May 30, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014, Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: Cross reference mania: "THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A..."

Wow, JW is back and delivering what I anticipate will be a much talked about, much loved and much hated puzzle.

First, by use of perps and intuition you must solve the cross-referenced 29A, 35A and 49A to get to the title of the song (story). Only then can you begin to solve the 8 things which this old lady swallowed. This puts a real premium solving all the perps, which were not all easy, though we do have a goodly amount of 3 and 4 letter fill to help get that done. I did not recall this SONG but in reading the article I do have a vague recollection of the Jeff Goldblum line in the movie. 81 words with an average length of 4.84 is not at all Friday like, but there are many new and interesting fill and some nice decent length ones like ADRENAL, AS BIG AS,  ELITISM,  EMPANEL, LAGASSE,  LIONESS,  MADDENS,  MARIANA,  MASCARA, TWO-TONE, HITS WITH,  STEM CELL. It was just a very odd puzzle for me to complete. The challenge  to the constructor to fit the refrain in the grid and then add each creature, in order as they are recited was daunting. I do not see any customary symmetry, but I am still so naive when it comes to gridding. Of course Friday is the day for experimentation and ingenuity, and this must have been fun if you knew the song. We will have some songs as well, enjoy.

29A. With 35- and 49-Across, start of a refrain whose ending words appear in sequence in the answers to starred clues : THERE WAS AN.(10).

35A. See 29-Across : OLD LADY WHO.(10).

49A. See 29-Across : SWALLOWED A. (10).

6A. *See 29-Across : FLY.(3). The rhyme has all these weird finishes, like here, "Perhaps she'll die."

17A *See 29-Across : SPIDER.(6).or here, "It wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her."

19A. *See 29-Across : BIRD. (4).

20A. *See 29-Across : CAT. (3).

58A. *See 29-Across : DOG.(3).

63A. *See 29-Across : GOAT.(4).

71A. *See 29-Across : COW.(3)

72A. *See 29-Across : HORSE.(5).

Notice the absence of short theme entry symmetry.


1. Whimpers : MEWLS. A word I associate with puppies and kitties.

9. Cooperative group : TEAM. My son works where there are no bosses, only team leaders.

13. Hindu nectar : AMRITA. Luckily, I started doing all the downs, so I had this from the perps as I had no memory of this Hindu (Sanskrit) version of ambrosia.

15. Suitor : BEAU. Are only men suitors?

16. Pierce player : ALDA. Hawkeye, Alan on M*A*S*H.

18. Pool equipment : RACK. Always fun excuse to LINK a pretty one.

21. High-tech card contents : MEMORY.I think my own internal one needs an upgrade.

23. Toned down : MUTED.

24. "Star Wars" saga nickname : ANI. From I the Phantom Menace, also known as baby Darth.

25. Web store icon : CART.

26. Quad Cities city : MOLINE. Davenport and Bettendorf. in Iowa; and Rock Island and Moline in Illinois. Easy for some, but not for me.

27. French income : RENTE. The "E" makes this difficult because they call their government pension, "RENTE."

32. __ bloom: pond buildup : ALGAL. Algae.

33. Additionally : TOO.

34. San Jose Earthquakes' org. : MLSMajor League Soccer. World Cup in Brazil this year, and no Landon Donovan for the US.

41. Dough extruder? : ATMAutomated Teller Machine.

44. It may follow T. : REX. Nice CSO to all the dinosaurs out there reading this.

45. "Washington Week" moderator Gwen : IFILL. No politics, but I like IFILL as FILL.

54. Actress Raymonde of "Lost" : TANIA. Did not recall her, but I was not a big fan of the show. She has a bit of a Penelope Cruz look going on.

55. Withstood the ordeal : BORE UP. When it is good to be bored.

56. Matterhorn's range : ALPS. For his usual biographer, marti, a CSO.

59. "Just me," formally : IT IS I. An old debate in these parts.

60. Immature : CALLOW. I used to get in trouble questioning why they call kids immature or CALLOW YOUTH, which made no sense to complain about since they were just kids.

62. Article in El Diario : UNA.  One is Spanish; does anyone here keep a diary?

64. Decline : WANE.

65. Sign of fish : PISCES.

67. Youngest Brontë : ANNE. A very talented but  doomed FAMILY.

68. Chimps, e.g. : APES. Read all about our closest cousins HERE, no monkeying around.

69. Make a point of : STRESS. I cannot stress the importance of paying attention.

70. Prepare scallops, in a way : SEAR. Try some NOW?


1. Cosmetic product : MASCARA.

2. Put on a jury : EMPANEL. Back in the courtroom.

3. "On __": Stephen King memoir : WRITING.

4. Cover : LID.

5. Subject of recent medical research : STEM CELL. A little SCIENCE.

6. Dread : FEAR.

7. Like many doilies : LACY. I read this as "dollies" and could not think of a single lacy dolly. Well, there was

8. Guffaw : YUK.

9. Roman slate : TABULA. Latin, famous from TABULA RASA, meaning a clean slate.

10. Upper-class rule : ELITISM. People who read Latin and stuff.

11. Major endocrine gland : ADRENAL. More Latin, meaning to the renal.

12. Really ticks off : MADDENS. Only John is famous.

14. Field : AREA.

15. Stew basis : BROTH. Now there are a million stocks you can buy pre-made, see KNORR.

22. "Rocky III" actor : MR. T. Every fool 'no dat.

23. Do some yard work : MOW. and if we add an "E."

26. Call from a Persian : MEOW. Not the Shah, but a kitty.

28. Eastern "way" : TAO.

30. LAX listing : ETDEstimated Time of Departure.

31. Mr. Rogers on a horse : ROY. Often partnered with DALE. 52D. Low-lying locales : DALES. Often partnered with hills, or CHIP.

36. Let go : DROP.

37. Kareem, formerly : LEW. Alcindor, of UCLA basketball fame.

38. Let go : AXE. I get this fill often.

39. Gives suddenly, as bad news : HITS WITH. Am I the only one who went to this...

40. Son-gun connection : OF A. I wonder when weapons replaced female dogs.

41. Comparable to, sizewise : AS BIG AS.

42. Like some sporty shoes : TWO TONE.

43. __ Islands: Guam locale : MARIANA.

46. Draft __ motor: gas furnace component : INDUCER.

47. Hunting 20-Across : LIONESS.A really extruded (yes I like the word) convoluted way of relating to the above CAT, but all cats hunt.

48. "Kicked-up Sandwiches" author : LAGASSE. He does a series of KICKED-UP stuff.

50. Bluegrass guitarist Flatt : LESTER.

51. Him, to Henri : LUI. Straight French.

53. The whole shebang : ALL.

57. Boston __ : POPS. Musical Interlude.

Since memorial day is actually tomorrow.

60. Mob boss : CAPO. Italian for captain.

61. From the top : ANEW.

64. Female in WWII : WACWomen's Army Corps.

66. "No more seats" sign : SROStanding Room Only.

Well I know you all are glad to see me back on Friday, but keep your seats, hold the applause and hang on for the Saturday special presented by Splynter. Lemonade out.


George Barany said...

I slogged through Jeffrey Wechsler's tour-de-force of construction until the on-line module rewarded me with a certificate of successful completion, but not being particularly caught up on children's songs, had to come here to get a full perspective. I now coin the following mashed up adage, "When life throws you an arcane crossword theme, make Lemonade (explain it)." OK, OK, it needs work.

Late last night, I finalized Too Soon?, a solemn historic tribute suitable for the day. Whether or not you choose to try the puzzle, I do hope you'll have a look at the corresponding "midrash."

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

So, yeah. I finished the grid and didn't get the *TADA* and didn't even bother looking for my mistake. As it turns out, I was done in by the crossing of IFILL and LAGASSE. Not knowing the first one at all and being only semi-aware of the second one, I went with IFILD and DEGASSE. But my doom could just have easily been caused by ALGAL, RENTE, LESTER or LUI.

As for the rest of the puzzle, I appreciate the theme after the fact (and I am quite familiar with the song), but in my opinion it's not much of a crossword puzzle when so many of the answers don't actually have clues. I mean, the whole point of a crossword is that if you can't figure out an across word you look to the crossing down word. I hate a puzzle where you have to get many words by themselves with no possibility of perp help.

No big surprise I'm in the "hated it" camp. As I said, I appreciated the theme after (almost) solving it, but I agree with George's "slog" comment.

Anonymous said...

I know an old lady...

Maybe this help.

OwenKL said...

THERE WAS AN OLD LADY with a Porsche
Who upholstered the seats in wild gorse.
When cruising at ninety
The spines pierced her heinie
That silly old lady, SHE DIED OF COURSE.

She neglected to shoo from her shoofly pie.
She swallowed four more
Then she swallowed four-score,
Then they all flew away by-and-by in the sky!

There was an old man who sang folk songs of flies.
(I think they were flies, or they wore a disguise.)
Anyway, he was followed
By fans who had swallowed
His flies, et cetera, inside their insides!

fermatprime said...


(I fell asleep trying to blog yesterday. Was great work, Owen. Still do not understand why KNORR had a question mark.)

Really a thought-worthy puzzle. Thanks, Jeffrey! Thanks, Lemonade for expo!

I use to play and sing this song on the guitar with a friend (eons ago, really). That did not prevent me from having a long slog!

Finally got the ta-da with no cheats. However, was scratching my head over IFILL and MLS.

ANI was a nickname for ANakin, I presume.

I hope that you are better today, Irish Miss!

Perhaps time to try to sleep today after incredibly long nap after swimming!


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I don't remember that song, so it was no help in solving the puzzle, except it became obvious that all the starred words would be creatures of some sort. I also never heard of a draft INDUCER motor; I'll bet JW searched high and low for something to put in that spot.

I could only remember two of the Quad Cities. Fortunately for me, one of the two was MOLINE. MARIANA was a gimme. I was stationed there for a time, and loved it. A couple of years after I left, the last Japanese WWII straggler came out of the Boonies there. Today Guam is a popular Japanese tourist isle.

Yes, Lemon, only guys can be suitors. If they're female, they're called stalkers.

Lemonade714 said...

D-O, excellent, congratulations on becoming the Corner Comedian, here is a little song for you...

There's a gleam in your eyes all the way
If I listen to your puns would you say
I'm a man without good diction
I'm a man who doesn't know
How to grant a benediction
You come and go, you come and go

Corner, corner, corner. corner, corner comedian
You come and go, you come and go
Laughing would be easy if your jokes were like my prose
colorful and charming, leaving me with a brown nose

Read more: Culture Club - Karma Chameleon Lyrics | MetroLyrics

TTP said...

Good morning all.

Thank you Jeffrey Wechsler. Where did the idea for this one come from ? I liked it, but it was a struggle. I don't know whether some of the clues were yours or Rich's, but I think some of the perp fill made up for all of the cross references back to 29A.

I had never heard of this woman. I had heard of one that lived in a shoe.

Thanks Lemonade. I had some of the same thoughts you recorded. But no, I didn't think of her, but I can always do with a little Pat Benatar.

I thought I had this one nailed just under 50 minutes, but no TADA.

I had 2 errors. One in the very tough (for me) NW corner. I had zero chance of knowing Hindu nectar, so AnRITA made as much sense to me as the unknown AMRITA. I should have considered EnPANEL. I was the last juror EMPANELed on a murder trial a few years ago. TG it only lasted a week.

The other error was caused by consecutively keying in all 4 downs in the NE after entering ALDA and MOLINE going across, and sussing TEAM. I entered ELITISt and never looked at the 24A clue.

What about Dave Madden ? He played the band's manager in The Partridge Family. Some might recall this song I Think I Love You

Marti re the recaptcha from was Al Cyone. You should have a question mark in the Recaptcha area that will link you to everything you might want to know about it.

And how about that tie in the Spelling Bee ?

Time for a second cup. See all y'all later.

Barry G. said...


Looking back over the puzzle, I see I also messed up at the crossing of EMPANEL and AMRITA in exactly the same way as TTP. So I was doubly doomed to failure.

Having said that, I need to be honest and give the puzzle (and the constructor) a little more credit than I did earlier. I just noticed that all the theme answers are presented in the same order they appear in the song, so once you figured out the theme it should have been relatively easy (assuming you know the song) to go ahead and fill in all the theme answers even without having specific clues for them.

Of course, that doesn't help if you didn't know the song or weren't able to guess the theme reveal in the first place. But still...

OwenKL said...

A canonical list?

DNF for me. IFILL ✜ TANIA ✜ LAGASSE were all naticks, so I didn't have a chance. The rest of the puzzle, while it took a long while, was still fun, and I enjoyed the theme. Folk songs rank high on my enjoyment list, and Bro∴ Ives was a favorite. (He also sang of his home in Galisteo, "just a little south of Santa Fe".) And I love those types of poems/songs: The House That Jack Built, There's A Hole In My Bucket, The Old Lady And The Pig, There's A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea, Seven Nights Drunk (the LW and I were a hit performing our version of that every St.Paddy's Day). Besides this old lady, Burl also sang about a blue-tailed fly, so he couldn't say, "there ain't no flies on me!"

Dennis said...

Good morning, gang - after slogging through this one, I had to stop at the corner and see what other people thought.

I'm firmly in Barry's camp on the puzzle - because I never heard of the song, I was hard-pressed to come up with answers where there's no clues. Perps helped a good deal, but there were too many unknowns for me to complete it unaided. Didn't help that I had 'tassled' for 42D. It's extremely rare for me to dislike a puzzle, but I got little enjoyment from this one.

Been enjoying all that Florida and the nearby islands have to offer; had I listened to my heart and done this 30 years ago, I doubt that I'd have run out of things to do even now. As much as I was disappointed, not getting the TSA job was a good thing -- it would've cut into play time too much.

Hope everybody's well and happy - I'll check in now and then should I have anything interesting to offer.

Do something fun!

(The new avatar was taken inside a B-24 couple months ago, before we went for a flight - great experience!)

Lemonade714 said...


How nice to see you and to know you are enjoying our So.Fla world.

I am surprised at the hesitation for Emeril Lagasse who seems to be always on the TV, from GMA to night time shows.

Avg Joe said...

I'm going to stake out a spot somewhere near the middle of the road on this one.

Had to really work for it. I'd heard of the song, so that helped, but I sure couldn't remember all the creatures, especially in order. Recognized the gimmick early enough to realize it was unavoidable, but it still made the puzzle more frustrating. First fills working both across and down were Mow and Moline, next came Of A and Lester. Along the way it didn't help that I knew but misspelled Lew as Lou and Lagasse as Lagassi.

And so it went. Finally plodded to a finish without error or assistance. Sort of enjoyed the challenge of it all, but felt it was just too damned much work and I'd rather have those 30 odd minutes back for a higher and better use.

Yellowrocks said...

I sussed THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY after about ten minutes,which gave me quite a few perps. I didn't remember the creatures or their order, except that they get progressively larger, but I had no problem finding them.

The theme was easy enough, but the NW did me in. I had all of AMRITA from perps, except for the T which was a wag. I was missing STEM CELL, MEMORY, CART and MR T.
I typed my answers in the NW into the online version to get red letters. I had the L in ALGAL wrong. Finally with the L I was able to guess CELL and then STEM and the rest was easy.
After sussing the theme and all the creatures I was so disappointed to need red letters. Just one wrong cell can keep one from getting several other answers.
Most of the time I don't care for puzzles where so many answers are not clued, except in reference to the theme. Not knowing the song would be a great liability.

Al Cyone said...

Well, I can't imagine solving this one without knowing the song. I didn't remember the exact sequence of animals but knew each one had to be bigger than the one before. So what looked, at first, to be a DNF turned out to be a satisfying success (though I had to change LEGASSE to LAGASSE to hear the

By the way, here's the link to the reCAPTCHA info for those who may have missed it. Some are opposed to working for Google for free and so deliberately type in the wrong letters or numbers but it seems a futile (and petty) protest.


[P.S. One quibble with the write-up: Memorial Day is "actually" (i.e. traditionally) today (May 30), not tomorrow.]

buckeye bob said...

Thank you for the puzzle, Jeffrey. Thank you for the excellent expo, Lemonade.

I struggled with this one. I didn’t know the song, so I was lost. Like TTP, after I had THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO, I thought the next answer would be "lived in a shoe". Not! I got SWALLOWED A from the perps, but that left me hanging. The clues were no help, but after lots of perps, I realized we were looking for critters, so I was able to fit them in.

I finished in Friday time, but no ta-da. I re-read my answers and didn’t see any obvious errors. I turned on red letter help, and found AMAITA / WAITING. I had never heard of either one, but WRITING made sense, so I changed it to AMRITA / WRITING and ta-da!

From the constructor’s perspective, I have to admire including all the animals in the same order as in the song. From my perspective, I agree with George, it was a slog.

desper-otto said...

Al Cyone -- the blog writeup was probably completed last night. So the "tomorrow" may have been correct.

Lemonade714 said...

Sorry sometimes we get a bit crazy with days when we do these blogs the night before. As observed, mistakes happen. As a child I have fond memories of the paper red poppies for Decoration Day on the 30th, followed immediately by my maternal grandmother's birthday the 31st. Monday holidays are great for most things, but they did not come around until the mid '70's so most of us relate to both dates.

David R said...

When you set up a puzzle as ambitious as this, you're going to get stuck with some crappy fill and dubious crossings. In the NW you have AMRITA crossing EMPANEL and WRITING and in the SW you have TANIA and IFILL crossing LAGASSE.

The cross-referencing which can be annoying was less so in this case as I picked up it was animals but it did cause the solve to take more time then usual. On the flip side, typically in these puzzles once you get the main theme the cross-referenced parts fall in place in this case that didn't happen i.e. COW and DOG.

I try to give different or ambitious puzzles the benefit of the doubt but I do have to say by the time I finished the puzzle I didn't really care much about the theme and just wanted it to be over.

C6D6 Peg said...

WBS, there was no TADA, and I was not familiar with the song.

Quite a slog, but appreciate the construction by Jeffrey.

Lemonade, thanks for always explaining the unknown!

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I was not familiar with this song so it took a lot of perserverance to get the TADA w/o help. I don't enjoy puzzles with non-specific clues, but I give Jeffrey lots of points for craftsmanship. Five stars to Lemony, as well.

We have lots of sunshine right now, but I think heavy rains are due later in the day.

Have a fun Friday. (Pain + Hydrocone-induced nausea = no fun!)

Bill said...

I almost threw my copy in the trash as soon as I and saw all of the cross-clues. I did finish it but I really hate these kinds of puzzles.

Anonymous said...

I will just say this, ..
If you are a furniture designer and you craft a beautiful chair, that no one can sit in, you have not done your job. However much effort or cleverness is put forth, it is all in vain.

That is why I personally dislike a great many puzzles from the LA Times.

Lucina said...

Greetings, puzzlers!

I see we have a divided camp and it's understandable. Unless one knows the refrain, it makes no sense. As a fourth grade teacher and grandmother, I'm intimately familiar with the book. I do have one nit, my copy from 1973 has no mention of a GOAT.

As soon as I saw FLY, COW, and HORSE that song came to mind but I'm on the side of preferring actual clues I can mull over and so I enjoyed the four quadrants which required more than just knowing the words to a song.

Not knowing about TANIA, LESTER or LAGASSE forced me to research them and that gave me an anchor to complete the rest of those respective sections.

Well done Jeffrey and Lemonade!

Have a delightful Friday, everyone!

Bill G. said...

I started (and almost finished) this late last night. My first thought was "Barry is not gonna like this." I withheld judgment myself until I was about one-third through and then decided I liked it very much; maybe partly because I used to sing the song with my kids. (I need to try it with Jordan!) After getting all of the animals she swallowed, I was looking for another clue for DEAD or DIED but alas, it was not to be. My favorite clue was 'Dough extruder? >> ATM'

Irish Miss, I hope you are doing better. My advice with the pain pills re. nausea; cut the pills in half. Take a half with some food. A couple of hours later, take the other half with some more food. Nausea is no fun at all.

Do all of us have different experiences with Captchas? Mine are almost always squished up and distorted letters. Occasionally numerals but not lately. Never the other versions some of you seem to have from time to time. (I ignore the Google photos.)

Lucina said...

Just catching up on last night's late posts. I love The Three Amigos! It's a plethora of laughs!!

Captain Obvious said...

"Nausea is no fun at all."

Damn, I wish I'd thought of that.

Tinbeni said...

Thumper's Review (0:11)

A NEW winner for "Least Enjoyable Solving Experience of 2014" !!!

Al Cyone: Thanks for re-linking the reCAPTCHA info. (I tried to find it last night).

Irish Miss: Sorry to hear that "My Pinch consumption" last night didn't heal you ...

Oh well, maybe today's "toasts" will help.

Lemonade714 said...

One more thing about the puzzle, it is a 16 x 15 grid, so there will be more words. It is just unusual for a Friday to have such a high word count. That said more than 25% of the fill were used less than 3 times before in the NYT.

Rick said...

Fantastic puzzle. I panicked a bit and looked up the word YUK, then slapped my head. Thought 16 across meant Mildred Pierce and penned in JOAN (Crawford), Never heard of AMRITA, but perps did that in. Same for IFILL and TANIA. Another creative and hard puzzle, but they are easily solvable if you want to.

Unfortunately, though, this puzzle is next to the last one for the Providence Journal. It seems the older crowd can't figure them out. "it's too much like home work." "We can't enjoy our morning coffee and do the crosswords" They didn't give them a chance.

I hope they put something in better than Wayne Robert Williams!

HeartRx said...

This puzzle did me in. The crossing of IFILL and TANIA with INDUCER killed me. I had IFaLL and TAdIA and adDUCER. Well, it looked OK to me, but no cigar!!! I appreciate the difficulty of constructing this one, and getting all the animals in order, but I really did not come away with a sense of having had fun doing it.

I do remember the song, and we used to sing it all the time, making horrible hacking sounds between verses. So it was fairly easy for me to fill in the beginning words, but I had to keep checking, to see which short one was next in the list of things she swallowed.

To be continued…

HeartRx said...

I prepare scallops exactly the way you linked, Lemony. But I serve them with a Balsamic Reduction Sauce:
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp butter
In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar over medium/medium high heat until reduced by half. Add butter and stir gently until blended, set aside (the sauce will thicken somewhat as it cools). Yummm!

TTP – thanks for rattling my memory. I went to bed before the end of the Bee, but read about it this morning. Those kids are amazing!!

Irish Miss – I absolutely cannot take hydrocodone or related drugs. So I usually don’t even bother going to the doctor for such things. I just take some Tylenol and take it easy for a while. I mean, that’s about all they do for you, right? Other than confirming what you already knew!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Like others, I struggled to make sense of the thing until I had enough perps to suss There Was An. From there, it was off it the races. I couldn't remember the sequence, but it didn't matter much.

I didn't notice the 16 x 15 grid size that Lemonade wrote about, but I did notice that the usual black square symmetry was upheld. I'm amazed when constructors can figure out a floor plan for such complicated word arrangements. Well done, Jeffrey!

Misty said...

I took one look at this puzzle and figured I'd NEVER get this, but started it anyway. Guess what--I GOT THE WHOLE THING! I got a Friday Jeffrey Wechsler puzzle! My only explanation is that I got my first 8 hours of sleep in about 3 years last night. Yay! Wish I could do that every night--maybe I'd be this brilliant once in a while!

However, I too thought it was going to be THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO LIVED IN A SHOE, and although I didn't know the SWALLOWED one, I got FLY early on and COW and so figured there were going to be animals popping up.

I had MOBILE before MOLINE--clearly don't know my cities.

I love Gwen IFILL on "Washington Week." We'll be watching her tonight.

I think I'm going to have a great day after this great beginning. Hope you all have one too!

Bumppo said...

For me, this puzzle was a hoot. The first theme entry I got, with the help of a bunch of easy perps, was OLDLADYWHO; and at first I thought we would be reciting a yodel, as in, "Little old la-DY who!"

But then, with the help of ROY Rogers and Trigger, I got THEREWASAN; and immediately I knew we were singing a song I have sung to all my children and grandchildren and all their friends I could corral. From there it was a snap filling in the critters in order, which I knew by heart; and the rest of the puzzle just flowed.

She's dead, of course (that old lady I knew).

Longbeachlee said...

Count me in on enpanel. I don't even look at this as an error. More like who cares? Not knowing this does not downgrade me one bit.

Big Easy said...

I started off and had a hard time getting going. Never heard of AMRITA MEWL and had ALGAE instead of ALGAL. I kept trying to think of what type of research was happening on an EEL. The story was completely unfamiliar to me but I guessed it had something to do with animals. Other unknowns solved by perps were ON WRITING, IFILL, TANIA, LUI, and I guessed BORE UP even though I have never heard that expression. LESTER Flatt and Earl Scruggs played the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies way back when. When Lew Alcindor was a freshman at UCLA, his team was better than the varsity team ( freshmen couldn't play varsity back then)and actually beat them in 1965 and the varsity WAS RANKED #1 in the country.

Steve said...

I'm in the "loved it" camp. Thanks for the expo, Lemonade.

I'm not sure the "LIONESS" cross-reference back to "CAT" was particularly fair, although it didn't hold me up.

Hope you're feeling better, Irish Miss.

Gareth Bain said...

Interesting... You predicted this as polarizing, it caught me off-guard! So far 3 4-star ratings at DOACF and 3 of 1 1/2 or less!

john28man said...

I remember when Thursday was "Saying Day" and disliked it. Now we have that plus a whole bunch of "See..."s.

Doubly bad although I appreciate the difficulty of the construction.

Big Easy said...

Speaking of LAGASSE, we're going to Emeril's tonight for something to eat. BAM!!!

Sean Payton (coach of the Saints) lives in a condo in the building next door to it.

800 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, Wow, and wow. I thought that this was a puzzle that I wasn't going to solve for sure. A DNF for me as I didn't get it without help from Google. I had to look up I Fill, Tania, Amrita, and Inducer, among others.

After filling in everything I thought I knew, One line began to emerge. There was an....ah ha! I had fly, bird, dog cow and horse already in so a favorite first grade rhyme in song helped me finish the rest of those dreaded cross referenced clues.

I usually hate this kind of puzzle but today I had an aha moment which carried me through. What fun for those of us who also found the theme.

So, I guess I could be one of those who is "on the fence" today. Neither hate nor love this kind of puzzle. I'm just glad to get through it.

Have a great day, everyone. I'm helping a granddaughter make a coat and today we finish off the hem and sleeves. Almost finished.

Lemonade714 said...

Hi GB, thanks for stopping by and for providing all who do the LAT so many fine puzzles. After almost 4 years I have a sense of the Friday audience and I knew many would not like this one.
Having a Friday theme which is also a challenging puzzle, is probably why the NYT went to themeless on both Friday and Saturday.

The Providence paper will likely pick up the UNIVERSAL CROSSWORD . It appears in the Miami Herald here, and is seldom satisfying. I thought WRW was no longer syndicating to newspapers.

Chickie said...

Mariana was a gimme today as I have a friend who just returned yesterday from Guam. She was visiting her air force son who is stationed there. Stem Cell was filled in before I even thought about it. However I had wails for Mewls so that NW corner was a slog.

Dennis, We are just a few miles from Moffat Field where an air show this month had rides for people in WWII planes. We were in the flight path. I would hear the drone of the engines as the planes flew over. It brought back many memories of when we were kids and looked for the planes we could hear fly over. People were thrilled when they were able to actually take rides in these relics.

I'm so glad you are enjoying your Florida experience.

Irish Miss, I hope you are feeling better today.

Mary Keller said...

Just couldn't handle this one. Too many clueless clues. Knew the song though. Just didn't put it together.

Big Easy, you are in for a treat!

Have a great weekend, y'all. See you Monday when puzzles become workable for me.

Rick said...

Hello Lemonade,

UNIVERSAL CROSSWORD? Humm... They can't be as bad as WRW. Old and stale is a good description of his work.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!


I knew the story - my daughter had an OLD LADY doll with all the critters you stuff in it - then you kill her off. My then 2 year-old would resurrect and stomach-pump her and say, "Again!" This went on for hours I tell you!

Well... Today it payed off!

With FLY, CAT (Steve - LIONESS gave me that!) and COW I was off the the races. I almost hurt myself with woman instead of LADY, but AXE helped me there.

I did have to look at my signed LAGASSE on the shelf for spelling help. IFILL I know from PBS & the prez. debates.

Alas, I have one error... My WAG at the xing of 9d & 26a made the grade, but at 43d&55a I put an "N". BOnEUP - maybe its like man UP? Didn't quite fit the clue, but I donno...

Fav today was MEMORY card. I just got a 64G micro today!

Thanks Jeffery for the puzzle and LEM for the writeup!

Cheers, -T

Ol' Man Keith said...

Excellent write-up from Lemonade!
Damnably tough pzl: I confess I needed some helps.
Like so many others, I thought it would be about the ol' gal IN A SHOE! I appreciated the switch to the one who SWALLOWED everything, as she was a childhood favorite! Man, could she swallow a LOT!
But the miserable thing about this Xwd was that until you cracked the opening three parts (or part 3 anyway), there was very little chance at starting on the FLY, SPIDER, BIRD, CAT etc sequence to follow.
Also tough was the fact that I just forgot that Emeril had a last name.
(I missed a few of my favorite ingestations. And No, I wouldn't disparage her for swallowing a CARRIAGE!)

Anonymous said...

Saturday Silkie tomorrow!

Husker Gary said...

What a fun, torturous, brilliant Catch 22 exercise. You had to get the theme to get the words; you had to get the words to get the theme… Every corner worked as a separate puzzle and the fill was very unique which added to the agony and the ecstasy (Hey that would make a good book title). I’ll take a “got ‘er done”!

-This M*A*S*H fan actually thought of Mildred Pierce – JOAN Crawford
-What ad finished with “…but I like it TOO”
-The first encounter with the T-REX in Jurassic Park is masterful. The lawyer got his, Lemon!
-Want your ADRENAL gland to kick in? Get a 120 lb snake on your hand like this idiot did. Yeah, that was a little STRESSful.
-Some day I’m going to find out the difference between a MADDENING crowd and a MADDING crowd. Uh, not today.
-After this, it’s off to MOW I go. Man this stuff is growing!
-AXE is not a synonym for ask, or is that being ELITIST?
-Dueling Banjos congers up a movie with a very disturbing movie scene, doesn’t it? Poor Ned Beatty.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! I couldn't get a toe hold anywhere on this puzzle until I got to the SW block and SWALLOWED A & GOAT perped up. Aha! Knew the song well. Like ANON T, I had a toddler who wanted the song over and over. (We didn't have the doll.) Once I had the SW clues I went back up and filled in everything else starred.

A puzzle with so many referrals MADDENS me and makes me MEWL. It smacks of CW ELITISM. If you don't know the song you're out of luck. Even though I knew the song, by the time I copped onto it, I was too annoyed to enjoy it. And there were so many unknowns, I red-lettered one section until my one finger was tired.

I'd forgotten IFILL who I haven't watched since I only had three channels 11 years ago. Pierce alone meant nothing to me. Hawkeye, I would have known. But Hey, I got EMPANEL.

Lemonade: all the lovely music in your expo helped to soothe the savage beast in my breast and wash some of the bad taste out of my mouth.

Bill G. said...

AnonT, we have that doll too. When Jordan comes by this afternoon, we'll see if he enjoys the song.

Misty said...

Oh no, not a Saturday Silkie tomorrow! My winning streak is over before it even got off the ground.

Tinbeni said...

Irish Spring (0:29)
Manly, yes ... but I like it TOO.

Irish Miss:
Dewar's 12 yo was "On-Sale" ...
So maybe my NEAT enjoyment will heal your ribs.


JJM said...

I'm in the "hated it" camp for so many reasons that it's not worth writing about.

Lucina said...

But look who liked it. Bumppo!

Spitzboov said...

Good afternoon everyone.

Had to go to Syracuse earlier so just got back a little while ago.

Had about 10% of the puzzle to finish so being away helped clear my head.
Eventually got the gist of the theme fill. Don't favor clues referring to other clues, But I like Jeff's puzzles. Kind of a doozy but left enough smaller pieces laying around to give some 'help'. Had to wait for the perps on MEWLS, IFILL (spelling), UNA, and MOLINE. Guessed it was the only Quad City with 6 letters. Favorite clue was for ATM.
INDUCER - Our gas furnace and water heater exhaust to chimney flues, so they provide all the draft that is needed.
ALL - re: shebang. My dad used to call it "the whole shooting match" (I think he learned that phrase in Iowa)
AMRITA - Is this where Amritsar got its name. What say you, Vidwan?

TTP said...

Hi all.

Long day at work. I am surprised by the number of us that are saying that you had to know that rhyme to be able to solve the puzzle.

I have never heard of that old lady before, and it didn't keep me from getting all of those answers or the other fill. I thought the perps to so many of the theme answers and other non theme fill was rather easy for a Friday. Not that it wasn't a challenge, because it still was. But once you broke open a section, it became easy fill.

TTP said...

In the spirit of Bill G's joke telling here, sometimes you read the strangest things:

Did I read that sign right?

In a Laundromat:

In a London department store:

In an office:

In an office:

Outside a second hand shop:

Notice in health food shop window:

Seen during a conference:

Notice in a farmer's field:

Message on a leaflet:

On a repair shop door:

Proofreading is a dying art, wouldn't you say?
Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

Nancy Murphy said...

I've never heard of the song but was able to fill in all the critters and THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN WHO SWALLOWED A.

At 58A at first I had PIG, then HOG, then DOG.

Alas, I did have one mistake as I'm unfamiliar with Gwen IFILL. I had IFELL/ENDUCER, so a DNF for me.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

I actually got some of the long fill via swags, and used them for perps. Despite knowing the song, I was stuck with the old woman in the shoe for a long time, and had trouble getting to lady. Maybe I'm not a gentleman. Eventually ground through it, though.

I'll avoid the middle of the road and say I'm distinctly of 2 minds on this puzzle. Upon completion, mixed feelings still linger.

Cool regards!

CrossEyedDave said...

Re: Yest.

Irish Miss, Ouch! I once stood up & broke my foot. (little toe tendon spasm) My foot turned black & blue & swelled up like a football!) Now you tell me you can break a rib & not know how? (That's it, I am staying in bed from now on...)

Feel better soon!

Desper-Otto, I have never heard of balancing salt shakers, so I went looking. The 1st one I found was titled stupid human tricks, & I did not want to link it & offend you, so I ended up spending the rest of the night trying to find a better video! (I must have watch 2 dozen or so....) & it turns out the 1st one I saw had the best filmography!

All the talk about colored Onyx reminded me of a rare gemstone I saw in Popular Science, it's called Fordite. It is man made, created during the car painting process. Please click on the history & jewelry tabs to learn more. Since this process no longer exists, these gemstones may soon be more valuable than diamonds...

TinoTechie said...

Comment for Yesterday's blog.

I just had lunch at the Fafafel Drive-in in San Jose. They have remodeled the place and it has a nicer outdoor eating area. Nice mural on the walls. Fafafel was a good as ever.


TinoTechie said...

I enjoyed today's puzzle. Usually I don't like self references, but this turned out OK. What surprises me is how many people are not familiar with the song. We each grow up with the stories and fairy tails from our home area. I guess this shows that we are not a homogeneous population yet. It still matters where you grow up.

Thanks for the write-up Lemonade


CrossEyedDave said...

Re: today:

Being a busy Friday, my only chance to work on it was red letter during lunch. 1st pass revealed little except Fly, Cow, & Horse???

I did manage to change the red letters to black, & uncover the reveal. (Thank goodness I remember the song from Peter Paul & Mary, I won't link it as I am sure you have heard this song enough today...) Yet I could not remember "bird." Mouse wouldn't fit, & I had no perps for Mice! (If this was in ink, I would still be puzzling...)

Lemon, one thing (& only one) about your write up rubbed me the wrong way! I think it was cruel of you to lead people on with your link of "a pretty rack." So here is a real link to a real pretty rack!

One thing about the song I don't understand, why eat a disgusting spider when she could have just ate the frog?

CrossEyedDave said...

Oh, & Desper-otto, while researching your salt shakers, I ran into many "balance the forks on a toothpick" trick.

But here is one I had never seen before... (While there were many clips introducing this as a magic trick, this clip had the best visual.)

& this clip had the best explanation of how it is done...

Manac said...

I'm driving on the left side of the
road on this one and feeding Thumper to the dogs by putting this puzzle in the Black fly, Mosquito and Deer fly group... They all SUCK! (JMHO)
Cross reference cluing is annoying enough but to cross reference a clue to a crossed referenced clue in a corner with 3 unknown names just sucked any enjoyment out of solving it.

Rant over.

I see that Jeff Chen is tomorrow's constructor.

CrossEyedDave said...

Well, I hope Manac gets home safely, but where did everyone get tomorrows (different) constructor info?

Irish Miss said...

Thanks, again, for all the kind words. Today was particularly difficult because of the nausea. I'm going to try to go without the Oxycodone/Tylenol cocktail. I may try some 12 year old Dewar's, ala Tin's advice!

TTP @ 4:44 -Loved those signs. Reminds me of the infamous NY Daily News headline: "Headless corpse found in topless bar."

CED - A while ago, I got up off the couch to take the dog out, my foot was asleep and it slipped off my backless sandal, SNAP, broken ankle! The present medical mishap remains a mystery. BTW, the Kitty clip is priceless. Thanks.

Avg Joe said...

Irish Miss, I may know the answer to your quandary. 3 or 4 years ago I unknowingly broke a rib while replacing a hydraulic hose on my tractor. It was being stubborn and I had to get very physical with it, and broke a rib while pushing on a cheater bar with my foot while the lower part of my back was against the back of the seat. It didn't really hurt until the next day, but man-o-man did it hurt then.

So. The obvious question is: "Do you have a tractor?"

While the above is a true story, it's not intended to make light of your pain. I know how much it hurts and am entirely sympathetic. I hope you get relief soon!

On the topic of Dueling Banjos, without that we'd have never had Dueling Tubas....and the world would be a sorrier place for it.

Beware Cat Lovers said...

Incase anyone has doubts about the old woman who swallowed a cat - apparently the elderly in this place consider it a special health food.

Irish Miss, my prayers are for you tonight. You've had too many health problems.

Bill G. said...

I agree with TT and was surprised how many of us weren't familiar with that song. I think it's understandable to not like a difficult puzzle when one is unfamiliar with the theme or much of the fill.

Regarding racks, I would like CED's better if it were still on a magnificent animal. When I got a new bike rack for the back of my car, I noticed the straps were emblazoned with the company's name, Hollywood Racks. I was expecting a picture of Jayne Mansfield.

Irish Miss said...

Avg. Joe @ 7:52 - No, I do not have a tractor! And don't you know you aren't supposed to make someone with a broken rib laugh out loud? You are too funny!

Beware Cat Lovers @ 8:08 - Thank you for your sentiments. (it does seem that my love of dogs has been hazardous to my health, though.)

Lemonade714 said...

CED thanks for bailing me out with that magnificent RACK

Anonymous T said...

Ave Joe - Dueling Tuba's - that guy looked like Martin Mull (Comedian & Red Roof Inn spokesman). Is that him? Funny stuff - his eyes almost jumped out of their sockets

IM - god speed in your recovery! Take care.

I'd post a RACK, but no-one wants to see luggage on the top of a car...

Cheers, -T

Bill G. said...

CED, I may have spoken out of turn regarding the rack of antlers. I don't enjoy seeing heads or antlers of male deer as trophies on somebody's wall. I'd much rather think of the stately animals running around in the woods. That being said, I didn't mean to be critical of your humorous intent in posting it. Sorry. I hope you weren't offended.

I was watching TV a couple hours ago and I felt a little tiny swaying motion. I looked up an earthquake map and sure enough, there had been a small earthquake about 15 miles offshore. I guess I must have an extra-sensitive backside.

Anonymous said...

Dnf, did not like. It induced boredom and stress. Not a fan