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Mar 24, 2016

Thursday, March 24th, 2016 Mel Rosen

Theme: Name Games - two famous (?) names combine to form a third ... thing.

17A. Rich and Chris in a capital? : LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas. Rich Little. Chris Rock.

23A. Billy and Minnie on a road? : SUNDAY DRIVER. We've all experienced a few of these. An international phenomenon too, in my experience. Billy Sunday. Minnie Driver.

38A. Vida and John in a ballpark? : BLUE JAY. Toronto diamond denizens. Vida Blue. John Jay.

49A. Karen and Adam on a hill? : CARPENTER ANT. They like to nest in dry wood. Not good for our timber-framed homes here in California. Karen Carpenter. Adam Ant.


59A. Eddie and Arsenio in a concert venue? : ALBERT HALL. More correctly the "Royal Albert Hall". A landmark music venue in London, it was named by Queen Victoria in honor of her late husband, Prince Albert. I saw Eric Clapton and Elvis Costello play there, but it's more usually a classical music venue. Eddie Albert. Arsenio Hall.

Thursday already? I'm up in the air over ... somewhere en route from New Jersey heading back to LA. I'm not sure about anyone else but I scored about 50% on name-recognition with this puzzle. Thank goodness for solid crosses.

I went back to look up who I didn't recognize one jot (four) and one who I think I'd vaguely heard of (one). I now know I need to brush up on my impressionists, my evangelical preachers, my left-handed baseball pitchers, my Chief Justices and actor/activists.

The center section gave me conniptions - I didn't know either of the theme names, and some seemingly impossible letter-progressions had me staring at a big white space. Finally, the penny dropped with "NOBLE" and that was the key for me.

Here's one of the aforementioned theme people in celebration of what was quite startling videopop back in the early 80's.

And .. let's see what else we've got.

Across:

1. See 44-Across : BABA. Something to peeve the cross-reference-haters right off the bat. Barry already had one on Tuesday this week.

5. Bremen or Hamburg, locally : STADT. Thank you, high school German classes. "City".

10. Fast-food order : SODA

14. Joie de vivre : ÉLAN

15. Circus Maximus attire : TOGAS. Pedantically, it might be quibbled that it might be TOGAE.

16. Pizza chain started in Chicago, informally : UNO'S. Formally, Uno Pizzeria and Grill. New York pizza lovers, avert your eyes - here's the original deep-dish version from the original Pizzeria Uno.


19. Pond denizen : NEWT. A man walks into a bar with a large newt on his shoulder, orders a drink and glass of water "for Tiny, here". The bartender asks him why he calls him "Tiny". "Because he's my newt".

20. Stumped : AT SEA

21. Fragrant hybrid : TEA ROSE

27. Pub order : ALE

30. Cause harm : DO ILL

31. Capt.'s direction : E.S.E.

32. Family member : SON

33. "__ Mir Bist Du Schoen": Andrews Sisters hit : BEI. High school German classes didn't include the Andrews Sisters. "To me, you're beautiful".

34. Come out : EMERGE

37. i follower : POD

40. i follower : PAD

41. Nicks on albums : STEVIE

43. 1980s-'90s gaming console : N.E.S. Stood for Nintendo Entertainment System.

44. With 1-Across, woodcutter who stole from thieves : ALI

45. River island : AIT. Also Eyot. I lived close to Chiswick (pronounced "chissik") Eyot (pronounced "eight") in London. Awkward place for tourists asking directions. It's a reference point on the annual 4 1/4 mile Boat Race contested each year between crews from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the eyot coming just past the half-way mark


46. "I gotta run!" : SEE YA!

48. Animal in the Chinese zodiac : RAT

53. Eellike fish : LAMPREY

54. Brand with classic "beep beep" commercials : AAMCO. Popped up a couple of times recently.

58. Forte : AREA. Hmmm. I get it, I just don't like it. I don't think you really describe someone's forte as their "area".

63. Scams : CONS

64. __ firma : TERRA

65. Exam type : ORAL

66. Some honored Brits: Abbr. : KNTS. No. I don't care what you can dig up from online dictionaries, the abbreviation differs according to which honor you are awarded and none of them are "KNT". The closest are either a Knight Bachelor, or "Kt" or a Knight of the Order of the Thistle (KT). Take your pick from KG, KT, Kt, KCB, KCMG, KCRO or KBE. 

67. Aerosol targets : ODORS

68. Europe's highest volcano : ETNA. Etna's Italian buddy Vesuvius is the only active volcano on mainland Europe.

Down:

1. Composer Bartók : BELA

2. Settled down : ALIT

3. Cricket equipment : BATS. One flat side, usually made of willow. Here's the legendary West Indies batsman Gordon Greenidge showing the England team how to use one. I'd explain the rules to you, but it would take me two weeks and you still wouldn't really understand.


4. Starting stakes : ANTES

5. Jeanne d'Arc, e.g.: Abbr. : STE. French. St. Joan of Arc, Ste. Jeanne d'Arc.

6. Craggy crest : TOR

7. Earlier : AGO

8. Three-syllable foot : DACTYL. Did a pterodactyl have a three-syllable foot? Probably not.

9. Expressed disdain for : TSK'ED

10. Often photogenic event : SUNRISE

11. A round of 73, usually : ONE OVER PAR. A classic 18-hole golf course is par-72 (Four par 5's, four 3's and 10 4's).

12. Use a divining rod : DOWSE

13. Fall flower : ASTER

18. Acclaim : LAUD

22. "You __ Destiny" : ARE MY. A song written and first performed by Paul Anka.

24. To the manor born : NOBLE. My key to unlocking the middle of the puzzle.

25. Dijon deity : DIEU. French saints and gods today.

26. Property recipient, in law : ALIENEE. The dictionary tells me this is a dated term for grantee. I'll file it away for future reference, dated or no.

27. Nile threats : ASPS. Cleopatra famously committed suicide with one.

With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool
Be angry, and dispatch.
—Cleopatra, Act V, scene II
Anthony and Cleopatra

28. Hot stuff? : LOOT

29. Affection : ENDEARMENT

34. Campus breeze : EASY A. This is a tough one to parse, especially when it's clued a little obscurely.

35. It might be a big benefit : GALA

36. Cut and paste, say : EDIT

38. Muzzle wearer, probably : BITER. Do they make muzzles for asps?

39. Derisive shout : JEER

42. One way to get backstage : VIP PASS

46. Worked in a salon : STYLED

47. Art major's subj. : ANAT. Anatomy.


49. Rattling sound : CLACK

50. Golden calf maker, in Exodus : AARON. Thank you crosses.

51. "Peachy-keen!" : NEATO

52. Second-deepest U.S. lake : TAHOE

55. Trading center : MART

56. Feud faction : CLAN

57. Clay crock : OLLA. There's a traditional Spanish dish named charmingly named "olla podrida", "rotten pot" which is a stew of pork, beans and garbanzos.


60. Good bud : BRO. BFF went in, came out.

61. Guess wrong : ERR

62. Dorm deputies: Abbr. : RA'S. Resident Assistants.

That should do it for me - and heeere's the grid!


Steve



Notes from C.C.:

1) Happy Birthday to Rainman (Ray Hedrick). What's up, Ray? Still playing tennis daily?

2) For those who prefers Blogger rather than Google +, please read Tuesday's comments section. TTP, who saved this blog from Google hell a few years ago, gave detailed instructions there in his various posts, esp the 5:06pam one. Read Anon T and aka Themla's comments also. 

Or if you want to have a blue Blogger account with an avatar picture like most regulars here on our blog, their tips help also, esp Dave's link here. oc4beach turned blue quickly. This old post I wrote 7 years ago still has some valid points as well. 

3) TTP has a created a specific post on how to have a blue Blogger account. Please click here. 
 
 

48 comments:

George Barany said...

Quick shoutout to two Minnesota friends who have collaborated on today's puzzle at the New York Times: David Liben-Nowell and Tom Pepper. If you're still in a puzzling mood after completing today's Mel Rosen Los Angeles Times puzzle, give it a try (hard copy solving recommended)!

OwenKL said...

DNF. Got it all except the natick at AL_ENEE+BE_. Ah, well, cute theme.

There once were some rockers from LITTLE ROCK
Who thought that their band could reach the top.
Yet when they would appear,
Then people would JEER.
But now they get LAUDS -- they're playing soft Bach!

The golfer was a conman, a real conniver,
He bet 'gainst the duffer, who was sexton and miser.
But the shark lost by far,
Sexton's ONE OVER PAR,
"On the Sabbath I can't lose with my blessed SUNDAY DRIVER!"

C follows B, which comes after A.
That's how they go in the alphabet way.
So although J loves Y,
He yet always FOLLOWS I,
So far from his ENDEARED one makes him a BLUE JAY!

fermatprime said...

Greetings!

Good work, Mel and Steve!

Loved the theme! The theme answers filled in quickly. A few things perped.

Dentist tomorrow, again. Darn.

Another puzzle by Fred Piscop today in USA Today. Really prolific! They are cleaning up they act at that paper (for those of you who read about the scandal).

Cheers!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all (and a Very Happy Birthday to Rainman)!

Challenging puzzle today. Partially because I caught the flu from my son and am running a fever, but mostly because I simply didn't know a lot of the theme names.

Here's hoping the Tylenol kicks in soon...

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I managed to recall every one of those names today. Even Vida BLUE. Really. That made this one another quick solve.

I tend to be more of a SUNDAY DRIVER nowadays. I'm not in a hurry to get anywhere. Besides, the local constabulary are notorious for their speed traps.

Stayed at a "STADT Hotel" a time or two in Europe. Never had a (an?) UNO pizza. The only UNO I recognize is usually followed by "mas cerveza, por favor"

Steve, perhaps a hooker would describe her "forte" as her AREA.

Happy birthday, Ray-nman.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning Steve and friends. I was totally on the wavelength today. Even with the 1-Across cross- reference, which I amazingly knew immediately.

I did, however, outwit myself with first trying Togae instead of TOGAS. I also tried Sis before SON. Also had to wait for the perps to get the i Follower vowel.

Still having trouble with Safari on my MacBook, and don't really like blogging on my iPad.

Stay safe in the coming storms.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Pretty much zoomed through, except for Alienee and Dactyl.

Morning, Steve, I never could wrap my head around Cricket. I was mostly lost in that section of Hitchhiker's Guide.

HBTY Rainman!

billocohoes said...

Took FORTE to mean one's AREA of expertise.

Hadn't heard of ALIENEE but figure it's related to a property LIEN.

Had to think a second on spelling STAAT (Dutch state) or STADT (German city)

Avg Joe said...

I never attempt to time myself, but had I done so today it would have been about double the typical time. Luckily the first two across came pretty easily, or I'd a been stuck. It also helped that all but two of the names were familiar. Didn't know Billy Sunday or John Jay, but the phrases were definitely in the realm, so that was no major snag. Still don't understand how Dactyl is a 3 syllable foot, but it couldn't be anything else.

Thanks for the write-up Steve. You are flying over a whole lot of nasty weather. It didn't leave any real snow in our area, but the temp dropped 35 degrees overnight and the wind is literally howling. Points west had road closures for most of the day yesterday.

Happy Birthday Ray! Hope is a good day for you.

Yellowrocks said...

I soon saw that the theme was a play on the two names in the clues, which helped. Also, recognizing all the theme names helped.
I groaned to the see the cross-reference clue at 1A, but then I saw it was so very obvious that I could easily forgive it.
Billocohoes, me, too, I thought of FORTE as AREA of expertise.
Reasoning that there was no air-type breeze particular to a campus, I quickly glommed onto EASY A. That one was a breeze.
No harm, no foul on TOGAS, TOGAE. Both are correct, but I never hear TOGAE in common speech. Spell Check underlines it.
UNOS and STEVIE were the only answers new to me.
Feel better, Barry.
Happy birthday, Ray.

kazie said...

I echo YR's reaction to all the names. I think only two of the pairs were familiar to me and I didn't know even one name in most of the others. You all know how I feel about names, so what can I say? I ended up giving up entirely in the SW corner.

BTW, Bremen and Hamburg are both city states, a hangover from their prominence during their days of membership in the Hanseatic League. Germany now has 16 states including these two.

Rainman, HBTY!

Get well, Barry!

Happy Easter to all...I'm not sure if I will be back before then. We are doing our family thing here on Saturday, so I should be busy until next week.

kazie said...

Oops! I just re-read YR'S comment and realized her reaction was the opposite of mine...that's what I get for skipping the details when in a rush and on my tablet!

My new avatar is my latest favorite from the kids.

Yellowrocks said...

No prob with the names. I did recognize all the theme names which was very helpful. Only UNOS and STEVIE were new to me, but perpable.

TTP said...

Good morning all. Thank you Mel and Steve.

Across the top 2 rows and and then down the 4 east columns, more or less. Then as I worked westward on the bottom, "seeing" ALBERT HALL due to the heavy influence of the perps gave the game away. CARPENTER ANT then came very easily.

I can see how this puzzle might be difficult and lengthy for anyone that wouldn't be familiar with the names. It would still be solvable, but would probably take more than a bit more time.

I only know of one Vida. The first Minnies that come to mind are Mouse, Pearl, and Driver. Other names were so generic they would be nigh on impossible without some perp assistance. Rich and Chris, for me.

BTW STEVE, how many holes does it take to fill the Albert Hall ?

Had a long pause in the SW. CLAng at first. Then realized it couldn't be. -ONS should have easily been seen as CONS, but wasn't. And KNTS wasn't in my mental list of abbrvs. I wonder at the abbreviations of some words. But that area came together when I finally sussed CLACK.

Not so fortunate at the intersection of BEI and DIEU. That was my failure point.

Pizzeria UNO and Pizzeria DUE in Chicago's River North area were a short walk from my office back when I commuted. I prefer thin or double dough to deep dish.

Thank you for the kind words CC.

Avg Joe said...

Four Thousand Holes in Albert Hall

Though I'd prefer to think there are 4,042 :-)

Northwest Runner said...

A blast from the past from CC & Mel Rosen.

Big Easy said...

It's been almost 50 years since mein ( or is it meine?) Deutsch classes that I considered EASY As, and I couldn't decide if it was STAAT or STADT and which one was die or der and since DACTYL looks like TWO syllables to me, I filled AACTYL for 8D, going for A-AC-TYL. I knew of all the personalities in the theme except Billy SUNDAY.

UNOS- pizza chain unknown but it sounds like the first word sung in 'Wooly Booly'
ONE OVER PAR- I had that score at the TPC course once- through four holes. Then went on to play my usual bogey game.
VIDA Blue was easy for me because he grew up close to where I lived. CY Young winner and AL MVP with the Oakland A's. I don't know who or what Adam ANT is; just heard the name.
AAMCO- I remember the ZSA ZSA GABOR commercials

SEE YA

oc4beach said...


Officially a DNF because I needed red letter help and had to do a few alphabet runs. I quickly saw the the theme and was able to fill them in without any problems, but some of the fill didn't come easily.

STADT and DACTYL were my downfall with the D crossing. I didn't have high school German and poetry is not my FORTE.

Neither ALIENEE and BEI were in my wheelhouse. So the Andrews sisters song did not compute. I think that a LIENEE is not a property recipient until someone fails to pay a mortgage or note.

DOWSE came easily because my DW and her father and uncle are Water Witches and can dowse successfully for underground water. I was a non-believer until I saw my FIL in action. Anytime a neighbor was putting in a well they would have him DOWSE for them and he always found water.

Great write-up Steve. I like the detail you put into the expo. It makes the puzzle even more interesting.

Happy birthday Rainman.

Have a nice spring day everyone.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Just loved, loved this theme; it was so straightforward, yet so cleverly clued. I needed a perp here and there but, for the most part, everything fell into place. Knowing all the proper names gave me a big advantage.

Thanks, Mel Rose, for a great start to the day and thanks, Steve, for the informative review.

Feel better, Barry.

RIP Ken Howard and Joe Garigiola.

Have a great day.

Madame Defarge said...

Happy Birthday, Rainman.

Struggled a bit today. Couldn't catch a break until ALBERT HALL. Ta Dah!

Mostly WEES, and I am off today with a long list.

Thanks Mel and Steve. Have a great day everyone.

Magilla Go-Rilla said...

58A: a person's forte is his strong point, not a general are.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Another nice entertaining puzzle. Liked the theme. Very clever. My favorite was CARPENTER ANT.
Liked seeing STADT u. BEI.
Wasn't up on ALIENEE usage. but perps were solid
Had blue ray before BLUE JAY. JEER coughed it up.
Kudos to Mel

Happy Birthday , Rainman.

Lemonade714 said...

ALIENEE is thechnically fine, but out dated usage.


HBDTY Ray and many more.

Northwest Runner, thank you for re-posting the Mel Rosen interview. He is one of the names in modern construction.

I knew all the names, not sure what that means; Billy SUNDAY took a while as I thought of many Billys.

Husker Gary said...

Musings
-TSKED did me in for two bad cells on this puzzle with a fun/helpful theme
-My daughters’ stereotype of a SUNDAY DRIVER
-I wonder what’s under those TOGAS and kilts
-It seems A LIENEE and ALIENEE both work
-This 2016 Sweet Sixteen NCAA BB bracket shows the favorites mostly EMERGE to play for the championship
-Our school secretary has spent thousands of dollars to follow STEVIE Nicks
-Acronym with SEE YA
-Teaching second grade is definitely not in my AREA
-“So Dark The CON Of Man” is found on the Mona Lisa in the Da Vinci Code
-They play it at Downton too!
-My 72-year-old golf buddy shot ONE OVER PAR and ONE UNDER his age on Tuesday on our Par 70 course
-Pawnbrokers are supposed to try hard to not buy hot LOOT
-EASY A scandal
-More Da Vinci Code - Dying Jacques Sauniere arrayed himself like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man sketch Steve referenced
-HBD Rainman!

Spitfire said...

Dactyl can only be a two syllable word. You cannot have more syllables than vowel sounds. If you put your hand under your chin and say the word. The number of times your chin hits your hand is the syllable count in the word. Spitfire

The Poet said...


As I understand it DACTYL is not a 3 syllable word, but means a 3 syllable word as defined in Wikipedia "

"A dactyl (Greek: δάκτυλος, dáktylos, “finger”) is a foot in poetic meter. In quantitative verse, often used in Greek or Latin, a dactyl is a long syllable followed by two short syllables, as determined by syllable weight. In accentual verse, often used in English, it is a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables—the opposite is the anapaest (two unstressed followed by a stressed syllable)."

Lucina said...

Hola y Buenos dias!

Happy birthday, Rainman!

Thank you, Mel Rosen, I really liked this name pairing theme mostly because I recognized all the names even if I don't know much about some of them. STEVIE Nicks lives here in AZ so she's in the news every now and then. I believe she opened a restaurant in Prescott.

It took a while for DACTYL to EMERGE and it's in the same class as iamb, iambic pentameter, etc. in the writing of poetry, a poetic foot being a syllable.

My near Natick was also at BEI/ALIENEE where I had all but the i which I suspected but looked up just to check.

And thank you, Steve, especially for the British viewpoint when needed.

Feel better, Barry.

Have a blessed Maundy Thursday, everyone!
Have a

Yellowrocks said...

Although, KNT is listed as an abbreviation for knight, I cannot find any examples of its use. I was hoping to find a more accurate clue. As Steve said, KNT is not in the list of abbreviations used in the British honor system.
I agree that the answer DACTYL does not need 3 syllables, the foot of verse called a DACTYL does.
An example of dactylic meter is the first line of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Evangeline, which is in dactylic hexameter:
*THIS is the / FORest prim- / EVal. The / MURmuring / PINES and the / HEM locks,*
The first five feet of the line are dactyls; the sixth a trochee. Thanks to WIKI.

Irish Miss said...

Oops: Forgot to say, "Happy Birthday, Rainman! 🎂 🎁 🎉 🎈

CanadianEh! said...

Today's solve took longer than usual. I didn't know all the names and had to wait for perps to figure out the theme. But I'll take a CSO at Toronto BLUE JAY!
Thanks Mel and Steve.
HBD to Rainman. FBS (feel better soon) to Barry.
Smiled at the poetry today OwenKL. (You must try a dactyl LOL!)

I stalled at the SW corner because I had ON a PASS and SIRS before the detested KNTS. Hand up for SIS before SON which gave me a hot LIST before LOOT.

Have a great day all. We got some freezing rain and ice but not as bad as some areas.

TTP said...


AvgJoe, thanks for that link to "A Day in the Life." I read the WIKI on it and then listened again. But you lost me on the 4042 comment.

Also forgot to wish Rainman a HBD.

It's pouring rain here. Over 2" since it started. Good day to spend inside after gardening all day again yesterday.

Didn't know of dactyl in the poetic sense, but it perped in. I was off in left field as I leapt from three toed (like a sloth) to dinosaur (like a pterodactyl) so I moved on. BTW, what do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

CrossEyedDave said...

Tough one, needed Google help in the center.

Did not like 30A cause harm = do ill,
but I have to give kudos for finding a clue for the almost unparsable "doill."

(re:38A) Yes Steve, they do make muzzles for snakes!

Re HG, Togas: Aw nuts! I am never going to find out what's under those things...

HBD Rainman!

Hmm, I dunno,, that cake seems a little girly.
But I am sure Rainman will find a way to improve it...

Argyle said...

Dactyl all relate to finger. Pterodactyl's the "winged finger". The three syllables in the foot of verse relates to three lengths in one's finger, one long, two shorter. That's my research.

Misty said...

A great Friday puzzle, Mel, many thanks. I rarely get a Friday these days without some cheating, but this one was a speed run for me even though I knew the name of only one of the pair in each theme clue. But my German helped with STADT and BEI, and once I got the middle OVER I even figured out that the 73 had to do with golf. So this was a wonderful way to end the week.

Always love your expo, Steve, especially the Shakespeare quote. But feel silly that I didn't get your NEWT/"Tiny" joke.

Loved your first limerick, Owen. Hope you get over your flu quickly, Barry G.

Happy birthday, Ray.

Have a great weekend coming up, everybody!

Jayce said...

Happy birthday, Rainman.

Ahh, so that's what a DACTYL is. Not anatomical, but poetical.

I guess one of AARON's fortes was sculpture.

Another buddy of ETNA is the island Stromboli, just north of Sicily. It looks like the whole island is nothing but a volcanic cone. I like how it looks, very, um, volcanic!

CARPENTER ANT is one of my favorite fills. It reminds me of a technical paper I wrote several years ago entitled Thor the Ant, the ant being a metaphor for tiny earthquake signals hidden beneath the tall "grass" of noise. The point I was making was that in order to find the ant you can't just look at the easy-to-see tips of the blades of grass. My boss(es) didn't get it at all; their only response was to ridicule me about "what kind of grass" I was smoking.

Best wishes and happy Thursday to you all.

tawnya said...

Happy Thursday Everyone!

I did just OK with this puzzle today, WEES with all the proper names and French. I took Spanish in high school and after three years I know about as much as D-Otto (don't forget "Donde esta el bano?")

The names I did know:
Adam Ant is still one of my favorite '80s guys. I still remember making my mother explain what subtle innuendos meant. I can't imagine she enjoyed that conversation.

Here's a favorite from STEVIE and Tom Petty. Written by Petty and backed up by the Heartbreakers and Donald "Duck" Dunn (of SNL and Blues Brothers and much more). Can't go wrong with a Tom Petty song! If I was stuck on an island and could only listen to one artist's complete catalog for the rest of my life it would be Tom Petty. Who would you pick?

I've been watching Chris Rock forever it seems and he just hosted the Oscars so he's pretty fresh in the media. Years ago he did this little bit about gun control that still makes me laugh. Enjoy!

And although I'm sure I can think of a lot of people that played Royal Albert Hall, Eric Clapton comes to mind first, of course!

We woke up to the strong smell of smoke coming in our window last night - after a brief panic and check of the whole house, figured out it was coming from somewhere else. After checking the news this morning, learned there is a wild fire in KANSAS! The winds were strong enough to carry the smoke here and the Springfield, MO 911 was inundated with phone calls of people reporting a fire somewhere!

Have a great day :)

tawnya

Ol' Man Keith said...

Bill G,
Would you agree that this one was at about the same level--toughness with rewards for sticking it--as yesterday's? I felt a degree of deja vu in that regard. Again, I found half of it quite easy, and then when it began to resist me, first in the NE corner, I began to think about... c h e a t i n g.
But No! By persisting past the first, second, and third waves of temptation, I prevailed. Ta-DAH!
I liked the theme, which was clear right away when I cracked LITTLE ROCK. From then on it was a matter of my ol' brain zipping back and forth between what surnames belong and which common phrase will benefit. The only one that slowed me for a while was BLUE SKY in place of BLUEJAY.
A lot of short fills were gimmes because they recycled popular crossword words, viz., OLLA, AIT, GALA, ALE, ANAT, etc.

Happy B'day, Rainman, and Happy Easter to everyone who partakes!

Avg Joe said...

Tawnya, We had a lot of smoke here in SE Nebraska late yesterday afternoon from that same fire. It's not noticeable today since the wind has shifted to the north. It's burned more than 400,000 acres in OK and KS, and is not yet under control. Barber County SW of Wichita seems to be the focal point. Kansas Fire

TTP, I was simply assuming that if 42 is the answer to all important questions in life, then it would only be appropriate that it take 4,042 holes to fill the Albert Hall. :-)

Tinbeni said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAINMAN !!!

Steve: Good job on the write-up and links. Very interesting stuff ...

Every once in a "Blue Moon" you get a puzzle ... and you are on the Constructor's Wave-Length.
Today ... from the first clue ... to the first theme .... this Thursday offering almost seemed like a Monday-level puzzle.

Mel: This was almost my "New-Favorite-2016-Puzzle" ... would have been had it had some Scotch in the grid. lol

Fave theme (though they were ALL very good) was SUNDAY DRIVER since at this time of the year, with the numerous Snow-Birds in town, it seems like our roads are clogged with a plethora of Sunday Driver's.
"The Locals Cheer!:"
That's All Right! ...That's OK! ...
They will be heading back home (Up-North) Someday ...
... Soon!

Looking forward to some overnight rain ... therefore NOT waiting for Sunset.
Cheers!

Argyle said...

Sorry, Misty, but still no speed run Friday.

AnonymousPVX said...

Hi Misty, around here it's Thursday. I've been a day ahead myself.

Crunchy but well clued, a nice typical Thursday (hi again Mindy) puzzle.

TTP said...

Tawnya, great song links.

AvgJoe, Whoosh ! Right over my head on that one.

It was pouring rain earlier. Then it sleeted. Now we are getting a half dollar sized snowflakes. Beautiful.

HG, you wondered what was under those togas, and CED delivered.

I wonder what happened to Tuesday's birthday girl ? Hope your ortho visit went well yesterday.

Misty said...

Darn! I thought it was Friday. I've been sending early Easter greetings to everybody and wishing them a happy weekend coming up. Guess this week was just a little too busy for my own good. Thanks for letting me know, everybody.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

HBD Rainman!

I thought I was going to get a win w/ 1 & 44a off the BAT. I struggled w/ the names but finally got them all. But with 24d == NatLE, sticking w/ CLAnK @49d, SIS @32a, and being AT SEA on 5a xing 6 & 8d that, after a long struggle, I TITT. DNF.

Thanks Mel for the diversion but you win. Steve - thanks for finishing the NC, Central, and SW. And the Adam ANT video. Here's their Strip clip (Tawnya beat me to Goodie Two Shoes).

ALBERT HALL was 1st Theme'er and that helped breakup all the other corners. SUNDAY was a total WAG as was BLUE but both fit the ?clue.

ESPs - too many to mention but not enough to finish :-)

Sadly I gave up on LEINEE when the A appeared in SUNDAY. I should have known it was a dreaded a-word :-)

Fav: If I'd got 'em all it would be the DOWSEr getting the LOOT after his CON; SEE YA! But, since I didn't, I'll settle on the iClue-Cleo.

Runner up: UNO'S pizza.

TTP - nice follow-thru on the G+ / (B) profile instructions.

Misty - don't fret on thinkin' it's Friday -- my girls do too as they get Good Friday off. Only daddy has to work :-(

Tawnya - You know of DDDunn?!?* Awesome. +1 on you. All good choices. I think we'd get along musically. Well, maybe... I'd take RUSH's catalog to my isle.

Cheers, -T
*Dunn's one reason (Geddy is another) I wanted to learn the bass when I grow up - I'm just not grown up yet :-)

Anonymous T said...

I forgot - RIP Garry Shandling. Tawnya - Tom Petty is in it ;-). -T

Abejo said...

Good evening, folks. Thank you, Mel Rosen, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Steve, for a fine review.

Got through this easily, for the most part. Got ALI BABA right off the bat.

Theme eluded me for a while, but then I caught on. Very good.

My last theme was SUNDAY DRIVER. I could not get Billy SUNDAY initially. Then, I remembered.

NOBLE, DIEU, ALIENEE, BEI, and NES were all tough. They were all clustered together making it worse. Finally got them and the puzzle.

See you tomorrow.

Happy birthday, Rainman.

Abejo

( )

Anonymous T said...

For those that enjoy Garry Shandling's (and Ricky Gervais's) humo(u)r and have the time...

Here's Gervais' interview with Shandling: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. [each "part" is a separate link].

For flu induced Barry G. it may even be funnier :-) Get well soon...

Cheers, -T

Rainman said...

Thanks to everyone for the terrific natal anniversary wishes. Much appreciated. Yes, I'm playing tennis three mornings a week, cycling the other days.
As for the puzzle, I was a little stymied at first but got into it quickly and finished in 21 minutes, not bad for a 74-year-old geezer.

And isn't it refreshing to not have a single annoying anonymous interloper today? Yes.

Thanks again. Best to all.