Popular ABC programming block of the '90s / SUN 12-13-20 / Its name is derived from the Greek for I burn / Dock-udrama / World capital with Gangnam district / Palace Indian tourist attraction

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Constructor: Dan Margolis

Relative difficulty: Easy (8:43, even with a stupidly slow start)

THEME: "Cinema Vérité" — clues sound like varieties or genres of film, but they are actually extremely literal (punny! wacky!) descriptions of films:

Theme answers:
  • "RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK" (26A: Indy film? (1981)) ('cause "Indy" is the nickname of the movie's main character, Indiana Jones)
  • "SUNSET BOULEVARD" (36A: Road movie? (1950)) ('cause the title is literally a road)
  • "PATRIOT GAMES" (56A: PG movie? (1992)) ('cause the initials of the movie title are "P.G.")
  • "THE GODFATHER" (81A: Family film? (1972)) ('cause it's about a mafia "family")
  • "ON THE WATERFRONT" (103A: Dock-udrama? (1954)) ('cause it takes place on the "docks")
  • "HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS" (114A: Short film? (1989)) ('cause when you shrink kids, they get "short"!?)
Word of the Day: ANNO mundi (6D: ___ mundi) —

Anno Mundi (Latin for "in the year of the world"; Hebrewלבריאת העולם‎, "to the creation of the world"), abbreviated as AM, or Year After Creation, is a calendar era based on the biblical accounts of the creation of the world and subsequent history. Two such calendar eras have seen notable use historically:

  • The Byzantine calendar was used in the Byzantine Empire and many Christian Orthodox countries and Eastern Orthodox Churches and was based on the Septuagint text of the Bible. That calendar is similar to the Julian calendar except that its epoch is equivalent to 1 September 5509 BC on the Julian proleptic calendar.
  • Since the Middle Ages, the Hebrew calendar has been based on rabbinic calculations of the year of creation from the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the bible. This calendar is used within Jewish communities for religious and other purposes. On the Hebrew calendar, the day begins at sunset. The calendar's epoch, corresponding to the calculated date of the world's creation, is equivalent to sunset on the Julian proleptic calendar date 6 October 3761 BC. The new year begins at Rosh Hashanah, in Tishrei. Year anno mundi 5781, or AM 5781, began at sunset on 18 September 2020 on the Gregorian calendar. (wikipedia)
• • •

This theme has a dad-joke vibe but I was fond of it anyway. You can get away with this sort of corny humor when the puzzle a. is easy, b. is not filled with garbage, c. has very well-known theme answers. All of these movies are famous to exceedingly famous, so there's little chance you won't have heard of most if not all of them. In fact, the only one I can imagine someone's not having heard of is "PATRIOT GAMES," which was also a novel, which gives you another way to have heard of it before. The oldness of the cinematic frame of reference is part of its dad-joke charm. Who cares about the entire 21st century!? They don't make movies like they used to, etc. The dumbest and therefore best clue is, in fact, the one on "PATRIOT GAMES" (56A: PG movie? (1992)). It's got nothing to do with the content of the movie, nothing to do with the literal meaning of "PATRIOT GAMES," it's just ... initials. The most tenuous connection imaginable. I think I'm laughing mostly at all the ways this kind of cluing could go. [R movie? (1981)] = "REDS." [G movie? (1997)] = "GATTACA." [X movie? (1980)] = "XANADU." [B movie? (1988)] = "BIG." Etc. Etc. Please somebody figure out how to do a whole puzzle using this concept. The only theme clue I sort of halfway object to is the one on "HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS" (114A: Short film? (1989)), since that movie does not star Martin Short, which is really the "Short" I thought they were going for, the ideal Short for this type of punning situation, le Short juste. Anyway, you wouldn't call shrunken people "short." If you are a quarter of an inch tall, no one is going to describe you as "short." You wish you were short. So that clue/answer is a miss, but the others are just fine. 

And the grid as a whole—just fine also. I've written down some ugly stuff here: UPAT OSAY ONOR EES ANNO INE ... but almost all the rest seems at least tolerable, and most of it is acceptably solid. I had real trouble up front. Got DAN and IMAM easily but couldn't work the Downs in the NW, then couldn't do much with the next little over from there, the NNW, where FLAT (4A: Out of tune ... or bubbles) and LONG O (!) (18A: Opening opening?) and FLIRT (4D: Toy (with), as an idea) all stayed hidden. I think I finally got traction at POET RTES CAR PLENTY etc. in the NNE. I continued to have periodic trouble in the upper third of the grid. Both SPOIL (25A: Turn) and BOOKBAG (13D: Kids use it for texts) took some work in the NE, and MEDIA was totally unexpected at 17D: Pastels and charcoal, for two—I had that answer ending "S" and so had 35A: Sound from a flock (BLEAT) as BLESS at first (logic shmogic, something about flock, preacher, religion, blessing, I dunno...). Had YIPE and YELL before YELP (43A: React to a stubbed toe, maybe). But then, once that upper third was settled, wow did I take off. Scorching pace. Made up a ton of time and ended up only about a minute or so off my record. MYSORE was the only thing to give me a moment's pause, and even then, I actually *wanted* MYSORE, I just wasn't at all confident that I wasn't botching the name of the place (110A: ___ Palace, Indian tourist attraction). Wanted STIRRUP for STETSON (99D: Bit of ranch dressing?). But otherwise, no trouble. Just destroyed this thing. Which probably predisposed me to look AMIABLE-y upon the puzzle as a whole, but whatever it takes, man. I was finally not disappointed in a Sunday. Hallelujah.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:11 AM  

I sense the PPP is strong with this one...

But, gimme a theme about movies and I'm gonna be happy. Even though most of the fun came from trying to guess the titles with as few letters as possible, I can also appreciate a good pun or pun-lite-ish thing. Plus the movies were very mainstream which helped me lie to myself and think I was smart.

The fill? Inoffensive and pretty basic.

Some observations/reactions include, but are not limited to:

"Wear off?" DISROBE. 👎

"Bit of ranch dressing?" STETSON. 👍

CABIN fever. Gee. What's that?

I don't YELP. That's for dogs. I curse like an m-f sailor.

ONESIE. (tee-hee)

"What world capital is RHO CHI??", thinks I. [thinks more] "Oh, for cryin' out loud!"

UTTERROT brought me to OTTERRUT (just because), which I believe is swimming on your back while munching mollusks? Seems that's pretty much the life.

Yes. I sold my cold, black SEOUL and now I have to show you this. *psy*


Joaquin 12:14 AM  

Got thrown off big time by the title. In the version that is done on paper, the accented 'E's all appear as capital 'A's with the circle-c (copyright symbol) next to them. I couldn't figure out what message this title was trying to give me.

Turns out - nothing. A typesetter's typo I guess.

kitshef 12:15 AM  

Malapopped today. Put in SPOOL for 25A (turn), ended up with it at 125A (Part of a sewing kit). Only three letters erased today – unheard of for a Sunday. SPOiL, NAt and AhH (should have remembered Will always gets that wrong).

Themer clues are a mixed bag today. RAIDERS, SUNSET and GODFATHER are perfectly clued. HONEY is pretty good. WATERFRONT and PATRIOT are fairly weak.

I appreciate that all the movies are pretty famous – the definition for which is “I have heard of them”.

I’ve seen all of them except for PATRIOT GAMES and THE GODFATHER. I’ve seen most Harrison Ford movies so no idea why I missed PATRIOT GAMES. Word of mouth was pretty bad on THE GODFATHER, so I gave that a miss.

An impressive list of actors in these movie: Holden, Pacino, Ford (twice), Swanson, Duvall, Moranis, Brando (twice) …

jae 12:24 AM  

Easy, pretty smooth and fun. Liked it.

@Z - I managed to finish the Incubator puzzle but I was pleasantly surprised to get the happy music when I filled the last square. I was sure there were errors.

okanaganer 1:05 AM  

Weird that Rex was so upbeat tonight, while Jeff Chen at xwordinfo.com was unusually critical of this puzzle. (Critical by Jeff Chen standards, basically "I would not have greenlighted the set Dan turned in today because...").

It was realllly easy, I just plunked in answer after answer. I'm older, so I've seen all these movies, which is saying something. Harrison Ford was in two of the first three, which also says something.

Rusted Metal Objects, two days in a row. (Hey, what a great name for a band!) I think Will schedules the puzzles to make this happen. Seriously.

chefwen 1:56 AM  

This was the easiest Sunday puzzle I have ever done. Started it as soon as it was available and had to put it down and go on to something else so I’d have something to do at wine thirty. Puzzle partner didn’t even get to contribute so I printed out a copy for him, his first solo Sunday. He needed a wee bit of help on the movie titles, he doesn’t watch movies and/or remember titles, but he finished his copy in record time.

Spent two weeks on CRETE years ago. At that time the electric company went on strike and every evening, as soon as it got dark they shut down the electricity. We got to eat dinner by candlelight and sat up every night in the bar drinking Greek brandy and Ouzo, playing Gin Rummy, also by candlelight. I think I still owe him about 10 K.

ZenMonkey 3:38 AM  

Anyone who knows me well enough to talk movies knows that RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and THE GODFATHER have been in a tie for my favorite film since high school (30 years ago? YELP!). And SUNSET BOULEVARD is in the top ten. So there was probably no way I wouldn’t have enjoyed this puzzle, even if the rest of it fell flat. And it didn’t. It’s nice to see answers that don’t show up a lot, like MYSORE and OBVIATE (a word I learned from Zork II, to date myself further), and the cluing was fun. More Sundays like these, please.

Joe Dipinto 4:10 AM  

Happy birthday today to:

Jamie Foxx, Taylor Swift, Steve Forbert, me, Dick Van Dyke, Christopher Plummer, me, Steve Buscemi, Dale Berra, Ben Bernanke, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, me, Ted Nugent, Morris Day, John Davidson, and Tom Verlaine.

And me. A birthday Sunday puzzle! Oh, Will Shortz and Dan Margolis, you shouldn't have!

No, really. You shouldn't have. I was sure @Rex would despise this puzzle. I picked up on SUNSET BOULEVARD immediately, and then just went around the grid filling in the other film titles. And then I stopped.

I wasn't going to bother with the rest of it, but later I went back and finished. This must be the least challenging puzzle I've done in ages. There was no need to ponder a single thing along the way. It just filled itself in. Let's hope better Sundays await in the coming year. Who knows? Could be...

frankbirthdaycake 5:23 AM  

Two seconds off my personal best for Sundays. I went through it so fast (for me) that I didn’t really pay too much attention to the fill. It was still fun for me.

Coniuratos 6:07 AM  

Apparently I've spent 33 years thinking "spendthrift" means the opposite of what it does.

Dan Sachs 6:32 AM  

Word of mouth was pretty bad on The Godfather?

Marc 6:38 AM  

On a scale of 1-10, I give this -5. About as exciting as yesterday's dirty dish water. Simply no oomph, no joy. To me, totally disappointing.

Anonymous 6:54 AM  

Too easy. The theme clues were meaningless as the film titles were all obvious once a few letters appeared. The grid was just a slog - easy but kind of a grind. I rarely go below 30 on Sunday ((I have no idea how Rex can do these so fast; I don’t think I could enter everything in under 10 even if I had every answer available) but did so today. I have a lot more fun these days on Th-Fri-Sat.

Cankee Yanuck 7:11 AM  

Had a very similar experience to other commenters with a Sunday personal best of 32:00 exactly. At this early point in my solving career, I can't even imagine completing one in under 10 minutes!

OBVIATE is one of those words that I'm familiar with and have seen many times I'm sure, but I'm not certain I ever really understood its meaning until seeing that nicely succinct clue, so that's a nice bonus. Loved the clues for BOOKBAG and STETSON. I also thought the Short movie referred to Martin but I haven't seen the movie so, when I got it, I just assumed he had a notable role in it (same reason I first tried FATHEROFTHEBRIDE).

Oh, and on my first pass, my confident juggler's props were AXES. (!)

ChuckD 7:14 AM  

Straightforward and fun I guess - more like a TV guide puzzle than NYT. The theme is one of the LOOSEST I’ve seen and I’m not sure I agree with Rex on the reason these are all older movies. Is it part of an larger dad joke concept? I’m not a Harrison Ford guy but liked to see GODFATHER and WATERFRONT. The remaining fill was solid - UTTER ROT and STETSON stood out and I love BASSET hound ears.

Enjoyable solve - sky is clear - we have a good start to a Sunday.

Happy Birthday @Joe Dipinto - cool you share it with the great Verlaine.

Ranius 7:17 AM  

Very easy, enjoyable puzzle. I liked the themers, minus PG. I understand PG is a move rating, but really?

4 of the 6 themers came to me instantly and I had enough crosses where I thankfully didn’t need to think about PG much. I initially went down the wrong “Indy” road and was thinking the Indy 500 (maybe Talladega Nights?).

OffTheGrid 7:38 AM  

This was fun. Movie themes are usually interesting. I must disagree with @Rex re: PATRIOTGAMES. I was disappointed when I realized the P.G. bit. I was trying to think of a movie having to do with pregnancy and started to enter "Rabbit Test" before I saw it was too short.

pabloinnh 7:38 AM  

After reading several comments about how easy this was going to be, I confidently set out in the NW and got nowhere, a la OFL. An answer here and there, not much going on, so I started at the bottom and went up, which worked fine. A pothole at TOMMYROT, which I still prefer to UTTERROT, but my version was obviously not called for. Oh well.

Had just the end of LOS_ARK which made for a wonderful DOOK experience involving sharks and Tony Stark and some other even worse ideas. When I saw the obvious answer eventually I think I pegged the Doh!meter.

ISHRUNK is still wrong. Memorable, but wrong.

All in all a nice old-fashioned Sunday stroll in the park, and I learned ANNO mundi. so there's that. Thanks DM. Good stuff.

pabloinnh 7:39 AM  

Oops, forgot. @JoeD--is it your birthday? I think it's your birthday. If it is, happy birthday.

bocamp 7:46 AM  

@Dan, thank you for the trip around the world; lots of culture here. Enjoyed the journey very much! :)

Under av. time; no major holdups.

Write-overs: "Ari" for "Ira".

New: "Dan Savage"; "Drea de Matteo"; "anno mundi"; "Cesare Borgia"; "Til Tuesday"; "Hal Ashby"; "Nan Goldin".

Hazy: "ricotta"; "Mysore".

Fav clues/answers: "long o"; "obviate"; "I Robot"; "outre"; "dais"; "alee"; "inert"; "amiable"; "flirt"; "coyote"; "Basset"; "catch"; "onesie"; "stetson"; "fur".

WOTD: "obviate"

LOTD: "Hindi"

SOTD: "Catch a Falling Star"- Perry Como

FOTD: "ricotta"

BOTD: "I Robot" (read this and most of Asimov's other short stories and novels)

"Sunset Boulevard" (1950)

"Re-upped" for a short hitch in the Navy.

y.d. -1

Peace Salam Paix 평화 Paz Friðr Pace ειρήνη Pax शांति Woof Meow 🕊

Charles Flaster 7:48 AM  

Quick. Easy but enjoyable theme.Love old movies.
Have not played BALDERDASH in thirty years. Fun game.
MYSORE was only trouble spot.
CHI RHO was cutely creative.
Thanks DM

KnittyContessa 7:49 AM  

What an easy, boring Sunday. Nothing clever in the themers. No aha moment. Lots of ho hum moments. At first, I was reluctant to put in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I thought there must be some tricky, clever word play going on that I'm missing. What word or letter do I have to swap for the wackiness to ensue? Nope, that was the answer.

@Coniuratos same here!

Matthew B 7:51 AM  

For me, much too easy and the theme was a cipher. I assume it's a gesture to the newer solvers. The WSJ Saturday is terrific... It will make up for this. Enjoy!

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

This puzzle was a PG (Pretty Good) at best.

Would love to see an R (Radical!) puzzle, or even a PG-13
on Sunday. Just something to keep me on my toes.

I mean, it is not so much fun when you can answer both 20-letter answers with only a few of the boxes filled.

BTW: here's a good starting point - "People reading the Dead Sea
Scrolls?" - Readers of the Lost Ark!


Z 8:19 AM  

Pretty much what Rex said although I liked it less. Puns👍🏽. Movie theme 👎🏽👎🏽. That is a net 👎🏽. The movie lovers will probably enjoy this as it is very competently done, just not my cuppa.

Putting your name at 1A - Cool or too precious by half? I will note that the actual clue is nicely current.

@jae - I did manage to finish the Inkubator puzzle but it took me longer than the a typical NYTX Saturday. The “challenging” Inkubator puzzles usually inch towards Friday difficulty at most, with only an occasional modern or feminine reference slowing me down. I only remember one other of their puzzles (by Stella Z) kicking me around like this one did (and I notice Stella Z edited this one). I will note that it is high PPP both by percentage (38%) and with the PPP being long and that the PPP is more modern than me. There were only three PPP answers I knew.

Hungry Mother 8:21 AM  

I almost destroyed myself when I put in the non-word “Laxsest” instead of LOOSEST. I was staring at Ix—- instead of IONIA. Once I saw the misspelling it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. The movies were easy. One of my favorite METAs is, “This statement is false.” My brother, who might be lurking here, is an expert in the study of such things.

Joaquin 8:28 AM  

@kitshef (12:15) said, "Word of mouth was pretty bad on THE GODFATHER so I gave that a miss."

Am I missing some sarcasm? Or do you need to hang out with more discriminating "word-of-mouth" critics?

The Godfather got ten Oscar nominations and won three. Wikipedia says, "The Godfather has been widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made."

Really. Time to watch this classic if you have not already (meaning I missed your sarcasm).

Darren 8:31 AM  

It was very easy, but I was bored senseless. I found no cleverness in this puzzle at all. Just a brisk boring way to pass the time. I miss the really clever Sunday puzzles.

Smith 8:48 AM  

Very easy. Under 30.
Happy birthday @Joe!
Weirdly, my son once knew a theater director in NJ who had a "dull, ordinary" kind of name...who used TomVerlaine in his email address...?? About 10 years ago. Strange.

TTrimble 8:55 AM  

I had already registered a comment last night (after seeing @mmorgan's heads up) that this was a pretty fast solve -- all such things being relative of course -- fast for me seen against my average. Vaguely amusing but not thrilling.

I was slowed up at the beginning a little with ____ Mundi (ANNO) where I had put in/considered Axis. (I've seen the phrase Axis Mundi, but not ANNO Mundi. In the year of the world? I'll have to look that up.) Axis, and axes where there was nothing but EGGS.

Took me a moment to recall who DAN Savage was. Oh yeah, the columnist over at The Village Voice who coined the term "santorum", something that Rick Santorum doesn't want you to Google.

Enjoyed CHI + RHO, one of the more amusing bits. Fun for me to see DEUS -- wasn't there DEO in yesterday's? -- one of my comments yesterday had me struggling to remember how to decline DEUS.

A certain number of missteps besides axis/axes: I'd seen PEDDLaR as an alternate spelling in my life (there was a store where my mom used to do bargain clothes shopping called the Imp Peddlar, that sold imperfects), but lo, it was PEDDLER crossing the cutesily misspelled NEET. (Did that stuff work? If it did, it's a little scary contemplating just what biochemical process allows that to work. Depilatories, that is.) Then, I had put in eliTE where there needed to be CASTE.

But once I started laying in the long themers, the thing practically solved itself in a jiffy. Was a little surprised to see Rex's approbation.

Suzette 8:57 AM  


Suzette 8:57 AM  


GILL I. 9:01 AM  

Why do I have this sudden urge to call @Roo and ask him to drive me to Disneyland so that I can ride The Mad Tea Party? I'd call dibs in the back seat so that @Joe D and I can sing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."
Can someone please explain RHOCHI? @Frantic?
Well the puzzle was easy in some spots....I mean what century do you live in if you haven't heard of these movies. Let me add a holy ricotta to all those little three things like ICI ORG TIL EES IRE URL. They do sound like something you say after eating brussel sprouts marinated in kimchi.
Jose can you see by the drawn early light?
Time to put the Christmas tree up.

Rube 9:19 AM  

Totally forgettable. Way too easy. No clever clues. Once again people equate low difficulty witg enjoyable solve when it should be the opposite.
Where was the challenge in this puzzle? What clue/response provides a smile or a 'thats a good one'? None.

Nancy 9:23 AM  

I felt this puzzle had been co-constructed, though it wasn't. The person who gave us the somewhat clever and offbeat clues for STETSON (99D); ECARD (61D); EPISODE (112A) and ETNA (129A) and the person who gave us everything else.

Mostly this puzzle was just too easy to be interesting. I can't think of a single section of it where I had to do any real thinking at all.

As for the theme clues: Only HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS made me laugh. The clue for THE GODFATHER was the most boring of all, SUNSET BOULEVARD being a close second. OTOH, PATRIOT GAMES did show some imagination.

I was so relieved to find out that the confident juggler juggles EGGS. (One of the few answers where I actually had to do any thinking.) I was so worried he was either juggling knives or lighted candles.

TTrimble 9:25 AM  

@Gill I.
Pronounce it in the order CHI RHO. "Cairo".

Z 9:32 AM  

@Joaquin8:28 -The Godfather got ten Oscar nominations and won three. Wikipedia says, "The Godfather has been widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made." I have no idea if @kitshef is serious, but it’s an ongoing curiosity to me that Americans venerate British Royals and the mafia. Of course, I’ve seen clips that demonstrate how wonderful the movie is and my reaction every single time is that it must be the Mad Magazine or SNL parody (is that Brando or Belushi doing Brando, I can never tell), but no. People actually look at these scenes of campy emoting and see art. Alrighty then. De gustibus and all that. Anyway, there are a few of us out there who do not consider THE GODFATHER “one of the greatest ... films ever made.”

@Gill I - In case you aren’t kidding - the Neigh El flows past CHI RHO. Why CHI and “kai” (as in Cobra Kai) are homophones is another question altogether.

pabloinnh 9:33 AM  

Oye @GILL I-Other way around. Think Egypt.

Greetings from the flock, Fleece Navidad.

Z 9:35 AM  

Either fat fingers are damn autocorrupt- “nigh” not “neigh.” Blrrgh.

pmdm 9:39 AM  

My reaction to this puzzle was more neutral than anything. Didn't react humorously to the theme answers, which is perhaps a minus, but didn't mind. Familiar with the names of all the [oldish] movies except one, but that did not have an impact on me. Was surprised at both Jeff's and Mike's reactions, neither of which I would probably sign off on.

Those who receive the paper version of the paper should be now solving the gigantic crossword included inside the special puzzle section. If you only subscribe to the online edition, you may want to investigate.

TTrimble: I haven't commented since last Sunday because, as i was on last Sunday, I have been irritatingly busy on a special project. I apologize if I seemed negative to you and your comments. It is sometimes difficult to convey irony or tongue in check when just plain words are the means of communication. (Z might agree.) So I think something got lost in the translation last Sunday. Granted, I was annoyed by the number of posts about a supposed error, but I may have missed the ironic qualities of some of the comments. And in rereading my comment, I completely missed the humor I meant to convey. So be assured, I don't have a negative impression of you, which your reply seems to have indicated.

Concerning a comment from yesterday, it is possible to contact Shortz by mail. He prefers snail mail, but I have his email address (which I will not publicize on this forum) and he has fastidiously responded to all the messages I have sent him so far (which are few). I think his attitude is that a crossword clue need not be 100% technically correct for it to be acceptable. While this may be frustrating to the nerds among us, it those are the rules, so be it.

SouthsideJohnny 9:46 AM  

There is a lot that is positive about today’s puzzle - a theme that holds together, with entries that are familiar and well-clued. There are some really good clues as well, such as for DISROBE and STETSON, among others.

Unfortunately, as is frequently the case with the Times, it is also pretty heavy on really esoteric trivia and foreign nonsense (with CESARE, MYSORE and ETOILES being good examples). It’s not really enjoyable for me when I have to parse my way through every single cross in order to “construct” a plausible answer to an entry that doesn’t really have a clue (sorry “One of the Borgias” is not a clue, and CESARE is not even a real word - sounds like somebody or something’s name in Spanish or Portuguese). It sure seems like it would be possible to construct a crisp, clean, lively puzzle that doesn’t contain this type of Dark Matter - why the NYT doesn’t aspire to do so escapes me - perhaps they think it shows off their construction skills (or maybe the lack thereof ?) - or maybe they are just lazy.

So, about 85% of it was actually pretty cool - the rest is just a tale of what might have been . . .

TTrimble 10:07 AM  

No worries whatsoever. Water under the bridge. Hope the special project goes well. "So I think something got lost in the translation last Sunday." I think that must have been true for us both, and sorry if I seemed snippy. Thanks for writing to clear things up.

"I think his attitude is that a crossword clue need not be 100% technically correct for it to be acceptable. While this may be frustrating to the nerds among us, it those are the rules, so be it."

This kind of thing has been much on my mind here in this commentary, and I've said so. In fact I can't seem to keep my mouth shut about it. E.g., yesterday I had some trouble making my point UNDERSTOOD, that being too literal in parsing clues can be problematic. It's a delicate topic.

Nomi5imon 10:10 AM  

This is the easiest Sunday puzzle I have done in maybe 30 years of on and off solving. So Happy Hanukkah.
I’m pretty old (60s) - did anyone else think Victor for Borgia? My dad’s favorite - a danish piano virtuoso comedian - but it’s spelled Borge.
He’s great- you can Google him.
Stay well.

kitshef 10:16 AM  

@Joe D - happy birthday

@several - to be fair, I was ten when The Godfather came out so would not have been interested in it at that time. My tastes ran more toward What's Up Doc or The Poseidon Adventure. But the gist of the negative word of mouth since then is that it is over-long, over-acted, and (most critically to me) lacks any character with whom one can identify - that all the characters are such terrible people that one cannot enjoy their successes nor empathize with their failures.

Teedmn 10:19 AM  

The theme, once discovered, filled in so fast I can only imagine everyone will set a personal record solving today. The only theme I found truly amusing was "Road movie" = SUNSET BOULEVARD. I disliked PATRIOT GAMES.

I suppose you could have the clue "Oater" for ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. Or "Noir" for any movie with the word DARK in the title. The nice thing about a theme with movie titles is the endless variety to choose from.

For "Confident juggler's props", my mind went to FLAMING TORCHES. IT'S HERE - my coworker has been teasing me all week because of my obsessive tracking of a new phone cover I ordered a couple of weeks ago. What was USPS doing with it between Dec. 7th when it hit Minneapolis and yesterday when it was finally delivered? I see the USPS website has an alert that we can expect delays due to "unprecedented package increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19".

Kudos to whoever wrote the clues for 1D and 99D. Very nice.

Thanks, Dan Margolis.

RooMonster 10:24 AM  

Hey All !
Puzzle was regular difficulty for me. Didn't find it super duper, easy peasy, rootin rootin fast. The ole brain stopped me from record time. 😋

NW really hung me up. Didn't help that I kept reading 3D as "Homeowners" and not the correct "Hometowners". Forgot Savage's first name, and wanted either "lord" or "ogod" for IMAM.

Had a DNF at SPOoL for SPOIL, not realizing I already had SPOOL for 125A. Ugh. Plus, IndIA/LOnSEST (even though that made no sense)/ANdO. Oh well. Happy for the Complete Puzzle Record Setters today!

Didn't think Rex was gonna like this one (safe bet), but he surprised me. Good stuff.

Good SunPuz. On to Football and work. ☺️ on the first, 🙁 on the latter. Har.

Two F's

What? 10:26 AM  

I can’t believe this theme. Thought they delivered USA today by mistake. Names of movies that’s it? Even the clues are not that great. What a waste, so simple it was insulting. The day was saved by the inclusion of a huge puzzle section at least in the print edition. Cryptic puzzle, word hunt, split decisions, going to keep me busy for a week.

RooMonster 10:27 AM  

"Things we're thankful for"

Movies, art, TV, music, books, that kept (keep) us company in these times, and the endlessly creative folks who continue to generate them.


Ryan Crinnigan 10:30 AM  

This was beyond easy. If you can fill in all the themes off the bat with few or no crossing letters, your theme sucks. Why should I even bother with the fill?

Ken Freeland 10:36 AM  

Bravo to Rex's positive spin on this puzzle! Sure, it was a tad on the easy side, but:
-the PPP quotient was acceptably low, important because the themers themselves essentially fall into this category
-the fill was solid throughout, without a single natick

Contrast this with the slogs Nr. Shortz has been hurling at us for weeks bow.... he should contract for a monthly puzzle from Margolis to provide periodic relief. This puzzle was just fun, as puzzles ought to be

Kinda cute, too, how Saturn and Mercury reprise as Saturnius and Mercurius, lol.

Aketi 10:38 AM  

I’m out of practice with Xword puzzles, but that was a quick solve. Except when I slowed down a bit over B _ _ _ BAG. I had an obviously wrong answer pop into my head that I couldn’t eradicate. Long ago I knew someone at the CDC who made it his mission to collect them from the different airlines he flew on during his internal travels. He had collected over 150 Barf BAGS with different airline logos on each one. People are amazing in terms of the variety of items they consider collectibles.

thefogman 10:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Dipinto 10:47 AM  

@Bustedarmart, late last night – Profile images always look blurry, even more so when you zoom in. You'd be better off posting a link to your graph, or incorporating the data into the text of your message. And welcome to Rexville.

Frantic Sloth 10:53 AM  

@J-Dip 410am Why is everyone wishing you a happy birthday? Is it your birthday today? 😉 Sorry the puzzle was a disappointment on today of all days, but here's hoping things improve and you have a sparkling day! 🎂🎉🥂

I have to admit, I thought the PG was referring to something more along the lines of Knocked Up or Baby Mama. 🤷‍♀️

@Cankee Yanuck 711am Yep. I had axes at first, too. Either would be impressive, but juggling both could be...well...life-altering.

@Z, et.al. That Inkubator puzzle was a nightmare for me. I would be interested to learn what a young solver would say about it. More specifically, how their opinion on the PPP. I mean, I can't be that old and stupid, can I? I said can I??

@kitshef Is this a trap?

@Z 932am I'm sorry for your loss...of good tasted in movies. 😘

thefogman 10:54 AM  

This one was FLAT as a pancake. A Sunday themer requires more sparkling bubbles than this. It needs to be infinitely more stimulating than ginger ale. There have been way too many lunchbag letdowns lately Mr. Shortz. How I long for the days when we could SAVER the fine NECTAR of witty wordplay. I’m a bit irate. Consequently I rate it only deux ETOILES.

Ann Howell 10:56 AM  

Funny - I got 114A with no clues on the mistaken premise that it was a Martin Short movie... In all, an easy, breezy Sunday with not too much junk.

Geezer 11:20 AM  

I wish I had just taken a DNF. My last letter in was G at LONGO/TGIF. Talk about ending on a sour note. Clues like 18A, "Opening opening", just plain stink. Am I the only one that's sick of these?

Newboy 11:22 AM  

Hallelujah indeed. Rex is right. Nuff said.

bocamp 11:25 AM  

@Nomi5imon 10:10 AM

No, but I thought "Gloria Borger". LOL

@RooMonster 10:27 AM 👍

Dan, Jeff, Will comments at "XWord Info": here.

Amy Reynaldo comments at "Diary of a Crossword Fiend": here.

Never was a "street vendor", but did "peddle" the World Book Encyclopedia for a very short period; discovered that scripted cold calls and door-to-door sales were not my cuppa. Selling shoes worked out far better. LOL

- 2

Peace Salam Paix 평화 Paz Friðr Pace ειρήνη Pax शांति Woof Meow 🕊

G. Weissman 11:26 AM  

Wow — so easy and lacking any cleverness that I’m surprised Rex gives this thoroughly mediocre effort such high marks. Talk about lowered expectations ... Booooooo.

Paul & Kathy 11:31 AM  

Being a middle-aged dad, I guess this one was in my wheelhouse. PR time. I enjoyed this light entertainment.

Escalator 11:37 AM  

Second Sunday in a row where theme answers were filled in by the cross words. Just disappointed not a little tougher but I guess it is better than stupidly tough.

egsforbreakfast 11:44 AM  

This puzzle played very tough for me, as word of mouth was pretty bad on The Jazz Singer in ‘27 and I decided to stick with the silents. I’ve noticed fewer of them lately, the last really good one being Warhol’s Empire in 1964, but man did that drag on. The friend I went with had such a painful keister from sitting for 24 hours that he had a case of MY SORE PAL ASS.,

Like others, I waited for the twist that would cause hilarity to ensue on RAIDERSOFTHELOSTARK. When that didn’t happen, I finished in about no time. Did get a chuckle out of Jeff Chen’s gentle excoriation of WS and his Sunday approach on xwordinfo.

Happy Birthday @Joe DiPinto. I always like your comments.

Birchbark 11:49 AM  

SMOLDER -- Earlier today, walking through the garage to let the dog out for her morning rites, I thought "Who's been smoking in here?" And remembered it was I, yesterday, who smoked a pork shoulder and some sausages out on the driveway for most of the afternoon. I haven't learned to close the garage door, especially when the atmospheric pressure is low, and that's where the smoke wants to drift.

I also made a small batch of Italian sausage yesterday per the family recipe: cube pork shoulder (PHYLUM: Chordate, and here the boneless other half of the one in the smoker), marinate several hours in chopped garlic (PHYLUM: Tracheophyta), toasted fennel seed (PHYLUM: Magnoliopsida), salt, black and red pepper (PHYLUM: Anthophyta), and red wine (PHYLUM: Tasty). Then grind it (I use a food processor) and either crank it into natural casings (rinsed and soaked in white wine) or, as yesterday, keep it in bulk for spaghetti sauce and (today) breakfast patties.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Interesting (at least to me) trivia about the "Honey I...." clue. Of course it was a Rick Moranis film, but after I had the answer I thought it must refer to Martin Short. Moranis was teamed with Dave Thomas on the original SCTV show and they were great together. I was very disappointed the season they were replaced by Martin Short. Not until I read Rex's post did I realize my error. Thanks Rex.

ClaremontBob 11:52 AM  

Maybe I’m just cranky today, but once I saw that the only Wordplay with Raiders was in the clue and that the whole drill was getting enough downs to parse the clues, I just stopped. No joy, just a long slog ahead. Too nice a day to bother with this.

Frantic Sloth 11:53 AM  

@TTrimble 1007am "...being too literal in parsing clues can be problematic. It's a delicate topic."
You can say that again.

BTW, to those involved in last evening's supreme idiocy demonstrated by yours truly, there is an apology that was perhaps missed due to the lateness of the hour.

@kitshef 1016am Being age 10 at the time of the release of The Godfather is a good reason to miss it! Of course there are all kinds of taste out there about all kinds of things (I mean, look at @Z! 😉), but I am a bit surprised that the majority of people who have influenced you (for over 45 years no less!) are so critical of it. This is not an attempt on my part to sway you (God knows I have been in a similar position over several very popular and critically acclaimed films!), but I do wonder how that happens without living in a vacuum - which you so obviously do not! It's just a curiosity thing that has no need (or right) to be satisfied. 🤷‍♀️

@Roo I haven't said so yet, but I'd like to add my voice to others' who appreciate your daily thanks. (No Fs!)
Signed, Roo Da Man Chick

Sixthstone 11:59 AM  

The most interesting thing about this puzzle is learning that some of my fellow NYTX solvers haven't seen the Godfather! And that they mock it without having seen it. Just see it. Then we'll talk.

Super easy. This is a decent puzzle but it's really not a Sunday NYT. Theme wasn't really clever. Any constructor could grab a movie title and write a clue for it (as several have demonstrated). And there was so much short fill due to the choppy grid: EES, ICI, NHL, HIE, ORG, TDS, HAL, DAN, ERG, AGA, STP, ARI, ATA, TVA, INE, UPS, RPI, DOM, ANY, WEE, CHI, RHO, RAN, FUR, APP, DRS. Just too much. And in all that, still no ALE or IPA. It wasn't terrible, but just a little lame.

At least I ended the week with a SHOOTER!

Seth 12:02 PM  

I think this is the kind of puzzle that really blatantly shows the age group the NYT crossword is for (not mine, considering the most recent film on this list came out when I was three). I could only get RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK the first time around and, while I've heard of all the other films obliquely (no issue with THE GODFATHER or SUNSET BOULEVARD), I couldn't tell you what ON THE WATERFRONT or PATRIOT GAMES were about, and I haven't thought about HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS in decades (the three decades since it came out, really).

It just felt... dated. Like I was reading off an AFI list from the year 2000.

Anonymoose 12:03 PM  

I'm glad I am dumb enough to have enjoyed this easy, boring, insultingly simple puzzle.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

That's from the cotton stuffed in Brando's cheeks

contessa 12:22 PM  

Happy Birthday. Were you ill for all those weeks yuo ill for all those weeks you missed. We missed you

GILL I. 12:28 PM  

@TTrimble, @Z, @pablito.....Oh, good gravy. Now I want to sing "Carrot Juice is Murder."
@Birchbark...Yummm and them summmm.
@Frantic re yesterday....I tried looking up Hopalongchesedic because it knew it caused you angst and I don't like that. I'm glad it was cleared up. I never like any of the nasties.
@Joe D. Happy trails are here. Or as my friend @pablito might says: Fleas cumpli anos.....

Steve M 12:28 PM  

Should have been “ranch Topping” right?

JamieP 12:32 PM  

Agree with @chefwen far above. Easy puzzle. Before I started, the family had a lovely teriyaki salmon dinner which I snuck outside to grill. I joked with my wife that after the brain food I was going to crush the NYT Sunday puzzle. And I did. I put down answer after answer without hesitation and had by far a personal best. But no happy music! It took me several passes to find the culprit: PEDDLAR/NEAT. No more personal best. Oh well, back to chicken fingers and fries.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Rex doesn't seem to be aware that "family" is a well-known code word for "Mafia."

CESARE Borgia is a fairly famous person in world history.

The Place D'ETOILES is also quite well known.

MYSORE, maybe less so.

Frantic Sloth 12:42 PM  

Holy cheese! Typo much, Sloth??
To clarify:
@Z I don't care "how" their opinion. I want to know what their opinion might be.
Also, your taste in movies might be questionable*, but your "tasted" is past judgement.

*Full disclosure: as is mine.

@Birchbark 1149am "Who's been smoking in here?"
Be honest. Did you look at the dog?
Wow. That's some serious sausage-ing! Who says nobody wants to know how it's made?

@Anonymoose 1203pm Took the words right outta my...wait. Where do I keep my words again?

TTrimble 12:43 PM  

@Frantic Sloth
Re last night: I honestly don't think you should beat yourself up. To me, whatever that was, bore strong resemblance then, and now, to name-calling, and clearly the person had a chance to clarify and chose not to. Whatever it was, it was open to multiple interpretations, some really insulting, and it's still impossible for me to rule out those possibilities or that it was at least meant to provoke. I thought you were plenty polite about it.

@Joe Dipinto
Happy birthday, and thanks late last night for casting a light which helped to defuse matters. You're an awfully sharp fellow.

JC66 12:44 PM  

@Joe D

I must have missed it on your post, but based on other's comments. I guess it's your BD.

If so, have a great day and an even better year.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

It's savOr.

Masked and Anonymous 1:00 PM  

@RP: If U insist ... yer theme idea certainly sounds like a good runtpuz mcguffin.

Cinema Verite - Learned somethin, right outta the chute, as that puztitle was a new phrase, at our house. Thought this was a good SunPuz, as I like humor and like old flicks. This is one of those themes that'd surely have a lotta additional themer possibilities. I'd offer up a [partial] list, but am busy workin on that puz for @RP.

staff weeject picks: CHI + RHO. Greek version of an Egyptian capital city. Also seems like a good runtpuz theme idea, btw. Sheesh.

fave other flick in the puz: IROBOT. Sooo … better clue: {Unhuman movie??}.
Only major sore spot in the solvequest: MYSORE.

Thanx for the big hunk of fun, Mr. Margolis. And congratz on yer SunPuz #1. A pretty filmsy puz.

Masked & Anonymo10Us

*** SB [small biter] Alert ***:

bocamp 1:00 PM  

@Z 8:19 AM

Excellent summary of Brooke's "Inkubator" puzzle, and like @jae, was surprised to have finished it correctly. Now to research the PPP. :)

@TTrimble 12:43 PM

Well said re: your response to @Frantic!

@Joe 🎂 🎉

Peace Salam Paix 평화 Paz Friðr Pace ειρήνη Pax शांति Woof Meow 🕊

Frantic Sloth 1:02 PM  

@GILL 1228pm Aaaaw! You're such a sweetie - thank you. 😘
Nasties make my stomach hurt, but I'm not above them if properly motivated - which I thought I might have been. I look on the bright side - at least I made up a joke from it:

Q. What do you get when you cross my big, fat nose and somebody else's business?
A. A DEBACLE of memouth proportions.

DEBACLE: It's a situation/It's a person. It's a situation and a person.

I'm here all week, folks. Sorry 'bout that.

@TTrimble 1243pm Thanks for that. It was really on your behalf that I felt the righteous indignation. As usual, it was all kicked up a notch by my inability to ignore another anon poke. I'ma still cut @trebore some slack since it's very possible he/she never returned to read the blog after commenting. I try to give every inch of that benefit of the doubt whenever possible.
And thank the gods for @Joe Dipinto!

Unknown 1:09 PM  

I really enjoyed this one, much more than many in recent months. Clever, but not annoyingly so, fill throughout. Thanks for a most welcome Sunday bit of fun.

sixtyni yogini 1:29 PM  

Same slow spots as Rex. And I loved the Mysore (palace) clue. (Been there! )
I liked the puzz 🧩.
Better than most on Sundays.
Used to only do Sunday swords but since COVID and doing a puzz almost every day - usually don’t like them at all. Slow, boring, not tight enough etc. So thanks for ruining them for me, COVID quarantine! 😂
This one was ok 👍🏽.
Cheers all!

TTrimble 1:35 PM  

Actually, he/she did return, responding to anon in Italian. But the benefit of the doubt rule is right up there with the golden rule -- actually, a corollary of that rule. (BTW, I emailed you last night to say thanks.)

And yes, here's to Joe Dipinto. Hip, hip, hooray!

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

Wayyyyy too easy. I wasn’t trying to go fast, but I finished in 16 mins - my new Sunday best (according to the app).

Sandy McCroskey 1:56 PM  

Way too easy. Themers guessed with no or just a few crossers. Way too many three-letter words.

Joe Dipinto 2:02 PM  

@Everybody – thanks for the birthday wishes, how did you guess?

@F-Sloth, @TTrimble, @sanfranman – the whole thing last night was weird. I don't think @trebore meant to be sarcastic (in the now-deleted post), but I didn't quite get the point of the expression in the context either. Oh well.

sanfranman59 2:07 PM  

Easy NYT Sunday ... and, naturally, Rex posts his solve time today since it's crazy fast. Funny how most days, he claims that he doesn't time himself anymore and then just happens to post his time on days like today. In any case, 1.33 Rexes is good for me (1.5 is about average), so my ego is happy.

This is my personal best solve time for a Sunday puzzle solved at the time of publication (555 puzzles). I posted a slightly faster time on an archived Sunday (Paul Guttormsson's 2/4/2007 puzzle), so this is my second best ever Sunday solve time of 1,378 puzzles.

Since I read all of yesterday's blog comments, I was aware that people were having an easy time with this puzzle (I kinda wish folks didn't talk about the next day's puzzle at all). But as I was solving (perhaps because of last night's comments), I didn't feel like I was moving through it very well. I think that's because I couldn't find a foothold in the NW, but once I moved away from there, it was "Katie, bar the door" (odd expression, that). As it turned out, I beat my previous personal best solve time by almost a half minute (an eternity). In fact, I went at a very consistent record clip throughout the entire solve. The competitive, Type-A, stat-head personality in me loves that, but this puzzle wasn't terribly interesting.

@kitshef ... I usually feel like you and I are on the same page, based both on your puzzle commentary and the solving stats you post with Ralph Bunker's web app. So, I'm shocked that you've never seen one of my all-time favorite movies. I sometimes think of Godfather II as my very favorite all-timer (though it competes with a lot of others ... Annie Hall, On the Waterfront, Once Upon a Time in America, Double Indemnity, Goodfellas come to mind immediately). That said, I've always had a bit of an obsession with cops and robbers, organized crime films (see above list) and true-crime/police procedural TV, whereas I'm guessing you haven't. Vive la différence.

@Joe Dipinto ... Happy b-day! I'm forever amazed at how often you nail my musical tastes with your video posts and comments. Enjoy your day.

PhotoAde 2:08 PM  

Struggled with META as I saw ME-- and could only envision a two word answer, but wondering in retrospect why "cleverly" is necessary for the clue?

emily 2:37 PM  

Roan horses are not dappled. Greys, Duns are dappled.

old timer 2:40 PM  

I love it when the Sunday puzzle is not a slog, and can be quickly filled in. In this case I knew all the movie titles, though The Godfather is the only one I saw in a theater, plus Sunset Boulevard at a best films of all time series at Stanford's Mem Aud. TG was a good movie, but a very great book. Puzo's characters, in print, are memorable, and people you can care about.

Thanks to those who pointed out the puzzle section in today's paper. Hadn't noticed it. I have something to do in our re-imposed quarantine, now. And I haven't finished any of the puzzles in the Magazine yet, other than the xword.

Xcentric 2:49 PM  

Easy, fun Sunday. Enjoyed Rex’s upbeat evaluation.
Just a few missteps kept me from beating my Sunday record time: miser before saver in an empty SE and meta.
Still don’t quite get meta. Met a? without the I?

Birchbark 2:57 PM  

@Frantic (12:42) -- Re SMOLDERing dog suspicions: Now that you raise it, our yellow lab Georgie did seem a little reluctant to make eye contact this morning, moody and kind of withdrawn.

If indeed she was smoking in the garage (and who can say otherwise?), I blame society. In particular, the popularity of that black-light tapestry where the hounds are playing poker -- you see it everywhere, and they make it look fun. It certainly wasn't how we've raised her.

Anonymous 3:01 PM  

I'm disappointed that Prof. Rex didn't mention that the last of the movie titles contains an egregious grammatical error: "shrunk" is not the past tense of shrink. This one has ticked me off for years. It should be "Honey, I Shrank the Kids."

Carolyn V. 3:08 PM  

Lots of fun.

Z 3:22 PM  

@Seth - More like an AFI list from 1990... well, 1992, the most modern of the set is a mere 28 years old. The only one I’d recommend viewing is On the Waterfront. I’ve never seen Sunset Boulevard so can’t say either way. The rest can all be reasonably ignored. Although, comparing the two Brando characters is a fun academic exercise. From I coulda been a contender to I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse is an interesting juxtaposition.

@Frantic Sloth - I’m pretty sure this is my favorite scene from THE GODFATHER Otherwise, pass.

About last night - With the comment deleted before I saw it I couldn’t make any sense of what the discussion was about. Maybe if I read everything more closely it would make sense but it seems like spilt milk at this point.

bertoray 3:45 PM  

Disco before CABIN.
And I too conflated Martin Short with Rick Moranis for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, thank you very much SCTV.

Suzy 3:51 PM  

Wonderful way to spend thirty minutes or so sitting in the sun on a warm December day! Thank you, Dan!

kitshef 4:01 PM  

@Frantic 11:53. I have had a fair number of friends recommend The Godfather, but they have tended to be the friends who like movies I don't - Fargo, 2001, Chariots of Fire (and sorry, @sanfran 2:07, I include Goodfellas there). While the anti-Godfather friends generally show more similar taste to mine.

At least my inclusion of Rick Moranis among the list of impressive actors has remained unchallenged.

SFR 4:13 PM  

Easiest ever for me. Loved the COVID themed CABIN fever ... when you can't EATOUT.

TTrimble 4:49 PM  

Interesting: I'm a fan of the movies listed by @kitshef 4:01 PM. I enjoy most stuff by the Coen brothers. And 2001: A Space Odyssey -- I watched that in the movie theater with my dad when I was a young boy, and it left an indelible impression. A lot of people complain that it's slow-paced or boring, but for me, perhaps the word 'numinous' best describes the impact it invariably has on me.

Here is one of my favorite sketches featuring Rick Moranis in SCTV.

Another Anon 5:21 PM  

That's quite a burden you've been carrying.

Rodney King 5:26 PM  

Can't we all just like the same movies?

pabloinnh 5:32 PM  

@Movie critics everywhere-

Esquire just had a list of The 100 Best Movies of All Time", which was mucho fun to read, but the best part of it was the intro, which said, more or less, "Look, these are our editors' favorites. Any list like this is subjective. We don't care. Feel free to disagree or be dismayed that we have left your favorite movie off the list. Post comments and yell at us, and tell us why you like the movies that you do, that would be great."

That made perfect sense to me and reading the disclaimer before the choices meant that I read them with an even larger degree of generosity than usual.

thefogman 5:41 PM  

Did anyone do the Loose Ends puzzle in the NY Times magazine today? I found the second answer to phrase #2 was uncharacteristically bad for a constructor of Patrick Barry’s ilk. Archaic words should not appear in such puzzles.

Irishmaineiac 5:56 PM  

I had fun, and really, that's all that matters.

Joe Dipinto 6:16 PM  

@TTrimble – hahahaha I forgot about that Michael McDonald bit. Too hilarious!

Frantic Sloth 6:23 PM  

@Z 322pm I played this little game where I tried to guess the scene before watching the clip. What a pleasant surprise! Not for nothing and not the point, but I always thought Laraine Newman was greatly underrated.
And you're right about last night.

@kitshef 401pm I figured it had to be something like that. Thank you for taking the time to elaborate. You and I have clear differences in our taste in movies - not that there's anything wrong with that! 😉

@TTrimble 449pm I so envy your seeing 2001 in a movie theater. It's been said that the slow pace complaints usually come from those who hadn't seen it that way. In fact, I believe it was kind of a bomb until word of mouth from college kids who were "partaking" beforehand are what really got its popularity going.

@Rodney King 526pm 🤣🤣🤣

@pabloninnh 532pm Ha! Too true. And the people at Esquire apparently know how to do that. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the NYT movie critics and their recent absolutely farcical idea of a 25 best actors (male & female combined) list that omitted Meryl Streep and included Keanu Reeves. I couldn't even bring myself to read the rest of that heretical compilation

Z 7:15 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - I think Keanu just needs to get out of Encino, man, and make a Presbyterian pie.

pabloinnh 7:18 PM  

@Frantic-Yep, saw that list with the "why we didn't include Meryl Streep" subtitle and decided not to read it.

Forgot to mention that the other thing I like about the Esquire list was that it didn't include a countdown, so the #1 movie on the list was up to you, as were all the other rankings. I find the nuances in those kinds of lists to be pretty silly. I mean, good for you if you can pick between #42 and #41 and so on, because I sure can't.

Just to prove their point, or validate their approach, I was gratified to see "The Wizard of Oz" on the list, but they left off "To Kill A Mockingbird", which is clearly #1.

GILL I. 7:19 PM  

Ay @Frantic...I agree on omitting Streep, but she's included in everything else (usually). All she has to do is sing Mamma Mia and I do my one and only EEGADS on her.. Other than....she's definitely a star. Reeves, on the other hand ,has such a generous spirit that I forgive him for anything. I think of him as charismatic in a Hawaiian sense. He's incredibly charitable and evidently people who work with him love him. I really liked him in "The Watcher" ...but maybe because it had Spader in it (and I LOVE him)....

TTrimble 7:22 PM  

I didn't partake in that way at the time (as may go without saying), but yes, that seems very believable. I should add that virtually my entire imaginary life at that time circulated around the Space Age, and surely that enhanced my appreciation. But there was more to it than that...

Keanu Reeves!!! Holy crap. Well, to give KR some due, I think he does do a certain amount of research and training for say his John Wick roles, and one can judge favorably and enjoy his performance of combat tactics, and I think he's found his metier there. And, I guess I kind of like his Ted in Bill & Ted. Otherwise, I'll say no more, say no more.

Nancy 9:30 PM  

Thanks to Rexites who alerted me to the special puzzle section in today's paper. @Mathgent already had alerted me off-blog earlier, but without these various alerts, I probably would have completely missed it and maybe thrown away the section. And I LOVE this section and always look forward to it.

I'll return the favor by alerting you all to two excellent puzzles in today's magazine. LOOSE ENDS by Patrick Berry and SPIRAL by Will Shortz. If, like me, you were not stimulated by today's crossword, these will get your little gray cells finally working. The PB is fun, if not that hard; the WS is quite crunchy.

kitshef 9:34 PM  

@Gill 7:19. Yeah. Love Streep. Love Brosnan. Love Seyfried. Love ABBA. But the movie was ... EEGADS is a good description.

Z 10:55 PM  

@kitshef, Gill I, & Frantic Sloth - If only they had found a way to cast Brando as one of the dads and maybe Keanu as Seyfried’s love interest. Or, ooh ooh, Keanu as young Brando!

Joe Dipinto 10:57 PM  

Special puzzle section? Did someone say Special Puzzle Section?? [rifles through paper] Holy crap! They didn't forget my birthday after all! Thank you, NYT. Must get to work on this pronto...

Sandy 10:29 AM  

Felt like this puzzle was written by a middle school kid whose parents watch movies on TV. No fun, no pop, no challenge. Felt like homework. Ho hum.
Are you guys just happy because you didn't struggle?

Philip Marlowe, P.I. 12:42 PM  

Thanks for being positive about a Sunday. For the first time in months, I actually managed to finish this one without cheating. I only got 4 squares wrong, too. Perhaps the reason an amateur like me could finish this is because it was a finely constructed puzzle. Or, because the creator is a keyboard player, and so am I, so we think alike? As a movie buff, I knew all the theme clues pretty quickly except "On the Waterfront" which rings precisely zero bells for this child of the 80s.

imnotbobby 2:13 PM  

I’ve never filled in every themed answer before all the others until today. Wackily easy theme and clueing.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Actually I would suggest that "otterrut" is swimming on your back while mating with your otterette......

Roy Dimaggio 9:31 PM  
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spacecraft 12:57 PM  

A Christmas candy cane. Or, a 21x21 Monday. You get the idea. A list of iconic films, amusingly clued (all except for the horrid "dock-umentary" deal). It's mostly fine, and fills the Sunday crossword page, as required. Par.

Diana, LIW 1:43 PM  

Today, a tiny bit of diligence paid off. Enjoyed remembering some fun films, and wondering about others.

My kitty helped in the pre-dawn hours as I began this quest.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 1:53 PM  




rondo 2:12 PM  

Not all that punny or wacky, but better than a lot of silly Sunday stuff we've seen. Although there were REUPS: TENSEUP UPAT.

I've been to ARCHES National Park. If you can hack it, the hike/climb to Delicate ARCH is well worth it. Bring water.

From The Sopranos there's yeah baby DREA de Mateo, mother of SHOOTER (Waylon's son) Jennings' kids. SHOOTER doesn't go for the STETSON like his dad. SHOOTER is also the host of Electric Rodeo on Outlaw Country, Sirius XM - highly recommended.

The puz? ITSHERE.

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