Former capital of Yukon — SUNDAY, Oct. 11 2009 — Diminutive drum / Fictional inspector Dalgliesh / Parisian walk

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Constructor: Randolph Ross

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "AUTHOR! AUTHOR!" — two authors' names combine to make a punning phrase, which is clued wackily (i.e. with "?" on the end)


Word of the Day: ATMAN (97A: Hindu soul) — (Sanskrit: "breath" or "self") Basic concept in Hindu philosophy, describing that eternal core of the personality that survives death and transmigrates to a new life or is released from the bonds of existence. Atman became a central philosophical concept in the Upanishads. It underlies all aspects of personality, as Brahman underlies the working of the universe. The schools of Samkhya, Yoga, and Vedanta are particularly concerned with atman. (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia) // see also ANATMAN: "Non-self, the absence of self; the key Buddhist doctrine that both the individual and objects are devoid of any unchanging, eternal, or autonomous substratum." (Buddhism Dictionary)
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There is some cuteness here, and the theme is very dense (12 answers!), but overall I was not that thrilled by this puzzle. The answers are author's name + author's name = sort of familiar-sounding phrase. Only sometimes it's very familiar (WRIGHT PRICE) and sometimes it's not (STOUT KING) and sometimes it's spelled exactly right (SNOW WHITE) and sometimes not (STEELE MANN). So are you making familiar phrases or just ... phrases? That's the main issue. Like I said, some of the cluing involved a certain amount of cleverness and wittiness, but overall, it felt really wonky at a conceptual level. Beyond that, there are two answers with IN

  • IN NO TIME (7D: Very quickly)
  • IN A SPOT (105A: Stuck)

and two answers with OUT (not including Rex StOUT)

  • METE OUT (54A: Apportion)
  • SIGNS OUT (83D: Leaves with notice)

and then there was the hideous co-appearance of

O'MEARA (10D: Golf champ) and
MEARA (69D: Stiller and ____)

... who are both lovely, but who should Never share a grid.

Boo and boo.

Toughest part for me was, oddly, the far NE corner, where I could not accept that DADA was a "vocabulary word" (!?!?! 15D: Early vocabulary word). Unless your child is learning language via art history books, this clue sucks, as babytalk "DADA" has never been considered a "vocabulary word" by anyone anywhere. Why not just [Early word]? That, I'd buy. Other trouble in NE: I had ALOT for 16D: Madly (amok). No idea who the fictional inspector was. ADAM was a guess off a couple of theoretical crosses (14A: Fictional inspector Dalgliesh). Even GAME (21A: Willing) and MEN'S (17D: Department store department) weren't exactly obvious. Other rough bit was the middle. WIRED UP doesn't sound like a real phrase to me (78A: Very tense and excited). That clue = WIRED. Or KEYED UP. Bombs are WIRED UP. Did you mean WOUND UP? I have to think so. French failed me at ALLÉE (60D: Parisian walk), at least for a while. So I had to fight my way into that section. But other than that, the puzzle was pretty typical, difficulty-wise. If you are generally familiar with author names, it should have posed little problem.

Theme answers:

  • 22A: Bret and Robert's treatise on acid reflux? (HARTE BURNS)
  • 24A: Nathanael and Jack's travel guide about Heathrow's environs? (WEST LONDON)
  • 37A: Jonathan and Alice's account of a pedestrian in a hurry? (SWIFT WALKER)
  • 47A: C.P. and E.B.'s essay on purity? (SNOW WHITE)
  • 59A: Caleb and Robert B.'s novel about valet service? (CARR PARKER)
  • 70A: Richard and Thomas's book about a robot? (STEELE MANN)
  • 83A: Rex and Stephen's biography of Henry VIII? (STOUT KING)
  • 90A: Oscar and Isaac's profile of Little Richard? (WILDE SINGER)


  • 109A: Dan and Virginia's story of a dark-colored predator? (BROWN WOOLF)
  • 111A: Ezra and Irving's memoir of a stand-up comic? (POUNDSTONE)
  • 36D: Horton and John's podiatry journal article? (FOOTE BUNYAN)
  • 40D: Richard and Reynolds's bargain hunting manual? (WRIGHT PRICE)

Bullets:

  • 9A: _____ Wagner, player on an ultrarare baseball card (Honus) — why are you giving one of the most famous baseball players in all history the [BLANK last name] treatment. [Wagner on an ultrarare baseball card] would have been just fine.
  • 19A: Name after "you" ("Jane") — yeah, that's good.
  • 20A: Gulf Stater? (Omani) — I don't understand use of capital-S "Stater" here. Captial "S" makes sense only if (like Florida) Oman actually has the nickname "The Gulf State." Or maybe the states on the Persian Gulf are collectively called capital "G" Gulf capital "S" States...
  • 27A: It includes the line "The True North strong and free!") ("O Canada") — "Strong and Free and Cold as !@#S!" is, believe, Canada's national motto.
  • 31A: Diminutive drum (tabor) — also a medium-sized city in the Czech Republic.
  • 40A: "_____ hoppen?" ("Wha") — up there on my list of "you must be kidding me" answers.
  • 85A: Ally of the Cheyenne (Arapahoe) — had ARAPAHOS at first 'cause the terminal "E" just looked weeeird to me.
  • 98A: He was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (Nero) — interesting clue for common answer.
  • 103A: Big newspaper company, informally (Scripps) — not sure if it's "informal" for "E. W. SCRIPPS" or "SCRIPPS Howard News Service." SCRIPPS is also a liberal arts college in Claremont, CA.
  • 118A: Coordinate geometry calculation (slope) — first read "coordinate" as a verb ...
  • 14D: For whom Safire wrote the words "nattering nabobs of negativism" (Agnew) — William Safire, famous word maven, died just last month.
  • 28D: Co. that dances at the Met (ABT) — American Ballet Theatre (again I say if you are "American" you ought to learn to spell "THEATER" appropriately).
  • 56D: When repeated, a Thor Heyerdahl title (Aku) — ??? To me, AKU is the bad guy on "Samurai Jack."
  • 81D: Former capital of the Yukon (Dawson) — completely new to me. Feels like something I should have known (should have learned from xwords, in fact) long ago.
  • 87D: Brand that has "Real Facts" on its products (Snapple) — when they pare it down to just "Facts," maybe I'll start drinking.
  • 96D: Stanford QB drafted #1 in 1983 (Elway) — Long, amazing career. Seemed doomed never to win a Super Bowl until ... he did. Twice. Then immediately retired. And STAYED retired. Smart guy.

Now for your Puzzle Tweets of the Week — puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:

  • katmorton My new goal is to become a crossword whiz. Plus the best wife, mother, teacher, maid, chef, psychologist, accountant, taxi driver.......
  • aglunz Forgot to bring something to read on the plane...my crossword puzzle better not be filled out already!
  • abercaw Why do people thinks its appropriate to play music and sing in the campus center while I'm quietly doing a crossword puzzle?
  • falsestart The woman next to me on the el is blowing through her crossword and I'm a little jealous of her skills, tbh. [Amy ... ?]
  • kathrynadele Wondering how on earth the Daily Collegian manages to have an incorrect crossword every single day.
  • KyleDeas The NYPost's crossword is literally just an exercise in writing. Seriously: "what we breathe", three letters, starts with A. COME ON.
  • tanyaxx Whoever said crosswords are relaxing is sick in the head.
  • betsyphd Finished the NYT Sun xword in 31:13 with no help & with a baby on my chest. Heading over to @rexparker to read how ridiculously easy it was.
  • TwitKingMamo Crosswords are gay to the utmost

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

67 comments:

mac 9:08 AM  

This was a quick puzzle for me, and I agree with Rex almost entirely. On the other hand, I knew Elway but never heard of Honus (should have asked baseball-crazy husband) or 11D, so I missed that N.

Several expressions seemed weird to me: Drop trou and Wha hoppen. What? I liked Harte Burns!

I looove P.D. James and her Inspector Adam Dalgliesh.

chefbea 9:09 AM  

I'm the first??? Fun easy puzzle. Saw Rex but missed the fact that Parker was there also.

Got snow white first and the rest was easy.

Time to go out for breakfast. We'll go by Saturn. (we are a two saturn family)

Bob Kerfuffle 9:29 AM  

Easy puzzle today.

Sorry, Rex, but my first guess for 59A was CARRPORTER instead of CARRPARKER.

Just two other write-overs: for 30 A, To-do, I threw in FUSS before FLAP. (To paraphrase the late Wm. Safire, "Me of all people!") Also, at 34 D, Gadget, I thought GIZMO was the standard spelling and GISMO a variant. I may be influenced by the old Gizmo the Robot from Boys' Life magazine.

My favorite mis-direction today was 50 A, South Dakota, to Pierre - ETAT.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:34 AM  

A quick look at Jim Horne's database shows that the South Dakota clue has been used twice before, and ones like it several other times. Still liked it.

Elaine 10:15 AM  

@mac
I, too, am a PDJames fan. Adam Dalgliesh writes poetry on the side, battles depression, AND solves crimes. Top THAT!

82A "British tax" = CESS
Huh?

This puzzle took a while to slog through partly because I seemed to get one author but not the other for most of the "phrases" until I had a cross for help. That tends to slow one down. The fact that the puzzle prints out just a touch too small (even for new bifocals) makes me wonder if I should try AcrossLite....

I checked out WordPlay, where the two unfamiliar writers (Reynolds Price and Caleb Carr) were slightly explained. Now have Carr on my reading list.

Other than that, a gray puzzle on a gray day.... May as well be in Dawson...or Yellowknife... Um, Rex, are you sure you got the words right for "O, Canada?"

ArtLvr 10:22 AM  

I liked it a lot! As Mac noted, P D James' Adam Dalgleish is intriguing and the author is probably as admired in the US today as Agatha Christie in her day. I thought JANE as name after You was cute too.

I didn't mind the closeness of Meara and O'Meara or AMOK plus I'M OK, got a kick out of HENRI Rousseau and the OLD SOUL (shades of ATMAN?). I'd even learned of HONUS Wagner from the Antiques Roadshow! In fact, in spite of the load of names, they all were gettable and I found these theme combos mostly amusing, as in FOOTE BUNYAN, whether or not the spellings differed from the target phrase... the sounds were what mattered to me.

Some Sunday puzzles seem rather tedious, but this was ROSY, moved right along and ended up good fun...

∑;)

retired_chemist 10:22 AM  

Good puzzle. Agree with Rex about the theme's nonuniformity. Not the best. Kinda ragged feel but it wasn't particularly irksome.

@ Bob K - Hand up for HOME first instead of ETAT for 50A.

pednsg 10:25 AM  

Really enjoyed the corniness, and the themes really helped a lot today. I never like seeing UNC in a grid, but having Duke profesor Reynolds PRICE in the same puzzle provided the needed balance.

I loved Dropped TROU and "WHA Hoppen?" - is the latter from anything in particular (movie, book..)??

The "E" in CESS and ALLEE was the last box to get filled - is it just me? Never heard of the tax in question.

Overall, fun and easy, which, which mild flu-like symptoms, was welcome. Please get your kids and grandkids immunized.

ArtLvr 10:27 AM  

@ Elaine - I did try "levy" before CESS! Tricky one.

∑;)

Geezer 10:28 AM  

As a non-sports fan, I was surprised that HONUS popped in without thinking. Then as a PDJames fan, ADAM dropped in, and that made MENS easy.
I will gloat today that I beat Rex in the NE corner!

Geezer 10:30 AM  

Oh, will someone please explain what Drop trou means? And what is the connection between you and Jane?

Susan 10:35 AM  

@BK The SD clue was new to me and I thought it was clever.

@Rex Yes, they call them the Gulf States, but I was looking for an American state, too.

I have no problem with calling DADA an "early vocabulary word." It seems like you're hung up on the grade school definition of "vocabulary words" that you learn for a test. The collection of words the toddler knows is her vocabulary, so DADA, as a word acquired at a young age is an "early vocabulary word." Granted, it could have been clued without "vocab." but isn't that an appropriate Sunday-level misdirection? (Listen to me, with all my fancy meta-crossword terms!)

Agree that the theme lacked coherence/consistency.

My only difficulty was at the end where I read the clue for 114A as "_____ litigation." I had TU_AL and figured it must be some Latin thing, so I just put in a T, which seemed plausible. Duh.

retired_chemist 10:35 AM  

@ geezer - DROP TROUsers. Check the Urban Dictionary for this kind of stuff in general.

I don't get JANE either.

Susan 10:37 AM  

@Geezer: Drop your trousers. Me Tarzan, You Jane.

chefbea 10:39 AM  

@Geezer Me Tarzan, you Jane

Drop trousers

Elaine 10:50 AM  

Just look at all the naughty people telling Geezer to drop trou!

I only got JANE because I thought of JUMPSUIT, and it did make me laugh when it popped in there.

I am not sure where we go to learn the origin of "Wha' hoppen?" but I think it goes pretty far back. I recall my folks' using this expression on occasions where something had come outta left field and disrupted things...

STILL do not get CESS. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

At our 50th reunion (last weekend)we had a guy that 'dropped trou' (accidentally) in the middle of a dance contest. Alas, he would have won. Flowerlady9

XMAN 11:09 AM  

I was bowling right along, when my brain went on strike in the SE. Eventually (the opposite of INNOTIME) all the pins fell.

Got tired of having to untangle authors' names from capacious namebank. POUNDSTONE is not a phrase, however funny she may be.

I give this puzzle a solid meh+.

Denise 11:12 AM  

Please explain "cess."

I was confused doing this puzzle, but I finished it without being clear on the way the theme worked or what half the words were. That can be fun too?

Meg 11:17 AM  

@Elaine:

Looked up "cess". It's derived from "assess" and is used in India. Who knew?

Wish my library had more books on CD by PD James. They make driving so much better.

I understand THEOREM as the answer, but the clue seems weird.

This puzzle was not that easy for me. I guess my literary background sucks.

I've come up with a solution for when the blogger kills your post. Highlight and ctrl-c before you publish.

Karen from the Cape 11:22 AM  

HONUS Wagner is one of the most famous baseball players in history? Really? I wouldn't argue that he may be the best, or the most famous baseball card, but the really well known ones seem to be more like Ruth, DiMaggio, Aaron, Robinson, Cobb and Gehrig (and Berra, Sosa and Arod in xwords). I know that I was guessing at the O and the N.

My mistake was crossing ALLEZ and CZSS. Allez Alonzo! Oy, I got the quote wrong. And I saw the nonsense word for the tax but figured it might just be a British thing. ALLEE looks just as crazy.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

@ Karen from the Cape: the clue didn't say famous (although Wagner is, in an old-timey senses); it said he was on an "ultrarare" card -- which he definitely is. There are, what? two or three max.

HudsonHawk 11:45 AM  

@Karen, yes really. The first players inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936 were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, HONUS Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.

Cobb was on 98.2% of the ballots. Ruth and Wagner each were on 95.1% of the ballots. Some of the players that didn't make it into the Hall in that first year voting: Cy Young, Tris Speaker, and Rogers Hornsby.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Disagree, Rex. Good puzzle.

Van55 11:51 AM  

A fine puzzle in my book. Enjoyed every minute of solving it.

poc 11:53 AM  

CESS is new to me, as I think it would be to 99.99% of British people (at a conservative estimate). Terrible clue. Lucky the crosses were easy.

ADAM Dalgliesh is well-known to detective story fans. I'm surprised Rex hasn't heard of him given his interest in noir (not that P.D. James is noir in the usual sense, but it's a neighbouring field).

JANE was clever and amusing.

I've no idea what POUNDSTONE means as a phrase.

@Meg: I agree with you about THEOREM. In a non-cryptic puzzle the I think the clue should define the answer, not merely allude to it. Something like "You'll have to prove it". Not a big deal here but it looks sloppy.

Meg 11:55 AM  

@poc: It's not a phrase; it's a comedienne, Paula Poundstone.

Noam D. Elkies 11:59 AM  

Whoa, WAY too many names even outside the theme. Go to that well this many times, and it becomes a 82A:CESSpool: the drink turns brackish, or even repeats on you — I couldn't believe the double (O')MEARA either.

The theme itself could work if the names were more uniformly familiar — the fact that some are used only phonetically doesn't bother me — but as it stands, sorry, I can't even rate it as high as Xman's meh+. despite the occasional clever clue (50A:ÉTAT) or envelope-pushing fill (53A:ISTINK, 65A:TROU, 114A:TUBAL).

The HONUS/OMEARA/NASD/UNTACKS region feels particularly desperate. Honus is evidently one of those pre-WWI b*seball players who're so famous I've never heard of them. At least the card might be "ultrarare" for a good reason — WIkipedia suggests the guy didn't want to be used as bait to get kids to buy cigarettes (though also giving the alternative explanation that the tobacco pushers weren't paying him enough for the bait).

NDE

P.S. Cute to make the Archie Bunker connection with 92D:STIFLE, but is that (or more often "stifle yourself") really a "plea"!? As in "please do me the favor of shutting your trap"?...

poc 12:29 PM  

@Meg: so it's a proper name and not a phrase? That just means the theme fill sucks even more than Rex already said. It's just all over the place.

@Noam D. Elkes: totally agree about the excess of proper names. Oddly enough, despite my supine ignorance of baseball, I had heard of HONUS Wagner by the pure happenstance of seeing a TV movie a while back. According to this he had some conflict with Ty Cobb, who is portrayed as cynical and out for himself (I've no idea how much of this is factual). The cigarette cards figured in it as well. Wagner did appear on some at the beginning but had a crisis of conscience and fell out with the tobacco companies.

Leon 12:58 PM  

Thank you Mr.Ross.

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers performing on Letterman the other night.

Banjos are picked, plucked and plinked.

Shark 1:19 PM  

12 theme answers, easy puzzle (except a couple of tough spots - AKU? who knew?), was a fun Sunday to solve.

@Rex: The repeat IN and OUT did not bother me (given the density of theme fill), but for some reason the repetition of BROWN in the answer and in a clue (for HOW NOW) did! (Although I am not sure how one avoids this).

RogueKnits 2:05 PM  

Am I the only one who did a big WTF about EARLAP? Apparently it is a variation on earFlap, but I've never heard it before.

Orange 2:09 PM  

Rex was gentler on this theme than I was.

And no, Rex, it wasn't me on the El cowering that Twitterer.

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

Not having heard of Paula Poundstone, I took the pair of words to be a phrase: POUNCED ON. (How a standup comedian might feel in front of a tough crowd of hecklers.)

This seems way cuter to me that the "real" understanding of the answer.

Charles

Glitch 2:46 PM  

As solve this was an OK Sunday, relatively easy.

Construction wise, too many things bothered me to be convinced this offering went through a proper final vetting:

POUNDSTONE seemed a leftover from the concept stage and should have been discarded; maybe a treatise implies complexity, but how many types of HARTEBURNS are there; dancing duo was THE ASTAIRES; "Prove it" / THEORUM an odd mismatch of case; and a half a dozen others I flagged as I was solving.

But since in my neck of the woods, our winter hats had EARLAPS, which "overlapped the ears", not "flaps", that one didn't make my list, tho ETC as a "sentence shortener" did.

Puzzle B, construction D+.

.../Glitch

Bob Kerfuffle 2:55 PM  

@RogueKnits - As I don't recognize your name, let me be the first to say, "Welcome to the club."

Although EARLAP looks strange to most of us, it was the subject of considerable discussion within the last six months or so, and therefore I think most of us just pass over it. Likewise, we had a lot of fun with "Tubal ligation" this summer. But as I suggested with the Pierre, South Dakota clue, if you haven't seen it before or you've forgotten, the fun is there fresh.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:01 PM  

Do we need a name for this?

A check of the Wordplay database shows that the last two uses of EARLAP were today and 8/16/09, and the last two uses of TUBAL were today and 8/16/09 -- and both puzzles were by Randolph Ross!!!

mac 3:11 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: great discovery! Now Will's staff could have done that research.

Steve 3:22 PM  

Am I the only one who's wondering what was with the spelling "hoppen"? "Wha' happen?" is a common enough slangy phrase, but I've always heard the second word pronounced as it normally is. Perhaps there's a regional variant I'm not aware of?

chefwen 3:38 PM  

I had a great time with this puzzle once I figured out where he was going with the theme. SWIFT WALKER was my first long fill, after that is was all smooth sailing. Favorite was WILDE SINGER. Dropped TROU and WHA hoppen were close seconds.
Didn't remember the HONUS guy but wasn't tripped on TUBAL like I was last time, litigation vs. ligation.

hazel 3:49 PM  

I liked this puzzle quite a bit - first for the shoutout to @Edith B!! (not that I want her to STIFLE) and second because I felt like a smartypants for once - getting all but a couple of the authors the first time through (I'm usually a little slow on the uptake on gimmicks, so it did take me one pass through the puzzle to figure out what the gimmick actually was), but still.

Any puzzle which brings writers to the forefront and celebrates them is definitely OK by me. I did the puzzle last night - If there was anything I didn't like, its been completely overshadowed by the tribute to authors, who remain a major component to the quality of my life.

Plus I sort of like the smartypants feeling, short-lived as it is/will be.

P.S. I think Ricky Ricardo used to say WHA HOPPEN alot but I can't imagine that he is the solution to this mystery.

archaeoprof 3:51 PM  

Fun puzzle; good Sunday.

Re 65A: one day on a recent dig my trowel fell out of my back pocket, and a student announced that I had "dropped trowel."

joho 4:19 PM  

AKU AKU, God bless you!

If you put all your tax money in a CESS you get a CESSpool.

@Bob K ... yes, there is a word for it: redundant!

The Cardiac Cats won again!

Have a nice Sunday everybody.

joho 4:26 PM  

Oh, have I missed something? What happened to the Basset Hound and the Jack Russell Terrier? I everybody OK?

edith b 4:35 PM  

My husband's name is Archibald and our only child is named Gloria and we lived in Queens NY for over 40 years so it has always been a running joke at our house for my husband to say "Edith, stifle yourself."

What is really funny is that my husband is a dignified African-American gentleman with little sense of humor but this, this he found funny. Thank you, Hazel, for the shout-out.

My family always said I had my nose in a book too much and today it was a big help as I had little trouble with this puzzle. I didn't enjoy it much as it seemed off to me for most of the reasons Rex outlined in his write-up.

So for the umpteenth time I enjoyed the write-up more than I enjoyed the Sunday puzzle.

Oh, well.

Elaine 4:36 PM  

Yes, I think we've caught Randolph Ross with some pet words.

I tried the Urban Dictionary for "Wha' hoppen?" and related spellings--nada. We need someone who will pursue this to the pedantic ends of the Earth!

I've never read AKU-AKU, but _Kon-Tiki_ was a wonderful read for a 13 year old...(a few years back, I admit.)

Oh, and thanks to everyone who mentioned the Pierre SD clue...I had _TAT in place and never considered that there was a playful aspect to the thing. TSK. I hate missing jokes!

See you later in the week-- three and out,
Elaine in Chilly, Gray Arkansas

Crosscan 5:02 PM  

I didn't know Arkansas was in Canada.

Puzzle left me cold.

allan 5:37 PM  

OK, the "Wha hoppen" I know is from a movie called "A Mighty Wind". It's a catchphrase that one of the characters (played by the great Fred Willard) uses. It's actually, "Hey, wha hoppen?"

That's pretty obscure. Anyone else know a source for it?

allan 5:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 5:45 PM  

Non-puzzle wife explained "you Jane" to me. I quote:

"That doesn't make any sense at all .... unless it comes from 'Me Tarzan, you Jane.'"

D'oh.

Karen from the Cape 5:53 PM  

To beat a dead HONUS, from A Charlie Brown Christmas this has been going through my head today:

Lucy Van Pelt: "What has Beethoven got to do with Christmas? Everyone talks about how "great" Beethoven was. Beethoven wasn't so great."
Schroeder: "What do you mean Beethoven wasn't so great?"
Lucy Van Pelt: "He never got his picture on bubblegum cards, did he? Have you ever seen his picture on a bubblegum card? Hmmm? How can you say someone is great who's never had his picture on bubblegum cards?"
Schroeder: "Good grief."

Jack Soo 6:08 PM  

Sioux City Sue

So Sue me

addie loggins 8:04 PM  

Wow. I didn't enjoy this puzzle at all. I struggled to get started, and struggled to keep going (and stay interested). Most of the time, when I finally got the answer, my feeling was, well, "meh."

I agree with Crosscan... this puzzle left me cold.

Elaine 8:29 PM  

Okay, I'm breakin' the law here, but @ Crosscan
Yeah, we're in Canada; SOUTH Canada. In fact....it's just like...CLEVELAND! and we came here to escape that climate!!!
Do you think it's us?

I am DYING about the "You Jane" business. I had to explain it inch by inch to my dear, dear, "Engineer personality" hubby. Ya gotta love 'em........because who else would?
NO, NO! I did NOT say that!

this time I really mean it. I'm not coming back til Thursday!....unless I wake up too early......

Babs 8:34 PM  

My ritual -- I like to do my Sunday puzzle while I'm watching "60 Minutes" but football season messes up my schedule -- the games always run long.

OK puzzle today. I did it quite quickly. I've never heard of Richard Steele. Big gap in my learnin'.

poc 8:35 PM  

@Elaine: Old joke among engineers (your husband probably knows it):

Arguing with an engineer is like mudwrestling a pig; after a while you notice two things, a) you're covered in mud, and b) the pig is enjoying it.

sillygoose 8:58 PM  

I didn't like this puzzle, mostly for the overabundance of names. I seemed to also be getting one author but not the other. I had trouble getting BUNYAN and STONE. I ran through the alphabet with _ANE for name after "you" and never got it (tho it seems cute now). EDERLE and BEA were blank at FLAP. HONUS? I'm suspicious.

STIFLE/ATMAN was blank, as I have not heard of either one. ALLEE/CESS was the same. Trouble everywhere!

At least it was a beautiful day here. :-)

PlantieBea 9:28 PM  

Very uneven puzzle. Okay fun, but not my favorite Sunday at all.

Orange 11:38 PM  

(Belatedly saying: Whoops, I meant "cowing," not "cowering.")

XMAN 12:59 AM  

poc: You made me laugh, dammit!

andrea wired up michaels 2:59 AM  

I'm just happy Paula doesn't comment on this blog...yet!

When I first began standup in Boston circa 1981, Paula Poundstone had just moved from Boston to SF.

She's one of the funniest people alive, male or female (I'm sure there are YouTube things or HBO specials or something for those of you who don't know who she is...)

Anyway, back in the early 80s, very few females were doing standup...esp in Boston, which was very male, Irish Catholic dominated...
so almost every night, audience members would come up to me and say, "We really liked you! But you know who is REALLY great? Paula Poundstone!" OR
"Tonight I laughed my head off, but you know who really makes me laugh? Paula Poundstone!!!!!"

This went on for years, even tho Paula and I are nothing alike, as women, as comedians, physically, mentally, ZERO, except we were both comics who were women. And I had never met her!

It was like everyone felt guilty to actually like TWO women comediennes, and every time people enjoyed me, and would approach after the show to compliment me, they would always hasten to add, "But you know who is terrific??? Paula Poundstone!"

So three years later, I move to SF and the FIRST night I perform there, someone comes up and says, "I loved you! But you know who I really love? Paula Poundstone!!!!!!!"

(Paula had JUST moved from SF to LA at that point...and was getting quite famous. I was just doing my lowkey, political, avoiding law school, friends-talked-me-into-it, no intention of keeping with it, ten minutes here and there)

So when Paula was back visiting in SF, I told her what I had been going thru my first 3 years, following, unintentionally, in her footsteps!

Told her to tell me when she was leaving LA, so I could move there and have people continue to compliment me while rushing to assure me that they were really loyal to Paula Poundstone!

Anyway, to make a long story even longer, several years later, we were both living in LA and poor Paula ran afoul of the law, (due to an ungrateful foster child and some of her own self-admitted demons with alcohol, etc.) and was out of the scene for a while.

During this time, I had all but given up doing standup/writing sitcoms, etc, had moved back to SF in the early 90s, was leading a quiet new life as a namer, but had been asked to be an occasional panelist on this new NPR show called "Wait Wait Don't Tell me"...

Dream gig...for news junkies who were to be quick on their feet. I was in heaven.

The show was taped in Chicago with various panel members in NY, DC, SF, LA.
We would all do it by phone, could not see each other, and would try not to step on each other's lines, etc. (Trickier than it sounds when you are doing comedy in a soundproof radio booth.)
They had some behind-the-scenes conflict with the engineers at KQED in SF and the next thing I knew, I was off the show as they decided not to deal with the SF guys anymore :(


and who did they replace me with???!
PAULA POUNDSTONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, so now, 15 years later, she is a permanent member of the show, they fly them all in to Chicago every week, tape in front of a live audience...and today she is an answer in the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle!!!!!!!!!!!!

And me? um. I'll deal with that in therapy next week.

All I'm saying, is for those who enjoy my occasional comments on Rex's blog, I'm ok, but you'd REALLY go crazy if Paula wrote in!!!
;)

Blackhawk 4:26 AM  

Andrea, I don't know if anyone but me will read that last post you left in the middle of the night, but just wanted you to know I thought it was great. Having done plenty of radio if my life, I can definitely sympathize with the closing anecdote. And anyway, I'm sure you'd be much more fun to hang out with than PP.

About the puzzle -- thought it was very good. Fast, breezy, some clever clues and an amusing literary angle. Bravo to the constructor.

Daryl 5:09 AM  

Great post Andrea, and I did like the puzzle. Found it a bit harder than "medium", but then I got stuck in the West.

mac 8:36 AM  

Great post, Andrea, lots of fun to read at breakfast! Enjoy LA, or are you home again? The clock is ticking!

mac 8:36 AM  

Great post, Andrea, lots of fun to read at breakfast! Enjoy LA, or are you home again? The clock is ticking!

treedweller 8:36 AM  

@Andrea etc. Michaels
I quite enjoy PP's comedy myself (did, anyway--haven't heard her in awhile) but, in the unlikely event that I ever meet her, I'll be sure to mention how much I like you.

mac 8:37 AM  

HA, ha, now I have the first and last post! Don't spoil it, anyone!

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