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Jan 9, 2011

Sunday January 9, 2011 Jack McInturff

Theme: Oui (Ou → I) - Letters OU is changed into I in each familiar phrase.

23A. Herb homily? : SERMON ON THE M(OU)INT

39A. Like a stroller out of breath? : WALKING W(OU)INDED

50A. Golf pro's protection? : GR(OU)IP INSURANCE. We also have another golf reference: 37D. Golf's Slammin' Sammy : SNEAD. He could kick a 7-foot high ceiling in his 70s.

70A. Coffee at church? : HALLOWED GR(OU) IND

81A. Adoptee's goal? : F(OU)INDING FATHER

105A. "Last Comic Standing" winning routine? : CHAMPIONSHIP B(OU)IT

35D. Knighted vintner's nickname? : S(OU)IR GRAPES

46D. Dorm room Christmas tree? : F(OU)IR POSTER

Nice set of theme answers. Some of the clues made me smile. You've got to have a sense of humor when cluing letter string deletion/addition/exchange theme clues, or any punny theme.

Humor doesn't come to me naturally, even in Chinese. Jerome's outside-the-box thinking on certain mundane answers like IRON last time often impresses and amuses me.

A bit of slog for me today. Quite a few unfamiliar names, either in entries or in clues. Jack worked hard in coming up with fresh clues for some names, such as ANTON (26A. Canadian pianist Kuerti). But most of them just stumped me. A simple "Author Checkhov" would have given me a tap-in gimme. Different strokes I suppose. I bet this guy was an easy fill for Jayce or Jazzbumpa.

Across:

1. Language group that includes Swahili : BANTU

6. "Great" swingers : APES. Not the swingers I had in mind.

10. Yaks : GABS

14. "Get out!" : SCRAM

19. Yellow spreads : OLEOS

20. "Gloria" actress Rowlands : GENA. She's in "The Notebook".

21. It will probably keep you in bed : AGUE. I've never used this word in real life.

22. Raccoon kin : COATI

27. It's usually over a door : EXIT SIGN. Good clue/answer.

28. Australia's __ Rock : AYERS. Lovely fill for Kazie. Popular Australian tourist spot. Also known as Uluru.

29. Current concern : EL NINO. Oh, air current. (Correction: It's ocean current. Thanks, Gunghy!)

30. Dismayed cry : OH NO

31. One begins "Rhapsody in Blue" : TRILL

32. Witness to the Transfiguration of Jesus : ST. PETER. Jack always peppers a few Bible references in his puzzles.

33. Mag transformed by Helen Gurley Brown : COSMO. Unknown trivia to me.

36. Van Morrison's singing daughter : SHANA. Complete stranger. I like the color of her tank top.

37. Union leavers : SECEDERS

38. Hawaiian tuna : AHI. Yellowfin tuna. Mouthwatering, JD! What a pity that Dennis doesn't eat any fish.

43. Fallen orbiter : MIR. De-orbed in 2001.

44. Sound relatives : BAYS. And 113. Sound measure : SONE. Different "sound".

45. With no rocks : NEAT

46. Suspect story, maybe : FIB. So is LIE.

49. '90s game disc : POG

55. Nest egg initials : IRA

56. Upgrade to five stars, say : RE-RATE

58. Not rented : OWNED

59. Capers : LARKS

61. "Sherlock Holmes" actress Rachel : MCADAMS. Recognized her face when I googled. She's the mean girl in "Mean Girls".

63. "What __ Is This?" : CHILD

64. Wander : TRAIPSE

66. Attend to loose ends : MOP UP

67. Look uncertainly (for) : GROPE

68. 1972 Oscar refuser : BRANDO. He won for his performance in the "The Godfather".

69. Wrath : IRE

74. Hindu title : SRI

77. Elected ones : INs

78. Former U.K. carrier : BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation). Stumper.

79. Slick trick : RUSE

80. Lincoln progeny : TAD. Lincoln's youngest son.

86. Director's challenge : EGO. Nice clue.

87. Remove with effort : DISLODGE

91. Use the soapbox : ORATE

92. Spanish others : OTRAs

94. Lures : ENTICES

95. Moccasin, e.g. : SNAKE. No idea. The color does look that of the Moccasin slippers.

96. Pelvic bones : ILIA

98. Areas above hooves : SHANKS

99. Pursue : CHASE

100. Torino tongue : ITALIANO. My friend Roberto is from Roma. He makes terrific risotto & salad.

104. Pasta often served alla vodka : PENNE. Have never had this dish.

107. Drive-thru decision : ORDER

108. It has banks in Switzerland : AARE. River banks. Awesome clue.

109. Not a happy fate : DOOM

110. Writer Zora __ Hurston : NEALE. She wrote "Their Eyes Were Watching God".

111. Tries out : TESTS

112. Lulus : PIPS

114. Taunts : GIBES

Down:

1. Speaker of note : BOSE. Was thinking of Tris Speaker.

2. Author Haley : ALEX. "Roots".

3. Michael Corleone's bodyguard Al : NERI. Wow, no idea. The guy on the left.

4. Hand-played drum : TOM-TOM

5. Wartime diversion : USO SHOW

6. To the max, in the disco era : A GOGO

7. Ivy League member : PENN

8. Stud attachment? : ENT. Student. A rather innovative way to clue ENT.

9. Dry and hot : SAHARAN

10. Some wardens' concern : GAME LAW

11. "__ Like You": Young Rascals hit : A GIRL. Here is the clip.

12. Keister : BUNS

13. Place to be quiet : SET. Movie set.

14. Like Super Bowl tickets, perhaps : SCALPED

15. Hustled : CONNED

16. Kiwi or rhea : RATITE

17. Sorry sort : ATONER

18. They may have 84-Down : MINORs. 84. Spy covers : FAKE IDS.

24. One-time partner of novelist Miller : NIN (Anaïs). Henry Miller.

25. Giving the once-over : EYING

29. "Yada, yada, yada ..." : ETC ETC

31. "__ Promise You": *NSYNC hit : THIS I. Liked the song.

32. Family car : SEDAN

33. Summer getaway : CAMP

34. River formed at Pittsburgh : OHIO

36. Internet communications company : SKYPE. Never know how it got the name.

40. Pianist/composer Chasins : ABRAM. Another blind spot for me.

41. Café additions : LAITS. Café au lait.

42. Denoting a loss : IN RED

47. Bugs : IRKS

48. It may be stolen : BASE. Baseball. We also have 52. Steal : SWIPE.

50. Plotting aid : GRAPH

51. Not at all : NO HOW

53. Without direction : UNLED. Spell check doesn't like this word.

54. African antelope : ELAND

57. http://ucla.__ : EDU

60. It may be financial or legal : AID

61. Year of Super Bowl XXXVI : MMII. 2002. Patriots vs. Rams.

62. Muffin grain : CORN

63. Signs of spring : CROCI

64. Former title-winning women's wrestler Stratus : TRISH. No idea. Great body.

65. Saree wearer : RANEE

67. Forest clearing : GLADE

68. Cruel, as force : BRUTE. Brute force.

71. Stomachs : ABIDES

72. Suit sizes : LONGS

73. Irritate : GRATE

75. Shankar music style : RAGA. Norah Jones looks pretty in long hair, don't you think?

76. Nuptial vows : I DOs

81. Bernie, Roz and Greg, in a 2004 film : FOCKERS. Saw "Meet the Fockers". Can't remember the names.

82. They aren't stars : NO NAMEs

83. Understand : GRASP

85. Like white water : ROILING

87. Absolute ruler : DESPOT

88. Beckoning words : IN HERE

89. Score holders : STANDS. Oh, musical score.

90. Small finch : LINNET. Hey, there!

93. Capital city that hosted the 2007 Baseball World Cup : TAIPEI. Amazed baseball is popular there.

95. #, on scores : SHARP

96. "Who's there?" reply : IT'S ME

97. "Well, __-di-dah" : LAH

99. Indian spiced tea : CHAI

100. A party to : IN ON

101. Rhyme scheme of Kipling's "If—" : ABAB. Needed crossing help.

102. Cairo's river : NILE

103. Plural suffix with Capri : OTES. Capriotes.

105. Salary limit : CAP

106. Hugs, on cards : OOO

Answer grid.

C.C.

56 comments:

Hahtool said...

Good Morning, CC and friends. This was a toughie for me. I had difficulty with the theme until after I had completed the entire puzzle. I enjoyed all the misleading clues.

I thought Warden's Concern referred to a prison warden, so tried to fit some form of an ESCAPEE into the spaces. GAME LAW wasn't expected.

I also wrote in YALE instead of PENN.

My favorite clue was With No Rocks = NEAT. A shout-out to Tinbini!

Heavy rains expected here.

QOD: Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names. ~ John F, Kennedy

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

A very fun puzzle overall, especially since I grokked the theme early on. Definitely a challenge, however! I made slow and steady progress throughout, except for the ABRAM/SHANA/SKYPE/BAYS/GRIP INSURANCE section. I think it was the realization that SKYPE did, in fact, provide a form of Internet "communication" that finally let me get a GRIP there. I was, of course, looking for some sort email provider...

Al Cyone said...

A friend just sent me a link to Sylvia Burstzyn's obituary which noted that today's LA Times Sunday Crossword was her last. I didn't realize that the "daily" Sunday crossword (this one) is different from the Sunday Sunday crossword. What's up with that?

C. C. said...

Al Cyone,
Sylvia Bursztyn's puzzles only appeared in LA Times Sunday newspaper. What we blog here is LA Times Daily Crossword, edited by Rich Norris and syndicated to various newspapers in the country, including LA Times itself from Monday to Saturday.

I presume you will get Merl Reagle every Sunday from now on.

Abejo said...

Good morning folks. A real special "thank you" to Jack McInturff who constructed one of the most enjoyable puzzles I have done on a Sunday in some time. It took me a while to finish, as I worked on it off and on throughout the day. I went to the mall with my wife and took the puzzle with me. As she shopped I kind of pecked away at it. A "thank you" to C.C. for doing a swell write-up, as usual.

My first theme answer came with SIRGRAPES. After that the rest came quite easily.

I especially enjoyed AYERS Rock. Ayers Rock in Australia is the largest single rock, or stone, in the world discovered by mankind, so far. Great photo provided by C.C. in the link.

I thought AARE and SECEDERS both had a clever clues.

RATITE and LINNET were both total unknowns to me. I got them with the crosswords. After I finished I looked up RATITE. Def. "A bird with a flat breastbone"

Being able to buy a Sunday Trib on Saturday gives me a jump-start on the puzzle. Of course it costs me a couple bucks extra, but what the heck. See you all tomorrow.

Abejo

elsie said...

Good Morning,

Fun puzzle, fun clues. First clue where I figured out the theme is HALLOWED GRIND.

I love SKYPE. Makes the world smaller. I get to talk to my oldest son who lives in China.

Have a great Sunday everyone.

Lemonade714 said...

I thought this was a true Sunday workout with some obscurity, some deception and good themeage. Without the title, I thought of it as I OU, but then I am left-handed.

Helen Gurley Brown became famous in the early 60’s with here theories on independence and behavior for single women, which led to her publishing a book called Sex and the Single Girl which was turned into a fun MOVIE with the beautiful Natalie Wood playing Ms. Brown. This all was happening as I became teenager quite moved by supple women and hormonal hysteria. The movie was recently updated with Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger in Down With Love .

Interesting trivia, Joseph Heller, who is most famous for Catch-22 was the screenwriter of the movie. In any event, Ms. Brown who still does the talk show circuit took over COSMOPOLITAN magazine, added lots of sex talk and pictures and COSMO led to Sex in the City and now we are free.

More later, enjoy the day

Splynter said...

Hi All~!

I was able to GRASP the theme with SIR GRAPES, too, which gave me OU-> I; that led to FIR something, and my favorite was HALLOWED GRIND - big coffee fan, but of "LAIT"...

I, too, was stuck in prison mode for Warden, and coati (Xword standard) in the NE was a WAG, the only corner that gave me trouble.

Like the word TRAIPSE, and we had some clechos in here with MMII and SCALPED.

Funny, but I live on the Long Island Sound, but did not see the connection to BAYS - I was thinking of the Baying at the moon kind of sound....still worked...

Pond hockey today !!!!

Woo- Hoo !!!

Splynter

Jacel Morgan said...

I solved the puzzle in not quite an hour (that is my goal for Sunday puzzles. I really like "stud attachment" (ENT). I am still not used to "attaching" letters to words. I thought it was something attached to a stud (man or wood).

I figured out the theme after the second clue entry, but I did not realize the 25D & 46D were part of the theme until I read the blog.

C.C., Good job with the Blog.

HeartRx said...

Good Morning C.C. et al.

What a great Sunday puzzle! Thanks for the NEAT write-up, C.C. That was one of my favorite clues. But close second was the one you liked, too: 108A “It has banks in Switzerland” for AARE.

For 8A “Stud attachment”, I had “ear” until I realized it wasn’t referring to a body part, but something that attaches TO a “stud” – Oh, ENT. Clever!

I also liked 12D BUNS for “keister”. There are some words that just make me smile when I see them. I think of Buster “Keaton” falling on his “keister“, and it gets me chuckling.

Ones not so much:
7D Ivy league school PENN. Shouldn’t the hint indicate an abbr.?
53D Without direction UNLED. Don’t really like that word.

But for such a lovely puzzle, those two small gripes don’t stack up to a hill of beans.

Yesterday DH and I went to see “The King’s Speech”, starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Managed to get home before the snow hit. Now it’s time to go shovel the stuff. Hope you all have a wonderful (and back-pain-free) Sunday.

Lemonade714 said...

Splynter,

CAFE AU LAIT is a common menu item, so the add on of LAIT (milk) seems to be a very legitimate clue either on a menu, or if you think in French you might add du lait ou du sucre à votre café, ou les deux.


Water Mocassins are very common in Florida, and dangerous. They hang in trees near the shore by lakes.

Penne alla vodka is one of my favorite dishes, both to cook and consume.

I learned of Zora Neale Hurston from my children who read her books in high school. I read and enjoyed on her works.

Are there any big Finches?

I think Rachel McAdams is a pretty woman, but the Sherlock Holmes movie was an abomination which had nothing to do with the character. Downey's interpretation that Holmes and Watson were bisexual did not add to my admiration for the project. I cannot imagine why they even reference the Conan Doyle creation and then completely bastardize the work. Now they are planning a sequel.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning all. Thanks for the write-up C.C. Jack, nice interesting, clever and fun puzzle.

I was slow to get the theme strategy, but when it finally clicked in SERMON ON THE MINT, and GRIP INSURANCE popped right out. Very clever ou ⇒ i shift. WAGS included 45a NEAT, and 101d ABAB. AARE was the only 4 letter Swiss river I could think of. I nailed RATITE but LINNET, a small finch, was gotten from the perps. Liked the clueing for BOSE and BAYS. While I would concede bay is a relative of sound, I think strait is a closer relative to sound. JMHO. I liked the richness of some of the other fill like TRAIPSE, too. I had red letter help with 103d OTES.

Enjoy what's left of the weekend.

Husker Gary said...

Good Morning C.C. and Sunday Solvers, this was a slog for me today as well especially as Joann and I were monitoring the information and stories coming out of Tucson, AZ. As the radio play on said, “Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of man?” Decreases my desire to blog much today.

C.C.’s write-up was first rate as usual but I was struck by her comment that she says humor does not come to her naturally. Her wit and wisdom are a mainstay to this blog. I assume that humor in China is totally different from the irreverence in the USA.

We will be traipsing through 10” of snow today!

Musings
-Theme was fun and helpful!
-I hope to see AYERS rock in my lifetime and glad for Kazie
-Greensleeves/What Child is This? is one of the most lovely melodies ever written
-TOMTOM not bongo
-Joann’s twin sister got SKYPE yesterday and so we have another electronic connection
-Will super bowls be the salvation of Roman Numerals?
-RAGA?
-RUMP for Keister

Off to church!

kazie said...

As predicted, Ayers Rock was a gimme for me, but then it should have been for all of you here, who were around last summer when C.C. kindly posted so many of my photos from that trip.

BTW, C.C., that's a great aerial shot of it you posted today!

Actually, there weren't too many other gimmes for me. I got a few on the first pass through the acrosses, but then had to rely on red letters for most everything else.

The "oui" title made me expect a lot of French, and other than LAITS there wasn't any. On the whole, very difficult for me.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Annette said...

Hello everybody,

This was a good puzzle for me. Completely doable, it just took a while to wend my way through it.

PENN State is commonly known as just PENN, so no abbreviation indicator was needed. Nice to see PENN and 'Pittsburgh' both in the puzzle.

What a coincidence! After yesterday's Charley Pride discussion, I was listening to the radio this morning and "Is Anybody Goin' To San Anton'" came on. :)

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, It took a while to finish this one up, but that was because it was a chubby Sunday.

I might have had trouble with (8D) Stud attachment?/ENT, for StudEMT, but it was filled by the perps. (36A) SHANA also came via perps. I had (26A)AN-ON crossing with (16D) RA-ITE. Inserting a T seemed to be the sensible answer and fortunately it worked.

I liked seeing GRAPES, GROPE, GRATE and GRASP sort of circling around in the lower middle section.

SERMON ON THE M(OU)INT was the first theme entry I got and understood. That made it so much easier to complete the other phrases with just a few perp fill.

I like PENNE alla vodka too, although I've made it with homemade fettucine instead of penne. Not difficult to mix and roll out, but I'd rather have a pasta roller. I hinted around at Christmas, but got a Kindle instead. Guess I'll have to buy the pasta machine myself.

The Kindle was really a better gift, because I use it all the time. When it isn't on the night table, it is in my purse. It took a while to get over the mini-thrill of turning a paper page, but the convenience is wonderful.

creature said...

Good Day C.C. and all,

Thanks, C.C., for your super write-up. Always helpful!

The puzzle today was fun for me. I had an added excitement of missing clues: 68d,71d,72d and 73d. I printed the puzzle from the LA Times Crossword site, which I do every day.It is so much better, to me, than the newspaper,printwise. Of course, Sundays is small, like the newspaper; hence, I do it a little at a time, to keep from going blind. Can't figure out the other sites- I'm tech challenged. At any rate, I'm proud to say , I got it all!

The theme was great fun and the
FILL was interesting. The play on words was rampant, as mentioned; thoroughly enjoyed. Jack, thank you for such an ambitious and successful effort.

Have a nice day everyone.

Bill G. said...

I enjoyed the puzzle (not easy for me) and the writeup. Thanks Jack and C.C.

Keister is a funny word. So is tush. I assume it must have appeared in one of our crosswords but I don't remember it. I like the word TRAIPSE also.

I don't think PENN needs an abbreviation either because that's what the school is called most often. However, it's not Penn State but the University of Pennsylvania.

I like Rachel McAdams a lot where she plays a sympathetic character as in 'The Notebook' and 'The Time-Traveler's Wife.' I didn't care for the new 'Sherlock Holmes' either. I stopped watching the DVR recording less than halfway through.

Have a pleasant Sunday everybody.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning CC and the gang! Great write-up, Great puzzle!

This thing kicked me arse from corner to corner looking for something to grab onto. I'd get three or four in a group and then hit unknowns. I finally got back to the west side and got the SIR GRAPES and groked the theme. That gave me quite a bit of fill and let me pick my way through everything but a few entries in the NE corner. 'Current concern'? Obviously ENERGY. I refused to give it up for way too long. I should know COATI by now, but all I could think of that fit was STOAT or LEMUR.

NEAT didn't fool me at all and like Hahtool, I immediate thought of Tin(no ice in my drink!)beni. Banks in Switzerland didn't fool me either, I just had no idea of the name of the river, except that it started with A.

Ask people to name one rock they associate with Australia and AYERS pops up. Not my lovely wife though... her tastes in rocks lean toward those small expensive ones. Opals would be her Australian rock of choice.

Lots of write overs in my grid today and a few entries short of completion without lookups, but certainly better than many Sunday puzzles I've tried.

daffy dill said...

Morning C.C. and all.

I had high hopes when I knew the first entry, BANTU. After that, it went nowhere fast. I had so much help with look ups and red letters at the end, that I am classifying this as a DNF. Even with all the help, it took 1.5 hrs. I knew the theme after SERMONONTHEM(ou)INT, but for some reason, it didn't help a lot. All the names were complete unknowns to me. I am humbled.

C.A., one of my sons gave me a Kindle for Mother's Day year before last. I love it, but I still sometimes buy the "real" books for non-fiction. Also, I have Kindle for PC on my desktop and laptop, so it is comfortable to read just about anywhere.

Have a great day.

JimmyB said...

Thanks, C.C. for another great write up.

A bit of a mini "The Notebook" theme here since Rachel McAdams played the role of the young Gena Rowlands character in a real weeper of a movie. I defy anyone, male or female, to sit through that movie without going through a box of tissues.

Argyle said...

creature, if you'd like, I could talk you through getting Across Lite. You can print out just the grid on one page and then print the clues on another page. A lot easier to see.

Argyle said...

Gena Rowlands portrayed Gibbs' ex-mother-in-law on NCIS last year.

Lucina said...

Hello, everyone!

This was a slog for me; wish I had liked it more although there was some sparkling fill here and there.

HALLOWEDGRIND opened the theme to me, but still no cigar. Many of the clues I found vastly obscure, but the more to learn, I see.

Have to make this short as I'm going to see the King's Speech and I'm glad to hear more rave reviews.

Later. Thanks for blogging, C.C.

Argyle said...

I found this interesting tidbit last night.

À gogo, often anglicized as A Go-Go, is a French expression meaning "in abundance, galore". The term is often used in popular culture, especially in the field of music and dancing. Though earlier uses of the phrase were meant to lend a cosmopolitan feel to subjects, modern usage tends more toward an ironic, campy appeal.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody.

The puzzles have been really hard the last couple of days. The puzzles on Wednesday and Thursday of last week were fun and doable, and then whammo I could not finish Friday's nor yesterday's. My brain was worn out on Friday, after a week of almost full-time work involving lots of thinking; I think I was just tired. I'm glad I wasd able to finish today, but that's probably only because I did it on line and had red-letter help on. It's always easier that way.

I have to confess I knew neither ANTON Kuerti nor ABRAM Chasins. Heck, I didn't know SHANA Van Morrison, TRISH Stratus, and Zora NEALE Hurston either. I did know Rachael MCADAMS, Anais NIN, and Helen Gurley Brown of COSMO magazine. Rachael McAdams has a very pretty smile. I've never seen Anais Nin, so I can't comment on her smile, or even if she ever did smile.

Yes, Nora Jones is pretty and does look good in long hair like that. She sings beautifully, too.

I saw Meet the Fockers and thought it was really a stupid movie. What a waste of a great talent like Robert DeNiro. Haven't seen them, but I'll bet the sequels are even worse.

Best wishes to you all.

Abejo said...

To Melissa Bee:

I ordered some Midas Touch. We'll how it is.

Abejo

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon everyone.

Thanks for the write up C.C.

I couldn't get past bran for muffins and got too cute for capers and put in seed. Many other errors. But I do think the theme is very clever.

Cannot let IT'S ME stand. Could not even write it even though it was clear that's what was wanted. I do not understand why constructors, let alone editors, let grammatical errors appear! (I know, we've had this conversation before, BUT....)

Cool day here in Naples – it's only 68 on our lanai – but sunny all day.

Cheers

HeartRx said...

Bill G, thanks for clarifying University of Pennsylvania. I did gg it, and right on their home page, the first word that appears is PENN, and in tiny letters underneath that is "University of Pennsylvania".

So OK, I only had ONE gripe today. Phew !!

Bill G. said...

Yes, Nora Jones is pretty and very talented. If she released an album of standards, I would be all over it. I wonder if Rachel McAdams can sing? :>)

Barbara found a two-for-one coupon for Johnny Rockets, a 50s-themed fast food restaurant in the area. (Sorry Jeannie, no BK today.) I had seen it featured recently on the reality show, "Undercover Boss." I had a pretty decent Philly Cheesesteak and she had a BLT, both with a half-order of onion rings and a split coffee malt. Pretty good for a fast food place.

Gunghy said...

I had both Sir Grape and Fir Poster and still didn't get the theme until Sermon On The Mint. I needed to google for Neri, Nin, and Shana (which gave me Game Law) to get that one. I also had to google for Anton and Abram. McAdams and Neale were part perps and part WAG, but I knew Brandon and Stratus. The former because that's probably the last time I sat through the Oscars and the latter because my son tried to become a professional "Wrestler."

Other than the obscure names, I really enjoyed this, but it took several passes to get a toehold. It seemed harder than most Sundays.

C.C., El Niño is a ocean current associated with warmer than usual water running west along the Equator. The weather people make a big deal when it's a "El Niño year" but locally it means we well be wetter than usual, unless we are drier than normal or just normal. When the current is cooler than normal, it's called La Niña. That is always drier locally, which explains why the Sierra snowpack is currently at its April average.

Good Night, Mrs. Calabash, where ever you are.

Lucina said...

The King's Speech is a really, really good movie! Well done! Of course I have been in love with Colin Firth since Pride and Prejudice. I was pleased and astonished to see Derek Jacobi looking great! I know he's very senior.

Looking over today's puzzle I see that it is very cleverly constructed; just I wasn't on the right wave length. Interestingly we saw NERI as a saint and now he's a bodyguard!

I love the use of such words as COATI, TRAIPSE, and STPETER.

I'm going to pick up my older granddaughter and take her to dinner.

We in this state are in shock over the events of yesterday. It speaks to the lack of funds for the care of the mentally ill. More about the motivation will be learned later, but so far that is how it seems.

I hope you are enjoying your Sunday.

creature said...

Argyle, thanks so much. If you're willing to deal with this 'fossil head', I would like to try again.I just emailed you. Wish you'd email your no. to me. I've tried this and somehow have messed up. What ever works for you.

Burrito34 said...

Good Sunday afternoon all,

Another difficult yet enjoyable puzzle for me as it was for most of us. I especially liked the religion clues scattered in the puzzle. I would have thought 32A, "Witness to the Transfiguration of Jesus" would have been an easy one for me, so I first put down "apostle." But being Southern Baptist, putting Saint (St) in front of apostles' names doesn't come to me quickly as it would to a Catholic. Of the theme clues, I got "Sermon on the Mint" first which gave me the scheme.

Be well,
Burrito 34

dodo said...

Afternoon, all,

Interesting how this puzzle has been received by our group so far. I haven't counted but I think it must be almost even as to easy or hard. I'm with C.C.,Hahtool,Lucina, and a number of others in the "hard" half. It was a real slog for me, and I finally just decided to google a lot of the ones I didn't know. The only names I knew were Gena (Rowlands) and St. Peter. Oh, yeah, I did know Nin but only after I looked up the wrong Miller, the one who married Marilyn, and then noticed that it was Henry, the novelist. I Wagged Nin and then looked it up. I guess I'd read about their affair at some point. I guess now that I look at the whole puzzle, I did know quite a bit of fill and I did grok the theme after Sermon on the Mint, but it didn't help a lot and like Jacel, didn't even realize that Sir Grapes and FirPoster were theme answers!

Lucina, I have been in love with Colin Firth, also, since "My Life So Far". Did you see that one? It was great. I don't know when it was made, but it was such a different type of role for him.

And speaking of movies, I have lent a Netflix dvd to friends who wanted to know more about it(Netflix), but I have a feeling they have 'forgotten' about it. Many of us here do forget things, of course. But now I need a way of gently retrieving the dvd since I now have only one disc in transit! Oh, dear!

dodo said...

Sally, it is lent, isn't it? I have a thing about loaned!

Clear Ayes said...

Dodo, I lent (how about it, Sallie?) six DVDs to two friends several months ago. They are ones I bought, so I can't say Netflix is asking for them. I always return stuff ASAP, so it is difficult for me to understand and then to ask for the return of things that have been borrowed from me. Let us know how you fare.

I'm looking forward to "The King's Speech", but I don't see it playing in Modesto, Merced or Sonora yet. I'll keep checking because I am a big Colin Firth fan too. I think the first time I saw him was as the title character in "Valmont". He was much more convincing (sexy?) than John Malkovich in the same role in "Dangerous Liasons".

Sallie, LOL, I just had a feeling that you would be the one to get "the willies" about IT"S ME.

Argyle said...

Can somone click on this Chat Room link? I want to see if this still works.

Spitzboov said...

Argyle: I did. A parachat login screen came up. Is that what you wanted?

Argyle said...

Well, yes. Put your name in the box and enter.

Argyle said...

Ok, I've shut the chat room down.

windhover said...

Argyle:
I tried your link. I found several very attractive 20 year old who claim they wanted to "chat" with me. Is that what they're calling it now?
I had to back out, because I learned quite a while ago I wasn't wired for 220.
What was I supposed to find?
I usually will try anything twice.

Argyle said...

I think you're joshing me but...I'll be right back.

Argyle said...

Did you sneak into one of them ADULT CHAT rooms? Does the Irish know?

You weren't in the old Firecrest room, fer sure.

windhover said...

Yes, I did, and yes, she does, and I got the hell out of there, fast.
It's no place for an old farmer, even a quasi-pagan, libertine (NOT libertarian) one.

Jeannie said...

I half hazardly attempted the puzzle today after coming off the ice trying to catch the "big one"....alas...not to be, but I did eat some kick a$$ chili!!

Elsie, my sisters in Michigan have both gotten "skype" so it's now my turn to add another gismo to my works. I don't see them all that often so I would think that would be great to be able to "talk" to them one on one. Can multiples communicate at once?

Splynter, pond hockey? I am just assuming you groomed a hockey rink on the ice right?

Counselor, another French lesson...Between crossword puzzles and you, I might learn to speak at least some French.

CA, I was testing my brain to figure out what kind of kitchen appliance was a "kindle". After reading further, that you keep it in on your night stand or in your purse I thought it must be for something else...hey the name fits!:)

BillG, Johnny Rockets (not around here) sounds very similar to Culver's Restaurants which I highly recommend.

LMAO Windhover, I too, went to that link of Argyle's and wasn't all too sure what link to open! Low and behold It seems I could get at least a dozen of those youngun's to hit on me....hmmmm.

If an older woman (me included) is a cougar, what do you call a younger man? Random thought.

Bill G. said...

Jeannie asked: If an older woman (me included) is a cougar, what do you call a younger man?

Lucky?

There aren't any Culver's Restaurants anywhere near here but they sound good. Johnny Rockets has a 50s theme to their music and with their staff. It's a step up from the typical fast food place.

Lucina said...

CA and Dodo:
I know you can't do it on Netflix ones, but on my personal DVD's, CD's and books, even dishes for potlucks, I stick a return address label on them.

People are just too "forgetful" and with that reminder, they are returned. Just a thought.

Jeannie:
I hope you are joshing about not knowing that a kindle is an electronic book. However, the brand might have other products, too. LOL

Anonymous said...

Guest-writer Bonnie Trenga writes, Traditionally, lend is the verb and loan is the noun. I'll have a memory trick for you at the end.
British Rules
This rule is still true in Britain, but not in America (1). So in the UK it would be wrong to say, “My mom loaned me her favorite dress.” In the U.K., you’d have to say, “My mom lent me her favorite dress.”
American Rules
Some American grammarians agree with the British rule and prefer to use loan as a noun only. One American stickler, Bill Walsh, author of Lapsing Into a Comma, suggests that you consider giving up loaned for lent [quote] “if you don’t want to incur the word nerds’ wrath” (2). Others contend that loan as a verb has been used “vigorously” in American English so it “must be considered standard”

Anonymous said...

PS: That's from Grammar Girl in Ask Jeeves.

Bill G. said...

Hey Sallie, Bonnie Trenga is the daughter of a college friend who lives nearby. She was also a student in my algebra class years ago. But being an editor and a grammarian was clearly her calling, not math.

I, being a fogy, still use lend as a verb and loan as a noun. It's another example of where, if people misuse a word often (vigorously) enough, it eventually becomes acceptable.

Clear Ayes said...

Jeannie, LOL, I think the Kindle I have is just supposed to kindle a desire to read.....but I see how a person could have been confused by my remark. Now if somebody could come up with a dual purpose Kindle, they could make a fortune.

BTW, any younger man who has a relationship with an older woman should just be called "Lucky"!

Lucina, yes, a return address on CDs and DVDs is a necessity. All mine have an return address label on the jewel case. Ah well, I guess I will just have to remind my forgetful friends and remind myself not to lend anymore.

Sallie, I think it makes the rules much easier if we think of loan as a noun and lend as a verb.

Bill G. said...

CA, regarding younger men and older women, great minds...?

Jeannie said...

Lucina, I hate to sound stupid, but maybe I got caught up on CA wanting a pasta maker; I have never heard of a kindle. I hope I didn't just fall a couple notches on your expectation belt. I am not a techie in the least. I didn't even own a cell phone until the last year or so. I don't own a Digital Camera, DVD, Ipod, Iphone, microwave (okay, that's really old technology) but don't have one. I do however, own an antiquated PC that I can converse with you fine folks.

Off to bed....

Annette said...

Bill G., thanks for the correction on PENN. I always did get them confused.

CA, I'm not sure if this is where you were going with that, but I downloaded a Kindle app to my smartphone and just downloaded my third book. It works great, and is so portable and legible!

The only drawback I've seen so far is that with such a small screen, you have to turn pages more often, maybe twice as often as a standard paperback.

It also takes nice pictures.

Now, if I could just get some music loaded on it, I could eliminate my iPod Nano too!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers - Late again, obviously. Just finished the puzzle and it sure was a workout. Clever execution of the theme!

"Keister" caught my attention. As far as I know we Americans pronounce it "keester", but if the word is of German origin I would expect it to be "kye-ster". Anybody up on this?

Anybody up at all, for that matter?

Good Night Irene.