Jan 9, 2020

Thursday, January 9th 2020 Christopher Adams

Theme: ? When Victor Hugo sent an ingenious telegram to his publisher to ask how sales of  his new novel "Les Miserables" were going, to save money he sent just "?" He received the reply "!" Which leads us in a roundabout fashion to ...

19A. Big musical number ... or what 60-Across is to four puzzle answers?: SHOW STOPPER

and when we navigate downtown, we find:

60A. Decisive ending: EXCLAMATION MARK

So let's see what this is all about:

16D. Musical revue performed in the nude: OH! CALCUTTA! Two show-stoppers here, I guess, one in the first act and one at the end. The title of the show is a play on a French phrase which you'd use to be complimentary about someone's - ahem - derrière.

18D. Musical whose first run won 10 Tony Awards: HELLO, DOLLY! 

38D. Musical featuring ABBA songs: MAMMA MIA!

39D. Musical awarded a special Pulitzer in 1944: OKLAHOMA! The Pulitzer jury was a little vague about why the prize was awarded, the citation just says "A special award for Oklahoma".

So we've got an unusual grid size (15x16) and East-West symmetry only. Why? To accommodate the theme. The 15-letter reveal needs to live alone, so in a regular puzzle it would have to occupy the middle row, and you can't fit the other themers around it, neither across nor down. So stretch the grid and abandon the N-S symmetry. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, as long as the concessions to the theme don't reflect badly in the fill. In this case, I'm not sure.

Purist's section - you certainly shouldn't have OH! CALCUTTA!, and you shouldn't have any other exclamation marks anywhere else. (Hello, 6D and others.) If you want to build a puzzle around a punctuation mark, you have to be consistent. If you can't find four theme entries that work with your reveal, either toss the puzzle away with a "ah, well, I tried" or think of a new way of tying those musicals together.

With that, let's see what's in store as we go down the aisles, not stopping to pick up any one of the 17 three-letter words littering the shelves:


1. Coffee holder: CUP. Not URN nor MUG then. I think we need a campaign to stop coffee appropriating tea's vessel of choice. It's a cup o' tea in my book.

4. "Top Chef" host Lakshmi: PADMA

9. Droop: SAG

12. Tapped-off remnant: ASH. Hopefully not seen around for much longer.

13. Thread holder: SPOOL

14. T'ai __: CHI. Fill in the blanks and move on.

15. Club condiment: MAYO. Do you need mayo with a club sandwich? Mayo-be you do.

17. "Fiddler" meddler: YENTE

18. Chemistry Nobelist Otto: HAHN

22. "My Friend" title horse: FLICKA. I read this book as a kid, I remember very little about it, it seemed a little formulaic maybe? Boy loves horse, horse is sick, boy gets sick, boy gets well, horse lives.

24. Coral creatures: POLYPS

27. "A Legacy of Spies" author: LE CARRÉ

29. Makes a mess of: FOULS UP

30. St. Teresa's town: AVILA

31. VII x XIII: XCI. The desperate act of a constructor. Short of options? Throw a roman numeral in there, no-one will notice. I know, I've done it myself.

33. Rodeo performer: ROPER

34. Catchall abbr.: MISC. ET AL is a temptation here.

35. Pool tool: CUE

36. Eat in style: DINE. That would preclude dining at the diner, which is amusing. I read recently that Amtrak are doing away with the dining car on most of their services, a shame. There's definitely something stylish about dining on a train. When I commuted into London as a youth, my train had a bar car. The journey home was an hour and one minute, and a very convivial hour it was too. Some folk were known to miss their stop intentionally to have "one for the road" and then catch the next train back.

37. Dramatic accusation: ET TU

38. Paris transit: METRO. I love the art deco signage on some of the stations - I think this one is just below Montmartre.

40. Deca- minus two: OCTA-

41. GPS part: Abbr.: SYST. Global Positioning System.

42. Smart __: ALECK

43. Eco-friendly certification letters: LEED. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, as we all know. Or not.

44. Tablet named for an organ: TUMS. My "tum" is an organ? I guess. "STOMACHS" doesn't fit. Not sure I like the twee euphemism here.

46. Kosher food carrier: EL AL

48. Preserve, in a way: EMBALM

51. "The Joy Luck Club" novelist: AMY TAN. On my "to-read" list. My dad taught me how to play mah-jong with a set he brought back from Hong Kong when he was stationed there with the British army in the 20's and 30's. Many years later in Beijing in 2008 I joined a pop-up game in a little square near the Drum Tower. The locals were surprised that I knew how to pick up the tiles, let alone play the game (albeit very slowly!)

55. Philosopher __-tzu: LAO

56. Short rest: NAP

58. Word for a woman: SHE

59. Hosp. area: I.C.U.

64. "I like that": NICE

65. Cool beans or warm fuzzies: IDIOM

66. Great Lake city: ERIE

67. MC alternative: AMEX. I didn't get the "MC" at first, so this needed some help from the crosses. MC : Mastercard AMEX : American Express

68. Yoga pose: ASANA

69. Word for men: LADS. It's a bit of an oddity, this clue. "Word for ..." doesn't add anything and doesn't misdirect either. Curious.


1. Dash attachment: CAM

2. NATO founding member: USA

3. The Curies, e.g.: PHYSICISTS

4. Propaganda battle: PSYWAR. Psychological Warfare.

5. Tarzan raisers: APES

6. "Cut it out!": DON'T!

7. Con __: briskly: MOTO

8. Syrian city: ALEPPO

9. Member of a 1990s girl group: SCARY SPICE which ties in with 63D later on.

10. Spa sigh: AHH!

11. Martini default: GIN. You'd think so, but I bet a dollar to a donut that if you ordered a martini and didn't specify, you'd get vodka, or at least be asked which vodka you wanted. The "James Bond" martini has both gin and vodka, and lilet blanc.

20. Gumbo pod: OKRA. Tends to be a little polarizing, this innocent vegetable, due to the "slime" factor. I use it regularly when I cook Indian food.

21. Refill a glass, say: POUR

22. Fire sign: FLAMES. I get the wordplay here, but aren't flames the fire itself, not a sign of fire? I'm not sure, perhaps someone can explain the chemistry behind the plasma.

23. Flippancy: LEVITY

25. Mambo legend Tito: PUENTE. "Oye Como Va".

26. Nutella, e.g.: SPREAD

28. Shines: EXCELS

29. Cutthroat, as competition: FIERCE

32. Meet-__: romcom device: CUTE. Totally unknown to me.

45. Radius neighbor: ULNA

47. "You said it!": AMEN!

48. Justice Kagan: ELENA

49. Pithy saying: MAXIM

50. Lawn game: BOCCE

52. Wonder Woman topper: TIARA

53. Pungent: ACRID

54. Zaps for dinner: NUKES

57. Sketchbooks: PADS

58. "The Da Vinci Code" priory: SION

61. Supervillain Luthor: LEX

62. Hermana de la madre: TIA. Aunt. A certain proficiency in Spanish required for this one - "Sister of the mother".

63. __ B: 9-Down's professional name: MEL

So here's the grid in all its 16x15 mirror-symmetry glory ...

But first, I learned "LEED", "PSYWAR" and "MEET-CUTE today. Always a good day when you go to bed more learnèd than you began it. The problem is that I think my brain was already full, and those three new 'uns just pushed some important stuff out, although I think I'll try and forget "MEET-CUTE". Now, where did I leave my car?

... as promised the grid - and where the heck did I leave the corkscrew?



Jinx in Norfolk said...

FIW, missing my WAG at PADrA x rOTO and MEd x dADS. Didn't care for this puzzle. Two Spice Girl references? Show biz theme? Rich must be gunning for extra lumps of coal in his 2020 stocking, or working for that in-flight magazine editor's job. Hope the Sheffer puzzle is more palatable.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Lotsa Wite-Out was required this morning: STOP/DONT, ET AL/MISC, ACERB/ACRID, LVI/XCI (I misread XIII as VIII). I recognized all of the Broadway shows, but didn't realize the titles contained an EXCLAMATION MARK. HELKO DOLLY showed me that it should've been FOULS UP. The only Lakshmi I recognize is Lakshmi Singh, a morning NPR News anchor, but PADMA perped in. Let's see hands for everyone who knew what LEED represented. Hmmmmmm. I'm not seeing any hands. Still, I think I liked this one better than Steve did. Thanx, Christopher and Steve.

TTP said...

The theme was brilliant. Got SHOW STOPPERS early, but pulled a D-O and didn't read the complete clue. Then started to notice the musicals and was blown away when I got EXCLAMATION POINT and realized each of the musicals - none of which I've ever seen - used 'em. Very impressive ! I noticed the irregular grid right away.

Knew PADMA. We watch Top Chef, Food TV, the Cooking Channel, The Great British Baking Show, The Great American Baking Show, Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsay on Nat Geo, Campus Eats, etc, etc, etc. Plus, I think we just had the same clue recently, but in might have been in another venue.

No Mayo for Abejo. It doesn't rhyme. Say Abbey Joe quickly.
Read the clue as 7 x 8. The answer wouldn't fit with what was obviously EXCELS.
Yes on ET AL.
Yes, I knew LEED from my career. And from Consumer Reports articles.
So "The Joy Luck Club" is about mah-jong ?
Only fried OKRA for me. Wait, it's fine in Gumbo too.
That investment in Spanish in 10th grade has paid off numerous times. Most of the guys took the class because new (second year) teacher Miss Morris was the prettiest teacher around.
No idea on Da Vinci code priory = SION. Perps.
Dash attachment ? Tee.

From yesterday. I'm still marveling that so many would know Eberle. Was this a name often used in crossword puzzles in days of yore ? It just seems like such a trivial thing to know.

Yellowrocks, I did remember DA GAMA with a couple of perps, but tried DE be DA. And whats his name that was the first around South America. It'll come to me later.

TTP said...

Just read "The Joy Luck Club" plot summary at Sparknotes. Now I get it.

Yellowrocks said...

I liked the theme. No nit with it. All the theme shows have exclamation marks in their titles.
I have not seen OH! CALCUTTA! but have seen all the others several times, but I have heard of OH! CALCUTTA!
Steve, diner vs dining/ my initial thought exactly. I think of fine dining as being at a "white tablecloth" establishment. OTOH, I have eaten many delicious meals at diners.
FIW, I left the P in 4A until last and forgot to go back. An ABC run would have cinched it. Grr! Yes, now I remember seeing PADMA Lakshmi. LEED was the only unfamiliar fill.
As a waitress, I would automatically bring gin if someone ordered a martini. Never any complaints. Those who wanted vodka asked for a vodka martini or a vodkatini.
Amy Tan novels are some of my favorites, especially The Joy Luck Club.
I enjoyed My Friend Flicka, both the book and the movie.
I am still packing up Christmas decor. My back needs multiple rests. In the old days I did everything much faster. Good thing because I was a working mom.

inanehiker said...

I'm with TTP - I thought this was a really fun theme- but I love musicals so I knew these all ended (stopped) with an exclamation point! The only other one that comes to mind without a search was "Oliver!" but it doesn't have enough letters in it for this grid.
Like D-O I was much more familiar with Lakshmi Singh - but I had heard of Padma Lakshmi - just needed some perp help...

Late for work -
Thanks Steve and Christopher

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

No wite-out but I did get 2 letters wrong .. Mssed the M in PADMA and A in ASANA. Thought hermana was male so I had TIO. - - a learning about Spanish. Since I'm not as articulate as Steve I just felt the theme was a bit murky but I agree with him. I don't remember any EXCLAMATION MARKS on the marquees but then I'm in my IX'th decade. (I see Wiki does have them.)

Yellowrocks said...

In The Joy Luck Club, mahjong was merely a vehicle or device to move the plot along. I enjoyed the historical glimpse into pre WW II China, the cultural contrast the heroine found between China and San Francisco, and the exploration of mother/daughter relationships.
I especially enjoy historical novels about the meeting of different cultures.

All the CDs for these musicals have the (!) in the title, as do all the Google articles. That is why I find the theme so apt. The marquees had them, too.

Anonymous said...

I really disliked this puzzle from the first clue to the end. Too many three letter answers and obscure proper names made this a slog.

jfromvt said...

Like others, missed the M in PADxA, but filled the rest with some perps. Got all the theme answers easily, but didn’t get the actual theme until the write up. And it is pretty obvious...duh...

TTP said...

C.C. has a puzzle, "Hidden Cameras" over at USA Today.

Anon at 8:54 , you should try Washington Post - Easy Puzzles . They probably would more readily suit your likes and dislikes. If you think they are too easy, replace easy with hard in the URL.

Big Easy said...

Good morning!!!!!!!!! I lucked out and completed the puzzle. I knew ALEPPO was correct but the spelling of YENTE just looked wrong. PSY WAR & PADMA were unknowns but P was the only logical fill for the first letter of both; wanted SPY war but SPOOL wouldn't allow that. SCARY SPICE & MEL B- both unknown but filled by perps; I'd heard of the Spice Girls- that's it.

Getting the musicals was easy after a few perps. OH, CALCUTTA (Kolkata?)- the musical for people who wouldn't be seen at a strip joint but want to 'look'.

LEED- unheard of unknown 'as we all DO NOT know' Steve. Another acronym we don't need to know..
Steve- MEET CUTE & ROM COM have already been seen in crosswords. The only place I've ever seen them.

GIN- martinis are GIN & Vermouth. But since GIN already has a flavor and vodka doesn't it's easier to add chocolate or lemon drops to vodka. A 'chocolate gin martini'--yuck.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I finished in normal Thursday time, but there were several perps-to-the-rescue moments: PsyWar, Scary Spice, Moto, Sion, and Polyps. I tripped over Et al/Misc and Bohn/Hahn. I liked the Lads ~ Pads duo. Nice CSO to Abejo (Erie) and Lucina (Asana). When I see my nemesis, Roman Numerals, I just skip right over the clue and wait for the perps. As Steve noted, there were numerous three letter words, which leads me to ask if there is a maximum number acceptable or allowed in a weekday grid. Constructors?

Thanks, Chris, for a challenging solve and thanks, Steve, for your candid critique. As always, any tasty tidbit from your kitchen cupboard is welcome and appreciated.

Going to sister Peg’s tonight for her 85th birthday party. Crowds, chaos, and camaraderie and, just maybe, a wee dram of Mr. Dewar’s potable product!


YR, at times the drops seem to help, but not always. I’ll give them some more time. Thanks for asking.

Jayce, happy to hear you liked the Scotch! (I don’t know whether to be flattered or flustered that my imbibing choice is so well known to my fellow Cornerites! Where is Dave4, BTW?)

Have a great day.

OwenKL said...

Thought contemplation was Shangri-la.
A Doctor of the Church,
She prayed till it hurt,
And thought the Carmelites too la-di-dah!


John E said...

Can someone explain sion at 58D? Thanks.

desper-otto said...

John E, check out this link.

Anonymous said...

James Bond's martini is 6 parts Gordons gin and 1 part Vermouth - shaken, not stirred. The Vesper has gin, vodka and lillet.


Yellowrocks said...

Priory of Sion. Scroll down to the Da Vince Code


Husker Gary said...

-I was uneasy that yet another obscure cooking show name would have a Natick but the endless Syrian war did put ALEPPO in my realm of knowledge
-Early computer SPOOLING delays upset my sometimes impatient bride
-Some low-ranked team seems to always FOUL UP March Madness pools
-I’ll use GPS today to find a cemetery for a graveside service
-I would’ve liked a desk CAM to show parents how their darling behaves in class
-In our church, AMEN and Alleluia are not said CON MOTO or CON BRIO
-Microwave dinner options can make me look like a chef. “Gary, what’s that ACRID smell?” asks connoisseur Steve.

Anonymous said...

The Curies were chemists, not physicist. All 3 of their Nobel Prizes were in chemistry!

Lucina said...


I wonder how St. Theresa of AVILA would feel about being the subject of much crossword fill? BTW, my parish church is St. Theresa.

Tito PUENTE, the Mambo King, again today.

HAHN is also the name of a winery in Napa, CA, which I have toured.

I love the show, HELLO DOLLY! Barbra Streisand nails it.

ACRID/NUKES next to each other: how appropriate.

Like D-O, I only know of Lakshmi Singh but PADMA emerged easily.

One of my favorite places to DINE is The Longhorn Steakhouse where we go to celebrate birthdays and other occasions.

Thank you, Christopher Adams and Steve for today's fun.

Have a pleasant day, everyone!

Hungry Mother said...

I could only finish half of the puzzle before my 10 mile run this morning. As I chugged along, OHCALCUTTA came to me. I finished up as I iced my legs. Just hard enough today.

Anonymous said...

Marie Curie's degrees were in Physics and Mathematical Sciences. She was the head of the Physics Laboratory at the Sorbonne. She was also Professor of General Physics. Her first Nobel was for Physics in 1903. In 1911 she received the Nobel for Chemistry.

Yellowrocks said...

From Wikipedia:"Pierre Curie (/ˈkjʊəri/, KEWR-ee;[1] French: [pjɛʁ kyʁi]; 15 May 1859 – 19 April 1906) was a French physicist, a pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity, and radioactivity. In 1903, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics with his wife, Marie Skłodowska-Curie, and Henri Becquerel, "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel."

NaomiZ said...

Didn't realize the shows had exclamation marks in their titles, but finished easily and enjoyed. Also enjoyed reading the technical observations of more experienced constructors and solvers! Thanks for pointing out the unusual grid design.

TTP said...

HA ! Magellan !

Did I buzz in before Jeopardy James, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter ?

Misty said...

I loved, loved this puzzle--a total delight, Christopher--thank you for making this Thursday morning a pleasure. Seeing all those musicals and musical references was a treat, and I got that incredible EXCLAMATION MARK early on, before I even knew to what it referred. Music from HELLO DOLLY! and MAMMA MIA! will probably buzz in my head all day and make me happy. I had a combination of JOY and LUCK working on this gift of a fun puzzle.

Have a great day, everybody.

AnonymousPVX said...

I thought this a typical Thursday grid, just crunchy enough.

No issues with the clueing and I seemed to get all the proper names.

On to Friday.

John E said...

Thanks, d-o.

Jayce said...

I liked this puzzle and solved it all without looking anything up. However, I didn't see the relevance of EXCLAMATION MARK until reading all about it here. Very clever, and the tie-in to SHOW STOPPER is now also clear. Steve, your write-up is superb.

Hand up for not knowing LEED.

I like HAHN wine. Their GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) is on my permanent shopping list.

Besides Otto HAHN, who screwed Lise Meitner out of a Nobel Prize that she deserved as much as he did, the only other HAHN I know is Hilary Hahn, the violinist. My father got his M.D. degree from Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital in Philadelphia, as did my nephew. Sadly, the institution was sold, mismanaged, went bankrupt, and is now closed.

Warm wishes to you all.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

I did so poorly on Christopher's puzzle I shouldn't have the right to comment. Can't tell if it was just all the names or if my mind was totally out-to-lunch (e.g. The Curies is not the latest Phys--- band [Phyco-pop, is that a thing(?) :-) ]).

DNF'd the area with (er, MISC) in it. Didn't know FLICKA, LA CARRE, AVILA (well, w/o perps anyway), nor OH CALCUTTA -- I was sans perps!
Not much better in the NE - there's a SCARY SPICE? [SC(ent) Spice, maybe?] - that was a Google.

Thanks Steve for the expo and the grid.

I do like the theme - the themers are just not in my wheelhouse. I've seen Mamma Mia, know of OKLAHOMA (but not as clued), and heard of Hello Dolly only from WKRP (Mr. Carlson's favorite).

Good ol' fashioned WOs: Delis carried Kosher b/f EL AL (ha!); Deli gave me Hello DOLie; MAMA [sic] needed an extra 'M' or fewer squares to fill.

Fav: XCI - it was my first "this I can fill with confidence" entry :-)
//D-O: LEED was my second; I'm sitting in a LEED certified building now. Many oil companies make sure they do; positive PR and that.


D-O: Yep, handup for Lakshmi Singh; fortunately PSYops[sic] didn't perp.

TTP - LOL Dash(-)T!
And thanks for the heads-up on C.C.'s USAToday

Cheers, -T

Ol' Man Keith said...

Ta~ DA!
This went faster than I thought it would. Like yesterday's, this was a perp paradise. Everything I didn't know I knew, I re-learned through perps.
Munchy-crunchy, I'd say!

I was around when all these shows opened. I remember loving My Friend FLICKA when I was a kid. I saw OH CALCUTTA and was mildly surprised at how boring it was. The more significant breakthrough for on-stage nudity was with Peter Brook's version of Marat/Sade, although that lasted for only a moment.
I was around when OKLAHOMA premiered, but was not cognizant of it at the time. Too young.
Me, not the show.

I started to look for diagonals, but noticed the grid seemed "off." Sure enough, I count 16 rows (instead of the standard 15), so the asymmetry makes it ineligible.

oc4beach said...

IM: Add a shot of Drambuie to your Dewar's for a Rusty Nail. One of my favorite drinks. I like mine with Dalwhinnie single malt scotch which is very smooth. I also like it with GlenLivet and GlenFiddich single malt scotchs for a change of pace which are not quite as smooth as the Dalwhinnie. Tin, however, would consider it a sacrilege because I like it on the rocks.

Picard said...

Steve thank you for the review and for explaining the theme. I FIR but could not understand the SHOW STOPPER theme. Now I understand that the EXCLAMATION MARK was a part of each of the SHOW titles. And thank you for explaining the meaning of OH! CALCUTTA! Learning moment that it has nothing to do with India! I remember as a child being intrigued by it as a nude show.

Since you asked, I am very familiar with LEED. By definition if our world is not sustainable, then we have no future. Does that make it seem worth knowing? For many years I led a LEED tour for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo civil engineers on our UC Santa Barbara campus.

Here is a PDF brochure that I handed out on my tour that explained highlights of one of the LEED buildings on the tour.

Did anyone else think "Flippancy" was an odd clue for LEVITY?

Here I was before the MAMMA MIA! SHOW on Broadway

From two days ago:
Jinx I appreciated your comment "Picard, one would think we would learn our lesson about upending governments, but NOOOO."

Let us hope that peace prevails.

Wilbur Charles said...

My last martini was circa 1976 but prior to that GIN was definitely the default. I'd never have asked for vodka nor "shaken(shudder)" a martini . Nor neglected the olive.

I always thought he was FUENTE and that POLYPS were found in Colons. But MOTO/PADMA was a complete Natick which I neglected to even WAG at.

The "Da Vinci Code" plagiarized shamelessly from "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", the latter was about Le Prieure de Sion which, apart from the major theme, had a lot of interesting historical tidbits.*

Someone once said that Americans are fascinated by diets and eating. Hence, TTP's post. And hence ⅔ of my friends.
I knew TTP would post Magellan before I could get there. Now name the first to spot the Pacific Ocean(from America)?

John LeCarre was one of my favorites. Tinker.. was a great PBS Series. Alec Guiness. He became a vitriolic America hater(CIA). LeCarre I mean, not Alec

I had ACERB<ACRID and where'd that K in ALEC come from?


PS, I really need to check out the themes.

* Like Columbus marrying the daughter of the Captain of the Scottish early Voyager to America and having his charts

Wilbur Charles said...

Post, I liked the DASH T remark

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip. I don't need easy puzzles. Just stating my opinion.Sorry it doesn't conform to your experience.

Unknown said...


CrossEyedDave said...

LAte to the party,

DNF @ the Padma/Psywar/Yente/moto Natick Box...
I thought I would try doing Alphabet runs at the intersections,
but then realized, it would be easier to try and find an
X-Y wing (swordfish) in the Sudoku puzzle.
(I understand the concept, just can't find the dang thingies...)

So, to get revenge on Christopher Adams, I thought I would
link Pierce Brosnan singing...

Hmm, not as bad as I remember

(what I remember was trying to shut off the TV when I heard that clip...)

Again, finding a still image to suit the Theme was troublesome also,
This was the only thing I liked under Showstoppers...

I know, all I have to do is go back to all the High School Musicals
I endured. HeHe, This'll get ya Chris!

Ol' Man Keith said...

W.C. ~
I drink GIN martinis, only they're not really martinis, because I prefer lil' onions with my GIN, hence they are dubbed Gibsons. When I'm in a restaurant, I'll often order a Tanqueray Gibson on the rocks.

I prefer vodka with olives. At home I will sip straight chilled vodka with a splash of the olive juice. I guess that makes it a dirty vodka martini. But, wait! there's no vermouth, so I guess it is just a Dirty Vodka, right? Does that have its own name? Maybe a Begrimed Boyar? A Murky Magyar?
A Crummy Commie?

But I drink it in a martini glass...

Jayce said...

Ol' Man Keith, I also like to sip vodka with olives (green olives stuffed with pimento). Like you I don't know if it has a name, but nevertheless I like it. Let's call it Olivia Russky.

What vodka do you like? I like the Costco Kirkwood brand and also the Russian Standard brand.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

OK...yer lyin' if you didn't start the puzzle wrong like me putting "urn" for 1a.

First error and it went downhill from there. Despite the opposing perps was convinced 18D was "Guys n dolls"

it's now " Oh Kolkatta"

Poor Julius C... he gets cruciverbally stabbed so often he must look like pin cushion.

Always thought certain of my colleagues were Smart Alecs without the "k".

Eat in style is to DINE unless your at the real life Diners I frequent.

When I lived in Italy in the 70s I was shocked to see kids spreading Nutella on toast. "That'll never fly in health conscious USA!." wrong!! My grandkids literaly eat it up...

just like another 70s italian treat "Tic Tac"

Abejo said...

Good evening, folks. Thank you, Christopher Adams, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Steve, for a fine review.

TTP: Good memory on my Mayo feelings. I never use it!!!!!!!

Puzzle was tough. Got through most of it with some perps and deep thinking.

Liked the theme. Got EXCLAMATION MARK quite easily. I could not believe it. Then all the theme answers were much more difficult.

Had ALECS instead of ALECK. That held of OKLAHOMA for quite a while.

SCARY SPICE was totally unknown. Many perps later.

AMY TAN was unknown. Perps.

I did get ALEPPO. Good for me.

Never heard of PADMA. Perps.

Got LEVITY eventually. Was not sure the Clue Flippancy really is proper. But, it probably is.

Never realized the grid was 15 x 16. Too busy thinking of words.

Have to run. See you tomorrow.

Cruciverb came back from lunch today. Hooray!


( )

Ruberap said...

Alternative to space at 50 down - 67 across intersection: the letter "i". Bocci is an alternative spelling of bocce and 67 across clue MC alternative could be interpreted as Master of Ceremonies alternative which could be "a mix" (of audio recordings).

Lemonade714 said...

Part of the joy of aging is getting up early, solving a challenging puzzle from a Saturday stumper dissected nicely by Steve. The other side of the coin is coming home and seeing that you forgot to hit send.

Ah, well next time.

Wilbur Charles said...

OMK, Playboy had an article that contended that high proof gin(say beefeaters 150?) with a minute amount of vermouth could release wormwood. The latter being poison to the brain.

My experiences, 45 years ago, bear it out. I myself contend that various opiod and cocaine users could get their thrills just as well and a lot cheaper with said martinis.

Then again there's the ultimate thrill: FIR on a Saturday XW like last week's.

I just watched "Three Days of the Condor" on Amazon Prime. 1975. And synchronous with that piece of prescience is the book I found: House of Morgan.

And... Wish me luck: I have another prostate exam tomorrow. Anything further would be classic TMI


Anonymous said...

I am a big theatergoer, so I loved this puzzle! I got all the show titles and the theme fairly quickly, so I did not find the puzzle as a whole as difficult as some did.

It was impressive how Christopher managed to fit four long show names as downs and 2 long theme answers as acrosses. I also liked the unusual layout of the puzzle as a nice change of pace from the usual "four squares" look.

CanadianEh! said...

Terrific Thursday. Thanks for the fun, Christopher and Steve.
This was an appropriate showstopper for me today. DH and I took the GO train (not the METRO) to Ontario's capital.
We saw POLYPs and many other marvellous creatures at the Aquarium, and then enjoyed a wonderful performance of Come From Away (no !) tonight.
Finished this CW on Cruciverb so I had a little red letter help. But I got CUP first thing Ray. And yes, I'll have tea in that CUP Steve.

Good evening all.