SUNDAY, Jun. 8, 2008 - Will Nediger (Bear-named villainess in Superman films)

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Q & A Session" (8 theme answers are all two word phrases where first word begins with "Q" and second word with "A")

The theme was very easy to uncover, but the puzzle compensated for that by making several of the Q&A phrases quite odd and/or difficult, and then by having huge swaths of white space that made it difficult at times to get good traction. Further, the non-theme fill was tougher than usual, as was the cluing. There was some wince-inducing fill here and there (with that many "Q"s, something is bound to give), but all in all it was a challenging and entertaining puzzle, with more than enough high spots to compensate for the low.



Theme answers:

  • 23A: They tremble in the slightest breeze (quaking aspens)
  • 32A: Parliamentary measure of 1774 (Québec Act) - nice move North of the Border. Our neighbors so rarely get the attention they deserve.
  • 44A: Period in which we live (Quaternary Age) - I stared and stared and stared at this. I had QU-TER... for a while and couldn't believe that anyone could make a word out of that. I've never heard of this Age, but I can see from Google that it's real. I thought maybe QUITE or QUOTE-something, but I was pretty sure the "A" from ALAMEIN (36D: El_____ (1942 battle site)) was right. So I let that guess stand, and it paid off.
  • 63A: Recoiling from (Quailing at) - oh I do Not like "AT" as a theme word
  • 65A: Pursue (quest after) - "I quest the rains down in Africa ..." (that quotation has an intended audience of precisely two people ... I know (now) that those aren't the real lyrics to Toto's "Africa" ... but I did not always know that)
  • 81A: "The Spirit of Australia" sloganeer (Qantas Airways) - this exact clue, four months ago. Google it and you get ... this site.
  • 97A: Daughter of James II (Queen Anne) - I woke up to Henry Purcell this morning. He was alive when James II was king, and died about seven years before Anne became queen.
  • 109A: Graham Greene novel set in Saigon, with "The" ("Quiet American") - Just as I did not know "AT" could be a theme word, I did not know theme answers could be partials ... still, I like this answer, especially side-by-side with its literary partner, ANTONIA (106A: Title girl of a Willa Cather novel).
Today was a good day to be a constant solver, because a lot of these words are ones that you probably don't hear or see a lot in your regular life, but that show up not infrequently in the grid. Right off the bat there's URSA (1A: Bear-named villainess in Superman films), whose name I learned from crosswords, despite the fact that I saw the films that featured her. Then there's LLANOS (39A: Grassy plains), which seems to be appearing with increasingly frequency lately, though I could be imagining that. I always want STEPPES or PAMPAS. LLANOS is the only LL- word I know besides LLAMA. And L.L. Bean. Oh, and LL Cool J. Moving on: ERG (40A: Ten-millionth of a joule). I miss ERG. I don't see it nearly as much as I used to. Or so it seems. Then we have ENOL, the clue for which features the nuttiest-looking word of the day: "tautomerism" (69A: Compound that's subject to tautomerism). Coming hot on the heels of yesterday's [bleeped out to protect syndication solvers from spoilers], this was startling and overwhelming. Luckily, ENOL is as crosswordesey as ERG, so no problem. I think that one of the most crosswordish acts I can think of would be to eat an UGLI (66D: Fruit named for its appearance) on the streets of RIGA (45D: Capital on the Dvina River). Could someone please do that, and then send me a picture? Thanks. Oh, and if you could do it while riding a SNO-CAT (57D: Treaded transport), that would be even better.

I like how YIP and WAIL are clued as if they are Not cries. I guess that's to distract you from the excess of screaming and crying in this puzzle, with YIP (29A: Beginning of a cowboy song refrain) and WAIL (83D: Play a sax solo, maybe) going along with YELP (77A: Canine cry) and the super-obscure WAULS (79A: Cries shrilly). I googled WAULS when I was finished, and was asked if I meant "walls" (no) then was offered up a website called "worcester area union list of serials." One dictionary site semi-confirming that WAULS is indeed a word, and then ... lots of people named WAULS. Did you know that Cat R. Waul is a character in "An American Tale: Fievel Goes West"? Well now you do, and your life is richer for it.

Listings:

  • 5A: Cause of a full-stop for sailing ships (dead calm) - AVAST! Surely you are moving at least a little bit no matter how calm the seas are.
  • 13A: Ritzy Rio neighborhood (Ipanema) - spelling problems here, first with IPANEMA (IPANIMA??) and then with EGOYAN (17D: "Ararat" director, 2002) (AGOYAN?). Exotic proper nouns crossing at a vowel ... not one of my favorite things.
  • 20A: Column on a questionnaire (noes) - wouldn't the column just read "No"?
  • 47A: Addams who created the Addams Family (Chas.) - woo hoo, cartoons!
  • 51A: Drang's counterpart (Sturm) - I think I thought this was STRUM.
  • 56A: Trio of comedy (Stooges) - nice little gimme on this prickly Sunday
  • 70A: Vending machine tricker (slug) - I mysteriously love this answer; I think I just like this meaning of SLUG above all others.
  • 72A: Packard's partner (Hewlett) - more spelling problems. Thought HEWLITT.
  • 87A: Implements using fulcrums (oars) - clue makes answer sound like a torture device.
  • 88A: Red, e.g., once (foe) - ??? I think part of this clue is missing. FOE ... of ... ?
  • 91A: Credit card magnet (stripe) - the "P" here was tough for me, because STRIPE seemed to blah to be the answer, and LPN was scaring me (85D: Hosp. staffer). But then I remembered I'd seen the (horrible) LPN before, and I just went with the "P".
  • 114A: Backwoods valley (hollers) - love it, like I love SLUG
  • 31D: Primer pooch (Spot) - from the "Dick & Jane" ... primers.
  • 115A: Freezing mixtures (cryogens) - Not used to seeing this in noun form, but OK.
  • 1D: Two wiggling fingers, maybe (unquote) - wow, I simultaneously hate and like this. I think "wiggling" is a horrible descriptor, implying a constant motion that is not part of the gesture in question. But it's a very creative clue nonetheless.
  • 5D: Classic 1965 novel set on the planet Arrakis ("Dune") - never read it, but what else was it going to be in four letters?
  • 7D: Gypsum variety (alabaster) - pieced together from crosses. I thought "gypsum" was botanical. Whoops.
  • 10D: Mideast city that was once a British protectorate (Aden) - It has a Gulf named after it, and I always confuse it with OMAN.
  • 24D: Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co., today (I.B.M.) - you may be interested to know that:
The Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR) was incorporated on June 15, 1911 in Endicott, New York a few miles west of Binghamton.
  • 28D: Slangy greeting ('sup) - I can tell you that in my recent puzzle-creating adventures, I had SUP in a puzzle, wanted to clue it in exactly this manner, and was laughed at. I can also tell you that when I showed someone (someone!) a puzzle with ETAPE in it (76D: Tour de France stage), the first comment I got back was "I cringed when I saw ETAPE." Vindication! (actually ETAPE is in fact crappy, but when it gets you out of a jam, and there's not another crappy answer for miles, I think you're OK).
  • 38D: "_____ House," 1983 Madness hit ("Our") - I'll take "Things that Remind Rex of Summer Camp for $1000, Alex." Other 80s musical goodness includes "FAST CAR" (88D: 1988 Tracy Chapman hit) and the aforementioned "Africa" by Toto, which is not actually in the puzzle, but is now firmly in my head, where it is likely to stay all day long.
  • 49D: Stops on le metro (arrets) - :(
  • 96A: Relative of Welsh (Manx) - if I knew this once, I forgot it.
  • 56D: In Harry Potter books, nonmagical offspring of wizard parents (squib) - the HP books are going to be supplying the puzzle with interesting fill for a long time. I have my own HP words lined up and waiting for their chance in the sun.
  • 74D: 1973 #1 hit for the Rolling Stones ("Angie") - not one of my favorites. Boring. I do like when he shout/whispers "Angie" towards the end. That always makes me laugh. "Angie, I'm whispering now, so you know I'm serious, girl."
  • 107D: It's well-supplied (oil) - nice clue. Memo to self: Finish watching "There Will Be Blood."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

51 comments:

ArtLvr 9:07 AM  

Happy Sunday! I did today's puzzle in ink, fairly quickly, and enjoyed looking up a few items afterward for further enlightenment... The only answer I had to overwrite was my first entry! I wrote "tennis" at 91D, but realized immediately there wasn't any 3-letter tea holder starting with N, just good old URN at 101A, and the game wanted was indoor SQUASH. I continued more carefully with the rest...

Leaving discussion of the Q-A theme answers like QUATERNARY AGE and QUIET AMERICAN to Rex et al, I was piqued by the WAULS at 79A and tried looking it up -- it's not in my online dictionaries, just "caterwaul". However, in my ancient 1951 M-W I got WAUL, variant of "wawl": a Scot. and Dial. Eng. noun and verb meaning wail or howl. So that's neat... What about 114A HOLLERS in the sense of backwoods valleys, rather than shouts? Big surprise! Not in my old M-W at all, either meaning -- too regional then?

Finally I went after the intriguing film director 17D EGOYAM, probably familiar to most of my fellow solvers: I found his first name Atom (!), and the surname was originally Yeghoyen (Armenian). He was born in Egypt, raised in Canada, now teaching at the U. of Toronto, and there's lots more of interest in Wikpedia.

Favorite words: MANX (not the cat!), OGRISH (?). Quibble: clue for 54A SIR -- after "yes", okay, but also before "yes"? That strikes me as very odd.

∑;)

p.s. Gypsum = a widely distributed mineral consisting of hydrous calcium sulfate that is used especially as a soil amendment and in making plaster of paris. Alabaster is a fine-grained white variety of gypsum, often used in sculpture, but less valuable and less durable than the white marble it resembles.

miriam b 9:14 AM  

I am so embarrassed. The one spot in the puzzle that gave ne problems was RIGA I wanted it to be Buda, which I know is on the Danube, but I kept trying to make the Dvina a tributary or something. It then dawned on me that Budapest is the full and correct name of the capital. Then I realized that the dv diphthong doesn't look very Hungarian. So I thought; Baltic, hmm. Kaunas? Tallinn? Helsinki? AHA. RIGA. Why am I embarrassed? Because my mother was born there.

At least I didn't fall into the EURO trap.

imsdave1 9:26 AM  

@artlvr - Sir, yes sir better be your answer when an officer asks you a question.

Liked the puzzle, but 'Q' puzzles always have a built in crutch, with the (mostly) required 'U's. I was not pleased with the somewhat odd theme fill, but it was servicable. Other than SMOKING for SEARING, I made no mistakes and found it fairly enjoyable. WAUL? NIMBY.

Have a nice Sunday all, and stay cool. I thought of Rex as I drove to the golf course in northern CT at 6:20 a.m. yesterday, and they said it was upper seventies already in Binghamton (it was 61 here). By the end of the day however, we had reached 94. 76 when I went out for the Times and Globe today at 6:30. Yuck, and we have to live with it through Tuesday.

Dave

SethG 9:47 AM  

ArtLvr, see this for _many_ examples.

So the rest of you don't feel left out, here's Kilimanjaro rising like Olympus above...Amboseli National Park.

I found this fairly easy except for two problem areas: I spent about half my total solving time in just San Diego and Orono. Really wanted RAVAGED to be RAN AMOK. YIP could have been anything, didn't remember who directed Ararat, and not remembering LLANxS made it really hard for me to parse MEDICO, which I would have guessed was Spanish. And didn't like ADEPTS. (And I didn't know the ETAPE vowel and had SQUEAL, so didn't see AMOK elsewhere for a long time.)

What killed me in Cali: didn't notice that 97A was a theme answer. I said TENNIS and knew that had to be right. And I didn't know anything else down there.

I say 'SUP all the time. No love for SKUA, Rex?

ArtLvr 9:55 AM  

O sirs, yes sirs --Thanks, I do remember that now in films! And tracking down more on "gypsum" as a soil amender led me to these:

@ miriam b -- Trivia questions to entertain your grandchildren:

1) Who was the only US President to speak a language other than English with his family?
2) Who was the only the only US President to serve in Congress after he was President?
3) Who was the only President who obtained a patent for an invention?
4) Who signed the first patent granted in the US before he became President?

Answers: 1) Martin Van Buren, from a Dutch-speaking New York family.
2) John Quincy Adams, because he cared so deeply about getting slavery abolished.
3) Abraham Lincoln, although his boat-hoist was never commercialized.
4) Thomas Jefferson, who served as Secretary of State under Washington, though before the Constitution was signed there were patents issued by several of the colonies! The Patent Office was established later.

PhillySolver 10:13 AM  

I assume Slugo isn't drawn anymore, but along with the Katzenjammer kids, he brings back memories of my youth. I read Wila Cather then too.

Actually, 'dead calm' in a sail boat means you cannot move...'As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean'... from the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. Oh, and the following lines are so famous, but I will let someone else tell you, if you do not remember.

@sethg
Having seen your pictures taken from your world excursions I know your talent, but please confirm that you didn't just happen upon that lion pose.
@artlvr thanks for the Trivia
@ dave it is crazy hot here and I get so mad thinking about a politician manipulating scientific reports on Global Warming that I have to stop thinking about it.

Orange 10:17 AM  

"Africa" is my Number One Jam." Not mine—the blogger I'm quoting. I myself haven't mangled the lyrics to that song, as I always went with the indistinct crossword-approved "na na na" approach to tackling weird lyrics.

Rex, I always wiggle my fingers when making air punctuation such as the air colon. You don't?

jannieb 10:25 AM  

Morning all - a hard slog for a Sunday, and somewhat lacking in fun. Here in the Appalachian foothills, hollers was a gimme. Sadly, moving from the hollers into a double-wide is seen as progress in these parts. I'm in the wtf is "waul" camp. If it takes 3 dictionaries to find it, is it really a word in the language? Likewise, "ogrish" is quite a stretch (of the often lamented "er" variety). Liked the crossing of airways and seaways - along with dead calm, oars, ark, sir - a secondary nautical theme?

Michael 10:31 AM  

sir, yes?

This is one of the few times that I have done both the Saturday and Sunday puzzles on Saturday. It made me really notice the difference in difficulty, even if I didn't find the Saturday this week too hard.

After I finished the Sunday, I kept looking at "waul." It had to be right, but I kept wanting to put in "wail." Finally, I thought of "caterwaul" and conceded the possibility. Then it was off to google and the same series of sites that Rex repors.

Leon 10:48 AM  

Nice puzzle Mr. Nediger.

WAULS and QUATERNARY - hey , I learned something new.

Lessons from this site helped with Chess Opening, CHAS.,LLANOS, introductory course and ADEN.

Liked the “UN” section : unloaded, unrobe and “unquote.” My spell-check indicates unrobe as an error(it isn‘t.) I prefer disrobe.

Also liked the “ALA” section: ALAMODE, ALABASTER and ALAMEIN. I always have trouble spelling ALAMEIN. I’ll have to remember it as a battle fought over Chinese Take-out.

For Skua fans, this site will play what they sound like. I find listening to it cools me off.

Jim in NYC 11:11 AM  

Yep, what you all said. The difficulty and some strange fill made it more a Friday puzzle than a Sunday. ENG can stand for English or Engineering or I guess Engineer. I'm not sure how that makes it an "Arts and Sciences major: Abbr." (6D) Do schools commonly have an Arts and Sciences department that awards an Engineering degree? I was sure the "Two wiggling fingers" (1D) was going to be a baseball sign, but it was not to be.
Keep cool today.

will nediger 11:15 AM  

Wow, when I was constructing this I didn't even balk at WAULS. I guess it seemed like a common word because of CATERWAUL, and it's the sort of word that Scrabble players take for granted. I remember that section being particularly tough to fill, though (I wasn't at all happy with having to cross SEAWAYS with QANTASAIRWAYS), so it might be difficult to get rid of WAULS without allowing other subpar entries in.

John 11:30 AM  

I didn't balk at WAULS. Seemed perfectly fine. I had the hardest time in Utah, because I had DALE instead of GLEN, and I couldn't remember the name of the Australian airline, and had it spelled QUETAS (the "U" was put in automatically, which led to putting in the "E" for DALE... oops!). And QUAILING AT??? Really? I stared at that forever before I could make myself believe it was right.

For the geologists out there, it was nice to see QUATERNARY AGE crossing with ALABASTER. And after SPINEL yesterday, a very geo-centric weekend...

Ladel 11:58 AM  

@All

I can not make an HTML link work in this comment section, I keep getting error messages that either say Tag not accepted or Tag broken, anybody know what I'm doing wrong?

Kathy 12:00 PM  

Thanks, Rex, for throwing in the comment about Angie...it was almost enough to dislodge Toto's Africa from my head, but not quite. Unfortunately, I only know "I quest the rains down in Africa," so it will drive me insane in short order. Na, na, na, na....

Kathy

chefbea1 12:02 PM  

learned a lot of new words today.
I would make an apple pie but with the temperature at 90 right now and climbing in Connecticut I think I'll just engorge myself with some ice-t (oops, he's not in todays puzzle

Anonymous in Texas 1:00 PM  

75A: Chess opening? (CEE) Why?

Is the explanation as simple as the word chess starts with the letter C?

Or is there more to it than that?

btw - hot in Dallas, too. And the winds!

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

@ladel

If you start your link in a word processor then cut and paste, Blogger.com for some odd reason does not recognize your "quote" symbols. I always put in the quote symbols from this section directly. Hope this helps.

Ren 1:14 PM  

As a geologist, I was happy to see ALABASTER in the grid, clued by way of gypsum. I have to quibble, however, with QUATERNARY AGE. The Quaternary is a geologic stage. I realize that "age" here is being used in a generalized sense, but being just two letters short of "stage" it looks very wrong to me. Given the theme, though, it was easy enough to figure out. (Coincidentally, there is currently debate in the geologic sciences as to whether we should start refering to the time since the industrial revolution as the Anthropocene, as human activity is so altering geologic processes.)

I paused briefly at WAUL, but thought of caterwauling and saw that WAIL was already in the grid, and so shrugged and moved on. On the whole, I found the puzzle to be fairly easy, but quite enjoyable.

chefbea1 1:27 PM  

@anonymous 1:00. you are right ..chess begins with c.
thats it
However I have a recipe for chess pie which is delicious!!

Bill from NJ 1:49 PM  

I went through this puzzle like a dull knife cutting frozen butter.

Uncovered the theme at QUESTAFTER and advanced in fits and starts for a very long time, it seemed.

I only remembered 1A URSA because I had such a crush on Sarah Douglas. I guess I'm partial to tall, willowy brunettes.

All dificulties were solved by way of crosses.

Shamik 1:52 PM  

@ren...agree with your take on WAULS/WAILS

Now wait a minute with those two wiggling fingers. It's really four fingers, yes? Two on each hand? Ok...I'm envisioning all of you with hands up in the air with various fingers wiggling. Now don't you feel silly?

Kimbopolo 1:59 PM  

Rex,

I didn't realize until your "quest the rains in Africa" that I wasn't sure of the lyric either. So I had to follow the link, watch the video, and wait for the singer's lips to move at the right moment. (I'm supposed to be working).

One of my favorite sites - "an archive of misheard lyrics":

http://www.kissthisguy.com/

P.S. How do you post a link?

jae 2:14 PM  

I found this fairly easy and a very smooth solve for me. No real missteps although I too balked at WAULS. My A to Z Crossword Dictionary confirmed it was for real. I did misread read the 41d clue and briefly had BURGLER.

Crosby, Stills et.al had a much nicer "Our House."

The movie version of The Quiet American is worth seeing.

JC66 2:22 PM  

@shamik

I think it may be two fingers for quote (left hand?) and two fingers for UNQUOTE (right hand?).

Kimbopolo 2:32 PM  

Acutally, I just found "Africa" on Kissthisguy.com's Top 100 misheard lyrics.

Someone heard it as "I left my brains down in Africa".

sjt 2:32 PM  

Today was one of the few times when I found the puzzle easy and Rex didn't. Usually it's the other way around. I had the same spelling problem with Ipanema and had no idea who directed Ararat so that one was a lucky guess. Least favorite: snoots for stuffed shirts. Really loved manx for relative of Welsh. I'm not sure why I knew it refers to the language spoken on the Isle of Man, but I did. All in all, a satisfying puzzle day.

Anonymous in Texas 2:36 PM  

Thanks chefbea1. I was really hoping there was more to it but I guess it's one of those "fills" that are allowed.

I think you need a pie today - no matter the temp outside. How about Derby Pie - as a bow to our fallen Triple Crown contender Big Brown at the Belmont yesterday? I think Derby is just a trademark name for a chess pie. No? Go bake.

dk 3:42 PM  

@chefbea1, May I recommend Lemon or Orange flavored Sam Pelligrino (sp?) water, Pimms and ice.

This is a great version of the Pimms Cup and an alternative to IceT or an ade.


I prefer the nautical term "in irons" to DEADCALM. Great puzzle for a Sunday.

off to play outside

sillygoose 4:05 PM  

Smooth sailing for me (no dead calm) until I put in RENTED for 93D many a tux. That gave me STEINER for 111A woodworker, at times, which makes sense because thats the name of a wordworking tool maker, no? And then HODLERS for 114A backwoods valleys made sense to me because HOLLERS already means something ... else, and HODLERS could mean anything at all. It sounds more like a word than many other words in the grid (manx, quaternary, skua, sturm). I don't get hollers.

For "sir yes sir" I kept thinking of baa baa black sheep (yes sir yes sir 3 bags full). Unfortunately that has replaced Toto's Africa in my head.

foodie 4:10 PM  

I wish the printed version had not given away the theme in the title (Q&A Session). Usually the title offers a more subtle hint and it's fun to have the "haha" moment of discovering the theme.

I learned about this meaning of "holler" from Loretta Lynn: "Well I was born a coal miner's daughter, In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler"...

@Jim in NYC: "Arts & Sciences" usually refers to a school rather than a department. It includes all the classic departments such as English, Biology, Psychology, etc..., and most undergrads typically enroll in A &S. It stands in contrast to other schools such as Engineering, Business, Medicine, or Dentistry. So, Eng. is a reference to an English Major.

chefbea1 4:11 PM  

@dk pimms cup it is or maybe a mint julep for our fallen triple crown contender

mac 5:24 PM  

Yes, yes you nutmeggers, rub it in! I flew many hours to Tuscany to find the weather cold, wet and loud. Hopefully the sun will come out tomorrow.

I did this puzzle at the Rome airport and had a toughish time with it, maybe because I was sleep deprived. Finished it without googles (this dial-up thing takes too much time), but I somehow didn't enjoy it very much. Did learn a few new words and expressions though.

Chef Bea, put some cucumber in your Pimms cup! I'm having red wine and hot tea.....

foodie 5:41 PM  

@mac
Cold in Tuscany seems better than hot almost anywhere else in this world. And red wine to boot.. I guess someone has to do it... Enjoy!

chefbea1 7:23 PM  

@mac right about the cucumber - almost forgot. Enjoy the red wine and Italy. I'd rather be cold in italy than suffering here - although the temp has come down a bit

alanrichard 7:47 PM  

I did this puzzle while I was at the Broadway Show "Boeing Boeing", which was verrrry good. My wife was mad at me for wearing shorts and a tee shirt so that fact that I did the puzzle while we watched the show, (From the 2nd row), didn't make her any angrier than she already was!!! The theme was easily figured out. Q & A for everything. Someday someone will devise a T & A puzzle. Thomas Aquinas, Time and Again, Tommy Agee, etc.
Now I know an arctic bird is a skua - good thing for contextural analysis!!! I like the subtle clues like Jersey parts from a few days ago but this puzzle was straight forward and the usual hints that make you think were absent.

green mantis 7:51 PM  

I'm going to have to play hard ball with Africa to get it out my head, and so have resorted to substitution with Electric Avenue. If that doesn't work, I'm going to Come on Eileen. But only as a last resort.

Anonymous in Texas 8:00 PM  

@Green Mantis

Come on Eileen! Make it stop! I may never forgive you.

Will have to join chefbea1 with a Julep to go with her Pimms cup (which I've never had but will try soon)to dislodge it from my memory.

Anonymous 9:10 PM  

I am surprised none of you are familiar with the universal cure for "stuck song syndrome". All you have to do is hum the tune to "the girl from Ipanema". However, be careful. Whatever you do don't sing the words to the song. If you do "the girl from ipenema" will become stuck, and there is no known cure for that.

dbtx

The Asian Badger 9:35 PM  

Meh...just finished. It was a drudge for me. Got most of the QA stuff out of the box and didn't enjoy the puzzle at all.

That said, I though "DEADCALM" "SKUA" and "STOOGES" were interesting.

I'm going to an UNROBE club with some buds of mine.

As always, Rex, thanks for your usual fine commentary.

shaun 10:06 PM  

Sweet Rex, it's nice to know that you've finally come around on questing the rains, especially given the vehemence of your former defiance. And what about "She's fresh -- fish! -- exciting . . ."?

jeff in chicago 10:56 PM  

I always use this to get a song out of my head....

IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA, BABY!

Noam D. Elkies 11:04 PM  

LL- words other than LLAMA and 39A:LLANO? If LLBEAN and LLCOOLJ are fair game then surely LLOYD is way more common, in the grid if not in real life(TM).

Is fair to clue 49D:ARRET a "Stop on le métro"? Yes, le métro is French, and arrêt is French for "stop" as in "halt", but it seems rather uncommon in a French subway -- one usually sees ARRÊT on one of those red octagonal road signs...

One the other hand, I think the clue "Red, e.g., once" should be adequate for 88A:FOE. Once we've realized that "Red" = "Russian (n.)", we can borrow the point-of-view of the people who used "Red" in this sense, for whom Russians were indeed FOEs at the time.

NDE

Joon 11:04 PM  

i would also have been befuddled by the word following QUATERNARY were it not for the obvious theme. i wanted QUATERNARYPERIOD, but then PERIOD was in the clue. then QUATERNARYERA. but i fixed it very quickly.

i sailed through this puzzle pretty well, thinking it was okay. but i wasn't enthralled by the puzzle's theme. (especially not QUAILINGAT.) but i did stumble at the crossing of EGOYAN (i've never heard of the director or the film) and LLANOS. i know i should know that, but i had LLAMOS (llamas must have been baaing in my ear). the E from IPANEMA, however, gave me no difficulties. that has got to be one of the most crosswordesy 7-letter answers.

overall, the fill was pretty good and i liked the clues. and now seems like a good time to say that the setting plow scene from my ÀNTONIA is one of the most beautiful in all of literature.

sillygoose, the answer to [Many a tux] cannot be RENTED because the clue is a noun. therefore the answer must also be a noun. (weirdly, the clue is technically a singular noun, despite starting with "many." hence the answer must also be a singular noun.)

this is the second time recently i've seen STAINER, both times clued as [Woodworker, at times]. it seems like clunky fill, but i just wanted to comment about STAINER well because it's the #1 bingo rack in scrabble. you can form like a zillion different 8-letter words with STAINER + any single letter already on the board. not to mention you can also bingo with STAINER itself, or ANESTRI, ANTSIER, NASTIER, RATINES, RETAINS, RETINAS, RETSINA, or STEARIN.

Orange 11:20 PM  

I had my first Pimms cup a year ago in England. Omigod, was that a devious little drink! So sweet, and yet it has some kick to it. I need to track down a Pimms source here in the Windy City.

Anonymous 11:30 PM  

Sillygoose, I did the same thing you did in teh SW. And I disagree that "many a tux" has to be a noun - couldn't many a tux be black (e.g.)?

I am a cyclist and an avid Tour de France watcher, so I had ETAPE right away. It's French for "stage", of which the Tour has about 20.

Totally missed SNO CAT, even after I had it by the crosses. (I kept thinking, what's a SNOCAT? - short O.) CEE is silly.

For some reason I wanted the gypsum clue to be SHEETROCK - it fit the spaces but nothing else.

My Antonia is one of those books that I loved, loved, loved in high school and find unreadable now.

I did take a German literature course in college focusing on the Sturm und Drang period. (Age?)

acme 1:58 AM  

@JOON
but be careful, you cannot, inexplicably, play RESTAIN

Check out Atom Egoyan, he also made Exotica and the Sweet Hereafter. Was thrilled he was in the puzzle, tho Ararat was his most earnest (and somewhat dull) film.

Loved the idea for the puzzle but not that the title gave it all away. Could've called it "Human (Sexual) Response" or something and then you could have had even worse songs going thru your head!

Joe 11:10 AM  

Rex, wouldn't it be better if they were eating UGLI fruit on a bridge in Riga, over the river Dvina?
Did the British Parliament use the accent on Quebec when they published the Act?

Joon 12:20 AM  

anon 11:30 pm, many a tux is indeed black, but if the answer is BLACK, the clue must be [Like many a tux] instead, because BLACK is an adjective, so the clue must be an adjective or adjectival phrase. it's not enough for the sentence "{clue} is {answer}" or vice versa; they still have to agree in part of speech and number.

the exceptions to this rule are 1) fill-in-the-blank, obviously; and 2) a clue which is already a complete sentence like [It's well-supplied] for OIL.

Retired_Chemist 4:10 PM  

I thought this was particularly easy, even for a Sunday. QUAKING ASPENS gave away the theme, and that gives the solver a Q and two U's (give or take a QANTAS) precisely located by the theme answers, with sure knowledge there is a word starting with A also in each theme answer. The theme clues were very easy as a consequence.

"Tautomerism" in 69A is a word from Organic I - MDs, who were premeds taking organic chemistry once, should have a leg up (legs up?) on that. ENOL was mostly in from their crosses in my case before I saw the clue. And ALABASTER as a form of gypsum, QUATERNARY (st)AGE, CRYOGENS, OPAL, and GEMS suggest to me that WN is perhaps a mineralogist or geochemist.

cody.riggs 11:44 AM  

Dagnabit! I just now see that I mistakenly put in RENTED for [many a tuxedo], which yielded STEINER (which I mis-over-interpreted as "Schreiner", furniture-maker, which sort of worked) and HODLER (which I thought was some obscure word for valley.) Love HOLLER, wish I'd gotten it.

At home, we always refer to "pillows" as "pillers" and the toilet as the "terlet," just to be silly. Gotta add HOLLER to that.

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