the vicinity. More to like than not, I think.

jae 12:45 AM  

Easy. I’m not a fan of cross-referenced puzzles, let along cross-referenced quote puzzles, but this one was solvable with out having to pay attention to the referenced clues. The PSY/CHO reveal was clever. Apparently the movie came out 60 years ago this year. Liked it.

Joe Dipinto 12:59 AM  

4 and 60 down are only clued as the separate names of two performers, so clueing the other themers in terms of 4-/60 with no indication that 4-/60 must be merged into one word and reinterpreted as something else elides a necessary detail in making this a coherent concept.

I think that dovetails with what Rex says about the splitting up of PSYCHO needing more spot-on resonance. There's just no visible reason for it to have been done, in the grid or in the cluage. To me it's emblematic of the general clumsiness that dominates the puzzle more and more.

Tom R 1:11 AM  

I hate this kind of puzzle - cross referential clues and answers. And therefore, I hated this puzzle. Also, unless you catch on to the psycho theme early on, its also a ridiculous choice for a Tues puzzle.

JD 1:56 AM  

Psy was trying to gather my thoughts about this quickie puzzle, I realized that it and the other old lady scary movies Hollywood produced round that time (e.g., the Sweet Baby Jane thing) creeped me out and I decided to just forget it an let the whole thing Cho.

chefwen 2:18 AM  

I did a bit of pissing and moaning when I saw all the self references, but I ended up really enjoying this one.

Loved TOOTLE, it’s just fun to say, kinda like Baba Ganoush.

Fun Tuesday puzzle, thanks guys.

Frantic Sloth 2:21 AM  

I read the clue for 17A and almost quit right there.

***Quote Puzzle Alert***

Were it not for my overinflated stubborn streak and desperate ego, I never would have experienced remembering such a fun movie. A comedy, I believe? "Hitch" was famous for them.

Anyway, this was the kind of quote puzzle I don't mind - and actually liked. The split movie title and the rest of the theme answers were all entertaining. Not really any ick fill either. Solid.

No gripes or nits come to mind, so guess I'll have to jump on somebody else's bandwagon later on.


Just read Rex. There was a "constructor's notes" explanation? Solving on the website I didn't see one. Furthermore, I can't imagine why one would be necessary or what help it could possibly offer. Weird.
Plus a little too much obsessing for my taste over why the PSY/CHO split. Who cares? Pick one. 😂

Frantic Sloth 2:40 AM  

@JD 156am I see what you did there. Punny! 😂 (Did you intend the conflation of Sweet Baby James and Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?)

Horace S. Patoot 2:53 AM  

I thought the PSY/CHO division referencing the two separate personalities of Norman Bates was immediately obvious and clever.

Shza 3:55 AM  

I get Rex’s meh reaction even with him apparently being a HUGE Psycho fan. As someone who has never even seen the movie (but has soaked up enough to know NORMANBATES and ANTHONYPERKINS, this was a total stinker. Not hard, but not remotely clever. Worst puzzle in weeks.

Anonymous 5:47 AM  

3:22---right behind you, Rex!

I call for a ban on BRIS in puzzles, as this inflammatory and unnecessary practice should not be promoted in any way.

ChuckD 6:13 AM  

Eh - 60 year tribute puzzle for this movie? I’ve seen it plenty of times so filled in all the themers quickly but to me it’s not worthy of a puzzle dedicated to it. The overall fill was just ok - seemed like lots of short glue as I was doing it. Had a brother who went to IONA but I’m sure that could be today’s Rye entry for most. APER, REFI, OHOH are all bad. I liked the BRIS - slasher connection and thought of Shaky the mohel.

The theme entries took up so much real estate that the rest of the grid suffered. I really didn’t like this puzzle.

Lewis 6:39 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
R. Bloch 6:39 AM  

I believe the PSY/CHO split is a reference to a little remembered piece of Norman Bate's backstory: while serving in the military in Korea, Bates did stand-up comedy on the side at a small nightclub in the Gangnam district of Seoul. Lot's of one-liners about mothers, I understand.

derek_knitter 6:44 AM  

I love Rex coming to the defense of “fifers” to criticize the word TOOTLE. Seems to be a pretty apt description of what the instrument does and how it sounds. Not really “music”.

Lewis 6:44 AM  

Happy diamond anniversary, Psycho!

I like how LAV and SOAP echo the shower scene, and by the way, the blood in that scene was actually chocolate syrup! Fun fact: Hitchcock never won an Oscar for best director.

I like the sing-song crosses of OHOH and COCO, and TOOTLE and OTOOLE. I liked AGE OUT, which is a NYT debut, and the proximity of MOTHER and YUMA (which my brain parsed as a child pointing to his mother and saying "You ma!".) And what a stroke of luck that PSY and CHO crossed theme answers at symmetrical places!

This was an entertaining solve, evoking mostly the feel and mood of the movie, which stands unique in my consciousness, and is always cool to revisit. Thank you, guys, for bringing it back!

SouthsideJohnny 7:01 AM  

A lot of the PPP was truly trivial today, including chemistry, trigonometry, Egyptian Gods, and even the theme entries (especially the quote from the movie). It will probably play much tougher than a normal Tuesday for many - but hard to complain, it’s a tribute puzzle, done reasonably well and published on the proper day - definitely much better than last weekend’s utter quagmire, lol.

Hungry Mother 7:18 AM  

I guess it was easy according to my time, but it seemed to play hard. My wife and I binged all of the Hitchcock movies except PSYCHO a couple of months ago. We had to buy one of them on DVD. I saw PSYCHO by myself in a theater in Ocean City, NJ. During the shower scene, a few girls in front of me let out screams that scared me more than the movie did.

kitshef 7:23 AM  

PSY/CHO came out before I was born,and I did not see it until I was n my mid-twenties, so for a couple of decades I had heard about, but never seen, this supposedly terrifying movie and in particular the traumatizing shower scene.

When I finally saw it, I wondered if maybe there were two movies by the same name and I'd seen the wrong one. I mean, Ernest Scared Stupid was scarier then that movie. Heck, I've seen Sesame Street episodes that were scarier.

Eme 7:39 AM  

Skiers: When was the last time any of you rode a t-bar? I suppose it’s easier to use as fill than gondola...

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

You can't see any of the Marinas in Rye from Iona college. But, it's only a hop, skip and a jump to the Huguenot Marina in New Rochelle. And from there, well, the American Yacht club on Rye Point is practically spitting distance.
You're welcome Z.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Amen!!!Hitch made a lot of very fine movies but Psycho isn't one of them. It's ham-fisted drivel. It became a darling of the film school set and has been one ever since. Not dissimilar to the vastly overrated Citizen Kane.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

Not sure about the Stephen King/Ellery Queen clue. Ellery Queen is not, "an author." It is a pseudonym for two authors.

Jon Weiser 8:33 AM  


Unknown 8:34 AM  

If rex doesn't take the time to read the entire clue before filling in his answer, it's really hard to listen to him complain about the solving experience.

@ kitshef When Psycho first came out, it was a very scary movie. You have to remember that times (and films) were different back then. We didn't have Friday the 13th, part 10, or the seventh installment of Halloween . . . . .

Nancy 8:46 AM  

I'm not quite sure why someone wakes up one morning and decides to create a tribute puzzle to "Psycho", but at least one of these two guys did. The unrelated PSY at 4D is a nice touch.

As I've told you many times, I avoid the entire horror genre like the plague and so I have never seen "Psycho". This decision was made quickly and easily once a high school friend told me it would make me afraid to take a shower for the rest of my life. I decided -- even though I'm a bath person and not a shower person -- that this was a fear I didn't need, thank you very much.

But "Psycho" is in the ether. Without ever having seen it, there was nothing in the puzzle I didn't know. And so, as quote puzzles go and as tribute puzzles go (neither of which I like very much) this was painless. For what it is, it's quite well done.

pabloinnh 8:47 AM  

I liked this more than OFL. What else is new?

There is a poem that starts:

A tutor who tootled the flute
Tried to tutor two tooters to toot

and that's all I remember. I'd google it but you get the idea. TOOTLE was a gimme.

Ditto for TANNER as I grew up just north of Gloversville, NY, which had a number of shops that made, wait for it, gloves. Lots of people employed in that trade. I had an uncle who worked as a tanner for a while. There were even three or four mini-shops in my little town where women worked cutting leather. All gone now.

ALBA another gimme as I introduced more than a few kids to Spanish art, including Goya of course. The duquesa is rumored to have been the subject for both majas, both clothed and otherwise.

So plenty of gimmes, I like quote puzzles, HITCHCOCK was obvious, and this was a how fast can you write exercise, but enjoyable.

Thanks for the fun, guys. Splitting PSY CHO will not ruin my day.

pmdm 8:49 AM  

O tend to shake my head when I come across what seems to me to be overthinking something. Perhaps some of that is going on today.

Sometimes a movie makes the impact it does because of the conventions leading up to the showing of the movie. Is Harold Lloyd's movie Safety Last (for instance) frightening? I doubt it would be to any contemporary movie goer. But supposedly it did scare the audiences of the '20s. Am I overthinking the puzzle?

Until I got the theme, the puzzle seemed a bit harder than normal for a Tuesday. Once I realized the theme, all the theme answers were quite easy for me. For a person unfamiliar with the movie I'd think the puzzle was quite hard. If I were the editor, which day would I have run it on? That's a tough one.

As a fan of the movie, I liked the puzzle. If that were not the case, I think I would have strongly disliked it. So if the comments here run the gamut, I would not be surprised.

RooMonster 8:59 AM  

Hey All !
Gonna stand over here by myself in the "liked it" corner (well, maybe @Lewis is here also.)

I liked the PSY/CHO split, once I saw it, I actually let out a chuckle. Clever they were both cluef as real things. Can never remember if PSY is PSY or PSI, so chuckled further after seeing the Y. Really light to NARY any dreck. Great how the movie/star/direct/quote all worked out symmetrical. And yes, the PSY/CHO split is the NORMAN BATES split. Could've including both center Downs in the theme.

IROC Z's are known well to us car lovers. Sporty little things from the 80's. Sorry, @Nancy, I'm sure you don't know or care! 😊

So a quite cool puz, actually published on the correct day, 9/8/2020, 60 years from its release date of 9/8/1960. All relevant themers, a quote puz that was good! OHOH, might make some of y'all upset! 😋

Three F's

Sixthstone 8:59 AM  

Very easy if you have any knowledge of the movie Psycho (which everyone should) and delightful. Rex is really stretching to complain about this one. It's a Tuesday crossword, not a master's thesis! Happy Tuesday!

mathgent 9:05 AM  

Trigonometry is taught less and less in high school, so it’s possible that Rex never studied the law of sines. But it is an important theorem. It proves that in any triangle the ratio between the sine of an angle and the length of its opposite side is constant. That is, that ratio is the same for all three angles.

@kitshef (7:23). Wonderful Sesame Street line.

Lively puzzle. Fun to solve.

Z 9:22 AM  

This is my favorite tribute quote puzzle ever.

@Anon7:41 - 😂😂😂 👍🏽

@JD - Nice.

TOOTLE sounds like flatulence.

Goya has always been one of my favorite painters, so the Duchess of ALBA was a gimme here. How can you not love an old painter who decorated his dining room with this?

Taffy-Kun 9:26 AM  

Surprised I’ve not seen any mention that PSY and CHO are both Korean in origin. Was it just too obvious or is everyone too wrapped up in pros and cons of the movie. I can never think of the shower scene now without seeing the parody in “High Anxiety” with newspaper ink replacing blood (or chocolate syrup)!

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

How is the PSY at 4D unrelated?

Carola 9:30 AM  

Too early in the. morning for this theme for this solver. Apart from that, nicely done, especially the split PSY/CHO.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Easy puzzle. Needed to run today because of release date of film.

Z 9:34 AM  

@mathgent - It’s been a long time since I took Trig, but I also don’t remember learning about “The Law of SINES.” I remember that the ratio is constant for each angle, I just don’t remember it ever being called a “Law.” Looking at the Wikipedia article, “SINE rule” sounds most familiar to me.

gerry w 9:34 AM  

Loved this puzzle. Superb grid work -- no crap.

TOOTLE is, I believe, more common as a verb as in this quote from a song that old-timers may recall:

And Henessee Tennessee tootles the flute and the music is something grand,
A credit to old Ireland is MacNamara's band.

Lewis 9:44 AM  


A tutor who tooted the flute,
Tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
Said the two to the tutor,
"Is it tougher to toot
Or to tutor two tooters to toot?"

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Got everything, so it was easy = I liked it. Although it took me way too long to figure out that the theme was really about Psycho and not some quote from the Gangnam Style guy. Thought there was some Asian performer thing going on. A little more convoluted than it needed to be inmho just to separate psy and cho. But let the constructor have his fun.

Mr. Grumpypants 10:05 AM  

I nominate this one for the "Most Boring Puzzle of the Year" award.

Newboy 10:08 AM  

Cross referencing makes me cross

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

I think, just me of course, that y'all are over-analyzing the PSY CHO thingee. Given the obviousness of the related answers, having PSYCHO as a single entry would turn it into a stupid easy Monday. Some folks might not immediately know one or both. I, for one, thought it was PSi, as in Greek. So there.

JD 10:14 AM  

@Frantic, Head slap no! But my brain has a mind of its own and I would say it probably did conflate them. Now it's showing me a young James Taylor in the shower. Thank you!

@kitshef, Yesterday I laughed all day at Tinkertoe's brother. Today it will be Ernest Scared Stupid. I pray on bended knees that there will someday be a tribute puzzle to that classic I never saw. Thank you too!

@Z, I think it actually is a word for it and they say it was coined by Washington.

TJS 10:22 AM  

Oh, the drums go bang and the cymbals clang and the horns they blaze away
McCarthy pumps the old bassoon while I the pipes do play
And Henessee Tennessee tootles the flute and the music is something grand
A credit to old Ireland is MacNamara's band.

Lay off of tootles.

jberg 10:25 AM  

Yeah, that Goya guy has been dead a couple centuries. Can’t get much obscurer than that!

When I read the clue to 17A I wondered how you could have a quote from two people, maybe they had a famous conversation? Plus I thought the K-Pop guy was PSi. So it was a real aha! When I saw what was going on. I liked that too much to overthink the split personality thing.

I’m guessing the constructors first noticed that ALFREDHITCHCOCK and ANTHONY PERKINS we’re both grid spammers, then went on from ther.

I also liked the NARY NOR team-up.

One small nit. If memory serves, Ellery Queen was not an AUTHOR, but the nom de plume for a two-author team.

Masked and Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Went pretty smooth, altho at first M&A went with ABOYSBESTFRIEND ISHISSHOWER.

staff weeject picks: PSY/CHO. Weeject theme participation has been pickin up, lately. Admirable trend.

fave symmetric(al) pair, other than PSY/CHO: TANNER/TOOTLE.

Thanx for the fun, Christian & Wilber dudes. Well-filled, friendly puzgrid … it wouldn't harm a fly.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Whatsername 10:55 AM  

Cross reference clues are not my favorite thing either but this one wasn’t too bad. Being the 60th anniversary, it’s a nice way to showcase a classic film which has become iconic in cinematic history. For a Tuesday theme and difficulty I thought it was appropriate and fun.

In doing a bit of HITCHCOCK research, I discovered that ANTHONY PERKINS was in more movies than I ever realized. He was quite the consummate creep, but it occurred to me that Anthony Hopkins is another one who would have been excellent in that role.

@Lewis and @Pablo: Love the TOOTLE poetry.

To use Dictionary.com’s word of the day, this puzzle was a doddle.

William of Ockham 11:18 AM  

Cross-references leave me cold while solving. Nothing puzzle, good movie.

It's Tuesday, what do you expect?

bigsteve46 11:26 AM  

Is it my imagination or our Fearless Leader far more obsessed with speed solving than anything else? If a clue pisses him off, it seems more because it slows him down rather than an issue with the accuracy or obscurity of the clue.

This is a time when obsessions can blossom - I'm developing a few of my own. Just curious if this is something others sense, as well.

JD 11:43 AM  

@BigSteve, It's commented on almost daily and surely weekly, so it's probably not your imagination.

Canon Chasuble 11:49 AM  

Funny, but I always thought that quote was first spoken by King Oedipus.

GILL I. 11:56 AM  

A horror puzzle. Unlike @Nancy, I love them.....When I saw Jaws, I didn't swim in the ocean again for like 20 years. It took going to Cozumel to convince me to dip my toes back in.
I rather enjoyed this one. I didn't see PSY/CHO until I was in my 20's. By then, I had seen enough scary shit in my life that all it got from me was a pffft. Neat idea, though - and only Hitchcock could pull it off. My scariest go to film of all time is RED/RUM "The Shinning." If you really want to see some psy/chological destruction, mind-bending horror, you gotta see Roman Polanski's "Repulsion." That'll get the juices flowing.
I can't imagine TOODLE as a sound a fife makes. It sounds more like a squeak to me. TOODLE-pip is what your great great aunt Bertie says when she finally leaves. Speaking of made -up words....Yesterday I went to the bagel shop in town. I was drooling over them and asked the sweet, young, pretty, tattoo laden server, what she recommended.... she told me the sesame ones were amazeballs. I said "cool beans". She said "no, we don't put beans in them."
I learned the word BRIS by doing crosswords. It's amazing the things you learn. I wonder if it hurts. Why would you cut off that thing god put there?
Then we get to Goya. Between Goya and Velazquez, I spent a whole semester learning that both of them suffered severe angst. We dissected every one of Goya's periods. His Black Paintings will tell you everything yo need to know about insanity and what he thought of humanity. Kinda like PSY/CHO.

Frantic Sloth 12:03 PM  

@bigsteve46 1126am. Nah. It's just you. 😉

pabloinnh 12:04 PM  


Thanks for the complete (and corrected) rendition. Somehow I have always remembered the verb as "tootled" and not "tooted"but seeing the ditty in its entirety reminds me of the actual factual version. On the other hand, a faulty memory is sometimes useful, and as the aging process marches on I'm hoping a faultier memory is even more useful.


Well, yes. This has been true since I've been reading this blog, which is approximately a long time.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

The Busch Gardens clue threw me off. Being from the Mid-Atlantic, I think of the Williamsburg location first.

jberg 12:30 PM  

As a youngster, when paperbacks cost a quarter, I would go to my local book/magazine shop and buy and read every new science fiction or fantasy book that came in. Although Psycho doesn't really fit either of those categories, Robert Bloch was a well-known science fiction writer, so I read it, too. When the movie came out a year or so later, I had the disadvantage of knowing what was going to happen, and ended up laughing uproariously. (I was 16 at the time, and pretty full of myself). It was still pretty good.

I've been playing recorder for about 30 years now. People sometimes say we "toot" or "tootle," but basically we don't like it -- so I imagine fife players feel the same way.

When I got IROC from the crosses, I hadn't noticed the Z in the clue, so I thought the constructors were bragging about themselves.

Myuen88 12:42 PM  

An IRA is not a tax shelter (never pay tax). It is tax deference (pay tax later).

Jeff B. 12:49 PM  

This was fun. I love several Hitchcock film but not this one. Still enjoyed the puzzle. Don't overthink it.

albatross shell 12:53 PM  

I am in the love it corner.
And we get crocodile tears about cross referenced clues and weak fill. Way above an average Tuesday to me.

It might depend on your definition scary. Maybe I am thinking of disturbing or maybe movies I wished I had not seen before returning to an empty house or ones I wish I had not decided to watch at home alone at 2 AM. For Polanski one is The Tenant and two is Repulsion. Definitely did not want to take a shower after Psycho, otherwise not too bad. In the last ten years the Jennifer Lawrence movie Winter's Bone did it with little violence or bloodshed. Just the constant awareness that nasty stuff could happen at any moment.



jb129 1:10 PM  

I still love the "Birds"

Alex M 1:24 PM  

Not a fife player but a tin whistle/penny whistle player, and for us at least it's properly called "fippling" and practitioners are "fipplers" :)

Unknown 1:37 PM  

A mother and son, perhaps?

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

Um. Chainsawing the hand off a submerged corpse was tough. Even tougher was doing the second hand. Yikes. Hitchcock never even entrained such a ghoulish thing. And Winter's Bone is better than almost all that fat fraud's films.

bocamp 1:54 PM  

@ Kevin and Brad – Thanks for the trip down memory lane. 🎥 Watched psy/cho as soon as it came to our local theater in downtown Portlandia. Girlfriend and I suffered through multiple shocks, to say the least. 😳

I just had the feeling while doing this puzzle that I was not firing on all cylinders. Was surprised at the end to find my time was smack dab average. A good slog, though. 👍

I always start in the NW, and immediately dropped "Miami" and "mask" in, before the cat's "meow" set me straight.

My apologies to Tampa for the "Miami" fiasco; my Florida geography is all messed up; I've been to Orlando, Kissimmee and Cape Canaveral, but not to Tampa, Miami or the Panhandle. In addition, I conflated Busch Gardens with Cypress Gardens, thinking the old water-skiing shows I used to enjoy watching on TV were at the former. Ok, I think I'm now straight on the mix up, thanks to this puzzle. 🎉

Busch Gardens = Tampa. Cypress Gardens , of water-ski show fame; (no longer extant); replaced by Legoland = Winter Haven . All is good in Florida now. 🌴🍊

Peace 🕊

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

Anthony Perkins has ruined, or tried to ruin, more films than he should have ever been near. How he received a nomination for Friendly Persuasion remains a mystery.
The most interesting thing about him is his widow. Berry was killed by those cowardly jihadists on September 11th on Flight 11. She was 53.

Frantic Sloth 2:05 PM  

Some Hitchcock film-viewing after effects:

After PSYCHO - didn't wanna take a shower
After The Birds - re-homed the family budgie
After Rear Window - stopped snooping on my neighbors
After North by Northwest - refused to crawl all over Mount Rushmore on a dare
After Frenzy - gave up life's dream of riding on a potato truck
After The Man Who Knew Too Much - this one should be obvious 🙄

Z 2:10 PM  

@bigsteve46 - It is only me, but I find the obsession with Rex’s time is everyone else’s. He primarily rates how hard a puzzle is by how long it takes him to solve. He therefore comments on the things that cause him to take longer. That isn’t obsession, that’s reporting. Everyone else here does exactly the same thing (comment about things that slowed their solve time), even those who claim to “take it slow and savor the puzzle.” Personally, I take the guy at his word: I don't care if you are faster / slower than I am, or if you don't care about timing at all. More power to you. Everyone does the puzzle differently. There are solvers of all different speeds who read this site. There's no reason for anyone to feel defensive / self-conscious. - From Question #6 in the FAQs.

@Gill I - Again I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think Goya was crazy, I think he was angry. If some of the stuff he lived through didn’t anger him then I would think he was crazy.

Unknown 2:16 PM  

And then remember the scene from the 1903 Great Train Robbery. A simple train heading towards the camera caused scores of people to frightingly leave their theater seats to get out of the way.

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

Rex is obsessed with his time. And proud of it. That's why as some note he often doesn't post a time when he feels its not good enough.
He's a very fast solver. Not world class, but within spitting distance. He sometimes boast about it. Not explicitly, of course. That's be gauche. But when he crows about winning this division at this or that tourney, he's trumpeting his prowess. And in the crossword world that means time. That's one of the very key elements to determining the winners at Lollapoolza. Look over to the right side of his critique. There's OFL casually dropping the knowledge that he won a division at that gathering. That's a man who's not only obsessed with his time, he wants everyone to know how low it is.
I can hear Z now: : "Akshullly ,Rex isn't all that fast" and post a link to, say, Dan Feyer going at it. But of course that's twaddle. Feyer is the fastest. That doesn't mean Rex isn't quick.
Contrary to Z's claim that "Everyone else here does exactly the same thing (comment about things that slowed their solve time)" ,many, I'd say most not only don't track their time, they don't fret or make elaborate apologias for why it took them the time it did. rather they regale us with how things struck them. Or how it many them feel. or how it elicited a memory. And of course many people come to ask what something or other meant. The more I think about it, the less convincing Z's argument is.

Barbara S. 2:39 PM  

I think TOOTLE might be my new favorite word. I’m sorry to hear from @jberg (12:30 pm) that players don’t like it. But Merriam-Webster says that TOOTLE also means “to drive or move along in a leisurely manner” as in “We tootled along the highway.” I’m pretty much up for TOOTLing any old time.

Not surprisingly I liked the puzzle (as I usually do). I agree with those who’ve said it’s hard to judge the novelty or scariness of PSYCHO by today’s standards. For heaven’s sake, it was the first time a flushing toilet (filled with scraps of paper) had appeared in a major commercial feature film. One of the notable innovations of the film, as I understand it, is the killing of the “star,” Janet Leigh, the person you initially think is the central character in the story, a mere 45 minutes in. Nobody did that then in mainstream movies, and it’s one of the reasons Bloch’s novel was thought to be unfilmable. But Hitchcock wanted to leave the audience rootless, with no option but to cast in their lot with poor Norman Bates, suffering under the tyranny of his homicidal mother. Master manipulation from the impish Hitch. He famously said, “To me, PSYCHO was a big comedy. Had to be.” He also said: “[PSYCHO] was intended to make people scream and yell and so forth. But no more than screaming and yelling on a switchback railway…so you mustn’t go too far because you want them to get off the railway giggling with pleasure.” So @jberg, Hitchcock would have totally approved of your reaction. And there's an interesting tie-in with @Unknown's comment from 2:16 pm.

I guess I have to fess up. The first time I saw PSYCHO was in a film studies class (hi, @Anon 7:51). I’d always avoided it till then, but I figured there was safety in numbers. And I’m a good note-taker, hence the info above.

bocamp 2:49 PM  

@ Z 2:10 wrote:

"…I find the obsession with Rex’s time is everyone else’s. He primarily rates how hard a puzzle is by how long it takes him to solve. He therefore comments on the things that cause him to take longer. That isn’t obsession, that’s reporting.…"

Amen to that, Z; well put! 👍

Peace 🕊

Barbara S. 3:08 PM  

I think Goya was an eloquent witness to his times, specifically Napoleon's war against Spain. He dedicated large series of works to the atrocities of that conflict. Goya led a fairly tough life, marked by illness and personal loss (several of his children died). The lack of reason in human affairs is one of his major themes, and one wonders if his own sanity was affected by the madness of what he saw and experienced. Looking around, it seems entirely possible.

CDilly52 3:17 PM  

@pabloinnh 8:47AM

Being a flautist, allow m:

Said the two to the tutor
Is it easier to toot or to
Tutor two tooters to toot?

GILL I. 3:30 PM  

@Z....I could probably spend hours talking about Goya....No, he wasn't crazy. As a matter of fact, he was quite intelligent. When he completed his "Caprichos", it was the Spanish Society (that he despised so much) , that deemed him so. Goya was always on a quest for truth and justice - a bit like Don Quijote. If you look closely at some of his court paintings, you can almost see his poking fun at them. Quite the jester. His saddest period "Disaster of War" just about tells you everything you need to know about Spanish Society during that period.
He was brilliant and one of my all time favorite painters. Dali...on the other hand...he was crazy!

CDilly52 3:40 PM  

Puzzle brought back such fun memories! Not only of the movie but if the Alfred Hitchcock TV show as well. Loved the theme music for that show and how his silhouette walked into the black and white frame and then morphed I to him and his intro to the week’s mystery.

Figured the theme out immediately after the PSY and CHO split. Just like poor Norman’s personality. I freely admit I wanted to dislike this because of the multi-directional self-referential clues. Those kinds clues usually set my teeth on edge but not so today. Perhaps the ease with which I nailed the theme is to be credited for my lack of unhappiness with the “go here to go there to go down to the bottom and oh, there’s no real clue” stuff.

Fun grid, fun solve. Easy but not annoyingly easy.

CDilly52 3:42 PM  

Hilarious, @Frantic 2:05 PM

CDilly52 3:47 PM  

@pabloinnh 8:47 AM

As a flautist who never cared much for my father remarking that he heard me tootling, I at least can help you with the limerick:

Said the two to the tutor
Is it harder to toot or to
Tutor two tooters to toot?

Really enjoyed the puzzle.

pabloinnh 3:47 PM  


Now that's elegant. Well done.

I still don't see "tootle", nor will I, I fear. So be it.

bocamp 3:49 PM  

"t-bar" reminds me of my first skiing experience at Mt. Hood . I was a sophomore in H.S. at the time, and living only 40 miles away from Timberline, the family decided it was time for me to learn to ski. In those days (before the advent of much shorter skis for beginners) the standard method of measuring was to hold one arm straight up and the skis would extend from the floor to the tip of the fingers. With these unwieldy monstrosities, I knew I was in trouble as soon as I headed down the path to the rope tow (pre t-bar lift for beginners), having fallen a number of times before even getting there. When I finally made it to the tow, I was given elaborate instructions from various members of the family, e.g., make sure your skis stay parallel; let the rope slide through your hands before tightening your grip; be sure not to let your skis get crossed, etc., etc.. Long story short, I grabbed the rope and promptly ended up head first in a snow bank, managed to get the skis untangled and free of my boots, dropped them off at the ski shop and sat in front of the fireplace in Timberline Lodge the rest of the day. Never did ski again until much later in life when I took my alternative school class to Grouse Mt. in North Vancouver, BC, and learned to ski along with the kids. Easy peasy, with much shorter skis and lots of patience from the staff and kids. Became an avid skier after that, taking my students to many different slopes throughout the lower mainland of B.C., and, of course, graduated from the rope tow to the "t-bar" and beyond. ⛷

Peace 🕊

RooMonster 3:54 PM  

BTW, did anyone else want for clue "Somersaulting dive" to be - TRIPLE LINDY

If you know that reference, then you're comedy enriched. 😋

Also, not into horror/slasher/scary movies. There's enough actual violence in the world without needed to glorify it/be shown it for entertainment. I want to laugh/be in awe at movies. Comedy - Sci Fi.

RooMonster Movie Buff Guy

KnittyContessa 3:59 PM  

If only I had been more awake when I started solving this. I thought the puzzle was looking for a quote by Gangnam Style performer PSY. When I got to 17A/26A I thought, that's strange, that's a quote from PSYCHO and it finally clicked! duh

My favorite director and a much loved movie made for a very enjoyable Tuesday. Love your analysis, Rex - dividing PSY and CHO to reflect Norman's split personality.

JerryH 4:48 PM  

Suggest you watch Psycho II. As good as original, and has big twists

Anne H 5:03 PM  

Thank you, Gerry! That melody started an earworm as soon as I saw the clue, but I couldn’t put lyrics to it!!! I’m so relieved 😅

Anne H 5:18 PM  

Oh, Bocamp, I love that story! A year ago this month I was up at Timberline with two of my
granddaughters. (My family lives in Hood River.) None of us skis, but we love snow and mountains... plenty of snow that day at Timberline! So lovely 😊

bocamp 6:04 PM  

@ Anne H 5:18 PM

Hi Anne, nice of you to share. I've been to Hood River many times; what a lovely town. I wonder if the apples I get from my local market could be from The Hood River Valley .

I miss Oregon, but the Vancouver area is beautiful, too. We get occasional snow in the city, but I have a wonderful view of the snow-capped mountains from where I live and they're only a twenty minute drive away. ☃️

Peace 🕊

Anoa Bob 6:05 PM  

I saw PSYCHO in 1960 when going to a movie was still magic. I had the (now long gone) "ability to suspend disbelief" and PSYCHO completely drew me in and scared the sh*t out of me. The musical score was even a musical scare! I vowed then to never see another horror movie again and I never have.

I think the PSYCHO split may a rarely-seen split of convenience. That's a tough, scrabbly six-letter sequence to put in a conventional reveal spot. Maybe the connection to the Korean singer was a connection of convenience, one that allowed for a grid-friendlier placement of two three-letter PSY CHO sequences. Why else would you bring in a Korean singer to connect to the movie?

One of the courses that I taught was Abnormal Psychology. "Split personality" is an olde timey term for schizophrenia and is not a term in use in contemporary psychology or psychiatry.

If I were asked to use TOOTLE in a sentence I would try this:

There once was a man from Beirut
Who had warts all over his root
He poured acid on these
And now when he pees
He TOOTLEs his root like a flute

Anonymous 6:22 PM  

@ Z 2:10 wrote:

"…I find the obsession with Rex’s time is everyone else’s. He primarily rates how hard a puzzle is by how long it takes him to solve. He therefore comments on the things that cause him to take longer. That isn’t obsession, that’s reporting.…"

LOL c’mon man. It’s nice that you stick up for him but you’re either delusional or dishonest. It can’t be a coincidence that he rarely, if ever, posts his late week times that he’s disappointed with. Similarly, he rarely, if ever fails to post his Mon/Tues solves because they’re impressive to most of us even if he’s disappointed with them. I liken him to a AAA ball player. Better than 99.99 percent but not quite a big leaguer. Good on him for not lying about his pedestrian solves. For the record I’m well below metaphorical A ball solver.

Graham 8:15 PM  

I could’ve solved this puzzle, but I’m only 29.

Ok that’s a bit harsh but I every clue I couldn’t get turned out to be an old fashioned/stuffy answer.

RooMonster 8:34 PM  

TOOTLEs as a plural is a synonym of "See ya!" or "Later!"

See also : TOOTLE OOH.

Roo(tle) OOH

the dictionary 10:56 PM  


nah I believe you’re thinking of:

toodles too·dles
also too·dle-oo

Used to express farewell.

jaymar 12:08 AM  

15a —-what does NARY have to do with clue
Otherwise this was entertaining puzzle

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

@Z- In 2016, ESPN had an expert panel ranked the top 100 greatest MLB players. They also broke it into subsets one of which greatest left handed pitchers. They ranked (in reverse order)
10-Madison Bumgarner
9-Tom Glavine
8-Carl Hubbell
7-Whitey Ford
6-Lefty Grove
5-Steve Carlton
4-Warren Spahn
3-Clayton Kershaw
2-Randy Johnson
Drum Roll....
1.Sandy Koufax
Mickey LOL is not on the list . He’s not even the Hall of Fame. With a career regular season ERA 3,44 and Winning Percentage.532. It’s not surprising. Nice try though and thanks for the laugh.

thefogman 9:44 AM  

I loved this puzzle. And I don’t care if I didn’t solve it in record-breaking time. No erasures today. Maybe PSY/CHO is split because Psycho is a slasher film?

spacecraft 11:03 AM  

Cue the shrieking violins (Herrmann's brilliant score used ONLY strings). I still remember when my dad took me to the local premiere in Wilkes-Barre: "No one will be seated during the last ten minutes of the film." Yeah, I couldn't blame them.

My take-away? Like NORMAN, I was "touched" by Janet Leigh's/Marion Crane's beauty. Though, regrettably, she is not in today's grid, she has to be the DOD.

The theme density is high without her: 70 squares if you don't count the extra five for T[A]GL[I]NE--or the four for 10a: GASP! As expected, this put undue strain on the fill, but I forgive it for a flick that surely rates in my top ten all-time. [The] Bird[s]ie.

Burma Shave 12:17 PM  


but for ONEARM PASSION he pleads,
so “TOOTLE O’TOOLE” he dates


rondo 1:22 PM  

Maybe the TAGLINE for PSY CHO (RATEDR these days?) had some reference to NORMANBATES’ PASSION for HISMOTHER? GASP! Noticed PSY and CHO both Korean. Takes a 60th anniversary to at LAST get a good Tues-puz? Eartha KITT, rowr. Always love ALFREDHITCHCOCK.

leftcoaster 3:53 PM  

An unforgettable movie, its director and star do a good job of filling out this puzzle’s theme.

Especially liked the split PSY/CHO serving as a quasi-revealer.

The "mother’s best friend” quote is irony at its best. And Solzhenitsyn’s ARTful quote provides some philosophical class.

Nice work by Kevin and Brad.

Diana, LIW 8:55 PM  

Made our flight the other day with only a few amusing moments.

Glad to be back to a great Monday and Tuesday puz.

Diana, LIW

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