Foo Fighters frontman Dave / SUN 8-28-11 / West African monetary unit / 1813-14 vice president

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty:
Easy-Moderate

THEME: "Add-A-Long-E Day" — long E vowel sound is added to a word, which is part of a longer phrase that is wackily clued.

Word of the Day: GROHL (115A: Foo Fighters frontman Dave) —
David Eric "Dave" Grohl […] is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter who is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter for the Foo Fighters; the former drummer for Nirvana and Scream; and the current drummer for Them Crooked Vultures. (wikipedia)
• • •


Today I discovered that preparing to guest-blog is akin to waiting to open gifts on Christmas Day, only the excitement is even more palpable - not only do you want to find out what's inside your present, but you also don't yet know who's giving it to you. Will it be a visual tour-de-force from Elizabeth Gorski, or a guaranteed-to-be-original theme from BEQ jam-packed with fresh clues? It wasn't, but when I saw Mr. Berry's byline, I felt a rush for what lay ahead yet almost a tinge of non-surprise given how often he's able to publish quality puzzles on Sundays.

Add-a-sound themes are not new, but you can expect strong theme entries across the board when Mr. Berry is the constructor. Most of today's eight are very good. My favorite may have been REIGN OF TERRIER (26A: Canine king's regime?), which conjures a funny image and feels natural as a clue-answer pairing. PARTYING GIFT (76A: Set of shot glasses for Christmas?) was nice to eventually figure out, though the clue seems less than precise given there is a vast range of items suitable for partying not particularly restricted to shot glasses.

LITTLE ORPHEAN ANNIE (89A: Sharpshooter Oakley when she was a charming young musician?) was by far the most difficult to discover as ORPHEAN was completely unknown to me. It makes sense if it's an adjectival form of Orpheus, but not knowing the word made it a little less fun to solve. I'm a bit weak on polar wildlife, so KODIAK MOMENT (56A: Encounter with an Alaskan bear?) was also tough. Overall, the theme was a good execution of a tried and true idea.



Other theme answers:
  • BEER BURIAL POLKA (23A: Lively dance performed as a six-pack is being laid to rest?)
  • BOTANICAL GUARDIANS (41A: Eco-warriors?)
  • PARKING METEORS (108A: Interstellar valet's job?)
  • MILES PER GALLEON (113A: Ship info kept for the Spanish armada?)



The clues were easy enough to support a fairly steady solving tempo, but there were a couple parts of the grid that tripped me up. Never heard of GERRY (68A: 1813-14 vice president) or the aforementioned KODIAK, so that area was the last to fall. I'll assume that NICKERS are sounds made by horses (39D: Stable sounds).

A couple cross-referenced clues strive to spice up the tired OMAN (66D: It's due south of Iran) and ARID (81D: Like the climate of 66-Down). But who's to notice when they're next to the two best non-theme entries, STARCHART (34D: Plan for the evening?) and DESDEMONA (51D: Brabantio's fair daughter). There's a one or two other sparkly entries here and there, but these two beauties really caught my eye. As the longest down entries in the grid, you can bet that Mr. Berry ensured they were lovely.

Nice clues for common words:


Construction Thoughts

I promised Rex to bring the constructor's perspective, and there's just a couple notes about the puzzle worth mentioning, if you'll allow a bit of speculation.

The first thing I notice about the grid is that two theme entries on the top and bottom are right on top of each other, which tends to be uncommon because filling around them is much more difficult. Constructing is often a game of maximizing your choices so that you can pick the freshest, most original fill. In this case, many more words must pass through both long entries, so your choices are cut down, whereas if they're not in adjacent rows then a few black squares can go between them. What you get in exchange is a feeling of higher theme density and the elegance of the stacking. (Merl Reagle seems to be the champion of this stacking technique, hop over to his website for some wonderful examples.)


In part of the grid seen above, you'll see that the top pair of theme entries have 9 down words passing through them, which is going to constrain the fill in those areas. You may also notice that three of the four across entries at the top of the grid are abbreviations, which constructions try to avoid.

Another small consequence is that in order to make the stacking work, the constructor was forced to shift the lower of the two entries over by 1 square, so that REIGN OF TERRIER begins in the second column instead of the first. This introduces a "cheater" black square to the left of REIGN. A cheater square is one that is added to a corner of the grid to reduce the number of intersecting words but doesn't increase the word count of the grid. Constructors tend to avoid them when possible.

Meta-Post

It's tough writing a crossword blog post. Kudos to Rex for doing it every day.


Signed, Kevin Der, final guest blogger of the week

74 comments:

jackj 10:36 PM  

I thought the first two theme clues were best of the bunch, BEERBURIALPOLKA and REIGNOFTERRIER. As the rest of the theme entries unfolded they just didn't seem to have the same oomph.

The fill, though, was rock solid, with fun, demanding answers like NICKERS, NOOGIES, STARCHART and DESDEMONA.

Seeing THRASH brought to mind long ago singer/movie star Rudy Vallee, an unlikely looking athlete, putting up his dukes in one of his hokey films and warning a rude, unwary bozo that he, Rudy, was a boxing champ at Yale and was about to "thrash" the clod within an inch of his life.

Maybe not one of Patrick's best puzzles, but it still was a treat for those of us who think Patrick is numero UNO.

jackj 10:41 PM  

Speaking of rude, I was remiss in not thanking Kevin Der, a terrific constructor in his own right, for his thoughtful commentary.

Thanks, Kevin!

Karen of 3G2S 10:45 PM  

Excellent post Kevin! :D

Penelope 11:25 PM  

Omg, I don't know if I would have gotten any of these…but some were a little tricky! I loved reading this post.

CoffeeLvr 11:56 PM  

The first theme answers I solved were at the bottom, including METEORS, GALLEON, & ORPHEAN. This led me to believe the trick was to literally insert an E, not just the long E sound. When I got PARTYINGSHOTS, I thought to myself, I thought that was supposed to be a theme answer? I eventually figured it all out, except BURIAL, where I couldn't let go of barrel until I gave in to the temptation to Check.

I will forgive Mr. Berry for the Jackson 5 earworm at 1D. Nice to see that shoutout to Mr. Magoo, who is (was?) even more myopic than I.

Thanks for stepping in, Kevin, and appreciate your perspective on the difficulties of stacking theme entries.

CoffeeLvr 11:58 PM  

Oh, and my favorite was KODIAKMOMENT. Although REIGN OF TERRIER describes the attitude of some of the neighbors little yippy dogs.

jae 12:01 AM  

Another solid Sun. from Mr. Berry. I also had this easy-medium with the top half more medium. ORPHEAN was new to me also. Only major write overs were in the far SE corner where at first 105d LEGAL led to 120a ADOBE. Nice write up Kevin. Thanks for the constructor's perspective.

santafefran 12:33 AM  

@CoffeeLvr I was hung up on BEER BARREL as well and ditto for using the Check function.

Favorite themes were:
REIGN OF TERRIER
MILES PER GALLEON
KODIAK MOMENT

ONLAY was new to me.

Thanks for your comments and insights Kevin and to Patrick for another masterful puzzle.

Hoping you East Coasters survive Irene intact.

syndy 2:25 AM  

My most timely writeover was 36 down where I put DER at first!But I got KODIAK MOMENT off the clue yeah me.both ORPHEAN and ONLAY were HMM? but gettable from crosses.PARTYING GIFT sure did not RESONATE as much as soom others I didn't figure out how BOTANICAL GUARDIANS fit in for quite a while-ooh gardens yuk yuk! Good job MR. DER but your puzzle is fading

chefwen 2:26 AM  

Hey @chefbea, shout out to us at 7D, whoo hoo!

Agree with @jackj, not one of Patrick's finest, I expect brilliance out of him, but I liked it. The bottom third was the toughest for me, I think I was just tired when I arrived there. Sunday puzzles have a way of beating you down with their sheer length.

Loved 62D NOOGIE and 68D GET UP, heard that more than a couple of time from Dear Old Dad, in my teens.

Thanks Patrick and a BIG thank you to all the fill in bloggers, great job by all. @Wade - still laughing.

evil doug 4:13 AM  

Kevin,

Thank you for not wasting half your review hawking shitpaper "art". Whether it's good enough for Cannes or only useful in the can, begging for money for it here makes my bowels queasy. This precedent should be wiped clean. No wonder the NEA is getting dumped on. TP is a terrible thing to solid waste....

***************************

ELAINE: well I don't need much, just 3 squares will do it

JANE: I'm sorry I don't have a square to spare, now if you don't mind

ELAINE: 3 squares? you can't spare 3 squares??

JANE: no I don't have a square to spare, I can't spare a square

ELAINE: oh is it two-ply? cause it it's two-ply I'll take one ply, one ply, one, one puny little ply, I'll take one measly ply

JANE: look, I don't have a square and I don't have a ply (flushing and leaving)
***************************

Evil

Anonymous 5:33 AM  

Gerry of "gerrymandering".

Bob Kerfuffle 6:51 AM  

Must be the weather, as I am not usually grouchy, but I am going to use my little window of opportunity, during which I still have electricity and internet connection, to say that REIGNOFTERRIER and BEERBURIALPOLKA just don't work for me, the way I pronounce the underlying phrases. All the other theme answers are quite good, though.

Irene, be gone!

CFXK 8:48 AM  

If you have heard of "gerrymander," then you have heard of Elbridge GERRY, the Massachusetts governor and later US vice president after whom the practice of drawing district lines to help the party in power is named.

joho 8:50 AM  

REIGNOFTERRIER tickled me the most. BEERBURIALPOLKA and KODIAKMOMENT also brought a smile to my face. The rest didn't amuse me as much.

I especially appreciated Kevin's in depth review, very informative.

The Bard 8:51 AM  

Othello > Act I, scene III

DUKE OF VENICE: Let it be so.
Good night to every one.

[To BRABANTIO]
And, noble signior,
If virtue no delighted beauty lack,
Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.

First Senator: Adieu, brave Moor, use Desdemona well.

BRABANTIO: Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:
She has deceived her father, and may thee.

JC66 9:04 AM  

The theme seemed pretty weak to me, but thanks for the shout-out at 65A.

SethG 9:09 AM  

Gerrymander wasn't in the puzzle, GERRY was. And it crossed NICKERS.

I didn't know ORPHEAN either, though I did like PARTYING GIFT.

imsdave 10:09 AM  

Mediocre PB is still four star material. Enjoyed the (medium for me) solve. NICKERS was new to me, but that's why we have crosses.

Thanks Kevin - great job!

ps - @BobK - hope you made out OK with Irene. @Mac - I know you're on high ground, so I trust all is well with you. Wind just starting to pick up here, but the storm path that was predicted to come right though my town as late as yesterday has moved west.

jberg 10:16 AM  

I solved this one sitting on my front porch, watching the wind pick up as Irene makes her way north. The center is supposed to pass about 100 miles west of Boston, so it shouldn't be too bad -- but I decided I didn't want to be on the porch any more just about the time I finished the puzzle.

Along everyone else, it seems, I really loved "LITTLE ORPHEAN ANNIE" -- just on grounds of sure ridiculousness (which is as good a word as Orphean!) If I wanted to be PILING ON, I could point out that METEORS are the flashed of light produced when meteorites burn up in the atmosphere, and would be difficult to park - but hey, it's all in fun!

Thanks for the write-up, Kevin, and thanks especially for the Weird Al video. When I was growing up in Wisconsin there was a popular polka band named "Frankie Yankovic and the Yanks," and I've always assumed Weird Al must be some relation - so maybe this was his heritage coming out.

I'm inside now; about 100 minutes to the predicted maximum winds at noon.

slypett 10:16 AM  

I thought the theme was "bad puns".

NittyGriddy 10:23 AM  

Sorry, but I'm with Bob K on this one. And Patrick should know that the whole Mary-marry-merry pronunciation thing is a big deal in the U.S. -- WAY too many people, myself included, pronounce "bury" to rhyme with "hurry," not "hairy," so to me, to have the very first theme clue sound like it's based on BEER BURR-EL POLKA is very off-putting right out of the gate. I've certainly heard people pronounce it "bair-el" in conversation but I have never heard anyone sing it as "roll out the bair-el" -- just go to youtube and listen to how the Welk girls or the Andrews Sisters sing it. On the other hand, I don't think there's much of an issue with the "terrier" example because whether you pronounce it "ter-e-err" or "tair-e-err," the underlying word is also pronounced either way -- "ter-err" or "tair-er." (Or "tare" if you're George W.) I just think constructors have to be mindful of this kind of thing and should filter their theme lists better.

JaxInL.A. 10:39 AM  

Sooo much easier than I expected when I saw the byline. I got the theme immediately and worked my way around pretty methodically.

Had Lock bOxEs before LEAPS OVER for Vaults.

I gave a puerile snicker over NICKERS, even if the underwear version needs a K at the front.

Irene seems to have spared some of the east. Everyone okay?

David 10:57 AM  

Kevin, thanks for the writeup, really enjoyed your perspective on the big clue stacking. From reading Rex's blog I look for that kind of thing occasionally now and did notice it when I first looked at today's puzzle. I was lucky and got KODIAKMOMENT right off the bat with zero crosses, which was good since I had stared at the NW for a while, not getting anything at all to match up with ABC at 1D. That said, KODIAKMOMENT gave me the theme and finally got my brain working.

BEERBURIALPOLKA and BOTANICALGUARDIANS were my favorites, LITTLEORPHEANANNIE and PARTYINGGIFT less so of the 8 big clues. GERRY and NICKERS were the last answers to fall, never heard of either...

hazel 11:07 AM  

@slypett - were you referring to the puzzle or @evil's post? :-/. (hi @evil!)

i hated not liking this puzzle but its just not my cuppa. REIGNOFTERRIER is pretty funny, though, because, like @coffee, it does make me think of all the pets out there who rule the roost instead of the other way around. i also liked PARKINGMETEORS. The other fill did its job, but didnt jump off the page at me, except maybe Mr. MAGOO, but the unlikeable AROD beat him back in to place.

I do appreciate the difficulty of putting together such a grid, though - thanks for that and your great write-up, Kevin!

John Hoffman 11:15 AM  

Very fun puzzle -- themes were clever. Good fill including some real unusual words that you don't see in crossword puzzles. And not too hard; i actually finished this one!

Well done!

600 11:17 AM  

@CFXK and Anonymous, 5:33--I would not have looked up GERRY since I got it right, but knowing he was connected to gerrymandering (a practice which has damaged and may destroy our democracy) makes him much more interesting. I'm off to learn more about him. So thank you.

Found the puzzle and write up entertaining. Anyone who's ever owned one knows there's a deep meaning under REIGN OF TERRIER, my favorite answer. Also loved KODIAK MOMENT.

I'm not sure why RAIDER is a notorious investor. Am I missing something?

A fun Sunday solve, but easy, yes. Even for me, still a novice.

JaxInL.A. 11:19 AM  

By the way, ORPHEAN = related to Orpheus, young musician of Greek mythology (and possibly an historical figure) who was said to be the son of the muse Calliope. His music could charm the rocks and stones, and got him into Hades when his beloved Eurydice died at their wedding. He is said to have died young when a group of Maenads (followers of Bachic rites including frenzied trances) ripped him apart for a) switching from worship of Dionysus to Apollo; b) playing beautiful music that they could not hear; or c) taking up with boys instead of women because no one was as good as his Eurydice.

Don't switch up on women in a frenzy.

Brendan Emmett Quigley 11:30 AM  

Let me throw out one more name in the stacking mix: A. J. Santora used to stack entries all the time. His grids were always weird as hell because he started with very unfriendly bigrams in the stacks.

r.alphbunker 11:36 AM  

@KevinDer thanks for the reasoned and informative writeup. As I was doing the puzzle, I appreciated the adjacent theme entries but missed the cheater squares.

foodie 11:38 AM  

Thanks Kevin for a very thoughtful post, and thanks to each of the guest bloggers for their unique voices-- hilarious, lighthearted, subtle, ironic, analytical... This week was a treat, like eating tapas or mezza--a feast of tastes and flavors. And it speaks tons about Rex and his ability to attract such great talent to his blog!

As to the puzzle, well I don't love add a letter and I don't love puns (probably the two are related), so I don't love it. I think this pun business is something you have to be exposed to in early life or it doesn't take. Like pronouncing guttural sounds, if you don't hear them during a certain time window, they can be hopeless to master.

In my head, I'm hearing Good Bye Irene, to the tune of Goodnight Irene...

chefbea 11:39 AM  

Fun sunday puzzle and of course noted the shout out to us doing course work and searing. Also a shout out to puzzle husband at 58D

Hope everyone is safe north of us. We put our patio back together this morning. It's a beautiful day.

Great write-up Kevin

CoolPapaD 11:57 AM  

Loved the puzzle, and enjoyed the write-up a great deal - thanks gentlemen!

Loved the clue for NOOGIES! Would have reeeeealy loved "_____ Stand Up" for 68D.

Interesting that @evil doug brought up a Seinfeld reference - I could not get the "Sidler" episode out of my head after finally getting 95D.

@ jberg - Frankie Yankovic is no relation to Al. He (Frankie) grew up in the Cleveland suburb right next to mine, and was huge in the area and upper Midwest. He was often on a locally produced TV show that I remember vividly from my youth, "Polka Varieties," that featured nothing but polka music and couples dancing, like a weird Slovenian American Bandstand! The show ran for more than 25 years!

Anyone want to explain NICKERS??

Darryl 12:33 PM  

@ED Speaking of precedents being wiped clean, perhaps we could skip the Seinfeld screenplay exerpts. Seriously.

Matthew G. 12:34 PM  

@CoolPapaD: NICKERS are sounds horses make. Like neighs, but shorter and softer.

@NittyGriddy: I've never heard anyone pronounce "bury" to rhyme with "hurry," or "barrel" to sound like "burrel." Where are you from?

@Kevin Der: thanks for the great write-up. I would be interested in these constructor perspectives more often!

I finished with a dumb error today: CPUS instead of CPAS. D’oh.

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

@Darryl not sure about you, but I know I can skip them. I don't, but I can.

Sparky 12:58 PM  

HTG-31A and 16D. I should have been able to figure out LEONE. Same for 115A GROHL. Had LEGal instead of LEGIT. Sigh.

Very informative write up. Thanks Kevin Der. Here's to all the subs. Good job. Added a little salt to the daily dish.

First to fall MILESPERGALLEON. Others held me up a bit trying to insert letter rather than sound. It resolved.

Tropical storm came and went. All's well.

NittyGriddy 1:33 PM  

To Matthew G ... Actually, I never said "barrel" sounded like "burrel." I said, or at least implied, that since I pronounce "bury" like "hurry" I also pronounce "burial" "ber-e-ul," not "bair-e-ul." In other words, I pronounce that "ur" syllable to rhyme with "Der" (as in Kevin, who I agree did a fabulous writeup today). So to me, if one were to add an "e" sound to "beer barrel polka" it would sound like "beer barry-ul polka," with "barry" rhyming with "carry," and "barry-ul" is not how I pronounce "burial." (Funny that I'm yakking about this when Mr. Berry, which I pronounce to rhyme with "furry," is the author.) But I think I'm going to concede that I'm in the "vast minority" here and not press it.

Jim 2:06 PM  

600:

RAIDER as in corporate RAIDER...though I had MILKEN there for a while.

Corporate raiders aren't always notorious. One man's corporate raider is another man's Gordon GEKKO...or Mitt Romney. After all, corporations are people, my friend.

edmcan 2:22 PM  

I liked it and thought it was very easy for a PB puzzle. Hung up for a while thinking the certain investor was Madoff! Oh well, still liked it.

Lewis 2:29 PM  

@600: I am still a novice too, but today completed a Sunday puzzle for the first time without a Google or Reveal. Well, I ended with one wrong square -- I had alkeTe/leoTe, certainly a Natick fo rme.

@BEQ -- What is a bigram?

chefbea 3:08 PM  

@Nitty Griddy LOL

600 3:24 PM  

@Jim--Thank you. I should have known that! An additional laugh for the Romney/corporation reference.

@NittyGriddy--Don't concede so easily! I was born in Michigan and pronounce bury as "berry," but I live in Georgia and I am far, far, far in the minority here. My friends laugh when I say "berry" and "berrial" where they say "burry" and "burrial." I think you make a valid point that constructors should take such differences into account, though I don't think it's worth getting too distressed about when they don't. Perhaps they haven't lived in the deep South.

My friends also have a field day when I say oil or boil, which I swear they pronounce all and ball, but sort of elongated into two syllables. I look forward to that causing some punny problems for a future constructor.

Meanwhile, I'm just impressed by constructors period, and want to add my thanks to Kevin Der for today's elucidation.

late to the party 3:35 PM  

I have seen allusions, but no direct reference to this Merl Reagle contest. $25 bucks for a good cause with a chance to win cash by solving puzzles. Why haven't you already registered?

archaeoprof 3:57 PM  

The mascot at the college where I teach is the Boston Terrier, and our athletic slogsn is "Beware of Dog."

We should change it to REIGN OF TERRIER.

@Foodie: mezza is way better than tapas, imho.

Matthew G. 4:03 PM  

@600 & NittyGriddy: FWIW, Patrick Berry lives in Georgia, and I did for 9 years myself. Never noticed "burry," but perhaps I just wasn't listening closely.

Jackie 4:10 PM  

It may have been challenging to write, but that was a terrific post, Kevin! Thank you for filling in.

BEER BURIAL POLKA = golden

retired_chemist 4:50 PM  

Great blog - thanks Kevin!

Hand up for CPUS - was prepared for CPAS, and ALKENES (gimme!) fixed it easily.

Hand up also for NOOGIE and clue being my favorite today. Theme was good too, but my inner teenager prevails. I must be maturing though - no SNICKERS for NICKERS.

Kinda like an oversized Tuesday or Wed. IMO. Easy.

Thank you, Mr. Berry.

Brad Z 5:11 PM  

1A ARROW (Director). Someone please explain this clue to me. Enjoyed this puzzle, but was stuck on this clue...

merlbaby 5:15 PM  

late to the party - thanks for mentioning the contest! i was gonna wait till tomorrow to spill it to the puz community but i can at least say a word or two here. it's an all-skill, solve-at-home contest called the national brain game challenge. it involves four unusual-looking crossword puzzles that have something in common. first person to figure out what the 'something' is wins $5,000. second prize is $1,000, third prize is $500, and there are lots of $100 prizes. entry fee is $25 but all proceeds benefit the alzheimer's foundation of america (afa), which is a nonprofit that specializes in helping alzheimer's caregivers. you can get more info at either my site, sundaycrosswords.com, or the afa's site, alzfdn.org. it's for a great cause and i hope everyone can play! --merl

retired_chemist 5:24 PM  

@ Brad Z - think of the arrow on a road sign: I-95 -> (i. e. turn right)

600 5:29 PM  

@Brad Z--Think of arrows on hiking trails, directing the hiker which way to go. Also sometimes on maps showing routes to follow.

@Matthew G--Interesting. Thanks for that tidbit. (I doubt the speech pattern of which I speak dominates in urban areas. I'm in very rural Georgia. That probably matters.)

Three and out . . .

Stan 6:20 PM  

Rather than focus on the specific vowel sounds, I just consider this a relatively loose theme (many puns work that way). And these were excellent.

I also appreciated much of the straightforward stuff, like PILING ON, RESONANT, and ASCENDS, where the answers were fresh and the clues descriptive and accurate.

Thanks, Patrick, for livening up our wait for the storm this morning.

[Off-topic weather update] Irene has not technically passed but seems over. Tourists are already out posing their children in front of yellow police tape and smashing surf (not really wise). Thanks to all who provided brief storm updates, esp. @chefbea. I don't see @mac today and hope that she hasn't lost power.

retired_chemist 6:20 PM  

@ 600 and Matthew G - I think it is an Appalachian pattern. Lots of phrases and speech patterns from long ago resided until recently in more isolated areas. My mother's family from rural Virginia left me with a treasure trove of such. Don't recall "burry" but it wouldn't surprise me.

chefbea 6:46 PM  

@stan isn't @Mac still in Europe??

Stan 6:49 PM  

@chefbea: Ah, that's it. Thnx.

late to the party 7:29 PM  

@merlbaby glad to help--sorry if I stole your thunder a little. Guess I wasn't as late as I thought I was.

jazzmanchgo 8:52 PM  

Never heard of "nickers" as an animal sound, but I guess I'll take your word for it.

But how the "hull" can can "take turns" = "roll"?????

dictionary.com 9:09 PM  

roll
   [rohl]
verb (used without object)
1. to move along a surface by revolving or **turning** over and over, as a ball or a wheel.

** emphasis added

Stan 9:09 PM  

Oh, I forgot to mention ROBOTIC in the vicinity of ABC. The robot is a dance which "gained fame after Michael Jackson used the dance when he performed 'Dancing Machine' with his brothers." (Wikipedia)

3 and out.

JC66 10:37 PM  

@ jazzmanchgo & @dictionary.com

Also, when playing games like Monopoly, each turn is a ROLL.

Turk 10:49 AM  

For those who couldn't let go of "barrel"... Here's an answer that fits the clue well (but obviously not the crosses):
BIERBARRELPOLKA

Jenny 3:05 PM  

Okay, so it was half a day ago that I solved this puzzle and read all of my fellow solvers' comments, but I just wanted to say 'thank you' to the guest blogger. The insider's perspective on the construction of this grid was illuminating. I have read (some of) Patrick Berry's book on crossword construction (and really, it's just a small part of a book of puzzles), and have yet to try my hand at construction. Mostly I'm intimidated and probably don't have the necessary tools to make it less harrowing. But everything I've learned about the process has served to increase my already great respect for our constructors. We all love the puzzles and someone's got to make them. I am so thankful to have puzzles in my life.

Kevin - reference was made to the pronunciation of your name, and I'm not sure that's common knowledge. In German, 'der' would be pronounced differently than most Americans would pronounce it. Could you please provide phonetics?

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

Was the title of the puzzle "Pardon 'E'Interruption"? I am confused after reading the theme on Sunday 's blog. At any rate, not my favorite.

Hazel ambrose 4:26 PM  

I know I am late- but we got pur paper delivered this morning due to Irene. Never commented before. Love all the comments tho. Patrick Burry? When I see PB's name it makes me happy.

Jess 4:27 PM  

Lovely prose and perspective! My delights were "Some info..." and "...course work" and "Knuckle-headed action" and YENS and LOLL and MILESPERGALLEON. (I guess I really liked 113A.)

MTH 1:52 PM  

Doesn't it bother anyone that it was Annie Oakley who was the sharpshooter, not Little Orphan Annie?

rain forest 2:52 PM  

@MTH
Lemme 'splain, Lucy. Yes, Annie Oakley was a sharpshooter, but the clue refers to a previous time when she was an Orphean, or musician (poet). The play on Little Orphan Annie is what makes the answer work.
Otherwise, a good Sunday puzzle, fairly easy with a few entries to tax one.

Red Valerian 4:20 PM  

Greetings from the time warp. So, now I know that four weeks from now, there will be a week of guest-bloggers. I feel prescient! (Thanks, Kevin.) I can't wait to see what Evil Doug is talking about...

I liked the puzzle, though (with some others) thought that I was to add the letter E to a phrase, since I started with MILES PER GALLEON. But that's okay--it's good even, as a sort of misdirect.

I'm from BC, and "bury" does not rhyme with "hurry," in my experience. But I have heard it pronounced that way by people from Nova Scotia. In any event, I don't think such regional variations should detract from the puzzle, especially if the pronunciation is the usual one in NY.

I've been told by Americans that I pronounce the words "out" and "about" funny, but I just can't hear the difference.

Deb @ RoomscapesDecor.com 5:20 PM  

This puzzle took me much, much longer than a typical Sunday, largely because I had spkr for RCVR, stilted for ROBOTIC and pelt for HIDE. Took forever to clean up that mess. (Okay, I LIED - it took a second when I flipped the page to see if "spkr" was correct, but I didn't do so until I sat dumbly staring at the barren NW for a long time).

Loved REIGN OF TERRIER. It's a real thing!

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

Loved the clue for 110D.

And @Jim: So, if corporations are people, how come 'the citi never sleeps'? Did the Citibank ad people not clear that tag line with corporate legal?

Dirigonzo 6:56 PM  

BEERBURIALPOLKA with only a couple of crosses gave me the theme but it took me a while to figure out Annie Oakley's role since orphean was a total mystery to me.

This was fun and since Irene is last week's news I was able to solve pool-side on a sunny late-summer day - it does not get any better than that.

@Deb I am SHOCKED to read that you checked the answer before coming here!

Anonymous 5:08 AM  

First, thanks for the fill-in; good job. Agreed with many on the Barrel/BURIAL sound change, which no doubt bothered Mr. Berry (Barry? Bury?) but could not be avoided. Maybe something like BEERYBRAWLPOLKA--an entry just BEGGING to be clued--might have worked out.
I'd like to make a point about the clue for PARTYINGGIFT. When I came to that spot I wanted PARTYINGSHOT--but then realized it couldn't be that because of the word "shot" in the clue. I think Mr. B. went out of his way to steer us away from the most obvious answer. A pang of conscience, sir--at last?
This grid was hard to finish, but I managed it on my own, with no research and hardly even a writeover, save at CIG, where I had entered FOG. I out-and-out guessed at a couple of Natick (for me) squares, at 9 and 53, but was right on both.
Agree about ONLAY and ORPHEAN; neither of these "words" appears in my dictionary. Crosses forced them into place.
One final note: if you take the reciprocal words at 42d and 58d, you have AGAINST MAILMAN--surely what REIGNOFTERRIER is all about!

Today's v-word is submi: to put in a written request for tea?

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

"Kodak Moment" was sure a nice bit of marketing magic, wasn't it? I had no trouble with the Alaskan bear clue, having enjoyed a number of KODIAK MOMENTs myself.

Time was when PARKING METEORS was something you could do right here on earth.

BURIAL for barrel is a stretch. Could have gone with "funeral for a Giants slugger?" (PAT THE BAT BURIAL).

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