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Dec 29, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011 Ed Sessa

Theme: Music To My Ears! (But only if I listen!)

17A. *Fifth amendment right: DUE (Do) PROCESS OF LAW

25A. *Decorator’s forte: EYE(I) FOR DETAIL

46A. *No place in particular: HERE (Hear) AND THERE

59A. *End of an old pasta product jingle: UH (A) OH SPAGHETTIOS

66. Disney et al., or when added to the starts of the starred answers, a 1965 musical (listen!): WALTS (Waltz)

And you do have to “listen” to the starts of the starred answers to get this theme, “Do I Hear a Waltz?”, which is a rather obscure musical by Arthur Laurents, with music by Rodgers and lyrics by Sondheim, from a 1952 play “The Time of the Cuckoo”, also the basis for the1955 film “Summertime” starring Katherine Hepburn. Whew!

I won’t say how long it took me to “get” this one. But it was satisfying to finally get it, after all. I can’t say if other solvers would be enamored of this theme, but as a constructor, I thought it was absolutely brilliant! To find five entries that make up the title of a musical, including a pluralization of a pronoun (“Walts”), with each word an exact homophone of the corresponding movie title words...it just astounds me. Kudos to you, Ed Sessa, and do stop by today and let us know what was the seed entry for this one? My guess would be “Walts”?!?

Marti here, so let’s get crackin’ on the rest of this bad boy:

Across:

1. 16-Across's style : SCAT. Hoo boy, we start right off the bat with a cross referential clue. So, let's skip that one for now. Because [16A. 1-Across singer : ELLA] didn't give me much to go on...(maybe some perps can help???)

5. Step like Bigfoot : TROMP. I would much prefer a clue like "Step on the accelerator, like on the autobahn..."

10. Panache : DASH. Someone who has panache is "dashing", or they could just be going o'er the fields in a one horse open sleigh.

14. Two-time Italian prime minister Moro : ALDO. Kidnapped by the infamous Italian left-wing Red Brigade, and then killed.

15. Writer who said, "I am not young enough to know everything" : WILDE. Oscar.

20. Factor in the Andrea Doria/Stockholm collision : DENSE FOG. In what could have been an epic disaster on the scale of the Titanic sinking, "only" 46 people lost their lives off the coast of Nantucket in this accident.

21. Water pipes : MAINS. Anyone else think of these?

22. Flamenco shout : OLE

23. Portmanteau name for an O-Cedar cleaning product : SCRUNGE. For "scrubbing sponge".

30. Shower accessory : LOOFA.

31. "___ out?": dealer's query : IN OR. I ask my cats that all the time...

32. Wall map marker : TACK

36. Navigational suffix : ERN. East-ern, south-ern, west-ern, north-ern. Or, this crosswordese sea bird.

37. Bleach : DECOLOR. Hmm, do you know any "decolored" blondes?

40. Magic org. : NBA. Hah! I am finally "getting" these clues for Magic, Jazz, etc.

41. Tuxedo part : VEST

43. Word game piece : TILE. I am playing online scrabble with my BFF of 47 years. The TILEs are quite realistic!

44. V8's veggies, e.g. : OCTET. Duh, a real V8 moment, when I realized that the "8" in V8 refers to the number of veggies in there!!

49. Thickness measurer : CALIPER. Or, how long it takes me to do the crossword at 11:00 at night...

52. Sit in a cellar : AGE. I showed Dudley my wine cellar today, but the wines in there don't sit very long.

53. Have because of : OWE TO. Awkward one to clue.

54. As a point of fact : ACTUALLY.

62. Woody scent : PINE. Can't you just smell it?

63. Firefighter Red : ADAIR. Can never remember his name until I fill in a few perps...

64. Lieutenant Tragg creator Gardner : ERLE

65. Cast topper : STAR. I thought of Yellowrocks and her recent cast.

67. Raise : REAR

Down:

1. Teen safety gp. : SADD. Students Against Drunk Driving.

2. Lead for Poirot : CLUE

3. Port of Yemen : ADEN. Geography lesson for the day. (You might want to zoom out a bit...) (...OK, maybe a lot)

4. Caps : TOPS OFF

5. Broadway deal : TWO-FER. Why "Broadway"? Isn't any two-for one sale a "deal"?

6. Suitor of 57-Down : RICO. Another cross-reference. But at least this one had some meat to latch onto in the referential clue: [57D. "Copacabana" siren : LOLA]. (Do we really want to hear a link to the Barry Manilow ear worm again?) (....nah, didn't think so!!) (Just hum it to yourself...) (C'mon, you know the words!!) ("Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl. With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there...") (hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm, hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm...)

7. Designer Cassini : OLEG

8. OR workers : MDs

9. Latin foot : PES. Masculine, third declension. Genitive = "pedis". Just take my word for it, and move on...

10. Assumed value : DEFAULT. Anyone else have a problem with this definition? I thought de fault was all in de failure of de guy to pay his debt.

11. Plumb tuckered out : ALL-IN. In Texas Hold-em poker, an "All-in" bet means putting all your remaining chips into the pot. Maybe it's because the player is plumb tuckered out and just wants to go back to his hotel room to get some sleep?

12. Much street talk : SLANG. So they can sound kewl...

13. Ship's anchor hole : HAWSE. How's that for a clue, Spitzboov?? (I know, the pronunciation is more like "hoz". But I'm from New England, so I can make up any pronunciation I want!)

18. Prepare to shoot again : RELOAD. Guns or cameras?

19. Katz of "Hocus Pocus" : OMRI. This kid.

23. Hot : STOLEN. Great clue/answer!

24. Dear, to Donizetti : CARO. My chance to link opera! (3:04) Giuseppe Giordani is credited for composing the song "Caro Mio Ben" in his opera "L'Epponia", but it is suggested that the song actually pre-dated it by some 50 years.

25. Shasta no. : ELEV. For some reason, I filled this in without even thinking about it.

26. Days gone by : YORE

27. A really long time : EONS

28. More touch-and-go : DICIER

29. ___ Gay : ENOLA

33. Opening stake : ANTE

34. Transmitting trucker : CBer. Do truckers still use CB radios? Or are they all wireless internet texters now? Scary thought...

35. Hudson of "Almost Famous" : KATE. She's so pretty, I don't know why she hides half her face with her DECOLORED hair.

38. To be, in Paree : ETRE. (Abejo - maybe Santa will bring you RosettaStone next Christmas?)

39. Cheap hooch : ROTGUT...oooohhhh, brings back memories of those nights in college that I spent laying there clinging to the grass for dear life, because I was afraid I would fall off the lawn...

42. Toward that place, to Shakespeare : THITHER...and yon.

45. Proctor's concern : CHEATER

47. Long verse : EPOS

48. Antique dealers, at times : DATERS. I wonder if they meet their dates on match.com?

49. Masterstrokes : COUPS

50. At all : A WHIT

51. Hotelier Helmsley : LEONA

54. "(I've Got ___ in) Kalamazoo" : A GAL. If anyone called me a "gal" these days...
.
.
.
I'd probably kiss him for thinking I was so young.

55. Voucher : CHIT

56. Currency discontinued in 2002 : LIRE. Plural of "lira", the old Italian currency. When I lived in Italy in 1988, a bottle of water (1 liter) cost 2000 lire. A bottle of the local wine was 1000 lire. Guess what I drank?

58. Strategic WWI rivr : YSER

60. Hillbilly relative : PAW.

61. Org. for drillers? : ADA. American Dental Association

Answer grid.

So now I'm plumb tuckered out, and off to bed!

Hugs,

Marti

67 comments:

Tinbeni said...

Marti: Wonderful write-up!

OK, at first, at 5-A, I had Stomp before the TWOFER got me TROMP.

And it took a while for the LOOFA to appear. Shasta's ELEV was the last fill.

But the theme's ACTUALLY fell quickly.
Never heard of the DO I HEAR A WALTZ musical and was having a hard time trying to listen since that DAMN Copacabana ear-worm was running through my brain.

All-in-all, though a slog, this was my NEW favorite of 2011.

Cheers to all at Sunset!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

I ACTUALLY caught on to the theme for once! I'm with you, Marti, I find it pretty darn clever. Oh, and I zoomed way, way out on that Google map link...:-)

Got into trouble up North with STOMP instead of TROMP. Could not grok A WHIT, had to settle for red letter help there. Don't think I knew SCRUNGE, but the clue was informative enough to suss it out.

Had enough perps to avoid the trap at OCTET. Who knew that seeing that movie about Red ADAIR all those years ago would aid my puzzle solving now?

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

I struggled with this one for quite awhile before finally getting the job done unassisted. My main (self-inflicted) problem was in the NE where I had ELAN crossing ARGOT instead of DASH crossing SLANG. The self-referential clues for 1A/16A didn't help, since I couldn't get one without the other and didn't realize that 16A was just a first name. Thank heavens I managed to dredge HAWSE out of some dark recess of my brain...

The theme, on the other hand, did elude me completely. I misunderstood the theme reveal's instructions to mean that WALTS needed to be added to the starting word for every theme answer, and "DUE WALTS EYE WALTS HERE WALTS UH WALTS" just didn't mean anything to me. Of course, it probably would have helped if I was even passingly familiar with the musical "Do I Hear a Waltz."

Other minor rough spots included TWOFER (especially the way it was clued), ALDO, SCRUNGE and DECOLOR. Fortunately, I knew ADEN, OMRI, LOLA and RICO, all of which helped immensely.

Hahtool said...

Good Morning, Marti and friends. Well, I was able to (finally) get all the spaces filled in, but struggled over the clue. I got WALTS on the first pass and realized that theme wanted WALTZ, but, like Barry, tried Due Waltz / Eye Waltz .... Never heard of DO I HEAR A WALTZ.

I also fell into the Stomp and Clomp before realizing that Big Foot would actually TROMP.

Yes, Marti, my first thought for Water Pipes was, indeed, the Hookah.

How's I supposed to know HAWSE? (I grew up in NE, too, so can use Marti's pronunciation)? I probably won't remember that word again unless it appears in tomorrow's puzzle.

QOD: In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. ~ Robert Frost

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning! Great write up, Marti. I, too, really enjoyed this puzzle. SLANG and HAWSE gave me ELLA and that gave me SCAT and I was off and running. OMRI and KATE were never going to show up without 4 perps apiece, but they did emerge.

When I saw the admonition "Listen!" at the end of the unifier clue, I thought there would be a homophone involved, but five of them? Genius! "Do I Hear A Waltz" rang a bell from somewhere.

Lots of fun stuff in this one.

Tinbeni said...

Marti: Great links too!

Must be that "other major" from my college daze ... but my first thought for 21-A, Water pipes, was BONGS.
(Alas, I already had in my 'street talk' SLANG and MAIN slowly emerged).

Grumpy 1:
OMRI was a 4-perp answer for me also.
I'll probably forget him by noon.

ROTGUT was my favorite entry, maybe of all time.

Thanks for a FUN Thursday Ed Sessa.

HeartRx said...

Barry G. and Hahtool - hand up for adding WALTS to each of the first words. I was starting to sweat a little, wondering how in hell I was going to write this one up, without a clue about the theme myself.

Fortunately, my crossword muse finally kicked in, and I had my eight vegetable moment...

chapstick52 said...

My small-town dingdong newspaper printed tomorrows puzzle today. So Marti--nice puzzle! It was a bit of a toughie and I love the challenge. Good job and I'll check out the comments tomorrow!

Lemonade714 said...

marti:

Now you know the thrill of the write up with the theme hiding; great job figuring it out, I did not. I filled the blanks but no clue where Ed was leading us.

Like Barry I found stuff in the memory banks, and also started with STOMP, but it is done, Great day all.

Avg Joe said...

I'm not as thrilled with this one as y'all seem to be. Decolor was fugly, Scrunge was nowhere to be found in memory and hawse is a bit too obscure, even for Thursday. But that said, I did find it very challenging and actually got it done (with more wear to the eraser end than the working end of my Dixon #2).

As hung up on semantics as most solvers are, I find it odd that the origin of panache has never been discussed. It's a wonderful word and derives from the ornamental plume on a battle helmet.

fermatprime said...

Good morning, all!

Challenging puzzle, Ed! But got through it w/o cheats. The theme baffled me, though. Hands up for STOMP at first. Amusing and interesting exposition, Marti, as usual.

Still haven't written up a holiday letter to send out. All that Christmas burned me out. Do not have much to say. Am slowly accumulating photos of some animals and plants. Cats elusive. Getting the dog to sit still was no picnic. The tortoise, on the other hand, was easy.

Am still trying to find the LAT sudoku on line!

Cheers!

desper-otto said...

Yup, looked for it, but never got the theme. Thanks for explaining it, Marti.

My only problem area was due northERN. I had RNS in the OR and that gave me MILNE before WILDE. TWOFER finally straightened things out.

I also immediately inked ELEV for Shasta No. Guess it could have been CALS, though. I think it's a soda brand.

Happy Thursday, all.

SouthernBelle said...

Morning' all,

Marti, I don't know how you figured out the theme! I just gave up and let you do all the work.

And, had to use help two times. Not a good way to start off the morning...but better than ending it with ROTGUT.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning all. Thanks, Marti, for the explanations.

I got the starred fill ok, but never fully understood the connection with the unifier. Liked UH UH SPAGHETTIOS. It'll probably spin around in my head all day, now. Perps helped with some mis-directions, and the spelling of LOOFA. (There are several). I know HAWSE more by HAWSEpipe. I guess hawser, a thick rope or cable, is a related word. "Came up through the hawsepipe" is another expression for a 'mustang', someone who rose from ordinary seaman or sailor to officer without attending the Academy or other college. Did not know CARO, but ÊTRE was a gimme. Good mental workout.

Have a great day.

Yellowrocks said...

Marti, you always make me laugh. Great puzzle, Ed. After getting WALTS and EYE HEAR, I grogged the theme.

Like Barry i was quite certain of ELAN for quite a while.

The OCT perps for V8 gave it away.

I thought of HOOKAHS rigth away, but knew it was too easy, so chose MAINS

I always think of TWOFERS in reference to nearby Broadway. Never pay full price.

ENOLA Gay. I always think, how sad to have this carrier of devastation named after the pilot's mother, Enola Gay. Not much of an honor. I understand that later the piolt regretted the name.

Only DECOLOR felt awkward, although both the dictionary and the thesaurus recognize it as a synonym of BLEACH.

My biggest hang up was reading 32A as wall map MAKER insyead of MARKER. How could that be TACK? Then a smack with the V8 can and I saw it.

Jazzbumpa said...

ELLA SCAT singing.

JzB

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Ed, for a great Thursday puzzle. Thank you, Marti, for an equally great write-up.

To Marti: I got THITHER way before ETRE. Once I had the four horizontals, ETRE appeared. I expect I will remember that word for the future. I am sure it will appear again.

The four theme answers came easily. Also, I did not get the connection with WALTS. Was not aware of that musical.

I also wanted STOMP and CLOMP for 5A. Could not make any sense of 5D. Finally TROMP and TWOFER came together.

Missed SCRUNGE and CARO. Had SPRUNGE and PARO. Not too good on foreign words.

Wanted PAP for 60D, then PAW arrived with WALTS.

It was 11 degrees fahrenheit this morning in NW Pennsylvania. Now up to 23.

Now off to split some kindling for my wife's cousin's wood burner. I don't want to trust her with an axe.

See you tomorrow.

Abejo

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

There are times when I'm amazed at the fit between a puzzle and that day's blogger. Marti, you are uniquely suited to magnify this masterpiece, and you did it brilliantly.

I'm really glad this one did not come up on my watch. It is the kind of virtuoso piece that a master technician puts together for his own edification, and that of his esoteric peer group. Like Paganini's violin extravaganzas, or 12-tone serial music, It sort of ignores the inconvenient fact that there's an audience out there.

While it must be very satisfying to construct, it is pretty low on the fun scale, from this solver's POV. I love puns, but this theme is a reach too far; and, built around a deep obscurity, comes close to being intractable. The plural of a proper name is lame in any case, and having one be part of the theme is a big flaw, IMHO.

The definition for DEFAULT is inexact, for TWOFER unfairly misleading, OMRI is unknown, and DASH just seems wrong.

TROMP, DASH, DEFAULT, OMRI, and TWOFER gave me a big DNF.

Sometimes the puzzle gets you, and that's OK, when it's a fair fight. My hat's off to all you solvers who beat this one today. I'm slinking off with my tail between my legs.

Cheers! (of a sort)
JzB

HeartRx said...

Jazz, I was at a comedy club in Orlando once, when this, um, rather “large” lady came on stage dressed in the gaudiest and most elaborate costume I had ever seen. Her first line: “If you can’t hide it, decorate it!!” Funniest comedienne I have ever seen.

And that’s what Ed did with the WALTS entry. It’s so bad on its own, but combined with the other theme entries, it makes a perfect homophone for “waltz”. Brilliant!

Ed said...

Marti: I came across an old playbill for the play, with which I was familiar, spending part of the 60s in NYC, and saw the homophone right away, with the help of a pasta jingle, also from some time long past. It also had a self-reference ("do I HEAR..waltz") which helped. It occurred to me only recently (!) that the Sondheim play, which had only a modest run, would probably not be familiar to many solvers
:-(. That was a negative for me. Solvers and constructors represent 4 generations and I would guess it's up to editors of mainstream puzzles to balance that consideration week to week. I've always wondered if there was any demographic data about ages of regular puzzler solvers. Thanks to everyone for each comment and critique!
Ed

Suzi Doku said...

Fermat-
Read this press release. Perhaps you can contact Jennifer Collins to see who supplied the sudoku to the LAT previously. Or do you remember? Do you have any old print-outs? Was it possibly Tribune Media Services?
I'm pretty sure it wasn't Universal/Uclick, as someone mentioned yesterday.
Good luck, and lettuce (knock, knock) know if you find it!

carol said...

Hi all: OUCH, OUCH!! That top center left me wondering if I should look at my pillow to find where my brain leaked out last night! I just could not come up with TROMP, WILDE, PES or RICO.

Barry G and Hahtool: I'm with both of you on missing the theme entirely, but that is not really unusual for me, esp on a Thurs. Funny about that, I DID get all the long answers. sigh.

Marti: great job on the write up...always fun to read!! Had to chuckle about wine aging (or not) in your basement. There was 'household' hint that went something like "put left over wine in ice cube trays"..."someone has left over wine????"

Avg Joe said...

I'd suspect in this internet age that the residents of this blog represent a decent cross section of the solving public.

Speaking for myself, I'm mid-50's and have solved crosswords since I was approximately 10. But I didn't have daily access to higher grade puzzles like the LAT or NYT on a regular basis until approximately 9 years ago, so my interest and skill level has increased a lot since then.

Thanks for stopping by Ed. It was a battle! :-)

Husker Gary said...

Brilliant, challenging and satisfying! If you like playing Mad Gab, you loved this! I do and I did! Thanks for the fun debriefing Marti. Wait a minute…

Musing
-I got and understand AWHIT but had to come here to realize it
-OMRI, EPOS and HAWSE new info for life
-The Oscar Wilde quote is great. Adolescents have all the answers but don't know the questions!
-George Costanza lost an apartment to an Andrea Doria survivor (1:07). The clip contains our phrase du jour.
-I had to zoom out a bunch Marti, but now know Aden is a gulf and a city
-Catholics call going to Sunday mass on a holy day a TWOFER
-It’s for shizzle I got SLANG
-I love SHASTA grape and so I had to scramble for ELEV

Argyle said...

JzB, thank you for the Ella clip. These modern singers that can't hold a note steady but they think that it's scat should listen to Ella. The second half was priceless; her expressions and hand movements were outstanding. Couldn't stop watching. Great.

Husker Gary said...

I agree with my friend Joe. Puzzles call for info from antiquity to last week. There is no time limit on learning. If you are mentally alive, you can complement your past learning with modern life and these puzzles are a great way to exhibit and enhance your scholarship.

I know all the characters from Leave it to Beaver and am learning the denizens of The Simpsons as well even though I have never watched an episode. Knowledge is funny that way.

Argyle said...

Perhaps a friendlier similar theme would be "Walts een Ma till dah".

Avg Joe said...

For you Argyle:

Tom Traubert's Blues

Mari said...

Egad! My brain still hurts! I got TROMP, DECOLOR, and WALTS but I wasn't familiar with "Do I Hear A Waltz", so I couldn't figure out the theme.

Looking back, I guess I did better than I originally thought, although I wasn't able to finish this one. Never heard of SCRUNGE, and for some reason CALIPER eluded me.

Until next time, I'll be cowering in the corner with JzB.

Mari said...

Speaking of Lt. Tragg (64A) I love novels by Erle Stanley Gardner and his alter ego A.A. Fair. I've read 113 of them. Would have read more but I can't find any in all of the libraries in NE Illinois. (Did I mention I'm a nerd?)

len said...

THANK YOU JzB!

Going by the comments before yours, I was beginning to think I was the only one to get no satisfaction out of this puzzle at all.

I was at a loss to even figure out what to say about this puzzle, so I can't say you took the words right out of my mouth. But when I read your post I just said YES! YES! YES! That's exactly what I wanted to say but couldn't put into words.

ant said...

Ok, I'll bite...

Do I Hear a Waltz? (2:18)

The background theme is very haunting. I like it!

Misty said...

Yep, I too was sure about ELAN, ARGOT, and ELLA, which of course didn't work and so that NE corner sort of defeated me. But it was great fun to work on the rest of the puzzle, including the theme. So thanks, Ed, and also for the interesting comment on solvers' demographics.

Marti, your ROTGUT anecdote cracked me up. A great way to start a sunny Thursday!

john28man said...

Mari:

Have you considered using Inter Libary Loan at your Library. It allows you borrow any book that is available in any library and in our city its free. I use it when I want to read all the books of an author.

To all:

I spent 2/3 of 1990 in Ancona, Italy. Our partner in a plant I was renovating made Fasi Bataglia white wine there. If, in a bar, you asked for a glass a that wine they put a bottle of it on the bar. Cost of the bottle about 2000 Lire or about $1.75.

JD said...

Good morning all,
I could tell that I was NOT on the same wave length from the get-go. But Mardi, you are right- a brillant theme. I tried really hard to hear that waltz. Not all bad- reread the 5th ammendment.

Can't even tell you where I filled in my 1st across. Luckily I was able to make some headway going down, but alas, not enough to do this xwd justice.

So now I've have "I've Got a Gal in K.." in my head. Yikes..that dates me.

Off for a nice hike with the family..later

ant said...

As it turns out, the version I posted earlier is a very liberal interpretation of the song - both in lyrics and music. Again, I really liked the melody, but here is the original, with the incredible Helen Sjöholm singing.

Do I Hear a Waltz? (3:55)

Btw, I, myself, enjoyed this puzzle. Thanks, Ed! And thanks, Rich, for running it.

Yellowrocks said...

Ant, I enjoyed your second version of Do I Hear a Walz. That's the one that I was hearing as I continued to solve this.Thank you.

I noticed that this AM I said I GROGGED the them. Honest, I haven't been in the grog or cab so early in the morning. I can wait until sunset.

ant said...

Thanks, YR!
I can see the red flowers in the expanded view of your avatar, but in the small version, it looks like a lipstick kiss!
How's the knee?

Speaking of GROK, my son, who is 16, is reading my copy of Stranger in a Strange Land - about the same age I was when I first read it.
I'm so proud...

eddyB said...

Hello.

Was too POed at the Sharks to get the theme and had to peek at the answer sheet to finish the puzzle.

We had two bow anchors on the
cruiser. Hawse was a gimme.

86 days and counting.

eddy

John Lampkin said...

Brilliant theme. Simply brilliant.

len said...

@Ant at 12:47

Talk about a small world. Ant, you just blew my mind. I must have been about 16 when I read Stranger in a Strange Land.

Apart from that though, the title of the book pretty much sums up my feelings on the blog today, so I'm calling it a day.

Ciao all.

Yellowrocks said...

Ant, isn't it delightful to watch our children grow up to enjoy and understand some of the things which we also enjoy and understand.

The reference to Stranger in a Strange Land led me to research the word GROK. Apparently its everyday meaning more closely follows the meaning in the novel and is much deeper and stronger than the meaning we take in puzzledom.

I never thought of that red flower in my avatar as a kiss, but now I see it. I am so into butterflies, so free and light hearted and beautiful.

I have been getting around better for the past week, but with limited range of mobility and extra discomfort. Thanks for asking. I have scheduled an appt. with the ortho.

Steve said...

What a super puzzle! Cracking job!

Great write-up Marti - didn't get the theme at all until I read your explanation, so thanks for that.

I think the 1A/16A pairing is a great example of how tough it is for constructors and editors to "please all the people all of the time" - I picked up the puzzle, looked at 1A, read 16A, said "duh, SCAT/ELLA" and moved on without a second thought, simply because I've seen the clues for either often enough. Doesn't make it easy, just makes it easy FOR ME.

So much for that rapid start - took me 45 minutes to finish the rest. Great stuff!

I think the Andrea Doria has now contributed to more deaths since the sinking that the accident itself - many thrill-seeking scuba divers have drowned themselves in the wreck or killed themselves from the bends coming up after diving it. I've heard it called "The Everest at the bottom of the Sea" for that reason.

Jerome said...

Ed- Perhaps the play isn't familiar to everyone but I think most solvers would know the phrase "Do I Hear A Waltz". So what that the play is from 1965. How old is "King Lear"? Besides that, this is a Thursday puzzle and meant to be a tad tough. I thought it was terrific.

By the way... The average American solver is a white woman in her mid-sixties. It certainly doesn't surprise me that few young people and teenagers do not solve puzzles.
Visually they are pretty boring: A big square containing a bunch of little squares all dressed up in black and white and the entire purpose is to put letters in the little white boxes. Hey, if I'm seventeen I'm shoutin' "Whoopee!"

Steve said...

Oh - meant to say that being from the other side of the pond, I pronounce "DUE" as "DEW", not "DO", so I give myself an excuse for not seeing the theme!

Grumpy 1 said...

Know what tune has been running through my head all day? That Christmas carol "Dew Ewe Here Watt Eye Here..."

desper-otto said...

Steve, whatcha talkin' 'bout? Here in Texas they're all pronounced the same: do, dew, due, doodoo. Same with all and oil! :)

Mike said...

Filled every square pretty quickly and was comfortable with everything except AWHIT, which I just failed to parse correctly.

Even without red letters (I do these on paper, with themes printed only on Sunday), the unifier clue and a couple of theme entries gave me Do I Hear a Waltz pretty quickly. Helen Sjöholm does a beautiful job, but I sure wish that Marni Nixon had recorded it.

Wasn't familiar with Copacabana, but the LOLA in Damn Yankees came to mind as soon as I had filled the L_L_, so I figured WTH, and it eventually worked out.

Actually an easy and enjoyable Thursday; waiting for the last puzzle of the year with hope and optimism - Happy New Year to all.

Steve said...

@Desper-otto - so oil y'oil dew is git the all that's do to yew from the sall?

desper-otto said...

Rot Awn, Steve.

EddyB, what are we counting down to?

Grumpy1, I was doing just fine with "My Gal from Kalamazoo" as my brain worm, and ewe had to go and spoil it!

Tinbeni said...

desper-otto:
I surmise that eddyB. is counting down to the St.Pete Grand Prix (about 18 miles South of me) and the 1st Indy Car Series Race of 2012.

I also had "I've got A GAL in Kalamazoo" as my early ear-worm before LOLA & RICO with Copacabana jumped in my head.

Steve:
I had the same SCAT/ELLA experience. Then the SADD/CLUE gave me the 'D'&'U' and for "5th Amendment right" I just filled in DUE PROCESS OF LAW (go figure).

I use a SCRUNGE type sponge all the time but had to get STOLEN for Hot @ 23-D and that got me CARO.

As a result, I felt like I was in a dog-fight, after the first 5 answers, during my entire solve.

Ant:
Thanks for the tune ... I was getting really tired of Copacabana.


YR:
The way I see, the Sun is always setting somewhere.

Cheers !

Mari said...

Thanks for the tip john28man, I'll check the Interlibrary Loan System out.

HeartRx said...

Jerome, OK, so I'm a little "young" to be doing crossword puzzles - thanks for that little tidbit. It brightened my whole day!!

Tinbeni, click, if you dare…

Avg Joe said...

All right! That does it! Time for a purge of that Lola.

Here's Weird Al's take on the other noted Lola of song: Yoda!

Speaking of Weird Al, now that it's peak shopping season, it occurred to me the other day that Al missed one of the best parodies of all time when he didn't do a send up of Pink Floyd's The Wall. Can't you just hear it? "All in all you're just a...nuther dick in the mall."

Jayce said...

Wow, wow, wow, what a magnificently constructed puzzle! And I thought it was fun to solve, too. The first 2 paragraphs of Jazzbumpa's comment at 9:17 AM says it a lot better than I can. Unlike you, though, dear JzB, I enjoyed the solving. Having a fill like ROTGUT really made my day! And DEFAULT, THITHER, CALIPER, and DENSE FOG are a joy to see. HAWSE? SCRUNGE? Great stuff!

HeartRx, thanks for your witty and interesting writeup. I like your sense of humor.

When I got DUE PROCESS OF LAW, I thought of Hahtool.

When I got ADAIR I thought of, well, burning oil wells.

And UH OH SPAGHETTIOS really brings back fond memories.

I'm happy for a week now :)

Best wishes to you all.

Anonymous said...

Jazzbumpa,

How did you get that picture of me and my EX you posted yesterday? The old goat did not tell me he was taking pictures! I am prostrate with embarrassment. One more good reason never to date again! He told me he was an "old hoofer" and I though he meant he used to dance!

Salome

Steven J. St. John said...

Husker Gary -

Thanks for the Seinfeld clip. I remember once arguing with someone about it - Kramer says it's in "my book, Astonishing Tales of the Sea" - which I interpreted as he was the author. My friend said he just owned the book. I suppose this blog isn't the place for Seinfeld trivia minutia...

Yellowrocks said...

What Jayce said @3:50. My sentiments exactly. I was wowed by this puzzle. The praise from John Lampkin confirms it.

Tinbeni said...

Marti:
Yeah, I took your challenge.

Soooooo ...
NOW I'm on the linoleum floor,
drinking ROT-GUT hooch,
trying to forget ...
"the hottest club North of Havana" ...

Arrrrrgggghhhh !!!

Mari said...

Avg Joe @ 3:45: Ha Ha on your new Weird Al song!

Being from Chicago, I'm a scholar of the Prohibition Era. I read mixed drinks made their debut during Prohibition because bootleggers made such nasty ROTGUT alcohol drinkers had to mix it with other beverages just so they could stand the taste of the stuff.

Additional Cheers! You people crack me up :)

crossword girl said...

Aside from crosswords, Seinfeld trivia is my favorite!! Bring it on!!

HeartRx said...

Tin...so sorry!!

LA CW ADDICT said...

Boy was this one a toughy, but was worth it! I almost had all of it right, but like so many of the rest of you, I messed up with STOMP, which gave me SWOFER for 5D and TICO for 6D, not knowing who wooed Lola! So waaaaa, usually I am the one who waits to fill in the grid, but stomp went in way too fast!

Fermatprime: The Sudoku link you are looking for is http://www.uclick.com/client/wpc/wpdok/ Please see my comments posted here the night before last, I believe. Although it is the puzzle format we were both accustomed to and loved, the puzzles are now so simple, they are boring. I do not even need the notes anymore, and this is disheartening... no challenge, like today's CW, which I enjoyed, even though I missed two letters out of stupidity! I also enjoyed Marti's write-up.

Have a great evening all! I go back to work on Tuesday.

LaLaLinda said...

Hi All ~~

What Jayce said of what Jazzbumpa said. I LOVED this puzzle! Fantastic write-up, Marti ... you add much more than just information.

Husker Gary ~ I had forgotten about Mad Gab. I was reading comments here and after your post I got sidetracked ... fun!

Another lover of Seinfeld trivia ~~

Enjoy the evening!

Peter said...

Strange how this puzzle divides the solvers like a wedge into those who loved it and those who were, well, unimpressed. Count me with the latter. I've never heard of the musical, so that's probably the biggest divider. For reference, I'm 43 -- I wonder if there is an age cutoff?

I always like puzzles best myself if they contain almost no obscurities or crosswordese... so this one was not my fave. Finished it, but the theme left me with a big "huh?" Along with the minority opinion here, I just don't get what makes it "brilliant."

Lucina said...

Good evening, folks. Marti, I loved your blogging.

It's 11:06 here on this Thursday night and I just finished this puzzle about ten minutes ago. whew! What a busy day.

What Tinbeni and Dudley said about the puzzle. I had two errors, though, OHOH instead of UHOH and HAWSI since I wasn't sure of spelling either HOWSE or SCRUNGE.

Loved the puzzle and wished I could have savored it more but today was my lunch with the ladies day and my year to host it. My turn will come round again in seven years.

Besides that I had to take down all decorations and pack them away as I am going to Charlotte next week and tomorrow night we have another party. These holidays just keep on going.

I hope it was a delightful Thursday for all of you! I'll check in tomorrow.

Lucina said...

What a witty group you all are! I read all the comments and cracked up. What a spicy group!