Hunger Games chaperon / MON 2-25-13 / Old-time actress Dolores / Observance prescribed in Book of Esther / It's headquartered at Naval Station Pearl Harbor / Actor Brendan of Journey to Center of Earth / Hearty-flavored brew / Slender shorebird

Monday, February 25, 2013

Constructor: Angela Olson Halsted

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Monday*)


THEME: Cut to the quick — theme answers all end in words that can mean "quick"


Theme answers:
  • 17A: Iced tea brand (LIPTON BRISK)
  • 27A: Observance prescribed in the Book of Esther (THREE-DAY FAST)
  • 47A: It's headquartered at Naval Station Pearl Harbor (PACIFIC FLEET)
  • 62A: Country singer with the 2012 #1 hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (TAYLOR SWIFT)

Word of the Day: Dolores DEL RIO (36A: Old-time actress Dolores)
Dolores del Río (August 3, 1905 in Durango, Mexico – April 11, 1983 in Newport Beach, California) was a Mexican film actress. She was a star inHollywood in the 1920s and 1930s, and was one of the most important female figures of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. She was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, a mythical figure in Latin America and quintessential representation of the feminine face of Mexico in the world. (wikipedia)
• • •


Congratulations to my good friend Angela on this, her NYT solo debut. This was definitely crunchier than your average Monday, with some mild WTF-ery here and there (color me ignorant of the THREE-DAY FAST thing, and also of the RYE BEER (26D: Hearty-flavored brew), which, presumably, such a fast would preclude ... you can't drink beer on a fast, can you? Is there such thing as a beer fast? Is there!?). Had trouble here and there—with the aforementioned answers; with the end of LIPTON BRISK (me: "it's tea ... but 'tea' is in the clue ... but it's LIPTON tea ... uh ..."); with COAST (off the "T," I went with INLET for some reason) (37A: Where an ocean and a continent meet); with MASCULINE (at least until I got past the MA- part, which suggested any number of "man"-type answers ... yeah, I know, "man" is in the clue, but I was flying) (34D: Like a he-man); oh, and FRASER (51A: Actor Brendan of "Journey to the Center of the Earth")—that clue is absurd. Is that movie recent? If a movie falls in the woods ... I thought answer called for another "old-time" actor because the title certainly sounded old. But it's just the guy from "Encino Man." Weird. I had to laugh at TAYLOR SWIFT; Angela has a daughter about my daughter's age, and I know there is some Swift fandom in the house. Even though I'm a huge hardboiled fiction fan, I like the modern update on the old [Sam Spade's secretary] clue for EFFIE (53D: "The Hunger Games" chaperon). Interesting. So: simple theme, nicely executed, occasional weirdness. All in all, nice Monday, good debut.



I was playing Ferde Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite" on my turntable earlier today. My first thought on looking at the album cover: "How in the world have I never seen either FERDE or GROFÉ in a puzzle before!? How Was This Man Denied His Place In Crosswordese History!?!"

Gotta run.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    66 comments:

    jae 12:17 AM  

    Medium for me.  Did not know TOSH or RYE BEER.  Clever Monday level theme and the grid was pretty amazing... BILBO, TAYLOR SWIFT,  Encino Man FRASER, two Imus clues, old timey DE RIO, a Simpson clue....   Great solo debut PuzzleGirl!

    retired_chemist 12:25 AM  

    Medium easy here. Dolores DEL RIO was a gimme (and probably for other oldsters), Peter TOSH was not. Nothing was difficult. What I didn't know directly came easily from crosses. Age-old debate between OTTAWA and DOLLAR @ 23A also easily resolved.

    Thanks, Angela.

    Jess Arnold 12:31 AM  

    There are no BEANS in chili. Beans turn chili into Yankee Meat Soup.

    Anoa Bob 1:03 AM  

    Rex, I'm pretty sure I've seen either Ferde or Grofe or maybe both in an xword in the not-too-distant past.

    If you're into analog sound, turntables, LP's, and Ferde Grofe, Johnny Cash did a Columbia Records release in '61 titled "The Lure of the Grand Canyon". It was a combo of sound effects, e.g. a thunder storm, in the Canyon, music by Andre Kostelanetz, and narration by the Man in Black.

    DEL RIO could be clued "Tex-Mex border town".

    Never heard of THREE DAY FAST or RYE BEER. Must try the latter; think I'll skip the former.

    chefwen 3:01 AM  

    Great one Angela, congratulations on your solo debut. Sure do miss you and the Puzzle Husband and Puzzle Kids, we need an update. I comment occasionally at the Crossword Corner but I always feel like I'm crashing a private party. Crossword Confidential was a lot more user friendly.

    Anyway, like I said, loved it, one write-over Doris Delray before DEL RIO, the mind starts slipping at a certain age.

    She may be talented, but I've seen enough of TAYLOR SWIFT to last me a lifetime.

    Atria Cole Masculines 3:22 AM  

    Puzzle is as it should be for a Monday...BRISK, FAST, FLEET, SWIFT!

    Never saw DEL RIO.

    Loved the JILT UZI corner...

    WHATIFS quite fabulous....

    Didn't know lots of stuff (BRISK, EFFIE, THREEDAYFAST, and would guess many tripped up by so many names
    (UNSER, EFFIE, DELRIO, FRASER, RHEA, TOSH, RONA maybe even TAYLOR SWIFT!) but not an Iowan wrestler in the bunch, so I'm happy!

    Odd little IMUS buildup...secret shoutout, or editor's hand?

    Kudos for your debut and positive review, no SNIDE crossing SNEER!

    Anyway, first solo Monday nothing to sneeze at! I raise a RYEBEER (???!!!) or at least ACUP of LIPTONBRISK to salute you!!!!!

    Evgeny 5:13 AM  

    Yeah... "Encino Man" (1992) predates "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (2008) by 16 years. Also, "Journey..." was much more successful at the box office, even allowing for inflation. So, seems like a legit / "fresh" enough clue to me.

    webwinger 5:37 AM  

    Way to go Puzzle Girl! And thanks to Rex as usual for giving the theme a zippy name. (Was SNIDE crossing SNEER a shoutout?) Also found rather crispy for a Monday, though most of the harder stuff filled itself in from crosses. Actually knew FRASER from JTTCOTE; watching with my daughter recalled vivid memories of old version starring Pat Boone, much enjoyed in childhood, not seen since. Didn’t remember the THREEDAYFAST part, but good timing for reference to Purim—a holiday that definitely deserves (and probably has received) its turn as a puzzle theme.

    Z 6:59 AM  
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    Z 7:01 AM  

    nIPS before SIPS made seeing that F a little hard, so easy-medium except for two letters. I have some RYE BEER in the house, but it is a bit early for SIPS or nIPS.

    Mr. FRASER also played George of the Jungle, didn't he? Apparently he has a certain fondness for remakes.

    Mr. TOSH recorded Legalize It in 1975. No word on whether or not he lives in Colorado now.

    @Jess Arnold - Really? Over chili? No, chili is a dish that lends itself to creativity and imagination. Meat, beans, whatever. Just make it hot.

    MetaRex 7:07 AM  

    A mellow solve...speed is an appropriate M theme, fer sher...

    The western section of the puzz suggests a possible short-answer essay for a "constructors in residence" program at Yaddoo or another suitable location...

    [juvenilia alert...]

    "1.(15 minutes) Give your ranking of the following four ways to fill in the attached grid:

    a) A-CUP, RONA, ARM;

    b) C-CUP, OONA, COM;

    c) D-CUP, IONA, DIM;

    d) D-CUP, OONA, DOM.

    Explain the reasoning behind your ranking of the four alternatives in no more than 150 words. You may use Internet sources in all formats except Tagalog, Gujarati, ASCII, JPEG, and Norwegian."

    Milford 7:11 AM  

    Great Monday puzzle, kind of flew through it, with crosses taking care of any unknowns. EFFIE and TAYLOR SWIFT were gimmes with having teenagers, yet somehow I immediately knew DEL RIO also.

    Loved the BOOS clue. Is Imus still on regular radio, or just Sirius?

    Nice to have a puzzle that's totally on my wavelength, thank you, Angela!

    Jeff Lewis 7:37 AM  
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    loren muse smith 7:49 AM  

    The IDEAL Monday! But I OTTA WAtch what I fill – had RHRA for RHEA because I just wasn’t paying attention. Too busy wondering why the &^%% (sorry, Evil) we all care so much about what dresses the stars are wearing. Seriously. Is it like that in other countries? And yet I sat there and watched. . . :-(

    I figured the BEANS clue would start a mild flap. I personally like’em in chili.

    Liked the whole Bruce Willis DIE HARD, SNEER, SNIDE, UZI, ARM, RIFLE vibe. I guess you could throw in JUDO (surely Bruce has some spiffy moves) and ROTOR (surely some bad guy meets his unfortunate demise falling onto a helicopter?)

    @Metarex – my vote is for the one Angela went with, but my internet format was Gujarati, so I’m disqualified. Tried Malayalam but got nowhere fast.

    Terrific set of synonyms for quick, and each one so far away from that meaning!

    For what it’s worth (and I’ve noted this here before, I believe) – FAST is one of those cool words that can be a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb.

    Congrats, Angela! I’ll look forward to more solos from you!

    John V 8:35 AM  

    Crossing DELRIO with TOSH is sort of classic Natick, no? I had DELRIE, so a Monday error for me. THREEDAYFAST completely new to me, but thank you for the crosses. Same with "Hunger Games" chaperon .. huh????

    Sorry to be the skunk at the garden party but I didn't care for this one. Sure, a bit hard for a Monday, but too heavy on obscure proper names and a biblical reference to a theme answer ... on a Monday??

    I fear that my depleting knowledge of pop culture will leave me high and dry some day soon. Peter TOSH? Any relation to the Comedy Central dude?

    jackj 8:35 AM  

    Just because this is a crossword puzzle published by the New York Times it doesn’t mean that the constructor needs to accept the bias that reflects the paper’s preferences, be it in politics or baseball or anything else.

    Case in point, the insulting cluing “Greets the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, say”, that asks the solver to swallow hard and deep while writing in BOOS.

    For shame!! What Times DIEHARD demanded that one?

    At least we are spared the obligatory political reference though there is possibly a very subtle one with TAYLORSWIFT who played Cougar-in-training as she pursued Conor, a teen-age Bobby Kennedy grandson, as her summer squeeze last year.

    The balance of the puzzle plays non-partisan, though some will carp that they could care less about the paper’s viewpoints, they want a Monday puzzle on a Monday and not a Tuesday puzzle on a Monday.

    So, if you don’t know an EFFIE from a BILBO or a RYEBEER from LIPTONBRISK, you’re likely sitting in the disgruntled section.

    But, take heart and take a look around the grid; there are words to soothe the most savage of dissenters like JILT, CRAYON, BIDES and COAST (but, shouldn’t there be a more important word for where ocean meets continent?).

    (Looking at 32D, (the clue), some may wish that INSTEAD of the given clue, the puzzle had used, “We’ll tak_ {ACUP}_ o’ kindness yet”, rather than promote a garment that isn’t even stocked by Victoria’s Secret but, hey, it’s Angela’s puzzle).

    And the final of the WHATIFS, what if the puzzle had used the notorious Luca Brasi’s line to the Godfather, “I hope their first child be a MASCULINE child.” Ah, the possibilities are everywhere (or at least INTHEAREA).

    All jesting aside, a winner from PuzzleGirl in her solo debut!

    Congratulations, Angela.

    John V 8:35 AM  

    Crossing DELRIO with TOSH is sort of classic Natick, no? I had DELRIE, so a Monday error for me. THREEDAYFAST completely new to me, but thank you for the crosses. Same with "Hunger Games" chaperon .. huh????

    Sorry to be the skunk at the garden party but I didn't care for this one. Sure, a bit hard for a Monday, but too heavy on obscure proper names and a biblical reference to a theme answer ... on a Monday??

    I fear that my depleting knowledge of pop culture will leave me high and dry some day soon. Peter TOSH? Any relation to the Comedy Central dude?

    joho 8:36 AM  

    IDEAL Monday puzzle, Angela, congratulations on your solo debut!

    Really clean grid with very little crosswordese and only a few plurals. My only what? was the BRISK on LIPTON.

    My favorite answer: WHATIFS.

    orangeblossomspecial 8:41 AM  



    1A recalls a great Gershwin composition: 'Bidin' my time'.

    Here is a more recent version of an equally old song for 14A: 'My IDEAL'.

    Even if chili doesn't have beans, 15A 'BEANS and cornbread' go together.

    chefbea 9:18 AM  

    What a great puzzle from Puzzle girl. Thanks Angela.

    Anyone put in Razor at first for 22 Down??

    And my chili ALWAYS has beans!!!

    Anonymous 9:30 AM  

    I love PG, but this doesn't pass the breakfast test. BRISK, FAST & SWIFT all describe my bodily functions after I use FLEET. There, didn't that start your day off well?

    PuzzleSister 9:34 AM  

    Congratulations, Angela, on a wonderful NYT solo debut.

    TOSH was a gimme for me, FRASER came to mind quickly, and the Olson family has always put BEANS in our chili and greeted the Red Sox with BOOS, so no controversies there for me.

    Loved WHATIFS. Briefly misspelled UNSER, but DIEHARD staightened me out.

    Disappointed not to see GABLE or PAISLEY, and where was the Aerosmith reference????!

    Fantastic Monday.

    Tobias Duncan 9:35 AM  
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    jberg 9:42 AM  

    @jackj, it didn't say the NY response to the Sox was appropriate, just that it was what it was. No problem for this Bostonian.

    I breezed through this one, so fast that I forgot to ask what the theme was (blush). But it did seem to me that there were an awful lot of partials. And then there's 35A - really had to rely on crosses for that one.

    Sandy K 9:54 AM  

    Very fun Monday puzzle! Liked that it wasn't toooo easy.

    Felt fresh due to TAYLOR SWIFT clue and Hunger Games EFFIE!

    LIked the crossing of SNIDE and SNEER.

    Cute theme + no junk fill = Happy Monday!

    quilter1 10:01 AM  

    Very nice and I finished SWIFTly. Just made chili on Saturday, with Mrs. Grimes Chili Beans, a local product. Also Penzey's Medium Hot Chili Powder. Yum.

    mac 10:08 AM  

    Congratulations, Angela! I also miss your LA Crossword Confidential.

    Crunchy Monday, but I like crunchy. Good theme and plenty of interesting fill. Fraser/Effie could have been a Natick, but the E made the most sense.

    Carola 10:16 AM  

    Enjoyed doing this one a lot - liked having the Monday put up some resistance and the many fresh entries. Favorite was PACIFIC FLEET, with TAIWAN clinging to its edge (although it's the wrong COAST).

    Like @chefwen I went off course to DELRay Beach before Peter TOSH got me back on the right track with DELRIO.

    Elaine2 10:26 AM  

    Hadn't realized this was a DEBUT puzzle! You go, girl.

    (I have to say -- when I put in "three day fast" I wondered where the theme was going -- because Purim, the holiday that comes out of the book of Esther, was on Sunday! So, very timely entry...)

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:31 AM  

    Did the puzzle with breakfast as usual, had a strange urge to add a glass of Nestle's Quik.

    (Reading comments, I see there were quite a few clue/entries I hadn't even noticed because the puzzle flew by at such a clip.)

    c.w. stewart 10:35 AM  

    Congratulations, Angela!
    Nice puzzle. Was stumped in a couple of places but was able to solve with crosses.

    Susan McConnell 10:50 AM  

    Great Monday puzzle...even I got the theme! And nice Purim/Esther timing. Still appreciating yesterday's fun one, too.

    efrex 10:53 AM  

    Very nice little post-Purim fun on the "Esther" clue, and while I might quibble on LIPTONBRISK, this was a very nice Monday solve.

    I only know from Delores DELRIO thanks the very racy "Butler's Song" from an old-time Broadway flop called So Long, 174th Street. Very glad to see TOSH clued other than the annoying Comedy Central character, even though I wasn't familiar with this one, but how can you clue EFFIE without a Dreamgirls reference?

    Nicely done, Ms. Halsted!

    Sparky 11:08 AM  

    Congrats Angela on your debut. Hope we see many more.

    Times not delivered today so I did it on Across Lite. Certainly different for me. Missed seeing a lot of the crosses as I usualy sweep the whole puzzle Across, then Downs.

    Shore before COAST, FRAziER didn't fit. Adjusted that. He has been in a lot of movies, particularly The Mummy series. Got theme with BRISK and FLEET. Nice way to start the week. Thanks, again Angela.

    Gill I. P. 11:17 AM  

    En hora buena on your debut...
    No BOOS or SNEERS. Whipped through this puppy in no time flat. Did have DElay instead of DEFER but Mr. HAUTE became all haughty and so I set him straight.
    I too love my BEANS in chili and the hotter, the better.

    David Barnhouse 11:23 AM  

    @sparky, You beat me to it. Hands up for shore before COAST

    capcha: anceters ?Forefathers who were cannibals?

    Rob C 11:49 AM  

    @chefbea
    I'll confess to razor initially for RIFLE.

    A bit surprised at Rex's Med-Chal rating - I flew through this with only the one intitial error at 22D, which was quickly corrected.

    ARM, UZI, RIFLE, DIE HARD, PACIFIC FLEET - lots of firepower in today's puzzle. Topped off by "END OF the world" at 29D

    Lewis 12:23 PM  

    @rex -- thank you for posting your times every day now. It is inspiring how consistently quick you SWIFT you are.

    Jesser, Jesser, where art thou?

    Zippy puzzle made the Monday dash through the grid fun. Yay for the lack of dreck.

    So, once again I'm asking for technical help -- I asked this last week but no workable solutions came. I have a Google profile with an avatar, but whenever I comment here, the avatar doesn't show up. Someone said to click where it said to allow everyone to see it, but I don't know where that button is. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

    syndy 12:30 PM  

    I was born in Boston so the BOOS was a gimmee! How is that political? I bought a six pack of RRYE BEER for superbowl-I still have 5!AS MOnday a Monday as you could ask for! NICE puzzle girl!

    LaneB 12:32 PM  

    Needed a fast [for me--25 min] Monday for ego repair after the tough DNF on Sunday. Surprised to see the qualified 'medium-challenging', too, but even that gives a grinder like me a boost.

    John V 12:38 PM  

    @Lewis: Are you logged in to your Google account when you post?

    joho 1:01 PM  

    There's Jesser and what about archeoprof?

    Anonymous 1:07 PM  

    Purim is preceded by a ONE DAY fast, not a three day one. Where on earth did you get that misinformation from?

    Esther 1:11 PM  

    Go and gather all the Jews who are in Shushan and fast for my sake, do not eat and do not drink for three days, night and day. My maids and I shall also fast in the same way. Then I shall go to the king, though it is unlawful, and if I perish, I perish.

    Esther 1:12 PM  

    In other words: Look it up.

    Ulrich 1:32 PM  

    @puzzlegirl: Congratulations also from me! Crunchy Monday indeed!

    Bird 1:52 PM  

    A nice puzzle from Angela, but I’m with @JohnV regarding 36A. I don’t know Dolores or Pete, but I do know John TESH . Only writeover was SHORE before COAST. Nothing wrong with the clue for 51A.

    @Jess – Google as 3.5 million hits for “chili recipe BEANS”

    @jackj – I BOO every time an opponent takes the field. Oh, you’re jesting? Never mind.

    Lewis 1:57 PM  

    John V, I believe I am, as at the bottom the only option it gives me is to sign out.

    Sfingi 2:20 PM  

    Easy Monday. Didn't notice the theme.

    Didn't know RYE BEER, but got it.

    I'll pass on chili, BEER and FAST.

    Doc John 3:30 PM  

    Nice debut!
    If it'll make it any easier to take, Brendan FRASER was also in such movies as Crash, The Quiet American and Gods and Monsters, as well as the hugely popular Mummy series.

    Anonymous 3:57 PM  

    Beans, Beans
    They're good for your heart
    And they're good in chili, too

    sanfranman59 3:57 PM  

    Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

    All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

    Mon 6:15, 6:10, 1.01, 60%, Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:52, 3:41, 1.05, 75%, Medium-Challenging

    ed wallace 4:01 PM  

    Great Monday puzzle. Thought it was more easy-medium than medium hard. Thanks Angela

    jae 4:36 PM  
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    jae 4:38 PM  

    @jackj -- The more important word you may be looking for is littoral.

    Lockheed Martin 4:46 PM  

    The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal water battlespace. A fast, maneuverable and networked surface combatant, the LCS provides the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to execute focused missions close to the shore such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.

    PuzzleGirl 9:01 PM  

    Hey, everybody. Just popping in to say hi and thanks! This was a pretty big day for me and I'm glad (some of) you enjoyed the puzzle! Will changed a lot of the clues -- some of them he kept the same general idea but changed the wording, some he changed altogether. From where I sit it looks like all the revisions were made to even out the difficulty level, which I think is difficult for new constructors (at least it is for me). He left my two favorite clues though: 20A and 10D. So I'm pleased about that. Anyway, thanks again! You haven't seen the last of me!

    Z 9:31 PM  

    @Lewis - I was wondering about Jesser this morning, too. And JaxinLA, too.

    I spent some time messing around with my account settings to try to get my avatar to not appear last week. No luck.

    jackj 9:40 PM  

    jae@4:38PM-

    "Littoral"-- perfect!

    Thanks.

    sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

    This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

    All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

    Mon 6:16, 6:10, 1.02, 60%, Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:44, 3:41, 1.02, 55%, Medium

    Ellen S 1:14 AM  

    @Lewis, I think for mine even though I'm posting using my Google acct, I uploaded my avatar to my Blogger profile. Email me if you want. I love these kinds of problems.

    Tita 11:06 PM  

    COuldn't resist - had to check in here, even though I should be laying in bed with my Nexus and Wednesday...
    @jackj - no bias - just fact - Bosox are greeted with the Bronx Cheer in hte Bronx...

    Yup - I naticked at DELRIO/TOSH, though I think I guessed right.

    @chefbea - yes, I did...

    @joho - I remember @archaeoprof going off an a dig somewhere...

    Congrats Angela.

    Anonymous 10:35 AM  

    My favorite Monday puzzle in a while. Held my interest and clues/answers had a really nice range. My only gripe was the intersection of two names i've never heard of: 36 across and 31 down.

    Anonymous 10:46 AM  

    I'm confused. I'm not very good and this was very easy for me!

    Spacecraft 12:02 PM  

    I seem to notice, as the weeks cycle around to Monday, an increase in the appearance of REAL WORDS, with acronyms, partials, Roman numbers, obscure persons/geographical loci, etc. etc. taking a back seat. It's pleasant.

    The tradeoff is: it's also easy. I guess we get the gamut as we go, but after two or three days of hurting my brain, Mondays are welcome. All is as it should be.

    If this is indeed a debut offering, our Puzzle Girl has a bona fide future there for the taking. Thumbs up!

    Bonus: a very nice Skeeter Davis earworm. Man, that's back when music was music!

    Dirigonzo 6:20 PM  

    I'm just glad the down answers produced EDNAS at the bottom of the grid because Ferber and Krabappel might very well have stumped me. A BRISK puzzle, SWITFTly done - very nice.

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