Diamonds to a yegg / SUN 1-1-12 / Twelve Oaks neighbor / Quijano Don Quixote's real name / Swirly marbles

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: "Addendum" — sound of "um" is added to end of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: GOLEM (119A: Monster of Jewish folklore) —
In Jewish folklore, a golem [...] is an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter. The word was used to mean an amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing. // The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century chief rabbi of Prague. // The word golem occurs once in the Bible in Psalm 139:16, which uses the word גלמי, meaning "my unshaped form". The Mishnah uses the term for an uncultivated person: "Seven characteristics are in an uncultivated person, and seven in a learned one", Pirkei Avos 5:9 in the Hebrew text (English translations vary). In modern Hebrew golem is used to mean "dumb" or "helpless". Similarly, its is often used today as a metaphor for a brainless lunk or entity who serves man under controlled conditions but is hostile to him and others. "Golem" passed into Yiddish as goylem to mean someone who is clumsy or slow. (wikipedia)
• • •

Reader wrote me ahead of time and told me this was probably the easiest Sunday puzzle she'd ever done, so I was expecting some kind of record time, but I wasn't even close. It's reasonably easy, but I was hardly faster than normal. There were enough odd words and crafty clues to keep me busy. No strong feelings about the puzzle one way or another. Seems pretty good to me — the "funny" phrases are at the very least interesting, the stacks of two theme answers (NW, SE) are impressive, and the fill is unsurprisingly smooth. What's most weird about this puzzle is the preponderance of cheater squares — black squares that do not add to the word count of the puzzle. These are typically added to make the grid easier to fill, and constructors tend to avoid them if possible. I count ten (!) in this grid. This makes for a choppier grid with shorter fill, especially through the middle. A handful of cheaters in a Sunday grid isn't that remarkable, but I'm a little surprised there are this many, especially in a Patrick Berry puzzle. Still, the result is smooth and mostly enjoyable, so I can't complain too much. Well, I can, but I won't.

Just a few hang-ups today, most notably in the SW, where LONG FOR really made a mess of things for a while. Took a while before I had the good sense to change it to ACHE FOR (89A: Desperately want). I thought TOM was the [Pal of Huck Finn] (JIM) and thought the [Injury symptom] was a CRINK or a CRICK before I ever got to SHOCK. Never heard of MUMM, as far as I know (83D: Big name in Champagne). Wanted MOËT, then wanted ... nothing. Had no idea where Twelve Oaks was. Thought maybe somewhere near NAPA. But no, it's fictional, and it's neighbor is TARA. Took an embarrassingly long time to see NOAH (105A: Rainy day planner?). And FORELEG, yikes. Not a body part I think of or read about much, if ever, so that took a while (19D: "Praying" part of a praying mantis). On the other hand, we had a Zener card-themed puzzle not too long ago, so ESP was easy (75D: Ability to identify Zener cards), and I read a lot of crime fiction, so ICE (70D: Diamonds, to a yegg) and BOGART (14D: "The Big Sleep" co-star, 1946) were cinches. I've read (most of) Don Quixote, but had no recollection of his "real" first name (ALONSO). Not sure I understand the clue on EAT IN (109A: Restaurant greeter's option). If I'm talking to a "greeter," I'm (almost by definition) eating in. Context is lost on me.




Theme answers:
  • 18A: Pool ball's "Watch this!" comment? ("SEE IF I CAROM") — awesome
  • 23A: High-mounted window you can't stop looking at? (HYPNOTIC TRANSOM)
  • 32A: Part of a watch touching the breastbone? (STEM TO STERNUM)
  • 46A: "You don't have to be busy to look busy," e.g.? (OFFICE MAXIM)
  • 59A: Pill that relieves computer-related anxiety? (SILICON VALIUM) — again, awesome
  • 71A: Inhuman group of golfers? (BRUTE FOURSOME)
  • 81A: Sultan's wife, perhaps? (HEAD OF HAREM)
  • 99A: Jungle king's jeans and overalls? (THE LION'S DENIM)
  • 110A: Ennui among quantum physicists? (PARTICLE BOREDOM)
  • 116A: Dessert delivered over the internet? (PIE A LA MODEM)    

Bullets:
  • 13A: Crosswise to the keel (ABEAM) — like ABAFT, I learned this from xwords.
  • 22A: Onetime first name in Israeli politics (GOLDA) — had this been four letters, I'd have been lost, but at five, GOLDA was the first name to come to mind.
  • 79A: Handbag monogram (YSL) — one of the few fashion monogram's I'm aware of (besides, perhaps, DKNY).
  • 86A: Reed of rock (LOU) — wanted OBOE (no, not really)


  • 87A: "1984" superstate (EURASIA) — somehow, this never seems fictional enough to be from "1984"; but there it is.
  • 2D: Jimi Hendrix's debut single ("HEY JOE") — already one of the most searched for terms of the day—I apparently covered it in a bygone write-up.
  • 8A: "___ hath an enemy called ignorance": Ben Jonson ("ART") — I teach Jonson every year but didn't know this. One of two literary quotes today, the other coming from Harriet Beecher STOWE (29D: Best-selling author who wrote "I did not write it. God wrote it. I merely did his dictation").
  • 13D: Swirly marbles (AGATES) — considered AGGIES for a bit. That's slang for AGATES, right? I've never played marbles, so what do I know?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

86 comments:

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

No happy new year?!?

Deb 12:17 AM  

I always have the same reaction to EURASIA. People of mixed Asian and European blood are sometimes referred to as Eurasian, so it just doesn't seem fictional enough to me for that reason.

I enjoyed the puzzle, but it took me forever to find the one error that kept me from getting the "well done!" box. I had Tbs and tap instead of CBS and CAP. I hear The Big Bang Theory is pretty good, but I've never seen it.

Happy New Year, one and all!

retired_chemist 12:23 AM  

Happy New Year all!

A good one to begin the year with. Or, since it isn't midnight here yet, a good one to polish off 2011.

What Rex said mostly. Would have liked to see the -UM sound involve all five vowels in the theme answers. There are only four: no A. There would have been room for, say, SUPERSONIC JETSAM. And, while we're at it, may I suggest a more interesting clue for 46A: Lad mag in the workplace? nah, didn't think so.....

The fill was solid - to be expected from Mr. Berry. UNHIP (95D) was an exception.

Re 58A "Antipasto tidbit" - wonder if they were rings?

Lost a couple of minutes finding and fixing my error. 83A was _O__S and the clue "sends up" led me to LOFTS. Had to check all the acrosses and half the downs to see the mistake.

Thanks, Mr. Berry.

imsdave 12:56 AM  

EATIN might make sense if the "greeter" was the person behind the counter at a fast food joint (though I'm more used to hearing 'for here or to go?').

Fine start to the new year.

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments and emails on my blog puzzle.

jae 1:17 AM  

Took an easy enjoyable stroll through this one.  No write overs, just my usual problem of matching grid and clue numbers correctly.  Damn dyslexia. Almost New Years here. Happy 2012 to all.

NumbersGuy 1:37 AM  

yes, after a relatively easy sunday today LONGFOR gave me a big DNF after the G forced me to believe that GLORIA was the down. how can you argue with that? by beating your head against PARTICLE BORED? well, EATIN argued with GLORIA until i gave up with that corner mostly empty.
but listening to velvet underground made me feel better after turning off dick clark. thanks again for that. and to PB for the nice phrases, especially SEEIFICAROM - imagining a ball just sayin that. ROTFLMFAO.
dont know if i like the kinder gentler rex. not so HEATED this week.
i know the theme answers kind of have to have ?, but HEAD OF HAREM is a straightforward answer to sultans wife. no sillyness there.

Brian B 2:20 AM  

Typo: "22A: Onetime to the keel (GOLDA)"

Anonymous 2:39 AM  

On the Maine coast, we have many restaurants that offer tables on a deck or patio, so diners have a choice of "eat in" or "eat outside".

Bob Kerfuffle 8:08 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Kerfuffle 8:15 AM  

Starting off a New Year by falling flat on my face. Pen on paper, finished with 2D reading HEIHOE -- I was prepared to declare a Natick for a superannuated solver who never cared about popular music at the crossing of a Steely Dan album and a Jimi Hendrix single -- but now see that in my haste/frustration, I also mis-spelled HYPNOTIC. (But HEYHOE would still have looked OK to me.)

So, 2013 isn't far off, right?

retired_chemist 8:41 AM  

@ Bob K - Agree re the Naticky feel to AJA/HEY JOE, but AJA is such high crosswordese that I automatically thought "Steely Dan - 3 letters - AJA, of course." Would never have thought of it had I not seen it several times in crosswords.

jberg 8:42 AM  

As with Bob Kerfuffle, the 2D/29A was a Natick for me. I guessed it was HEY JOE, rather than HEY mOE, but for some reason had AJo/DEPoRT instead of AJA/DEPART, which makes more sense - so one error.

Martha and I toured the MUMM cellars last January during a day trip to Reims. We looked in vain for some to serve at our wedding last week, but without success - so I was happy to see it here in the puzzle.

We're leaving later today on the same annual UK & Paris trip, and I solve in the paper (like 67% of those who answered Rex's poll, but few of the commenters here, it seems); so I'll say my ADIEUS (a writeover from ADIEUx) until the 16th.

Happy New Year, everyone!

If "Hey Joe" wasn't a gimme, were you been for the last 50 years? 9:04 AM  

Man, that Lou Reed sure could write a love song, couldn't he? Seriously, that's got to rank among the top of all love poems of all time. Not exactly an appropriate loved one, but great song.

ARLENE 9:11 AM  

This one was fun - and I actually got some of the theme answers without any crosses - as I'm sure others did as well.
And, yes, I got TARA right away - and GOLEM, too. It's the rock music et al that stymies me.

retired_chemist 9:16 AM  

I looked up the lyrics to 'Hey Joe." Where I "been" for the last 50 years is building a family, a career, and a love of dogs which provides my chief retirement activity. My life has been the richer for never having heard those disgusting lyrics.

sandpiper 9:26 AM  

re: Brian B's comment--

Typo: "22A: Onetime to the keel (GOLDA)"

Was the typo Rex's or was it in the printed edition? In across lite the clue is correctly given:

"Onetime first name in Israeli politics"

FloridaPerry 9:28 AM  

Thought all the theme answers were amusing. Fun start to the year.

joho 9:40 AM  

I really enjoyed this. Patrick Berry came up with some really entertaining answers. My favorites being the same as @Rex noted: SILICONVALIUM and SEEIFICAROM.

My biggest hangup was DeNIes before VETOES.

Loved CHEAPO, CRUDDY, BUMMER and MOCKS.

HEYJOE was a gimme as when I worked in an office years ago, there was this one fellow who said, everytime I walked by him, "Hey, Jo(e), where you goin' ...."

We're off to a great start! Happy New Year to all!

JenCT 9:46 AM  

I like the kind of slang-y (?) answers in PB puzzles: CHEAPO, BUMMER, CRUDDY, XINGOUT.

Had to sleep on this & finished this morning.

SILICONVALIUM was my favorite theme answer.

HEY JOE and AJA were gimmes for me. AJA is one of my favorite albums of all time (and I still have the vinyl LP.)

Happy New Year, everyone!

JenCT 9:48 AM  

@joho: I was posting at the same time - I see we think alike!

donkos 9:52 AM  

I'm happy to start the New Year with a Patrick Berry that I could actually complete - in record time no less.

Given the puzzle theme, I think Patrick should have clued 119A as something like:

"Cheer for moon landers" or "Completing this puzzle"

foodie 10:00 AM  

Yes, Patrick Berry definitely pulled off the adding-letters Sunday motif, resulting in fun and entertaining, indeed awe--some answers. Even when the answer itself was not wacky-- HEAD OF HAREM or OFFICE MAXIM, the smooth derivation from the well-known phrase was smile inducing. And stacking two theme answers on top of each other was pretty impressive indeed.

I love the word GOLEM, although I never knew its full origin.

I assumed the EAT IN was for places that have and indoor and outdoor seating: "Would you like to EAT IN or out on the patio?"

Happy 2012 to all.

Einstein 10:04 AM  

Hasn't anyone else noticed that most of the theme answers don't end in an "um" sound? I found that relativeapsysly annoying.

r.alphbunker 10:04 AM  

Found this very easy and liked the theme answers. The main thing I learned in this puzzle was that Bacall and Bogart have the same number of letters.

Must keep this short. Am posting this sitting outside the closed motel office in Baker, California. It is 34 degrees and I am losing feeling in my fingers. The wifi doesn't reach my room and I think they have it hooked up to a dialup modem.

jackj 10:17 AM  

Others may have entered SCHUSS or SLALOM or the like for 30 across, "Go downhill", but, fortunately, my immediate thought was WORSEN and that, coupled with having seen AJA many times in past crosswords, got me past the knotty upper left and into a smooth solve.

Like buttah, Patrick, like buttah.

Theme-wise, I vote for PIEALAMODEM as numero uno with THELIONSDENIM a distant second. But, all the theme entries brought at least a smile so, no slouches overall.

CRUDDY (and its pal "luscious") are words which came easy in puberty but haven't been seen or heard since surviving that complicated time of life. Finding a fun word like SKULKS in the puzzle eased the discomforting memories a bit.

As often is the case though, there was one bit of cluing which was "King of the Hill" for this puzzle, NOAH for "Rainy day planner?" Classic!

Thanks, Patrick.

Happy New Year to all.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

@Rex - That Ben Johnson dude must be a really bad student, or you must be a really bad teacher, if he has to repeat your class every year.

John V 10:30 AM  

Happy New Year, @Rex and all!

Very easy here. Only pause was SE were VETOED/UTE/DEMME was my hard spot. Never heard of DEMME, so crossing with UTE made me glance at the Natick rip-cord, but, hey, its New Years.

Fun puzzle, PB. Thanks!

exaudio 10:48 AM  

Loved the theme answers, but Naticked on HEYJOE/AJA despite being over 50 and having done years of crosswords. Barely have heard of Steely Dan, but I think I associate it with drunken frat parties in the 70's.

Gill I. P. 10:50 AM  

Hmmmm, let's see: HEY JOE, WORSEN, GETAWAY, SHOCK, SLOB, STONED, SKULKS, BUMMER, CHEAPO, HEATED, BEANED,GOLEM and a cute PIG.
Theme answers: SEE IF I CARUM, SILICON VALIUM, BRUTE FOURSOME, HEAD OF HAREM,PARTICLE BOREDOM.
Well golly gee....HAPPY NEW YEAR!

archaeoprof 11:10 AM  

Lots of smiles while solving this fine puzzle.

Loved SEEIFICAROM and SILICONVALIUM.

@Ret-Chem: amen, brother!

redhed 11:12 AM  

Finished in record time with no googling. Good omen for the new year?!

Happy day to all.

If "Hey Joe" wasn't a gimme, were you been for the last 50 years? 11:26 AM  

Art has an enemy called Ignorance

Sure, Hey Joe isn't about anything nice, it's about murder. Mysogenenistic murder. That doesn't mean it isn't a famous song by one of the most famous pop musicians of the past 50 years.

Lou Reed's Heroin is about his love of heroin. Within the past 12 days, I've watched two sets of parents bury their teen aged sons who died of heroin overdoses. That doesn't mean that Lou Reed's song isn't a perfect ode to his love, and a work of art of merit, perfect in its execution, whether or not the object of the love was noble.

Art isn't about what's nice or noble in the world, it's about the world, which is alternately nice and noble, vile and base. We have to understand both.

Unknown 11:35 AM  

Rex,
1. You were puzzled by 105A. Restaurant greeters option = EATIN in today’s NYT puzzle. Simple, “Eat in?” (or on the terrace/take out/etc).
2. I’m VERY surprised you had no comment for the neologism in 96A. Late sixth-century year = DXCV, a very odd / unconventional / well, wrong way of expressing the year 595. (should have been DVC).

Eli Nadel, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

skua76 11:36 AM  

Um, a very fun start to the new year, thanks Patrick!

But one error. Like Rex, I didn't recognize the champagne (83D) so I took 83A "sends up" to be rOCKS. Was thinking about previous New Years Eve concerts...I stayed home this year.

JaxInL.A. 12:14 PM  

For some reason the short fill tickled me in several spots. I enjoyed the VOW / VIA crossing, and its symmetrical counterpart EAU / LOU. Crossing at the unusual letter V and at the U, with very smooth clues. I dunno, it just seems a tiny hallmark of quality.

I had a very fun time with the fun personality that shines through the puzzle, already noted by @joho and @JenCT. I'm surprised that wittier folks have not yet latched on to the initial scatological impulse for filling in "Camper's canfull." If this were an Onion puzzle the answer would not have been STERNO.

I feel a bit lost on a New Year's Day with no Rose Parade. When you watch tomorrow, be sure to notice the float from Natural History Museum of L.A. County. The kids featured on it come from a school served by my organization, and I connected the museum with the educators to populate the float.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

For your standard golf fan, a PROAM isn't just a tournament with pros and amateurs, as in 3 of the 4 majors. It's one where pros and amateurs compete together in teams, as in the annual Pebble Beach tournament (ne the Bing Crosby).

Joe in Montreal 12:41 PM  

Is Office Max a literary trope in the US?

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Deb 12:17 am

The Big Bang Theory is one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. Jim Parsons is hysterical. Give it a try.

Upstate New York Miss

Shamik 12:56 PM  

Happy New Year everyone!

@JaxinLA: Finally a New Year's Day that I'm not too "tired" to be up in time to watch the parade...and it's tomorrow when I'm working. Pfffft.

Fun puzzle that turned out to be a solid medium. No Natick's, but lost a whole minute wondering why there was no Mr. Happy Pencil until I found the DEMME/UTE instead of DAMME/UTA. Would have crashed in a tourney with that. AcrossLite gives me the opportunity to get a longer time and total solve.

May your year be low on woes and high on enjoyment and appreciation.

Lewis 1:06 PM  

@rex -- your oboe comment made me laugh out loud

The image of r.alph with a dialup modem is my picture of agony.

PBJ -- Was this a Patrick Berry Joint?

Compared to most Sundays, this one felt easy to me. Surprised to see the medium rating.

Wishing you many special solves in 2012!

quilter1 1:15 PM  

Great puzzle to start the new year. I also had long For before ACHE, and messed up a bit by entering NEMO across instead of down. But it all worked out.

Un-decorating today. Happy New Year to all. Can't wait for these blinkin' caucuses to be done.

Masked and Anonymous-em 1:18 PM  

Primo theme. About the only conceivable theme answer missing was PATRICKBARIUM. Could parse it as "Pa, trick barium", but that would require one wackjob of a clue.

@#31: What happened to that high/low points feature? Best crossword blog innovation in years, and it's toast already; miss it. Allow me...

High Points: PHDS, SARAN, PBJ, ABEAM
Low Points: TODOS, GEL, GOLEM, NYSE
Now, see, 31? You could do soooo much better.

Best fillins: MUMM. Got no earthly idea what that is, but kinda a unique, extry "-um" entry. And, got yer U goin' for it. [New year's resolution: try to put G's on ending N's. Will make me far more readable, in my humble opiniong.]

JaxInL.A. 1:21 PM  

@Joe in Montreal, Office Max is a huge big-box chain store here, like Staples and Office Depot but more warehouse-like.

retired_chemist 1:29 PM  

Hey Joe in Montreal - Office Max is a chain of office supply stores. Seems to be called Grand & Toy in Canada.

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

Not up on my champagnes, but anyone else get MUMM from the "Meet the Parents" scene where Ben Stiller's buying champagne with Frank from "30 Rock" as the cashier?

Joe in Montreal 1:43 PM  

thanks.

syndy 1:48 PM  

I must vote for BRUTE FOURSOME it took me a minute,then cracked me up!I wondered how the guv would react to his idol giving us "ADD...CLUED WACKILY". Patrick Berry puns for the new year-It doesn't get any better! I liked the shout out to evil doug at 38 across.

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

Rex: I've never played marbles, so what do I know?

Must be a generational thing....

JFC

fvigeland 2:07 PM  

@Unknown: DXCV is the correct way of writing 595. You have to parse it as 500 + 90 + 5, or D + XC + V. 95 is not VC but XCV. That's the general rule with Roman numerals: break it down into the sum of each digit. 999 would be CMXCIX, not IM.

Fun puzzle to begin MMXII!

Tita 2:27 PM  

Loved, loved, loved the theme answers and lots of the fill.

Thought there was a sailing theme going on, which would have made me even happier:
ABEAM, STEM TO STERN[UM], GALES causing heavy SEAS, and maybe even NEMO...

But wrong rEPoRT and caRreeN in NW, coupled with natick that got many of you, AJA/HEYJOE, almost caused a DNF...but fixing those errors helped me guess the J.

New GOLEM from my short expatriation to Prague.

Happy and Healthy New Year to you all!

Greg Charles 2:30 PM  

@Unknown, you had me going with DVC, but every reference I can find shows XCV as the preferred way of writing 95.

I swear I just saw Twelve Oaks as a clue for Tara in another puzzle. I've been working through some from last January, so maybe there?

The southwest nearly killed me, but I got it finally. One for one in 2012! How long can I keep that average up? Well, probably till Friday ... AT BEST.

retired_chemist 2:39 PM  

Now where else could I find a hot discussion of the correct way to write Roman numerals on New Year's Day? :-)

Tita 2:42 PM  

@Lewis & @r.alph...
yes - the image of a crossword junkie, hunched over his laptop, jonesing for wifi, no matter how weak and diluted, shiverig in the cold...

Now THAT's dedication!

mac 2:46 PM  

Thank you, @fvigeland.

Well, it had to be a medium, of course. Very enjoyable solve this lazy new year's day. I also wondered about adieus/adieux. Funny how "Mumm" was in the puzzle (I started with Moet as well, and there is an empty bottle of Roederer in the recycle bin). "Bummer" is either really bad or really good. Who are the bummers?

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

Anon @ 12:14 a.m. - You want a Happy New Year greeting? Go to Wordplay where it's the first comment by Deb. This is the dark side where negative is the norm and positive the exception and shows up only as a double negative. "Seems pretty good to me" is Rex's way of saying "Hallelujah!"

You come here with the same enthusiasm that people go to NASCAR to see a multi-car crash....

JFC

tptsteve 3:37 PM  

Happy New year all. A smooth and bubbly (Mumm) start to the year.

If you have to know any Steely Dan albums, AJA's the one- Peg and Black Cow are the two big songs, as best I can recall.

Purple Haze 3:40 PM  

Geez, hard to believe all this vitriol for Jimi. "Ah nevah heard of 'Hey Joe?' it's all a bunch of hippie crap." How old are you people?

"Are You Experienced" was ranked #15 by Rolling Stone on the greatest albums of all time. We're talking "Purple Haze", "Hey Joe", "The Wind Cries Mary" and "Fire" to name a few of the hit singles. The album is in the Library of Congress, fer cryin' out loud.

Good thing there weren't some clues for modern rock bands like Van Halen or Guns 'n' Roses, or it would have resulted in complete bafflement...

Anonymous 4:29 PM  

@Deb: The Big Bang Theory is a nerd minstrel show. Stay away.

ranman 4:47 PM  

Was GOLEM a non-theme additional addendum?

AnnieD 5:17 PM  

Aggie, agate, marbles.

Agate marble.

I don't play marbles, but they are beautiful things made from semi precious stones.

Golem, Gollum...is that where Tolkien got the name?

I too missed watching the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's Day and hope to catch some of it tomorrow. Always phenomenal.

Happy New Year everyone!

Rube 5:24 PM  

Just got the kids off so can catch up.

First, Tx @Imsdave for a fun puzzle yesterday. As I remember, had trouble in the NE, but no biggie. My avatar always enjoys appearing in puzzles. Haven't found my last name yet today 'tho... usually do on NYD.

Got my tail handed to me yesterday... "easy" -- HA. Did enjoy learning that Khayyam means "tent maker"... always wondered why he was called that.

However, agree with many that today was easy -- all except for the pop culture Natick at the HEYJOE/AJA crossing, that is. Guessed the J, but primarily because PAL JOEY was lingering in my mind from yesterday's LAT. Must have been living under a rock for the last 50 years. Have heard of Jimi Hendrix, but couldn't cite one song of his. Also not sure if Steely Dan is one guy or a group.

Got STOWE from crosses, but didn't realize it was Harriet Beacher. Having Phoey in the Far NW, (Olympic peninsula?), really slowed me down there. Also had "too" as in too, too for ardent. Hand up for deniES and having no idea who DEMME is/was. Having __MM was a giveaway for MUMM and I don't even like champagne. Finally, had to think hard/guess who the newest teams are in the PAC-12. Must pay more attention here.

Always enjoy a Sunday where DNG and where the theme answers are as enjoyable as these. Tx PB.

Happy New Year everyone, or as they say here, Hau'oli Makahiki Hou.

p.s. It takes a certain nerdiness to enjoy "The Big Bang Theory"... I love it.

chefwen 5:57 PM  

@mac - We also have a bottle of Roederer Estate in the recycle bin.
Husband and I shared it last night while solving the puzzle. Well it took us a little (a lot) longer to solve than to polish off that bottle, so he switched to red and I stayed with white.

Loved the puzzle esp. SILICON VALIUM and BRUTE FOURSOME.

Hey @JFC anon. catch that great Packer game. I bet not!

Thanks Patrick Berry for another stellar puzzle.

Happy New Year All.

Z 7:10 PM  

Happy MMXII everyone.

@chefwen - I did not catch that "great" Packers game, from the score it looks like the defenses stayed home.

@AnnieD - "Gollum" references the sound the character makes. When looking for Tolkien sources look to the north, not the Mediterranean or SE Europe.

Looking forward to the day when Mr. Demme is clued as "Stop Making Sense director," just about the best concert film of all-time.

All in all a great start to the new year.

Lurker0 7:17 PM  

The Sunday San Francisco Chronicle has a "Quote-Acrostic Puzzle" by Polly Wright that you all might find interesting. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a copy of it online.

Happy New Year from the lurking Golden Bear's lair.

Larry

Anonymous 7:31 PM  

@Chefwen -- You disappoint me. I sent you a congratulatory email an hour before your post here.

JFC

Tita 8:06 PM  

I just downloaded and solved the January Bonus Puzzle - "The Euro Turns Ten", because we were living there at that time.
Love the puzzle, not only for all the shout-outs (shouts-out?) to Europe, but a disproportionate number to my heritage and ancestors.

I'll say no more - but though it's pretty simple, this little gem from Fred Piscop was quite a fun run down memory lane.

chefwen 8:06 PM  

@Z - The defense has been at home since the start of the season.

@JFC - Haven't checked my email for a while. Will do so now.

CoolPapaD 8:24 PM  

Loved the puzzle, love all that Jimi made, and love the William S. Burroughs-named group that made Aja. Happy New Year, everyone. I continue to miss coming here daily - down to Sundays for the time being.

I'll echo the confusion about Roman numerals. We should be thankful that we have actual numbers, and don't have to deal with letters doubling for numbers - can you imagine multiplying that nonsense??

chefbea 8:47 PM  

Pretty easy puzzle but didn't get to it til late.

Love the big bang theory!!! Isn't Penny hosting an awards show next Sunday?

BTW the Duck last night was fantastic. Nice and crispy

DigitalDan 9:00 PM  

Lazy West-Coaster, too late to be part of the conversation as usual. But:

In crosswords, "EATIN" is virtually always the alternative to restaurant dining, implying a home meal. I'd expect "Here to to go" or "Inside or Outside" for what's apparently going on here. Oh, well, I like 'em all.

@AdvertGirl 9:18 PM  

Always enjoy a Berry puzzle and still think this was one of the easiest Sunday grids ever. Guess it just happened to touch on things in my wheelhouse. Happy New Year!

Amos Y Noun 11:03 PM  

jeez, the best comment ever - invoking a clue from todays puzzle(which gave me some trouble at first) to defend reed and hendrix (and millions of others). kind of a meta-commentary.
and it doesnt get a single comment from this so-called liberal intelligencia. whoever that was at 11:26 this am; you should identify yourself and take credit for making my day.
on wednesday i helped defend rex's own form of art from haters, so im just an objective observer.

oh, and to make this comment relevant to the puzzle, i also put TOM (from BLT of course) until the OUI forced the changes, and only got ESP from remembering that zener shape natickfest a week or so ago.

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual 1:58 AM  

I am fairly new to crosswords--started doing the NYT puzzle in earnest when DH gifted me an iPad when our daughter was born five months ago. (Great way to pass the time while nursing in the dark in the middle of the night, you see.)

Today's puzzle was one of my fastest Sundays so far: it only took me an hour and a half, and I didn't consult Prof. Google once! (Don't smirk, please, you quicksters. I am durn proud of having shaved an hour off my solve time!)

A lot of today's words and expressions surprised me and tickled my fancy--not used to seeing terms like STONED, CHEAPO, CRUDDY (had CRappY initially), BEANED, and BLOB in the newspaper. What fun!

I'd also like to say thank you to @Rex and his loyal, impassioned commenters who have taught me a lot about understanding crossword puzzles.

Looking forward to the day when I can announce that I completed a Sunday in under an hour...hopefully I'll get there before baby girl is weaned.

Anonymous 11:41 PM  

Could someone please explain 73 Down. I don't get the clue nor the answer. Thanks.

Anonymous 1:03 AM  

For the sake of clarity, when using radio communication in the field or in the air, certain commands or locations will be spelled out using words words for each letter.  For example, "boat" would be Beta, Oscar, Alpha, Tango.  Apparently, NATO has its own version of this alphabet. 

Anonymous 12:00 AM  

Thanks anon.t

smoss11 5:53 AM  

I can never get to the puzzle on Sunday (too busy) so I wonder if anyone reads a post on Wednesday. Anyway....

No one commented on Hypnotic Transom (23A). I thought that was the best theme answer by far. There was also a lot of fun fill (NOAH, HOSTESS, SHORN, CONG).

This was a very enjoyable puzzle.

Red Valerian 5:46 PM  

Greetings from syndi-land, less than a week away. or something. Liked the puzzle--funny wacky sayings.

Basically had to guess at the A in DORAL. Never heard of it (and it was only a semi-educated guess at the cross). What a bizarre name--I thought it must be wrong. D-Oral Cancer? I mean, really. That's a bit like trying to market a car named "Nova" in Spanish-speaking countries. Or naming a place, oh, Tuktoyaktuk University.

At first I was think EUtopiA for 87A, confusing 1984, BNW, and some unwritten novel only I can channel. Turkey is in (the real) Eurasia.

Thanks for the responses re: Office Max. I wasn't even going to google (after the fact), as I thought it just meant Office Macs. Not a well-known phrase, I know, but not implausible. Some of the other answers were not spelled correctly, but were just phonetically correct. (hypnotictransom, siliconvalium...)

For 94D (about ready to drop), I was thinking late-term pregnancy. Huh?

Had shoDDY for CRUDDY, but crosses took care of that.

@Annie D--I wondered about the etymology in Tolkien, too. The Net seems divided.

Happy belated New Year, all!

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

I think Will tosses us a bone every January. Sort of a "Monday" Sunday for the year, because it seems to me I always do really well on the first one. Today I got naticked at TRANSeM/BUeNO, but other than that, piece of cake.

First of all, I picked up the theme from the title. Figured out it was phonetic after scribbling in STERNUM and BOREDOM. Then it was off to the races.

Bogey pic reminds me that my DVD player is broken. Velvet Underground video reminds me that my record player is broken (I got a vinyl version of this for Xmas). Golem poster reminds me that we're just weeks away from Spring Training. And the Gordon Lightfoot video reminds me of nothing.

Thanks to all who struggled with the Hendrix title for making me feel young again.

@ I"HJ"WAGWYBFTL50Y? 11:26 AM
Very well put, as Amos Y. Noun has already pointed out.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

But why is "MOCKS" the answer for 83 across "sends up"?
I confess I"m totally at a loss.
HELP!

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

A send-up is a parody. As The Rutles were a send-up of the Beatles.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

sorry, you asked for "HELP!"...I should have linked you to this.

Sage of La Mesa 6:08 PM  

Anyone here in San Diego go to this blog on Sunday or anyday for that matter?? With the local paper (U-T), we're always behind the times (no pun). Actually, the comments are just as good as many of the puzzles. Simply, Ron

Anonymous 7:32 PM  

Spacecraft here. Hey, I've got a great idea: let's LXXXVI ALL the stinkin' Roman numerals, then we won't have to argue about 'em!
I think we're all missing the point about the EATIN clue: this is the GREETER's option, not the diner's, the way I read it. So, like, when the greeter gets her meal break, she can trundle on over to the neighborhood Mickey-D's, or EATIN. ('Course, I'd hesitate to dine in a place where the help goes elsewhere to eat).
Re HEYJOE: I always thought the singer of that is trying to talk Joe OUT OF using his gun. I don't find THAT disgusting. A very dramatic, great song; one of Johnny Rivers', which Hendrix so admirably covered (a rare exception to my general loathing of covers).
To the grid: well after my rant of yesterday comes a calming offering by one of the Puzzling Patricks--they're like the Phils of poker! Not much to get in a twist about; I'm not a fan of X (-ED, -ING) OUT, or of spelling out "AND" in the middle of an abbreviation or acronym (MANDMS). That never made sense to me. Most of the rest of the stuff, DXCV aside, is okay.
RP seems to make a great TODO about "cheater squares," an element of a puzzle that I consider a non-event. I can't imagine any feature less important. So there's an extra blank there. So what?
I was slowed someewhat in the SE by wanting SHODDY for CRUDDY, but otherwise solved fairly easily. Started with the double gimme of PBJ (my big addiction!) and JIM: no self-respecting Berry/Shortz clue like "Huck's pal" would ever refer to "TOM."
I liked the different spellings of the "schwa-em" endings: -OM, -UM, -IM, -IUM for -EY[e]M, -SOME, -EM. And the little "addendUM at the bottOM: GOLEM. Well done.

palsi: my Hispanic buddy.

Dirigonzo 8:12 PM  

This puzzle provided the pefect antidote to the mind numbness that resulted from a day spent taking inventory at the hardware store. It took a few minutes but the feeling started to come back at STEMTOSTERNUM - it was a while longer before I realized the them answers didn't all end in a literal -UM but when that epiphany came the rest of the grid fell quickly.

@Deb - You must be loving your new subscription - first non-anonymoun commenter of the day. Way to go!

Big Mike 11:39 PM  

still think better answer for 81a is "haremscarem".

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