Apr 7, 2016

Thursday, April 7th, 2016 Jeff Stillman

Theme: Prime Minister's Questions

17A. *Big-time : MAJOR LEAGUE. John Major. Had a reputation for being tremendously dull, and thus lampooned by the satirical show "Spitting Image" by always portraying him in monochrome.

30A. *Local legend sought in a 1999 horror film : BLAIR WITCH. Tony Blair. AKA "Teflon Tony" for his ability to dodge scandal and criticisms.

44A. *Oatmeal sweetener : BROWN SUGAR. Gordon Brown. nicknamed the "Big Clunking Fist" by his party colleague Tony Blair. It was intended to be a compliment, but the media seized upon it as a term for Brown's perceived lack of diplomacy.

58A. *She voiced Princess Fiona in "Shrek" movies : CAMERON DIAZ. David Cameron. He was caught smoking weed when he was at Eton when he was 16, but famously was not expelled. Unlike Bill Clinton, he didn't claim that he didn't inhale.

and the reveal:

65A. Brit. leaders, the last four of whom begin the answers to starred clues : P.M'S. There have (by generally-accepted definition) been 53 different Prime Ministers since Robert Walpole kicked things off back in 1721. Pleasingly, the four we have here are the four most recent PM's, and neatly appear in chronological order. Major was number 50, Blair 51, Brown 52 and the incumbent Cameron rounds out the list at 53.

Very nicely-executed theme from Jeff; the names came pretty easily for me; because of my roots your mileage might have varied. Let's see what else we've got.


1. Regular patterns : HABITS

7. Mass robes : ALBS

11. __ time : TEE

14. Madrid-based airline : IBERIA

15. Bantu language : ZULU. I misspelled "LEGOSI" at first, then I wondered why I'd never heard of ZELU. Then a penny-dropping moment.

16. Keats' "still unravish'd bride of quietness" : URN. Our old friend the Grecian one.

19. Barnyard noise : MOO

20. Topeka-to-Peoria dir. : E.N.E.

21. Spiny houseplant : ALOE

22. Rwandan ethnic group : HUTU

23. Reporter's query : HOW. "The five W's and one H" - Who, what, when, where, why and how.

25. Pundits : SAGES

27. Baseball commissioner before Manfred : SELIG

28. "May I get a word in?" : AHEM

32. Round building : SILO

33. Thumbs-up : YES

34. Low-tech propeller : OAR

35. Most swanky : POSHEST

37. Whistleblower's request : AMNESTY

41. __ card : ATM. Needed an alphabet run to stumble across the M.

42. Ancient greeting : AVE

43. 1986 #1 hit for Starship : SARA. Crosses all the way. Never head of the song.

48. Bamboozle : SNOW. Another unknown; I don't think I've seen this usage of SNOW before.

49. Sri __ : LANKA

50. Pretend : LET ON. I found this whole area tricky. I generally use LET ON meaning to reveal something, not to pretend.

52. MD for women : GYN.

53. Old French coins : ECUS

54. Cantina crock : OLLA

55. Something to come up for : AIR

57. St. whose motto is "Forward" : WIS. Forward! And don't forget the cheese!

62. Press into service : USE

63. Cries of clarity : AHAS

64. Very cold period : ICE AGE

66. Bakery output : BUNS. Gym output too, if the LA Fitness commercials are to be believed.

67. Parable feature : LESSON


1. Finger-pointing pronoun : HIM. YOU went in. YOU came out.

2. Its first champion was the Pitt. Pipers : A.B.A. American Basketball Association. A short life but a merry one for the franchise. They won the inaugural title in 1967, moved to Minnesota in 1968, moved back to Pittsburgh in 1969, changed their name to the Condors in1970 and folded in 1972.

3. Decorates, as a royal crown : BEJEWELS

4. Waffle __ : IRON

5. Flags : TIRES

6. Tessio in "The Godfather" : SAL. Portrayed by the actor Abe Vigoda who sadly passed away recently, more that 35 years after "People" magazine famously reported him as deceased back in 1982.

7. Rhododendron varieties : AZALEAS. The azaleas are in full bloom in my neighborhood at the moment. I love spring in LA - I took this picture yesterday of the bougainvillea on my neighbor's wall.

8. Star of "Dracula" (1931) : LUGOSI.

9. Risqué : BLUE

10. Seek damages : SUE

11. Ruckus : TUMULT

12. Hot : EROTIC. Blue and erotic? We need some ICE AGE to cool things off around here!

13. Just the right amount : ENOUGH

18. Aerie fledgling : EAGLET

22. Many a soap heroine : HEIRESS

23. Briefcase fastener : HASP

24. Where Lima is : OHIO. Quite obviously PERU was my first effort.

26. Deep gulfs : ABYSMS. A very unusual word and the "M" was my last fill. It has never appeared (in the plural form) in the LAT crossword (at least not during the Rich Norris era)

"What seest thou else in the dark backward and abysm of time"?
William Shakespeare, The Tempest
27. Adult cygnet : SWAN

29. Mostly-shaved-head hairstyles : MOHAWKS

31. Classical guitar family name : ROMERO' Los Romeros Guitar quartet. Talented bunch!

36. Volcano near Catania : ETNA. I know the letter sequences are handy, but maybe there should be a constructor's pact to let ETNA and OREO take a well-deserved break.

37. Online icon : AVATAR

38. Fruity wine drinks : SANGRIAS

39. City fooled by a horse : TROY

40. Betray boredom : YAWN

42. Not ephemeral : AGELESS

44. Hit the roof : BLEW UP

45. "To Kill a Mockingbird" theme : RACISM

46. Burdens : ONUSES

47. Tracey of sketch comedy : ULLMAN

51. '30s V.P. John __ Garner : NANCE. Saved by the crosses.

54. Pearl Harbor site : OAHU

56. March time? : IDES. The Ides of April never seemed to get as bad a rap.

58. Hailed transport : CAB

59. Wildcatter's find : OIL. One of the largest oil finds in the US, the East Texas Field, was discovered by prospectors looking for  .... salt. Mark Kurlansky's book is a great read.

60. In times past : AGO

61. __ master : ZEN

On a Florida swing this week - was hoping to grab a beer with Lemonade but it looks like customer schedules won't permit. Next time.

And ..... here's the grid.



fermatprime said...


Thanks, Jeff and Steve!

Great theme!

Only unknown was SARA, which perped itself nicely. ASBYSM filled itself in without my having to think about it!

Have a great day!

OwenKL said...

You'll hear it through the HUTU nation,
Broadcast on the ZULU station.
Although sung a lullaby,
Still reluctant toddlers cry,
The common, primal sound of ululation!

There was a Mongol in IBERIA,
Quite some distance from Siberia.
Thought the clime
Was just divine,
The only SNOW cooled his SANGRIA!

Three princes went out from Sri LANKA,
The rude one gave never a "thank-ya".
The bully sleaze
Would not say "please".
They both thought the nice one a wank-a!

B-, C+, C.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Didn't get the theme until I hit the reveal, but at least I recognized the names when I went back and looked, so that was nice.

Mostly straightforward solve today. The one sticky spot was where I tried ACT AS and then PUT ON before finally getting LET ON. I don't really get how LET ON is synonymous with "pretend", but I'm sure it is somehow.

Lemonade714 said...

There were many unknowns in this challenge, ABYSMS, ROMERO the most prominent; then we have HUTU and ZULU, AVE and AVATAR and the last four British PMs...I guess this was lest stressful than PMS, but it was not easy. I enjoyed the AZALEAS (very timely) AMNESTY and BEJEWLED.

It was cool that Steve would be the one to blog this effort, as I am sure the theme popped out for him long before the rest of us. Anyway, I will not try to SNOW anyone, and look forward to the next So.Fla. trip.

Thanks Jeff and Steve.

Lucina said...

Unusual for me to join the Early Birds since it's been a while since insomnia awoke me.

I entered Jeff Stillman's wave length almost immediately and simply sashayed right on through the entire grid until hitting the NE corner. HUTU was totally unknown but suddenly SELIG seeped out of my memory and I had TEA time so TUMULT came tumbling down but then TEE became apparent and it was ENOUGH to finish.

Once the theme revealed itself I recognized the names though didn't realize they were in exact order. Good call, Steve, but then you would know, right?

I love the ROMEROs. Thank you for the link.

One tiny error robbed me of my triumph, ECUS. I had BLOWUP. But it was entertaining anyway. Thank you, Jeff and you as well, Steve.

Have a fantastic day, everyone!

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Theme? No, I didn't see any theme. Also didn't see the reveal which was already filled. Still, it was a quicky. Fun, too. Thanks, Jeff.

C'mon, Steve. You must've heard of a SNOW job.

John NANCE Garner: Ole Cactus Jack is probably best known for his description of the vice presidency -- not worth a bucket of warm spit! (Yes, I double-checked the spelling.)

Why do I suspect that on Saturday Splynter may start off his commentary with "Wisconsin!"?

billocohoes said...

d-otto, I've heard (and Wiki mentions without citation) that Garner really said "piss" not "spit" but the reporters cleaned it up for the newspapers.

AZALEAS reminds me that the Masters, golf's most self-important event, starts today.

SNOW job probably derives from how a snowstorm blinds you to what's right in front of you.

thehondohurricane said...

After my experiences so far this week, I thought I'd quickly succumb to Mr Stillman's offering. I had no idea what the theme was about. My knowledge of British PM's starts and ends with Winston Churchill. But the SE filled in and then the NW followed. They gave me a foothold.

The rest of the solve was one or two letters at a time, but I was confident I was on the right track. Eventually, it came down to the NE. I am not into soaps so HEIRESS was entered only because it looked right. For 12D I changed ExOTIC to EROTIC only because I knew UxN was wrong. Still Ex..... looks better then Er..... IMO.

Sounds like Keats was into URNs rather then brides! I'm sure I read some of his works, but there is no recall whatsoever.

Monsoons arriving today which may be followed by SNOW. I"m sure spring has sprung somewhere, but I fear Ct has been forgotten.

Yellowrocks said...

This was a fairly easy one. The NE was the last to fall. HEIRESS was the Rosetta stone there, giving me HUTU and then the rest was evident. SARA and WIS were unknown but easily perped. For WIS I was looking for a saint at first, instead of a state. V-8 can moment.
My first thought at ONWARD was a CSO to Splynter.
I needed the reveal to get the theme. Very clever puzzle. Interesting expo. especially the PMS' nicknames. I have heard of Teflon Tony.
Choosing between LIMA, Peru and Ohio, I decided PERU was too obvious. I think Ohio pronounces it LY MA like the bean.
Did anyone ever try to SNOW you by LETting ON that they knew it all along, when they didn't have a clue?
billocohoes, I like your explanation of snow job.
Owen KL, I enjoyed your poems.

thehondohurricane said...

Snow job , in my lingo, means you are getting B...S.....'d (lied to) by someone looking to take advantage of you.

Big Easy said...

Let me ask the 'Corner' a question. Does anybody here think that the average college student in the USA could name the last FOUR U.S. presidents or FOUR of the remaining eight Supreme Court justices? I doubt it.

Was this theme ever coming out of thin air. I had no idea until I read the clue for 65A. If Jeff had somehow worked 'Repairer of a house with a straw or branch roof' with THATCHER as the answer I might have figured it out. The long fills were easy but I had a little trouble in the NE going from ONE Time to TWO Time to TEE Time.

Tessio- I knew it was Abe Vigoda but not SAL. ABYSMS is new to me; I couldn't figure out the plural of ABYSS. The only other unknown was ROMERO; Segovia wouldn't fit.

Magilla Go-Rilla said...

48A: You've never been SNOWed about a subject?

TTP said...

Thank you Jeff Stillman and thank you Steve. Appropriate that you should review this puzzle.

Worked the west side top to bottom so I got the reveal early, but it didn't help with any of the starred clues. Didn't need help. They filled in easily enow.

First two fills were BEJEWELES and MAJOR LEAGUE. Thought it was going to be an easy Thursday. In the end, a FIW. In four places.

In the SW corner, keyed in BLoWUP rather than BLEWUP for hit the roof. Should have noticed oCUS was wrong. ECUS is so common. Not quite as common as ETNA and OREO though.

In the middle, I must have been thinking of AVA Gardner rather than AVE as in AVE Maria. Never heard of the family known for their classical guitar work, but should have seen the need for an E there.

And in the NE, TROPIC rather than EROTIC for hot. No excuse for having TtE time. Common answer author Anais Nin wrote EROTICa.

Recalled more MLB baseball commissioners than British PMS. Let's see. Starting with Neville, then Winston, Attlee, skip to Margaret, then Blair, and Cameron... BTW, I got an email from Commissioner Manfred on April 3rd. It was addressed: Dear Fans. Saved it.

Looking forward to The Masters. The par 5 13th is the end of Amen Corner, and is named AZALEA.

Madame Defarge said...

Well, I'm being SNOWED right now. So thanks, Steve, for the bougainvillea! April is the cruelest month!

Thanks, Jeff, for a challenging start to a very dreary day! Only one nit: This old English teacher cannot allow RACISM to be called a theme. It is a motif. In order to be a theme it must be stated as a sentence; it must be universal. The rule of thumb in my class was always, if I can ask "What about it?" then it is not a theme. In this case, what about racism in TKAM makes it universal? What is Harper Lee saying about racism? What is she telling us about our humanity? It's bigger than one word. Also, because I was a Socratic teacher, themes did not come from me; the students had to identify them. It was their experience with the text, and they had to identify what that experience meant. The theme of TKAM was stated in many different ways without me being didactic--except about the sentence requirement. ;~)

I hope you have more sun where you are than we do here on the Evanston shore of Lake Michigan. Enjoy your day!

Tinbeni said...

It's NATIONAL BEER DAY !!! ... think I'll have one ...

The V-8 can smack ... when I finally filled in HABITS for 1-a, Regular patterns, kinda hurt.

Geez, this one was a "work-out" ... the PM'S themes all fell easily but the write-over of OHIO for that "Lima, PERU" was ugly. lol

and SANGRIA'S was an ESP (Every-Single-Perp) entry since I hardly ever have "Fruity wine drinks."

Steve: Good Job on the write-up ...
Jeff: Great Job on a FUN (though slowly solved) Thursday puzzle.

Well a "Front" went over at 5:00 am with TWO, count'em 2 tornado warnings ...
And the rain has passed ... and NOW it is a beautiful day in Tampa Bay.

Yellowrocks said...

Theme vs motif, another instance where there is the technical meaning of words and the looser, often more common one. If the word happens to be in our field of study, the technical definition comes to mind. If not, the looser definition comes to mind.
In crosswords it could be either. Sometimes the technical definition and sometimes the common one is called for.
However,context matters.
In class we discussed the scientific definition of WORK and pointed out the difference between it and the common definition. I included the scientific definition on our study sheets. When I marked a student's answer using the common definition incorrect, her mother brought in a dictionary to prove me wrong. Wonder of wonders, the principal backed me up! Usually the school catered to the parents' whims. Our helicopter parents were, and still are, very powerful.

oc4beach said...

I enjoyed today's work by Jeff and the write-up by Steve. It was doable with a few stumbles along the way. I didn't get the theme until I saw Steve's explanation.

Although I've never been to England, or met the PMs in this puzzle, I did have the pleasure of meeting Margaret Thatcher when she visited Ronald Reagan in 1981. They brought her to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD and I got to escort her on a portion of the tour that she took of the Center. Her eyes didn't glaze over when the functions of the Scientific Satellites were explained to her. Impressive lady.

A couple of stumble were SOUS vs ECUS, ABE vs SAL, and BLoWUP vs BLEWUP. I did know the Jefferson Starship song SARA.

All-in-all a nice Wednesday level puzzle on Thursday.

Have a great one everyone.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

What a clever, yet simple (after the fact) theme! I like solving a puzzle that remains a mystery until the reveal and this certainly fits the bill! Abysms is new to me, as is the Romeros. Interesting to have Zulu and Hutu in the same puzzle. Nice CSO to me at Troy. I wonder if Tin filled in _ _ _ age?

Thanks, Jeff and Steve, for a fun Thursday trip!

Have a great day.

CanadianEh! said...

We have a British Invasion today. I got the theme early which helped immensely since I knew the British PMs (advantage to our Brits and Canadians today!). I immediately thought of Nice Cuppa and Steve; in fact, I even filled in TEA before TEE thinking it matched the theme! Thanks Jeff and Steve.

Big Easy@8:41 - I don't know about your college students, but this Canadian could name the last 4 American presidents but not the Supreme Court justices.

Hand up for Blow up before BLEW UP, Peru before LIMA, Why before HOW. Like YR, I thought ST meant Saint and did not understand WIS even when it filled in. I had AOK before YES and was initially misdirected by HABITS and TIRES. But my DNF was ABYSMS!

I noted the baby birds,Cygnet and eaglet today.

CanadianEh! said...

I have a potted AZALEA that goes out to the garden when it is warm enough in early June. I must give it some more cold tea as it is not flowering at the moment.
Our SNOW turned to rain yesterday but it is not very warm for April.

I inherited a vintage Sunbeam waffle IRON and family loved the Sunday morning HABIT of waffles and maple syrup! It also has interchangeable grills for pancakes. They don't make them like that any more. (Mine is not as shiny as this one!)

SwampCat said...

Just enough crunch to make it challenging, but slow and steady got 'er done. Thanks, Jeff. Steve, it seems quite appropriate that you should lead us through the misdirection.

Owen, your grading, as usual, is much too harsh. The verses today were fun!! Thanks.

Husker Gary said...

A very nice Thursday puzzle which was well summed up by our resident Brit, Steve. Ironic or coincidental? His thumbnail sketch of each man was very informative.

-Miler Jim Ryun – “Motivation gets you started. HABIT keeps you going!”
-Consistent winds of 35mph+ have eliminated TEE times for me this week
-An great 1964 movie told from a British perspective with a very unusual ending
-The Belgian gov’t favored the minority HUTUs over the Tutsis
-I hope Manfred can find a way to speed up the game I love so much
-Disney’s All Star resorts aren’t the POSHEST but they serve their purpose very well
-The worst SNOW jobs we’ve ever gotten are from timeshare salesmen
-UNL’s record enrollment last fall forced them to PRESS an old dorm INTO SERVICE
-Misuse of an ATM in a casino should provide you a LESSON
-SAL Tessio is killed after he betrays the family. “It’s not personal, it’s business”
-Yup, all we golf fans know what course features these AZAELAS in April
-ABYSSM = cross between Abyss and Chasm?
-Now if Yoko ONO was eating an OREO neat Mt. ETNA, we’d have a trifecta of overuse, Steve!
-This word meaning “Royal Blood” or SANGRIA was big in The Da Vinci Code
-Tracy MORGAN of SNL was in my first skit at _ _ _ MAN

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Messed up the NE a bit. Got SELIG but the G invited me to insert dosaGe. Ultimately, BLAIR WITCH convinced me to try ENOUGH. The rest of the puzzle was easy. No searches were needed. Liked the PM theme but had forgotten BROWN.
Good puzzle, Jeff.
Oatmeal. - I always top mine with blackstrap molasses.
AZALEAS - We seem to be near the limit of their range. A close relative of the rhododendron. They are beautiful. If you're ever in Norfolk, their Azalea Gardens are worth a visit.
LET ON - I agree with Steve on it meaning to reveal something.

Husker Gary said...

-I have made all the corrections and additions that I am aware of and you can see the latest map at this URL
-Thanks for the kind words. We left-brained people like visual representation

Unknown said...

Just got back from ACPT in Stamford and had a great time. Friday night, I had the incredible experience of sitting down next to Jeffrey Wechsler, a tournament official & whose puzzle I solved that day in the L.A. Times, and Arnold Reich, one of the winners and the few who solved all the puzzles perfectly. The three of us were a team trying to solve some convoluted word games to "escape" the room to the wine & cheese. I actually contributed a few answers before having to escape early. Seven puzzles all day Saturday and on Sunday morning varied in difficulty & time to do them. Some I finished early, and others not so good. I ranked 55th out of 65 from the "West", 58th out of 106 "Rookies", 116th out of the 136 "Sixties", and 462nd out of 592 overall. Miriam Raphael, in her 90s & a veteran of the tournament, outranked me. Everyone I met, including lawyers, educators, engineers & other solvers were really nice. I got to thank Bruce Venzke, another official, for his L. A. Times puzzles, met some really nice ladies from Nashville, and got a picture with Will Shortz. I sort of feel the same way about the tournament as I do parachuting and "Burning Man", at least I can say I did it.

Lucina said...

William Nipper:
Lucky you! And congratulations on your participation.

kazie said...

I was also, like Steve, confused by LET ON--I've never heard that usage or meaning before. Likewise, it meant that NANCE or at least its first N was my last blank to fill. Unfamiliarity with LET ON and not giving a hang about the VP were to blame. What about LED on for pretendED instead? If the other perps could have been made to fit, that would have been more logical for me.

Glad that Steve gave such a great exposé--thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yes, you have heard of the Starship song "Sara" before; it was in the Sunday March 27 puzzle. It is now more popular in the Los Angeles Times than it was anywhere in 1986. But not as popular as Fleetwood Mac's "Sara" in 1979.

Irish Miss said...

William Nipper: Congratulations! Sounds like you had a great experience and lots of fun!

CrossEyedDave said...

Definitely a struggle today, finally got 99% of it done, only to be
totally stumped by the NE corner.

Not wanting to (totally) give up, I used crossword nexus to find 22A Hutu, & 27A Selig.
That enabled me to suss out the rest of the corner, with a grudgingly penciled in "moo"
(3 letter barn sounds, must be a million of them. Couldn't possibly be a simple as"moo.")
& changing 16A from Ode to Urn???

Urn? I don't get it!(A little help pls...)

Chasms b/4 Abysms, Chasms seemed perfectly legit, but the perps wouldn't allow it...

Anywho, I thought doing crosswords would make me smarter, & it's partly true.
Then there are days like today, where I look at 57A, St. whose motto is forward=Wis.
I really thought "St." = Saint. Who is this Saint Wis with a motto????
(Oh Evay, I should go back to bed...)

Can't think of PM's without picturing this guy...

Did you know?

Guitars,Kittens, I would vote for this guy to be PM!
(Oh nuts! Too bad for Harper because you don't get to vote for PM.)

CrossEyedDave said...

HG, great stuff with the Blogger map!

But wait a sec, I don't see Steve?

(Time to add an arrow to the right side?)

Ol' Man Keith said...

What a terrific experience, William Nipper!

Today's pzl had me going on multiple headings before I found the glide path to a happy landing. This was because more than one response would fit in several places. I had YURT before SILO, for instance, and SOUS before ECUS and RICHEST before POSHEST.

POSH reminds me of the strange etymology of some words. Although it has been disputed, it is commonly held that POSH denoted the British upper class because Brits who sailed to India and other eastern reaches of the empire had their tickets and luggage stamped "P.O.S.H.," the initials for "Port(side) Out, Starboard Home." This would assure them that their cabins would be away from the direct light and heat of the sun as they traveled.

CanadianEh! said...

CED@1pm - re Guitars, Kittens - Canadians were not impressed by the guitars, singing, or kittens (Lauren Harper, his wife, was known for fostering stray cats at 24 Sussex - she was honorary chair of Ottawa Humane Society) and voted in Justin Trudeau.


CanadianEh! said...

Ol' Man Keith@1:16- Your interesting info about POSH adds more British content to today's puzzle.

Misty said...

I was totally daunted by this puzzle initially and got only ALBS and AVE at first (my Catholic background kicked in and helped here). But gradually the bottom filled in, and the top only after a bunch of corrections (I too had CHASMS and so EAGLET wouldn't fit, and would never have guessed TIRES for Flags, etc. etc.). But the theme helped to fix things, and in the end it miraculously all fell into place and I actually got the whole thing without a single goof-up. Yay! Hurray! Many thanks, Jeff, and how nice that you got to guide us through a British themed puzzle, Steve!

Ol' Man Keith, thanks for explaining POSH--never heard that one before.

Have a great Thursday, everybody!

Bill G. said...

An appropriately-hard Thursday challenge. WEES. I liked it. Thanks Jeff and Steve.

CED, re. URN. "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is one of Keats most well-known poems. I think it was part of one of my college literature classes.

Keith, I've heard that story about POSH too. Dunno if it is true or not. I wasn't there...

The city is working on the water pipes for my street today. No water from 9am to 5pm. I miss it.

Lucina said...

Thanks for the interesting origin of POSH. I had not heard that before.

My Nissan which has 108,000 miles required some service today so it's at the shop and I can just hear the jingle of a calculator ringing up the tally. It's likely to be in the hundreds of $.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Now that I think of it, wouldn't SOPH have caught on as well? -- as the reverse of POSH? I mean it not just as a shortened label for a smart-alec Sophomore, but as a Non-U designation, standing for "Starboard Out, Port Home," confining the middle and lower classes to suffocatingly hot shipboard accommodations...

Unknown said...

Fun puzzle but I sure did a lot of erasing. I thought Bud Selig was still commissioner so I waited for more perps. I refused to believe that CHASMS was wrong until the perps made me change it to ABYSMS. Got it finished but need a new eraser.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Great puzzle, Jeff!

Great expo, Steve! Thank you for the Romero link. I happened to see a TV special on the Romeros in 1998 just before visiting the San Diego area where they were located. The founder in 1960 of the original Romero quartet was Celedino who was born in Malaga, Spain. He played with his sons Celin, Pepe, & Angel. Celedino died in 1996. Celin's son Celino & Angel's son Lito joined the brothers later. Pepe has done solo appearances. Such talent.

PMS: you can tell the puzzle was constructed by a man. Because of a different connotation, no woman would use PMS as a theme in a crossword. However, PMS might cause her to use cross words at times.

TE & UR in the NE corner were the last fills. ____time could be so many things, I jumped over it. Don't think I ever read "Ode to a Grecian URN", just knew the title. Didn't know the "silent bride" phrase. He must have been drinking strong stuff out of that URN to come up with that.

Hand up for chaSMS before ABYSMS. Learning bit for the day. But when will I ever use it in conversation?

I knew HUTU. Can't believe so many didn't. Took me awhile to dredge it up, I confess.

SNOW job was '50's slang, I think.

Jayce said...

Nifty puzzle, fun to solve. I needed redness of letters to find that BLoWUP was why I didn't get the fanfare.

Hungry Mother said...

Got nailed yesterday on "hit" being present or past tense. An easy Thursday for me.

Steve said...

Totally coincidental that it was a Brit theme and a Brit blogger. I grinned when I saw where the puzzle was going.

@CED - I'm on the map - Next door to Bill G., one street up from Keith and catty-corner from Misty.

Speaking of which, if you say "catty/kitty/cater-corner" to a Brit, they won't have a clue. You have to use the literal "diagonally opposite". When I first moved here heard the term given in directions, I was lost, figuratively and literally.

Yellowrocks said...

Snow job has stayed current. We still hear it. I have a VERY close relative who tries to snow everyone all the time, to enhance her self image, to put down others,to manipulate, to take advantage. She lets on that she is so kind and honest. It is so uncomfortable to deal with her.I prefer straight forward people.

Bill G. said...

It was nice of Gary to add the 'G' to my name on his map. Otherwise, I was afraid I would be unrecognizable... :>)

Interesting that many of us remember Keats' poem as "Ode to a Grecian Urn" when it is actually "Ode ON a Grecian Urn." I Googled it and discovered my mistake.

That POSH story is such a good one. I've heard it several times before and enjoyed it every time. I WANT it to be true but researched it and discovered that it is false. You can read about it HERE

CrossEyedDave said...

Canadian Eh,

I had no idea who Harper was, I just saw the pic under PMs.
Thanks for the enlightenment, I would never vote for that ,um, er,

Well, luckily I have to take a Thumper in describing that guy
otherwise I would be discussing politics on Blog....

Steve! I see you now!
(Why did I think you were in England?)

Avg Joe said...

This did not look promising at the onset. I looked at everything in the NW and got nada. Moved to the next block and got albs and sue, then it was just a methodical progression from there. Didn't see the theme until the reveal, but I'd played hopscotch, so I got that after only two themers were filled, so it helped quite a lot. No major hangups, and no erasures. Not even Ohio, since I saw both possibilities and waited for proof..... I'll take it.

I appreciated that it was your day given the theme, Steve. Thank you for your always informative write up, with a bit of inside baseball in this case. In a minor irony, the final Jeopordy question today was on British History. I turfed that one.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

ABYSES looked vaguely wrong [turns out to be specifically and exactly wrong] and I was perplexed by ATE card.

After a bit if head scratching, I sussed the M and that was my last fill.

BEJEWELS is legit, but awfully awkward, as is POSHEST and a couple of the plurals - ABYSMS [really ?!?] and ONUSES.

Nicely done, overall. Fresh, unusual theme idea.

Quip I saw on Face Book --- Past, present and future walk into a bar.
It was tense.

Victor Martinez pinch hit in each of the Tigers' first two games, and hit two home runs. First time that's happened since 1914.
V-Mart is a switch hitter, and got one from either side of the plate. I doubt the 1914 guy did it that way.

Cool regards!

CanadianEh! said...

CED@5:04pm - I think the ban on discussing politics only applies to Americans. Since I seem to be the only Canadian on the blog, we will excuse you today. LOL!

Anonymous T said...

AHEM... I know I'm late.
AVE (Highya!) Puzzle Pals!

Being a fan of PM'S Q's on Sunday's C-SPAN paid-off today (Don't YAWN). I love Parliament's responses to a party-member's questions (Give the Govn'er a hurrumph!) and they seem to hold the PM'S feet to the fire.

I got the theme-answer b/f all the themes' answers and that helped w/ BROWN & CAMERON. NE was still the last to fall; I WAG'd it real-good. AHAS were slow in coming but I'm still proud of a Thurs w/o lookups nor error'd squares.

Thanks Jeff for a hard but fun puzzle. Thanks Steve for your take on PMs and the rest of the write-up; you always entertain.

WOs: Hand up for morgAN b/f ULLMAN; lANCE b/f NANCE; wavES (as in 'flags down a ride'? - er, no) b/f TIRES; and ATe b/f abc-run for ATM (last fill) [you & me both JzB]. Steve - I had same; ZeLU too.

Super-WAGs: 'B' in 2d xing 14a; 'E' @42a xing 31d. I batting 1.000 today the STROS ain't.

Hand up again for trying to think of a Saint w/ a motto and still no pennies-dropping @52a's ink. If there's ever a St. -T, my motto will be Huh? or WTF? (Doh!'s already taken by St. Homer).

37a - I want AnonymiTY if I blow-a-whistle; Snowden wants AMNESTY now. Good luck w/ that.

Fav: Gots to be OIL (WTI up $0.37) working in H-Town! Steve: I've read Salt; great book.

Lucina - You can finish a Sat; I'm going to blame your FIW on insomnia for you.

BigE. I don't know about college kids but my girls can name the Prez back to JFK and know significant world leaders (C, Eh! - PM Justin is a cutie w/ youngest). Youngest also knows all the Supremes going back to before I was born and where they when to Law School. She plans to follows in their footsteps... She's 13. I won't LET ON that Daddy doesn't have ENOUGH to afford Harvard/Yale LESSONs.

bill-o: That's my gut on SNOW job too. I might look it up tonight after I finish my work.

OKL - I heard that too re: POSH. Should I LET ON I know better and SNOW folks w/ the story (thanks BIll G.)

WN - Puzzle Tournament sounds like fun. It's on my bucket list (parachuting ain't) but I'd be the guy that came in last - like Weird Al did on Jeopardy. Good on you!

Steve - how about cattywompus (sp?) for diagonally-across from a landmark? Quite popular in central Illinois.

CED - I love that Churchill quote - esp. apropos on Nat'l BEER day. Bottoms up! :-)

Cheers, -T

Lucina said...

Ok if you say so on my FIW. I hate it but so often it's just a matter of checking for errors which I don't. Is that over confidence? Maybe.

Your girls are so smart and so studious!

Tinbeni said...

oc4beach @9:35 am

Thank You !!! for linking SARA by Starship.

My mother's name was Sarah (yeah, she use to say: "Sara without the 'H' ... is just being lazy ...")

But on her 65th Birthday, My Gal-Pal (who worked in 'Radio') made her (my Mom) a tape of three Sarah songs ...

1) Hall and Oates - Sara Smile
2) Starship - Sara ... your link ...
3) Stevie Nicks - Sarah

She later told me ... it was the best "Birthday Present" I ever gave her ...
I told her (my Mom) that is was Kris who put it "together-for-her" ...

She told me ... well ... you go GET her ... RIGHT NOW !!!
"I want to THANK HER IN PERSON !!!

It was a great evening ...

PS ... yeah, I've been having a "Memory Evening" ... listening to those 3 songs for the last couple of hours ,,,

and MY FIRST TOAST AT SUNSET ... as always ... was to my Mom!!!

PSS Sorry if I ever led any of you to think "My first toast wasn't always to my dear departed Mother ... SARAH"

Diligent Stoic said...

I enjoyed the puzzle and Steve, your blog was very enjoyable. Thank you.

I wanted to mention that the 'origin' of POSH as a process for booking sealiner tickets to the Far East .... is very interesting, but is absolutely untrue. Reverse mnemonics or rather, backronyms, may appear fascinating, but are definitely not facts. There are a lot of sites that would support my assertion, but I'm too tired to link them.

Anonymous said...

Hey not so diligent self-flattering plagiarist, try to pay attention and read the earlier comments. That point was made hours ago. Try to add something new and original once in awhile rather than continuing to copy the work of other people for the rest of your life.

Anonymous T said...

Hi again...

For those following... My Army Bro who was TDY in Italy/France/Africa is finally wheels down in IL! I got to chat w/ him for a few min as he too celebrates Nat'l beer day. I'll be there on my brother-from-the-same-mother's birthday which is the same day that Keanu drops (Key & Peele trailer). I can't wait.

Tin - LOL w/ lazy w/o an H Sarah. What hell, Cheers to Sarah, mate!

Lucina - yeah, I feel dumb many times. I try to show I'm a MAJOR LEAGUE SAGE... They're, like, "YES dad, we know that about POSH. Myth..."

Cheers, -T

Tinbeni said...

Anon T
Mom had a great "Sense-of-Humor" ... plus she was named for Sarah (in the bible) ...
where they probably spelled it correctly ... in that book ...

And now some "idiot anon" will say I forgot about the "No religion" in the comment section ...

Like I've ever been religious ... LOL !!!

... though on-the-other-hand ... I do tend to "RATE" puzzles based on the number of booze clues/answers ...


Freond said...

ABYSM...first use, 14th century. Was that the last use too??? Are we to expect HWAET in the next puzzle? I'm a fan of Shakespeare, who used this word, and of Middle English too. But not every word he used belongs in a puzzle.

I don't mind foreign words if they are likely to be familiar to an English speaker. Anyone want to defend OLLA?

LET ON is just WRONG. I'd like to see it used in a sentence in the sense of the clue, which seems 180 degrees off. I couldn't finish until red letters told me that the obviously correct PUT ON was not.

It's baseball season, so I'm applying the three strikes and you're out rule to this one.

Sorry to be so negative, but this is always a TAXING time of year.